Curious about differences and common ground

Holly Simons Eugene, OR Since I was very young, I’ve been curious about people’s experiences, lives, ideas, and hopes. It’s what inspires me to travel, read, and continue to learn throughout my life. I’m drawn to find common ground with people who are dramatically different from me. And this old truth guides me: the more […]

I’m not Mexican because I’m brown!

Tammie Cordova Eugene, OR People think because I have olive colored skin, brown eyes, and brown hair that I’m Mexican. Not that there is anything wrong with being Mexican but that is not my ethnicity. I am Navajo, Portuguese, and some Scottish, Irish, and Cherokee and probably some other but I look more Navajo and […]

God has made us all BEAUTIFUL.

Grace Bowling Eugene, OR It’s rough being different. Human nature/society/whatever tells us differences are bad. They truly aren’t and as cheeseball as it sounds, the sooner we start valuing what is inside each other, the better.

Liberal yet never felt at ease.

Susan Eugene, OR After a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable around most people, white or of any race, my face now defaults to a doubtful distrustful set of creases in the presence of strangers. Sometimes I feel like telling the rare black person I see off campus that I’m awkward around everyone, but it’s also true […]

We are all shades of brown.

Paul Ruscher Eugene, OR Explore Identity It is time to ignore appearance…it facilitates judging others. I am a father of 11 including 5 adopted kids and I love them all and wish others did. but my biological kids (Caucasian) have always been more accepted than my darker complected ones (adopted from India and some from […]

Acknowledging whtie privilege — just the start.

Shannon Rose Eugene, OR Explore Identity People have so much baggage about privilege. So often people act as though it’s the end of a conversation. That somehow acknowledging the privilege that comes with just being seen as white means that you didn’t work hard for what you have, or that you don’t deserve it. I […]

You’re White, You Can’t Be Hispanic

Erica Shofner Eugene, OR Explore Identity Being mixed race is a blessing and a curse. I don’t have to deal with the unfortunate social stigma that comes with being Hispanic in America because of my light complexion, but I’m deprived of acceptance by the Hispanic community for the same reason. I thirst to experience that […]

Too white to be Asian, too Asian to be white.

Sara Higgins Eugene, OR Explore Identity “I’m not interested in living in a world where my race is not a part of who I am. I am interested in living in a world were our races, no matter what they are, don’t define our trajectory in life.” – Kerry Washington (Behind the Scenes of Scandal […]

That ghetto “white” girl. Paper minority.

Shaylee Reichardt Portland, OR Growing up in not the nicest of neighborhoods, I was always everybody’s one “white” friend. They didn’t see me for all of my ethnic background. I guess I’m just the white girl who is only a paper minority. They cant see my whole family.

“He’s not really yours, is he?”

Stacey Golden Portland, OR I am Euro-American and my husband is African American. When we decided to adopt children, we adopted children that had bio-parents that were the same race as us, thinking, at the time, that then our children would feel more comfortable in a family that would have been like their bio-family. That […]

I treat blacks differently, with empathy

Liz Nardi Bend, OR I am not the friendliest person, often don’t answer the question “How are you?” when asked by clerks, but if the clerk is black, I am always friendly. I do not want the person to feel slighted, that I was acting out of racism.

My whiteness empowers daily racial blindness

Jim Beaverton, OR As a white man, I am constantly swimming in a sea of racial ignorance. I have the privilege of never having to think of myself as a racial being in this society. I can spend hours, days, weeks, and even months never having to think of myself as a white man. I […]

Conversations about race are existentially dangerous.

Martin MacKenzie Clackamas, OR I think these discussions have become so politically charged that no on can escape danger to one’s job, civil liability, or even in some cases, criminal charges. We even have thought laws now, an issue which was brought up in the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin trial. For those who remain […]

Race must become like eye color.

Shel Cantor Astoria, OR Describe someone. You probably included the color of her eyes. You didn’t ignore her eye color, yet you don’t prejudge her nor treat her differently based on the color of her eyes. Race must become like eye color.

