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Did you grow up wearing shoes?

Jessica Anderson, Denver, CO. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee, but I now live in Colorado. People always ask ridiculous questions when they find out where I’m from, including, “Did you wear shoes?” and “Where are your overalls?” Being a white, M.A. holding, middle-class woman doesn’t shield me from these stereotypes. […]

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I’m A Black Mother Not Monster

Anonymous, Eden Praire, MN. Prejudice robbed me of my child. 15 years ago my only living child was stolen from me by her white daddy and took overseas when she was 6 because I didn’t live up to his standards of what he thought was a good mother. To keep her away from me he […]

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Only check one: white non-hispanic

Catherine Chase Yaghi, Stockton, CA. I hate having to exclude a part of myself when checking ethnicity on a form. The options white (non-hispanic) always threw me. It almost always goes with “Check only one”. I’m both!! What do I check?

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I Don’t Have Any People

Dara Boyd, Austin, TX. I am always hearing people say, “my people”, “your people”, “our people”, but why can’t we just be people? It never crossed my mind to call all white people or more specifically Norwegian people (which is a portion of my ancestry) “my people” because they simply are not. America, hell the […]

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White Male Teacher Looking to Help

Newo Zoils, Minneapolis, MN. I understand that as a white male in America I have in many unconscious ways perpetuated racism. I and my family have also benefited from over hundreds of years of white privilege. This is a systemic problem in America that continues to be unresolved. I am a teacher and one can […]

Awareness: ONLY the FIRST BIG step

Yzolde Chepokas, Eden Prairie, MN. Going through this process of learning about race, racism, culture, multiculturalism, diversity, and so on, I have come to the conclusion that being aware of the world outside of my own world is only the beginning of this journey of supporting social justice. As this change occurs within myself it […]

Who doesn’t have a little identity crisis?

Ben, Madison, WI. Every time I think about race, especially when I’m asked to indicate it, I feel three things: anxiety, resentment and shame. Anxiety: Even if I have the option not to indicate my race I feel a wave of anxiety. I have a “White name” and light skin, English was my first language, […]

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“They” should all be like you.

Shelagh Mullings, Coral Springs, FL A white supervisor said this to me in 1965 when I was the lone “Negro” working in a white collar job for a large international corporation in San Francisco. I am a naturalized American with light skin (yellow) who was born in Jamaica, BWI. I was well-spoken, quiet (shy), and, […]

The Minority: To Represent or Not?

Rehenuma Meadville, PA As an Asian American Muslim women, I have been asked many times to represent my “people.” As I have gotten older, I no longer feel eager to do so. I am now more sensitive to who benefits from this type of representation and the effect it has on my own psyche. Sometimes, […]

Accept the reality; own YOUR story

Juan-Day Charlottesville, VA I chose these words because there’s nothing left to say. I’ve grown tired of the same dance around this issue. Race matters because history matters. History hasn’t been kind to brown skin. Educate yourself and your loved ones. If WE don’t appreciate our brown-ness it’s laughable to expect others to.

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Yes!! My name means White in spanish!!

Blanca Soto, Hemet, CA. I grew up in a community that was composed of mostly white people. Every time someone would ask my name they would go on to say doesn’t that mean white? Yes! I would reply. Mostly likely laughs would follow and the oh so unique question of “why would your parents name […]

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Alert! Very Dark woman travelling alone.

Tess, Melbourne, FL. Recently I have had to face the fact that my very dark skin is indeed the first thing most people notice about me. The fact that I’m short/tall, healthy/not healthy, sad/happy, age and what not seem to follow way after my dark skin has introduced me to the world. I love to […]

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Should I celebrate my own success?

Robert Kahne, Louisville, KY. I am a straight white male in my late 20s. As my career moves forward, I face the reality that every step I take forward retrenches a power structure with which I don’t necessarily agree.

Heritage not hate? Heritage of hate.

Ava Chamberlain, Dayton, OH. I don’t understand the phrase “heritage not hate.” It suggests the two are mutually exclusive categories. In reality, the heritage of the Confederate battle flag cannot be separated from a deeply entrenched hatred of people of color.

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You’re not Mexican, You’re Mexican-American

Vanessa Ayala, Fountain Valley, CA. I was 17 when I first realized how important it was for others for me to be politically correct about my race. I was at work one day and an older gentleman stopped me to “compliment” me, he said I looked like a beautiful Aztec princess I just smiled and […]

Always felt different. All are unique.

Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my […]

No longer want to prove worth

Milicia, USA. Growing up I received the message that I had to be better than Whites. I didn’t want to embarrass my ethnic group, this I must strive to be better than “them”. I worked hard to prove that I was better. I’m an adult and must say that I don’t know what all of […]

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African American but not black

Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]

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Andes shadows follow me, no Quechua.

Carmen Mendoza Tintaya, Arlington, VA. My parents are from a remote village in Arequipa Peru, where only until 2006 accessible roads were built. Now with both my parents gone, I find myself looking for my identity and looking towards that little village. I haven’t made the trip yet. I moved to the US when I […]

White males are people too

John Chaney, Silver Spring, MD. Being a white male growing up in predominantly black and spanish schools and neighborhoods all you ever hear is hate on white males, never called men always called white boy. Constantly belittled and disrespected for no reason at all other than the events of the past before any of us […]

Este hombre es un negro blanco!

Isaias Ortiz Davenport, FL Este hombre es un negro blanco! This man is a white black. The first time I heard that phrase was circa 1980, a family member said while referring to one of his friends, while they were singing and playing their guitars together. I was 20 years old by then, growing up […]

Educated man people see only black

Jason Adams Wichita, KS I have fought to educated myself so I could raise my family into the middle class but at every job I applied for I did not get the job. My name helps me get into the door but as soon as I walk in the door their eyes get big and […]

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Women tell hidden mixed heritage story.

Jodi Su Tharan, Berkeley, CA. My family is Jewish, Apache Chiricahua, additional hidden tribes that still remained unnamed after years of research, Welsh, Scots, Irish, English and probably more. We joke that we are ‘the great unwashed’..not nice but in a way reclaiming the history of poor folks from all over becoming the beauty of […]

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I (don’t) fit. Don’t look closely.

Emery Boyle-Scott, Milwaukee, WI. I want to belong in a group, and it’s nice to belong until someone looks closely. My whiteness is always sidelined when people learn about my lesbian moms. Don’t look closely and I have all the privilege. But, then it disappears and I’m not allowed, I’m questioned on everything. There’s no […]

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Don’t speak Spanish, I’m still Hispanic

Victor Santana-Melgoza, El Paso, TX. For most of my life I have been rejected by many people in the Hispanic/Chican@/Latin@ community for not learning and practicing Spanish (as well as not following other cultural cues). I was raised in a household where English was the main language spoken. I am 4th generation American, raised by […]

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Your family’s not inbred…are you?

Katie R. Phillips, Green Mountain, NC. I might be white, but growing up in the Southern Applachians is definitely its own ethnic identity. I didn’t truly understand this until I went to college, and brought friends home with me for the first time. One of my friends actually asked me if my family was inbred […]

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Anymore, afraid of what we represent.

M.W., Brooklyn, NY. We have been in our neighborhood for coming on ten years and in that time it has changed from ‘Bed-Stuy’ to ‘Clinton-Hill’ to ‘Fort Green East’ as the realtors slowly remade and gentrified neighborhoods. Each economic surge carved out new districts and displaced our neighbors. The most recent insurgence of peoples have […]

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A Chicano from the Barrio

Miguel Ramirez-Cornejo, Riverside, CA. As a kid I was told that because I grew up in the barrio that I would become a cholo. I would grow up to be in a gang, do drugs, and end up in jail. I heard this from other kids and even adults. But as I grew I used […]

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Not “bi-racial”, not “mixed”, just human!

Tyler Brown, Washington, DC. As an African American and Irish American man ppl have referred to me as biracial or mixed for most of my life…both terms uncover misunderstandings about race and what makes a person. One being can’t be two races at the same time, neither can they be mixed like cake batter in […]

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Identity Thief Blasian Sensation Lifelong Educator

Jennifer Wong Cernak, Chester, MD. I have been listening to your race-card stories for a long time and heard the topic of mixed race come up again and again. In the past identity has been a struggle for me, but now I feel comfortable with who I am. There were many days, growing up, I […]

Teach in Japan, but you’re black

Dee Moore, Shreveport, LA. Hajimemashite! That is the stigma I am always facing in my community. I am a 25 year old African American educator who has plans to teach overseas in Japan. I am also studying Japanese so that I can develop some kind of fluency. Since I was young, I was always interested […]

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Actually, I speak English very well.

