Which category do I belong to?

Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]

Why didn’t we talk about this?

Madison Martin, Ewing, NJ. Growing up in a predominantly white town, race was not a topic of much discussion in the classroom. My parents were good role models to me and my brother and did not hide us from the world outside the “bubble” of our town, but the rest of my town seemed to […]

Do you worry she’ll bomb you?

Abbey Gammill, Lawton, Ok. Im am from the south, and I have grown up listening to elders make racist comments. My mom and dad raised my brother and I to believe that everyone is equal. I never really had a personal encounter with a race issue until I moved into college. My roommates name is […]

I’m just stuck in the middle.

Alexis Berry, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Being Biracial is really a challenge. Being half black and half Arabic makes me feel like I belong to neither race. Many people look to their own race as somewhere they belong, but it’s the opposite for me. Since I’ve been young each race makes me feel like I’m […]

We’re one people on one planet.

Jedd Birkner, Torrance, CA. Race is a social construct. Prejudice is a way of expressing ignorance and fear. Senseless hatred is passed from generation to generation. I pray that the people in my country with hatred in their hearts for those they perceive as “the other” become a smaller and smaller minority with each generation. […]

I’m white my daughter is black

Jennifer Berkemeier, Farmington Hills, MI. I’m a single mom. I adopted my daughter from Haiti in 2012 when she was 4 years old. I’m white, and 15 years older than most of her friends’ moms. We get a lot of stares and unwelcome comments from little kids (“Is she your grandma?” “How come you’re different […]

You’re Guamanian? You’re whiter than me!”

All my life, people have mistaken me for “races” that I am not: Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Indian, Brazilian. I was always flattered because I thought this meant I looked exotic and “different,” I wanted to look different. I didn’t want to look “haole,” our stolen Hawaiian word for “white.” That’s when I uncovered the implicit […]

Because I married a white man

Patricia Osborn Grand Rapids, MI People are always surprised when they see me. My last name doesn’t. “match” how I look. Although my parents are awesome and didn’t think twice about any of their children’s spouses race , my aunts and uncles made so many comments ranging from me not wanting to be a true […]

When did borders start defining ‘race’?

Sarah Naomi Burnett, Norristown, PA. Being a ‘white’ girl raised on the border of Mexico the ‘race-card’ issue was raised daily. I always felt that if I was a color, and they were a nationality, those two identifiers didn’t quantify either of us equally. I had a culture at home that was Irish/Italian but where […]

My Mexicanness doesn’t tell my narrative

Arely Herrera, Memphis, TN One of my professors of the “(De)constructing Race in America” course I am currently taken has embedded the importance of having your own “narrative” in my mind. Now, for me, it is always important to look at the history and re-write what my race means to me. “Mexican” doesn’t completely describe […]

Lost in race as a mixed kid

Ninasophia Stowe, Riverside, CA I am mixed with Black, German and Mexican. Growing up I was very confused about what it meant to be mixed. I didn’t feel fully accepted by the Black community because I didn’t have enough black features, was called the “black friend” around white people and didn’t speak Spanish so felt […]

Trying to Navigate, Willing to Fight

Donna Scott, Seattle, WA. I’m passionate about social justice, but I sense the amount of space that I take up, as a white person. I noticed race early on (I’m thinking I noticed it in Kindergarten, I was one of two white kids at my school of ~300) and I’ve been trying my best to […]

Race- term that now ruins America

Steven Jones, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Race is a word. Since its a word, it can be used in different ways. Currently, race is widely (not only) used to express differences resulting in the lack of continuity among people.

See my humanity first, race second.

Sylvia Stancil, Wayne State, MI While I will concede that these mere six words may represent an oversimplification to addressing extremely complex issues, recognizing the humanity first in anyone is a good foundation upon which to build open and honest dialogue. There is a thread of commonality that should serve to bind us provided one […]

There’s no finish line to color

Omar, USA Race has two meanings, and both can haunt us. The color of our skin, hair, eyes, etc.. or the delirious desire to be the fastest, the strongest, to win the race. They’ve always been intertwined. Well, as we know now, those division lines of color, or those finish lines of race-tracks are very […]

We All Deserve Better Than This

Matthew Wisotsky, Wayne State, Detroit, MI It’s 2018. LEADERSHIP is failing us. WE are failing us. We’re still going to war oversees and in our own streets over things that we’ve already gone to war for oversees and in our own streets. The nightly news highlights our setbacks. Leaving the last 30 seconds of the […]

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 […]

Black Vietnamese. Speak spanish. Eat rice.

