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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

She’s White in a Black body….

Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]

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 […]

Not wanting to deny my roots

Laura, Red bank, NJ. Let me just start by saying that racial forms are the death of me. I keep clicking back and forth between non Hispanic white and Latin American. Here’s the thing. My mom and her family are from Puerto Rico. The language and culture are very important to her but here is […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

What You See Is Not Complete

Erica Flores, Dallas, TX. I am often mistaken for something I am not. Most times I am unable to offer clarity on my behalf and am left with the, often wrong, label I was given. My ethnicity, race, education and social status are most often incorrectly judged by others; usually not in my favor.

Tail the black guy buying moscato.

Erik Aurora, CO I was in a mixed-race neighborhood, in line at a convenience store behind a black man checking out with a white clerk. He asked if there were any larger sizes of the wine he was buying. After the clerk said he wasn’t sure, he went back into the store to look himself. […]

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 […]

Police harassed undercover cop wearing hoodie.

V. USA I’d rather not share my name right now due to the sensitive nature of the incident. While working undercover, I decided to duck into a burger joint to get a bite. It was cold and drizzly outside. I was wearing a hoodie. I am Latino. It was about midnight. I admit that I […]

You have to choose. Which one?

Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.

Just one never happened friendship story

Julie B., Itasca, IL. This story started on social network, I followed one blogger I have mutual friend with. She is black woman in her 30th, single. I was reading her timeline and it was pretty interesting meaning her style and subjects she chooses. We started exchanging comments and “likes” and everything was fine, I […]

Let my struggles refine me.

Garrett, Beaverton, OR. Most people label me as a “rich white boy”. That’s the complete opposite. I grew up in poverty. My Mom made less than $10,000 a year when I was a kid. She raised me all by herself. She had zero assistance from the government and now I’m going to be a college […]

It’s easier to say I’m White

Laura Pierson, Los Angeles, CA. I am Native American, Mexican, Spanish, English, Germany, and Irish. I was raised by a single mom that is Native American, English, German, and Irish. I didn’t know what being a Mexican meant or was like and I’m still trying to figure it out. As a child, I told people […]

Being called sassy is not complementary.

Starr, Albuquerque, NM. Black women are often characterized as sassy which I take as an insult. The root of sassy is sass or to balk, talk back; in order words, to disobey, or not know your place with the not-so-subtle inference that your place is inferior. I’ve been called sassy because I am smart and […]

Indian American South Asian Desi American

Jacob Kuriakose, San Diego, CA. I would like to bring up the idea of “Indian” to label Native Americans, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, etc. I would also like to talk about lumping East Asians, South Asians, and South East Asians into the general term “Asian” as well.

Whitefish Bay white school white Church

Mark Brandfass. Pittsburgh, PA. In the summer of ’63 my family had just moved to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. My father was a salesman for Westinghouse Electric and we moved as his work demanded. I would be entering the diocesan Catholic seminary the next year, my brothers and sisters attended the local Catholic schools. I don’t […]

Computer Science CEO, you own this?

Desh Bagley, Tampa, FL. Yes. I am the owner of the science and technology center that offers Java, C++, Arduino, Robotics, and Engineering workshops for students. Yes. I do wish that more girls took classes here. No. The young guys who take classes aren’t surprised by me. Yes. It’s their parents who often ask to […]

Israel’s Gay Latin Jew from USA.

Brian Isaac Rizowy, Israel. Born and raised in the USA to Jewish parents, one from Sarandi Grande, Uruguay, the other from Chicago, I am nearly 100% Polish, with a dash of Russian and Mongolian thrown in. My great grandmother hid her Asian features with swanky glasses from the 1940s and 50s, lest anyone suspect her […]

Can Anyone Believe I Love Everyone?

Lisa Johnson, Holden, MO. I am, unfortunately, from very rural America. There was a short period in my life (approximately 1/4 of it) that was lived in larger areas where I got to know various people. My most favorite experiences were the multicultural atmosphere of the Modern Languages and Literatures Department of a college I […]

Code-switching: an asset, not a crime.

