Racists Are Not Always Bad People

Michael Havis, Brooklyn, NY. I think the word racism no longer defines the conversation we should be having. The image of racism in America is of the KKK or southern slave owners with whips. Being racist and being a good person are not mutually exclusive. Racism today isn’t being a part of lynch mobs or […]

I’ll Call Myself Whatever I Want

Samantha Lauren New York, NY Hate when people have the audacity to say to ANYONE that they ought to “just call themselves American” instead of Afro-American, Asian-American, Polish-American, or whatever. I am an American and as an American it’s my RIGHT to identify however I choose; I am an American of African descent, therefore I’m […]

My kids are “beige”, not white…

Linda Levittown, NY My three children are a mix of English/Irish and Puerto Rican and when you line them up in a row, you can see one mirrors me, the second mirors my husband and our third is a pretty even split down the middle and can “fit” either side of our mixed family. A […]

Two steps forward, one step back

Mary Lambert Merrick, NY I lived through the Civil Rights Movement. I once walked out of a store in SDouth Bend IN and was confronted with a full scale KKK march. I remember the riots of 1968–I lived in a mixed race neighborhood and we often sat on ourporch and watched the fires buring a […]

It has given me such hope

Malcolm Long Corley New York City, NY Brooklyn It is amazing how people lived and fought during these times. Seeing the black and white pictures almost gives the viewer the same experiences of whats happening in the pictures.

Early morning bus trip with family

Miriam Haas Ossining, NY Early one morning my mother sister and I left the county center parking lot in White Plains NY for a trip to Washington. I was in the sixth grade and white. We went to the March on Washington. I will never forget it.

Want my babies to be brown.

Jade Watson New York, NY I don’t have anything against interracial dating, but I choose to date and want to marry a black man, because I want my babies- my family to be black. I love being black. I love what being black has meant to my life. I love being a part of a […]

It reminds me freedom is possible.

Mickey Lambert New York City, NY Brooklyn In a time that most people think of as a “post-civil-rights” era, in many ways, we are more tied up in injustice and inequality than ever. These images and sounds are a reminder that social justice looks like something more encompassing.

Why does racial prejudice still exist?

Susan Benjamin Roslyn, NY I think so highly of President Obama and have been overwhelmed at the depth of fear and nastiness that has surfaced from the old white guard still in elected office and surfacing in those that voted for those old white men.

This history My life My legacy

Saundra Thomas New York City, NY My life began at the start of the civil rights movement. 1962. the music of the civil rights movement is the soundtrack of my childhood. I grew up black in a mixed community, too black to befriend the whites and too “white” to befriend the blacks….and lesbian. my legacy […]

“Not seeing” race is a privilege!

Amanda Feinman Poughkeepsie, NY Race is a social category, which is given meaning by institutional and cultural systems of advantage of disadvantage. Race is significant in light of these conferred and withheld advantages: it continues to dictate the distribution of resources; it impacts access to education, healthcare, employment, and other areas of the public sphere; […]

We all bleed, we all hurt

Naadu Addico Poughkeepsie, NY Physical differences caused by a person’s genetic makeup cannot have large effects on a person’s social interaction. It is the way people react to and interpret these biological characteristics that affect a person’s social interactions. For instance, a tall boy’s height does not have any relevance to him until he realizes […]

Light skin doesn’t make me privileged

Em New York, NY Born in Mexico, to mexican parents, crossed the border to find a better life, learning english on tv, grew up in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the US, with Colombians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, two brothers many shades darker than I, my mother “the help,” always having too […]

Black, Mixed, Metisse, Exotic, Afropino, Fulatto

Christina Lewis Halpern New York City, NY The strange thing about race in the western world is the strong need to put people’s identities into boxes. I have a complicated identity, which led to people helpfully telling me what category I fit in, including making up some words to describe me. I’ve chosen to describe […]

¨Still happens today, just disguised differently.”

Jamila Best New York City, NY Brooklyn Whereas my ancestors dealt with the troubles of blatant racism, today, Blacks may find themselves in a position in which we are still facing racism, it’s just coded differently. Sometimes, it’s in the face of a disgruntled white employer who may depict you as an angry Black woman, […]

The Civil Rights Movement is Different

Tiana Icesis Bryant New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words are like the Civil Rights Movement is different from any other subject, more independent, it’s a Lone Ranger. All the other things people say that’s important are not really because they are backed up with some things. People back everything up that’s important to […]

My family and school are interracial.

