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. […]
Hudson Giles-Lavender, Columbia, MO.
Kimberly Walker, Beltsville, MD.
JoseLuis Moreno, San Lorenzo, CA. I’m a student at Bishop O’Dowd High School, in Oakland, California. Ms. Tunik is my current teacher.
Anonymous, Milwaukee, WI. After writing/blogging about race for over 15 years at Blackfriendonline.com there is only 1 thing I’ve learned. We all want and fear the same things, hurt to us and those we love and also failure.
Morgan Krost, Norco, CA. I think everyone should be proud of their race and be able to show support without it being deemed racist. The media shows a lot of encouragement of Latinos and African Americans for various months or important leaders’ birthdays, but not for White people. It’s like society thinks every day is […]
Giovanna, Atlanta, GA. I am a second generation American Jew (meaning none of my family members ever owned another human being) I was raised to treat everyone for who they are – not outward appearance – I just moved to the south and have experienced something entirely different. In a city full of educated, eloquent […]
Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]
Tatyana Parrish, Valley Stream, NY. My six words are a fairly simple way to explain how complicated this matter is to me. My father was never there, and my mom worked her absolute ass off in order to make up for that. My father is African American, and because of this I’ve come to resent […]
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 […]
Josh Miller, Salt Lake City, UT. I have had to opportunity to meet many people from all across the globe. I can never begin to understand what it is like to experience racism as a white middle class male. I have seen racism and it is WRONG. Let’s all be nice.
Marie Henehan, Sidney, IL. I’m European American Vietnam generation female grandchild of immigrants. I have not ever been an activist. If all white people were like me, blacks would not have such serious problems. So with a pat on my back, I have been complacent and uninvolved, safe in my well-off white bubble. _I’m_ not […]
Jesila Desir, Bradenton, FL. Why should what we look like and what we come from make a difference in how we live and how people are treated?
Anonymous, NJ. I have never been so angry at or disappointed in my parents in all my 16 years of life. Before you dismiss this as just another teenager hating on her parents, hear me out, because it is far from that. Both of my parents moved to America from Lebanon, a small country in […]
Jennifer Wong Cernak, Chester, MD. I have been listening to your race-card stories for a long time and heard the topic of mixed race come up again and again. In the past identity has been a struggle for me, but now I feel comfortable with who I am. There were many days, growing up, I […]
Tina, Birmingham. AL. Nevermind the fact that I speak with a southern accent, that my attire is noticeably of American influence, or that my last name is German. When someone asks where I’m from and I give them the name of my hometown, this answer is somehow unacceptable, so I give them the name of […]
Hanne, Columbus Grove, OH. I grew up in a primarily white upper class community. Anyone in my town that are of a different ethnicity or race were adopted and brought into the community. I grew up being told to stay away from the topic of race because it will offend others. When I started college […]
Gabriella Ortega, Riverside, CA. I live in a world where my own kind thinks I’m a shame because I’m Mexican and don’t know Spanish. They think of me as a white girl but white people take one look at me and assume I know Spanish because I’m Mexican. Sometimes I begin to question myself along […]
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 […]
Michele Wiemer, Brooklyn, NY. We have been in our neighborhood for coming on ten years and in that time it has changed from ‘Bed-Stuy’ to ‘Clinton-Hill’ to ‘Fort Green East’ as the realtors slowly remade and gentrified neighborhoods. Each economic surge carved out new districts and displaced our neighbors. The most recent insurgence of peoples […]
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, […]
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…
Exodus Rex, Submitted via Twitter: @ExodusRex.
Noemi Hernandez Alexander, Riverside, CA.
Terynee, East Lansing, MI. My name is Terynee, my sister’s names are Tyani and T’Asia. These are all names my mother thought to be creative and beautiful. I love my name and both my sisters names, but when people “Try” and pronounce it, it is repeatedly devoured. I get that it is different but sometimes […]
Cassandra, Cleveland, OH. The process I went through to identify those six words is by realizing the six words that mean the most to me. What I mean by this is that those words explain who I am in short for everyone. I thought about what I felt was most important to me and, what […]
Margaret Hayes, Hopkins, MN. I went to a school that had a large minority student population. I always loved and was proud of my district because of it’s diversity, but for many years I was personally victimized and frequently bullied because of my “white-ness”. When many students saw my skin color they personally blamed me […]
Sam, Morris, MN. I have a grandfather that is fully Native American, from the White Earth Tribe. So my mother is ¼ Native American, and I am less than ¼. My father is mostly German. So I have fairly light skin, and my hair is light brown. In most situations I consider myself Caucasian and […]
Devin Horton, Los Angeles, CA. My race card refers to conundrum of my experience and my physical self being essentially invisible but also having the world simultaneously watch and critique my every move with microscopic precision. It can cause serious anxiety.
Nathan Kruse, Phoenix, AZ.
Karen Roland, Palm Springs, CA. A Filipina-American girl with three half White, half Filipino children. Building a life in America and building it with diversity. Living in a world where both cultures matter, I teach my children both.
