Just call me a human being

Lily Campbell, San Francisco, CA. I am a Freshman in Highschool, and for the past month, my religious studies teacher has been teaching us what the meaning of race is. Race is a category that humans have created to tell each other apart from one another, but we are all apart of one race, the […]

Why are people like me scared?

Tom Lewis, Phoenix, AZ. Most “white” people in the USA are descended from people who were considered “other” and often not even white when these ancestors arrived. All of these groups changed and improved America. Germans, Irish, Italians, Poles, and Jews were as unwelcome as Mexicans, Dominicans, Africans and Muslims are now. I am white […]

Who are you? Papers? Go home!

Nicholas Cappella, Denver, CO. If someone in the United States of America doesn’t have official documentation to prove they are a citizen, they aren’t considered part of our society by everyone. These people (typically immigrants) don’t always feel like they have an identity or are forced into not having one by the environment they’re in. […]

I feel invisible, while standing out.

Aman Agah, Brooklyn, NY. I am Iranian, Irish, Azari, and German. Being Iranian means being called Arab. I am not Arab. Being Iranian means being part of a group of people that so many don’t know – even if I say “Persian” – and yet I am part of a group labeled terrorist. I am […]

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 […]

White, but can’t have Mexican family?

Jade Weber, Holland, MI. When my grandparents come up to visit, and we go out people always ask if my grandfather is related to us. My whole family is white, but my grandfather is Mexican. My grandmother married him so, he is part of my family. Sometimes when people ask we can tell they are […]

See me not my white skin

Susanna Lee, Roanoke, IN. I have lived in a world of “white privilege” my entire life. I didn’t ask for it, I did nothing to earn it; my skin is white, but my blood is Cherokee Indian, French-Canadian, Mediterranean-Italian, German, and Irish. As a youth of the Reagan era, I benefited from this “white privilege”, […]

Χιος to Hughes…we’re all immigrants

Patricia Hughes, Lake Arrowhead, CA. My father’s father took the long route of immigration from Greece during the political upheavals occurring in the early part of the 20th century, and later sent for his family. My father and some of his siblings were born in America. Growing up extremely poor in Denver, Colorado, my father […]

Half Kraut, half Jap: lotta KRAP.

Karl Koessel Blue Lake, CA German-descent St, Louis raised 16-year-old volunteers for war. Japan surrenders while he’s in boot camp. Sent as occupational soldier, but really doing puberty. Comes to Berkeley in 1951 with new wife for school and I am first of 7 children to come. Growing up in mixed neighborhood where groups appeared […]

“You’re Hispanic?,” he said. “Prove it!”

Irmie S. Bristol, CT I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Both of my parents were from Puerto Rico but were of Spanish ancestry, which caused my fair, freckle-prone skin. I looked so different from so many of my caramel-skinned classmates. So, in Junior High School, when one Puerto Rican boy began teasing all […]

Disappointed in myself and my country

Miranda Nogaki, Burien, WA. I’m sad and shamed it took me so long to see the racism in myself and my country. It’s so much a part of my thought processes, my brain now feels wrong. I’m eager to do the hard work of learning to listen, how to drop my agenda and expectations of […]

Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

Your fear is not my fault.

Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.

Drawl big words. They are surprised.

Roy Turrentine, Normandy, TN. Race is actually just a part of our natural xenophobia. Over the course of being a southerner rooted in agrarian dialects and educated among those from all across the country, I have experienced genuine surprise on the part of some when they realize I can speak with a drawl and still […]

I never think of you as Asian.

Virginia, Cambridge, MA. I’m half Filipina. And I’ve always thought of myself as half. But one day at a faculty meeting a colleague told me I “passed” as white. It’s bothered me ever since.

Uniquely Made, The American Girl Today

Christina Rains, Riverside, CA. French, Indian, Mexican, Dutch, but American? It is quite clear that you cannot judge individuals by their color. Race in reality just identifies where your family has lived and what part of the world you are from. Throughout my life, I have been called “white girl” but in reality, this categorization […]

Look in the EYE, smile, say HI!

Deborah Williams Clearwater, FL Fear affects all of us. Bad people are out there but it’s not based on skin color. When you walk by, take a moment to look that fear in the eye. Smile and say HI! You will see that 99.9% of the time your fear was unfounded.

Trust me, I’m not a stereotype.

Jazmine McKinney, Winter Garden, FL. Yes, I am black. No I am not angry. I actually smile all the time, and I get odd looks because of it. I guess I don’t act like people think black girls should act? Yes, I love Disney. I honestly don’t like rap music all that much. I love […]

I’m Asian. Don’t assume I’m Chinese.

Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and […]

We’re just not understanding each other

Nancy Wilson Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation Misunderstanding is breaking my hopeful heart. I was robbed by a black man I’d smiled at on the street. I still smile at people on the street. But, I might hold my purse tighter. I was robbed by a black man I’d looked in the eyes […]

Border life safety, mass murder, lose.

Patricia Valdez-Harrison, El Paso, TX. El Paso Texas for the fourth year in a row as been reported to be the safest city in the country even though it shares borders with one of the deadliest cities in Mexico. I chose to end my sentence with lose not only for the lose of so many […]

Indian who was clueless about race

Charuta Apte, Sammamish, WA. I am an Indian, and teach in a under-served community in a school which is equally white, black and hispanic. In the beginning, it was a recipe for disaster. Now, it feels empowering. Just last week, I had a few student accuse me of going easy on a girl who they […]

Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

Robb Pérez, San Clemente, CA. My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak […]

Being a mulatto woman is complicated.

Dorian N. Spokane, WA. I am mulatto. I have a black father and white mother. I love being bi-racial, I take pride in it and feel very lucky to have heritage that stems from two completely different directions, but it took many years to achieve this level of confidence, because when strangers, family and friends […]

Slavery’s legacy broke my family pride.

Katherine E. Byroade, West Hartford, CT. When I was a child, my southern grandmother took great delight in the fact that she was a Jamestown descendant and DAR member and saw her membership in those organizations as part of her legacy to her granddaughters, ensuring our social success. She was matter of fact that the […]

WHITE: Not Allowed 2 Be Proud

Jason McLevis, Duluth, MN. Growing up in a multi racial neighborhood I am well cultured. It was not until Junior High that I became aware I was supposed to be ashamed to be “White”. I am not allowed to be proud of any of my heritage. I must stand aside in shame while any other […]

Father failed his brown bag test.

Derrick Warren, Baltimore, MD. I remember my father talking to me about his college days in Missouri. There was this fraternity on campus that would require their prospective pledges to pass what was said to be a brown bag test. Essentially, if you were darker than the brown bag, you could not get into the […]

Daughters of Muslim father are American.

Suzie Husami, San Diego, CA. My mother and father met in college in upstate New York – he, a Lebanese -Muslim-Republican named Muhammad and she, an American non-practicing Methodist-Democrat named Maureen. They fell in love and had three daughters – Najla, our olive-skinned sister, and my twin sister and me – pale and freckled. My […]

Never met Grandfather because “Bull” Did

Andrea James Andrews Fresno, CA Our personal family legend includes Bull Connor from Alabama. My grandfather was diagnosed as Schizophrenic but that didn’t stop Bull Conner from killing him either before or right after they took him to the Colored Hospital for the Insane. Have an irrational hate for anything “Alabama” since then (born and […]

White child calls black man Dad

Morgan Fort Lauderdale, FL My now three and a half year old brother named Kendall was born to two crack addicted parents. My grandmother now has full custody of him and is his Mother figure. My grandma goes a few times a week to the Walmart across the street to do her grocery shopping. Benny […]

Met your daughter now it matters

Charles McCoy Owens, Chicago, IL. Throughout my life, both professional and private, white people who are friends have said to me that race doesn’t matter and that they see me as Charlie, a person just like everybody else. Interestingly though when I am the same age as their daughters or sisters and a friendship begins […]

We lost our culture to survive.

Brianne Hittenberger, USA. It is the end of me, and I of it. My German last name belongs to me, my disabled brother, and my female second-cousin. My brother and I do not necessarily expect that we will marry, or that our cousin will keep our name if she does. When my brother and I […]

Difficult Childhood With A Racist Father

Anonymous, Omaha, NE. My mother is black and father who I never knew was latino. When I was 3 my mother met and married a white man fresh off the boat from Europe. Together they had a daughter,my baby sister. I only ever knew this man as any sort of father figure and because I […]

Who is your daughter’s father?

Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]

“Dad, please tell Emily I’m adopted”

Barney Rush, Chevy Chase, MD. Ours is an adopted family: my wife and I have two daughters, both of whom are Caucasian, as we are. We adopted them through agencies, the older when we lived in New York; the younger when we lived in Florida. After living six years in Europe, we returned to the […]

Don’t judge book by its cover!

Leon Robert, Riverside, CA. I identify as black but often times get mistaken for a white person over the phone. When people have come into my work to see me, I’ve heard comments like, “Oh, I though you were white”. My usual response is, “Interesting. What does a white person sound like?” The responses are […]

Ashamed of being mostly white. Sadly.

