Sometimes we should just listen quietly.

Lucas Sullivan, Christiansburg, VA Michele’s presentation on the Race Card Project had me in a tizzy for days thinking of what I could say. What could my impact be? As a white cishet male in America I have loads of built in privileges. If the only voice that gets heard is mine I will be […]

When did “enunciating” mean “sounding white?”

Skye Carr, Virginia Beach, VA. Throughout middle school and high school, people used to always call me an “Oreo” because I was one of the few black students in my class that spoke properly and enunciated my words. I’m curious when enunciating became something that only white people did.

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 – […]

All are precious in His sight.

Mary Haak, Orlean, VA I think we (white folks) must be afraid we’re going to be treated as poorly as we’ve treated everyone else once we’re no longer the majority. What I’ve seen from folks, regardless of color, religious affiliation, ethnicity or any other category, is that everyone just want to be treated with dignity […]

But Black Mental Health Matters Too. . .

Drew Ferebee, Norfolk, VA What are some character traits you think of when someone ask you to describe a black man? Whats the first thoughts that pops into your head when you think of a black woman? Strong. “He was a strong, easy going black man.” “Behind every man is a strong black woman.” For […]

Andes shadows follow me, no Quechua.

Carmen Mendoza Tintaya, Arlington, VA. My parents are from a remote village in Arequipa Peru, where only until 2006 accessible roads were built. Now with both my parents gone, I find myself looking for my identity and looking towards that little village. I haven’t made the trip yet. I moved to the US when I […]

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 […]

Out of Appalachia, into the world

Katie Pickard Fawcett, McLean, VA. Grew up in Eastern Kentucky in a county that is in the bottom 5% economically in the country. I have done social work in Appalachia, tutored students for SAT prep in VA, worked at the World Bank for 10 years, and am the author of To Come and Go Like […]

Meet My WHITE AFRICAN AMERICAN Son

Janice Davidsson, Norfolk, VA. You can’t help who you fall in love with and this American girl fell in love with an African boy. So that makes our son African American. Here’s the catch that a lot of people have an issue with… He’s white. He has blonde hair and blue green eyes and is […]

Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

Your fear is not my fault.

Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.

White, Black, Brown should not matter.

Jonathan Bennett, Forest, VA. The only problem is it does and to too many. America, the America I grew up in, was described as a melting pot where diversity was supposedly celebrated. Now I see that there was always a thin veneer of racism strewn throughout my childhood that still persists today, especially with this […]

Black culture is alien to whites

Jane Levin, Charlottesville, VA. There’s a fantastic scene in the film, An American Werewolf in London, where the American backpackers go into a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb. They are so uncomfortable because they are so out of place and completely clueless about the local culture. To say they feel conspicuous and uncomfortable is an […]

To belong everywhere and nowhere simultaneously

Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]

Scared that we are not enough

Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.

Even with diversity there’s White supremacy

Mike R., Midlothian, VA. My six words reflect the reality that even with the increasing diversity in the U.S. and the increased interactions across racial and ethnic lines, White supremacy still exists. I think many people naively assume that the increasing diversity will solve our racial problems. However, racial segregation still exists, under investment in […]

We’ll stand up for each other

Susan H Berger, Portsmouth, VA. I am a proud Unitarian Universalist of Jewish decent. If we don’t stand up for each other who will stand up for us in this world. UU’s and others hid Jews in WWII. I am a member of our Racial Justice Task Force. “Black Lives Matter.”

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 […]

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 […]

Two Arms, Two Legs, One Head.

Latoya Baerlocher-Turner, Newport News, VA. It’s fun watching people attempt to imagine my face from my name. My first name is notably of African American origin, but my last name tells a different story, so people don’t know what to expect. And it’s always the same vice versa when people who’ve met me, learn my […]

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 […]

I have been around the world

Mike Snow Spotsylvania, VA I have listened to the Race Card Project for some time on my NPR station and it has encouragd my own thoughts on the subject. I admitted to my self many years ago that I had thoughts and views that one could deem as “racist”. This smacked me in the face […]

I am scared to drive alone

Ariel Foreman, Raleigh, NC. I just moved to North Carolina from Virginia. I’m scared to travel on highway 14 between Home and Raleigh especially at night…because it’s heavily monitored by police. I should not be scared of a group that’s suppose to protect me.

