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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

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.

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Is Jew a religion or race?

Hannah Herzog St. Louis, MO Guess what? It’s both (sort of). You may be of “Jewish” ethnicity without being of Jewish faith (non practicing), or you may be of Jewish faith, but may be from someplace other than Europe or Israel. Please remember that Jews come in all colors, and of all nationalities. Those descendants […]

Don’t assume- alot you don’t know

Oliver Parr, Tuscaloosa, AL. Being white in the state of Alabama automatically means that most people assume the worst. I was raised in the State of California where race truly is not even a topic of discussion. I grew up not looking at the color of a persons skin but how tough it is. I […]

There are good ones out there

Jeremy J., Denton, TX. I hate when people are talking crap about a race or group of people and they feel like they have to mention “there are good ones out there.” Who do you think you are.

On the internet, nobody has race

Clayton, CA. I spent a lot of my misguided youth playing video games into the late hours of the night. It was how I found solace in times of pain or loneliness. Because you can’t see another person physically when playing games — only their avatar — you really can’t tell what race someone might […]

All races in family equals love

Val Andrew, Overland, MO. My parents taught us early on to accept all people and invited international college students of different races, religions, and nationalities to stay with us during holidays. During the Vietnam War we hosted an AFS student from Vietnam for a year. I grew up a few miles from Ferguson and taught […]

Race should not be that hard.

Gabriel Rouse, Madison, WI. I’ve always felt like race is a simpler issue than we as humans like to make it. Why can’t everybody love everybody? Have you ever seen a real young kid discriminate? The picture is my best friend of all time and I when he visited me this summer; he lives in […]

We are all brothers and sisters

Christina Williams, Aliso Viejo, CA. Race is such as small idea in comparison to bigger ideas like love, togetherness, family, connection and happiness. I wish to raise my children in a world where people are celebrated for ideas and compassion and not for superficial ideas such as skin color and ethnicity. Race is outside of […]

Stop pairing my ancestry with race.

Journey Brown-Saintel, Charlotte, NC. So, just because I’m black it’s okay to assume I’m African-American? Or is just easier? My family comes from Haiti; I’m Caribbean for freak’s sake. But there’s no box for me to check besides the Black/African-American one. Why are you grouping me? Historically, I have more of a connection to France […]

Race is a broken classification matrix.

Rob Bockman, Columbia, SC. Neutrally, “race” is a series of classifications designed to serve as a shortcut. Realistically, it’s a way to ignore, drown out, or cause harm to others. Charitably, it can also be a deep and abiding source of self-awareness and understanding. It’s not inherently negative, but it is, at base, reductive.

Checking OTHER is so liberating and fun

Maggie Martinez, WEST PALM BEACH, FL. When I get the chance to check “other ” on any form it makes me feel as if I am tearing down another little wall and letting the form creators know that I will not be put in a box. Race is fake and constructed to keep people of […]

Doctor asked, “What is your race?”

Leslie Lannan, Cincinnati, OH. It’s amazing how desperate we are in America to racially categorize our citizens based on how they look. My six words are a reference to a recent doctor’s visit. After discussing my ailments and general health, the doctor had one more question for me. “What is your race?” she asked. I […]

Racism: prejudging ANYONE based on race.

Jeff, Arvada, CO. I was raised in a military town with such overwhelming diversity that I didn’t realize race was an issue until I was 12 and went into foster care. Suddenly I was surrounded by a predominantly African-American group that hated me because I was white. Now let me be clear I didn’t assume […]

A mixture that is still white

Sydney Skroch, Minneapolis, MN. I have lived in Minnesota my whole life and my world has opened up extremely slowly to diversity and different cultures. However, learning about the world through the eyes of others has always been super interesting to me, and with every new experience, I feel myself shaping. I am part Italian, […]

Can’t see beyond my white privilege

Jessica, CA. I am a white female living in California with my white family. I grew up in an area where I was one of a few white girls in my school. I made friends of all different races and came to understand the benefits of diversity, however, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. I […]

Not Mexican Looking “You know Spanish!?”

Daisy Reyes, Rialto, CA. Even as a little girl in Mexico I was the “Chinita” (little Chinese). When I came to the U.S., I was either confused with Filipino or just Asian when people couldn’t figure out which race. My now husband, has been confused with a Hindu. We are both Mexican-born. But the thing […]

My wife, not white, changed me.

Frank Siringo, Denver, CO. Marrying someone from a different race has allowed me to see the world through a different lens. It is an enlightening and challenging part of our relationship that continues to provide growth opportunities almost 20 years on.

Three Cultures. Two Races. No Home.

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. As a mixed child, I have never felt at home with any culture. My mother was born in the Philippines and my father was an airman stationed there. They are wonderful parents who are absolutely in love with one another. I am one of three children, the middle child and only […]

One Mirror With Many Different Reflections.

Keith R. Barnes, Colorado Springs, CO. I hear people talking about being a part of a pure race. Race is a distinction placed upon one’s physical and genetic traits most notably skin color. Race is a social construct created to make one category seemingly superior over another. Biologists and anthropologists have discovered race mixing throughout […]

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 […]

Your experience does not invalidate mine

Elya, Chevy Chase, MD. I grew up very privileged, and when I realized that I was being bullied by my white peers because of race, my parents decided that I would no longer be sheltered because of my race. I became very active in my student activism group and because I am mixed, I was […]

We win by perpetuating race consciousness?

Devon Hughes, Los Angeles, CA. I used to assume NOTHING about someone because of their race – zero. Nowadays, I can’t but help assume someone of a certain shade past mine holds a grudge, carries a judgement, expects special treatment. What happened?? I don’t like feeling this way at all. I am truly starting to […]

Learned about race FEAR at 13.

Jay Bailinson Napa, CA In lived in Oakland CA. during preteen and early teen years. I belonged to a Boys Club sponsored by the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Oakland’s China town area. I played on sport teams in a church leagues sponsored by this church. I was one of two white boys on the team […]

What race are you? JUST HUMAN!

Mika Derifield, Wadsworth, OH. It’s so sad that we live in a world that requires labels. Applying for a job, home, or even a social media account? In the first few questions you will be asked race, gender, age? WHY? I AM JUST A HUMAN.. aren’t we all?

Not a Race, Still a Human

Cameron Warren, Downingtown, PA. I’m a very Irish child, and being proud of that has always been hard due to the fact I have red hair and freckles. While most say, “oh but you’re white, whats the problem” the problem is just that. I have been bullied and teased almost my whole life and not […]

Many mistakes from people my race

Cole, St Paul, MN. My people have believed they are superior for as long as I’ve known. Not only is it frustrating that my race fails to see others as equal but the fact that even after all my people have done they still can’t see how they’ve impacted the lives of other races. Seeing […]