Guadalupe Mitchell, Damascus, OR. Growing up, most people just saw a little brown Mexican girl. I remember when entered the second grade and my family had a moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, I was placed in an ESL classroom. My classmates made fun of me because my Spanish was not very good. After struggling […]

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To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]

Son can’t speak. May be shot.

Lynnisha Grigsby, Minneapolis, MN. My son has a rare form of Down syndrome. Mosaic Translocation Down syndrome. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was 2 because his overall features are very ‘mild’. It was I, not a Dr., that proposed that he be tested. He’s 8 yrs old right now. He is in a mainstream classroom […]

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You’re not like most black girls.

Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]

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No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]

The nun made me mark “white.”

Jackie Loya-Torres Kansas City, MO As a small child in the 1970s, I remember having to take some sort of standardized test in school. You know…the ones where you need a #2 pencil to fill in the ovals? On the cover page, in addition to listing my name, gender and age, I was asked to […]

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Dwayne Fries; the other white Dwayne.

Dwayne Lee Fries, Columbus, OH. My name is Dwayne, and I’m white. Hi Dwayne! I was unwittingly named Dwayne. Two weeks before my taking over an inner city restaurant as a General Manager, my name was on a schedule. I heard all the stories of how everyone was like, “finally, we got a brother in […]

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My grandson is not an other!

Henry Lonnemann, San Mateo, CA. The census called in 2010 and asked: “What race is your son?” I said he is not, but if you are curious about his ancestors he is a mix of Korean, Irish, German, Japanese, and probably some french. They then said they would have to mark him as “other”. My […]

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I knew one side of racism.

Joyce Goodluck, East Lansing, MI. On Location, MSU. Before coming to MSU I knew one side of racism from media. Whites discriminating Blacks. I even once experienced that when I passed by Akers Hall and some one shouted at me from his window black and African. I was like he is a racist.But whom am […]

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Another day, another life, another hashtag.

Sydney McDonald, Bangor, ME. In the past few years, a lot of lives have been lost. These lives, like Micheal Brown, Ervin Edwards, Tamir Rice, Diana Showman, and many others, are paid attention to for a month or two, trending and used as fire for the media and for those fighting for equality. However, they […]

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More than “just a Black girl”

Jolie Anne Chevalier, San Jose, CA. This is me at eight years old back in 1979, the daughter of an African-American/Seminole Indian mother, and a Irish-French-American father. Growing up, I was faced with contradictions in a world of opposites; although I was multiracial my mother told me I was Black, and to identify as such […]

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Yes, I was born in Detroit.

Amanda Nelski, Los Angeles, CA. People like to put other people in boxes. “Where are you really from?” they ask. I used to answer Detroit. When they asked where my parents are from, Detroit was not suitable either. “You don’t look like you’re from Detroit.” After some banter I would eventually confess my lineage is […]

Suburban white kids nicknamed me Chinaman

Aaron Yeh, Las Vegas, NV. White mother, Chinese father, I was raised by my mom and don’t speak Chinese. Sometimes I look in the mirror and my Asian features surprise me. It’s startling how I identify more with being ‘white’ than anything else. The “other” box on forms asking my ethnicity has always comforted me, […]

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Finally, a multi-racial option on applications.

James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]

My abuse was invisible because I’m white

Jack, Saint Paul, MN. My mom is an expert in manipulation and fake kindness, always sounding kind to hurt and control and shame. Because of rampant child discrimination across cultures, it was not hard for my mother to convince others that she was right, or to uphold the illusion of a happy “white suburban family”. […]

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I’m American Indian-I’m a Unicorn.

Ty NolN Tempe, AZ I’m from a traditional family and have braids. I dance at Powwows, and participate in our Longhouse Ceremonies. The photograph is from when I used to do modeling and is from a calendar photo shoot, on Motorcycles. I’m on a 1935 Indian motorcycle, because one of the “gimmicks” of the calender […]

New Brand Of Racism Is Worse

Anna Berch-Norton, Pittsburgh, PA. Yeah, when white guys call their friends “my nigga” and people say to their Vietnamese friend, “it’s funny cause you’re Asian”, that doesn’t mean that we’re totally over that whole racism thing. It means that people are subscribing to the hipster theory of racism that you can say really racist, disgusting […]

I am WHITE. I’m NOT RACIST.

Heather Simms, Suffolk, VA. Something that has bothered me throughout the years is the immediate perception because I am a middle class white individual that I automatically have some sort of racism integrated into my DNA. I respect and love everyone regardless of color, ethnicity or appearance. Racism is a concern in our society but […]