James Edward Mills, Madison, MI. At the young age of 14 Kai Lightner is doing amazing things in the world of sport climbing. In the spring 2013 he ascended exceedingly difficult routes that included Southern Smoke (5.14c) and Transworld Depravity (5.14a) in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. On the same two-week road trip he […]
Dr. NiCole T. Buchanan, East Lansing, MI. I don’t want people to be blind to my color. Instead, I want them to see me in my entirety, including the fact that I am a Biracial Black woman, and I want them to actively embrace these parts that make me whole. I believe most people have […]
Charley Sullivan, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan It was 1976. I was 12, and just moved back to the DC suburbs from growing up in Southeast Asia and West Africa. The first question to me in 7th grade English class was “Did you see Tarzan?” This is how much my new […]
Jill Epstein Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan At a family gathering years ago, a relative of mine inspired me. He told me that each time he came across a penny on the sidewalk that was heads-down, he would flip it over to bring the next pedestrian good luck. The next week […]
Sidni Sera Goodman, Wayne State, Eastpointe, MI Being black in America is more than just challenging. There are so many highs and so many lows. I dealt with one day feeling black and proud, seeing how other cultures love my culture, style, flair, music, etc., then other days, I see how my black brothers and […]
Mia Inez, Rochester Hills, MI My parents tell me and my sister to call ourselves Caucasian if anyone asks are a nationality. My mom is white and my dad is 50% Filipino. I look like him. When I say I’m Caucasian I get weird looks and people don’t believe me. It’s just easier to say […]
Marilee Racine, Clinton TWP, MI I think having conversations is a step in the right direction.
Kris Eckert II, Mount Clemens, MI
Stephen Still, Birmingham, MI I’m from a small town in the state of Washington, didn’t see a black person until I was 10 years old, but parents laid down the law early, I had to love everyone! Be like Jesus…”Red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in his sight”. My dad was transferred […]
Leslie Randall, Detroit, MI I cringe whenever someone says, “I don’t see color.” You can’t avoid it. You honor no one by saying you don’t recognize a part of who they are and their experiences.
Mary Baumgartner, Detroit, MI
Olivia Hemstrom, East Lansing, MI
Pat Grauer, DeWitt, MI. We are the comma. We are the now. We are the small point between great ancient forces and a future of positive change in human relationships.
Justin Hoehing, Macomb, MI The year 2020 has revealed the ingrained racism that many in my family aid in perpetuating. This occurs with my pale-faced relatives despite the actions taken by younger relatives and my relatives of color. What is happening now has happened in the past. Old habits are difficult to end but they […]
Mark Moldwin, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project University of Michigan
Henriette Hakopian, East Grand Rapids, MI I love to understand people, their journeys, preferences, experiences and perspectives. I have had to learn that because I am white, it is hard to talk about race.
Sally Hansen, Grand Rapids, MI.
Nicole, East Lansing, MI. My grandfather was blind all my life. All I knew was that there was an accident. It wasn’t until he passed that I learned that the accident involved a white man. My grandfather was a doorman and was pushed into the glass door. My grandfather never spoke of the incident. I’m […]
Ann Evans Larimore, Ann Arbor, MI.
Sidni Sera Goodman, Wayne State, Eastpointe, MI Being black in America is more than just challenging. There are so many highs and so many lows. I dealt with one day feeling black and proud, seeing how other cultures love my culture, style, flair, music, etc., then other days, I see how my black brothers and […]
Zeralys Correa, Albion, MI To be Latinx means you are blessed.
Jennifer Berkemeier, Farmington Hills, MI. I’m a single mom. I adopted my daughter from Haiti in 2012 when she was 4 years old. I’m white, and 15 years older than most of her friends’ moms. We get a lot of stares and unwelcome comments from little kids (“Is she your grandma?” “How come you’re different […]
Lexi Sieloff, Shelby, MI I think that many times people categorize too much and try to think they know everything, which is not always the case. Just because it is not you specifically, a person has no idea what someone else has gone through, which can often lead to other offensive comments.
Anonymous, Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Race is an abstraction that can only be interpreted emblematically through the eyes of its creators. It fragments the whole. All people are racist, racist we are. With varying depths, some people are racist at the deepest and darkest level, never seeing light, never able […]
Sylvia Stancil, Detroit, MI
Cassidy Capoferri, Wayne State, Macomb, MI Growing up Catholic and in Catholic schools, we were always taught that God loves everyone, no matter what. He created all people equally. It was so simple when I was younger, but the older I get, the more I see people ignoring this. It doesn’t matter what religion you’re […]
Mary Karpen, Grand Rapids, MI.
