Maurice Kemp, San Antonio, TX. I did not choose my race. No one did. I was born into a world with preconceived notions about my race and others. We all were. I entered a world with plenty of recorded and unrecorded history. We all did. I cannot account for any of the history that predates […]
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 […]
Anonymous Brooklyn, NY I’m not taking on the burden of race anymore. I am who I am, I love myself and that’s it.
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 […]
Keenan Chandler, Atlanta, GA. There are all sorts of birds in the world: big birds, small birds, flightless birds, aquatic birds, birds with wondrously colorful plumage and those with subtle, dull feathers. If we want to appreciate them equally, do we pretend not to see their differences? Do we say the pigeon is the same […]
Leah Hidenfelter, Durham, NH Race is a category made up to discriminate and distinguish against others. This is a false term to describe those from different backgrounds and communities. Society used this false term to create racism is our world today. Racism is real. However, so is love. Love is used around the world to […]
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.
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 […]
Davy Jones, Martinsburg, WV. We are all just 1: HUMAN!
Tony Harris, San Diego, CA.
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.
Mohammad Salem Shirzad, Sacramento, CA. As an afghan immigrant, I have witnessed the roots of race in different geographical and social contexts, from Afghanistan to the United States. It is sad to say that race do matter in today’s societies all over the world. But this is the truth in today’s world. Cosumnes River College
Nayeli G. Velez Los Angeles, CA I didn’t understand how to take this comment growing up. Now, I cringe when people say it. I see now it’s a comment on my race and culture. A racist comment disguised as a complement.
Phil Audibert, Gordonsville, VA.
Lars Engström, Sverige. In the US people share the same language, religion, and culture. So why this race-awareness, to use a less incendiary label? In Sweden the issue is hardly about racism. Those “others” are mostly fresh to this country. I’m just shy of 50. As young, there were no immigrants in my class, none […]
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 […]
Jeff Keever Seattle, WA I just wish people would get out of their minds that the focus on “race” only includes some sort of ethnic identification. When people speak of diversity they should be speaking of all kinds of differences–differences in abilities, sexual preference or identity, religion, or any other sort of differences that may […]
Ryan Mearig, Fountain Valley, CA. School does a great job of giving you the surface level depiction of slavery. It took 22 years to learn that every foreign race was oppressed, and that we thought it was ok.
Henry Lonnemann, San Mateo, CA. The census called in 2010 and asked: “What race is your son?” I said he is not, but if you are curious about his ancestors he is a mix of Korean, Irish, German, Japanese, and probably some french. They then said they would have to mark him as “other”. My […]
Briah Stokes, Baltimore, MD. My race nor sexuality should be an excuse to judge me. At the end of the day, our souls are our substance, our physical beings are just vessels that give our souls a home.
Kristina, Zion, IL. I’m multiracial, which caused an identity crisis in my teens. I was never enough of one race or the other to really fit in with anyone. So, I decided to just be myself. I can love all my ethnicities, and the people who were meant to love me understand that.
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 […]
Graham Davis, Malvern, PA. I am a white Anglo-Saxon protestant male. I am 5’4 with dirty-blond hair. I am a heterosexual. I am no better than anyone. I was created an equal to you. I will die an equal to you. I am proud of my heritage, but it does not define me. I should […]
Tessa Foegelle, College Park, MD. I shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable about talking about race issues just because I am white.
Robert Segalman, Sacramento, CA. People of race have been especially supportive of my efforts to establish a FCC mandated accessible telephone service for people with speech disabilities (see www.speechtospeech.org) . I have significant cerebral palsy (see www.drbobsautobiography.org) and have worked to establish this service. People of color, like Dr. Joel Tolbert at California Public Utilities […]
Toya James, Albuquerque, NM. I am biracial (Black/White) and born in Cleveland in 1959. By “it” I mean race. I thought more people knew race is simply a social construct and that racism was something education erased. I have only recently realized how widespread the buy-in is in American society and that race was invented […]
Erin Yarbrough, Norman, OK. My husband is half black and half Korean. I’m white. Our son is three races, but I hear and fear that others don’t see him as any race. Multi-racial is sometimes a hard way to identify.
Courtney Pearce Bowling Green, OH
Tommy Edward Sarmiento, Columbus, OH. Don’t wash anything, with color, with darkness nor with white light. All human beings have a right to express and interpret and grow within themselves ideas; ideas of love, of what we fear, what makes us think “isn’t that strange?” Freedom and equity should belong to each human. We should […]
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.
Jennifer Ghymn, Wyomissing, PA. The individual filters of race, ethnicity, society and family impact the way we interact and engage with the world to shape a personal cultural identity. I believe people should follow their curiosity, be open to new concepts and challenge themselves by looking at things from a different perspective. Race is a […]
Ernie Hills, Sacramento, CA. “As a young musician growing up in a white bread and mayonnaise world, I revered the recordings of black jazz musicians. This, more than anything else, is responsible for erasing the lingering racial animosity that was part of my family’s unspoken legacy. Thanks for being with us today!”
