The race issue: Twin Cities teens open up about daily indignities, personal challenges

It began with a simple story pitch. “I want to write about low-key racism in schools,” ThreeSixty writer Amira Warren-Yearby proposed at our first fall editorial board meeting. Our response: Tell us more.

That got the ball rolling for several students to weigh in on race-related topics—everything from judgments about listening to “white rock music” as a Somali girl, or feeling inadequate about an authentic “black identity” because of pervasive stereotypes, to mounting frustration over the “little boxes” that peers and adults force us in because of skin color, speech patterns, hairstyles, religious preferences—you name it.

On Martin Luther King Day, ThreeSixty students took it one step further by crafting their own “microaggression” signs for a photo and video display that we’re proud to unveil online and in print.

Our goal with this collection of stories and visuals is simple: Let’s learn from each other. Or as ThreeSixty writer Amolak Singh advised when asked how someone should ask about the turban he wears because of his Sikhism: “Just be polite. Watch your tone, that’s all.”

Sounds like an easy place to start, right?

Race and identity: 'You're not black enough'

What does it mean to be “black?” Deborah Honore reflects on her Ethiopian, Congolese and African-American background, and how stereotypes craft an image of “black” that only perpetuates the negative.

Race and identity: 'You're only pretending'

If you’ve ever moved away from your childhood home, you might know what it’s like to see a familiar place yet feel like you no longer belong.

Race and identity: 'Well then, what are you?'

With help from her parents, Simone Cazares learned to embrace her multiracial heritage at an early age. But it still leads to questions — and a lot of surprise — from peers who are often only convinced by what they see on the surface.

Mixed results: The challenges of being multiracial go well beyond a checkmark

For young multiracials, identity is a lifelong conversation. Since the data can often be messy, perhaps it’s more important for mixed race people to think about themselves individually rather than categorically.

@16: Brother Ali talks rap roots and racial judgments

The prolific Minneapolis-based rapper is never at a loss for words. Whether converting to Islam or discovering hip-hop, life as a teenager shaped everything Ali stands for today.

Drowning out the noise: Musical tastes don’t have to be defined by skin color

If you’re black, you must be into hip-hop and R&B. White kids love rock music. Those are the stereotypes, right? Except for one Somali girl, race and music don’t have to be defined so narrowly.

Coloring outside the script lines: Are audiences able to look beyond race for acting roles?

Can Santa Claus be black? Does Cinderella have to be blonde? Amira Warren-Yearby explores how race plays a role in how you view certain book, TV or movie characters.

Quick Q&A … with Siddeeqah Shabazz of Pillsbury House Theatre

What’s it like being an actor of color? Siddeeqah Shabazz, an actor and teen programs specialist at Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis, talks about casting issues related to ethnicity.

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