Checking OTHER is so liberating and fun

Maggie Martinez, WEST PALM BEACH, FL. When I get the chance to check “other ” on any form it makes me feel as if I am tearing down another little wall and letting the form creators know that I will not be put in a box. Race is fake and constructed to keep people of […]

What color will your kid’s be?

J. Torres Kansas City, MO My father is from Puerto Rico, born and raised. My mother is Colombian. However, raised in Panama. They met in the 1950’s while my dad was in the U.S. Army. Us kids always called ourselves PanaRicans. Until my mother gave us her true background. I attended college in Michigan in […]

Look at me in full color

Ty Martinez, Submitted via Twitter: @TyMartinez_tmb. I made a visual representation to accompany my #racecard#insixwords @michele_norris Sometimes. “I use pictures when words fail.”

My Ancestors NEVER owned any slaves.

Anthony Turoczy,   Manassas, VA.   My Great-grandparents came to America in 1904 from Hungary. They worked in the mines during the day and went to school at night to learn how to speak, read and write English. Don’t blame others for your bad choices; work hard and make something of yourself.

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 […]

Wow, you are the melting pot.

Natalie Mariam Pattillo Alpine, TX It always seems that my ethnic background becomes a guessing game at dinner parties. Even strangers will come up to me and ask me “what are you..wait, let me guess…egyptian, hispanic, black.,? Usually, I want to say “I’m a human” but I allow the guessing game to continue until they’ve […]

I don’t plan on changing ever.

Zahnyah, Philadelphia, PA. I am me, I act the way I act because that’s just me, I am going to be me forever so if people don’t like it they need not talk to me or they might as well as just get used to it. I’m not going to change unless I feel as […]

Si Senor, yo soy del Bario

Elizabeth Gonzalez, Hodgkins, IL. I am proud of living in my neighborhood. I did not choose to be born a Latina or living in this neighborhood but no matter how bad it is I still love it. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my life.

Where are you from? You’re exotic!

Abbie Elliott Leesburg, VA For my entire adult life, dating has been a challenge. As an Asian-American, I vehemently resisted falling into stereotypes. But, as an Asian-American on the dating scene, my looks delivered my first impression for me. Men developed ideas about me even before I spoke. Where they expected to find a quiet, […]

Doctor asked, “What is your race?”

Leslie Lannan, Cincinnati, OH. It’s amazing how desperate we are in America to racially categorize our citizens based on how they look. My six words are a reference to a recent doctor’s visit. After discussing my ailments and general health, the doctor had one more question for me. “What is your race?” she asked. I […]

Those were rules for uncivilized times

Bobby Flam, Miami, FL Owner of Jumbo’s, the first restaurant in Miami to integrate.   READ MORE on Bobby Flam and Jumbo’s: Miami Diner, Pioneer in City’s Race Relations, Serves Last Cup Jumbo’s Restaurant Closing Its Doors By FRANCES ROBLES JULY 22, 2014 MIAMI — While the line of white customers used to snake out […]

I’m not guilty, Family from Norway.

Michael J, Rochester, MN. I just feel I am a little tired of feeling guilty about being a white male. My family came from Norway and Sweden, we never owned slaves, and moving to Southern Minnesota, didn’t even have a plantation. Nevertheless it seems that this issue is somehow my fault as well.

We’re ALL remixed and it’s great!

Timothy Ross Lee Salt Lake City, UT I’ve always thought that being biracial (1/2 Formosan and 1/2 Irish American) was so lucky. I get to identify with the best of two worlds. We’re all mixed and we live in a world, that for the most part, is a patchwork of culture and race. Let’s celebrate […]

Surprised that dreadlocks are racially charged.

Terence P Ward New Paltz, NY I’m one year in to a five-year exploration of dreadlocks as a participant-observer, so I can learn about the experience and the perceptions; it’s called Dread Like Me and I maintain a blog about it at dreadlikeme.blogspot.com. I expected people to treat me differently because they would think I […]

Melting-pot Melungeon: Not “Other!” Try “Most.”

Marion Reid Kee Redmond, WA Some of my ancestors went through a lot so that I could be “white” and not have to know about them as African, Native American, Eastern Mediterranean. Others who were considered white may not have been free. Some of my Celtic ancestors were forcibly resettled by the English. Others were […]

I am not your token Mexican-American

Angie Estrada, Columbia, SC. I have been struggling with my sister-in-law seemingly using me as her token Mexican-American “friend”. She parades me among her white friends and uses me a talking point when making casually racist comments. You know, the classic “…but my friend is *insert minority here*”. I cringe at the fact that I […]

How soft black hair is. . . surpise

Charlotte, Houston, TX. I grew up close to African Americans. They were guests in our home and people on the bus with us. I never noticed how taboo touching was between us until I was 30 and a neighbor girl came over to play with my kids. She skinned her knee and as I hugged […]

Racism: prejudging ANYONE based on race.

