The Hiroshimas were good Americans.

Ken Prestwich, Worcester, MA. The Hiroshima family included my first friends growing up on a small farm just outside of LA (they had one too) in the early 50s — the parents, like so many where we lived, had been interred during the war. They were fine people; a second family to me (I am […]

Ignored black man, looking for boss.

John May Franklin, MA I was a salesman of warehouse equipment . On an ordinary sales call, I would drive to a warehouse and try to meet with the boss to deliver my sales pitch. Most times I would go in a back door, loading dock, or other path that would avoid the receptionists and […]

Colombian? Where is your accent?

Yessica Guarin Arias, Boston, MA. Yes, I don’t have the same accent as the actors and actresses on TV. The reason to why is because they were born in a specific part of the country in which I am not from. However, people only hear these people speaking “Colombian Spanish”. When in reality Colombia has […]

Who will love this black girl?

Gabby Mbeki, Boston, MA. In the fall of 1997, I started 6th grade at a day independent school in Connecticut. I grew up in a predominately West Indian neighborhood surrounded by faces like mine, but my father wanted me to have a more rigorous education. I entered the school being one of three students of […]

Dating: I’m too dark for him?!

Anonymous, Northampton, MA. He’s a white European, and has never considered black women to be attractive, apparently until he met me and we got to know each other. Since he is curious about interracial relationships, he’s often on youtube watching videos on black and white couples/babies/marriages. Yesterday, he proudly told me that he watched an […]

We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns

Susanna Gourlay Wilbraham, MA This is a saying my dad taught me. I moved to the USA from Scotland and it was a phrase he told when I was talking to him about how sad it was that people get treated differently based on the color of their skin. The saying means, “We’re all God’s […]

I can do it, should I?

Katie E, Boston, MA A friend of mine from another state graduated her class’ valedictorian. She received a full-ride scholarship to college and ultimately, she became a teacher. When I learned about her academic achievements, I congratulated her and she thanked me and she appeared to downplay her accomplishment. She then told me that she […]

I never think of you as Asian.

Virginia, Cambridge, MA. I’m half Filipina. And I’ve always thought of myself as half. But one day at a faculty meeting a colleague told me I “passed” as white. It’s bothered me ever since.

Mommy, why wasn’t I born white?

Victoria Finney Cambridge, MA I still remember how upset she was when I asked her this. Like I had said something wrong that I shouldn’t have. Like I had failed a test somehow. “Tori, aren’t you happy with the way you are? You are beautiful; black is beautiful.” Why is she saying this? Why does […]

Vietnamese, torn between remembering or not.

Thien Kim Ho, Somerville, MA. I grew up in what seemed like a movie representation of my own race. My mother was a nail technician. I don’t know if she still is. My father probably still is an engineer. I don’t know whether I had “tiger parents” or if they were just plain mean. I […]

Much progress; much more to do

Robert Markel, Charlestown, MA. Raised in a very white town in Chester County Pennsylvania, I had little consciousness of race issues until high school. We had one black student in my class, and he was the Salutatorian. At the end of our senior year at Archmere Academy, several members of the class went to lunch […]

My children can be badly behaved

Erin Seaton, West Newbury, MA. I have two great kids. They are smart and kind and thoughtful and sometimes they also fall apart. We are white, and one thing I am constantly conscious of is the fact that when my children do fall apart, in a doctor’s office or library or restaurant, no one is […]

Traveling makes you appriciate other cultures

Julia Russell, Merrimac, MA My six words are about traveling because I believe that many people do not understand other cultures until they see them. It is almost like the idea of walking a mile in someone elses shoes. It is not fair to judge and criticize others when you have no idea what their […]

Don’t let anyone ‘should’ on you.

Marisa Labadini, Merrimac, MA Growing up, everyone tells you who you are supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do. This is just not true. Everyone has their own path in life. There is no right or wrong answer. This is a challenge I have had to overcome in my own life. As a […]

1968. Black freshman roommate. Different planets.

Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]

Black Girl Magic is a thing.

