Jonathan Feldman, Rochester, NY. My high school was integrated, and we took such pride in this that Stevie Wonder found out: he made a surprise visit to our school in 1981 to promote the creation of the Martin Luther King Day holiday. I wish that all students could have the same experience that we did. […]
Michelle Del Pin, Brooklyn, NY. I can’t even tell you how many times people have come up to me and started speaking Spanish. Sometimes it even goes as far as telling me that it’s sad I don’t speak my native language. Yes my skin is brown and my hair is black. So? There are other […]
Anonymous Brooklyn, NY I’m not taking on the burden of race anymore. I am who I am, I love myself and that’s it.
Jennifer Amara, Manhattan, NY I’m tired of talking about “race”. It exhausts me to no end. In a perfect world, we would all be the same. Or we would all be different colors. That way nobody would say one thing about one group or another about another group. If we were all the same color, […]
Paula Scaglione Buffalo, NY
Hilary Nunex, Hostos Community College, Bronx, NY I chose these words because it represents who I am as a person, I am 100% Dominican born and raised in the Caribbean. It is something I am proud to say. I put ambitious as one of my words because it shows how determined I am to become […]
Alda New York City, NY Staten Island
Anne, New York, NY. Minorities in America are often discriminated against for no good reason other than the color of their skin or the language that they speak. Asians, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Mexicans are never given a fair chance. All of these people are just as equal and should be able to […]
Jackie Spencer, New York, NY. The generalization we attach to people based on race is appalling. As an example when you speak of “immigrants” you do not think of this white blond person! I hope that raising this point makes people think before they generalize. We are all individuals with different beliefs and personalities and […]
Natalia de Cuba Romero. Massapequa Park, NY. IN my heart and in my head I have always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, Born in Queens, NY to a Puerto Rican mom and a dad from Aruba and a bilingual home, lived in Puerto Rico for a number of years…but I’ve always looked like a […]
Angelyce Serrano, Coram, NY. My whole life people has seen me as “that black girl”. That is not the case. I am Puerto Rican, Black-American, Taino, and Spaniard. Yet, for whatever reason my whole cultural background is ignored and I am just labeled as black. Going to Catholic School from 4years old to 18years old […]
Dave Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I get my name from my Yankee (English-American) father, whose ancestors arrived in Boston in 1630 but I get my complexion from my Arab-American mother. People do a double take when they first meet me after only hearing my voice on the phone. And new friends quickly learn that I am […]
Aman Agah, Brooklyn, NY. I am Iranian, Irish, Azari, and German. Being Iranian means being called Arab. I am not Arab. Being Iranian means being part of a group of people that so many don’t know – even if I say “Persian” – and yet I am part of a group labeled terrorist. I am […]
Ellie Warring, New York, NY. I am a 14 year old white female and every single day I am judged for my skin color. Everyone assumes that because I am white I am a Trump supporter, rich, happy all the time, racist, and snobby. They tell me that I have no culture. And I’m tired […]
Jeannie Coicou New York City, NY Brooklyn The story behind my six words is that in this world there are forces that benefit by keeping the masses asleep. Realizing that we’re all a human family. Separation and devision is merely a tactic and as long as we don’t see each other as brothers and sisters. […]
Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]
Imari DuSauzay, New York City, NY. Brooklyn My friend is full of ideas and fighting with cancer…We hold hands to share love. I am experiencing too many friends facing cancer, it makes no difference what your color is.. Cancer does not discriminate.
Reginald Daniel New York, NY It’s amazing what one hears when the other presumes they are speaking with someone of the same race.
Janice Cooper, MN. My newly married parents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany via Ellis Island during the mid 50’s to follow the American Dream. Growing up in small town Michigan and attending Catholic school, my younger brother and I were constantly accused of being Nazis during our grade school years. Even though my parents […]
M.W., Brooklyn, NY. We have been in our neighborhood for coming on ten years and in that time it has changed from ‘Bed-Stuy’ to ‘Clinton-Hill’ to ‘Fort Green East’ as the realtors slowly remade and gentrified neighborhoods. Each economic surge carved out new districts and displaced our neighbors. The most recent insurgence of peoples have […]
Ryan Mekenian New York City, NY Brooklyn
Brunilda Marrero New York City, NY Brooklyn
OTI OBOH New York City, NY Brooklyn I’m Nigerian born raised in the US and find my fluidity in my identity as Nigerian, as American and as Nigerian-American flow in the different spaces I occupy. The Civil Rights allowed for more expansion of African people to occupy different parts in the world.