Lashauna Vaughn Warren, MI What is a mad black woman people look at it being loud, angry, violet but I think it is misunderstood for confident, determination ,and strong verbal skills. All these requirements are asked in a job application so who is mad?
Nicole Turek, East Lansing, MI.
Jeffrey Nolish, Detroit, MI. We all belong. Diversity is a gift.
Emmett Crawford Jr., Detroit, MI. Because of my resume and my phone voice, I was given an interview for a job.
Rebecca Robrahn, Holland, MI. No matter how much I try to learn and read and participate in conversations, I’m told I can’t understand, will never understand, that my privilege blinds me. I know I can never truly feel the experience of living in America as a black, Asian or Latina woman, but I *AM* trying. […]
Luke Flint, MI Coming out in college was an amazing thing. My family accepted every part of my life. The man I met and have been with half way though college is my best friend and hopefully life partner. We now live together and I currently do not want to bring co-workers to hang out […]
Eric Nykamp, Grand Rapids, MI. My sense is that as white people, we too often choose to react or retreat from conversations about race because they are difficult to have. If we keep doing this, we don’t really make any progress. Yes, it is painful – for everyone. However, there is more beyond the pain. […]
Gabi, Holland, MI Just Because I am Dutch does not mean I have to Dutch Dance. People should not be forced to do or like something just because of their race.
Myla Ledesma, Westbloomfield, MI. My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican. Me and all my siblings are biracial, we all look alike the only difference is their light skin and I’m brown skin. We all have medium length hair. Anytime I’m with them we get ask are we mixed and when […]
Chaddirck G Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan No matter how I dress, what I do, or say I am viewed this way on U of M’s campus, in the state of Michigan and outside of it. No matter what I do to lesson the fear of me being a Black and […]
Sharaya S., Wayne State, Detroit, MI Growing up in foster care and different states, people treat you different in the South vs. the North. It’s never fully accepting but feels like home, even when the hatred can be felt from complete strangers.
Danielle, Holland Middle School, Holland, MI
Daryl, WDET 101.9 NPR DETROIT, Detroit, MI IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, YOU HAVEN’T SPENT A NIGHT WITH A MOSQUITO.
Banen Al-Sheemary Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Ryan Harrell, Holland, MI. Our adoptive son, Tagg, clearly is not a biological member of our family. In his two years with us we have encountered the entire range of reactions from loving acceptance to ignorant comments to outright disgust and disdain. But through it all, the fact is that we represent the new reality […]
R. Flowers Rivera, McKinney, TX. The most aware I’ve ever been of race was when my family moved from Gulfport, Mississippi, to New Fairfield, Connecticut, during the 1980s. At that time, New Fairfield was a town with a population of about 10,000 in which there were three Black children, all of whom were in my […]
Emma Hutchinson, Holland, MI We’re all different, not just the color of our skin. We could have different personalities. We’re all different in every way. except we were all made to play a special part In this world. What my six words mean is you can’t just judge a person by the color of their […]
Jonah Payne, St. Louis, MI. Many people feel that a Black person isn’t capable of what others are, and I find that to be false. I feel that, as a young Black male, I am accomplishing things better than most of the majority. We are all equally capable of what we want to be come […]
Tesha Post, Holland, MI. I was adopted from Korea when I was six months old and grew up living in the U.S. with my White parents. As a result, I do not speak Korean or know how to cook Korean foods. People are often surprised to hear this– they may react with disappointment, confusion, or […]
Marilou Ingles, Romulus, MI. I am American Indian, I grew up in poverty, and I am from the South. I often joke that I received a scholarship to U of M because of my heritage. I do not believe that I would have been admitted based on academia, talent, experience, or personality; I am here […]
