I’m an Arab named Dave Hall

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 […]

Blacks say I’m White, WASPs don’t.

Thomas R Gerbasi, Lewiston, NY I’m Sicilian-American. Both sides of my family came to the USA in 1890s The KKK burned a cross on my Grandfather’s lawn. As a teenager, they offered my father twice what he paid for his home to move out because a “non-white” family in the neighborhood would “lower the property […]

I do not understand whats race

Stephen J Cahill, Peru, NY I don’t have melanin. In high school I was hanging out with a guy, who was also without melanin, and he was selling pot. My track teammate who had lots of melanin told me not to hang out with the pot seller. He said “don’t mess with that sh*t.” He […]

Is Puerto Rican a separate race?

Diana Gonzalez, Franklin Square, NY. I am an adopted person. I’ve been searching for my past all my life. I’m 60 now. One of my adopted parents was Austrian and one was Italian. I was raised to think of myself as Italian. In the early 1970’s I searched and found out I was born in […]

Don’t hate me for being white

Martha McKinney, Hector, NY My Quaker great-great grandfather was a conductor on the Underground Railroad in PA; my Quaker great grandfather fought against slavery in the Civil War; my Quaker forebears refused to buy pretty southern cloth because it was made by enslaved people. Precious stories came down the generations. I want so much to […]

I’m raising them on my own !

Deborah, Canisteo, NY Being from a super small town isn’t a bad thing unless you live in town !! If you get it you get it! People are all in everyone else’s business it’s so disgusting my neighbors stare at my house when I have company. they’re so nosy it makes me wanna throw rocks […]

Latin, Bald, Tattoos = Thug = Mistaken Identity

Eduardo Meza, Albany, NY. I get it! I look like the typical thug you will find in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout most of California. I know I am immediately judged by my cover. People mistake my form of self-expression for some sort of territorial gang branding. I am gay, latino, well-educated (Master’s Degrees), family-oriented and a […]

Adopted, how much did she cost?

Gail O’Rourke Brooklyn, NY White Mom + Chinese daughter: Said right in my face, with my 5 year old daughter in my lap. She clutched me, buried her face in my chest and sobbed. I put my arms around her said don’t be disrespectful and walked out of the shop.

My heart is Hawaiian, I’m not.

Jan Mason NY Born and raised in paradise as a Haole (white) person I had more than my share of discrimination but living on the “mainland” where I “fit in” with the white majority(?) my island heritage is invisible. I have taken to checking the box or “Pacific Islander” though I feel guilty about if […]

My brother doesn’t look like me

Caroline Foster, Brooklyn, NY I’m white, my younger brother was adopted from South Korea when I was five. I forget that we don’t look related because although I remember picking him up from the airport with my family, we’ve been siblings since before I understood that his experience being adopted by a white family in […]

I don’t speak Spanish, just Russian

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 […]

No, I’m not faking my accent!

Rachel James, Syracuse, NY. Growing up in a Latina household I learned the English that my mother spoke as a Panamanian immigrant. Therefore, I learned to say certain words while rolling my r’s or with an accent and I don’t notice it because that’s how I learned to pronounce them. But because I look more […]

“Where are you from?” – “Boston.” -” Liar!”

Lex, Syracuse, NY. I’m originated from Shanghai, China, currently doing a PhD at Syracuse University. Unavoidably, I have been welcomed with the question “where are you from” on a daily basis. It seems that not many people actually cares about the real answer: Shanghai — people generally don’t care about that corner of the globe […]

Appreciate difference or repeat the past.

Rose Collins, Syracuse, NY. Highschool Student ’16 I believe that if we don’t appreciate our differences or acknowledge the fact that we are all different, then we will repeat the prejudice and pain we’ve seen in our past. We all have different stories and cultures, and if we don’t acknowledge that then we will be […]

What seat are you sitting in?

JuLaw, Syracuse, NY. When I was in Fla. in the 60s, Blacks (colored people, negroes,) or what name you may have been called, could not sit on the front sit a bus. We had to go into the back of the bus. Today, externally, it may not be that way, but in some cases, internally, […]

We have so far to go.

Bonnie Shoultz, Syracuse, NY. I was a young person during the 1960s, and dreamed that this country would overcome its terrible history of oppression and enslavement of whole groups of people based on their race, culture, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class. We have made many changes, but oppression and murder of people who are […]

Was I asked to be Black?

