From Our Participants                   

From a young white woman in Mississippi with a message for us all:

I grew up in a home where it was wrong to have anything to do with an African American. As I got older and started having my own opinion on it all without my family having an influence on that, I saw that we were the same. Maybe we have come from different backgrounds, but we are still people. I'm 20 years old now and I wouldn't be the person I am today without African Amercian influences on my life. People who are uneducated and close-minded about African Americans make up most of the racist people. I feel if we educate people about looking past color and seeing who that person realy is, we will be a better world. I hope this inspires someone to go out there and take that extra step to talk to someone of a different color than themselves. Go! Make a difference!!!

From a sixth grade student:

I have experienced racism before, so I know how it feels. Just because you are from a race that's different from white doesn't mean you don't have feelings. You're still a human being. My sister once got called "dirty Chinese". That person was racist and quite stupid, since my sister isn't even Chinese. Some racist people don't like you because you don't have blond hair and blue eyes. Racism is wrong. It should be stopped completely. Everyone has feelings and emotions. It doesn't matter what race you are, because everyone is a human being.


Responses from some white youth to reading the Examples of Racism:

I went to the anti-racism web site and read the examples. They made me extremely mad. Some people are not getting a good education, good jobs, or even immediate help in times of a natural disaster just because the color of their different. This makes me want to either scream at all those messed up people who think it should stay this way, or throw up. I don't know which.

This site made me feel mad about how unfair it was to people who were a different skin color than white, who were treated like they were not as good or smart as white people.

Before I read the website I always thought of racism as things that happened a long time ago, before and during the civil rights movement. I knew racism was still a problem, but I didn't know there was still so much racism in the country. I don't know exactly how people could do something about this, but I think that people should try to work against racism because it just isn't fair.

How could people let this happen?

The [examples] really helped me understand how much of an unfair advantage white people have.


Question from two sixth graders:

We would be happy to hear about someone whose parents brought them up telling them that people with different skin colors are beneath them and poor - who did not listen to their parents and believes that everyone is equal, no matter what their parents told them. We know that probably a lot of people have experienced this and we think that they should share their stories with others. Then we think that more people will understand that we CAN stop racism, even if it is one person at a time.

Reply from a white adult: 

When I was young I lived with my grandparents who regularly used the “n” word in insulting references to African Americans.  We lived on an all-white block in a city neighborhood.  When it looked like a black family would buy a house that was for sale on our block, my grandfather organized the white neighbors to buy the house together so no one black could buy it.  As you can see, it was a pretty racist family that I grew up in.  When I was in seventh grade one of my best friends was a Chinese-American boy.  Later I got to be friends with African Americans, Latinos, and people with native heritage, as well as other Asians.  They’ve taught me a lot.  Today I am an anti-racist who works to help people learn how to end racism.  I agree with you that we can stop racism.  I’m glad that you and I share this belief and are working toward the same goal.


From two girls after reading Examples of Racism and An Unnatural Disaster:

We were very surprised when we read that cities let money for school come from local property taxes, but some communities don’t get a lot of local taxes for the schools. It also made us upset to hear that not everyone can get the same education because of their race/background. And we think that is completely unfair. We are all human beings and we should all be treated the same.

We were practically in tears when we read that people of color before, after, and while hurricane Katrina hit got rescued AFTER all the wealthy white people.  And we couldn’t believe all the things that we had seen on TV of people of color being stranded; we didn’t see any white people though. We were surprised that the government already knew that something like hurricane Katrina would happen, but didn’t let everyone know, or make a plan for the poor people to escape. We were really upset.

We think it’s completely wrong to judge someone just by the color of their skin, their race, or their religion. We were born to be equal to others, not above or below, just equal. We are completely against racism.


From a sixth grade white boy, responding to the question "How has racism affected you?"

Racism makes me angry.


From a sixth grader responding to the questions, “When have you enjoyed being with someone who was different from you in some way?”

 I am different from everyone, and everyone is different from me!


From a Cuban-American girl answering the question: “What are your memories of friendships with a person of another race?”

I have this friend named Danielle.  We tell each other everything and I love her a lot.  Even though her background is nothing like mine we have a lot in common and that’s why we were friends, not because of our skin color or ethnicity.


From a Latina fifth grade student in Amherst,  Massachusetts

People are Still Racist in This World

When I was in first grade I knew that some people were friendlier or taller or weighed more than others, but overall I thought that the only thing that mattered was inside. Some people don't think that, I learned in first grade. I was tall, innocent, and annoying, like many people my age, and no one cared about my skin color ... or so I thought. One day at lunch I started to sit down next to a friend, when a friend of his said, "You can't sit here because you're from a different country." I was like, "What?! I'm from this country ... I was born in New York. Sure my parents weren't born here, but I'm not them. My skin color is the same as yours and only a little darker than white people's. Plus it was mean to say that, not to mention racist. It's wrong to discriminate against people because of their skin color, religion, or race." I told him just that.

It hurt ... badly. But after I told him that, little old me was proud that I could stand up for myself! That day in first grade was when I learned that some people in this world still are racist. I want to change their minds. Sure, I won't become the next Martin Luther King, Jr. (I want a future in law or theater), but I'll do what I can.


From a white girl in fifth grade in Amherst, Massachusetts (Answering the question, "What's the earliest time you can remember that you were aware that there were people in the world with skin a different color than yours?"):

The first time I realized that the whole world was not white was my first day of kindergarten. We were waiting in the hallway for our teacher to pick us up. I was really shy and most everybody already knew each other. An African American girl I had not yet met came up to me. She smiled at me and introduced herself. I was a little hesitant at first because she seemed so different from me. Her hair awed me. Then I smiled back. She became my first real friend there.


From another fifth grader:

Thank you for making this web site.


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