Identity

A Black American Son’s Survival Lessons

A frantic call from Sheila Arnold’s son during his freshmen year in college turns into a moment to remember all that she had to teach him about growing up black, and what he had learned about crossing bridges in spite of people’s perceptions.

A Tale of Two Weddings

“A Tale of Two Weddings” comically—and poignantly—captures the story of two similar, yet different weddings in Michele’s family. What does intermarriage mean? Is cultural insecurity really a thing? Could a story like this still happen today?

A White Girl Learns about the Black History of Australia

In the early 1980’s, Anne got a job as a children’s librarian in the Northern Territory of Australia. With a middle-class white background, she was to learn much about the black history of Australia. Have race relations changed in the last forty years?

Albuquerque

Growing up in New York City, Gerald Fierst’s neighborhood was Jewish. But when he went to visit cousins who had retired to Albuquerque, he discovered that “we all look alike when we are the other.”

America, the Land of Miracles

Noa grew up in Jerusalem, where America was the most exotic place other than Mars. In the 5th grade, Noa’s family left their home in Israel. She arrived in America speaking very little English. But miracles do happen…

Barak: Aboriginal Artist and Storyteller

Anne knew nothing of the history of the First Nations people of Australia until she set on her path as a storyteller. Her journey to respect and understanding began at an exhibition by an aboriginal artist and charismatic storyteller, Berak Barak.

Be Human- Find the George Within You!

Sadika witnessed the Lebanese civil war. The atrocities and the horrors can change a human being into a monster. Is there any hope for tolerance, love and forgiveness after such an experience? “Uncle George” made the difference.

Between Worlds

At school Olga was taught not to speak Spanish or risk punishment. At the same time, her Japanese-American friends were able to learn the Japanese language and study its culture. How she could straddle multiple worlds too?

Black & White: Stereotypes and Privilege

Diggsy Twain, an African American man, tells a friend about an encounter he had on a train and what he did to stop the stereotype that all black men are angry. Then after telling his story he realizes anyone can stereotype the “other.”

Brooklyn is Not America

New York City born-and-raised Michele goes on a trip to Paris, France, and learns what it means to be both a Nuyorican (a New York Puerto Rican) and an American in a way she didn’t expect. And what does being “an American” really mean, anyway?

Culture Shock: An Israeli Immigrant Learns America

Noa arrived from Israel in 1990 the month Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to attack Israel. Here is the story of learning to live in a culture where the perceptions of time, space and values are completely different from your own.

Evacuation

What if the U.S. went to war with your country of origin? Anne Shimojima tells of the difficult days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, when her Japanese-American family were forced to evacuate their home.

Faster than Sooner

When Antonio Sacre was excluded from acting jobs due because he was either too ethnic or not ethnic enough, he began storytelling to pay the bills. Soon he encounters a grade school bully and discovers the power of bilingual storytelling.

Four Moments

Loren learned what White privilege means when he was willing to look at how it worked every day – in a traffic stop, at the store and in community meetings. Once Loren saw it, how could he not question, “This is what we live with?”

How Do You Say Blueberry in Spanish

Antonio explores the challenges and joys of trying to raise a bilingual child. As anxious new parents, Antonio and his wife ask, “Are two languages better than one?” and find humor along the way.

I Am Somebody

Reflecting on her family, storyteller Linda Gorham raises powerful images in celebration of her ancestors in “I Am Somebody.” From a proud and determined father to a strong and devoted mother to a dedicated and intelligent grandfather, Linda shares bits of her life and family with listeners. As the story continues, it is clear that family has made her who she is. It is clear that family is most important to her.

I Deserve To Be Here

Emily Hooper Lansana reminices about how her life would be if she believed what others told her. In this story you will learn what racial justice is allowing everyone the opportunity to same opportunities to succeed.

I Wanted To Be an Indian

Stories about our ancestors help us understand who we are. Encountering troubling revelations about her forebears and their Indian neighbors in colonial New England, Jo Radner asks what it means to tell – and live with – her whole, complex history.

If Only You Were Mexican

A director tells Antonio that he would produce his play if only he was Mexican. This makes Antonio reflect on the importance of listening to stories outside our own ethnic groups.

In Belfast

Loren travels to North Ireland and is continually asked, “Are you Catholic or Protestant?” By the way that question is asked and answered, layers of cultural assumptions are revealed.

Incarceration

How would the government treat your family if it went to war with your ancestors’ country of origin? Anne Shimojima describes life in an incarceration camp for her Japanese-American family during World War II.

Jimmy Nessar

An unlikely friendship is formed in a small-town barbershop. The friendship is not one that can openly flourish due to racism in the town. The story illustrates how one stands firmly and humbly in the face of racism while always willing to give back.

John Henry

This is a true story set in rural McHenry County, Illinois in the 1920s and 1930s about John Henry Higler, a man who claimed to be former slave who assimilated into an all white farm community.

Just Not Muslim Enough

Sometimes we forget about the diversity that exists within a faith and within a family. In this story, Arif is reminded of how he is different from some of the relatives in his Muslim family.

Looking for Papito

As a Cuban and Irish American child, Antonio deals with being “too ethnic” or “not ethnic enough”. By trial and error and with the support of his family, Antonio reclaims all of his ethnic heritage and his Spanish language.

Martin and Me – A Coming of Age Story

Growing up, Steven was involved in Boy Scouts and his church and as a teen he advocated for community development in his New Jersey neighborhood. But could he get involved in the rising black militancy of the late 1960s?