Afrika Afeni Mills, Randolph, MA Black Boy Joy is a thing, too, and both are important to embrace. The narratives about Black girls and boys are so often absent of magic and joy. We need constant reminders of the full humanity of Black children.

I like kimchi more than potatoes.

Sarah Diggins, Berlin, MA. I’m almost entirely Irish by heritage (my dad’s side is 100%), but I never really clicked with the culture. I grew up loving Celtic music, looking at gorgeous landscapes of the Irish countryside, and hearing stories about my Irish cousins and ancestors from my grandparents. But when I went to live […]

All races equal but completely different

Clementine Pring, The University of New Hampshire, Falmouth, MA I grew up around a lot of first-generation immigrants who came to America to escape violence in there home country. Most of my friends came from either Brazil or Jamaica. Over time I’ve come to realize how different their ideals and traditions are and how that’s […]

My children jumpstarted my racial identity.

Johnny, Concord, MA. As a gay Asian man married to a white man with two adopted children of color (one black, one Latino), I came to understand my own racial identity trough the experience of welcoming our two children into our family. It’s taught me that to really provide a strong racial identity for my […]

White-skinned negro: community of one.

Jada Golden Sherman, Boston, MA. I’m so frustrated with people’s limited understanding and acceptance of genetics, and upbringing. The labels ‘white’ and ‘black’ are over-generalized. Especially when now that we have dark parents having white-looking babies, and white-looking parents having brown babies. Not all white people are…white, nor “white-minded”.My mother’s family is African-American, and many […]

Busing: white girl, black schools, lonely

Clara Silverstein, Boston, MA. As one of the white children in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s whose family willingly participated in busing, I had few friends of any race. What we could have used at the time was leadership instead of racist rhetoric, white flight, and school administrators who cancelled all after-school activities. The possibility […]

They only see the Asian half.

Katelyn Tsukada Northampton, MA My mother is of Irish and Italian heritage; my father of Japanese descent. Both of my parents were born in the United States as were their parents before them. Both consider themselves to be American as documented by their passports, drivers licenses and birth certificates. My mother and father speak English […]

10 Mile Move Flipped the Grid

Tessa D, Chicopee, MA. As a young child, we moved from a mostly black neighborhood to a nearly all white suburb. The background music of my life changed. There really wasn’t any background music anymore. The neighbor kids who came to visit were no longer just the neighbor kids. Judgement and difference took on meaning, […]

Multi-racial man without a country to call home.

Juan Carlos Greater Boston, MA If you look at me… I look Latino. Not tall, dark features – hair, eyes, skin, wide nose, full lips. If you ask me, my ancestry is African, Incan, Iberian, and Jewish. Those are the ones I know of. I grew up in New England, attending a catholic school in […]

Stanford’s not for people like you.

Jacquie Arnold, Hopkinton, MA. I was an A student at Key West High School when I graduated from Key West High School in 1981. While applying to top ranked colleges, my guidance counselor, Mrs. Adair, told me that Stanford University was not for students like me. I’m African American. I knew what she meant. I […]

White country, white privilege, yet minority

Emily Carter, Needham, MA. I am un-mistakenly white. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, grew up in a neighbourhood full of other white people, and had teachers who were all white. I have an name that is unmistakably white and very easy to pronounce, yet in a classroom filled with children with difficult sounding, Chinese […]

Wash your hands. Brown is dirty.

Michelle C-H Dorchester , MA When I was a little kid, in the 70’s, My family was the only black folks most of the people around us had ever seen. Everyday in my elementary school I got some ignorant comment. “Are you brown cuz you eat brown bread?” and the like. The worst was from […]

Let them stare, it doesn’t matter

Samantha Charter, Phillipston, MA. My six words may seem a little odd until you hear the story behind them. I am white and my boyfriend is not. I grew up in a small predominantly white town and because of this the few non white families in town tended to stick out a little. No one […]

Made-up, fear, love, in, out, together

Dev Michel Luthra, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am the child of an Indian (Asian) father and a European mother, both of whom were raised in Africa. I have spent most of my life here in the US. My brother and children were born here. I still struggle with how entitled the white elite is in […]

Not just a spoiled white girl

Cassidy-Rae Bastarache, Gardner, MA I’m white and some people assume that I am privileged and have money based on some of the expensive things that I own and the vacations that I have taken. The truth is that my parents are hard working middle class people who work lots of overtime to give me and […]

Even a poor conversation beats silence.

Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]

No Color Leaves The World Plain.

LesleyAnn Moore, Boston, MA. Race is beautiful. Diversity fills the globe and allows freedom of expression through its inhabitants. We are born already filled with differences. Our color is our culture, ethnicity, and race. The world is a painter’s palette ready to disperse every shade imaginable. Once we recognize and become accepting of other colors, […]

But where are you really from?

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]

I believe in the melting pot.

Dustin F. Hecker, Needham, MA. Identity politics will be the death of the grand American National experiment. In my humble opinion, we need to stop focusing on the 2% of our DNA that makes us look different than others and focus on the 98% of our DNA that makes us really quite similar. That does […]

I am White and Hispanic getoverit

Matt JP J, Tewksbury, MA. My grandmother’s father was from Puerto Rico and she never knew him very well. She grew up as Irish with her Irish half siblings. My grandmother likes to view herself as Italian and Irish, rather than sharing her Hispanic heritage with her children. This is due to feelings of abandonment. […]

Blood and Tears But Footprints Remain

Justin John Banks, Boston, MA. My ancestors were both Native and African American. The U.S. was molded by the labor of both of these brave peoples and although they shed blood and tears in the countries formation, they left their mark on U.S. soil forever.

They asked why I wasn’t working…

Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]

You do not look Puerto Rican.

Beatriz McConnie Zapater, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am Puerto Rican with white, indigenous, Spanish, and African ancestry. When I hear that I do not look Puerto Rican, I ask the person, “How many Puerto Ricans do you know?”.

We must overcome deeply rooted racism.

Amanda Adams, MA. People don’t realize how deeply ingrained racism is in our country and in the whole world. We can’t ignore such a painful and divisive issue- instead, we must work to overcome people’s hate and ignorance so that we can truly start to judge people only by their character.

Caucasian is/not White – really?

SM Boston, MA When I was 22, I received my first speeding ticket, which I deserved as I was speeding. It was a speed trap on a major US highway on the way back to Boston. I accepted the ticket without contest, but since it was my first speeding violation I choose to appear in […]

Jewish daycare, Catholic college, Hindu wedding

Charles Hirsch Mount Washington, MA I had the wonderful opportunity to grow up in a multicultural community. I attended daycare sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, was a confirmed member of the Congregational church (United Church of Christ), I chose to enroll at Catholic Saint Michael’s college where I learned about Catholicism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. […]

Race: no reason to be afraid.

Sam Kadish, Newton, MA. Race is incredibly important to our history. It should be a sidebar in our future. America is the great melting pot; too many people have stopped being proud of that. Race should add color to life; it should add life to culture. America will eventually fail if race remains the first […]

White Male, Can’t Talk About Anything

Joseph Palmieri, Framingham, MA. As a white male, I feel like I have been subject to a sort of stigma just like people of other races and genders have. Some may think that white men are relieved from a form of discrimination, but this is not the case. I have been told multiple times that […]

You don’t look or sound Cuban.

Sergio R Velazquez, Lowell, MA. The label Latino bothers me, same as Hispanic. Both have colonial roots and do not properly represent any specific group or culture. This is why I always select OTHER and fill in Cuban. Just my five cents worth.

The culmination of hate and hope.

Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]

Black doll for Chirstmas. “Shes Perfect.”

Kia Goodell, Hopkinton, MA. Both my parents are white, my mother being an earthy-crunchy liberal, and my father a stereotypical red-neck. Racist comments by him were frequent, and my mother, wanting to make sure I didn’t catch onto that gave me a black baby doll for Christmas when I was two. I opened the present […]

My Obaa is Japanese – I’m not.