The “quiet girl” in the back

Alyssa Banas, VA. Before I attended college, I was known as the “quiet girl” that sat in the back of the class. I loved meeting new people, but I just had a hard time communicating with people without being shy. My teachers always told me to participate in class because the ideas I wrote down […]

No, I dont have to choose

Olivia Divers, Norfolk, VA. When you’re mixed with black and white people always have this preconceived idea that you have to “pick” which of the two cultures and behaviors you pick up on. You’re expected to choose between “acting black” or “acting white”. I am both. I will always be both. I love both. No, […]

It’s time to expect the unexpected.

Desiree, Chesapeake, VA. When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s I use to hear about black people are the most uneducated race, and have the highest drop outs rates. In my family neither mother or father side have education. If anyone is educated there are distant family members. Therefore growing up the […]

My Ancestors NEVER owned any slaves.

Anthony Turoczy,   Manassas, VA.   My Great-grandparents came to America in 1904 from Hungary. They worked in the mines during the day and went to school at night to learn how to speak, read and write English. Don’t blame others for your bad choices; work hard and make something of yourself.

Where are you from? You’re exotic!

Abbie Elliott Leesburg, VA For my entire adult life, dating has been a challenge. As an Asian-American, I vehemently resisted falling into stereotypes. But, as an Asian-American on the dating scene, my looks delivered my first impression for me. Men developed ideas about me even before I spoke. Where they expected to find a quiet, […]

I’m black. so I am dangerous?

Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]

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 […]

Some black people are prejudiced too.

Carolyn Lynchburg, VA I have met more black people who hated other races and were very open with it, but maybe white people just don’t admit to racism as openly. I always believed in MLK’s dream and the utopian vision of the star trek series. I was very surprised when I got bussed to an […]

Lincoln Memorial with Ace. I understand.

Jonny Cecka, Richmond, VA. I have always had progressive attitudes about equality and so-called “race,” but visiting the Lincoln Memorial with my adopted 13-year-old son, Ace, was profoundly moving and made me understand the sacrifices of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others in a deep, personal way.

Good Lord, that girl is white!

Kristen, Virginia Beach, VA. I have ALWAYS been pale. Like so pale its embarrassing to wear shorts (especially in the beginning of the summer). If ever I get a tan, its gone in like 2 weeks. Yeah, I don’t think it will ever be “cool” to be this white.

My Mother Hated My Dark Skin

Mike Elliott Alexandria, VA My mother was brown. Her skin a shade so perfect until the day she died she was “Puddin” to her family and friends. My father a lighter shade of brown was “high yellow” and proud to be colored. He had a fraternal twin who was dark like an egg plant, blue-black. […]

I live in two confliting worlds

Hisham Jabim, Reston, VA. I am a Muslim borne and raised in Palestine. I am married to an American woman name Rebekah and we have a three year old daughter Hanna. My wife and I lived in the middle east together for almost 10 years and now we moved to Northern VA. Bekah is a […]

Must we forget our Confederate ancestors?

Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]

You’re scared, so I’ll act different

Anonymous, Mechanicsburg, VA. It is hard not to be myself to please someone else who does not really care about me at all. I hate having to be someone different when I am in public so I do not scare anyone else. It would be different if I was ignorant and loud in public, but […]

There’s more to me than color.

Christina Veland, Virginia Beach, VA Throughout my entire life, I have heard the phrase “well, of course you’re good at that. You’re Asian!” But there is more to me than the color of my skin. Beneath the surface is a real person with real struggles. It is difficult explaining to my peers that it hurts […]

I don’t see color

Patty Hall, Alexandria, VA. I have a precious bi-racial blessing; My Grandson. He doesn’t see color either, but sadly he knows other people do. There’s a song that many of us sang in Church growing up. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White they are […]

Don’t straighten your hair, baby girl.

McKinley Dixon, Richmond, VA. In the dominantly caucasian school that my sister used to attend, she would get picked on for her hair being curlier and fuller than the other girls in her school. It got to the point where she would straighten it every morning before we go to school. Damaging her hair, for […]

Accept the reality; own YOUR story

Juan-Day Charlottesville, VA I chose these words because there’s nothing left to say. I’ve grown tired of the same dance around this issue. Race matters because history matters. History hasn’t been kind to brown skin. Educate yourself and your loved ones. If WE don’t appreciate our brown-ness it’s laughable to expect others to.