Vickie Crawford, Syracuse, NY. My Dad use to call me “yellow girl”, my Mom when mad called me “little yellow wench”, and I was happy go lucky I think because I didn’t know I was BLACK. It wasn’t brought to my attention until I went to kindergarten that I was black??? I feel I can […]

But, you are not really Chinese

Lianna Thomas, Congers, NY. I am a Chinese adoptee. Ive lived in NY practically my entire life (since I was 7 months old). My family is entirely white and I was brought up in a western culture with western traditions. I celebrate my eastern culture as well through holidays like chinese new year, I study […]

I hope your mom gets deported

Josie Westmiller, Corning, NY Hello! My name is Josie and I am a student at Corning Community College. I chose these six words for my race card because these are words that have been said to me many times throughout my life, especially when I was in high school due to the fact that my […]

Grown through, what I’ve been through

Mackenzie McLean, Addison, NY Through every obstacle I’ve faced, big or small I always remember that it won’t last forever, and in the end I want to come out on the up side to whatever the issue is. My mom has always said to me “grow through what you go through” every decision I make […]

My great-grandparents fled pogroms in Ukraine.

Britt Trachtenberg, Long Island, NY p>I think part of my story is about how I ended up being born with privilege in an affluent community in Long Island, while my great-grandparents immigrated from Russian-controlled areas of the Ukraine in the early 1900s. My great-grandparents sought to leave because of instances of religion-based violence– called “pogroms” […]

Why should we care so much?

Lulu, Depew, NY I understand that race is significant. I understand that it’s such a big part of people’s identities. I’m just wondering: why should it? We don’t have to see everything through a racial lens. Not everything is motivated or affected by race. I just think it’s more divisive than anything. Race is a […]

I am more than religion requires

Hannah Drillings, Chester, NY I am ethically an Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jew, but have always felt disconnected from my religion. growing up in an orthodox synagogue, the women were separated from the men, and shunted to the back of the room. I never felt seen or heard as a person. as an adult, I want […]

Where? you must mean Monaco right?

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 […]

Blacks beat me, I forgave them

Bob D, West Chester, PA It happened in the summer of ’68. I was alone at a concert at the city stadium in Glen Cove, NY. There was chanting, black kids -some of them friends from school- surrounded me and I was beaten unconscious. It wasn’t personal. Dr. King had been murdered, it was summertime, […]

Dominican immigrant, now 70 nothing changed

Victor M Victoria, New York City, NY Race is an ever changing feature globally. America culture in more about skin color than culture. Americans love it’s diverse culture from all corner of the land, yet in another 200 years it may face out due to the mix of color of skins getting blended.

Indigenous and religiously evangelical equal colonized?

Chantilly Mers New York, NY I am the daughter of parents who migrated from Palau, a small cluster of islands between Guam and the Philippines. Ethnically, I am Palauan and Chinese, and my siblings and I grew up in Hawaii. Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian is usually the box I check. In addition to my inherent multi-cultural […]

“Immigrant” comes in all races/colors.

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 […]

Still want to touch your hair

Brenda Becker, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in a white Queens neighborhood where neighbors worried that “they” would “get in,” and the cool girls had straight sheets of hair. I was delighted to meet and make black friends at my all-girls Catholic high school. It was the 70s, and even as I struggled with my […]

Sick of being “The White Girl”

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 […]

Acknowledge the human race’s African origin

Ted Fink, Rhinebeck, NY As a kid growing up in the 1950’s, my Grandpa wouldn’t let me play with the black kid who lived next door because he was…black. But in school, I was taught to love my neighbors as myself and the lessons helped me to see his command as wrong at a very […]

East Europe substitutes Roma for Blacks

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 […]

Using my race and womanhood as leverage!

Jade D. Lee, Syracuse, NY. I HATE feeling like I SHOULD feel less than because I am a black woman. I believe that I can do anything, and I CAN surpass any social construct that challenges this belief. EVERY black woman has the capacity to exhibit an abundance of adequacy and value.

Your German parents started the war

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 […]

Pale freckled redhead burned by words

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 […]

African American but not black

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 […]

White People Tears Are My Lipton’s

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 […]

He’s my dad, not the gardener.

Kelly Stuart, Brooklyn, NY. I was five when my mother married my stepfather, Alfred Brown, Jr. in 1980. My stepfather, or, as I think of him, my father, was 21 years older than my mom and had already raised a daughter by the time he met me, but that didn’t stop him from getting a […]

Too Black Nor White I’m Just Right!

