Garrett, Beaverton, OR. Most people label me as a “rich white boy”. That’s the complete opposite. I grew up in poverty. My Mom made less than $10,000 a year when I was a kid. She raised me all by herself. She had zero assistance from the government and now I’m going to be a college […]
Robert Whitsell, Coos Bay, OR I am very white with a little Native, but I have never allowed that to define me. I ask before I assume. In my experience, it is cultures that create conflict, not race. People fear what they do not understand. I have dear friends in every race and most cultures […]
Julia Rivers, Milwaukie, OR. As a high school student dependent on scholarships in order to attend college and reach my goals of a much higher level of education, every day I am consumed by the thought of how I can make myself stand out. What will make the people in charge want to give me […]
Jennifer Meyer Eugene, OR
N. Blandis, Portland, OR. I am a second generation American born of Greek parents. My father’s birth certificate in Los Angeles California in 1921 listed his race as GREEK. His place of birth was listed as Stork NEST , meaning at home. I have never classified myself as WHITE. I have ethnic features and the […]
Edward Hershey, Portland, OR. My mom, a Stevenson Democrat, and I were walking home from the subway in Brooklyn ca. 1955 when she spotted a man of color outside the apartment house adjacent to ours.
Steffen Estrada Portland, OR I was 13 years old when I heard Dr. King’s August 1963 speech and it hit me like a brick. From then on I saw the world (and the world of my black friends) through a different lens. Thank you so much Michele for your wonderful reporting and this opportunity for […]
Mary Jo Nash, Oakland, CA The one connection we all have is that we are human. I am lucky because when I was pretty young I was put in a group where I was the minority and I think in a small way that changed my perspective in life. I grew up in Portland, Oregon […]
Grant Starr, Gladstone, OR
Erika Ortiz Alvarez, Woodburn, OR
Annie Rosen Portland, OR Manager for Women’s Winter Shelter (Transition Project)
Shoshana Snyder, Eugene, OR.
Allen Nunez Wickham, Molalla, OR. I remember being asked by my mom at 5 years old if I wanted to learn Spanish., and replying that I didn’t want to. Only later did I realize later that people actually grew up speaking Spanish and English, and my dad’s inability to speak Spanish has greatly impacted my […]
Nancy Clark Wilsonville, OR Denmark is black, he has been married to my niece for 24 years and I love him more than I can express. He has always been part of my heart, I can ‘t image life with out him there.
Chad Beauvais, Bend, OR. You are exactly right for sharing your real story. Many people feel the same way as you do and have similar experiences. I was told that there was no financial aid for me because I was predominantly white (even though I had the grades and financial need to qualify), so I […]
Mariel Joana Alvarado, Portland, OR.
Tony Reyes, Portland, OR. I’m half Latino. My mother is a white, evangelical, conservative. I came home the night Obama was re-elected and asked if she had heard the results. The above statement was how she very bitterly responded. Apparently people of color aren’t intellectually capable of choosing a president on the basis of anything […]
Brian Chapman Portland, OR I discovered, in my 40s, that my ethnicity and my ancestry were not what I had been led to believe. For mysterious reasons (anti-Semitism) my father concocted a fictional back story that became how my brothers and I viewed ourselves. Now, with knowledge of a different cultural identity but absolutely no […]
Serena Serrano, Eugene, OR. I grew up in a hispanic house hold and I remember whenever someone would ask me what my name was and I would reply. But when I would tell them my name they would stare for a second at me then my mom and say “oh like the tennis player,” …no […]
Mandy P, Sacramento, CA. When I was 7 years old we moved to Sacramento from Oregon. The culture and diversity is very in California than in Oregon. Moving to California exposed me to many other races and cultures. I saw many other races in my environment. Although in my neighborhood, where I lived and attended […]
Luc Charwin Salem, OR It may be trite and unoriginal to use someone else’s words. However, the lyrics of that song brought this topic into focus for me. In grade school a friend’s father did not allow David and I to share the experience of a week-long school camping trip. David was one of several […]
Andrea Sigetich, Bend, OR. I know much about privilege, having done diversity work in major high technology corporations. The important word in my essay is “occasionally.” I give back, I do my share, I work for the betterment of life’s circumstances for those less privileged than me. However, I can go home to my nice […]
Jaime Phelps, Philomath, OR. This is a great idea. Thanks for your efforts.
Erica Jameson, Ashland, OR. My parents adopted five muti-racial children, something unheard of in the rural mountain town we lived in. Between being confused about being different, to occasional thoughtless racism, the line “You can pass [for white]” still makes me uneasy. Does this mean that I should want to? I still don’t know.