Hao Nguyen, Durham, NC. I wanted to say… Black Vietnamese. Speak english, spanish, vietnamese. Eat suong kho, pho, and corn dogs. Words that describe my mixed race/heritage children. Having to choose only 6 words, I had to put them in order of words that most describe them. Having to choose what comes first — black […]

But where are you really from?

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]

Asian Americans, we the ultimate invisibles

The Invisible, USA While the media strive to be politically correct about every other race and ethnic group in America, somehow Asians, esp. Chinese Americans, seem to be the forgotten (and often bullied and ridiculed) race. In a country where people are “outraged” just about everything, nobody (outside of the Asian community) says anything about […]

Like looking through a semi-opaque window.

Tony, Chicago, IL. I chose these six words because when it comes to race, it is like we are looking at each other through a semi-opaque window that shows an image without great detail. We use our own experiences and bias to fill out the missing detail.

Tribalism is more divisive than race.

Elias Jones, Charlottesville, VA. It is tribalism that leads to assumptions both affirming (they are like me, they accept me, I am safe with them) and disruptive (they don’t like us, we don’t trust them, they are different). Tribalism perpetuates white privilege, empowers classism – which is informed and compounded by racism and sexism – […]

Invisible to the census but here

Grsteena Khoshaba, Warren, MI. I am a Middle Eastern girl and I just have one question. Where am I? Why is it whenever I have to fill out an official document that asks for my race, Middle Eastern is not an option? We are forced to bubble “White” when we’re not really white.

Oceanic? I’ve NEVER heard of that.

Lee, Saipan, MP. Oceania is the proper geographical name of a defined region, as are North America, Europe, Asia, etc. People are Native American, European, Asian… I am, among other things, Oceanic or Oceanian; a person descended from ancestors from Oceania. Specifically, Micronesia. The term “pacific islander” as a racial category is an oddity that […]

A border town taught me understanding

Christian Diego Cintron, El Paso, TX. Culture and race should be celebrated. Growing up in a border town taught me people are different and we should all be understanding. I am Hispanic and I love my culture and the way it blends with all the other cultures.

Race doesn’t define how you act

Ethan Flechner, Milwaukee, WI I’m a white man and I act very differently then most white people I see in stories and on the news. I act differently then most people I see. My race doesn’t automatically mean that I’m going to be formal or what white people are generically showed as. Throughout your life […]

Race brings pride, but also shame.

Will Mortenson, Minneapolis, MN. I am proud of my roots and my family, but I often feel shame when I think about the wrongs that so many white men have committed. There are too many white men who have thought and still think in such derogatory and discriminatory ways that I simply don’t agree with. […]

I’m sorry I’m staring at you.

Jessica Flake, Amelia, OH I work as a demo’s assistant at an international grocery store which will not be named for advertising purposes. Being in Demo’s means I make samples for people to try of various products that we want to sell. I have been called various ‘slurs’ by some people of color in the […]

White privilege makes me feel sickened.

Jaime Misky, Milwaukee, WI I chose these six words because they have been a harsh reality I have learned as I grew up. From K4-5th grade, I went to a school in which I was very much a minority. Though many teachers were white and there were classmates who shared the same skin color, most […]

Discuss race fearlessly to unite people

Susana Gluck, Minneapolis, MN. There has to be open and sincere talk about race, our perceptions and preconceptions. Each group has to be able to hear the goods and bads we perceive about each other to find common and higher ground and an acceptance of our shared humanity. We can be critical but also loving.

