You sound like a white girl

Joy Owopetu, Manassas Park, VA. What does this even MEAN? I have heard so many times that I sound like a white girl from the valley. It has caused me to experience unfriendly behavior from coworkers who thought I wasn’t “black enough” and I have gotten outright laughed at in public by ignorant individuals who […]


Two Arms, Two Legs, One Head.

Latoya Baerlocher-Turner, Newport News, VA. It’s fun watching people attempt to imagine my face from my name. My first name is notably of African American origin, but my last name tells a different story, so people don’t know what to expect. And it’s always the same vice versa when people who’ve met me, learn my […]


Defined by race – who am I?

Jamie Lee Myers Jacksonville, FL Many people seem to identify who they are by their race. We also all seem to have a tendency toward making assumptions based on how people look. I am fair with naturally red hair that is currently blonde. Most think I am Irish and that is in my family tree, […]


To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]

Working hard as a white woman

Lindsey Halsey River Falls, WI Sometimes I feel that racism is taken to such extremes that we forget how much everyone struggles and is judged through life. I’m a young, white, middle-class college student who struggles with school, an income, and creating a future. We all struggle throughout life, racism isn’t completely to blame.

Tall girl plays piano not basketball.

Dianna Hamden, CT I realize that height isn’t necessarily race, but it’s a preconception that I’ve dealt with my entire life. Yes, I’m over 6 feet tall. No, I don’t play basketball. After years of the same answer, I finally learned to respond: “No, I play piano–there’s less running involved.”




To boldly go…guess the rest

Blair Brown, Baltimore, MD. “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” These words have defined the human experience long before they were ever spoken aloud or put down on paper. I am neither interested in,nor feel the need to rehash our past in this country. Frankly what I do know is much more […]


Blackanese is not Black or Japanese.

Brian Murray, Seattle, WA. Growing up it was always hard to find my own identity because I came from a bi-racial background. I am half Black and half Japanese and always had problems being accepted by either racial group because of my uniqueness. Although coming from a low-income housing development called the Rainier Vista Projects […]


I look black; never felt it.

Janetta Stringfellow Brookline, MA Tons! Grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine in the ’70s with a white mother who denied I was adopted. Found my birth mother when I was 31, who is also white, but at least had a story about a Kenyon grad student she hooked up with on her 18th bday in […]

Kindergartner fearing my future interracial marriage

Christopher Hollowell Hornell, NY I am now a 29 year old white homosexual man living in Brooklyn NY but growing up in a small town in Western NY I distinctly remember ruminating in church over the differences between my family and myself. My most vivid memory was the thought “I wonder how everyone will react […]


I’m the future, can’t you see?

Lauren Lola Newark, CA Why are people always so curious about what my racial makeup is? They treat it like it’s a game- like they’re going to win a prize if they get it right. The overly asked question “What are you?” often is directed at me by individuals who are just meeting me the […]

Just a few feet from Home

Ronald E. Davis, Omaha, NE. I bought my first home in 2003 in a small middle class neighborhood in Western Omaha, Nebraska. My house is situated on a hill and I share a street with young and established families of various sizes. The demographics of the area are predominantly white. Over the years there has […]

I’m never asked about hot sauce.

Christine R. Ann Arbor, MI Before I started dating my “black” boyfriend, I really didn’t think about race very much or the privilege I inherited with my “white” skin. There have been times that people have made rude comments or asked, what I would consider, overtly racist questions upon learning of our interracial relationship. However, […]


I thought you were a “hoodrat”

Cierra Garza, Parlier, CA. When I first moved to my new high school 15 minutes away from my hometown, I had no friends. I am now a senior in high school. I’ve met new people and made friends but, one thing that always comes up when someone is comfortable with me is the phrase, “I […]

I can’t find Home… Found it!

