Interculturalist. Asian-American. Woman. Mother. Writer.

Jennifer Ghymn, Wyomissing, PA. The individual filters of race, ethnicity, society and family impact the way we interact and engage with the world to shape a personal cultural identity. I believe people should follow their curiosity, be open to new concepts and challenge themselves by looking at things from a different perspective. Race is a […]

You’re such a white girl

Madison Schweizer, Murrieta, CA. Lately, more and more people have been making comments about me and my friends being “white girls”. We walked into our bible study to a bunch of girls who spoke Spanish and immediately felt like the minority. We felt even more like the minority when one of the girls said that […]

Yes I’m Black, but not angry

Ellise, Riverside, CA. My race is not what you see, It is what I feel. Do not let your stereotypes fool you, I am happy, beautiful, and peaceful about who I am. I use to be angry with who I was. I have been told “I was pretty for a black girl” all my life. […]

My ethnicity isn’t based off stereotypes

Alexia, Deltona, FL. My heritage, culture, ethnicity etc. does not pertain to the stereotypes that spill from the mouth of a privileged man. For I am man as well, I am not a “lazy immigrant, job stealer, mutant to society”. Pay your taxes then we can maturely discuss how reality works.

“You look white”, erases my father.

Janaki Kuruppu Rockville, MD As a child, my skin was darker and my hair frizzier, thanks to the genetic contribution of my father who was from Sri Lanka. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to resemble my white American mother more and more, Since my father died when I was 19, every time someone brings to […]

Lincoln Memorial with Ace. I understand.

Jonny Cecka, Richmond, VA. I have always had progressive attitudes about equality and so-called “race,” but visiting the Lincoln Memorial with my adopted 13-year-old son, Ace, was profoundly moving and made me understand the sacrifices of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others in a deep, personal way.

You can’t be mixed your dark

Myla Ledesma, Westbloomfield, MI. My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican. Me and all my siblings are biracial, we all look alike the only difference is their light skin and I’m brown skin. We all have medium length hair. Anytime I’m with them we get ask are we mixed and when […]

Mexican Irish Girl: agnostic and dry

Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]

Latinas with fros are sexy too!

Jeanette Ruiz, Atlanta, GA. Growing up I learned to hate my afro hair. I was the only one in my family with course African hair texture. Although there were others in our Hispanic neighborhood with course hair and dark skin, my mother with straight silky hair made it seem like a problem. She would take […]

Hispanic Guy Trying To Fit In

Cesar Bazo, Auburn, AL. I know deep inside myself that I belong to a minority group here in the United States. I am a Peruvian living in Alabama. However, the fact that I belong to a minority group does not make me feel inferior or less likely to succeed. On the contrary, I believe this […]

Please, Listen to my story first!

Clemen W. DSM, IA Many people look at me and/or hear my accent and immediately create a full story about me in their minds. They react and act according to what they’ve assumed about me (Based in their own stereotypes). Please, listen to my story first. You might be surprised with who I am, what […]

My white girl braids ignited confusion.

Nicolette, Alpine, WY. “You’re not black.” “No, I’m not.” “Then why do you have black-girl hair?” “I just like braids, that’s all.” When I had my white-girl hair professionally braided by an African hairstylist from Togo, I never expected I would lead people to such confusion. Why did I do it? I just like braids. […]

Sir, please take your “hat” off

Jasneet Kaur Palaha, Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan. Sikhism, a monotheistic religion from Northern India believes the idea of simplicity, therefore requiring to never cut your hair, along with other requests. Men usually tie their hair neatly in a turban, whereas girls commonly let it down. Wherever we were, my father would be frisked […]

No one knows unless I tell

Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]

My role model was not black.

Jamal Wills, MD. People often say that black kids need black role models. I sort of cheated. The wild hair, thoughtful eyes, the chin and the smile always reminded me of my grandfather. Yet, Albert Einstein was a German Jew whose prominence in the scientific community reached celebrity status. Even then, he still had to […]

Color blind…more than a dream?

Michael H Chicago, IL I grew up listening to Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy talk about their dream of a society that one day would be “color blind”. Forty years later, I feel like we’re as far as ever from that goal. In fact, I suspect most Americans would prefer to perpetuate the distinctions […]

You should go to trade school.

Charles Dirden Little Rock, AR During the first year that schools were integrated this is what my white counselor told me. It hurt my feelings so bad because I had dreams of being a scientist. I ended up being a lawyer.