Livia Messenger, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Before I told you my grandmother was from Japan, I wasn’t Asian to you. I’m white. I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan, worn a kimono, or even met my Japanese relatives. I flunked out of calculus – but I suppose my “white side” was holding the […]

Some see me as an Oppressor

Adrian S. Bennett Bremerton, MA I am dedicated to Equality for all persons and the values that make up Diversity. As I journey through my career as an Equal Opportunity Adviser and an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Program Analyst, my hardest realization has been that some people will always see me as an oppressor… […]

You realize I’m Black…right!?

Robert Dokes Beverly, MA Maybe it’s the way I present myself, but sometimes people forget that I’m Black. It’s not they are colorblind it’s just they’ve got so comfortable with me being around that people feel they can say anything around me and believe it’s okay

They like you because you’re white

Meghan, Boston, MA. Right after my mother picked me up from my high school freshman orientation she told me that the Asian and Black girls I was talking to, “Only want to be friends with you because you are white,” and that I need to make sure I talked to more white girls. My best […]

Invisible lines drawn with invisible ink

Tess Aaronson, Worcester, MA. I am a race that is not connected to a skin color. Races and cultures are not defined by an individual identifier, but by multiple shadowy characteristics that stereotype. One or many, no matter the amount of signifiers, lines have been drawn for me: who I am and who I am […]

Thought it didn’t matter. It does.

Avery, Chicopee, MA. I’m white, but many of my friends growing up were children of color. I always thought that we were treated the same because nobody was overtly racist. Then I started educating myself and learned about concepts like dog-whistling and microaggressions. I was stunned to realize that I had been totally wrong the […]

Kindergarten without English. I’m still fine.

Vishwa Dhuleshia, Shrewsberry, MA. I started Kindergarten knowing how to say only two things in Enlgish: “my name is Vishwa” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” I spent the first 3 years of Elementary school going to ESL classes while my classmates took spelling classes. Those few years I had to face the […]

No I am still from India

Amal Nazeem, Shrewsbury, MA. My parents are Muslims from Southern India. Growing up, I had many friends from all over India. They were mostly Hindu and they only knew other Indians to be Hindu. When I told them that my parents were from India, they thought I wasn’t a true Indian. I might have been […]

My Looks Don’t Define My Bloodline

Sierra McGeoghegan, Weymouth, MA. Growing up and even now I am always denied my Mexican heritage by lots of people of all races. I am Irish + Mexican and a few other races. My family treated my Hispanic blood as a taboo, the Latinos I knew as a child rejected me once I shared I […]

I will not be a statistic

Kyle Glasper Houghton, MA Everything I feel I learn in sociology is telling me that as a black male, life has doomed me to the pits. A third of us have been incarcerated or will be and the half of the rest won’t ever go to college. It’s been this way for a while now […]

“Does he know,” Nana asks, worriedly?

Liz Pryor, Northampton, MA. Smith College. My mother was white. So was her whole family. After my husband, who is white, proposed, my grandmother cornered my cousin and asked “Does he know about Elizabeth?” My cousin asked back, “Does he know what?” and my grandmother answered, “That she’s Black.”

Speak if silence is a privilege.

Annie Berman, Northhampton, MA. Smith College This is what it means to be a good ally. It is not POC’s job to be the only ones constantly asserting that their lives matter. Silence can be a powerful tool of resistance and empowerment, but not when white people who think race does not concern them choose […]

To know someone is to care.

Renee Sumby, Washington, DC. Thanks Michele for an amazing keynote at Society for Human Resource Management’s Diversity & Inclusion Conference in Boston last week. People are still talking!

One-drop rule, my a**

Nobody’s daughter, Boston, MA. It’s simple, really: Anything over 50% is a majority. Therefore, being 25% black (one black grandparent) does not equal “being black”. I say this because I’m fed up of being told I’m crazy, or getting looks because I’m 25% black AND IDENTIFY AS WHITE. Guess what? My kids are white; I’m […]

Lost in the buildings reflective surface

Natalie Rossi Canton, MA I am 50% Irish, 50% Italian, and 100% Chinese. I am adopted, I live with a white American family. I am Asian and when we went to Flushing NY and I looked at the building beside me and saw all the Asians, I could not find myself. there was a sea […]

Women’s Suffrage: I vote, because I can!