Jaya Harrover Saxena Astoria, NY My dad moved to America from India as a child. My mom’s family has been in America since the 1630s. I have always been me.
Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.
Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly […]
Michael Vines, New York, NY. Just want to make sure that you understand “the girl” was how many people in the 50-60’s referred to their maid.
Lemuel Reddikc, New York City, NY. People ask me “where are you from?” and I never know how to answer that. I just say “I’m black,” but then they ask me where my parents are from. My maternal grandmother is from the West Indies and my maternal grandfather was from the Carribean, but I can’t […]
Doug, Brooklyn, NY Racism prior to the Civil Rights Era stemmed from Whites thinking Blacks should be different. Today, it stems from Whites thinking Blacks should be the same.
Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every word and every action in life has such extreme consequences. The Civil Rights movement reminds me that the choice to make your words and actions negative or positive prove who you are as a person
Tiffany M. Lyons, Rockaway Beach, NY. Syracuse University ’16 I am biracial and my experiences with race are constantly informed by internal tug of war about what side I belong to. I’ve finally accepted my place in the grey and the view is sometimes trying but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Randy-Michael, Long Island, NY. No matter the struggles I go through as a Puerto Rican adult in this world, I will forever be grateful of what I have been granted in this life. My family, my friends, all the positives and the negatives I cherish and when I get knocked down, I learn to get […]
Susan Nickason, Penfield, NY. Listening to the news this evening about the Charleston shooting, I hear “what harms our neighbor, harms us” This speaks to me as it wasn’t even 2 months ago that I left Kemmerer, WY, under the cover of darkness because of the harassment and inexcusable behavior that seemed, well, normal. To […]
Connie, Syracuse, NY Social and economic class speaks for itself. In my observation most people from abroad and/or here in the US act like they are imperial to other ethnicity. So they come to America with that attitude. For the most part this is a learned perception and is the real truth it our world […]
Mia Turner New York City, NY The obsession so many young black women have with long straight hair has undermineded the cultural identity and pride of a generation.
Mary Walrath, Rochester, NY. I am Italian-American with the signature “Italian nose.” It is big, humped and crooked, and my entire young life was spent being called a “bird,” a “witch,” having bird calls made at me in halls, etc. It is surely nothing like the plight of many others in this country, but it […]
Jason C, Brooklyn, NY People wonder why there is still racism, discrimination, and prejudice in our society today. Its because we don’t do anything to change our past social norms and we continue to be influenced by them. We cannot rewrite our past, but we can rewrite the future to make a better society for […]
Alexis Danzig New York City, NY Manhattan This exhibit moved me to tears. I am so proud of the Brooklyn Museum, delighted to see the work of my college art teacher, May Stevens! I was wishing I could share the experience with my mother, Naomi Danzig. My mother was born into the modern Jewish orthodox […]
David Jolliffe Outside NYC, NY
Joanna Masingila, Syracuse, NY.
Ana Canino-Fluit, Penfield, NY. I am Puerto Rican, I lived in Puerto Rico till I left for college at 17. Till I was 16 I had never given much thought to racial identity. My senior year in high school I was selected to be a exchange student to our sister school in southwestern New York […]
David Chen, New York, NY. I grew up in China listening to artists like 50 cent, Tupac, Snoop dogg (lion), and Jay-Z. I have every one of Jay-Z’s songs memorized and for a Chinese kid, that wasn’t easy. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by African American (is this the politically […]
Betty L. Wilson, New York, NY.
Kimberly Jackson, New York City, NY, Most people do not associate the name “Kimberly Arlene Jackson” with a half-Vietnamese, half-White American person. The surprise is often hard to hide.
Roslyn Jefferson, Albany, NY. I grew up in a majority white city, so this was the story of my life! When younger, didn’t know how to address racial issues or topics, when they popped up, with my white friends. Thank goodness I feel comfortable with that now!
Ansel Oommen, Queens, NY. Once we realize that all people are uncannily similar, we can start to support a diverse human ecology of symbiosis.
