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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Black-white man; white black man

Kirl T. Lawson, Oakland, CA. I have so many tales to share about my experience with my color (or lack of “definitive color recognition”). growing up in Chicago, I was called “a white n*****” by friends at times w/ affection and at times derisively. Initially the appellation hurt my feelings until I took an objective […]

I’m okay with no racial majority

L J Laubenheimer, San Jose, CA. The thing lots of people miss with whites losing the majority is that no one race will be in the majority. We’ll all be minorities, which will ultimately remove a source of resentment and conflict. I’m white, I live in Silicon Valley. I doubt whites are the majority here […]

Celtic mutt…happens to be white.

Jenn Jackson, Canada. I grew up in surroundings that were predominantly white, wanting to learn more about other cultures. I moved to an urban center and felt myself stuck; clumsy in the navigation of culturally diverse waters: focusing on differences, as opposed to similarities. It’s taken a long time, a lot of diversity training and […]

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”, […]

“The only Mexicans I’ve ever met ..”

Josie Villanueva Washington, DC “… pick our melons on my Daddy’s farm.” she said to me, with wide eyes, on one of the first days at Hoosier Girls State. I was one of the very few Latinas in the program, a delegate chosen for my academic excellence and leadership at my high school. I think […]

But I have a black friend.

MK, Baltimore, MD. A few moments in my “coming into adulthood” stand out as I am navigating the world of race. I remember probably 10 years back now that in conversation with my mother-in-law in a less-than-intellectual blue collar town her speaking of how racism towards white people was apparent in the area. She noted […]

All white childhood, now I’m learning.

Laura Haney, Fordland, MO Growing up in rural MO there were no black people. I never heard a racist remark growing up, I never heard anything on the subject, period, not at home and certainly not at school. When I was a kid, (I’m 53 now) there was a black family that lived in town, […]

I wish the voice would stop.

Al, Atlanta, GA. I was born 51 years ago. I grew up with a father who would definitely be considered racist today, but was probably just typical blue collar in those days – kind of an Archie Bunker figure. I heard the N word at least a dozen times a week. Fast forward to my […]

This guy named Ish can Fish

Noah Clayton, Lakeland, FL. In the past year I have started be become really fond with Bass fishing. I caught my first Bass towards the end of 2012 and ever since then I have become “hooked”. As I was watching videos on YouTube and doing a little research on techniques and places to fish I […]

Lizzie’s Journey from Plantation to Farm

Michelle Hill, Oakland, CA. Our family is so fortunate that my great, great, great grandparents were not separated from each other and their children during slavery. Because the family stayed together, we have a family Bible, pictures and records that document their lives in this country. My great grandmother, Mama Lizzie, was born in 1870 […]

I was fragile now I’m stronger!

Abigail, Forest Lake, MN I grew up in the rural Midwest. Being a Korean adoptee in a Norwegian and Swedish area, I really stood out. I have felt the ugly racist, hateful remarks my entire life. I grew so I wouldn’t be consumed. Flower you say? I’m a mountain!

Light skinned, biracial, Jewish, Arab American man.

Arturo Hull, Anchorage, AK. My mom is Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, Greek, Italian, Swiss-German, Austrian, South German, English, Norwegian and Danish. My dad is English, Scottish, Irish, Swedish, German, Polish, and Russian. I am light-skinned and can easily pass as French or Italian, but I embrace my Arab roots to the fullest and enjoy foods like […]

Yes, I really am North African.

Hannah, St. Louis, MO. My mother is from Africa. She has dark skin. My father is Swedish. My mother used to get asked if she was my Mexican nanny. I was bullied as a kid because I look like no one in my family. No one understands I identify more as a minority but I […]

DON’T ASK ME TO JUST FORGET

Thaddeus, Nashville, TN. I was raised poor in Louisiana where the generations of my family before me farmed and picked cotton, fished and lived off the land. Our water was rain water caught in a ground cistern and we used an outhouse for a toilet and boiled water for each night to bathe. So please […]

Man not party. Biggest Bigot running.