Mari Pollack Los Angeles, CA Joy was adopted at the age of 11 from an abusive home in Korea into a loving family in California. Now a rebellious alcoholic in her 20s, she is homesick for a home that doesn’t want her and unable to feel truly a part of her adoptive family. She returns […]


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 […]

My culture isn’t a fashion statement.

Meghan Morris Virginia Beach, VA I am Native American (Cherokee Nation), and it is frustrating to see people appropriating ceremonial or traditional Native American accessories as fashion statements without knowing the historical background that they have. With that being said, it shows a lack of respect towards my race. It can be seen as harmless […]


Borderlands born. Always illegal. Always home.

Chuy Benitez, Houston, TX. When you grow up at the collision of two countries, of two cultures, of two identities, you learn very quickly the different nuances between the two cultures and you adapt to appease whichever culture you have to encounter. It makes you more observant, but of course it doesn’t occur without making […]


Never Visited the Country I Claim

Joelle Kanyana, TN. When people ask me where I’m from, my answer is always, “I’m Burundian.” However, there is often an identity crisis in my mind because I was born in Ghana and have spent most of my life in the United States. Furthermore, I never learned Kirundi, Burundi’s native language. But Burundi is the […]

My skin is my greatest teacher

Eric Miyeni Johannesburg I don’t like the phrase “body part” much. At its worst it has a tendency to remind me of murders and psychotic murderers. At its best it reminds me of the work of medical doctors. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. I’m just not cut out to do what they do. […]

I became an activist and prisoner

Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]

Relief, family pride, and then hope

Joy Los Angeles, CA Looking into my family history, at first I found relief at finding no record of slave ownership, even among ancestors in the South. Was it just because they could not afford to buy slaves? But then I found a transcript of a sermon my great-great grandmother’s brother gave at a church […]


Flower child eye contact kindness hope

Sharon Neumane, Mehoopany, PA. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I truly believed that we had moved beyond racial conflicts. My greatest heroes, my most beloved singers and song writers, actors, activists and poets are people who’s skin is a different color than mine. I have never in my life filled out a race […]

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 […]


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 […]

What? They’re not from outer space!

Kathy E. McCabe, Columbia, SC. Yes, these were the words running through my mind back in 1968, while standing outside amongst the rest of the junior high school student body. I watched with curiosity as the two black students made their way ever so cautiously off the school bus. Oh, we had been forewarned of […]


Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]


No, I am not an oreo.

Sarah Staples, Nashville, TN. I grew up in a predominantly white community in a city that was predominantly black and hispanic or latino. My best friends were always white, my parents made me study classical piano for 12 years, I played soccer, I read Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and I went to boarding school. No, […]


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 […]


Grace, pride, dignity, honour, love and light

Seydi, Detroit, MI. While growing up in Senegal some refer to me as dark as the buttocks of a cauldron, iIwas proud to be as dark as the stone of the Kaaba filled with love and light, often i dreamed to be blue-black as those vailant fishermen Lebou, Niominka or Guet-Ndar tauting the Sun Ra […]


I don’t know my Native language.

Jessica Elaine Matz, LaVergne, TN. I look white and I was raised white, but when we were kids, we went to the occasional pow wow and were told “this is part of your heritage.” My uncle recently joined one of the Cherokee tribes, but I haven’t yet. I feel weird about it because there’s so […]


Race is a Matter of Mind

John Stephens, New Market, VA. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I went to see the movie The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. The film was about two convicts who were both strident racists. They escaped from prison but they could not escape each other because they were shackled […]

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 […]

1968. Black freshman roommate. Different planets.

Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]

Art in the face of racism

Christopher McBride New York City, NY Brooklyn Seeing that exhibit really brought about a strong reaction emotionally from myself. As a musician, seeing the visual art side of things was really powerful.


Not just for being a black girl.

Anisha (Blair) Taylor, Riverside, CA. “Your beautiful. For a black girl.” . Those words spilled out the mouth of a young black male, in my 12th grade math class. Only then was reminded. That being a Dark skin Black Women, We are not considered to be as beautiful as other women. I was in second […]


Racism is too weak a word.

