The Race Card Project

Michele Norris

race card projectThe Race Card Project began with a simple-sounding yet challenging premise.

“In 2010, journalist Michele Norris began inviting people to distill their thoughts on the word race to only six words. Printing 200 postcards and issuing a call to action, Norris and her team were unsure of what – if anything – would result. What took root was a groundswell. With just a small footprint, it was clear Norris created a vehicle for expression and voice for which it seemed many were longing.”

You are invited to make your own Race Card. “Race Cards can be thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking, brave, teeming with anger, and shimmering with hope. Some make you smile. Others might make you squirm. You just might wonder why some of the more prickly submissions deserve a place on this website’s Race Card Wall?

“Here’s the answer: The intention is to use these cards to get a peek at America’s honest views about Race, so I must try to honor those people who offer up candor, even if what they share is unsavory or unacceptable in some people’s eyes.”

“The Race Card Project received a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in electronic communications for turning a pejorative phrase into a productive and far-reaching dialogue on a difficult topic. It began as a small experiment encouraging people to talk about race by sharing Six Word essays on their personal experiences or observations. The Six-Word Stories that poured into the mailbox and the online inbox became the basis for a series of reports on NPR’s morning edition, exploring identity, prejudice, pride, and equality.”


I  became aware of the site from this piece on CBS Mornings on July 8, 2022. A study finds a correlation between race demographic shifts and the January 6 Capitol riot. It discovered “that the uniting characteristic of people arrested for the January 6th Capitol riot was that they came from counties that saw a substantial decrease in the white population. Tony Dokoupil visits Allentown, Pennsylvania – a community that saw that decline – and talks to residents about how they feel about it.”

Allentown was over 95% non-Hispanic white in 1970. Now only 31% are in that demographic, with the plurality of the area Hispanic. The oldtimers often are nostalgic for the way things used to be. Of course, the people of Allentown in the 1880s likely said the same thing about the influx of Italians and other groups.

Check out the website and the video.

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