Robert S. Davis, Hanceville, AL. My southern blue collar father said that he never voted for the party but only for the man. Most of his life he voted for Democrats but in his last years he voted all Republican. He always voted for the biggest bigots running, even if only by party association, Dad […]

I’m not from the country ‘White’.

Matthew Palavido Beaumont, CA My family’s background is Polish and Swedish and the town I grew up in in New Jersey was predominantly “white”. Like a lot of Americans, I grew up rather sheltered and culturally insensitive/ignorant. While on a camping trip with my family and friends from my wife’s side of the family, we […]

Too brown for the fancy restaurant.

Jane Medina Orange, CA My daughter Annie had just turned 21. So she, my husband, my son, and I put on our cocktail party clothes and went to the fanciest restaurant in Orange, California to buy Annie her first drink. As our car climbed the steep hill where the restaurant sat like a crown above […]

There’s more than just my surface

Ashley Cook, Suwanee, GA Im black but there is more to me than that. I’m also a sister, daughter, a granddaughter, a cousin. I’m a quiet and I like heavy metal. I’m queer and I identify as gender fluid. I’m addicted to pizza! I have bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. I’m unique for sure and […]

Joy is the armor of truth

Judith Angelo Cleveland Heights, OH I began with six words from Alice Walker’s novel about FGM, Possessing the Secret of Joy : “The secret of joy is resistance.” I’m a white radical lesbian feminist, and I associate them with my primary teachers about race in America: Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider) and Derrick Bell (Faces at […]

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 […]

We plan life so we’re safe.

Jamie Haines, Franklin, VA. As an inter-racial lesbian couple in Virginia, we have to plan carefully. Will that small diner be safe? Can we vacation safely in that city, country? Can we hold hands? Will we have to take Mr. Confederate Flag stalker back to court? Every single time one of us walks out the […]

We are not what we were

Kellianne Murtha, Chesapeake, VA. Times have changed, people have changed so why is “race” still thought to be an ongoing problem? We are no longer who our ancestors were and we no longer believe all of which they did. Race should not be a problem and should not be a deciding factor for things, such […]

Just want credit it is due.

Jasmine Shabazz, Beachwood, Ohio. So, never once have I blamed the white kids and there families for slavery. Never once did I say there ancestors enslaved mine. And I hate to look like the girl who always plays the race card, or who always wants to cry about the struggles my ancestors went through. But […]

The fiction of whiteness imperils humanity.

Evan Sorem, San Diego, CA. I am a human being. I have lived nearly all my life in California. My ancestors have lived in California, Illinois, Wyoming, Utah, Tennessee, Virginia, Norway, France, Italy, England, the Netherlands and who knows where else. So, people view me as a “white” person. In my 40’s, I have learned […]

I’m an Arab named Dave Hall

Dave Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I get my name from my Yankee (English-American) father, whose ancestors arrived in Boston in 1630 but I get my complexion from my Arab-American mother. People do a double take when they first meet me after only hearing my voice on the phone. And new friends quickly learn that I am […]

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 […]

Cajun heritage and worked for everything

Feldon Starns, Summerville, SC. I come from a lower middle class family. I was the first to graduate collage in my family. I worked full time at menial jobs and paid for everything myself. No loans, grants, scholarships, or aid. Nothing was given to me. If working inside old fuel tanks in a shipyard is […]

I’m Me, You’re You, Both Beautiful

Mary Engleman, Tacoma, WA I get told all the time I must be racist because of my heritage. But you don’t know my heritage. I don’t happen to look like my ancestry (Hmm, wonder what that could be from? Could I be two different races for some reason? Think hard.) I didn’t get to choose […]

Wait, why is your grandma Asian?

Ryan Flanagan, Mountain View, CA A friend in high school asked me this question after meeting my grandmother, who is Filipino. I grew up eating pancit and lumpia and feel a strong connection to my Filipino heritage, but am often met with eye rolls since my appearance reads as white. I worry that my blue-eyed […]

The Graceful Dance of Racial Inequality

Makael James, Chicago, IL Racial Inequality has been around since our great great great great grandparents have been around. In today’s generation it looks different because of how the men in power set it up and all of it leads down to death and violence.

