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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. […]

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You help foreign children (but) not ours?

Emily Warren, Dothan, AL. A few years back I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua for a week. During the preparation for my trip I got lots of support from family and friends, but also lots of questioning such as “Why are you going to a foreign country to help children, there are plenty […]

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Today I applied for a passport

Larry Smith (Vietnam Veteran), Saint Louis, MO. I look around and see white fear of black people (especially black men) on the rise as reflected in the rise of white gun possession. I also see things staying the same or getting worse for black people in terms of economics, education and housing. I would just […]

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My race is not my nationality.

Linda Morris, Shawnee, KS. Growing up, I got teased a lot for being a fair-skinned black girl by kids who would assume and make sure I knew that one of my parents surely must be white or another nationality besides “black” (ah, kids). When I became a teen and young adult, I would get asked […]

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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 […]

Becoming Hasidic was a feminist choice.

Kressel Housman Monsey, NY My biggest aspiration at age eighteen was to get into a good college, but once I got there, all I found was one big drugged out meat market. After two disastrous relationships, I dropped out and began exploring my Jewish roots. I found that contrary to popular belief, Orthodox Judaism honors […]

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Kofi is a fake white man!

fakeKofi M. G. W. Opantiri, Los Angeles, CA. I am the eldest child of two boys and a girl born to an American-African father and a French-Canadian (white) mother. Born in New York City in 1949, the “one-drop” rule informed me early on that I was Negro and colored. Like millions of American-Africans, I became […]

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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 […]

Glad of being an Army brat.

Rhonda Nottingham Durham, NC My father was in the US Army when I was born. We lived in many places among many types of people. We moved to nowhere WV when my father left the Army in order to care for my ailing grandfather. I went to an all white high school, as there were […]

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I thought you’d be something else?

Natilee Pinedo, Chino, CA. Whenever I tell someone that I am a hundred percent Mexican, I always get a look as if I am telling a joke. Just because I have light skin, green eyes and light colored hair people automatically assume I am some type of European. Someone’s race should not be determined solemnly […]

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My friends forget I am Asian.

Ben, Reno, NV. One time a bunch of friends and I were hanging out, and I forget what exactly was said, but one of them whispered in another ears. I asked what what it was, my friend laughed that the other friend forget I was Asian lol.

No eye contact because I’m white.

Cynthia Flynn Bryn Mawr, PA This was mostly not true where I grew up in inner city Seattle, but when I went to the South in 1968, that was my universal experience of African-Americans. It still happens today, even in professional settings.

He said, ” I have black friends”

Jeanette Staten Island, NJ Seriously? So, what…does that make you “not” prejudiced? One of my very good friends said this to me years ago while we were discussing who would or would not marry. My answer to that was typical – someone who treated me right and respected me – doesn’t matter what color he […]

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Hey Do You Need an Interpreter?

Rebeca Cruz-Esteves, Philadelphia, PA. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in both the U.S. Although my first language is Spanish it’s hard to tell since I have no accent. Growing up it was hard to immediately blend in as I spent my childhood in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. As a teenager my family […]

Why must our differences be wrong?

Sarah Whitlock Indianapolis, IN It is so frustrating to be around people who are discriminatory. I am tired of having to worry about offending someone because I make a comment that mentions their race or ethnicity. Such a comment is not a problem specifically because it is potentially negative, but because it mentions their race. […]

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Mugged…Most assume black mugger…wrong

Lynne Moffitt, Virginia Beach, VA. When I was living in Louisville, I came home from work and was mugged when I got out of my car. I had looked around before I got out and this nice young man was walking down the sidewalk. He looked like a typical University of Louisville student which was […]

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Pick ’em up & lay ’em down.

Anonymous, Seattle, WA. My five-month-old Ameri-Kenyan daughter and I were part of a group of 300 Americans with the National Parks Service who commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights March. For five days, we marched from Selma to Montgomery. She rode just over my heart, clapping and singing as we went.

Do I get to throw pineapples?

Gina Collignon Madison, WI This came to me in exasperation after the last person called me “exotic.” “What,” I thought, “like a pineapple?” I’m mixed white and Filipina from San Francisco, living in the midwest. I never had to think much about race growing up–in my family and group of friends I was considered white […]

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Race should not be that hard.

Gabriel Rouse, Madison, WI. I’ve always felt like race is a simpler issue than we as humans like to make it. Why can’t everybody love everybody? Have you ever seen a real young kid discriminate? The picture is my best friend of all time and I when he visited me this summer; he lives in […]

One-drop rule, my a**

Nobody’s daughter, Boston, MA. It’s simple, really: Anything over 50% is a majority. Therefore, being 25% black (one black grandparent) does not equal “being black”. I say this because I’m fed up of being told I’m crazy, or getting looks because I’m 25% black AND IDENTIFY AS WHITE. Guess what? My kids are white; I’m […]

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My family history is shrouded in mystery.

