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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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
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.
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
Ann Evans Larimore, Ann Arbor, 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.
Sylvia Stancil, Detroit, MI
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 […]
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
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!
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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. […]
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.
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! […]
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 […]
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 […]
Drew Baker, East Lansing, MI.