I am Asian but look white

Jason Eng, Hong Kong. As a kid I looked more Chinese, and I identified as Chinese, because all my relatives looked Chinese and I was proud to associate myself with the subculture of Asian America. As I got older my appearance changed. Now I think that one should be able to identify as one chooses. […]

That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]

Riding on a train crying, mommy braiding.

Donna Monroe, Indianapolis, IN. It was the summer of 1957. I was riding on a train with my mother when I saw another little girl who was having her hair braided. She was crying. My heart went out to her because I cried when my mom tried to comb the tangles out of my hair.

Redefining the south’s reputation for racism.

Lanthe Keller, Knoxville, TN I grew up in a small suburb outside of Seattle, WA. I played with and had friends in my class who looked nothing like me and only when moving to the south did I realize I had never seen so many white children. The south has a reputation for racism, it’s […]

I Will Not Be Silent Anymore

Yiming Fang, Hopkinton, MA I remember once in fifth grade, a friend and I were talking, and she was trying to figure out how many hours she slept for some reason. My dad had taught me a trick about that, so I was able to tell her really quickly. She asked me how I knew […]

Blacks say I’m White, WASPs don’t.

Thomas R Gerbasi, Lewiston, NY I’m Sicilian-American. Both sides of my family came to the USA in 1890s The KKK burned a cross on my Grandfather’s lawn. As a teenager, they offered my father twice what he paid for his home to move out because a “non-white” family in the neighborhood would “lower the property […]

Kids’ mother tongue isn’t their mother’s

Elise DuBord, Cedar Falls, IA. Growing up in the Midwest, I started studying Spanish as a second language in high school, fascinated with learning about other cultures and enchanted with the idea of traveling to or even living in a new country. As a middle-class white kid, I was completely unaware of the privilege I […]

My child’s not your Learning Experience.

Beth Curren, Bethesda, MD We are a bi-racial family and have experienced the comments of others since the day we brought our child home from the hospital. Most comments and questions have been kind, or at least well-intentioned; many others have not: people have been rude, intrusive, scornful, misinformed and self-righteous. Often the hardest moments […]

1972, frightened seeing first black man

Nicoletta Fusi, Italy I was six years old and I was in Paris with my parents, first trip for tourism. sitting for some rest on a bench in a park, when a black garbageman approached me with kind words (which I don’t remember!), but I was so frightened beacause I had never seen a black […]

She’s nice for a black woman!

Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]

Gifted Black Girl’s Road Less Traveled

Giji Mischel Dennard, Burtonsville, MD While my cross-culture world view likely has been shaped by my early exposure to people with ethnicities different from my own, I can’t help but believe that by divine design I was wired for this often “road less traveled” life journey. As far back as 3rd grade, other Black kids […]

They won’t listen, they won’t believe

Merritt Campbell Burton, Lewiston, ID I considered myself color-blind until I learned that wasn’t helping. I was one of those hippy-dippy people who would say “we need to just move past it.” We don’t; not yet. We need to acknowledge and talk about it. Long conversations, uncomfortable conversations. My first experience with racism was as […]

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 do not understand whats race

Stephen J Cahill, Peru, NY I don’t have melanin. In high school I was hanging out with a guy, who was also without melanin, and he was selling pot. My track teammate who had lots of melanin told me not to hang out with the pot seller. He said “don’t mess with that sh*t.” He […]

Held against your will?

Judy Vasquez, Murrieta, CA. I am a caucasion female, brown hair with brown eyes and my husband is proudly Hispanic/Mexican. We were pulled over at a checkpoint one evening on or way home from a family event and when the officer looked in the car, he asked me, “Ma’am, are you being held against your […]

“Why don’t you like me?”

Mandy P, Sacramento, CA. When I was 7 years old we moved to Sacramento from Oregon. The culture and diversity is very in California than in Oregon. Moving to California exposed me to many other races and cultures. I saw many other races in my environment. Although in my neighborhood, where I lived and attended […]

Yo soy Tejano, not “White Washed”

Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]

People assume my daughter is adopted.