Coral Sharrow, Las Vegas, NV. When it comes down to it, we are all the same, just socialized different. Love who you are, and those around you.
Roberto Contreras. Mexico. I’m a redheaded Mexican-american. I self identify as Mexican, having grown up in Mexico, but whenever I say my heritage is Mexican the next question is always “Are you sure you are not half-spanish or something?”. No, parents are Mexican, grandparents are Mexican, so it’s interesting to see specific heritage being such […]
Bob Preston, Seattle, WA. I thought of this while being told about this project, immediately, and since it has helped me through my transition back to my regular life from military life.
Taylor Miller, Kansas City, MO. I’m sick of people not believing my mother birthed me just because we have different skin tones.
Annamarie Vu, Huntington Beach, CA.
Amanda Nelski, Los Angeles, CA. People like to put other people in boxes. “Where are you really from?” they ask. I used to answer Detroit. When they asked where my parents are from, Detroit was not suitable either. “You don’t look like you’re from Detroit.” After some banter I would eventually confess my lineage is […]
Bea Melnarowicz, Chicago, IL My daughter is bi-racial: her father is Spanish-French-Mexican, and I am Eastern European Caucasian. I am often told she looks ‘nothing’ like me, even jokingly by some of my friends. I am surprised each time I hear this considering the age and time we live in. The tone is rarely friendly, […]
Alonna Carter, Pittsburgh, PA.
Aman Agah, Brooklyn, NY. I am Iranian, Irish, Azari, and German. Being Iranian means being called Arab. I am not Arab. Being Iranian means being part of a group of people that so many don’t know – even if I say “Persian” – and yet I am part of a group labeled terrorist. I am […]
Belva Brown Jordan, Claremont, CA. Often, people make assumptions when they see me, before actually meeting me or knowing anything about me. They think they know which “box” to put me in. Based on little information they assume to know who I am, where I come from, what I experienced as a child, my intellectual […]
John P. Moultrie, Ormond Beach, FL. It’s taken sometime to get to this point, but we are finally together. Sixteen years ago, we met and at that moment, I knew she was the one for me. But that was not the case for her. Years later, through heartache and divorce for both of us, we […]
Elyzabeth Inez Smith, Granbury, TX. No matter what history has come to discover. No matter what the future has to uncover. No matter what excuses people can come up with in order to justify the racial lines man has created. In the end we ALL are the same race. The only race. The ever colorful […]
Sara Dawit, Lake Mary, FL. I am bombarded with questions on my racial and ethnic ambiguity almost everyday of my life. Thankfully, I’m able to simplify my ethnicity to East African and Turkish so I’m not stuck repeatedly listing all those East African countries (unless I’m asked to of course, but that, in my experience, […]
Sean Patrick Nicholl, Storrs, CT. Heard it plenty of times… I mention that my first name is after my grandfathers; John… y Juan. That stops them for a second. John, Juan, and Sean are all the same name in various languages. A great grandfather of mine adds Jean to the list. They think I’m joking. […]
Seven, Summerville, GA. I am a redhead from Visalia CA. I moved to Georgia with my family and after the move I realized things weren’t going to be the same anymore. People often poke fun at me saying that I have no soul or that I would take theirs. Just because I am a redhead […]
Raysa Rivera, Worcester, MA. I have struggled with my inability to fit in within the Hispanic culture. I cannot speak the language without having trouble with grammar and sounding like a “white girl.” I’ve gotten mocked because of it all the time. My family has also decided to leave some of the cultural traditions back […]
Amanda Claiborne, Pahoa, HI. Asked of me by a typical Hawaiian child of mixed background, brown skin, hair, and eyes. A reminder that blue-eyed freckled folks like me are a minority here.
April Faye Weathers, Los Angeles, CA. I’m light skinned and have always felt self-conscious about my skin tone. Growing up, my white mom taught my brother and I to be proud of our black identity and feel comfortable in our own skin. She embraced our father’s culture and made it part of her own, blending […]
Ronald Zeigler, North Brunswick, NJ. I was stationed at Parris Island going to Personnel school. I was from New York and with my three New Jersey (also Black) friends went into Beaufort, SC. We walked into a bar and my friend said “three beers, please”. I was at the jukebox looking for Motown and finding […]
Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]
Charles McCoy Owens, Chicago, IL. Throughout my life, both professional and private, white people who are friends have said to me that race doesn’t matter and that they see me as Charlie, a person just like everybody else. Interestingly though when I am the same age as their daughters or sisters and a friendship begins […]
Jake, USA. My mother is from Ghana and my father is from New York. I am African-American and it drives me crazy when people who have a distant relative from Africa consider themselves African-American when they have no cultural ties to Africa. Black Culture is different from African Culture.
Anja Bedrick, Berkeley, CA.
Brayden Campagna, Whitewater, WI.
Rosina B., Temecula, CA. African Americans come in all colors and hues, and just because my skin may be light it does not make me a lesser African American, it only make me more proud to be who I am!!