No, I don’t tan or perm.

Daniela Charlotte, NC Some people look puzzled when I say I am half Japanese. They tend to ask me if I perm my hair or go tanning because typically Japanese females have pin straight hair and fair skin. However they don/t seem to pay attention when I say HALF Japanese (I am also half Peruvian).

It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

Scared that we are not enough

Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.

Your family isn’t your “real” family

Anonymous, Des Moiones, IA. Drake University This is what my mom was told in 1954 when social services came into her home and removed her and all of her siblings from her mom. At that time they were truly poor and were having a hard time finding enough food to eat. Her mother had a […]

All races in family equals love

Val Andrew, Overland, MO. My parents taught us early on to accept all people and invited international college students of different races, religions, and nationalities to stay with us during holidays. During the Vietnam War we hosted an AFS student from Vietnam for a year. I grew up a few miles from Ferguson and taught […]

Norwegian with nappy hair doesn’t fit.

WilmaS, Seattle, WA. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if my sons were adopted…It’s happened a lot. A complete stranger approaches my family, usually in a grocery store or some other public location, and compliments me on my family. “Your sons are so handsome,” the person will say, and by […]

None of us can define equality

Kennedy, KS. I truly think each person’s definition of equality would vary from one another in any given circumstance depending on their bias. We all know it means that everyone should be treated equally but it’s hardly represented. It’s honestly almost impossible for things to be equal. It goes along with the whole “life’s not […]

Just found out I’m a Jew

Larry, Orlando, FL. In closing up my elderly parents’ home, I was given some family news I did not expect from a relative I haven’t kept up with. It seems she did genealogical research and found out my grandmother’s family was deported in 1912 because they were Jewish. They came to America again a few […]

Nazi past, American present, Christian regardless

Jessica Eaton, Minot, ND. My maiden name is “Hess” and carries a lot of weight for being a “Nazi name”. Growing up, other students in school would call me a “Nazi” because of my last name and distant relation to a couple of people who took part in the Nazi regime. I didn’t like it, […]

Hispanic Or Not I Achieve Dreams

Odali Ayon Rodriguez, Tucson, AZ. Just a quick message: In our society of modern day times I am immensely judged for being Hispanic and a women. As children we are always encouraged to dream big and live towards those big dreams. However, as I grew older there were a lot of individuals (teachers, friends, family […]

Well…there’s so many minorities now…

Tony Reyes, Portland, OR. I’m half Latino. My mother is a white, evangelical, conservative. I came home the night Obama was re-elected and asked if she had heard the results. The above statement was how she very bitterly responded. Apparently people of color aren’t intellectually capable of choosing a president on the basis of anything […]

Often Ashamed of Being White Male

Anthony Whittum, Portland, OR. As I get older (56) racism seems more prevalent or at least more “advertised” by those that hold racist beliefs. Or perhaps as my childhood, young man-hood and middle age fade into the rear view mirror my awareness of all things grows. It seems that racists are most often categorized as […]

Racism exists because no one’s evil

Jim Solomita, Portland, OR. Enslavement is one of the most evil things a human can do to another. However, no one likes to think of themselves as evil. Therefore, the slave owners needed a way to justify what they were doing. Their solution was to consider Africans as less-than humans – tantamount to animals. Then […]

I am not who you think.

Michelle DePass, Portland, OR. I live in Portland, a City that is overwhelmingly white. Our State Constitution was a racist one. Slavery was not allowed, however Black people were discouraged by a clause in the Constitution that says that Black people who locate in Oregon are subject to public whippings every 6 months until they […]

Struggling to overcome my fear.

Lucy Jones, Portland, OR. I am 32 years old and white. I have had social anxiety all of my life. As a child, I was around black people often and I was comfortable, but quiet because of my anxiety disorder. This changed in college. I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southern […]

I’m white and not ashamed.

Matt, Portland, OR. Lately I’ve seen people of all races attack and belittle white people. Everyone complains about how whites are so racist, but where I come from everyone except white people are treated equally. We constantly get ridiculed for something our generation has no part of. We get made out to be the bad […]

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. […]

Blinded grandfather gave granddaughter excellent vision

Nicole, East Lansing, MI. My grandfather was blind all my life. All I knew was that there was an accident. It wasn’t until he passed that I learned that the accident involved a white man. My grandfather was a doorman and was pushed into the glass door. My grandfather never spoke of the incident. I’m […]

This sideboard was built by slaves

Peter Seay, St. Louis, MO. After my grandparents past away, we inherited a sideboard which promptly found its home in our dining room. As it came into our home, it was shared with me that the piece was built in the early 19th century by slaves in Mississippi. The sideboard was my first real knowledge […]

I don’t consider you a Hispanic.