Rebecca Schwarzlose, Roayl Oak, MI. I am white and my husband is Indian. My daughter has my husband’s complexion. When we are together as a family people assume that she’s mixed but when I’m out with my daughter alone (which is most of the time) everyone assumes that she’s adopted. People ask me where she’s […]

Genetically black and white raised hispanic

Veronica Herrera Nacogdoches, TX My daughter currently only 2 months was conceived through a donor who is African American. My wife is Caucasian and I am Mexican/Cuban American. When my wife and I spoke about having kids she wanted to carry the child first because she is older than me. We wanted our child to […]

Have you found a man, yet?

Kaitlyn Brumbaugh, Mount Holly Springs, PA As a woman, my family makes it seem like my entire future depends on if I am in a relationship and get married. However, I am worth more than my relationship status.

Child Immigrant, Grown Defender of America

Ronnie Annapolis, MD The image of a child immigrant, who grew up to serve in the U.S. military is a bit cliche these days, especially after more than a decade of conflict. However, there is nothing cliche about an immigrant wanting to defend his adopted nation and his fellow Americans (both fellow immigrants and native […]

Guessing my race isn’t a game

Sheila Islam, Oakland, CA. You do not win a prize if you get it right. People hardly ever guess it right and thats not exactly the problem. The problem is, that when people do this, I feel objectified. I feel like my physical appearance is being ripped from me and being judged. I am so […]

Educating Myself on My Own Privilege

Rhiannon Emma Farr, Minneapolis, MN I haven’t lived a great life, nor a terrible one. I suffer depression and anxiety and other mental illnesses and physical ones too that make everyday living extremely difficult. Though my life has been tough, I acknowledge that my race or gender has nothing to do with the pain I […]

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 […]

“Hey, Geisha Girl!” What? Who, me?

Jennifer Luberecki Hagerstown, MD Being Korean-born and adopted at 3 by Caucasian parents, I grew up with my adopted parents culture (which is Polish and Scottish) and feel thoroughly American. Which is why it feels like a shock, and sometimes a slap in the face, when other people make assumptions about who I am. The […]

I have the gift of choice.

Dawna B., Ft. Thomas, KY. I am bi-racial and have the power in today’s society to choose the race I identify as. My race and background is often misjudged or guessed at. I’m thankful that I have this option.

“A Teacher Who Looks Like Me”

Meghen, CA I’ve been babysitting for my current family for about a year and a half now, and I’ve heard of and been present for stories in that time on being Black in a predominantly white neighborhood. One of the first and better chats was my 10 year-old getting excited about moving as she would […]

I decide if I’m “black enough”.

Kelly Wickham, Springfield, IL. When I was born the white nurse told my mom that “mixed” wasn’t a category and she put “white” on my birth certificate, but my mother knew she’d be raising a child that the world would identify as black and she raised me as such.

“Didn’t know you were an alien”

Tifanny Lopez, Mountain View, CA People have called me an alien when they find out I wasn’t born in the U.S. Suddenly my whole identity changed in their eyes. I was once told that I had the opportunity to hide the fact that I was an ” alien” since my pronunciation is very well.

Wik na tiki wawa bastən wawa

M.H. Culley, CA. It is sad that my Indian Elders and Ancestors were taught to be so ashamed of being Indian that they tried to protect their descendents by not teaching us their songs and language. This is even more painful because in the 20th century out tribe was declared extinct by a white bureaucrat […]

Im not a dream chase. Im a goal Hunter.

Adan Reyna, Miami Gardens, FL Hi, my name is Adan Reyna, I’m a Latin guy who is on the hunter of his dreams. I come from Panama to study aeronautical sciences. I’m taking my major at Florida memorial university; because for me, they have one of the most complete programs in aviation are.