Indian who was clueless about race

Charuta Apte, Sammamish, WA. I am an Indian, and teach in a under-served community in a school which is equally white, black and hispanic. In the beginning, it was a recipe for disaster. Now, it feels empowering. Just last week, I had a few student accuse me of going easy on a girl who they […]

My race isn’t who I am

Jackson R Barnes, Ferrum, VA. My race/ ethnicity hasn’t effected me in the slightest. I have not been discriminated against or any other of these ill circumstances that I hear others go through. Perhaps I am sheltered or maybe I am blind, but in a case such as this maybe it is better to be […]

I’m seventy two, and race tired!

Celeste Havis, Jacksonville, FL. Science and religion alike informs us that the concept of race is an illusion. Why do we continue to hang on to this antiquated concept when it only serves to divide us? I have dedicated my life to building positive human relations and now it appears to me that we are […]

Identity is the root of suffering

Scotty, Detroit, MI. Race is real. Sometimes, it is also necessary to play the role we are born into. Most of the time, however, we don’t need to look at the world through a racial lens. This causes judgement and suffering because of who we take ourselves to be. What you see, you cannot be. […]

Race is nothing. Culture is everything.

Donna Southwood-Smith, USA. Yes, yes, I understand that what people see, affects what they think. I get historical baggage … I am from Jamaica, travel much, and have been mistaken for a ‘local’ in about ten other countries. Why? I am certainly part of the African diaspora, but like many Jamaicans, have mixed ancestry. My […]

Just call me a human being

Lily Campbell, San Francisco, CA. I am a Freshman in Highschool, and for the past month, my religious studies teacher has been teaching us what the meaning of race is. Race is a category that humans have created to tell each other apart from one another, but we are all apart of one race, the […]

Drawl big words. They are surprised.

Roy Turrentine, Normandy, TN. Race is actually just a part of our natural xenophobia. Over the course of being a southerner rooted in agrarian dialects and educated among those from all across the country, I have experienced genuine surprise on the part of some when they realize I can speak with a drawl and still […]

Trust me, I’m not a stereotype.

Jazmine McKinney, Winter Garden, FL. Yes, I am black. No I am not angry. I actually smile all the time, and I get odd looks because of it. I guess I don’t act like people think black girls should act? Yes, I love Disney. I honestly don’t like rap music all that much. I love […]

God created race people created racism

Eric Evans, Tarboro, NC. Our God-given differences are meant to be appreciated not to keep us separated. As a Native American man I live in a world that doesn’t know what to think of me outside of a reservation or the pages of a history book.

Race is history, embrace our species.

Daniel Sconce, Wenatchee, WA. Imagine you are blind and visiting another country. Imagine you don’t know the language and have none of the currency. Would race matter? What would you do with your judgments and assumptions?

Just call me a human being

Rocio Tapia, Forest Park, GA. Being from Mexico, I do not have any sense of race. I know what I am and do not identify with any of the categories listed when I am asked about my race or ethnicity, so I often leave it blank or choose “Other” if I am pressed to select […]

People never guess my race correctly

Lara Jean DeShayes, Oakland, CA. I was born in Olongapo Philippines to a Filipina mom and French-American Naval seaman. In Oakland, I’m often assumed to be Latina or Hispanic but as I’ve travelled around the world, people often mistaken me for someone of their own race: Turkish in Istanbul, Greek in Athens, Italian in Naples, […]

Race is a story we tell

Charles McCoy, Los Gatos, CA. I grew up being steeped in the folklore of Irish and Italian cultural heritage, thinking I was “half Irish”and “half Italian” and listening to my grandmother crowing about only being Toscana and speaking Toscana ( the received Italian dialect). As I did my DNA testing, I discovered that I am […]

What You See Is Not Complete

Erica Flores, Dallas, TX. I am often mistaken for something I am not. Most times I am unable to offer clarity on my behalf and am left with the, often wrong, label I was given. My ethnicity, race, education and social status are most often incorrectly judged by others; usually not in my favor.

Stuck between two races..fitting neither.

