My Dad said “Jap”. Everyone blushed.

Malcolm Gin, Berkeley, CA. My Dad is Chinese and 86 years old. He was stationed in the Pacific Theater during World War II, fighting on the United States’ side. Nearly got his butt shot off several times for looking and being Asian, by our own side. Lately he was talking about his experiences in the […]

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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.

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Not black, brown, neither white, beige

Ida Nielsen, Danmark I think it’s wrong to use the words BLACK and WHITE. I mean: I got a lighter skin tone, than the people you would call black, but that doesn’t mean that I’m white. No, I’m not white, and they are NOT black. If I was white, then you shouldn’t be able to […]

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Why can’t I like this too?

Abigail Finn Singer, New York City, NY. Being white, I feel uncultured. There is nothing special about where I’m from. My great-grandparents were immigrants, from a place they weren’t really from. They came from Poland, but don’t qualify as Polish. I have nothing behind me. Not a custom, not a community. I feel like I’m […]

Will Work for White Male Privilege

Zander Delo, Lansing, MI. I work my tail off to make a minimalistic living. Ad-hominem finger-pointing, blind racism towards anybody (even white males), is only destructive; it has no constructive purpose for either party. Attempting to gain something by trying to discourage those above or below you in the social hierarchy is barbaric; more constructive […]

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Serena, like the “black” tennis player.

Serena Serrano, Eugene, OR. I grew up in a hispanic house hold and I remember whenever someone would ask me what my name was and I would reply. But when I would tell them my name they would stare for a second at me then my mom and say “oh like the tennis player,” …no […]

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We’re all the same, but different.

Cynthia Parra, Beaumont, TX. Through my profession, I have been given the opportunity to work with university students from marginalized groups and I have become a local social justice advocate. What I have learned is that everyone one wants to be be love, accepted, and not judged. We as individuals, just go about looking for […]

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You are smarter than you look

Amanda Sperow, Chehalis, WA. Oregon State University Because I am a young woman with blonde hair, and I take pride in the way I look most people presume I am a “bimbo” or dumb blonde. It’s sad our minds don’t extend beyond the sexuality of an individual, and we can only see as deep as […]

Is my character like Christ’s?

Christos Victor, USA. Privilege moment of my conception, my gifts and talents, my sex and pigmentation; i chose them— just like you did… history i studied, listened and learned. every tribe and nation conquered, defeated its neighbors at one time or another. the subdued were enslaved. some recently emancipated now claim there must be full […]

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They assume my wife’s the nanny.

Sean Robertson, Kensington, MD. People impressed with how my wife handles our children have stopped her on the street to ask what agency she was hired through. I suppose it’s an improvement from the Dominican Republic where hotel security tried to prevent me from “bringing in a local prostitute.”

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Challenging the knowledge has no age

Hugo Santos, Auburn, AL. I am a literature professor in Brazil and after completing 40 years of age, I’ve decided to come to United States and attend a PhD program. If a program of this importance is already quite challenging, it becomes even more challenging when it is done in a second language, especially if […]

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He can’t swim, Dad saves him.

Jim Michonski, Virginia Beach, VA. I grew up in a military family. The March on Washington happened when I was two years old. We mostly lived outside of the US until I was nine. I don’t have memories of and was not exposed to the racial turmoil of the 1960’s. One of the strongest experiences […]

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That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]

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Not overcooked or underdone. Just right.

Lei-Anna Bertelsen, Bozeman, MT. I’ve grappled with this question all my life. My dad told me a story when I was a second grader after a boy called me names based on my skin color. My dad explained that when God made people, it took three tries to bake us to just the right color. […]

This big chip hurts my back.

BURTON DAVIS PRICE Greenwood, MS Becoming a black professional gives one a large chip on their shoulder. This chip can be so heavy at times that it makes your life miserable. You always question other peoples actions towards you, which can make you paranoid.

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Your hair’s pretty. What are you?

Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]

A missplaced comma, in fluid sentences.

Anil Oommen Eugene, OR University of Oregon I am brown, a Malayalee, a person of Indian descent in a primarily white setting. This is often awkward. It is not unusual for me to feel like a misplaced comma, in the fluid sentences of white experience. Only when I limit what I say and refrain from […]

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I believe in the hyphen!

Roberto Jara, Alto, MI. It drives me nuts when people say, “Let’s all be color blind, forget our cultures of origen and just be ‘American,’ instead of ‘Latin-American,’ ‘Asian-American,’ etc. I can be American and preserve by culture of origin! Those of us who come from cultures other than the dominant Northern European Culture, have […]

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Biker gangs have love for me

Richard Haynie, Oakland, CA. I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]

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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 […]