Zan Koh, Singapore. I’m not certain if I’m Japanese or Mediterranean, considering the fact that my Family`s tree on both sides are as mixed and a little dodgy on some instances; but still whilst I pass for, most of time at least- Japanese- its always fascinating to know what has led up to You and […]

Six humans running Lincoln Memorial steps

Nancy Eliot Corrsin, Baltimore, MD. Somewhere in Japan is a snapshot of a black man, an oriental man, and a white man galloping down the Lincoln Memorial steps arm-in-arm with three wildly various white women, one petite in shorts and dark braids, one sleepy-eyed blonde earth-mother, and me in bib-front overalls. I think we all […]

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I’M African American. Am I African-American?

Dahomey Abanishe, Secrest, FL. As a child in Kansas, I always assumed I was African-American and not because of what I was culturally but because of how I looked. I am Truly a Nigerian American culturally. My father is Nigerian and I was raised eating pepper stew and listening to Fela. No one fried chicken […]

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Moving against societies current of Race

Mehdi Ettehadulhagh, Norway. Being born in Cameroon, having a Russian father that’s born in Iran, and a mother from Cameroon, and living in Norway but schools in Romania really makes one feel mankind is One. And all of the citizens of earth are one. But it will take others a lifetime to see the world […]

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Wanted to be a black teenager

Elizabeth Hess, New Haven, CT. That photo is the end paper of my yearbook, Weaver High School, Hartford, Connecticut, 1975. I was one of about 15 white kids in a huge city school. I loved the laughter in the hallways, the treasured friendships, the “take me as I am-ness” of the classmates I most wanted […]

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Obsessed much with race, America?

Atong Majok, Salt Lake City, UT. Being from Sudan, a country with a seemingly-infinite number of spoken languages and dialects, I still find it baffling that many white Americans think they can “know” something about a person merely by looking at their skin tone…

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You do not look INSERT RACE

Jamie M. Young, Seattle, WA. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: Seattle Community Colleges I was born in Subic Bay, Philippines at the former U.S. Naval Base. My father is from Minnesota (of Norwegian/Irish decent), and my mother is from Minuhang, Leyte, Philippines. I am mixed race, but I have fair skin and […]

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 […]

My brother is just my brother.

Sarah Jentz Le Mars, IA I am Caucasian and the biological daughter of my parents. My parents made the decision to adopt when I was 4-years-old. In case anyone is wondering, the coolest thing you can ever tell a 4-year-old is that her brother is coming on an airplane. My brother is South Korean, and […]

Equality is a bourgeois fallacy

Dmity Mirov, Russia. History was built on power struggles. A ruling class clashes with a subjugated but prosperous middle-class which employs the lower class as soldiers of rebellion. Equality is a lie the dominant classes have developed to control the proletariat and usurp their opponents. Equality itself is an illusion and those who seek it […]

Jewish daycare, Catholic college, Hindu wedding

Charles Hirsch Mount Washington, MA I had the wonderful opportunity to grow up in a multicultural community. I attended daycare sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, was a confirmed member of the Congregational church (United Church of Christ), I chose to enroll at Catholic Saint Michael’s college where I learned about Catholicism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. […]

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Do you have a foreign name too?

Akira Uchimura, Outside USA. I was born in Costa Rica, raised in Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, El Salvador, Suriname, Japan and Chile (3 to 4 years in each country). I didn’t notice any difference between my friends and I until the “So where are you from” “Do you have a foreign name too?” and “Where did […]

Kindergarten Registration: White? Asian? Choices? Eskimo!

Heinrich Beck Melville, NY I am white. Both my parents are from Germany. I have reddish blonde hair and a red beard. My wife is Okinawan (from Japan). I went to register my older daughter for kindergarten, and they use “Power School” as an intake form. My daughter looks much more like my wife, but […]

Impossible for me to blend in

Jeremy Tolbert, Austin, TX. I work in the high tech industry where there are < 2‰ African-Americans at my job. When I meet new people, I always hear, “I’ve seen you around”. I stand out because there aren’t many people in high-tech that look like me.

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Veil, black, nationality, gender, food, proper names

Asmaa Benbaba, Auburn, AL. In more instances than one, the veil is considered as a symbol of subservience and exclusion by western media. As a result, a lot of people reproduce the same thoughts and behavior towards those women who choose the veil as an identity and refuse to think critically of the socio-cultural and […]

“Protect” sister from favorite childhood movies.

Emmy Corey, Harrisburg, PA. I’m a white Alabama native from an all-white town with a black sister who is 17 years younger than I. I love passing down the things that I enjoyed at her age- dolls, movies, books. For the most part, she likes receiving them too. The problem is that before she came […]

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Family contrast black white shows beauty

Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]

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How to protect my black son?

Michael Bolton , Scottsdale, AZ. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Dad Caucasian. lived life in black neighborhood mostly. studied black history–college+leisure. love black culture esp music, classic jazz. slave narratives. am black myself but cannot pass as such. other dad, my partner, black, died. am now single dad, not planned. bringing up son in […]

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Black. Good hair? Indian in your family?

Nicole, New Orleans, LA. Black women are so obsessed with their hair that it can totally consume their life… “I can’t get in the pool ‘cuz I can’t get my hair wet”. “Girl, I can’t work out and sweat and mess up my hair”. “I can’t buy that. I gotta pay to get my hair […]

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Two Black Lesbian Daughters. Say What?!