Kyara Wilson, Bath, NY My entire life I have been too black for the white kids and too white for the black kids. They weren’t wrong I wasn’t white like my white friends or black like my black friends I was just me. I got along with all sorts of people no matter the race. […]

My name’s Jefferson but I’m Latino

Jefferson Valle, Uniondale, NY Being fully Salvadorian and having a white skin complexion, and having a nontraditional Hispanic name has not always been easy. Still, I’ve learned to love my heritage over the years and accept that I don’t look like your normal Latino.

Hated wearing green on St.PatrickDay mom.

Daniel Luis Soto New York, NY I consider myself Puerto Rican. Grandparents from PR My great grandfather on mom’s side is from Ireland. Going further back on both sides my heritage spans the globe from Spain to England to various British occupied islands. Im proud of my diversity, but I look Puerto Rican speak Spanish […]

“Okay, but where are you from?

Skylar Blechner, Mineola, NY When people ask me the question “where are you from”, I usually respond that I am a 5th generation Jewish New Yorker. Then I get the follow up question of “Okay, but where are you from? Like your ancestors.” I answer the same way and usually get weird looks, but in […]

Stop acting like blacks are saints

Jimmy, New York, NY Obviously 400 years of segregation is the cause of today’s black society. And obviously, there is a tremendous amount of white trash, idiots who think Trump is a good businessman, great man, knows what he’s doing, and a class act. There are so many white pedophiles, liars, cheaters, thieves, senseless bigots, […]

Have BOTH parents in my life.

Maliek Chambers, Long Island, NY People assume that you don’t have both parents in your life if you are black and especially not ones that are happily married. I am black and have both parents in my life and they are happily married and both have careers.

Sometimes race isn’t enough; need language

Mary K. Coseo NY I am a Korean adoptee and was raised in the United States. I was reunited with my Korean birth family about 12 years ago. Although I am the same race as other Koreans and my birth family, what I really need to transcend the barriers is the ability to speak the […]

America is not Black and White

Anonymous, NY And every Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American people are living in it. We need to understand why being an anti-racist is not just pro-Black, and Black people need to understand that most don’t see the world like they do. We have different cultures and experiences, but understanding that most of us don’t live […]

Troopers Said You’re The Wrong Color

Matthew Curtze, Buffalo, NY 1985, with a degree and a dream took the NYS Trooper exam and placed on the eligible list. Waited and waited until a recruiter advised me I was the wrong color. The 1980’s were the beginning of the Judge Curtin Ruling which mandated that all state and city police and fire […]

I was bussed. I was scarred.

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 […]

I’m Karen, not the Karen meme

Pru Moo, Utica, NY p>I’m not Korean, and no, I’m not the Karen meme neither. I’m from Karen State, Myanmar, in Southeast Asia. I am Karen, and I speak the Karen language. My ethnicity is not your meme.

Can WE ALL Just Get ALONG!

Thania, Brooklyn, NY If blood is donated to you in the hospital, do you know the race of that person. All you know is someone saved your life without know the color of their skin or where they came from.

Outside I’m Black, inside I’m multitudes

Julie Bayley, Bronx, NY p>I am so tired of being “classified“. As with most people of darker hue on this side of the diaspora, I am not simply black I am a first-generation American born of immigrants who came here from the Caribbean that gumbo contains Maroon, Spanish, Irish Scottish, and Taino. I will never […]

No Bi-racial Couples Allowed at Prom.

Joellen M Hodge, Tomkins Cove, NY We didn’t go to the prom. Instead, we went to the movies and had to sit in the segregated balcony. Afterward, we ate our diner hamburgers on the back of my motorcycle because of the whispering and dirty looks. Finally, we went fishing. Fish didn’t seem to mind at […]

Amazing Grace. No more family secret.

Daryl Bruce Denning, Corning, NY Raised “white”. At 52, December 2001, I learned of my ancestors of color. I do not know the origin of my European surname, as I have only traced it back to my mixed race great-great-great-grandfather William Denning. Found his wife, my great-great-great-grandmother, with an obituary in 1880 stating she had […]

Yes, I transitioned. Still white, though.

Jonah Frank, Brooklyn, NY As a transgender man, I can relate to being marginalized. But still, my whiteness (and now maleness) affords me privilege in 99% of my everyday life, and I know that’s still 100% better than what BIPOC people are experiencing.