Molly Dodson, Stillwater, OK.
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 […]
When I entered high school, I quickly learned terms like white privilege, white fragility, and microaggressions, which challenged my identity. While I understood I benefited from white privilege, I did not like the label. Still, the racism embedded in our institutions and the frustrated feelings of my friends motivates me to want to be part […]
Lucy Pipkin, Minneapolis, MN. My own white discomfort is much less painful than continuous microaggressions and real racism faced by my fellow undergrad students who are POC. Let’s talk, and not stop until they feel safe again. We’re all different but need to come together in our communities, as shown by my photo of this […]
Katherine Finn, Virginia Beach, VA. I do not look good for a white girl, or look good because I am white… I am me, and my race does not change or affect that.
Naette Lee, Philadelphia, PA. The nature of humans is that what we see is what matters. What we see has little to do with what is, or what is important. Maybe one day that will change.
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 […]
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 […]
Brian Taylor Carlson, Johnston, IA. Drake University
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 […]
Isabella Thomas, Philadelphia, PA. My name is Isabella Thomas, and I’m a student currently attending Central High School in Philadelphia. The concept of ‘race’, to me has always correlated with ‘color’. Or perhaps an erasure of identity. I am not simply white, just as my peers- my friends- are not simply black, or Asian. I […]
Mahlon Gumbs, Atlanta, GA. What is uhmm… Race is uhmm… The thin line that Blinds us, Confines us, Keeps us at home base. If we cross that line It’s a crime, No matter the time; Society will put us back in our place. But what is uhmm… Race is uhmm… The thing about which we […]
Andi Ray Bartnek, Canada. I grew up in a household with 4 generations of females and have spent my whole life having to justify my name and my sex. Part of me liked being different, the rest of me hated having to argue over who and what I was. That hasn’t changed after 67 years.
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 […]
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.
Mary, Oakland, CA. Wherever I am living in this country also affects my racial/cultural identity.
Richard R Clarke West New York, NJ This is what I see happening to people over and over again, no matter what their race, color or cultural identity.
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 […]
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 […]
Danielle Watson, Las Vegas, NV How awesome. I happened to stumble upon this website today! I place my card and artwork here happily.
Jon Stuckey, Mechanicsburg, PA. I learned my 6 words based on your lovely presentation this evening at Messiah College. Thank you for coming. And thank you for your important work.
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
Ann Evans Larimore, Ann Arbor, MI.
Mattie O’Brien Ann Arbor, MI
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 […]
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 […]
Zizi Greenberg, Los Angeles, CA. Your race is your race, yes. But you are your own person independent of your race -unless you choose to let your path be made for you.
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 […]
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 […]
Yvette Davis, Wayne State, Detroit, MI I believe race is not the issue. I believe the issue is the person true feelings inside. People are taught to be intolerant. Race is just the mask people wear.
Olga Johnson, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Race is becoming more difficult to distinguish according to google, due to intermarriages, travel and better communications between humans on earth.
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.
Aida Verri, New Orleans, LA. You are not ugly, pretty, stupid, smart, strong, weak, violent or calm because of your “race”. Your skin color isn’t your race, isn’t your culture, isn’t your identity.
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 […]
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 […]
Michele Boivin, Buckeye, AZ. Education is power.
Dr. Eric Montgomery, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Until the philosophy which holds one race superior, and another inferior, is finally, and totally, and permanently, abandoned– Everywhere is War (Haile Selaisse and Bob Marley) “War”
Michael Goldberg, Dallas, TX. Race conversations should always be happening no matter your background or skin color. Stop the finger pointing on both sides and start talking to solve the problems.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 – […]
David B. Berenson, Cleveland, OH. All but one person with whom I shared the story of getting “mugged” asked of their race, and it began to pi** me off. I had to find a way to put the whole experience into perspective.
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.
Anna Bell, Newport, KY I encounter so many people who think that because I date outside my race (I am African American and my boyfriend is Caucasian), that I no longer identify with my race.
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 […]
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. […]
Sandra Miller, USA There is only one race – human. I am proud of my Semitic heritage, and I check other.
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 […]
Karina Raymond, Northfield, VT Because race is just a pigment of your skin adapted from evolution it does not and will not ever define who you are as a person so long as you don’t let it.
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.
Paige Nicole Malcuit, Wadsworth, OH.
Marilyn Toby Drucker, Washington Crossing, PA. We are all part of the family on Earth. I do not want race and culture to separate us, but to instead enhance our well being.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Elizabeth Lenz, Rochester, NY. Knowing where I am from, gives me a sense of home even when I am 4000 miles.