Exotic name! where are you from

Vidhya Mallikarjunan, Blacksburg, VA. I was born and have lived in the US for my whole life. And I’ve been blessed to live in a town where my race doesn’t come up too often especially in negative ways. But still so innocently people will constantly ask “where I’m from” but I’m from Blacksburg. It’s so […]

Why Does My Race Cause Fear

Steven, Aldie, VA. I feel that because of my skin color, my race, and all of the characterizations that have been made about both, there is a fear is exuded when people see me. Some of it is ignorant like the seeing a well-built black man being some type of demon or beast. Like how […]

Surprise surprise I was born here

Victoria, Fairfax, VA. I was born in Conway, SC. I’ve lived in the States for nearly two decades now (all of my life so far). It wasn’t till I was in elementary, and I had to ask my mom why boys would say “ching chong” to me that I realized that I was somehow different. […]

I am proud to be white

Staci, VA. I have seen the term “white privilege” used a lot recently as though it were an actual epidemic. What infuriates me about this term is that it is NOT relevant in the year 2017. Black people have more opportunities GIVEN to them than white people when it comes to education and the workforce, […]

Divide in America demands one listen

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 […]

“Waiting on the World to Change”

Hannah, Norfolk, VA. I chose this quote from a popular John Mayer song because it so relevant to where we still are today. This song, created in 2006, is more relevant 10 years later than it was then and that is a problem. And even though I am not a minority, the hate in this […]

Everybody turns white when shot at

Bettie Wilkins, Roanoke, VA. I was born in 1940 and my parents were sharecroppers. My father was drafted in 1942 and came home in 1944 with a partly collapsed lung. He was in a trench with other GI’s when the Japanese threw a burning bomb with gas into it. He was lucky because three men […]

Able bodied Financially Successful Minority Male

AJ, Falls Church, VA. I am a white American female with multiple disabilities. I realize that generally speaking, my whiteness and U.S. citizenship is a benefit for me in society. But recently, I had several experiences where a person of another race assumed something about me that was false, and it pissed me off. In […]

My child is of human race

Ngan Lam, Virginia Beach, VA. I learned race, prejudice, racism, stereotype, and developed my own personal biases, but when I look at my child I only see a precious human being and spirit…just him and forget about all that I learned.

America: do you hate me?

Andrea Catala, Burke, VA. It seems that half of the U.S. felt fear and panic of non-whites or immigrants taking over our country. Well now I’m fearful and panicked that half the country hates non-whites. Is that true? Was this election truly an anti-establishment referendum? Or was there sexism and racism that tinged the voting […]

My daughter isn’t a “China Doll.”

Debra Cope, Alexandria, VA. Adoption is beautiful, and I really don’t mind helping others navigate the awkward preconceptions that accompany it. But this phrase just burns me because it equates my spunky, lively child with an object . She’s not my toy — she’s my daughter!

I’m More than, Less than Accepted

Nicole Reynolds, Virginia Beach, VA. Race often goes hand and hand with self worth. Who am I in the world? What does that answer mean? How does it affect my life? Is there anything I can do to change that? I have Ugandan Blood, Taino Blood, Spanish Blood, Past African American Slave blood. What race […]

I don’t know where to begin.

Elizabeth Johnson, Arlington, VA. There are so many things I wish I could say but am worried they will come out the wrong way. I want to say I see you’re struggling. I want to say I see racism among my friends and within my own family. I want to say it’s wrong. I want […]

Why must I choose one race?

Cassandra Young, Norfolk, VA. Often times when filling out a survey or application we are asked to select our race. Many of the times the directions state to only choose one. I am biracial and one race does not define me.

I feel othered for being lightskinned.

Lexie Nobrega, Norfolk, VA. I was never “black enough” to fit in with the black kids, but I am not white either so I obviously did not fit with those kids either. I was called an “oreo” often-black on the outside but my personality was equated to that of stereotypical whiteness. I always embraced being […]

Why do you sound so white?

Ladaja Kennedy, Norfolk, VA. Growing up, I went to a predominately white school with mostly white friends. Because of this I was usually not hanging around with people of my same race and ethnicity, thus not sounding like the others or having connection like everyone else did when it came to it. Then later when […]

Political climate gave HATE safe space

Kelly Ferrell, Sterling, VA. I am disappointed but not surprised that charismatic politicians have taken the easy route and invested in hate rather than commit to making our country and our world more inclusive. Home-grown extremist groups that terrorized communities of color had been marginalized for some time. Now they feel that they have an […]