The foundation of EVERYTHING in America.

Robert Rose, Westbury, NY You cannot truly understand any aspect of American history, economics, culture, politics or any aspect of American life without understanding America’s foundation of human trafficking and bondage of Africans and their descendants. If you ignore this you are not serious about wanting to understand America.

They glare at my bi-racial son.

Linnette Derry, New York City, NY. I often think about the inevitable discussion about race that I will have to have with my son one day. That day when he will begin to ask me why people think I’m his nanny/housekeeper instead of his mother; the day when he will ask me why people keep […]

My color should not bother you

Smriti Gurung, Woodside, NY I made these my 6 words because I feel like the color of someone’s skin always seems to bother someone. That person could simply be a good person, but because of their skin color, some other people get uncomfortable and start treating them the way they shouldn’t be treated. This is […]

Cultural Competence: code word for racism

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 […]

You sound like you are white!

Lyron Andrews, Long Island City, NY. I used to be a minister back in the late eighties and I was visiting and speaking to a group of mostly elderly and all African-American parishioners in Harlem about managing through adversity. After the talk many approached me and warmly commended me and thanked me for sharing the […]

But you played with dolls growing up.

Trisha Salerno, New York, NY, Colorbrave Circle 1 For as long as I can remember, I have been fluid with my sexuality. I love… everyone. I never made it a thing, I never came out with some grand proclamation. I just happened to start seriously dating a girl that I fell in love with. Of […]

If oppressed here, why not leave?

Dee Johnson, New York, NY. To start, I should say that I do not think that African-Americans should leave America. I think that the U.S. is still the land of freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of skin color. My question is for those African-Americans who feel that the U.S. is intolerably racist and that […]

“I’m Native American too!” — says everyone

Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every time race and culture comes up, when I mention that I am a registered Cherokee I get the same response. My grandmother was born on the reservation and we are dual citizens with the Cherokee Nation. But apparently I’m just as native as every single other person.

Black Fathers Love Black Children, #Shutup!

Nvizaboman, Syracuse, NY. Pointing a gun in the face of a Black boy or choking a Black man, is not a common cultural practice in the Black community. I just feel that needs to be said. Please stop killing us because our lives are an appointment we don’t want to miss. Thank you.

Righteous cops and journalists. Stand tall.

Hank Kula, Rochester, NY I worked in both the media and law enforcement. The image I took at the wedding last summer of a black police sergeant and his Hispanic wife. Subtly, not so subtly, it communicates the blending of families, and acceptance of all races. The barely-visible blue bracelet — that police are human, […]

Give invisible minorities a chance at brilliance

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 […]

Mom, talk about your “black firsts.”

Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]

Wear a suit? He’s a “pimp”.

Chris Thompson, Rochester, NY. I have been an engineer for 13 years, and I notice that when I don the regular business casual attire, colleagues not directly in my department think I’m either in food or custodial services. Now I wear a tie daily, and the “compliment” I get is that I look like a […]

I feel invisible, while standing out.

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 […]

Made up concept to divide us.

Lilia Hadjiivanova, New York, NY Racism sucks. I definitely experience “white guilt” in moments when I catch myself with bias and I am trying to – daily – unlearn the preconceptions my (pretty racist) parents taught me. It breaks my heart knowing what POC face, based on a part of them that they can’t change […]

White Martial Artist, who’s not White.

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 […]

I was American, now just white

Charles, San Francisco, CA, New Rochelle, NY, Worldwide Essayist Richard Rodriguez, said it best back in 1997, what can be the American inability to not conflate race with culture and class. I quote: “Essayist Richard Rodriguez of the Pacific News Service talks about race and class on the PBS News Hour October 31, 1997. RICHARD […]

I’m much more than my accent

Franchesca Guzman, Bronx, NY When I introduced myself to new people they might just get stuck in my accent, but I am so much more than my thick Dominican accent. Many times we are not given a chance to show how brilliant we can be since we are judged by how we sound when introducing […]

I’m Middle Eastern but I’m white?

Ilana New York, NY I grew up in Israel to a father born in Germany and a mother born in the United States. Yet every time I tick the “white” box I feel uncomfortable. The culture I grew up in was considered “white” but the Middle East is ethnically diverse. Everyone was a “mixed breed” […]

Pain, black reaction OJ Simpson verdict

David J. Shapiro New York City, NY Manhattan After so much sacrifice, blood, time and heartache by whites who supported the Civil Rights Movements, to watch and hear the jubilation of a “not guilty” verdict from a community who benefited from that work, for a man who brutally murdered two whites, I was heart-struck.