Jeff, Arvada, CO. I was raised in a military town with such overwhelming diversity that I didn’t realize race was an issue until I was 12 and went into foster care. Suddenly I was surrounded by a predominantly African-American group that hated me because I was white. Now let me be clear I didn’t assume […]

Why do you always act white?

Anika Moore Gulfport, MS You can not act a color. You can not be a color. Just because I speak as though I have read a book once in my life does not make me instantly “an Oreo”. Please stop.

I’m black. so I am dangerous?

Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]

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.

Yellow outside, white inside, adopted Twinkie.

Karen Skillin Rojas San Francisco, CA Adopted from Korea at 4 1/2 months old, I was raised in an entirely Caucasian family and community until I went to college. I often struggle with not identifying with my Asian exterior (yellow), which is how the world around me sees me. I find I identify so much […]

I don’t fear for my brothers.

Kari Pennington, Chicago, IL. I never have to worry that my brothers, my husband, or my white friends will be violently harassed, assaulted, or killed by the police, the court system, neighborhood watch vigilanties, or any other person or institutions. It happens so rarely to white men that those fears for their safety never keep […]

We’re created equal: act like it

Kyle Kruthoffer, Independence, KY. God has his hand over everything, and created everything. We should remember that God has meant for everyone to be equal and remember that, because the only way to peace in this nation and world is through Him and Him only.

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 […]

Like you, gingers do have souls.

Katelyn Nicole Volz Hemet, CA “You know they say Gingers have no souls right?” “A Ginger gains a freckle every time they steal a soul.” “Do the carpets match the drapes?” Does ANYONE know how tired I am of hearing that? Yes, my hair is red, yes it’s natural, and yes I am Irish. Does […]

A mixture that is still white

Sydney Skroch, Minneapolis, MN. I have lived in Minnesota my whole life and my world has opened up extremely slowly to diversity and different cultures. However, learning about the world through the eyes of others has always been super interesting to me, and with every new experience, I feel myself shaping. I am part Italian, […]

View perceived differences as valuable opportunity.

Lauren C, TX I wish for my half white, half Mexican children to grow up knowing that perceived differences should be an opportunity to learn about another person or people, and how much they may truly have in common. An opportunity to embrace someone or their culture and traditions, and maybe learn something new about […]

I’m more than what you see.

Christina Cobos, Amarillo, TX. It is your soul, your heart, your empathy, and the way you choose to handle every moment of life that makes you who you are. You choose your impact. The odds were against me from the start. I had every excuse to surrender to failure. I broke the cycle, I rose […]

Spanish is not my first language!

Valeria, Cincinnati, OH. Whenever I say I am from Brazil (most of the time) people instantly start to speak in Spanish as it is my first language. It does not offend me however I think it is very ignorant to believe everyone from South American speaks Spanish.

A Black Christian, not White Muslim

Ellen McDaniel-Weissler LaVale, MD When my sister, a Peace Corps volunteer, went to serve her two years with the Corps in Chad, Africa, my parents realized that she was at an age when she might meet and fall in love with someone and want to get married. My father was a Lutheran minister and a […]

You’re Invited! You’re not a minority?

Rafael Rosato, Berwyn, PA. This is my college graduation picture from 1988. I received a bachelor of arts degree from an Ivy League University and a short while later was traveling to New York to join a management training program at a prestigious Wall Street Bank. There were 34 of us in that class and […]

He’s my dad, not the gardener.

Kelly Stuart, Brooklyn, NY. I was five when my mother married my stepfather, Alfred Brown, Jr. in 1980. My stepfather, or, as I think of him, my father, was 21 years older than my mom and had already raised a daughter by the time he met me, but that didn’t stop him from getting a […]

I am always the Black bestfriend

Roslyn Jefferson, Albany, NY. I grew up in a majority white city, so this was the story of my life! When younger, didn’t know how to address racial issues or topics, when they popped up, with my white friends. Thank goodness I feel comfortable with that now!

Two white children in Halloween photo

Dave Parnell, Carrollton, TX. Our kindergarten daughter wanted to go to her friend’s Halloween party. I saw that the address and the protective father in me did not feel safe letting her go. But I called and the black man I spoke to certainly heard the fearful white father on the other end of the […]

I Want To Know You, Too

Deirdre Stoelzle, Casper, WY. In Rwanda there were times that I was the first white person some Rwandans had ever seen. Mostly people wanted to touch my skin, my hair, but at one prison there were two little girls with their mother, bringing food to their imprisoned father. They saw me and screamed in horror. […]

Why didn’t we talk about this?

Madison Martin, Ewing, NJ. Growing up in a predominantly white town, race was not a topic of much discussion in the classroom. My parents were good role models to me and my brother and did not hide us from the world outside the “bubble” of our town, but the rest of my town seemed to […]

I’m Asian, not invisible, not disgusting.