Ann-Mary Spellman, Norwood, MA. Dear Michele, Thank you for your wonderful presentation at Boston College and for signing my book. A book that I will treasure forever and refer to for strength as I move forward in my career as a woman, in a mostly male environment. Thank you for the love and connectedness you […]

Why are my black students failing?

Josh Staveley-O’Carroll, Natick, MA. I teach at the college level (in Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, and Washington, DC) and consistently my black students are in the bottom half of my class in terms of grades. This effect is especially pronounced in my black male students.

Model minority myth perpetuates our oppression

Kristy Luk, Cambridge, MA. I am an Asian-American woman, and my racial identity is not to be used as a weapon of oppression against other people of color. My story, and that of my immigrant parents’, will not be held up as examples of how “some folks can make it, if they try hard enough.”

My adopted Black sons are priceless.

Tom DiMartino, Boston, MA. I had the immense pleasure of listening to Michele speak today in Boston, and the topic of adoption touched me personally. I am a white man with two adopted black sons who mean more to me than anything in this world. The topic is touchy and Michele’s comments on it were […]

Woke up late. Now I’m dreaming.

Claire Berman Boston, MA I am a white woman and didn’t begin to understand my racial identity until I was in my late twenties. The more I learn about racism and its intersection with other systems of oppression, the more I realize how little I know and how far we have to go. So now […]

Stop awaiting apologies just do it!

Roberta Smith, Boston, MA. During the conversation, once the white guy spoke about self responsibility a lot of black people were visibly upset and I feel, most black people in the audience stopped listening because they were “offended”. The black rapper basically encouraged black people NOT to get involved in government. What if Obama felt […]

White voice, black skin, awkward interviews.

Sara Bee Boston, MA I have been passing as “white” most of my life–on the phone. People of all stripes seem to have misconceptions about what black people sound like, if their reactions to me in person are any indication. This happens especially at job interviews or when I go to see an apartment. One […]

White Pride – I am proud to be white

Shaun Boston, MA Why is it that blacks can have their own history month, their own channels, their own scholarships, their own culture…but when i take pride in being white i am “racist”. If i were to say there should be a white television channel that would be “unfair”. If i said whites deserved scholarships […]

A fly in a fly bottle.

Carlos Hoyt, Andover, MA. We entered this cognitive predicament only a few centuries ago, but have since, like the hapless fly, found it impossible to extricate ourselves and have come to regard it as eternal and inescapable.

Mom placed newborn in front row

John Butterworth Boston, MA My mother has just graduated from nursing school in Boston and moved to Maryland in the mid ’50’s with my dad, who was in the Army at the time. Mom found a job at a nearby city hospital in the maternity ward. Mom placed a beautiful newborn in the front row […]

American born Chinese, just bamboo husk.

Diana Lew Boston, MA Chinese people use two terms to identify a Chinese person born in a Chinese country (China, Hong Kong, etc.) and a Chinese person born outside of a Chinese country, like myself (NYC). Born in China = bamboo core (“real Chinese”). Born in the U.S.A. = bamboo husk (i.e., Chinese on the […]

“No, where are you REALLY from?”

Sabreena M., MA. My parents are from China. I was born here. The fact that I look like a Chinese person shouldn’t override the fact that I’m American. I always get this question (from strangers who just come up to me) whenever I tell them that I was born here.

Peach crayon never worked for us.

Maya PS Boston, MA Growing up in a color-challenged yet friendly midwest suburb, we were one of 3 families of color in our local school. Even though it was not an issue for most of our childhood, sometimes the desire to squelch our culture reared its ugly head. We did try to assimilate as much […]

“She mixed?” as oppossed to stirred?

Stephanie, Marblehead, MA. My husband is of Italian decent and has dark features, such as brown eyes, black hair, olive skin. I am 100% Irish with light features: light brown hair, blue eyes and pale skin. Our oldest daughter shares the same dark features as my husband. Once while picking up a few thing at […]

White baby in the black projects.