Lorna Hagen, Brooklyn, NY. I am Puerto Rico born New Yorker that moved to the US when I was 12. Somewhere in the plane ride over I lost something – I have no shared childhood experiences with my North American friends (lullabies, games, etc.) and no shared adolescent experiences with my Puerto Rican friends. It […]
Marie Farrell, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in San Diego, California where the sun shines all the time. I was the kid that never tanned, just freckled and burned. I was also raised by an Irish mother so there was a lot less love than fights and tension. I recall a day when I bravely […]
Bobbi Siegelbaum Bronx, NY I found my political voice and activism as a 10th grader in 1961, in my Social Studies class during a lesson on bussing. My teacher was a racist.
Beverly J. Brown, Rochester, NY. Such a hard topic to discuss for some of us. But, a discussion that is sorely needed. I would love to be part of the solution, of creating a world where all beings are valued, but where to begin??
Fred Wherry, New York, NY. An administrative assistant remarked to my (now ex) European partner: “When I first saw Fred I was a little scared of him. Then I found out he’s gay and your partner!” Somehow, if seen alone or if I appeared too “hard,” I was intimidating. By being “soft” I could disarm […]
David Chase, New York, NY. Apparently some people feel that “all oppression is not equal”. My experience as a gay white man unfortunately has not always been one of solidarity with non-gay non-white people. Growing up as a child in Woodstock, NY in the 60’s and 70’s I was brought up to be supportive of […]
Chloe Kandel Wong, Douglaston, NY.
Dawud Moore, Flushing, NY. Thrown off rooftops in Syria, blatantly insulted and threatened in New York, suspicious sneers, and parents moving their children away from us. Who tries to understand? Few indeed.
Megonon New York City, NY History has proved that mankind cannot under any circumstances good/bad..rule each other fairly..there will always be prejudices/favoritism/biases..thats the common psychcology of man…they need a higher power
Alex Miller, New York, NY. White people. Some of you, not all… please notice that I said SOME…some of you have been wondering, for a while, “Why am I always called a racist?” “Why do blacks blame me for slavery? My family never owned slaves!” And that sort of gives me pause because: What, did […]
Ursie Bankhead, Buffalo, NY. I have a PhD, have studied race issues. And still struggle in my workplace. Mostly within my own department. I have support from several friends of various races/ethnicities/backgrounds, etc. But, it is difficult at times being “the only” and to experience microinvalidations during staff meetings or to end up in a […]
Erin Jones, Lake Placid, NY How many times have I known people (mostly fellow whites, but also blacks?) who can’t tell two people apart if they both have blonde hair. No matter how different they otherwise are in size age length of hair etc. Why is this? Is there any racial message in it? Is […]
Harold Svignor, New York, NY. Humans inherently think in “Me up – You down” terms. We are innately tribal, and somewhat hostile to “the other”. That proclivity has created not only tribal strife, but war, sport, and many other human traits. It is universal and cannot be overcome….except by religious self denial. Non-caucasians have yet […]
Jonathan Rivera, NY. It may not all be sunshine and rainbows when you are in the minority group, but it has its benefits for sure. I am a Hispanic young male and let me tell you, I have been exposed to many new and different experiences because I am within a minority group. I am […]
Leslie Gallager, Brooklyn, NY. #biracial #codeswitching
Elizabeth Lenz, Rochester, NY. Knowing where I am from, gives me a sense of home even when I am 4000 miles.
Abigail Finn Singer, New York City, NY. Being white, I feel uncultured. There is nothing special about where I’m from. My great-grandparents were immigrants, from a place they weren’t really from. They came from Poland, but don’t qualify as Polish. I have nothing behind me. Not a custom, not a community. I feel like I’m […]
Edwin Amador De Trinidad, New York, NY. We are all professional, bachelor’s degree and have in common one thing: The academic progress of the students. By the way, part of is a mix of black, white, and Amerindian. I am a Nicaraguan who celebrate all race in one culture. Can you notice all my ethnic […]
Michael Restivo, Rochester, NY.
Amanda Denise Ballantyne New York City, NY The Bronx I was at a dinner when a group ,mid 60s/early70s (age), of Caucasians were eating their sunday breakfast discussing an event. I specifically heard a section of the conversation, “I can’t stand moments like that. We are in America, speak English we are in America.” It […]
Eoin Gallagher, Syracue, NY. Student ’16
Deb Wunder Brooklyn, NY Thank you for doing this.