Jaxon Isaac Stams New York City, NY Brooklyn In my school, there are more non-Caucasians and are of multiple races. In my family, my grandparents on my father’s side are interracially married, including my Uncle Ron, who is Trinidadian. On my mom’s side, my mom’s aunt is married to a man from Yemen.

I’m lost in this dark ambiguity.

Catherine Betances New York City, NY The Bronx The more I learn about the struggle then and now, the more I feel lost in this deep struggle, in the ambiguity of what it all means. My color, my everything, is lost in the white light. “My” race card is not something I pull out when […]

Get comfortable being the outlier.

Vishnu Rajan East Fishkill, NY Most of my life, I’ve been an outlier. I was one of 10 non- whites in my graduating high school class of 870. I’m short, I’m young for my year, and my family at home is different from everyone else’s. It took me many years to finally be ok with […]



It made my very existence possible.

Karen Palmer New York City, NY Brooklyn I am the child of two teachers, the grandchild of a police officer, a seamstress and two farmers, all African-American and alive during the Jim Crow era. I could never have become a college graduate, world traveler, journalist and school founder without their many sacrifices and the example […]

I knew that these things happened, just not on this level.

Rachel K. McCain New York City, NY Brooklyn Hello, I’m Rachel. I’m eleven years old. Thanks for sharing this wonderful art and information with everyone. I know my story was more than six words, but it was important to use all the words.I was taught about the civil rights movement in school, but the teachers […]

Well behaved for a black kid

Alisha Ragan New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words come from practically every field trip and public outing I have taken my students on over the past 7 years. Both teaching here in Brooklyn and teaching LA, people have told me my kids are ‘well behaved for black kids’ or ‘so nice for Mexican […]

United we stand divide we fall.

Rashawn Love New York City, NY Brooklyn Only when people stop stop see the difference in each can we build a foundation that can’t be broken by fear of others,the hate of the unknown, and the greed of personal gain.

Equality is an evolving Concept.

Victor Goode Long Island, NY America’s first revolution was enshrining the value of liberty into our constitution. The Civil War Amendments, 13, 14 and 15 enshrined equality as a paramount value of American life.

We-all bleed red. So don’t judge

Nathalie Gregoire New York City, NY Brooklyn All my life I have been judged. When we see black people we automatically think they are thieves. When it comes to whites we think they are perfect. So many times we try to hide our identities, our race in order to fit in with society. But when […]

I’m White, so I’m obviously racist

Connor Eaton New York, NY In New York, people of all races live together. But people of all races all have their own thoughts on all the other races. This is nothing special. What is special is that it is culturally acceptable for any race to say whatever they want about any race, EXCEPT for […]

To forgive is not in me

Gary Dunn, Brooklyn, NY. I find it extremely hard to forgive those who where responsible and benefited from the enslavement of us.I want to punish them the way they punished us. Make them strip naked, beat them, separate them from their families, deny them education, jobs,businesses. Make them feel inferior and back it all up […]

diversity is a sign of progress

Saira New York City, NY Brooklyn An immature nation is still afraid of racial tolerance and hesitant to move on to a state of love and acceptance. With time, the nation learns and grows. The result is a community in which all are free to contribute to its progress and maturity is thus reached.

Race: a conceit. Racism: a scourge.

Stella Katz New York City, NY I’m Hungarian/American, raised working-class in New York City. I believe that race is a conceit (created to justify the exploitation of one group by another) and racism is the practice of that conceit, robbing us of our shared humanity by creating a hierarchy of false distinctions.

school segregation still sickening suffocating success

Maureen Curran New York City, NY Staten Island The words by the Jacob Lawrence poster talking about people in Brooklyn in 1962 calling for school desegregation in our schools, breaks my heart when combined with this weeks news story about NY having the most segregated schools in the nation. Why? When will injustice cease?

boldness, fight, outspoken, never, give, up

Lydia George New York City, NY Brooklyn These activist have shown me the power of their boldness and how reluctant they were to stop their movement in the midst of adversity. Its encouraging even today to use those characteristics to fight injustices still today in our society.