“Mythical norm”, is what I be

Donald Malchow, Milwaukee, WI. A friend explained to me that I was the “mythical norm” in our society while we were in college. That really gave me time to pause and reflect what that meant. For so long, I have attempted to reject that notion but it’s something that I am coming to terms with […]

Race is not a race

Vero Korbenfeld, Miami, FL More often than not, minorities are running a race against each other, to see who wins the “most tragic history” ribbon. Who is more deserving of equality. In some way or another, most of us come from a history of wars, holocaust, slavery, escape, discrimination, abuse, you name it… It is […]

Why Not Put My Needs First?

Faith Dow, Washington, DC. Black women are the benchmark and template for every viable social reform from the past 50 years that others use to advance their own agendas – often at our expense. We deserve respect and reciprocity.

Things I’m sick of PoC saying

Yuki, Ft. Myers, FL. Hear me out here. I am so sick of people talking bad about me being white, like oh I’m sorry Jaiana that I was born with hardly melanin just burn me at the stake and call me a KKK member, but that’s totally fine right? Black people cant be racist! Okay […]

Just like a ‘lectric clock ticking

Jimmy Hair, Charlotte, NC. A hard working black man I worked construction with 44 years ago used to say this. He meant it about his steady and prodigious work output, but I think of it now in terms of the slow but steady progress of improved race relations.

Where are you from?

Beth Aguirre, San Francisco, CA People outside San Francisco ask me where I’m from. I am a 4th generation Asian – San Franciscan. When I say I’m from San Francisco, please ask me, “Really, where are you from?” Just because I have dark hair and tan skin doesn’t mean I’m not from San Francisco.

R A C E! Four letters that define us.

Julie, Miami, FL I wasn’t tuned into racial differences growing up as my community was fairly homogeneous. It wasn’t until I began to travel at the age of 20 (and eventually married someone of a different race) that my eyes were opened to just how much impact ‘race’ plays in our everyday existence.

My Skin Doesn’t Define Who I Am

Fiza Nadeem, United Kingdom Everyone, should accept you for who you are and if your different skin coloured, white, black or brown no one should label you or discriminate you. Everyone should have the rights to do what they want and go where they wont being a different colour shouldn’t prevent them. For example police […]

I want to help change things.

Kathy Holmes, Riverview, FL At 60, I am embarrassed to say…I was woefully uneducated about systemic racism. Doing my best to learn and trying to do my part by teaching at a community college. I encourage my students to find their voices. And use it.

I Am My Own Unique Identity

Bradey Malave, Durham, NH People are born into a variety of races. Some races take apparent connection towards their religion while others have no correlation at all to whom they are. Your race does not set a fate of destiny that you have to abide by. There will always be people that will cast heavy-weighted […]

I’m not the RIGHT minority.

Brianna Acosta, Leander, TX. All the U.S. is talking about is black and white, but what about the Mexican Americans? Discrimination against us has risen 50% in the last ten years while discrimination against most other races in the U.S. has gone down.

I can see it in your face.

Ella, Durham, NH Often when I tell people my grandfather is from Argentina, they lean in and say ‘I can see it in your face’. They have no idea how diverse a country Argentina is. They have no idea about my ethnic background. My grandfather’s parents were both Austrian. They do not say this to […]

I’m Mexican (but) get confused as Asian

Nobody, Nowhere I’m Hispanic but I get confused as Asian quite often and it annoys me. There’s nothing wrong with being or looking Asian but the majority of the people in my school are either black or Hispanic and there awfully racist to any other race and it annoys me because I’m getting called “Chinese”/”Chinita”. […]

Wow, you don’t have an accent!

Angelina A., Allentown, PA. I myself always get asked about questions about my racial and ethnic background and it never has bothered me. I usually always say I am half Dominican and half Chilean, then I go on to explaining that my dad is from Chile and my mom is from The Dominican Republic. Although […]

Black mom. Blonde daughter. She yours?

Amber Duke, New Albany, IN. My bi-racial daughter has her father’s blond hair and fair skin. Soon after she was born, I was shocked when people would randomly ask, “Is she yours?” Once, in an airport, when I responded yes, a woman challenged me saying, “…but she has blond hair.” Due to a new upgrade […]

I ask again, am I racist?