Ruth Santiago, Rochester, NY. A very close long time friend said this to me. I was totally taken off-guard. I asked for an explanation. She stated, “the fact that I came from a home with both parents, parents who loved us, encouraged education, and values”. It actually made me angry to realize that this is […]

Borderlands born. Always illegal. Always home.

Chuy Benitez, Houston, TX. When you grow up at the collision of two countries, of two cultures, of two identities, you learn very quickly the different nuances between the two cultures and you adapt to appease whichever culture you have to encounter. It makes you more observant, but of course it doesn’t occur without making […]

Pale skinned but black don’t fit.

Zanetea Reece, Fort Myers, FL. I am a bright skinned young woman, grew up in Southwest FL. We we’re not tought about our history in school. But racisim is and was learned at home. Because of that I grew up and still am a loner. No one wanted to be friend me because I didn’t […]

What am I supposed to say?

Zack Ritchie, Boulder, CO. I am a white male. Race doesn’t play a very important role in my life. I go through my daily activities without having to think about how people view the color of my skin. My uncle, however, is African American. His children, my cousins, have dark skin. Because of that, race […]

Life’s, Short, So, Talk, Is, Cheap

Jermaine Guevara, San Francisco, CA. Life is definitely short, tomorrow isn’t promised so consider today a gift. I’m a non-conformist which is I say talk is cheap. People are people regardless of their skin tone and it is inhumane to think one is superior due to race.

Life is Beautiful Don’t Stop Living

Emma GreenWood, USA. I live by these words. I believe life is beautiful, no matter how difficult. Every day we wake up, we never know what’s in store for us. It’s exciting and wonderful to just be alive, that’s why it’s “being alive”. Being alive is amazing, and fulfilling. Before we know it, life is […]

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 […]

Misery’s voice spoke directly to me.

Regina Mason El Cerrito, CA I discovered my great, great, great, grandfather’s narrative, Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, following clues my Aunt Katherine gave me about an ancestor’s connection to the Underground Railroad. No one in the family knew that a relative had written his life story. It would take me years corroborate […]

Endowed by birth, merited by action.

Bill Gricko, Monmouth University This statement is about equal and inalienable human rights to life, liberty, and to pursue happiness that are afforded to all humans by virtue of their humanity. Respect of those rights by others is warranted only by one’s action – that all people respect all others’ rights to the same.

I’m afraid of muggers and police

Jose M Moreira, Brooklyn, NY. What I mean to say is, I am afraid that one person that has the concept of robbing, stabbing and killing me can snuff my life out probably slower than someone that is suppose to ‘protect and serve me’ might just take said life so much more quickly and amazingly […]

Multi-Racial means having a fluid Identity

Jesse Ponnambalam, Bolingbrook, IL. When I see most of the people I know; they all somewhat fit into a specific group. Some may identify as a “skater”, a “Anime Nerd”, a Brony, a “Jock” a “set specific identity here” kind of mold. Now I know that people have more than one Identity, But I never […]

Trying to Navigate, Willing to Fight

Donna Scott, Seattle, WA. I’m passionate about social justice, but I sense the amount of space that I take up, as a white person. I noticed race early on (I’m thinking I noticed it in Kindergarten, I was one of two white kids at my school of ~300) and I’ve been trying my best to […]

I’m not white, I’m peachy-pink.

Alyce Gatlin, Seattle, WA. I like to put the “unity” in community. I want to listen, listen, and listen to people. Together we can find our commonalities and learn about our differences. There is no discussion between us and them … only WE can have a conversation.

I’m one of the rare ones.

Nabeste, Chicago, IL. I’m a Mexican-American. I hate white people. I have grown to hate them. They came to America to steal the land and kill the Native American Indians. They brought the slaves here. They brought with them diseases that are here now. They went and took Texas and all the states that belonged […]

I’m tired of walking on eggshells.

S. E. USA. I’m white. I have never once paid attention to what color someone’s skin is (unless I admired the color). Now I’m told that not paying attention to race is racist? I truly don’t understand what a white person can do that isn’t racist and it has me afraid of even talking to […]

We are all of the human race.