Amelinda, New Haven, CT. I am as white as they come… Blonde hair, blue eyes; English, Swedish, Irish, German, French heritage… I grew up in Nebraska, surrounded by the ‘whitest’ people you can imagine. The first ‘black’ person I saw was a professional photographer when I was a toddler, and I was absolutely shocked (I […]

Somewhere between Salsa and Country!

Stephanie Connors Eureka, CA Music is one of my biggest reminders of the cultures that I grew up with. It fills me with nostalgia and pride, longing and love of the people who came before me. The people from: everywhere! I love all of it now. From day to day I swirl around in a […]

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Are you Chinese or something?

Brigitte Dees, Stillwater, OK. Growing up half Japanese, Native American, and white in Oklahoma was a challenge. I don’t look like anyone else and people have reminded me of that my whole life. As an Asian girl I was expected to be quiet, studious, and polite. The reality is I have ADHD and dyslexia, which […]

Always Fight for what is Right

Chris G Murray New York City, NY Manhattan As an activist in the 60’s/70’s and having had our share of victories, I continue the fight for liberty, freedom and doing what is morally right. All people must live together and combine their strengths to fight against the multi-national corporations

White is not a single race

Slaton Anthony Mount Vernon, IA My last ancestor came to America before 1800 all from England, France and Germany. My ancestors fought and died in almost every American war, I was raised in the Cookson Hills of rural Oklahoma and believed that I was part of the American white culture. While attending college in Oklahoma, […]


I don’t know what I am.

Jasmine Perry, Cleveland, OH. When it comes to race I honestly don’t know what I am. My families backdrop is kind of patchy, no one in my family knows, my grandma recently found out she was adopted she found out that she wasn’t related to anybody she grew up with. Which means the only clue […]


“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 […]

Dad said America is not ready.

Michael l Koetje, Vashon, WA. I grew up in a sheltered deeply religious community. Just white folks. When an older friend went away to college and brought a black guy home in the Mid-60’s, those were my Father’s words about the children they might have. I said America needs to be ready. I believed what […]


Multi does not equal NO race.

Erin Yarbrough, Norman, OK. My husband is half black and half Korean. I’m white. Our son is three races, but I hear and fear that others don’t see him as any race. Multi-racial is sometimes a hard way to identify.


Slavery is chickenpox, racism is shingles

Tian McPherson, Baltimore, MD. …and these recent events are the visible rash. If a country practiced slavery, the racism problem is already inside it. It’s been there, largely unseen or easy to neglect… but it’s starting to burn and crackle now.


Man, that white boy got soul.

Michael Doran, Selinsgrove, PA. I am a student of music, and I love with the genre of soul/blues music like The Temptations or John Legend. Once, at an audition for the Voice, I was approached by a group of black guys who told me the six words above. It amazes how these barriers of white […]

Hero. Musical Genius. Jazz is color.

Mark Lynn Honeycutt, Knoxville, TN. I’m a white, middle class, born and raised East Tennessean. But also a musician. Well, drummer. And my heroes have been black men since I was little. Jazz was tinted “black” to me, and it was/is wonderful.

Color Doesn’t Make You A Criminal

Joshua Edwards, Baltimore, MD. I’ve heard many stories of police brutality on young black men. I am worried as a young man who is African American. I constantly wonder if I will be confronted and injured later in my life. I always think about how I will deal with that that situation in a way […]


Dont judge, until you know me.

Sheila Khakpour, Jacksonville, FL. Now a days everyone is so quick to judge each other. It simply just takes one look. It can be based on your skin color, how you look, or even your name. People are so quick on judging other individuals, no one actually tries to get to know each other anymore. […]


Let Me Guess, They Were Black?

Taylor Jackson, Tuscaloosa, AL. The race card might come off as confusing since I am a white man and my race card has a different race in it, but I hear that phrase all the time these days and that is really sad that this generation has come to this when bad things happen around […]


Why isn’t my Quincenera proof enough?