Chuck, Portland, OR. It’s that look. The look I’ve seen all my life. Like you just found a gross bug in your house that you don’t want to deal with. I don’t think that the look is intentional but it’s the first thing I see when you see me, and I immediately know that you’ve […]

I’m actually from the United States

Katherine Ellis, American Fork, UT. I stood alone by the playground, kicking pebbles. Someone approached me and I glanced up eagerly, hoping for a friend. “Are you Chinese?” the girl spat at me. “No,” I mumbled. “I’m half Hmong.” “Monk? What’s that?” She looked at me like I should be bald and humming in an […]

Wash your hands. Brown is dirty.

Michelle C-H Dorchester , MA When I was a little kid, in the 70’s, My family was the only black folks most of the people around us had ever seen. Everyday in my elementary school I got some ignorant comment. “Are you brown cuz you eat brown bread?” and the like. The worst was from […]

Can’t see beyond my white privilege

Jessica, CA. I am a white female living in California with my white family. I grew up in an area where I was one of a few white girls in my school. I made friends of all different races and came to understand the benefits of diversity, however, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. I […]

You can sit in the bar

Diane Graves, San Antonio, TX. My husband and I (both Anglo) were driving our adopted daughter (born in El Salvador, adopted as an infant, a U.S. citizen since she was 11 months old) to a guest ranch in Colorado. It was 2004; our daughter was 11 years old. Late on Sunday morning, we stopped to […]

“I can marry whoever I want.”

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I never really have thought through what my grandma was saying. I was only just a little girl. I still am but after all these years, I have decoded her. She never thought she was being controlling. She never knew how meaningful all those sentences, […]

Blond hair – can’t use Afro Sheen

Diane Smith, Anchorage, AK. I was the only white girl in my 6th grade class at Windsor Hills Elementary School in Los Angeles. I wished so much that I looked like my classmates. My greatest compliment back then (the 1960s) was that I might be white on the outside, but I was black on the […]

You called me “white devil slavemaster”

Joe Schechter, FL. This happened when I was in high school. It was not the only incident of its kind. It was especially galling when you consider that members of my family died in the Shoah (Holocaust). I am not white enough for some people, & far too white for others.

Damn Yankees don’t go back home

Patty Reed, Greenville, SC. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve lived here the majority of my life but I cannot say I’m a native South Carolinian. While it seems to be more widely acceptable now, during my high school years in a small town it wasn’t okay to be from “up north somewhere”. A foreigner in my […]

“He’s not your son? Oh good!”

Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]

Soul Surfer is Light without color

NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]

Not Mexican Looking “You know Spanish!?”

Daisy Reyes, Rialto, CA. Even as a little girl in Mexico I was the “Chinita” (little Chinese). When I came to the U.S., I was either confused with Filipino or just Asian when people couldn’t figure out which race. My now husband, has been confused with a Hindu. We are both Mexican-born. But the thing […]

School integration enriched my white life.

Cynthia Waszak Geary, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in Durham, NC and attended Hillside High School as part of the first court ordered desegregation plan to achieve racial balance. I am heart broken that since that time there has been a steady and deliberate re-segregation of schools in the US. I am hoping for leadership […]

Brown girl rejected with red blood

Anonymous, USA. Grew up as the only little brown girl in class, always having to explain why my hair grew up to the skies when it rained and the humidity took control of my tresses, then drew tightly too my head. Never getting assistance from the PTA moms passing out red and black combs on […]

Even a poor conversation beats silence.

Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]

Just how you are, my friend.

Amberly Richins, Rigby, ID. Through my experiences living in another country for a couple years I’ve learned that the most rewarding feeling in the world is loving a person the way they are regardless of differences.

Not as white as I appear.

Susi Matthews, Kansas City, MO. I am 1/4 Navajo plus Cherokee and Mohawk. I am also English, Irish, Scots and German. I LOOK white; my full sister looks Native. I experienced the reactions she got when we were kids on vacation. A small restaurant in Colorado thought she was Native America and refused to serve […]

IT’S OKAY TO SEE MY COLOR

Yvonne Durant, New York, NY. I know that they are well meaning but when white people say, “I don’t see color,” it makes no sense. I think they mean they’re not prejudiced because color doesn’t count to them. It does to me.

Your son looks nothing like you!

Dr. J., Irving, TX. It’s true, everyone tries to find similarities between babies and their parents. But the search ends when people see my son’s curly golden hair, blue eyes, and light complexion. Someone once asked me, “are you sure you want to name him Diego?” (when he was 9 months old). I’ll admit it, […]

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 […]

You’re such a white girl

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

I can be President and Will.

Liliana Umana, Pearl River, NY. I definitely do not fit the traditional categorization of a President. For starters, I do not fit into any of the WASP categories. I am not white, I am colored. I am not anglo-saxon, I am Hispanic. I am not Protestant, I was raised Catholic. Lastly, I am not a […]

“My Blood is Red, What’s Yours”

Ralanda King, Philadelphia, PA. Born and raised in the city of brotherly love, but I’m full of sisterly affection, I not black but brown and beautiful. the heart can see what our eyes can’t or refuse too. but, don’t charge it to my skin, but to my heart.