Ted Mittelstaedt, Portland, OR. I was born in 1966 and by age 13 I knew how to solder and by age 15 I was building electronic devices from schematics. By age 20 I had taken apart and put back together several different kinds of computers and written code in assembly language. I also have a […]
Meredith Taggart, Portland, OR. I’m Italian and Scottish and otherwise a European mutt. I’m generally considered “white,” and look ambiguously ethnic. For me, the idea of race is all about a longing for a greater connection to my heritage. I never feel more connected than when making pasta. Learning the language, visiting Italy, making/eating Italian […]
Kelsey Connolly, Wilsonville, OR. “Think Grace, Act Grace, Teach Grace” I have always been a learner at heart, but not necessarily an excellent student. In school, I learned best by looking at examples and modifying the results with my own knowledge, and that worked out very well for me… up until I left my little […]
Rena Joy Dunbar, Eugene, OR. Our Black and White bi-racial identity was questioned even before we emerged from the womb. What ‘race’ would we turn out to be? Which ‘race’ would we choose? These questions and the dual nature of our identities continue to challenge perceptions.
Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”
Anil Oommen Eugene, OR University of Oregon I am brown, a Malayalee, a person of Indian descent in a primarily white setting. This is often awkward. It is not unusual for me to feel like a misplaced comma, in the fluid sentences of white experience. Only when I limit what I say and refrain from […]
Renu Gehring Portland, OR I am an ethnically Indian woman married to a white man. Our two kids are a happy blend of brown and white. We live in a community that has a large number of recent Indian immigrants. I am surprised by their reaction when they see me with my children. When they […]
Rebecca Hammons, Eugene, OR.
Victoria, Salem, OR. As a biracial person, people often ask me, “what ethnicity are you?” – aka what race can I define you as? People who first meet me will ask me this question without ever asking for my name. They seem to only care about what I am not who I am. However, I […]
Pamela Russell Bejerano, Portland, OR. As a white girl growing up, I always felt I had no culture. As an adult, I realized that what I was seeking was a racial identity. But I am discovering daily that this racial identity is not just Scottish and Norwegian, but part of a society that unfairly awards […]
TR Kelley Swisshome, OR “White trash” is a hip cultural joke. “N*****” is “hate speech”. Why?
Chuck, Portland, OR. It’s that look. The look I’ve seen all my life. Like you just found a gross bug in your house that you don’t want to deal with. I don’t think that the look is intentional but it’s the first thing I see when you see me, and I immediately know that you’ve […]
Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]
Kehaulani H. Minzghor, Portland, OR.
Carly Mayer, Portland, OR. Often I hear white people say that they are not privileged because they aren’t wealthy, or because they aren’t straight, etc. But white people have a privilege that most of us are unaware of. We don’t get pulled aside at airports or pulled over by police officers or verbally assaulted solely […]
Isabella Garcia, Portland, OR.
Claire Olson, Portland, OR.
Amber A., Clatskanie, OR. No more words are needed.
Karisa Boyce, Corvallis, OR.
Shasta Prunk, Albany, OR.
Ann Lee Adams, Corvallis, OR. My father was part Cherokee. But we were raised white. So I don’t know what to feel…or be.
Stephanie McCleery, Portland, OR. Adopted at birth, assumed white, found out 1/4 Cherokee at age 40 when found by birth mother.
Anthony Whittum, Portland, OR. As I get older (56) racism seems more prevalent or at least more “advertised” by those that hold racist beliefs. Or perhaps as my childhood, young man-hood and middle age fade into the rear view mirror my awareness of all things grows. It seems that racists are most often categorized as […]
Jim Solomita, Portland, OR. Enslavement is one of the most evil things a human can do to another. However, no one likes to think of themselves as evil. Therefore, the slave owners needed a way to justify what they were doing. Their solution was to consider Africans as less-than humans – tantamount to animals. Then […]
Lucy Jones, Portland, OR. I am 32 years old and white. I have had social anxiety all of my life. As a child, I was around black people often and I was comfortable, but quiet because of my anxiety disorder. This changed in college. I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southern […]
Matt, Portland, OR. Lately I’ve seen people of all races attack and belittle white people. Everyone complains about how whites are so racist, but where I come from everyone except white people are treated equally. We constantly get ridiculed for something our generation has no part of. We get made out to be the bad […]
Anne Bressler, Redmond, OR.
Madison, Philomath, OR. Heard this question during a fellow Native student’s thesis defense about her work with increasing Native student retention in k-12 programs.
Rhonda Carr, Tigard, OR. Thank you for encouraging dialogue on the difficult subject of race.
Mary Thompson Happy Valley, OR I heard this from first and second grade teachers. White women. I was proud to be Native American, but in their “kindness” they let me know I was not okay. Was the 1960’s.
Kole Myrick, Portland, OR. As a trans man I often feel very marginalized, but when you look at it based solely on race, I have an incredible amount of privilege. Because of these intersections it is up to me, and other white trans folks, to help bring up trans people of color. We are all […]
Nicole Last, Oregon City, OR.
Erika Peterson, Eugene, OR. Systemic racism and socialization feel so deeply seeded in our society that it makes me feel like there is nothing we can do as individuals, or even as a group, to ever overcome it.
