In October 2013, Michele Norris, NPR commentator and founder of the Race Card Project, visited Transylvania as part of the university’s celebration of 50 years of desegregation, a year-long series of programs titled Still Overcoming: Striving for Inclusiveness.
Norris has asked individuals all around the world to distill their thoughts about race into one sentence of six words, which they can then submit to her website on a virtual index card. One of her goals for the Race Card Project was to reclaim the meaning of the expression “race card,” which is often used pejoratively for political purposes or to amplify disagreements among members of different races.
Before Norris arrived at Transylvania, students involved with the Black Student Alliance encouraged the campus-wide community to participate in the Race Card Project by coming up with their own six-word essays to express their feelings about race or reveal their personal experiences. As you can see below, a few shared a little more background about their choice of words.
If you have a submission for Transylvania's Race Card Project, send an email with the subject line "Race Card Project" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It didn’t matter, but it did.
Love difference. It makes a difference.
Made in the image of God.
Read between lines, color in line.
You can not control your genetics!
Race means nothing; we’re all human.
Stigmas, equality. Shouldn’t be an issue.
Race is dually divisive and uniting.
We are not Crayola crayon colors.
So white, they call me “snowman.”
Socially constructed boundaries impose hindering mentality.
All races are awesome, for sure.
OMG, can I touch your hair?
“This is a question I got/get a lot since high school. Mostly from white girls wanting to feel my hair because it was so different from theirs. I used to be okay with it, but as I got older, it made me feel like an animal in a petting zoo.”
It’s all intertwined—how anti-racist?
“How much of an anti-racist can I be? Am I taking over where people of color should be leading? As an activist against all forms of oppression, I hope I work against all oppression. How far is too far?"
We get along with knowledge, understanding.
Perhaps the best antidote for racism.
Social construct, stop teaching kids it.
Why can’t people just be people?
“Why do we use race to separate people? Eventually it will be something silly like hair color. People should just be people.”
Some respondents chose to forgo syntactical constructions and instead juxtapose six words that expressed their feelings:
Ignorance, equality, biracial relationships, racism, stupidity.
“I had a black boyfriend in a small town and we got a lot of [grief] for it. Went strong for three years.”
Struggles, equality, prejudice, gender, color, diversity.
Community, honest, respect, "privilege," equality, inclusive.
Genetics, culture, society, perception, reality, equality.
Misconception, confusion, confrontation, predisposition, culmination, identification.
Blended, historical, deep, rich, dividing, combining.
Sports, misunderstanding, misconceptions, stereotypes, color, uneducated.
“I’ve played soccer with many races of athletes and seen/heard racism on the field, which is ridiculous because we all 'put on our t-shirt the same' and in result are equal and should be treated as equals. Anything less is unacceptable and should be fixed by awareness like this.”
Difference, "stereotypes," celebrated, people, ethnicity, important.
“The idea that people in an attempt to avoid racism deny that race exists bothers me. What goes along with race, that difference. An experience between all of us should be celebrated, not denied or excused."
Equality, sameness, communication, friend, judgment, worldwide.
Difference, created, beautiful, touchy, discrimination, global.
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