Jamie Bishop, Florence, MA. I am a bastard child conceived in the back seat of a Chevrolet in 1965. When I was born, I was sent to an orphanage. I don’t know what all happened, but my grandfather, (Daddy, or Mr. Bishop) had strong feelings about family duty, and five days later, against my grandmother’s […]

Another black baby born too soon.

Anonymous, Brookline, MA. After growing up in a predominantly black town (Bloomfield, CT) as the daughter of Northern, white liberals, I became a nenatologist. Racial disparities in infant mortality and preterm birth motivate me to leave my 3 daughters in daycare and go to work. There, I not only look after preterm infants in the […]

1610 – bible used to bless slavery

Lisa Smith, Boston, MA. In 1610 Catholic priest asked his superiorsif slavery was condoned by God. Answer came back…none of more learned men of cloth saw anything against the enslavement of another human being. I’m white and l seeth with anger over what happens (ed) to Blacks.

Say Hello First Then Think Twice

Lauri McNamara, Greenfield, MA. I see strangers in my neighborhood when I walk my dog and instead of being afraid and making snap assessments based on their age, skin, group, I slow myself down and try to make eye contact, say hello and take it from there. I wish more people would give it a […]

I’m afraid you will hate me.

Anonymous, Orleans, MA. I have no problem with anybody doing anything no matter who they are as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. I’m white though, and feel like people who don’t know me will just hate me because of the history of white prejudices towards others.

I thought you’d have an accent!

Sonia Paz, Boston, MA. Would it make you more comfortable if I did? I was born in Boston. Raised in Boston. Educated in Boston. Did I mention that I was born here? My mom is from Colombia, my father from El Salvador. When I look in the mirror, my facial features (along with my lack […]

Plantains and potatoes get equal weight.

Lucia Flores Medford, MA My parents raised us to be proud of our Dominican heritage, and at the same time went to great lengths to ensure that we had the cultural/intellectual capital to succeed in a white-dominant society. As a result, I am an active participant in American culture as well as Dominican/Hispanic culture in […]

I wish I were more Hispanic.

Raysa Rivera, Worcester, MA. I have struggled with my inability to fit in within the Hispanic culture. I cannot speak the language without having trouble with grammar and sounding like a “white girl.” I’ve gotten mocked because of it all the time. My family has also decided to leave some of the cultural traditions back […]

Being Latina doesn’t make it easier

Zulema Peralta-Saltos, North Hampton, MA. People believe that being Latina gives you a higher advantage at getting into college, graduate programs, internships, and jobs. I didn’t get into college to fit a quota, I got in because I am as smart as everybody else.

White girl in America. Can’t complain.

Alice O’Neill, Boston, MA. People get the impression that you can’t have anything wrong with your life if you’re white, but there are plenty of things that anyone can experience regardless of race. You don’t know my experiences, you know the color of my skin.

It’s sad how uncomfortable this is

Wes, Boston, MA. I feel like the topic of race has become uncomfortable for many people because we assume the worst of people’s words. A discussion that includes the ethnicity of another person too commonly leads to an argument or someone accused of being a racist when no harm was intended or when a fact […]

Culturally white with an Asian face

Tara Conforto Sharon, MA I was adopted when I was less than 3 months old and raised in a non-diverse area of NJ. People have always made assumptions about me based on my Asian appearance, such as saying that I’m so respectful because Asian children are taught to respect their elders, asking me for Asian […]

Forced busing. Kid misses neighborhood. Anger.

Thomas M. Lenz. Weston, MA. I was the white kid in Providence. I stayed in my 4th grade class where I was happy. The Black kids were forced to come to unfamiliar territory and join us, and their neighborhood was closed. No wonder they became angry at the White world. Who wouldn’t be?

My Full-time Job: Being Black

Jessica, Taunton, MA. Being Black in America means that you constantly have to change and work on yourself in order to please the dominant group in society (Whites). Its about making them feel comfortable and at ease even if that means rejecting your culture, traditions, ancestry, and basically everything that makes you who you are […]

I’m Slavic; more than just “white”.

