Stereotypes are a result of laziness

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 […]

We are one big human race.

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 […]

Dear Ebenezer Baptist: I still cringe

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 […]

Race- term that now ruins America

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.

Puerto Rican. Mexican. Caucasian. That’s me.

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. […]

Shouldn’t matter so much in America.

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 […]

Self segregation in classrooms baffles me!

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 […]

My Voice Matters No Matter What

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 […]

The only reason I was arrested.

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 […]

Colorblindness is Racist…

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

See my humanity first, race second.

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 […]

Have Pride in your European Heritage!

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 […]

BLACK AND FAT WHICH WAS ENOUGH!

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

Plants, birds, people – celebrate life’s colors.

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 […]

I’m just stuck in the middle.

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 […]

Proud to be me!

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!

God painted the world in color

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 […]

We must look past our colors

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.

We All Deserve Better Than This

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 […]

Back into closet, fear of unemployment

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 […]

Invisible to the census but here

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.

Color Doesn’t Matter. Tell My Boss.

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 […]

White skin is the best camouflage

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 […]

Grace, pride, dignity, honour, love and light

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 […]

Mexican girls don’t need a Quinceañera

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 […]

Please don’t ask me to jig.

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 […]

Apparently, I’m Jesus, or a terrorist.

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 […]

Drowning in generalizations; floating on truth

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 […]

Identity is the root of suffering

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. […]

White, but can’t have Mexican family?

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 […]

Father failed his brown bag test.

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 […]

Listen First. Pray Next. Speak Last.

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. […]

“Privileged” kid meets Black men – golfing

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! […]

People assume my daughter is adopted.

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 […]

We’re Here Walking Each Other Home

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 […]

I’m never asked about hot sauce.

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, […]

Pride comes before the downfall, duh…

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 […]

At the hospice, everyone is blue

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 […]

Being blonde isn’t always more fun.

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 […]

As Korean as you are Korean

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 […]

Colorblindness renders me invisible to you…

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 […]

We are treated how we look.

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.

I’m white my daughter is black

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 […]

Don’t Classify Sports for a Race

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 […]

We Created Race, Then Change It

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 […]

Typical white, middle-class male…privileged

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 […]

When people ask… What are you?

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 […]

My natural hair isn’t a statement.

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 […]

“Basic white girl, you’ll never understand.”

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. […]

No…None of us were adopted

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 […]

Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong Being a Factory Rat.

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 […]

Done Being the Token Black Girl

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 […]

Not All Mexicans Like Spicy Foods

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 […]

What color will your kid’s be?

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 […]

Skyward Sprouting Despite American Cultural Miasma

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 […]

Where Are You From? No Answers.

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 […]

Only whites can end racism

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 […]

We are one human family

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 […]

Biracial by birth, Black by choice

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 […]

Love soccer; not because I’m Mexican.

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 […]