Linda Kristensen, Grand Rapids, MI. I am writing this for my daughter who is 34 with Autism. She became my daughter in 1980 when I was living in Norway. We returned to the USA in 1983 but my daughter even after 30 years is still not an American citizen. Here’s part of her story…. My […]
Chase Gries, Holland, MI One day I was sitting outside talking with my family about our culture and I casually burst out that my brothers were Mexican. My mom laughed and said so what does that make you? I had just assumed I was white. My response to her was, “I’m white, they are (my […]
Sue Blanshan, Okemos, MI. My family lived in segregated Georgia when I was young. A playmates mother called the police to report a black man smelling her clean laundry on the back yard clothes line. The police came and chased him three blocks and shot him by our house in the alley. He died there. […]
Shari L. Burgess, Wayne State, Detroit, MI How dare I be black and then choose to be fat. Elephant, Big Nose, Whispers and Out loud comments. At 58 tears still falling, still looking for the b in black to be beautiful and f in fat to be fabulous
Karinna, Holland, MI The phrase“Way too Mexican, but too white” to me shows the life I live. Every summer I go to Chicago where my family from my Mexican side lives. I remember we always make jokes about how white I am. Like “gringa” , or “ shouldn’t you be a bit paler” or “coconut.” […]
Overwhelmed, Ypsilanti, MI There is so much going on that I can’t even bring myself to put it into words without crying. I am frustrated, pissed, confused, tired…the list goes on and on as the mother of black children. WHY do I have to worry EVERY TIME we walk out the door if we will […]
Jade Weber, Holland, MI. When my grandparents come up to visit, and we go out people always ask if my grandfather is related to us. My whole family is white, but my grandfather is Mexican. My grandmother married him so, he is part of my family. Sometimes when people ask we can tell they are […]
Brenton Poke, Lansing, MI. Feminism is important. It is something that should be studied and taught. It needs to be led by women and men need to listen. But these statements are too simplistic for the ultimate goal of intersectional social justice. I observe the general axiom of not lecturing women on feminism. However, I […]
Karen Sturdivant, Lansing, MI. When it comes to matters of race- Stevie Wonder can be seen as the great equalizer. His messages in song are universal and his soul is colorless.
Avelina, Grand Rapids, MI
Brayden S., Essexville, MI I am really proud to be part of the race of brown peoples. it may not look like I am brown people, but I am part African and part Cherokee and I really enjoy being brown
Andi Lattimore, Redford Charter Twp, MI Wherever our privileges lie, we need to recognize them and use them for the betterment of society while working to make our privileges just as accessible to everyone else.
Diane Payne, Monticello, AR. I grew up in Holland, Michigan, a town where most everyone considered themselves quite lucky to have a job in a factory. Just about all my relatives worked in a factory. I remember the first time I visited General Motors for a family day, and I was continuously on the lookout […]
Linda Koch, Fennville, MI Knowing what was done to Africans was bad enough, now after reading about the removal of native people from their land here in Michigan and elsewhere, as well as slavery of and cruelty inflicted on native people, it makes me feel ashamed to be of the Caucasian race even though I, […]
Jacob Watson, Essexville, MI
Adam Paberzs, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Here are some other 6-word essays that you may use under my name (I know that’s probably breaking the rules – just wanted to share if nothing else). Whiteness. Welcome to the real world. Not who I thought I was. Fear. Guilt. Shame. Courage. […]
Kait Vinnedge, Niles, MI I recognize the privilege I have had in life just based on the way that I look. I am always mindful of it and make sure to check myself when thinking objectively about politics, my views on education, etc.
Morgan Rockhill, Edwardsburg, MI I work at a doctor’s office, and there are many patients who put down that their race is “American” instead of white. It often confuses me that there are still people who see America as a white citizen country. Yes, America is predominately white, but America is also very diverse. There […]
Taylor Smith, Grand Rapids, MI.