De, Everytown, MO. I chose a picture of a rainbow because I think it fits the subject of my card. I am mostly of Caucasisan (Irish) descent. I am also of Jew, African, and Native American descent. I look white. Recently I have been made to feel ashamed of my white heritage, and even been […]

While there’s no finishline: Americans All

William Eckman, Atlanta, GA. We come from different families, different cultures, different schools but for all to win as a great nation we must be less tribal and remember “out of many one”! This is the glue that holds us together and allows all of us to work to make tomorrow better than today across […]

Difference between Phillando and me? Nothing.

Barry, MN. As a black man, who – though I hate the phrase, acts very “white”, I feel as though you have act a certain way to fit into society and get less harassed. I don’t act white on purpose, it’s just who I am; how I was raised. Nonetheless, this “act” shouldn’t have to […]

Guide To Your Privilege Right

Z Frohna, Los Angeles, CA. So. I’m a white woman who lives in L.A. But I’m also disabled, and a part of the LGBT+ community. Am I privileged? Yes. If someone has privilege, whether it is the dreaded white privilege or economically fueled privilege, it doesn’t mean, “they are a terrible person,” or, “their life […]

I’m sorry for past uninformed judgements.

Dale Kolomaznik, Dayton, OH. I’d love to be a part of future discussions on this topic. I became interested I’m racial relations when, as an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program (AFROTC) student at Louisiana State University, I saw a stark difference between the reaction to the OJ Simpson verdict between my white classmates in […]

United we stand, divided we fall.

Chad Beauvais, Bend, OR. You are exactly right for sharing your real story. Many people feel the same way as you do and have similar experiences. I was told that there was no financial aid for me because I was predominantly white (even though I had the grades and financial need to qualify), so I […]

Your bar is down the street.

Ronald Zeigler, North Brunswick, NJ. I was stationed at Parris Island going to Personnel school. I was from New York and with my three New Jersey (also Black) friends went into Beaufort, SC. We walked into a bar and my friend said “three beers, please”. I was at the jukebox looking for Motown and finding […]

Who are your ancestors. Be honest.

Alison Bailey, Bloomington, IL. Yes. I’ve been able to find out who my 3d greatgrandmother is until recently. She was the bastard child of Joseph C. Van Mater, or “Big Joe,” as he was called. The Van Mater family were early settlers in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Big Joe was the largest slave holder north […]

You are those girls mother?! Really!?!

Ethel Grigorovici, Mountain House, CA. “You play so well with her. What are your rates?” “Could you please let her parents know.””Are you a family friend or the nanny?” Samples of the many questions/comments I get when I was out and about with my children. I’m the mother of 3 the last two (girls) are […]

Half-white, half-middle-eastern. Where do I belong?

Aimiee Gauvreau, Redondo Beach, CA. I’m almost 47 now; I felt more alone as a child and teenager of the 70s and 80s. I teach high school English in a beautiful California beach community, and the kids are more open now, yet I see how the aloneness persists within them too. Maybe in another 50 […]

Listen First. Pray Next. Speak Last.

Eric Nykamp, Grand Rapids, MI. My sense is that as white people, we too often choose to react or retreat from conversations about race because they are difficult to have. If we keep doing this, we don’t really make any progress. Yes, it is painful – for everyone. However, there is more beyond the pain. […]

Interracial family: whites stare, blacks care.

Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]

Change On Counter Not In Hand

Kristina T. Sanders, Sumter, SC. A regular day at work turned into an eye opening experience. I had helped a customer pick out a pair of shoes, and it was time for him to purchase them. The customer was a tall middle age Caucasian gentlemen. I gave him his total and he pulled out the […]

Being Asian, my Authenticity is Questioned

Colette, Sacramento, CA. “I love Asian girls” “I love Japanese people” “Konnichiwa” “Ni hao” “Sayonara” “Kamsammida” ‘Your a bad Japanese. You don’t know Japanese.’ “Are you Chinese?” “I don’t think people in Osaka speak Kansaiben” “I know Chinese” “You look the most Japanese” “You could be an other Asian too” One Caucasian man approached my […]

Not from here, not from there.

Adriana Caicedo Hart , Indian Trail, NC. I was born in Colombia, I came to USA in 2003. My physical features, my accent and my skin color say I am not born in American, they say I belong to a different culture; but when I go back to my home country for a visit, I […]

Born in America, Your’re just American

Jeff Boothe TX If you were born here you are not African-American, Mexican-American, and Chinese-American. No one says they are European-American, Scottish-American, and Spanish-American. Why do people dilute themselves to being less than American.

I never know what to say.

Sydney, KS. I do the best I can to be an ally for my friends of color. Sometimes, though, I stay silent on issues. Not because I am not being the best I can be- but because often I say things as a white person that offends my friends because the language I use isn’t […]