Tommy Edward Sarmiento, Columbus, OH. Don’t wash anything, with color, with darkness nor with white light. All human beings have a right to express and interpret and grow within themselves ideas; ideas of love, of what we fear, what makes us think “isn’t that strange?” Freedom and equity should belong to each human. We should […]

What? But you don’t look Cuban!

Beatrice Miranda, Grand Terrace, CA. When I’m overheard speaking in Spanish. Really? My response… Yes, I’m Cuban and it was my first language. (As I’m thinking, well, what am I supposed to look like?) But you’re so WHITE! Yes I know…I own a mirror, thanks. (As I cringe at being compared to say a sheet, […]

Don’t ask me why I’m single

Christian Hunter, Shreveport, LA. A lot of guys at school try to ask me out and they don’t understand why I say no. Is it such a crime to want to focus on school first? It’s hard for a person my color to succeed and I’m just trying to beat the statistic. So excuse me […]

I’m an Eastern European Ashkenazic Jew

Anonymous, Philadelphia, PA . For a long time, I have known that the concept of “race” is a false way to identify or classify human beings. Race is not a biological reality. In the 19th century, in Europe, the concept of ranking people by color was used to justify conquest and slavery. The attachment of […]

Why Can’t I Like Rap Music

Anonymous, USA. Ever since a young age, I have been super passionate about hip-hop and rap music, but have received constant criticism, weird looks and other disapproving messages from some people who claim “there is no way you can like rap”. Although it’s a minute issue compared to other stories, it still makes me feel […]

Only you can command today’s change!

Alexxus Sidney, Kent, OH. In order to alter the way in which our society operates, WE have to step up and allow ourselves to be heard. WE can no longer talk about these matters, WE have to act. More importantly, WE have to work together. Change cannot truly take place until WE come together as […]

My Black IS Beautiful

Rae Winfrey, Chicago, IL. It is so satisfying that black beauty is now viewed as a compliment and not an insult. Where we embrace our culture and not try to hide it or be something else. From the kinky coils in my hair from my tired feet from walking all day, my black is still […]

I know I’m well spoken, surprised?

Carrington Anderson, Indianapolis, IN. Never sure why I get “You’re so well spoken” so often. Not sure why people look at me and expect me not to be. Being well spoken isn’t “talking white.” English is my native language. Don’t act so shocked when I speak it well.

I look white but I’m hispanic

Kassandra Lynn Pasquale, Bonner Springs, KS. I never really liked how people automatically assume that I’m white just because I always really pale. Just because Hispanics usually have a tan complexity doesn’t mean that you can’t be pale. Whenever I told people I’m actually hispanic they got really surprised and didn’t believe me so they […]

I am cautious about who I date

Anna, MN. I am not attracted to black guys. Even if I was it’s hard. Any person can be my friend but I don’t want family friends to get pissed off at me. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take. Especially in the Trump era. For me personally,I have to be very strategic in […]

Not all Asians look the Same

Michelle, San Jose, CA. Are you [insert East Asian ethnicity] I never got Vietnamese. Looking back, people may have responded that way based on my features or because they had never seen enough Vietnamese girls to make an educated guess. I used to be flattered by people thinking I was not Vietnamese because I didn’t […]

Why Does My Race Cause Fear

Steven, Aldie, VA. I feel that because of my skin color, my race, and all of the characterizations that have been made about both, there is a fear is exuded when people see me. Some of it is ignorant like the seeing a well-built black man being some type of demon or beast. Like how […]

“Si se puede” the famous quote.

Elaine Gastelum, Calexico, CA. My name is Elaine Gastelum and I’ve been raised in a small town called Calexico. Calexico is right next to the border going to Mexico in a city called Mexicali. My town is full of Mexican-Americans that have been raised by Mexican and/or Mexican-American parents. We’ve been taught about our famous […]

Why I Choose To Use Other

Malcolm X. Mosely, Lorain, OH. I started using “Other long ago when they first started putting it on an option and I could start filling out forms when I started entering college in the early 90’s and there after. The reason I have done this is because I am not only Black and White, I […]

“Generic Brown” is my passport everywhere.

Gil L. Pettigrew, MS, The Federated States of Micronesia. I have a very strong, very proud cultural heritage; I’m a North American Mestizo, 50% Native American (Creek and Cherokee; my tribal enrollment/citizenship is with the Echota Band of the Eastern Cherokee Nation) & 50% a mashup of Scots-Latin-AfricanAmerican-Welsh-french. I self ID as Native American, because […]