I answered the Starbucks #RaceTogether questions so you don't have to. (But you might want to.)

Let's see how I do.

Here are the questions:

  1. My parents had __ friends of a different race.
  2. I have __ friends of a different race.
  3. My children have __ friends of a different race.
  4. __ members of a different race live on my block or apartment building.
  5. I most often talk to someone of another race: __ at work__ at church__ at home__ shopping__ at school
  6. In my Facebook stream __% are of a different race.
  7. In the past year, I have been to the home of someone of a different race __ times.
  8. In the past year, someone of a different race has been in my home __ times.
  9. At work, we have managers of __ different races.
  10. In the past year, I have eaten a meal with someone of a different race __ times.

"I'd like a skinny venti triple vanilla cappuccino and a pumpkin-spiced discussion of racial bias in Ferguson, Missouri."

The sanctity of the coffee moment of peace is real. But so is racism. Is the answer ... awkwardness?

So, in the spirit of all awkward things that help the world, I answered these goofy #RaceTogether questions myself.

Here goes.

Read'em, skip'em, but think about it.

When did you first become aware of your race?

I don't actually remember when I knew I was white, but I think it was when I started asking my mom about my classmate's hair.

To mom's credit she kept it pretty focused on like, "hair is different!" vibes and not like, "THAT IS A BLACK PERSON, LORI, AND YOU ARE NOT BLACK." So go, mom.

I also remember hearing the n-word when I was younger and living in the South and repeating it to my mom and she was like, "WHAT? NO." And then she explained about why the n-word was a sad word and I shouldn't say it. And then I kind of learned more about "race" and not just "people are different." I've never really thought about that difference!

But when you learn about race, it's usually a kind of sad moment. I vaguely remember being like, why are people mean?!


1. My parents had __ friends of a different race.

My parents both had a friend who was black that they talked about being GREAT friends with but only during school. My mom actually was really good school-friends with my friend's mom.

I remember Mom talking to me about how she wanted to invite her black friend to her slumber party, but my grandma (who is a wonderful and tolerant person) was just like, "We don't do that" — so mom's friend didn't come to the slumber party.

This friend of my mom passed away when I was a young teenager, and that's when I heard about all of this stuff, as my mom was grieving her friend's death. It took my mom's friend dying for her to bring up race.

2. I have __ friends of a different race.

Do I get to answer this with, kind of a lot? It's not like I count ... but I'm not colorblind. I see what my friends look like, and I know their backgrounds.

I don't want a cookie, a latte, or congratulations, but there. OK. Fine. There! I see color and I notice my friends' family histories; I'm not going to apologize for it.

That being said, I probably do have more white friends than not.

3. My children have __ friends of a different race.

I don't have any children, but I will say it's very rare that the children I do know have friends who are not the same race as them. I'm talking like, my little kid cousins, etc., etc., etc.

4. __ members of a different race live on my block or apartment building.

From what I see when I walk down my street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC ... maybe five-ish?

Again, I'm going to have to acknowledge that I look at people's faces and see a face that's different than mine here. Here goes.

There's an Asian family two doors down, and the dad is always playing trucks with his son on the steps, and it's cute. And there's an elderly Asian man who sits on his stoop and smokes a pipe almost every day, and he looks like he has life figured OUT. Cool Asians on my street! That's it!

5. I most often talk to someone of another race:

I don't have a church that I attend now, but when I was young there were a LOT of white people at my church.

6. In my Facebook stream __% are of a different race.

Let's look!


OK, well that did not go well. I scrolled for a few minutes, and only a couple not-white folks showed up.


7. In the past year, I have been to the home of someone of a different race __ times.

I'm going to say ... five-ish times?

8. In the past year, someone of a different race has been in my home __ times.

Also five-ish times, possibly more, since I'm kind of the party-haver of my group.

*UPDATE : A friend of mine who is not white says he's been to my house more than 5 times. Just an update. There it is. Conversations. Happening live.

9. At work, we have managers of __ different races.

Upworthy is one of the most diverse places I've ever worked, and that's including my public high school band class, which was maybe THE most diverse place I've ever worked in my life.

Upworthy's second.

10. In the past year, I have eaten a meal with someone of a different race __ times.

At least 20 times. I'm really, REALY not counting off what my dinner dates look like because THAT would be a little much, but 20, sure.

So there you have it. I talked about race. I learned a bit about MYSELF, and I feel scared but OK sharing these awkward answers with you!

Talking about race is scary.

But the alternative world ...

... is scarier.

So I say ... bring on the awkward.


Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

Keep Reading Show less
via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Keep Reading Show less
Image from Wikimedia Commons .

Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Van Gough never got to enjoy his own historic success as an artist ( even though we've been able to imagine what that moment might have looked like). But it turns out that those of us who have appreciated his work have been missing out on some critical details for more than 100 years.

I'm not easily impressed, OK?

I know Van Gogh was a genius. If the point of this were "Van Gogh was a mad genius," I would not be sharing this with you.
Keep Reading Show less

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo . Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Women do better when they have female friends.

Madeleine Albright once said , "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It turns out that might actually be a hell on Earth, because women just do better when they have other women to rely on, and there's research that backs it up.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. "Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of 1-3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination," Brian Uzzi writes in the Harvard Business Review .

Part of the reason why women with strong women backing them up are more successful is because they can turn to their tribe for advice. Women have to face different challenges than men, such as unconscious bias, and being able to turn to other women who have had similar experiences can help you navigate a difficult situation. It's like having a road map for your goals.

Keep Reading Show less

Millennials are now old enough to seriously reflect on life.

It seems like only yesterday a millennial was a college kid that baby boomers chided for being entitled and Gen Xers thought were way too sincere and needed to learn how to take a joke. Today, the oldest millennials, those born around 1980, have hit their 40s and have lived long enough to have some serious regrets.

They also have enough experience to take some pride in decisions that, in hindsight, were the right moves.

The good news is that at 40 there is still plenty of time to learn from our successes and failures to set ourselves up for a great second half of life. These lessons are also valuable to the Gen Zers coming up who can avoid the pitfalls of the older generation.

A Reddit user who has since deleted their profile asked millennials nearing 40 “what were your biggest mistakes at this point in life?” and they received more than 2,200 responses. The biggest regrets these millennials have are being flippant about their health and not saving enough money when they were younger.

Keep Reading Show less

A woman giving a stern warning.

Over the past few years, women named Karen have taken a lot of heat in the media. The term "Karen" has been used to describe a specific type of entitled, privileged and often middle-aged white woman. Typically, "Karen” is depicted as demanding, self-important and constantly seeking to escalate minor inconveniences to authority figures, like demanding to "speak to the manager."

Identifying the folks who create unnecessary drama in our world is important. But calling them a “Karen” isn’t the best way to solve the problem. There are many reasons to have an issue with the “Karen” stereotype. First, it’s terrible for people named Karen, and it’s also a connotation that many feel is racist , sexist and ageist.

Further, according to a new study by Trustpilot , the stereotype isn’t accurate. A recent survey by the online media site found that the people who leave the most one-star reviews aren’t female, and the women who do it the most aren’t named Karen.

Keep Reading Show less