Belonging nowhere, I inhabit all spaces

Anthony Chicaiza, Belleville, NJ. Collection: The Race Card Project, On Location, Hood Museum of Art, Witness I’m a first-generation Latino-American stuck between cultures and expectations of masculinity and gender on both sides. Which do I present today?

I’m An Individual NOT A Color!

Nadra Enzi, New Orleans, LA. Anyone with eyes can see that I’m a dark Black man. That and a couple dollars might buy you a cup of coffee at a trendy shop. Two terms of Obama-inflamed identity politics makes me reassert a lifelong commitment to individualism. I’m not a one-size-fits-all person. The fact I voted […]

Ever had sex in the backseat?

Earlaine Williams, Oakland, CA. This is the question that was asked of me, when I was 17 years old, by the white man who was administering the driver test at the Depratment of Motor Vehicles in Richmond, CA in 1960. I was behind the wheel and he was the person who would determine whether or […]

Neighborhood party we were not invited

Ninfa Pena-Purcell, College Station, TX. This picture of my parents captures a young Mexican American couple with aspirations to live the American dream in the 1950s only to find out that their family of six children would never be welcomed in their neighborhood. Years later this experience has stayed with me and made me resolve […]

White, Black, Brown should not matter.

Jonathan Bennett, Forest, VA. The only problem is it does and to too many. America, the America I grew up in, was described as a melting pot where diversity was supposedly celebrated. Now I see that there was always a thin veneer of racism strewn throughout my childhood that still persists today, especially with this […]

The Hiroshimas were good Americans.

Ken Prestwich, Worcester, MA. The Hiroshima family included my first friends growing up on a small farm just outside of LA (they had one too) in the early 50s — the parents, like so many where we lived, had been interred during the war. They were fine people; a second family to me (I am […]

“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! […]

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 […]

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.

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.

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 […]

Made-up, fear, love, in, out, together

Dev Michel Luthra, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am the child of an Indian (Asian) father and a European mother, both of whom were raised in Africa. I have spent most of my life here in the US. My brother and children were born here. I still struggle with how entitled the white elite is in […]

Blood and Tears But Footprints Remain

Justin John Banks, Boston, MA. My ancestors were both Native and African American. The U.S. was molded by the labor of both of these brave peoples and although they shed blood and tears in the countries formation, they left their mark on U.S. soil forever.

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 […]

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 […]

Greek American, cheeseburger cheeseburger not funny

N. Blandis, Portland, OR. I am a second generation American born of Greek parents. My father’s birth certificate in Los Angeles California in 1921 listed his race as GREEK. His place of birth was listed as Stork NEST , meaning at home. I have never classified myself as WHITE. I have ethnic features and the […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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.

Brown skin isn’t a measure of my intelligence

Octavia, Dallas, TX. I have been to over forty six job interviews since I moved to Dallas. There is a look that white people give you when they realize that the person that they thought so highly of over the phone is a black woman. I have had people tell me all the reasons why […]

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.

By protecting her, I’m oppressing her.

Adrienne Kern, Keller, TX. My daughter was two weeks from turning one on September 11, 2001. She is one of them. An Arab (pronounced with a Texas drawl: A-Rab). A camel jockey. A rag head. She is Turkish and Saudi and Egyptian. She is not white like me, her mother, who is also mixed race. […]

I was a white tobacco farmer

Helen Nelson, Saxonburg, PA. I grew up working in the tobacco fields. Cutting tobacco with an ax. Piling the plants. Stringing plants on a wooden lathe with a spear. I was a dying breed, is what they told me in college. No one believes me now that this is who I was and who I […]

Black culture is alien to whites

Jane Levin, Charlottesville, VA. There’s a fantastic scene in the film, An American Werewolf in London, where the American backpackers go into a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb. They are so uncomfortable because they are so out of place and completely clueless about the local culture. To say they feel conspicuous and uncomfortable is an […]

I am, am I, truly Canadian?