Jim Schultheiss, St. Johns, MI. I have always felt that I needed to be very careful and thoughtful on issues related to prejudice. Growing up in as a white, heterosexual male in a community largely lacking diversity, I learned I needed to listen very carefully to the thoughts and experiences of others and not impose […]
Jim Scherrer Northport, MI I grew up in Grosse Pointe Woods …. All Caucasian community born in 1950. Around 1960, give or take, I attended the Detroit Free Press sponsored golf school. When you completed the classes, you received a card that allowed one to play at any of Detroit’s city courses for 25 cents! […]
Sebastian Martinez, Berrien Springs, MI IUSB
Kimberly, Detroit, MI. I was just listening to Talk of the Nation with Celeste Headlee discussing Navigating The Lines Between Ethnicity And Identity and I could relate to notion of being biracial and adopted into a white family and having to explore my identity through education and exposure to other black people. I’ve learned that […]
Martha S. Jones, Ann Arbor, MI. Submitted via Twitter: @marthasjonesUM #TheRaceCardProject @michele_norris
Harold Rice, Ann Arbor, MI. On Location: University of Michigan The University of Michigan has the 8th most international students in the country, which causes all of it’s students to be both accepting and interactive with cultures far different from their own. I came to the university from a town that was 99% white, and […]
Derrick Warren, Baltimore, MD. I remember my father talking to me about his college days in Missouri. There was this fraternity on campus that would require their prospective pledges to pass what was said to be a brown bag test. Essentially, if you were darker than the brown bag, you could not get into the […]
Zee Brennan Grand Rapids, MI Often times when I share with people that I am Irish, many people aren’t surprised and demand that I dance a jig for them. Although I am also an accomplished Irish dancer, it feels as though there is an assumption among many Americans that all Irish know how to dance […]
Mary Beth Bergeron Rapid River, MI I am white. I have lived in Tidewater, VA and a highly diverse college town in southwest Ohio. My husband and I have just moved home to the UP of Michigan after 32 years away, homogenous and familiar. I am reminded of how effortless it is–regardless of your race […]
Brent Vuglar, Houghton, MI. Just like any controversial subject where people do not see eye to eye, people tend to be close-minded to others opinions. This development of tension plants a seed of anger to one another. I myself grew up in a not so very diverse suburb, and when I was younger I believed […]
Rinard, Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Yes I feel there is an issue and a relationship gap between black men and police. It’s unfortunate what has been going on in our nation lately. I agree black lives matter and I can see how one may think they don’t given the recent sad events. […]
George Pio, Grand Rapids, MI Our nation would be a far better, more hospitable place for all if race was not an omnipresent element in virtually every political discussion and news broadcast. Americans have been conditioned to assess and judge every issue through a race filter, largely due to a constant focus on race as […]
Naomi, Grand Rapids, MI. I am an American, of Mexican decent… No, I don’t speak Spanish, no I don’t know where my family is from in Mexico… My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were born in Texas… I grew up in Gary, IN around mostly Black people… people don’t know what box to put me in. How […]
EduTechDiva, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Equality is not good enough. Equity is what most are striving for now, but justice is what’s necessary and way too many folks are afraid of what this actually means. It might mean that those who’ve had the institutionally established ‘upper hand’ for a while now, experience the injustices that […]
Shevon Desai Ann Arbor, MI My parents emigrated from India to the US over 50 years ago. In terms of ethnicity, I think of myself as South Asian – but in terms of race, we are officially Caucasian (my family are Parsis – Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors originally came from Iran). Race and ethnicity for […]
Pauline Devlin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan This is in reference to my friends and I. I do not believe any of us would consider ourselves racist, so I feel bad when I hear people casually perpetuating stereotypes.
Rose Mary Prifest, Wayne State, Harper Woods, MI If there is anything important I learned in my lifetime, it’s acceptance of peoples’ differences. The key is education. It is opening your mind and heart to learning what makes people who they are. We may not agree with how they worship, whom they love, and how […]
Joyce Goodluck, East Lansing, MI. On Location, MSU. Before coming to MSU I knew one side of racism from media. Whites discriminating Blacks. I even once experienced that when I passed by Akers Hall and some one shouted at me from his window black and African. I was like he is a racist.But whom am […]
Elizabeth Rodriguiz, Ypsilanti, MI. In the early 2000s I tagged along with my husband to his professional society meeting in Atlanta. While he went to lectures, I explored the city. I took the Metro to the stop nearest Ebenezer Baptist Church and walked through the neighborhood to get there. At the church, I actually asked […]
Brandon M. VerBurg, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. I love to study the past, and history is filled with turning points. Points that change the world. One that is being missed often is Civil Rights. Back in 1964 the movement was passed. It was passed so that race wouldn’t be an […]
Abhijeet Ghadvaje, Detroit, MI, Wayne State Rather than saying we are all the same, accept that we are different. Rather than discriminating, embrace the existence of the beautiful diversity.
Alexis Berry, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Being Biracial is really a challenge. Being half black and half Arabic makes me feel like I belong to neither race. Many people look to their own race as somewhere they belong, but it’s the opposite for me. Since I’ve been young each race makes me feel like I’m […]
Chase Linn, Wayne State, Detroit, MI I am a college student at Wayne State University in Detroit. I live in a great neighborhood and feel safe everyday, yet every time someone hears I live in Detroit I get the same question.