White women are NOT MY allies

Jill T. Brooklyn, NY Though I keep hearing that as women we have common causes, common concerns, etc, I’ve learned that I should never count on white women as my allies. Color privilege trumps everything else therefore.

How little I truly knew about it

Mary ann Shannon New York City, NY Brooklyn I am enlightened, embarrassed, humbled and grateful as I engage and experience this collective. Truly allowed me to revisit a part of my own history with a different perspective.

A fight that still continues today

Austin McKenzie New York City, NY Brooklyn Even though we as a society have progressed in terms of race and how we treat one another there is still a way to go many of our schools are predominantly one race and are over or under funded according to the prison system is systematically racist and […]

Tornado of human culture fans flames.

Greg Huebner New York City, NY Brooklyn I was really struck by a piece in first half of the exhibit, with the two ‘crosses’ in a red center surrounded by black figures walking or getting sucked into the center of a vortex that they could not escape. When cultures are mixed together confrontations arise and […]

We invented race; we perpetuate race

Beluvid Ola-Jendai New York City, NY I see race as a social construct. one that highlight differences of phenotype and cultural and geography at the expense of all else. most of it is unreal. a mythology to imbue false histories and elevated ethnocentrism. its hard to escape at times as we continue to invent new […]

This is your life in technicolor

Georgia Brooke Guinan New York City, NY Queens Life is about so much more than black and white. Stop being limited by your closed mindedness and see the full potential of a world that is in limitless technicolor and every individual holds their own unique shade of beauty.

White People in Gentrified Brooklyn

Sarinya New York City, NY It is sad to me that this is an amazing exhibit and the battle against gentrification is being lost in this neighborhood. We have not come very far from this time period and the results show by who is here to have the privilege to come to the museum and […]

Bravery is the greatest form of anti-pollution

Angela Brooklyn, NY The individuals and communities who worked and work to break down barriers to human rights and destroy the isms of society-racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination deserve to be named and recognized in the pages of every history book

Segregation is bad. It’s not good.

Eva Gross New York City, NY Staten Island I am learning about segregation in first grade. Black people back then were made to do all the work. White people were not helping them. Some white people did not believe in segregation.

Beautiful, Universal, Magnificent, Individuals as ONE!

David E. Spence NYC, nY A concept I made and copyrighted this for a children’s book and character I made for my daughter 23 or 24 years ago. I wanted to convey to my daughter Aria the importance of everything and everyone in her life whether black, white, etc. gay/homosexual, different religions, rich/poor or anything […]

I witness and rewitness history

Melissa Johnson Brooklyn, NY With the continual killing and imprisoning, marginalization and exploitation of the black individual–blackness as an identity is loved and hated all while being continually othered

I’ll stop committing crimes… After you.?!

Charles Walton Brooklyn, NY For hypocrites who with one track minds who insist that all blacks need to do to get their comeuppance is to cease all criminal activity without taking a good, hard, long, uncomfortable look at their own extensive global and local criminal activity.

I judge actions regardless of looks

Nick Casey Saratoga Springs, NY I grew up in upstate NY. I was raised by my grandparents who have passed. My Mother was in the Air Force and married a man names Matthew. Mack (as he likes to be called.) has treated always treated me like his son and I love him very much. I […]

Right when I almost forget: Race

Muderi Aradi Poughkeepsie, NY Race to me is how authorities in an environment define aesthetic population differences, in ignorance to the vast continuum of intermediates that may lie outside of the smaller environment. Knowledge or acknowledgement of these intermediates would immediately add a confusion and invalidation to the narrow definitions. In a similar way, knowledge […]

Individual or systemic, racism always matters.

Giselle Sanchez Huerta Poughkeepsie, NY Race is a concept that continues privilege, structural power, and inequitable distribution of resources based on phenotypes/ sets of observable characteristics. Race is a social construct, meaning that it was created through social interactions. Society and its people built the concept and continue to give it meaning. That is not […]

Pessimistic poster child for post-racial promise

Carey Tan Brooklyn, NY Biracial (white and Asian). Partnered with a white man from rural West Virginia. We don’t experience much (if any) hostility. I’m told that this is increasingly normal in society, and this demographic development is supposed to fill us all with hope and pride. But I look around at all the entrenched […]

Peace power love youth elder God

Kathy Lynn Gueye New York City, NY Queens Without the elder there is no youth without the youth there is no future….who is holding the cards when the youth can’t see past tomorrow living on broken promises of yesteryear when the dream has become the nightmare WE cant wake up from!