Black leaders belittle their own race

Nancyann Irvin St. Helens, OR I would find it insulting if I were constantly told I was a helpless victim and could not do anything to improve my lot. As a woman I grew up in a time when women did not do certain things because they were incapable. I was not allowed to go […]

What color is THIS one, Daughter?

KT Holbrook-Yanit Eugene, OR What my white father asked because I dated young men of several ethnicities. I have to admit I was sad but relieved when he passed away the year before I married my non-white husband. Now I feel he would have grown up had he gotten the chance to meet his beautiful […]

I am more than a word.

Krislyn Real Beaverton, OR When I was younger race was something to be proud of. I grew up in central California where the Latin-American population is rather high. I was surrounded by my culture. I loved the man who would drive down the street and stop to sell you conchas and tamales – the strawberry […]

You don’t look like a Latina

Marie-Elena Reyes Portland, OR I have been speechless when told this (often by white women). The first time, I was angry and hurt to hear my life and racialized experience in America wiped away by someone trying to make me feel accepted. The most recent time this happened I knew what I wanted to say […]

You didn’t grow up in LA

Eileen Spillman Wilsonville, OR That was the line my husband threw at me whenever we argued about his burgeoning racism. I had grown up in a small lily-white town in Oregon where, he told me, it is easy to love all the races because they aren’t your next-door-neighbors. I hadn’t lived through the LA riots […]

Just Wanna Be A Good Person

Elizabeth Simson Durant Portland, OR Facing race and racism is hard for white people like me because we feel guilty and ashamed. We wish we weren’t racist. We don’t mean to be. “We can’t help it.” It shook me up the day I realized that being “good” i.e. being “innocent” is part of my white […]

I’m glad my children look white

Mark Mott Hillsboro, OR I am an Asian American who grew up in VA, I was called many things and many were not my name. I struggle to this day with my race, I am glad my children will not have to struggle with not being accepted because of skin color like I did.

Ain’t no n***** Santa Claus, kid

Rebecca Lee Hammons Eugene, OR My race card goes out with deepest apologies to and admiration for the nine black students who first integrated the formerly all-white school system in Brookhaven, Mississippi, in 1967 — especially to the youngest of them, a fourth grader whom I taunted with these words. If I could only take […]

Not all whites are “The Man”

Greg Cooper Portland, OR It’s odd to feel almost universally reviled for the past acts of others. Particularly so when I know so many of the historically oppressed who are so much better off than I, through no effort of their own.

Watermelon on black colleague’s desk. 2012!

Anonymous Eugene, OR This was done as a practical joke. The most frequent question I have heard is not about why someone would do this, but how on earth someone could think this was funny. My generation is in their thirties, and living on the West Coast I have sometimes needed to explain the history […]

Don’t know any other black people.

Saidah Tualatin, OR It’s been like this forever. My husband is white. My friends are white. My neighbors are white. My coworkers are white. This never used to bother me. But now it does. How does one start to paint their world in color?

Best friend seventh grade was black.

John Fisher-Smith Ashland, OR . I immigrated from UK in 1939 when I was 12 1/2 years old and entered 7th grade in Huntington Long Island. I was afraid walking miles to school. I was teased a lot and bullied for being different. Sammy, the only black boy in town, was my true friend in […]

He sees color, but I don’t.

Rebecca A Portland, OR But who am I to say he is wrong? My boyfriend is Filipino and I am white. He thinks people judge us for being in a biracial relationship, and I tell him he’s paranoid. When you’ve grown up in an environment where racist acts happen against you like he did, what […]

Jesse Jackson fears black youths: racism?

Michael Trigoboff Tigard, OR Even Jesse Jackson said a few years ago, “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/960318/archive_010008.htm Young black males commit crime way out of proportion to […]

Tonight lets all walk our T.V.

Kimi Corvallis, OR All of us do something that looks suspicious at times, some of us get stopped for it every time other never. Think what would happen if tonight you were walking down the street at dusk carrying a T.V.

Racism, even subtle, still is.

Anonymous OR I’ve found that those who are most dismissive of racism are those least affected by it.  If you don’t think racism still exists then shut up, sit down, and listen.  It is still a factor!