Nicholas Ellis, Somerville, MA. Being referred to as simply “white” strips me of my ethnicity, of which I am very proud. I look Slavic, I am Slavic, why should I be OK with being referred to in any other way? My people were also slaves, in fact the word “Slave” comes from an old French […]

Everyone together: Nobody is “those people.”

Holly Wenninger, Malden, MA. I’m white, but for the past six or so years I’ve worked out at n athletic center whose focus is primarily on the POC community — so when I’m there, I’m usually the only white person in the room. A couple unanticipated side effects of this are (a) now when I […]

This is still not yet over.

Sarah Butler, Weymouth, MA. I am not blind to the similarities of then and now. A newspaper cover connected the past and present for me with the headline “Three Negros Shot in Cold Blood by Police”.

I’m white, I’m lucky; not fair.

Astrid afKlinteberg Gloucester, MA As a criminal defense attorney I am reminded constantly that I am privileged because I am white. I’ve represented many minority clients who where initially pulled over because the cop ran a ‘routine’ plate check on the cars they were driving, or in which they were passengers. There have been several […]

Saw an ugly world too early

Diana Ryan Millbury, MA My last name notwithstanding, I am 100% Puerto Rican through and through. That is an ethnicity, not a race but too many people don’t make that distinction. My features are typical in the culture, full lips, broad nose, dark curly hair, olive skin that tans deeply and easily. It’s a blessing […]

White and poor, must be stupid.

Aris Foucault Etheridge Leverett, MA I think it’s possible that the poor urban white perspective may be a helpful one in thinking about race as it relates to poverty. What are the similarities between the poor urban white experience and the poor urban black experience? What are the differences, and how do these differences effect […]

I’m Mexican-American, heritage comes first

Bessie King Boston, MA I don’t think I have been offended by being asked “Where are you from?” before. I was raised to know that I am a Mexican with an American passport in a country where everyone is from somewhere. Until the USA truly embraces diversity and it’s own history, there will be no […]

Injustice is Immoral; deserving of struggle.

Sheila Mahoney Boston, MA I was 10 in 1965 and am the Granddaughter of Irish immigrants also brutalized by white supremacists who went to Ireland from England to perform their cruelty. I cold relate to other American children in the south because of what my people in Ireland had endured. When will it all just […]

I thought slavery ended decades ago.

Alexa Ogno Salem, MA In the 1980’s, I went to a Catholic prep school that was full of privileged white kids. My good friend, Duchess Harris, was one of the few students of color. There was a single African American teacher. One of the student government fundraising activities was a “Slave Auction” in which fellow […]

“Preference: I don’t date black guys.”

Justin Natick, MA We must remember that a proclamation of “preference” still hurts. I am a 17 yr. old African American boy. I am also a member of the lower-middle class. Lastly to make matters “worse” I am homosexual. In today’s society this draws me victim to most social stigmas that can be associated with […]

Don’t profile my future thru racism.

Deborah Washington Brookline, MA Institutional racism still exists. It makes racism anonymous. “nobody’s fault”. Those who carry it out use systems as a scapegoat, like systems don’t represent the thinking of groups of people.

Black, Mixed, Metisse, Exotic, Afropino, Fulatto

Christina Lewis Halpern New York City, NY The strange thing about race in the western world is the strong need to put people’s identities into boxes. I have a complicated identity, which led to people helpfully telling me what category I fit in, including making up some words to describe me. I’ve chosen to describe […]

Color-blindness benefits a global vision.

Lisa Wenger Hampton Falls, NH As a US History teacher, my 8th grade students were studying segregation and the Brown V. Board of Ed. ruling. I heard the NPR piece this morning and shared the Atlantic Monthly article on the resegregation of Central High in Tuskaloosa and the Dent family’s experiences from the 50’s until […]

Still separate, still unequal! CHANGE NOW

Sophie Dover Jamaica Plain, MA Despite all the gains we have made as a country (which people love to harp on) – a harsh reality still exists for people of color and low income individuals across the nation. Schools and neighborhoods still remain separated by race and income. More money is funneled into schools serving […]

I’m white and I like it.