My name is being made fun of?

Bang Ang New York, NY People often make jokes about my name. They would ask “did your parents drop pots and pans or something?” or “Did your mom drop her spoon at the hospital to name you that way?” This made me very depressed and feel bad about being Chinese.

A complex and ridiculous social construct

Dana Bryant, New York, NY. Case in Point: Walter White, Director of the NAACP from 1931-1955 . The man had about 1/27th percent black blood but was was forced to identify himself as a black man. When, later in life, he divorced his black wife and choose to marry the white woman he’d actually fallen […]

White people are human beings too

John Locke New York, NY I know it may not seem like it from all the crazy racist rhetoric directed against us. It’s okay to be proud of being any other race, except white. Well, white people invented the light bulb. We invented air conditioning. I think being white is fine!

I always created a new box to check

Ranya New York City, NY A teen during 9/11… The only now officially identified as “Arab,” teen in my entire school. Before I was looked at as if I was just like all the other kids– just hold the ham, bacon, and pork products at school and birthday parties. But I had friends with some […]

White, asked to leave shoe store

Steven Smith Lake Grove, NY My parents raised me race neutral. I grew up in an integrated neighborhood, and racism didn’t come on my radar until I was around 6-7 years old. People hating people because of the color of their skin was just…ridiculous. While on a business trip to Atlanta in the early 90’s, […]

Mommy, is my sister from India?

Tata Traore-Rogers Brooklyn, NY My 4 year old asked me this about her 7 year sister ” she actually said ” Mommy, is Saffronia Indian?” I said, well if she was, you would be too. She said, but she looks like them. A woman who looked like she was from India and who overheard the […]

But I don’t really see color.

Freddi Brown-Carter New York, NY I wonder what else you don’t see? Do you see my gender, do you notice the gray hair? I don’t believe you don’t see color. Sadly,I think you feel you are paying me a compliment by saying you don’t see my negritude.

Diversity Means Add A Few More

Ambika Howell Rochester, NY Funny how when you hear the word “diversity” being used to talk about how workplaces, etc., are attempting to appear to be DIVERSE, all you see is a few people of color on a cover page, or a poster, or on their website, surrounded by white people kind of in a […]

Not an Oreo cookie; an American.

Conrad Folkes, Royersford, PA. I’m a first-generation American of Jamaican descent. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA when I was seven years old. I’ve always been an outgoing person. I make friends easily. I’m black, but I don’t fit into black American culture all that nicely. I […]

Full-blooded white European DNA; proud Viking!

Lynn Magnusson Jamestown, NY All around the world white nations are being flooded with third-world Moslam immigrants. Almost every nation in Europe; the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc. are having “multiculturalism” forced upon them, but by contrast liberals are perfectly fine with nations like Mongolia, Nigeria, and Japan being racially homogeneous. Apparently all white nations, and […]

Predjudice free means seeing beneath skin

Wendy Fillmore Ithaca, NY I have a beautiful son who has darker skin than myself. He also has a very unusual name which he loves. He has chosen to live on the more “creative” side of life rather than the “wall street” side of life. Perhaps it is where he feels the most acceptance as […]

But your kids won’t be white.

Elizabeth New York, NY This is what a family member said to me upon announcing my engagement to a black man. It was actually more ridiculous because it was framed as a question: “You know your kids won’t be white, right?” Wow, really? Doesn’t bother me but it clearly bothered her… My six words represent […]

You don’t have an accent.

Susan Lee New York, NY On the phone no one can tell I’m Asian-American, but in person I sometimes elicit this response. Because I am Asian, some people expect me to speak with an accent. Once a real estate agent, on the phone, described the neighborhoods she was going to show me. In person, she […]

Ivan Lutcher, my student – 19 – deceased.

Michael Kassin New York, NY Ivan was one young man among many that I taught at St. Anne H.S. in Illinois–40 years ago. But he left the biggest impression. He lived with his grandmother in a trailer. I don’t know where his parents were (I did meet his grandmother, sister and brother). He shuttled between […]

“Black only” programs are racism too.