Danielle Blixt, Riverside, CA. Although my heritage is Lebanese, Costa Rican and German, to the outside world I look white. I recognize and accept that going into an interview I have an upper hand. I understand that when I walk into a restaurant no one is thinking I am up to not good or that […]
Alonzo Peeke, Morris, MN. When I was in 4th grade we moved from Overland Park, KS to Lynchburg, VA. My dad and I would shoot hoops and talk walks at Riverside Park, a beautiful forested park right off the James river. We were walking home and we came across a strange structure like ruined monument, […]
Jacob Noel, Las Vegas, NV.
Joan Kalimba, Riverside, CA. Pure African from Rwanda, much of what I get is, do you guys ride on giraffes, and things like do lions walk around your neighborhood like it is the most normal thing to do, but not much of the racial part.
Robert, Singapore. …of being white.
Alicia Barnes, Starkville, MS. Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status. When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I […]
Melanie Gilbert, Boston, MA. Love who you are not what you are.
Tiffany Barta, Bemidji, MN. I’m honestly tired of indigenous people always saying, “YOU took OUR land!” Oh, really? I took your land? I personally had nothing to do with that. You must be referring to my ancestors, who weren’t even in this country at the time. Who’s ignorant now?
Allen D. Jenkins, Gulfport, MS. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… I John 4:18
Patti J Baines, Anacortes, WA. I belong to the curly haired, wide bottom affiliation of short women with freckles that inhabit this part of the world. I’ve come to wonder how it is, that based upon a collection of attributes and features we gather ourselves together or at other times serve to drive us apart.
Kristine Johnson, East Troy, WI.
Terryn Brown, Harrisburg, PA. We are offered and promised equality as a right, but when we say we are just as equal as the next person it becomes a controversial topic is society.
Elijah Chapple, Morris, MN. For the explanation of this I will use a poem written by a child from Africa: Colour When I was born, I black; When I grow up I black; When I go in sun I black; When I scared, I black; When I sick, I black; And when I die; I […]
Danielle Stewart, Oakland, CA.
Cassidy Orth-Moore, Kenya.
Warren Miller, Indianapolis, IN. I have been profoundly deaf since early childhood but raised in a hearing family and attended an oral school. I was not exposed to Deaf culture and American Sign Language until college. Hearing people do not see me as deaf because I “talk good” (even though I heavily rely on a […]
Elizabeth Chennamchetty, San Diego, CA.
Andrew Shie, Davenport, IA.
Rabbi Justin Kerber, Saint Louis, MO. I may be “white.” But my grandparents and great-grandparents weren’t “white,” they were Jews! The distinction had implications and consequences — lethal for some of them. In my work as a rabbi and hospital chaplain I must see all people as created in G1d’s image and likeness, yet must […]
Nvizaboman, Syracuse, NY. Pointing a gun in the face of a Black boy or choking a Black man, is not a common cultural practice in the Black community. I just feel that needs to be said. Please stop killing us because our lives are an appointment we don’t want to miss. Thank you.
Julia Pichler, Salem, OR. Picture Source: http://turnlol.com/images/2012/10/touhou-flandre-scarlet-bad-apple-fresh-hd-wallpaper-400×250.jpg
Bert Olson, San Jose, CA. This is an observation on human nature, not confined to race. Humans tend to bond with people of similar appearance and background. It takes effort to understand the other.
Tiffany Compton, Colorado Springs, CO. I always thought I was like everyone else until a kid in my 6th grade class asked me this question. After 9/11 my Middle Eastern background has been stereotyped and my life hasn’t been the same.
Chaka Babarovich, Anacortes, WA. I went to a job interview and the person said, “Wow, you look nothing like what I thought of from your name.”
Nicole Moriarty, Tallahassee, FL. I’m white and I’ve been living in the south for about 5 years and this crazy thing continually happens to me: white people see the color of my skin and assume, wrongly, that I harbor the same ignorance and racism that they do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of my […]
Donna Monroe, Indianapolis, IN. It was the summer of 1957. I was riding on a train with my mother when I saw another little girl who was having her hair braided. She was crying. My heart went out to her because I cried when my mom tried to comb the tangles out of my hair.
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 […]
Kevin Stordahl, Seattle, WA. Every time I fill out important documents they ask for my “race” and every single time they do I wonder a couple things; one, why do they need to know that? And two, where is my category? I have never considered myself one race or another. I have always just felt […]
Athena Scavo, Hornell, NY. I often get this question due to my name being of the Greek mythology background. Often, people assume that I am not Greek, but my parents liked the name or thought I was going to be tough or had some reason why I was named Athena. If you look at me, […]
Teaundra Suggs, Bowling Green, KY.
Taylor, OH. I come from two very light parents & my dad is the one who has red hair, its natural but I constantly find myself having to explain and even defend who I am to elder white women & even black people.
Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]
Andrew Kewer, Tucson, AZ. Prejudice only continues because people find it useful But people can fill in that statement how they see fit. As a person with a disability, I see that discrimination exists many different forms.
Zulema Peralta-Saltos, North Hampton, MA. People believe that being Latina gives you a higher advantage at getting into college, graduate programs, internships, and jobs. I didn’t get into college to fit a quota, I got in because I am as smart as everybody else.