Karla Torres, Oakland, CA Am I racist? This is something I’ve been asking myself recently as I’ve encountered new neighbors living on my street. This neighborhood has always been predominantly black and Latino and while there have been issues between the neighbors, things have never gotten to this level of uncomfortableness. All the homes here […]

See my color. I see yours.

Florencetine Bourne Jasmin, Gwynn Oak, MD. My response to those who say, “I don’t see color.” But I need you to see my color. It is beautiful! How could you not see it. If you don’t see it, then you don’t see me, hear me, or know me….or won’t get to know me.

Would it happen if they’re white?

Heidi Bantz, Waukee, IA Before making a decision or saying something, ask yourself, “Would it happen if they’re white?” If the answer is no, then you need to rethink your actions and work to eliminate your stereotypical mindset.

Single White Dads Need Help Too.

Jamin Rohner San Diego, CA Eye White Open Sometimes, we all go through situations where we could really use a some help, even if it’s only a little. Whether it be something relatively small, like supplemental food stamps or grants for reeducation in times of employment hardships, to more immediate needs like emergency, short-term shelter […]

My Name Was a White Girl

Brooke Cobbin Jacksonville, FL For years, I have been pleasantly surprising people because when they read my name Brooke (Morgan) Cobbin they expect to see a white girl. When they read my essays, my emails…they think I am white. It’s funny to me because of how names are trendy. How many Madisons do you know […]

I’m too mixed to fit in

Matthew Joshua Nunez-Pocot-Reid, Australia. My mother is a Cebuano Filipina, with strong Spanish heritage. And my Father is the prime example of a white Australian. Although I often lean to identify as a Asian/Hispanic, it’s hard to do so when I hang around my more cultured friends. Because to them, I’m too white, and too […]

My grandparents met in the KKK

Alisa Rose Ann Arbor, MI I didn’t know that until recently. My aunt found my grandfather’s robes in a trunk when he died. My grandmother was a little embarrassed. The times have changed in my home town–the KKK is not active anymore that I know of. But the town is still less than 2% African […]

I’m a bridge between two worlds.

Jazmin Whitmore, Asheville, NC. I am the result of two worlds but I was only raised in one. My father was Jamaican and my mother was European/Native American mix. My mother raised me. Although it was not her intention she raised me to be “white”. I did not realize how devoid I was of my […]

Does my skin color really matter?

Ricardo Quintanilla Jr., Mission, TX. For what I have seen the world to be, skin color makes for a subject of preference or a form of documentation. Skin color shouldn’t define or explain, it should simply be what it is, a skin color.

God created race people created racism

Eric Evans, Tarboro, NC. Our God-given differences are meant to be appreciated not to keep us separated. As a Native American man I live in a world that doesn’t know what to think of me outside of a reservation or the pages of a history book.

But Your Not Really Black

Damme Getachew, Seattle, WA. My parents are from Ethiopia and so I self-identify as Ethiopian. I’m frequently asked “Where are you from?” as if being a person of color means that I was born somewhere other than the United States. Aren’t we past that?

Latina I am I am me

Carmen Angelica Zapata, Santa Monica, CA. I lived in Spain for a year after growing up in the United States and for the first time I was not other. No one yelled “speak English!” no one asked if I was legal, or if I was going to be deported. It was the first time in […]

Secretly Jewish, with no idea why

Brian Chapman Portland, OR I discovered, in my 40s, that my ethnicity and my ancestry were not what I had been led to believe. For mysterious reasons (anti-Semitism) my father concocted a fictional back story that became how my brothers and I viewed ourselves. Now, with knowledge of a different cultural identity but absolutely no […]

Stop talking like a white girl

Jasmine Baker East Lansing, MI Growing up I was placed in the gifted and talented program in my elementary school. I learned to speak what this society refers to as “proper English.” Because of that, many Black students would tease me and tell me that I’m black, stop talking like a white girl. What does […]

Si Senor! I am US citizen

Heidy Avila Murillo, Baltimore, MD. My marriage is biracial, I am Hispanic and my husband is a Caucasian born in Maryland. This year after obtaining my US citizenship, my husband and I decided to have three days vacations in Canada. We visited Niagara Falls, Toronto city, and since I love Diego Rivera’s artwork, we decided […]

You do not look Puerto Rican.