J Denny Albany, NY Why is it okay for “black only” scholarships, pageants, dating sites, etc.? If “white people” were to do that it would be considered racism/prejudice. How is it different? True equality means everyone plays by the same rules. While we’re at it, lets get rid of affirmative action. The best candidate should […]

My name is Lily, I’m racist

Lily Cohen New York, NY I wasn’t born racist. My parents didn’t raise me to be racist. For the first twelve years of my life I was not racist. It all changed after my parents had to move to a Black area, and I had to attend a Black school. Needless to say, I didn’t […]

“I’m no racist, but THEY all…..”

Lyn M. Anton Buffalo, NY Born in 1954, I grew up in a very small, very white town in the North. Obviously, these were turbulent times in many ways. I believe it was 1959 when the NYS Board of Education sent a young, Black woman to our school district as a speech therapist. Now, amongst […]

No racists here; we are gated.

Peter Goodwin New York, NY We have separated ourselves into separate communities, sometimes with physical gates, often with mental or emotional gates, and so have very little contact with the ‘other’. And we can pretend that that we have no residue of racism in our emotional make-up while never having any contact with people of […]

What if I were born black?

Harriett Fargnoli Rockville Centre, NY It’s so hard some days to make sense of anything. Humanity, not color, should define us. I was born in the Midwest to non-racist parents. I moved East where everything is ethnic.


Lauren L. Long Island, NY I notice that there are an overwhelming number of white people who refuse to accept that they have racial biases. This is certainly NOT the case with every white person out there at all, just to be clear. But when a black person says something about race, they immediately want […]

Cultural Gatekeepers Defile Black People’s Beauty

Deborah Sanders New York, NY Racism has become so deeply ingrained in our culture that we are often only able to recognize the most obvious aggressions. Even when we do recognize it, we often feel helpless to resist its powerful grip on our psyche. I think that much of the obstacles to achieving a post-racial […]

Media Feeds the Frenzy of Racism

Neil Feathers Albany, NY While racism IS alive and kicking in the USA, the Media, in their neverending quest for titillation, feeds and stokes the fires of racism FAR more than simply reporting, or even discouraging racist behaviors. Some media outlets are worse than others at this, but I see it across all demographics of […]

Attorney, Ivy League, still another n*****

Elizabeth Cary New York City, NY I have done everything right in life, yet still I cannot get a cab, people lock their doors and cross the street when they see me coming, I’m stalked by salespeople in stores, I’m “suspicious” when I drive in a nice neighborhood or in a nice car, and my […]

My Daughter, I’m not her nanny

C. Fleming New York, NY I am Jamaican-American (black) and my Fiance is white. Somehow even in a place as mixed as NY people generally assume that I am the nanny since my daughter turned out to be very fair-skinned. I think the thing that saddened me the most is seeing the way that many […]

Prejudice: never genetic, but often inherent.

Cynthia W Kaleh Rochester, NY At a very young age, my first best friend was a black girl who lived on the next block. I was so young that when told she couldn’t come over anymore, I just accepted the statement. Her family eventually moved away and though never consciously forgotten; it was over 30 […]

We are all curious. So what?

Keith Gatling Syracuse, NY I’m black and from New Jersey. At least one of those makes me nosy. Or is “curious” the better word to use? I want to know everything about you. I want to know where you’re from whether that be across town, across the state, across the country, or the other side […]

“Go back where you came from”

Richard Perez Bay Shore, NY I was born in North Kingstown RI and raised in Queens NY. Somehow, because I am Latino I am often not considered “American”. When I was a teen in the 80’s, I was actually told “Go back where you came from” by an Italian about my age at the time. […]

Yes, he is my biological son.

Naomi Raquel Enright Brooklyn, NY My father was Jewish-American of Eastern European ancestry and my mother is from Guayaquil, Ecuador of African, Spanish, and Native American ancestry. I am bilingual, born in La Paz, Bolivia, raised in NYC and a citizen of all three countries. I am now married to an American of Irish and […]

Whites Not Welcome in Compton McDonalds

Bill DelGrosso New York City, NY My first disaster response for FEMA was the recovery from the Rodney King civil unrest in 1992. 4 of us were in Compton for a townhall meeting with the Hon. Mervyn Dymally and stopped at McDonalds. One of my colleagues wanted to “eat in”. We were the only white […]