Although it divides, I find beauty

Simone Pratt Brooklyn, NY I can talk about race all day… I work in multicultural advertising so it’s what I do, but outside of work as well… Some context on my 6 words: Race is something that puts us in boxes in our society (“talking Black”… “Acting White”… “Black music”… on and on), however race […]

Surprised that dreadlocks are racially charged.

Terence P Ward New Paltz, NY I’m one year in to a five-year exploration of dreadlocks as a participant-observer, so I can learn about the experience and the perceptions; it’s called Dread Like Me and I maintain a blog about it at dreadlikeme.blogspot.com. I expected people to treat me differently because they would think I […]

Got tired of straightening my hair

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.

I help; I’m not THE help.

Eric N Peguero, New York, NY We, Latinos, may raise your children, do your laundry and clean your floors, but we are not THE HELP. We are people like you perhaps a little less proud of how we earn a living and very willing to earn that living honorably. We deserve respect.

Only Black in office. Very Isolating

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 […]

Looking at me you don’t see

Raquel Saunders, New York, NY. My dad is half black and my mom is white, when look at me you only really see the white. But I am a quarter black, and when I say that people look at me like I just gave them a lie. It pisses me off. Don’t judge me on […]

I don’t care; will my kids

Becky Lynn Washington, New York, NY I got pretty lucky I guess-grew up in the desert where there was little diversity. Our family was different for a lot of reasons-my father’s job took him out of town often, we didn’t go to church, my brother was a tortured genius so we were always switching schools, […]

Not THAT kind of Black Girl.

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 […]

Less Than does NOT = ME

Jacqueline Evans, New York, NY Just because I grew up in the south and anyone in my presence always experienced my “southern hospitality”. Don’t get it twisted! I am so much more than the stereotypes of black women from the south.

I want to be better.

C. Deville, Westchester, NY I find myself having more negative views about African Americans, and it frightens me. There is an ugliness and ignorance growing inside of me, and I am afraid of it. I want to be better, and I don’t know how.

Of both worlds belong to neither

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.

I’M SO OVER THIS BLACK THING

Joe J, New York, NY Yes, this reflects my feelings after living in 3 mostly black communities in Brooklyn. I left due to gang violence by which I mean nightly gunfire and my neighbor Tom shot in the head thru his kitchen window. And many other attacks on young Jewish kids which the black parents […]

What’s Good? I’m a Nuyorican, baby!

Christina Labrador, Copiague, NY “Are you Indian?” The man behind the 7-11 counter asks me. “Are you Egyptian?” The parking attendant asks. “You look Israeli.” The bouncer at Cafe Wha? says. “Girl, you black.” My Israelite friends say. “I know what restaurant you’ll like.” As the man handing out flyers on the street gives me […]

Montgomery Blair HS still inspires me

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. […]

When Will It End? I’m Tired

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, […]

Underpaid? Overworked? Frustrated? NOW imagine slavery.

John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]

Ambitious, Outgoing, Determined describes me

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 […]

But you don’t look Puerto Rican

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 […]

When will we see the light

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. […]

Anymore, afraid of what we represent.

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 […]

MY FLUIDITY IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA.

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.

You have to choose. Which one?

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.

Identity is fluid; context is everything.

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 […]

I’m black, not from the Carribean

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 […]

Such power in words and action

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

My heart will forever be grateful

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 […]

My dear friend’s current life below

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 […]

Observing how people from abroad/US integrate

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 […]

My nose is not a beak

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 […]

I am no different than YOU!

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 […]

Constant conversation with my radical mom.

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 […]

Not who you think I am

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 […]

From love – fear, (a) foreigner’s view (on) racism.

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 […]

I am always the Black bestfriend

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!

Never belonging. Puerto Rican or American?

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 […]

Black but gay so it’s ok

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 […]

Race isn’t more legitimate than sexuality.

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 […]

Rulership does not belong to man

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

Whites can’t tell blondes apart either

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 […]

I love being in the minority

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 […]

Why can’t I like this too?

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 […]

Do you notice any difference, though?

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 […]

Speak English We Are In America

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 […]

Latina? Yes. Speaks Spanish? No. Gasp.

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 […]