Margaret Hayes, Bartow, FL. I am mostly White on my mother’s side. Her family is all Southern. I do not look anything like them nor was I raised in the South so I don’t always think or act like they do. I am Native American on my father’s side. I definitely look much more like […]

Yes I’m Black, but not angry

Ellise, Riverside, CA. My race is not what you see, It is what I feel. Do not let your stereotypes fool you, I am happy, beautiful, and peaceful about who I am. I use to be angry with who I was. I have been told “I was pretty for a black girl” all my life. […]

“Why don’t you like me?”

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 […]

We are treated how we look.

Kimberly Dorsey, Detroit, MI. I am bi-racial and have been raised in a white family inside Detroit. I have suffered many racially motivated injustices in my travels and it makes me angry when people pretend race doesn’t matter. It matters when you are the one being discriminated against.

Race in America, what a mess.

Ellen Finch, San Jose, CA. My heart breaks for those with skin of the “wrong” color who are treated so poorly in so many ways. And my heart breaks that so many people of the “right” color inflict it–whether it’s deliberate or simply from subconscious cultural bias. I thought we’d have made so much more […]

My DNA can’t recall my RACE!?

Mckenzie C, Sacramento, CA. Science tells us that race cannot be found in our DNA. There is not one person that could find out about an individuals race based solely on DNA, because it is simply not there. The cool thing about this; DNA is the one and only thing that contains our whole genetic […]

Don’t Classify Sports for a Race

Jaer Medina, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI Tennis has been considered a “white” people sport the same as how soccer is a “Mexican” sport. Another stereotype would be if I said all black people are good at basketball. My friend has told me why are you playing tennis? Mexicans don’t play […]

She gave the eraser back.

Harry Ford, Minneapolis, MN. Race is a difficult subject given the large amount of pain many people of color have experienced related to race within this American landscape. We are people in pain hoping that our contributions will be seen by the others.

I am not the exchange student.

Mellini Kantayya, Brooklyn, NY. I am an actor and writer who currently has a book out (humor essays) about the entertainment industry. I include a chapter about race, and there are many many six word race cards I could have created. But being mistaken for the exchange student and many other like encounters are what […]

AMERICAN DISGRACE: SLAVERY? GENOCIDE, AMERICAN INDIAN

John Austin, Park Hill, OK. We always seem to begin every discussion of race and race relations in America with some mention or reference to the enslavement of black Africans. Their import to the mainland U.S. to be used as draft animals in a “White” America. To say, a sad, disgusting, devastating, illicit event in […]

Last Black Man Standing In SanFrancisco

Stephen Grove Malloy, San Francisco, CA. Would love to contribute my experience here in the Nation’s Wealthiest and Progressive City…one would think it were Shangrila when in fact it has been the most negative “race” based experience I’ve encountered in my 55 years of African-American Life in these United States.

Your color doesn’t make you better.

Sasha Dee, Richmond, VA. It drives me crazy that people think something as arbitrary as the color of their skin makes them inherently worth more than someone else. Your skin color should be the least of the things about yourself that give you self worth. Be kind. Be generous. Be a good person. Be proud […]

Race: no reason to be afraid.

Sam Kadish, Newton, MA. Race is incredibly important to our history. It should be a sidebar in our future. America is the great melting pot; too many people have stopped being proud of that. Race should add color to life; it should add life to culture. America will eventually fail if race remains the first […]

You Don’t Want An Honest Conversation

Sarah Carneal, Centreville, VA. We cannot have an honest conversation about race in this country. It is a fact that white people who bring it up will be called racist before the conversation even becomes honest. Benign things such as, “Where are you from?” are now seen as pejorative questions. It seems apparent to so […]

Neither This or That, but Also

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.

We are not what we were

Kellianne Murtha, Chesapeake, VA. Times have changed, people have changed so why is “race” still thought to be an ongoing problem? We are no longer who our ancestors were and we no longer believe all of which they did. Race should not be a problem and should not be a deciding factor for things, such […]

We Created Race, Then Change It

Brent Vuglar, Houghton, MI. Just like any controversial subject where people do not see eye to eye, people tend to be close-minded to others opinions. This development of tension plants a seed of anger to one another. I myself grew up in a not so very diverse suburb, and when I was younger I believed […]