Yosh Kasuga, Canada. Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and embraces multiculturalism on the surface and yet I wonder why as someone born in Canada…I don’t always feel as Canadian as the white Canadian. Why do people ask me where I am from? or where my parents are from? …really from? While no […]

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 […]

Changing the path of my children!!

Tina Bradford, Chino Hills, CA. Being raised in a home where “White is Right,” I only had one thing I could do. So I went on my own path of development. Creating myself into the black sheep of the family. Why would I do such a thing? So my children could learn we do not […]

Evolve beyond one’s name; embrace Justice.

John Charles Taney IV Stamford, CT I am a descendant of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (pronounced Taw-nee), author of one of the most universally denounced US Supreme Court cases in history, the Dredd Scott decision. He was also the first Catholic to ever serve on the Court, but whatever good he did was overshadowed […]

I am who I am, ME!

Debra Rosenberg, Phoenix, AZ. I am the person I am meant to be, and proud to be a Jew even though growing up I knew what it was like to be “Black”. I had to overcome many obstacles of prejudices.

Latina? Yes. Speaks Spanish? No. Gasp.

Delilah Mulgannon, New York, NY. All my life, I’ve been told that I’m not “really” Latina because I don’t speak Spanish fluently (which is ridiculous). Who are you to tell me who I am and who I’m not? I grew up in a mixed household (Ecuadorian mother and Polish father) where Spanish was not spoken […]

Race is history, embrace our species.

Daniel Sconce, Wenatchee, WA. Imagine you are blind and visiting another country. Imagine you don’t know the language and have none of the currency. Would race matter? What would you do with your judgments and assumptions?

Samoan/Jewish – aka The Last Unicorn

S. Dreyfuss, Novato, CA. Sometimes I call myself The Last Unicorn, after the silly 1980’s movie about a unicorn, the only one of her kind, that goes searching for evidence of others. Growing up with the unusual combination of Samoan/Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve always wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. Any single […]

“So, what are you?” “An American.”

Kristin Maerke, Springfield, MO. When I was younger I was very annoyed by the question, “What are you?” Which were usually the first three words spoken to me. I have since learned to embrace my cultural diversity, and sometimes even enjoy making people guess (it tends to make them quite uncomfortable).

Just call me a human being

Rocio Tapia, Forest Park, GA. Being from Mexico, I do not have any sense of race. I know what I am and do not identify with any of the categories listed when I am asked about my race or ethnicity, so I often leave it blank or choose “Other” if I am pressed to select […]

We all hurt in different ways.

Christine Farrell, Naches, WA. My dad was an Italian/Irishman who grew up in the Bronx and Harlem areas of New York City. He grew up tough and he grew up mean. He was the only white kid in many of the schools he attended. He was involved in gangs, had been in and out of […]

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 […]

Mzungu: Kenyans say, white skin human heart

Crystal Gregory, Kenya. An American by birth, I live in East Africa. Here my neighbors assume because of my skin I am rich, beautiful, or have extra love to share. I offend neighbors when I refuse to have a househelper or a driver or even, really, detest having a security guard or the other ‘helpers’ […]

Look like them, Sing like us

Geoffrey Wodell Wheat Ridge, CO Many years ago an African-American Country-Western singer, Charlie Pride, released a live album. After one of the cuts someone in the audience yelled out “Charlie, how can you look like them and sing like us?”. I have remembered that comment ever since and now, as a Norwegian-American Jew who sings […]

“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 […]

A heritage that no one sees

Evangeline Brennan, CA. I chose the words, “A heritage that no one sees”, because, simply put, I am white (and, yes, I understand that it is a racial euphemism). My father’s family came to America sometime during the Irish Potato Famine. My mother, on the other hand, is Filipino, born in the Philippines and emigrated […]

Haitian Cuban fusion. Proud legacy continues.