Beatriz McConnie Zapater, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am Puerto Rican with white, indigenous, Spanish, and African ancestry. When I hear that I do not look Puerto Rican, I ask the person, “How many Puerto Ricans do you know?”.

I will not yield to you.

James Michael Rogers Houston, TX I was at my neighborhood park one morning jogging, and I saw three white women walking abreast in one direction, and a black woman coming towards them in the opposite direction. The white women ignored the black woman and no one stepped back to let the black lady pass, and […]

Your accent… Are you from here?

Ivan Vazquez, Sacramento, CA. Although I was born and raised in San Diego, CA ; I grew up in a household that comprised of both the English and Spanish language, about 60% English and 40% Spanish. I am a child of second-generation immigrants and even though I received my entire education in English, I came […]

Will they ask me or assume?

Hillary Buren, Kansas City, MO. As a biracial women growing up in am almost entirely white community I have adapted to addressing my racial ambiguity (I am most commonly mistaken as Hispanic but even have been confused for as Indian) and usually I resort to humor when it comes to this topic. However it never […]

You are holding the binoculars backwards.

Andrew Schlager, Kansas City, MO. “You are holding the binoculars backwards.” We are so consumed by generalized assumptions about race that we fail to see that every individual is different. We see people from afar, just as a person would see looking through binoculars backwards, and make judgments without really looking closely, like a person […]

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 […]

Black, but I don’t fear police

Rinard, Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Yes I feel there is an issue and a relationship gap between black men and police. It’s unfortunate what has been going on in our nation lately. I agree black lives matter and I can see how one may think they don’t given the recent sad events. […]

My parents think you are white.

Jennie, Los Angeles, CA. I am 4th generation Chicana. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is White. One of the saddest things is to be rejected in relationships or see as different from your significant others’ family. I find that Mexicano families do not understand the history of Mexican-Americans. Someone I dated pointed out […]

Rejected because love is colorblind.

Paula Morris, Long Beach, CA. A white girl growing up in Orange County, CA, where I was anything and anyone “different” was “bad”, I have found love with two wonderful men in my life: the first one (who died) was African American, and the second one is African. The happiness both have brought me is […]

He exclaimed, “Ghetto Girl Makes Good!”

Laura Ann Lane, Chicago, IL. I was a paralegal at a large firm and the partners knew I was applying to law school. When a sicilian American partner found out that I was accepted to Northwestern University School of law he said, “The headlines will say, ‘Ghetto Girl Makes Good!” He meant that as a […]

White Parents Raise Beautifully Diverse Children

Louise Bannon, Holly Springs, NC. Raising, playing, growing and living as a diverse family is an extraordinary experience. It brings both good days and tough days – obstacles and disappointments, laughter and lightheartedness. The journey is full of stares – stares full of curiosity, stares full of love and stares of hatefulness from the people […]

You’re Dominican? But you’re Black, really.

Juleyka, Oxford, CT. This phrase is often said to me by African Americans and other (usually darker) people from the Caribbean who insist that though I am Dominican/Latina, I am Black in the United States because of its racial history and current xenophobic climate. It’s nullifying in so many respects, and usually leads me to […]

“You Jews killed God,” she said.

Claire Baiz, Great Falls, MT. I was ten years old. On the playground at Emerson School in Great Falls, Montana when a classmate said this to me. During recess.. It was a tough time. My father was at home dying of kidney cancer and I asked my mom if it was true…

I have no black best friends.

Kevin Maness PA I have colleagues, students, friends, and acquaintances who are black and who I love, like, and/or dislike, but I’m embarrassed to say that I have no people of color who are in my “inner circle,” so to speak. On the positive side, I guess I’m never tempted to use that old cliché: […]