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NPR’s Race Card Project In Eugene

NPR special correspondent Michele Norris
NPR special correspondent Michele Norris

“Black man interrogated. White mom ignored,” McKenzie Messer. “I don’t exist for your curiosity,” Gordon Nagayama Hall. “Where are you from? No. Really?” Alisa Caban.

NPR special correspondent Michele Norris’ The Race Card project asks people to explore their thoughts about race, ethnicity and cultural identity in six words. Norris has been collecting these stories for three years and some have been heard, and the longer stories behind them told, on public radio’s Morning Edition. Norris brings these stories to the University of Oregon on Nov. 13 and is asking Oregonians for their six-word stories.

Rita Radostitz of the UO’s Division of Student Affairs says the impetus to bring Norris to campus stemmed from an R-G article on The Race Card Project last year. Radostitz says that Norris’ talk and UO’s participation in the project are part of a yearlong exploration of identity through the school’s Center on Diversity and Community. Topics for the year will include race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and more, and a TEDxUOregon is planned for the spring with “ideas worth sharing” focusing on identity and creativity.

Radostitz says about 150 race cards have already been submitted, and the school is pushing for more. The UO currently has a page on theracecardproject.com with submissions. Radostitz wrote and posted two six-word stories of her own, “Parenting through a prism of race,” and “This mother’s eyes see race differently.” Radostitz is the mother of twin daughters who are Ethiopian by birth, “so I am constantly having to take race into account in my parenting,” she says. 

Norris will speak 7 pm Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the UO’s Erb Memorial Union Ballroom. The free tickets are sold out, but the event will be a livestream at the EMU, and there is a waiting list for possible tickets. Local NPR affiliate KLCC will simulcast Norris’ appearance on OPB’s Think Out Loud from the UO campus at noon.

To submit a race card go to http://wkly.ws/1m6, and to learn more about UO’s “explore identity” project go to http://exploreidentity.uoregon.edu. 

Update: We are all about open-minded dialogue but when thoughtless racist comments start appearing, it's time to close the comment thread.