Molly Wanless Chapel Hill, NC To develop and maintain respect in my middle school English classroom, I teach that there are many “right ways” to talk and write. With technology and society being what they are today, no one owns or “rules” the conventions of our language. My students understand that their language and mine […]

All-American Girl: Minority at Work

Stefanie Bernosky, Houston, TX. I was raised as an All-American girl to an All-American family in an All-American town. I even looked “All-American”, proudly featuring my braces and American Flag sweater in this dated family photo (circa 1994). We can trace my family (both sides) to the United States prior to the United States Revolution. […]

No One Traces Ancestors Back (to) America

Anonymous, USA. I find funny it when people say, “I’m full American” or something along those lines because all Americans are immigrants, or of the family of immigrants. Therefore, no one is “full American.” The United States is a young country, and most people can use common technology to trace back where their family immigrated […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

Identity is fluid; context is everything.

Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly […]

This doesn’t make you a better person.

Amy Bramlett, Tuscaloosa, AL. My name is Amy. My fiance Keith and I have the most perfect baby girl together. She’s 8-months old and she is a mixture of her African American daddy and Caucasian mommy. Her name is Layla. When I first told my family that I was dating a black man (long before […]

Being gay has taught me compassion.

Thomas Swinscoe Akron, OH I grew up in a time when being gay was even more of a challenge than it is today. As a white, male of English/German descent who was raised Christian, I have come to see my sexual identity as a gift. I believe much the insight and empathy I enjoy is […]

Use privilege to give a voice to others

Isabelle Norconk, San Diego, CA. As a white woman, I don’t experience the struggle and discrimination that other men and women of minority groups feel. That’s not to say I have no problems, they just don’t have to do with systemic racism and racial stereotypes. Something I can do to combat this and to add […]

I don’t see my color….sometimes

Emily Oak Park, IL When describing myself and thinking about race, I wouldn’t put normally put caucasian or white as a trait unless it was a multiple choice answer on a census bubble form. To describe myself, I would first say: runner, coffee lover, Event Manager, sometimes Knitter, person who accumulates ridiculous and random stories […]

Stereotypes: “Wake-up Everybody!”: Analyze Your Thinking

Mark Ross, California, CA. These issues are complex. Stereotypes (or action using information from stereotype) are based often enough on at least some modicum of reality (authentic or perceived). The wrong view As an African-American male, I have been unduly perceived as a threat. That suspicion has been acted upon several times by government authority, […]

Good hair is well maintained hair.

Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]

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 […]

Good fences make good neighbors.

Edward Helmig, Harleysville, PA. Undocumented = illegal. Respecting boundaries and the laws of other nations is fundamental to civil society. Illegal immigrants steal tax dollars from hard working US residents to subsidize their own healthcare, education and welfare. In doing so they are disrespecting US laws and citizens. Support Donald Trump and stop the invasion!

Soul, compassion and intellect are color-blind.

Karl Maurer, New Lenox, IL. I love music. I particularly love American blues music, and am proud to serve on the board of The Blues Foundation, which is dedicatd to expanding the enjoyment and appreciation of blues music world-wide. What we love and enjoy is a big part of our identity. To the extent that […]

Half White, Half Hispanic, Full Human

John Michael Rendon Nicholson, San Antonio, TX. Growing up around Latinos and Caucasians, I was either “too White for Latinos” or “Too Latino for Whites”. Very few people saw me as “one of them”, even to this day. Of course, this didn’t stop me from indulging in my culture. I learned Spanish; and I even […]

I am afraid of offending you.

Ellyn Ebersole, Martinsburg, WV. With the age of social media where it is silently stated that you have to “pick a side” in race relations I have found myself questioning why in an age of rising racial tension, do I have a hard time identifying where I stand? I love other races. In fact, I […]

Otosan, please teach us your language.

Jaimie Scanlon, Brattleboro, VT. My husband is bilingual Japanese-American. His mother, raising three boys in Iowa in the 1960s, made sure her sons grew up speaking, reading, and writing her own mother tongue. Now all three men are completely bilingual and realize the value of the gift she gave them. Before our kids were born […]

Miles, Duke, Ella. Music conquers race.

Ernie Hills, Sacramento, CA. “As a young musician growing up in a white bread and mayonnaise world, I revered the recordings of black jazz musicians. This, more than anything else, is responsible for erasing the lingering racial animosity that was part of my family’s unspoken legacy. Thanks for being with us today!”