Anonymous, Portland, OR. Honestly, the change had to come from within. I grew up in a very white area and my parents were raised in a way that was unacceptable and I had to change myself and their views. So I say, it comes from within because if you truly believe things should change, it’s […]
Hyosim Nancy Collins, Beaverton, OR. My middle name is Nancy. I was born in South Korea and arrived in the United States when I was 4 years old with my Korean family. Soon after we arrived in California, my father decided we should all have “American” names. When I became a Naturalized Citizen at the […]
Coco Smith Salem, OR A phenotype is not a race. There is only one human race. What people are calling race, is actually ethnicity. That is a cultural binding construct. It is that diversity that makes the world an interesting place. Without it, none of us would be here.
Annabelle Peoples, Eugene, OR.
Hyung Nam Portland, OR Melting pot was for the construction of whiteness
Brock Townsend, Eugene, OR.
Susan, Portland, OR. DNA vs love. DNA wins.
Kim Hollins, Portland, OR. It’s all about who you are and not what you look like in my book. A person’s character can greatly affect one’s perception of an individual as well as racial groups they may be a part of. What you say and do contributes to racial stereotypes and adversity way beyond the […]
Shannon Harris, Ashland, OR. We need to open up the idea of what it means to be “American.” American is all of us and all of the different ways that we experience this country.
Doey Cushman, Portland, OR. So I am of mixed race Chinook Indian and northern European. Many times white people forget and will talk about natives catch themselves and then say they don’t mean me. This has happened many times over the years even coming from my own relatives. My own children and grandchildren are very […]
Jean-Luc LaCosse, Corvallis, OR.
Elijah Hannigan, Eugene, OR. My family was one the first clans in Ireland the O’Hannegans
Sonoki Laursen Eugene, OR The University of Oregon
Finn Hurtado, Eugene, OR. I am biracial, half Mexican and half white. I don’t have a racial group I identify with or feel proud to be a part of. However I do feel a sense of community with the local car scene. I own my dream car, it is my prize possession. Thus these six […]
Guadalupe Mitchell, Damascus, OR. Growing up, most people just saw a little brown Mexican girl. I remember when entered the second grade and my family had a moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, I was placed in an ESL classroom. My classmates made fun of me because my Spanish was not very good. After struggling […]
Jazzmyn Kanoelani Baisa, Tigard, OR.
Trenton Bradshaw, Central Point, OR.
Liam Flynn, Corvallis, OR.
Marlee Chamberlain, Eugene, OR.
Winslow Parker Portland, OR Back story: She was from upstate New York, I from San Diego; both of us from snow-white neighborhoods. It was 1971. Grey-brown smoke on the the northern horizon still lingered in my mind; Watts burning. We moved into the thin white line on the eastern edge of the Grand Concourse young, […]
Ivy, Salem, OR. It’s sad, because I thought for the longest time that race doesn’t matter. At least in my household it doesn’t. I was brought up by white parents who taught me that our skin colors didn’t define us. Our family was a family no matter our racial differences. Yet, when I stepped outside […]
Lisa Gardner, Portland, OR.
Sue Ann Higgens, Portland, OR. For me, White Privilege operates as unearned advantage, kind of like in the Monopoly game, where you get paid simply for showing up. I was pulled over by a police officer for the first time ever for speeding (which I do daily) the day after I turned 50. And I […]
Kevin Grumbles, Springfield, OR. I am a 30 year old white male, no one cares if I succeed or fail because there are thousands more just like me. My struggles are forgotten, no one cares about my demographic.
Randa New, Hillsboro, OR. While passing blacks walking on the sidewalk black adult looks away while their child will smile back at me. How can I connect with them when they look away?
Alicia Nichols, Salem, OR.
Maddie Cleaver, Salem, OR. Trying to undo some damage!
Ellison Weist Portland, OR I grew up in the Deep South, the white child of parents who championed Civil Rights in the 1960s. Yet it’s this story from my elderly Portland, OR neighbor that speaks volumes to me about race and forgiveness.
Krista Chronister Eugene, OR
Elysia, Portland, OR. We are expecting our first child in December 2015.
Colby Finch, Eugene, OR. Im Colby Finch, 16 yrs old. I grew up in foster care, and in the system, I met a lot of people who were colored. I made a connection with another youth. His name was Devonte, and my foster parents at the time were uneasy about people of color. I brought […]
David Brady, Portland, OR. Travel to see new cultures and experiences? I do. But, we can experience the richness of culture here if we look past appearance. Listen, let others’ stories speak.
Alli Minch, Veneta, OR. When we still lived in California and my biracial twins were very young, a woman stopped me in the store to comment on how cute they were, and asked me where I got them from, since she was interested in adopting. They’re my children, not a designer handbag you can order […]
Aaron Duran, Portland, OR. I’m of mixed heritage, being Mexican and Italian. However, I more closely identify with my Mexican heritage due to closeness of family and family history. Still, growing up in a small, farm and ranching based town, I found myself often downplaying my Mexican side. Even going so far, as a kid, […]