Jamey Fitzpatrick, Grand Ledge, MI. My parents taught me to respect and celebrate all people of the world.
Ashley Flintoff, Wayne State, Detroit, MI
Chell Robinson, Wayne State, Ypsilanti, MI I wish it could be as simple as that. But until we’re at a point where one’s ancestral origin no longer provides disadvantages or advantages to their life, I acknowledge that it’s just not that easy. I hope we get there, and soon.
Saif Ashfak, Wayne State, Warren, MI Are you an arabic or Mexican ? Lot of people can easily confuse me because of my lighter skin and fairer complex, but what I truly am is a Bengali.
Nicole D. Riggs, Inkster, MI I believe racism is rooted in fear. In the case of Whites versus Blacks there is fear of our ability to thrive, survive and excel despite all that is done to keep us from doing so. Even with their feet on our backs we manage to rise.
J. G., Wayne State, Detroit, MI People are complicated. We all have similarities and differences.
Nick Waters, Wayne State, Madison Heights, MI
Mattie O’Brien Ann Arbor, MI
Patricia Osborn Grand Rapids, MI People are always surprised when they see me. My last name doesn’t. “match” how I look. Although my parents are awesome and didn’t think twice about any of their children’s spouses race , my aunts and uncles made so many comments ranging from me not wanting to be a true […]
Christine Cook, Wayne State, Ann Arbour, MI When I was in the Army, diversity was important. So was looking past color differences. At the beginning of basic training, the drill sergeant insisted we were all “green”–meaning the color of our uniform was more important than the color of our skin.
Dave Micheals, Wayne State, Detroit, MI
Yvette Davis, Wayne State, Detroit, MI I believe race is not the issue. I believe the issue is the person true feelings inside. People are taught to be intolerant. Race is just the mask people wear.
Olga Johnson, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Race is becoming more difficult to distinguish according to google, due to intermarriages, travel and better communications between humans on earth.
Christal L, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Instead of getting to know people, some find it easier to put people into boxes. Black = bad. White = good. Mexican = illegal, etc. It’s sad. Get to know people. Skin color gives a hint to who a persons ancestors could have been. It says nothing about the […]
Austin Crutchfield, Wayne State, Detroit, MI We may differ in skin color, but we are all low-key one and the same. Genetically we may be very different or very similar or somewhere in between. Everyone has a different fingerprint even twins though. I think once we strive to find the many ways we relate to […]
Steven Jones, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Race is a word. Since its a word, it can be used in different ways. Currently, race is widely (not only) used to express differences resulting in the lack of continuity among people.
Carissa Renee Chacon, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Born with the curliest, thickest dark brown hair (well now it’s auburn). Hazel eyes that have green and specks of gold. Skin white as snow. There’s always been a push and pull situation regarding my ethnicity. Most people don’t believe me when I say I speak Spanish fluently. […]
Brandi Jones, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Growing up as an African American in America is exhausting. We are supposed to be the land of the free where you can be who you are. Instead black people who are born here are treated worse than immigrants. We are not terrible people just because we are a […]
Carolyn A. Johnson, Wayne State, Detroit, MI
Sandy Yarrington, Wayne State, St. Clair Shores, MI I am always amazed at how far we have come, but I am frustrated at how far we have to go. It disturbs me that in many of the classes I have taken, the black people all sit together. The white people sit together. The foreign students […]
Tamia Davis, Wayne State, Detroit, MI No matter how bad this world gets, my voice and space will always matter and be valid. If I don’t have space or feel like my voice is being silenced, I will continue to fight to create a safe space for people like me that feel like they don’t […]
Kenyel Clark, Wayne State, Detroit, MI If you are privileged, you do not feel the effects of what socially going on.So, if you want to understand racism talk people of color, listen to them and STOP talking over them.
Mignon Lott, Wayne State, Detroit, MI. My boyfriend and I were out on M59 heading to an event that he was catering when I was flicked. I pulled over. The officer walked up to the car and asked did I know why he pulled me over. I said no. He said because I didn’t have […]
KKC, Wayne State, Detroit, MI The problem is not color, it is the way we treat people of other colors. When your white, you are seen as the “norm” so when you say you don’t see color you are taking away what makes them different and special to make them more “acceptable” white
Megan Schluentz, Muskegon, MI. Your dumb blonde jokes won’t stop me from becoming a doctor.