Suzette Chaumette, San Leandro, CA. We speak of ourselves as a Caribbean family. We teach our girls about the significance of the drum, Haitian Revolution, Toussaint Louverture, Alexandre Petion, Hatuey, Anacaona, Jose Marti, and more. We love celebrating our respective cultures, which are unique, but also our similar backgrounds as Taino, Arawak, African, French and […]

What are you? I can’t tell

Jenn O, Los Angeles, CA. This is the dreadful question that I get almost all the time… I find myself always having to explain my background to people before they’re able to get past my appearance, and actually engage in an intellectual conversation.

I love being in the minority

Jonathan Rivera, NY. It may not all be sunshine and rainbows when you are in the minority group, but it has its benefits for sure. I am a Hispanic young male and let me tell you, I have been exposed to many new and different experiences because I am within a minority group. I am […]

Dating: I’m too dark for him?!

Anonymous, Northampton, MA. He’s a white European, and has never considered black women to be attractive, apparently until he met me and we got to know each other. Since he is curious about interracial relationships, he’s often on youtube watching videos on black and white couples/babies/marriages. Yesterday, he proudly told me that he watched an […]

I’m actively black, you’re passively white

Demarcus Robinson Park Forest, IL I’ve been thinking about how, as an African-American, I and other minorities actively think about out race as opposed to our Caucasian counterparts. It’s not that I’m thinking “I”m black, I’m black, I’m black” every second of the day, but I know that certain situations force the thought upon me, […]

I’m Angelyce. Mixed race and Bi-sexual.

Angelyce Serrano, Coram, NY. My whole life people has seen me as “that black girl”. That is not the case. I am Puerto Rican, Black-American, Taino, and Spaniard. Yet, for whatever reason my whole cultural background is ignored and I am just labeled as black. Going to Catholic School from 4years old to 18years old […]

Mom’s white. Dad’s black. I’m spotted.

William Jones, Reisterstown, MD. It’s Vitiligo. Yes, it’s what Michael Jackson had. It basically means the cells that make skin color stop doing that. All though you can’t see it as well in lighter complexions, anyone from any race can develop it, and at the age of about 30, I became one of the 1% […]

But where are you really from?

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]

Ashamed of American Black culture today

Keville Bowen, Chester, PA. I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as […]

Music teacher listening to student cries

Jamie Coppa, Asbury Park, NJ. As a music teacher with an almost entirely black and hispanic student body, I was met with stories of oppression, lack of food, disrupted sleep, abuse, incarceration, and even the murder of the loved ones they so deeply cared for. I will never forget the beautiful music my students expressed […]

Never Accepted As American While Abroad

J Smith Kenya I’ve spent several years living outside the US (Europe, Asia, Africa) and being half Japanese, I am always mistaken for being from the continent of Asia. Even when I tell people repeatedly that I am also half white and that my Japanese side of the family has been in the US for […]

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 […]

People never guess my race correctly

Lara Jean DeShayes, Oakland, CA. I was born in Olongapo Philippines to a Filipina mom and French-American Naval seaman. In Oakland, I’m often assumed to be Latina or Hispanic but as I’ve travelled around the world, people often mistaken me for someone of their own race: Turkish in Istanbul, Greek in Athens, Italian in Naples, […]

Yes, that is his daughter, too.

Dania Abreu-Torres San Antonio, TX My husband and I are Puerto Ricans. I am more “white” than he is -He usually was mistaken as a muslim-. We have a blonde, blue eyed girl. In Florida, he use to take her to the supermarket. He was followed by a lady and asked if the baby was […]

Race is a story we tell

Charles McCoy, Los Gatos, CA. I grew up being steeped in the folklore of Irish and Italian cultural heritage, thinking I was “half Irish”and “half Italian” and listening to my grandmother crowing about only being Toscana and speaking Toscana ( the received Italian dialect). As I did my DNA testing, I discovered that I am […]