Dan L. Lowell, MA It seems wrong to me that other races can be proud of their race or ethnicity, but if you’re white you’re supposed to act like it’s some sort of bad thing and that you aren’t proud of it. I like being white and I’m not afraid to say that. Shouldn’t you […]

You don’t look Latina, prove it.

Victoria Oliva Medford, MA As a light-skinned Latina born to a Guatemalan immigrant father and a mother of French-Canadian descent, I find myself searching for where I fit in – constantly being asked by others to prove that I am Latina, and trying to come to terms with the discomfort I feel surrounding my white […]

I’m White, but sometimes kinda brown

Max Haverhill, MA I’m an American with mostly German and Italian backgrounds. When the warmer months begin, I tend to get tanner than many friends of mine, likely because of the Italian background. I have been confused for other races in the past; there’s a photo in my home of me an my African-American cousin. […]

Educated Puerto Rican can’t even dance!

Carmen C. Brenes Jette, Ph.D. Lexington, MA “What! You don’t look Puerto Rican!” was my other choice. I wanted to convey the power of stereotypes – how burdensome they can be and how tiring it is when you have to explain yourself, educate others constantly. Going beyond people’s expectations can be so freeing (I am […]

Racism takes many forms and colors.

Catherine Marenghi Marblehead, MA My family is white, and I was pleased to find no slave owners in my past — but I found a slave. The American Revolutionary War was fought with the help of slave soldiers: Hessian (German) soldiers were forcibly taken from their homes an sold as slave soldiers to King George […]

Hispanic name in a rural town

Elena Rodrigues Houghton, MA Living in a small town in the UP of Michigan and having a fairly Hispanic name can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Sometimes it shows how some people view a person from a different background in a negative way and other times it can be positive. I have been […]

No touching her hair, always mine

Maggie Whitman Boston, MA My African-American friend freaks out whenever anyone asks to touch or play with her hair, but she is always coming up and playing with my hair (and other white women’s hair) without asking. I don’t want to say anything… but it seems hypocritical.

Race is Fiction. Racism is Fact

Byron Parrish Boston, MA The idea of race is a fiction. There is no basis in biology for saying there are different races. Our ideas of race are a social construct, historically made up to support the unequal privileges and disadvantages that occur because of racism. However, racism is a real aspect of life in […]

My “Black Experience” doesn’t threaten yours

Louisa Etim Cambridge, MA I often get frustrated with the notion (held by people of all races) that there is a single “Black Experience” and that by not fitting into this box of “acting Black” I am somehow shunning my race and orchestrating some malicious plan to intrude on a lifestyle that should not be […]

But you don’t have an accent!

Sonia Boston, MA When people look at me, I clearly look Hispanic. So much so that many are surprised to hear that I speak perfect English, with no accent at all. Once I was told, “Wow, you speak so well!” I was born in Boston, educated in Boston, worked in broadcasting and took voice an […]

Ambivalent, because my family owned slaves.

Charles H. Sides Westminister, MA I always felt superior because my great-great grandfather Sides was conscripted against his will or support into the Confederate Army, deserted, was captured by the Army of the Potomac, and imprisoned at Elmira where he died. Then, as I learned more about my personal genealogy, I discovered that every other […]

Multiracial: Acknowledge Every Part Of Me

Kayci Baldwin Cambridge, MA For more than 7 years I have worked as a Multiracial advocate with Project RACE and Project RACE Teen. One of the main goals of this work has been the appropriate inclusion of Multiracial people on any forms that require racial identification. Ultimately, my goal is to eliminate the resilient “or” […]

Only one race – the Human Race.

Barbara Dean Great Barrington, MA This is such a painful subject for so many people, but I believe to my core that there really is only one race, and that someday we will get beyond all the conflict, misunderstandings, racism, and pain and realize that we truly are brothers and sisters.