Sylvia Stancil, Wayne State, MI While I will concede that these mere six words may represent an oversimplification to addressing extremely complex issues, recognizing the humanity first in anyone is a good foundation upon which to build open and honest dialogue. There is a thread of commonality that should serve to bind us provided one […]
Caleb Boc Steele, Wayne State, Trenton, MI I’ve seen a lot of things recently that allude to white guilt or white privilege or other things like so I’d just like to remind people to have pride in where they come from, no matter where. I think all people should have pride in their heritage and […]
Dr. Eric Montgomery, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Until the philosophy which holds one race superior, and another inferior, is finally, and totally, and permanently, abandoned– Everywhere is War (Haile Selaisse and Bob Marley) “War”
Allie Felsner, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color
Jacob Russell, Wayne State, Detroit, MI. I’m proud to be me! Because I am unique and am like no other. Race should not divide us because we are all human and that’s all that matters!
Sally Schmitt, Wayne State, Detroit, MI. It can be very hard for people to learn to look past the color of someone’s skin, but we must make the changes necessary within ourselves to do so for humanity.
Jim Sechelski, Wayne State, Detroit, MI.
Matthew Wisotsky, Wayne State, Detroit, MI It’s 2018. LEADERSHIP is failing us. WE are failing us. We’re still going to war oversees and in our own streets over things that we’ve already gone to war for oversees and in our own streets. The nightly news highlights our setbacks. Leaving the last 30 seconds of the […]
Grsteena Khoshaba, Warren, MI. I am a Middle Eastern girl and I just have one question. Where am I? Why is it whenever I have to fill out an official document that asks for my race, Middle Eastern is not an option? We are forced to bubble “White” when we’re not really white.
Kerri Wakefield Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Tina, MI. These six terms are my experience as it relates to every work environment I’ve encountered. I’ve been successful whereever I’ve worked and am now busy doing the “enterepreneur thing” (successfully). My employment experiences have all been the same. Single black female, alone in a sea of white as if no other qualified blacks […]
C. Badour, MI. In America today, the best way to fly under the radar is to be white. Assumptions are made about blacks, asians, and hispanics based purely upon race, which cannot be said about whites. Non-whites seem to stick out in America, as if being white is considered a social norm and being non-white […]
Reigna, Detroit, MI. All families have all types of fruit in their bowl and their family tree grows whats in your fruit bowl.
Seydi, Detroit, MI. While growing up in Senegal some refer to me as dark as the buttocks of a cauldron, iIwas proud to be as dark as the stone of the Kaaba filled with love and light, often i dreamed to be blue-black as those vailant fishermen Lebou, Niominka or Guet-Ndar tauting the Sun Ra […]
Yadhira, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. My friends and cousins tell me that I need to have a Quinceañera and I tell them I don’t want a big party with everyone dancing, Some of my family members say I should have my quinceanera at Mexico, but I don’t want one I […]
Anna Goldstein, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project=- University of Michigan
John Abraham, Grand Rapids, MI. Thanks to my Italian and Lebanese heritage, I am blessed to say I have a fairly full beard and curly brown hair. However, these two attributes have granted me two common nicknames: “Jesus” or “Terrorist”. I suppose I look like many modern-day depictions of Jesus and when I’m referred to […]
Alexis Ford Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As an African American, I have several generalizations placed upon me. Some people just assume who I am. I am rarely asked. While a lot of these assumptions hurt, I know the truth. I know only my own actions and words define me. I […]
Zoe Zeerip, Rockford, MI. The elders in my family still believe race defines relationship.
John Campbell, Saline, MI.
Chris Snyder, Grand Rapids, MI.
Scotty, Detroit, MI. Race is real. Sometimes, it is also necessary to play the role we are born into. Most of the time, however, we don’t need to look at the world through a racial lens. This causes judgement and suffering because of who we take ourselves to be. What you see, you cannot be. […]
Rebecca Sallee Marshall Rou, Traverse City, MI. It feels that if I acknowledge racism In our society people of color tell me color blindness is the only way to prove I’m not a racist.
Rebecca Schwarzlose, Roayl Oak, MI. I am white and my husband is Indian. My daughter has my husband’s complexion. When we are together as a family people assume that she’s mixed but when I’m out with my daughter alone (which is most of the time) everyone assumes that she’s adopted. People ask me where she’s […]
Drew Baker, East Lansing, MI.