10 Mile Move Flipped the Grid

Tessa D, Chicopee, MA. As a young child, we moved from a mostly black neighborhood to a nearly all white suburb. The background music of my life changed. There really wasn’t any background music anymore. The neighbor kids who came to visit were no longer just the neighbor kids. Judgement and difference took on meaning, […]

I’m black, not from the Carribean

Lemuel Reddikc, New York City, NY. People ask me “where are you from?” and I never know how to answer that. I just say “I’m black,” but then they ask me where my parents are from. My maternal grandmother is from the West Indies and my maternal grandfather was from the Carribean, but I can’t […]

Together we can do it better

Ben Tallcott, Houston, TX. My life has given me the experience of many cultures and races. I have learned that our differences create a wealth of creativity and knowledge. When we combine these backgrounds together and take the time to listen and learn, we see the answers to many questions. Together we can achieve more […]

Ashamed to be a White American

Maria, Lakeland, FL. I’m Italian, so have to identify as white. Do I stand with ‘Christian white america’? No. Race, oritentation, even hair color are not things I judge people on. “Love your neighbor as yourself”, period. No If’s And’s or But’s about it.

Please don’t ask me to jig.

Zee Brennan Grand Rapids, MI Often times when I share with people that I am Irish, many people aren’t surprised and demand that I dance a jig for them. Although I am also an accomplished Irish dancer, it feels as though there is an assumption among many Americans that all Irish know how to dance […]

Two languages, Three dialects, Three cultures

Vincent Lei, San Ramon, CA. Grew up in Macau, China. Mainly speak Cantonese there. Moved to America four years ago and started to speak English and Mandarin. I made some friends from mainland China and also some American friends. I learnt about the difference between Mainland China and Macau. School system were different. Most mainland […]

Sheltered friends. Life is not effortless.

Mary Beth Bergeron Rapid River, MI I am white. I have lived in Tidewater, VA and a highly diverse college town in southwest Ohio. My husband and I have just moved home to the UP of Michigan after 32 years away, homogenous and familiar. I am reminded of how effortless it is–regardless of your race […]

Privileged. No choice in the matter.

Kole Myrick, Portland, OR. As a trans man I often feel very marginalized, but when you look at it based solely on race, I have an incredible amount of privilege. Because of these intersections it is up to me, and other white trans folks, to help bring up trans people of color. We are all […]

Tired of being blamed for everything

Steve Snair, Canada. I’m a white male. By today’s definition, I’m the most privileged person to step foot on the planet. Well, let me tell you a story…it’s a long one, but bear with me. I was born to a single mother, poor, and started off life in a poor neighborhood. I was fortunate that […]

Grateful for Painful Cultureshock Down South

Audrey A Fischer, Wilson, NC. When I lived in Virginia Beach, I didn’t notice race. Up north, it was so institutionalized that I barely knew any People of Colour. When I came down south in the eighth grade, I suddenly was the largest group, but our school was 60 or so percent minority. I was […]

Racism a challenge in Ireland too!

Perry Share, Ireland. Ireland tries to think it’s not *as* racist as elsewhere. There is much to celebrate – the highest proportion of immigrants of any European country (except a few little ones like Luxembourg) and no mainstream racist political party (see Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Hungry, Poland … the list goes on). But […]

My Black kids R past 18!

Anonymous, Wayne State, Detroit As a Mother of three Black kids, one a Black son, I worry and worried and worry some more about their survival. More so in today’s current political climate. The worry has softened from a steadfast sense of Fear. That truth I live with is the norm for SO many mothers […]

Fake friends slandered my wife’s ethnicity.

Gary Kraemer Phoenix, Metro Area, AZ Two different former friends put up hate speech about people of my wife’s ethnicity on the internet. They were directly confronted, given an opportunity to make it right and choose not to. I broke off both friendships. They actually needed my friendship much more than I needed theirs.

Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]

Mother gave me a different world.

Mary Horton Richmond, VA I didn’t realize until shortly before her death how different the world my mother gave me was from the one she was raised in. My mother had Alzheimer’s, and in the last few years of her life, she reverted to some of the attitudes and behaviors she had learned while growing […]