Mattie’s Story: From Darkness into the Light

Dreading spending the summer with her strong willed grandmother, a young Earliana learns the true strength in “black beauty”. She finds that no matter how different we may look, we all have the capacity to feel and be kind to one another.

Milwaukee BBQ

Loren who is white goes to a BBQ place in an all black neighborhood and comes to understand prejudice in a direct and personal way.

More Alike than Not

Through exploring misconceptions and common threads such as immigration and disagreements within their own religions, these three tellers bring alive their distinct histories and our common humanity.

Mr. D’s Class

Thirty teens from twenty countries, one Jewish teacher, and one Cuban-Irish-American storyteller work with one of the poorest and most challenging high schools in Los Angeles. Will fear stop the project, or will they stand together?

My Chinese Grandfather

Brenda’s grandfather collects, dries and sells seaweed along the coast of California. When she is older, she finds his ways strange and the work hard, but the two find unique ways of talking and enjoying each other’s company.

My Long Hair

Motoko tells a story about her own experience of sexual harassment in Japan, how she was trapped into silence imposed by her culture, and how storytelling helped her break through the silence and heal herself.

Navajo Code Talker

During WWII the Navajo Code Talkers created a code that was never broken. But in the past, the Navaho were forced off their reservations into boarding schools where they were told not to speak their language or practice their culture.

Negotiating the Narrows

As a young child in the 1950s, Susan Klein, raised Methodist, was intrigued by the mysterious practices of her Roman Catholic friends and neighbors. Susan’s growing awareness of religious difference and how it might indicate value—someone is better, someone is worse—caused her to understand how some in her community might viewed her friendship with an African American girl.

Onara

Based on a true story, a young girl wonders about the difference between “hakujin” (white people) and “nihonjin” (Japanese people) while in an internment camp in WWII. She speculates as to why hakujin do not onara (a euphemism for “passing gas”).

Passing for WASP

Carol believes: “To build a bridge from one culture into another and make pluralism a cause for celebration, we have to have one foot firmly planted in who we are.” When exploring her Polish and Scottish roots, she wonders, am I living what I teach?

Racism on the Road and Into the Next Generation

Brenda performs a song in Japanese and is told to stop using “demonic language” and is called “a witch.” Unfortunately, bias and ignorance is also visited on the next generation when her son is mistaken for another Japanese American student.

Searching for My Appalachia: A Modern Jack Tale

In a chance encounter, Kevin Cordi meets someone others might classify as a “redneck.” Cordi begins a short conversation with this very pleasant man named Jack. Jack explains to Cordi about the nature of the term “redneck” and asks, “When did dirt and hard work become something bad?” In that moment, Cordi reconnects with and feels pride in his mountain heritage.

Seeing the Other

One day, 5-year old Arif learns how to play with a dreidel and learns about the differences between Christians and Jews.

Spanish on Sunday

Soon after 10-year old Michele’s great-grandmother dies, she gets lost at New York City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. What happens next confirms she doesn’t fit in with her family or her people. Can you remember a time you felt you didn’t belong?

Taming the Fire: A Black Heritage Search

One day an angry black girl stormed into history class and demanded to know why she had not heard about black inventors. Her favorite teacher, who was white, was faced with a decision and in making it an entire classroom of students was changed.

Tewas Go Home

Eldrena is confused when she sees a poster and students say the same thing. She asks her Tewa-Hopi grandmother what the words mean. In the process she hears a story that teaches her about integrity no matter how much time passes.

The Oberlin Rescue of 1858

John Price escapes from slavery in Kentucky and reached Oberlin, Ohio. There he sees Black shopkeepers and college stuents to he decides to stay. The problem is, a slaver catcher is coming for him.

The Other Block

In the melting pot of the very poor, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, NY neighborhood, there lived Irish, Italians, Blacks, Polish, Jews and one Holocaust escapee kid — Erica. Kids only played with their own kind on their own block, but since Erica didn’t belong to any of those groups, she got to play with everybody. For Erica, that’s how unexpected friendships (and unexpected prejudices) formed.

The Teacher as Learner

Nancy shares some of her favorite teaching moments when students from different cultures turn the tables and teach her about stories from their cultures. Nancy learns just how challenging it is to communicate in another language.

To Prove You Are Legal: Immigration from Taiwan

In this story, Ada Cheng explores her experience with the U.S. citizenship ceremony and vulnerability that immigrants are subject to during the process of becoming Americans. She also her experience with a guest, an older African American man.

Vindication

Michael and some classmates hold a walk out due to limited black history curricula and are expelled. Decades later, Michael is brought back to the school to receive his high school diploma and the school’s gratitude.

What’s a Mexican?

Olga explores the various labels for her ethnic group: Mexican, American, Mexican American, Latina, Chicana and so on. In doing so, she finds out how she wants to define herself and her pride in her cultural life.

Where Are You From?

Bangladeshi-American Muslim storyteller, Arif Choudhury, shares stories about growing up as the only “brown-skinned boy” in the neighborhood and how 9-11 changed how others might perceive him and his family.

Why Am I A Jew?

Gerry Fierst says, “religion connects us to all who have gone before and all who will come after we are gone.” As he grows older he hear the words of his ancestors and passes the tradition of the blowing of the shofar on to his children.

Why Do You Want to go to College?

In high school, Olga was told by her counselor that her Mexican family was too poor for her to go to college.  Hear how she found a way around this negative advice.

You Are Good for Him

Friendly lunchtime religious debates with Sarah Beth’s high school band friends turned serious when her religious identity was called into question. Would she be able to lose her religion but keep her friends?