Shelley Ferrand, USA. After the initial shock of their coming out, I realized that THEY are the long search for fruits of my 1960’s labor and radicalism. So, when I see the economic travesties in our community, after I pledged on campus 40 years ago to give it my all to help end my people’s […]

We never saw you as Asian.

Lor Lee Albertville, MN I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and when I moved out to a small rural school district many of my friends suggested that I was just one of the guys. By not seeing my “Asian-ness” were they not validating that part of who I am? I have now worked in the […]

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You are a white person undercover.

Tricia Jenkins-Roberts, Watsonville, CA. I was a 20 year old indigenous childcare worker at a Salvation Army in South Phoenix which was a predominately Black and Latino neighborhood. Apparently the father of one of my students felt I wasn’t “Black” enough and said this to me as he picked up his son and I was […]

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I pray for my son everyday

J Hill, Canton, OH. I am the proud mother of three children, two girls and a boy. They are all adults now. Every mother worries about her children. But I feel especially concerned for my son. He has done everything well so far in his life, entering his senior year in college, no kids, hardworking, […]

Being white shouldn’t mean being clueless.

Andrew Butz Minneapolis, MN I am white, and grew up not thinking or having to think much about race at all. Made a lot of non-white friends at college and learned a lot about race and privilege, including the reality of thinking about race everyday because you have to. White people are the only group […]

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Not a tool against Black Women.

Betty Rosenda Green, Chino Hills, CA. With the recent controversies of Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone in blackface and Zendaya Coleman having been cast originally to play Aaliyah, I believe it is important to see how deep mainstream media like Hollywood work to erase Black Women, particularly with darker complexions specifically in this case, by […]

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I am Mexican when its convenient

John Heath Olguin, West Orange, NJ. Before you get all worked up about my 6 words. Let me explain. I watched a little boy of Mexican-American decent sing our national anthem and thought nothing of it. The next day I read about all the negative comments that came about of his performance (see link) and […]

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Proud white son, loving Chicano family

JB Tellez, Seattle, WA. All my remembered life I have been fortunate enough to be raised by a loving chicano father (and grandmother, great grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins too!) Here’s a picture with my abuela/grandmother and primo/cousin. She called me ‘Jonny Ojos Azules’ (Jonny Blue Eyes). Sometimes people will be surprised when I tell […]

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No white Barbies for this one.

Samantha Williams, Pensacola, FL. My father is black and my mother is Filippino. I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where the majority of my mother’s family lives, I was not as well acquainted with my father’s side of the family. My father stated that they weren’t going to make the same “mistakes” with […]

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Seasonal confusion; your problem not mine

Courters, Bay Area, CA. I grew up in a latin home, of a first generation born parent. By DNA–I am native-american sicilian. I was raised with latin catholic, tibetan, native american, and sicilian culture. As a child, in my desert neighborhood, I stayed dark and it was rarely noticed that I was not “technically” latin […]

“Privileged” kid meets Black men – golfing

Jim Scherrer Northport, MI I grew up in Grosse Pointe Woods …. All Caucasian community born in 1950. Around 1960, give or take, I attended the Detroit Free Press sponsored golf school. When you completed the classes, you received a card that allowed one to play at any of Detroit’s city courses for 25 cents! […]

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China, Yellow, hardworking, dream, versatile, active

Yilan Miao, Selinsgrove, PA. Maybe we should improved the inaccurate term “racism” with the much more accurate and potentially productive term “stereotype”. As American people always think, I am really good at math and this is the beginning of the third month for me to study in a small town of America. As you can […]

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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 […]

He put pickles in my pancakes.

Jeannette Chavez Albuquerque, NM It was the early 70′s in the Texas panhandle. On a road trip we stopped at a diner to eat. He didn’t want us in there. He ruined our food. He put pickles in my pancakes. His action enraged me. Now it scares me.

And afterall, we all bleed red.

Jorge Grand Rapids, MI I am Hispanic and proud to be so. Growing up I realized that my skin was darker than my brothers’ and many others in the family and from very early on (growing up in El Salvador, my beloved but racist little country) I was aware that the color of one’s skin […]

Why the Confederate flag is NOT racist

Daisy Martinez, Holland, MI. The Confederate flag does not represent and never has represented racism. It’s a symbol of the southern heritage, representing freedom, states rights, individual responsibility, and resistance to an out of control federal government. It may be true that some racists have used the Confederate flag, but racists also wave the American […]

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What beautiful children! Are they yours?

Kate Lechtenberg, Des Moines, IA. The statement is spoken as a compliment, and the question is asked with genuine curiosity and is often followed with qualifications: “I mean, are you their real mother? Their birth mother?” Together, these six words set off essays in my mind, essays full of my own questions, frustrations, challenges, and […]

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Black girl attitude, but sounds white.

Khuwailah Beyah, Durham, NC. For as long as I can remember people have said to me, and sometimes to my mother, the I “talk white” or that I’m trying to be white because of the way I speak and some of the things that interest me. I have never quite gotten this. I don’t have […]