Delilah Mulgannon, New York, NY. All my life, I’ve been told that I’m not “really” Latina because I don’t speak Spanish fluently (which is ridiculous). Who are you to tell me who I am and who I’m not? I grew up in a mixed household (Ecuadorian mother and Polish father) where Spanish was not spoken […]
Annette Baran Katonah, NY I´ve been living in the U.S. for 9 years and was recently naturalized. My kids are truly bilingual. Although, I have many friends and a wonderful family I often feel that during a conversation when people notice my accent I´m not taken as seriously as native speakers.
Sophia Farber Brooklyn, NY Of course, when envisioning ideal partners, I do give a thought to what our daughter’s hair might be like. Guilty. Wondering if and when Michelle Obama will let the girls go natural at a state event.
Darcel Reyes Yonkers, NY I am a nurse and the concept of cultural competence is taught in nursing school and addressed in mandatory inservices in healthcare organizations. I am now a doctoral student and find that the topic is being researched to death. But white cultures get a pass on cultural competence. We only have […]
Ryan Brooke Taylor, New York City, NY. Collected from: WITNESS: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at The Brooklyn Museum My experience as a black male artist is directly related to the sacrifices and gains made by those who participated, in any and every way in the civil rights movement. They have made me […]
Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl […]
Samantha Ciena Potsdam, NY
Sally Ann Siegel New York, NY I experience anti-white and anti-Semitism occasionally from black women.
Louis E. Perego Moreno, New York, NY. All my life, I have been out of more than one box. However, after wrestling with the subject for over 20 years, I have arrived at a point in my journey where my identity is defined by belonging to three worlds: Latino, Gay and USA. Many Hispanics in […]
Sierra Odessa New York City, NY Manhattan
Ibrahim Khazzaka, Brooklyn, NY.
Andrea Stewart, Brooklyn, NY. When I was in third grade I was bussed from the predominantly white side of town to the predominantly black side of town for elementary school. I had had black friends in my former school, but the new school was mostly black and I had a black teacher. For once I […]
Daphne Chanoine, Brooklyn, NY.
Maureen Allen, New Hempstead, NY. I think what I’m trying to say is that I worry all the time about my son. Will he be safe? Can I keep him safe? Every night I fall asleep worried. It never leaves me. There’s no peace in this country as a parent as long as racism continues […]
Mellini Kantayya, Brooklyn, NY. I am an actor and writer who currently has a book out (humor essays) about the entertainment industry. I include a chapter about race, and there are many many six word race cards I could have created. But being mistaken for the exchange student and many other like encounters are what […]
Michel Bassadon, White Plains, NY. I was born in Morocco. My mother was Austrian and my father Jewish Moroccan, known as Sephardic. In high school some of my peers said my accent was French, others said it was Spanish. They decided I was from Monaco, especially since my first name was French. For a long […]
Mitch Jenkins, New York, NY. One ideology is consumed with, obsessed with, and fixated on race yet calls the opposing ideology racist.
Kaitlin Reed, Poughkeepsie, NY. I am a Yurok Indian. We are the salmon people and my ancestors have lived by the Klamath River in northern California since time began. But after centuries of continual sexual conquest against Native American women, I am not the color of Pocahontas. That’s right, I’m white-skinned and Indian. This hasn’t […]
Irene, Manhattan, NY. Im so very appreciative that there are historians/photographers/activists, etc that are here to document/change lives!!!!
Christopher Hollowell Hornell, NY I am now a 29 year old white homosexual man living in Brooklyn NY but growing up in a small town in Western NY I distinctly remember ruminating in church over the differences between my family and myself. My most vivid memory was the thought “I wonder how everyone will react […]
Malcolm Ian Mackenzie, Naples, NY. My mom and Dad immigrated from Canada in the early fifties with two children Canadian-born and eleven were born in the states. Growing we had a strong family identity as Canadians, but knew we also had Scottish roots through our dad’s family. My Mom’s family were Anglo-French Canadians, with an […]
Philip Schaffer New York City, NY
Gerard Liston, New York, NY. The way I look confuses people. Most cant pin point my heritage. I am by birth Irish and Ecuadorian. Furthering my cultural heritage is my love of music. I love to play the drums and that love took me all the way to Africa. There I learned to play the […]
Wendy, Albany, NY. I was told outright my entire childhood (by mom and grandparents) to be not prejudiced. This seemed the height of progress. but now in middle age it seems there are so many nuances, so much backstory, too huge a body of knowledge about the entire experience that I just don’t know. being […]