Stephanie Betancourt Ann Arbor, MI I will never give in, and lose a part of me. Not even if you ask “nicely”.
Christine R. Ann Arbor, MI Before I started dating my “black” boyfriend, I really didn’t think about race very much or the privilege I inherited with my “white” skin. There have been times that people have made rude comments or asked, what I would consider, overtly racist questions upon learning of our interracial relationship. However, […]
Courtney, Wyoming, MI. All this pride to be black, white, brown, American, whatever, just let it go. You didn’t put any work to be the color you are, or the country you were born, it just happened. You can love who you are or where you are from, outside of being prideful. I’m not certain […]
Debbie Taylor, Ann Arbor, MI. My mother passed away on December 14, 2012 of liver cancer at the age of 80 and she spent her last afternoon and night in Ann Arbor Hospice. The staff was loving, kind and professional. One nurse in particular examined my mother with such tenderness and care that I was […]
Heather Raymond Grand Rapids, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan People say that “blondes have more fun,” but having light hair isn’t what it is cracked up to be. Many times I find myself at the receiving end of stigma when I have a “blonde” moment: dumb, human mistakes blamed on the color […]
Michael Petrillo Walled Lake, MI
Helen Alzuhairi, Roseville, MI.
Kit Carlson, East Lansing, MI.
Jalen Dejarnette, Detroit, MI.
Aisha, Detroit, MI. To be seen or unseen, I’m black but I don’t have to relate to all Africa Americans.
Kimberly Dorsey, Detroit, MI. I am bi-racial and have been raised in a white family inside Detroit. I have suffered many racially motivated injustices in my travels and it makes me angry when people pretend race doesn’t matter. It matters when you are the one being discriminated against.
Noah J. Walker, Detroit, MI. People find unique people weird and ugly and I just think the opposite.
Brian Davis, Ph.D., Holland, MI. Holland New Tech High School, #newshps
Tony Williams, Detroit, MI. Change in America is slow. I find it disheartening to witness the incarceration of African American men at this current level. The battle begins after the release from jail or prison. A criminal record is just slavery by another name.
Jaer Medina, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI Tennis has been considered a “white” people sport the same as how soccer is a “Mexican” sport. Another stereotype would be if I said all black people are good at basketball. My friend has told me why are you playing tennis? Mexicans don’t play […]
Greg Miodonski, Houghton, MI. Growing up in a mostly white, middle-class neighborhood, I took a lot for granted. I never realized how much privilege I had for simply being white. As we become older and recognize these vast, senseless disparities created between groups of people, it seems like we should use our privilege to help […]
Michelle Mabson, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I wear my hair the way it grows out of my head…no chemical enhancements. BUT for some reason…a reason I suppose I know all too well, the act of wearing my ‘natural’ hair is seen as larger than life. Maybe it’s the fact that […]
Madilyn Hays, Holland, MI. Me and my siblings are from all different ethnic backgrounds. I’m blond haired, blue eyed and full white. While my brother and sister are both of African American background, their great grand father was actually Louis Armstrong. And then my last two brothers are Puerto Rican. We all have the same […]
Ebony, Farmington Hills, MI. I grew up in a place where Black people felt they made it. A suburban community where the majority of residents were Black, employed, and thriving. It was wonderful growing up in this setting but it created unrealistic expectations for what the “real world” was and what life is like for […]
Jacquelin Rojas, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Whenever someone asks me if I Like spicy food like pepper, Takis, Hot Cheetos, or Hot Fires, I say I don’t like anything spicy, they look at me in a weird way and tell me your not Mexican because you don’t like any spicy […]
J. Torres Kansas City, MO My father is from Puerto Rico, born and raised. My mother is Colombian. However, raised in Panama. They met in the 1950’s while my dad was in the U.S. Army. Us kids always called ourselves PanaRicans. Until my mother gave us her true background. I attended college in Michigan in […]
Shannon Nobles, Lansing, MI.
Marilene de Ritis Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Jennifer Leyla Rincones, Detroit, MI. A Latina with a vision to help advocate for all brown and black youth who endure the injustices of the criminal justice system.