Emily Angelica Roldan, Saint Francisville, LA. My father is from Colombia and my mother is from Georgia. I have pale freckled skin, glasses, and I am a natural blonde with bottle red hair. I did not grow up speaking Spanish (my siblings and I the only cousins who do not speak it). When I was […]

I’m individual, not a black spokesperson

Kannetha Williams, Midwest City, OK. I do not like when people assume that all blacks share the same collective thought. If a black celebrity or activtist voices an opinion, it is applied to the entire race. Please ask my personal opinion, don’t assume I think like everyone else who shares the same ethnicity.


You know why they chose you?

Alan Smith, Angier, NC. This was said to me by an instructor, as an 18-year old US Navy sailor, having just completed submarine training in Groton, CT in 1978. I graduated 14th of 98 in my class, and was presented with an award for excellence by the Eastern Connecticut Council Navy League of the US. […]


Red Cross “races” my blood. Why?

Mara Leveritt, Little Rock, AR. When I donate blood to the Red Cross someone looks at me and identifies me as “Caucasian” on their form. No person can identify “race” for another, but this has gone on for years, even though I decline to be racially classified. How many institutions, government and private, that are […]

One Black Family On The Block.

Teena Lorie Harris, Chicago, IL Third generation native Chicagoan, product of public school and public housing. Purchased home in the Bucktwon / Wicker Park / Logan Square (West Town) neighborhood in 1997. Raising the fourth generation daughter in this mostly white community. My neighborhood was voted 4th, America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods by Forbes.

golden babies


Karen Dahn, Athens, OH. I went to Liberia as a Peace Corps Volunteer right out of college in the late 60’s, after having grown up in Montana and gone to school in Colorado with very little exposure to non white people. Being in Africa was a life changing experience. I did not intend to do […]

I walk in two worlds daily.

Lenzy KB, Tulsa, OK. Like many Native Americans, I’m mixed and frankly, don’t look like the stereotypical “Hollywood” Native. I have to balance the Native world — both its contemporary and traditional components — daily with life in modern society.


You’re Native American? Well, how much?

Kaitlin Reed, Poughkeepsie, NY. I am a Yurok Indian. We are the salmon people and my ancestors have lived by the Klamath River in northern California since time began. But after centuries of continual sexual conquest against Native American women, I am not the color of Pocahontas. That’s right, I’m white-skinned and Indian. This hasn’t […]

My Aunt won’t talk to me…

Rachel, MD. …because a past boyfriend of mine was of a different race then mine. I was lucky to grow up in such a diverse community that when a racist comment was made it was shot down even faster. In high school, even though everyone had their groups of friends, race truly did not matter. […]

White, Black, Latino, Asian, or Human?

Michael S., Elk Grove, CA. My mom divorced and remarried 3 times with 3 different men with totally different race and had a child from each marriage. Her first marriage was gentlemen from Jamaica, second was a man from Ecuador, and last was from Thai. My mom been immersed and learned every one of her […]

I just want to remain anonymous.

Hades, Colorado Springs, CO. I came up with this instantly without even thinking. I think it fits the Race Card project because I believe some people truly don’t want to be known by their race or gender. Some just want to be who they really are without labels.

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Don’t hate ’cause I claim biracial

Fe Bencosme, Houston, TX. As the product of an Afro Crucian and Anglo Dominican union I self-identify as biracial and bicultural. Some people find it “exotic,” which leaves me feeling uncomfortable although not as angry as when someone says to me: “Well, no matter what you think you are the truth is you’re black.” The […]

“Black” enough for slavery, still “White”

James Cannon, Sacramento, CA. I’m forbidden from appreciating my African English grandmothers experiences and how they contributed to my outlook on life, or sharing this outlook, because of the color of my skin. Even though I’m black enough where I would have been a slave in the south during that era.