Bomani Kyasa Detroit, MI We are Designed to Benefit from the Fruits of Our Own Labor. Anti-Life forces structure socio-economic conditions to to turn People and Specific Races into drones via a pernicious objectification process. Living is about pushing or obliterating the boundaries of the imagination; so that, that the Creative Human Spirit can Soar […]
Gay White, W. Bloomfield, MI. I am a product of the civil rights movement and I watched racism go underground until we had a Black President then it all started to rise to the surface we are only seeing what had always happened the difference is that we are going to have to teach then […]
Maeve, Ypsilanti, MI. I grew up in an international school where we celebrated each other’s differences. It was a rude awakening to grow up and learn that this is not the way it works in the real world. We are one human family, with a fascinating variety of cultures. We need to step out of […]
Jean M. Hebrard Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan
Mina Perez Holland, MI A lot of people think that “soccer” is just for Mexicans. But in reality soccer is for anyone to play, it doesn’t matter what color of your skin you are. People shouldn’t get judged because of their skin, because anyone who’s any color can play soccer. People don’t understand the fact […]
Anonymous, Warren, MI. Why do white people hate and fear black people to such a point that white people set a global system of a racism against black people in every way? Are white afraid of losing to black in some way or is it something deeper and hidden?
Rebecca Myers, Battle Creek, MI. I wish we were all treated and acknowledge each other as equals. After all there is only one race and that is human.
Jasneet Kaur Palaha, Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan. Sikhism, a monotheistic religion from Northern India believes the idea of simplicity, therefore requiring to never cut your hair, along with other requests. Men usually tie their hair neatly in a turban, whereas girls commonly let it down. Wherever we were, my father would be frisked […]
Jonah Gerry, Haslett, MI. My name is Jonathan Gerry and I organized my Black Student Union at my high school. This quote was inspired because we have all been discriminated against. And it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Chris, Redlands, CA. Growing up on welfare, to a single mother in rural Michigan, I learned not to expect help from anyone. However, my whole life I have heard of this privilege that we all are given given because we are white. While I’ve never been in another persons footsteps, life hasn’t been very easy, […]
Logan Russell, Grand Rapids, MI. Racism will never go away, but I do not believe that one race is being ill-treated if anything the white race is
Eric Brooks, Ann Arbor, MI. It makes simpleminded people go to biological differences when their complaints are with culture.
Caitlyn Rize, Ann Arbor, MI. As a waitress on a college campus, the people I work with constantly stereotype their tables before even walking up to them. Oftentimes the other servers will “give their table away” — meaning they don’t want to serve them — to us other servers who give everyone the chance to […]
Brody Sundquist, Kingsford, MI. yoop·er /yo͞opər/: a native or inhabitant of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Luke Pomranke, Petoskey, MI. I feel that I always need to be careful about what I say so that I am not accused of being racist. At times, I will make the exact same comment as someone from a different race but I will be accused of being racist while the other person will not […]
Cierra Huerta, Eaton Rapids, MI.
Katelyn Prine, East Lansing, MI. As a white student who grew up in rural Michigan, my conception of race did not exist in my small community. For me learning about race is best done through meeting people who have faced the struggles and building relationships. Groups like MRULE on campus have inspired my growth and […]
Nicholas Durham Clarkson, MI I just want to know when America will realize that not only black people like chicken.
Brandi Schroeder, East Lansing, MI. I have a rather diverse group of friends, and the other day one made a comment about my origins. I grew up in a predominantly caucasian town where my high school held maybe 10 black students. My friend, who happens to be Somali, asked this question, and upon my answer […]
Joanna Pedraza, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. There are a lot of people who ask me if I play soccer, and I do. But when I say I don’t play soccer they usually say “But you’re Mexican you have to play soccer” and I don’t like that, just because i’m Mexican […]
Kate Lee van Loveren, Ann Arbor, MI. I was born in New York, grew up in New York, and live in New York (when I’m not at school). I’m of half Chinese and half Dutch descent, but for some people that registers into me not being American for some reason. Just by looking at me, […]
Lyn Franklin Hoyt, Nashville, TN. I’m on a search, a journey for words, to figure out how my family heritage can be used for good to heal atrocities, rather than become a memory of evil. Not to hide that evil, but face it head on as recognition slavery was wrong and to talk about what […]
Anthony Villarreal, Adrian, MI. Former Police and Criminal Justice Major people automatically think I’m going to correct them on every little wrong I see them do.
Nora Kathryn, Starkville, MI. It astounds me that media turns so many stories into race debates. I wish we could celebrate our differences in religion, political views, sexuality, income, and ethnicities and implement more support for our fellow brothers and sisters in the human race.