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I am not white, or caucasian!

Heather Sanchez, Upper Lake, CA. As the world gets more politically correct, I have turned to study my own roots, as a ‘white’ person. What I have found has debunked many of the world’s stereotypes for white or caucasian people. This makes me proud. Is that wrong? I find great pride in the troubles and […]

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I got all the white genes.

Cayla Olson, Duluth, MN. I have always felt that I had to qualify my racial identity with those six words. I am part native, my mother being Ojibwe and French, and my father being Oneida and Irish. We lived on my mom’s home reservation, and it was never any mystery to me as to what […]

My children have no heritage day.

Mac Los Angeles, CA My children grew up in southern California and attended fabulously diverse schools that frequently featured “Heritage Days” where the school children were encouraged to wear clothes, and bring in food and other articles representative of their ethnic background. From their earliest years, my kids found this confusing. What were we anyway? […]

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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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White Privilege makes me very bitter

Jessica McMurtry, Collins, GA. I am white, yes, but it makes me very bitter when other white people refuse to see how being another “race” could affect their life. Empathy is not the same as not being prideful of your heritage. My ancestors were Irish, Scottish, and Native American- and I am supremely proud of […]

“You look white”, erases my father.

Janaki Kuruppu Rockville, MD As a child, my skin was darker and my hair frizzier, thanks to the genetic contribution of my father who was from Sri Lanka. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to resemble my white American mother more and more, Since my father died when I was 19, every time someone brings to […]

Some of my best friends are….

Steven Shimberg Washington, DC I envy our kids who seem to be colorblind and take diversity for granted. Having grown up in the 50’s and 60’s, I regret that my ability to understand fully, appreciate and relate to some of my friends’ life experiences is limited. Divides based on socio-economics are significant but divides based […]

No, I don’t tan or perm.

Daniela Charlotte, NC Some people look puzzled when I say I am half Japanese. They tend to ask me if I perm my hair or go tanning because typically Japanese females have pin straight hair and fair skin. However they don/t seem to pay attention when I say HALF Japanese (I am also half Peruvian).

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Too white to be Native American

Simone, Chicago, IL. A lot of people say I look too white to be Native American. It’s tiring that my mom is full Cherokee while my dad was full blown Italian, all my other bothers came out darker than me and had brown eyes, I am the only girl int he family. As far as […]

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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 […]

Let’s lower the volume and talk.

C.S. Concord, CA Shouting at each other over the fences that divide us hasn’t served us. It shows a fundamental lack of respect and obscures any attempt to view each other, our opinions, our inclinations and needs in a measured, reasonable way. We have to be able to face each other, look each other in […]

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Hope my children will speak Spanish

Sandra Aguilar-Rodríguez, Bethlehem, PA. I am Mexican, I speak English, French and Spanish. I have a PhD in History, but still I find it difficult to understand why in the United States being bilingual or trilingual is not appreciated. I want my children to speak, read and write at least in another language, and if […]

You’re not from these parts, huh?

Steven N. Pembroke Pines, FL I am Hispanic, born and raised in New York. I served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992 and was stationed in Jacksonville, NC. I was on my way to Fayetteville to visit some friends and got lost on the way. I stopped at some convenience store to ask […]

As American as rice and beans

Jorge Valladares Orlando, FL My parents came to this country as undocumented immigrants from Honduras, Central America. Their three children provide public service of some kind – I work with students with disabilities at a public college; my sister is a high school Spanish teacher and my brother is a former post-9/11 US Marine and […]

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Light brown, dark brown don’t matter!!!

Shaunta Whitaker, Lompoc, CA. I am a grandmother and I love being a grandmother but with it comes some heartache because of some of the stares I have to endure when I am out with my grandson. I am African-American with a dark brown complexion and my grandson is mixed with Mexican, Italian and African-American […]

I’m not a person of color

Gabriella Grange, Plano, TX. Before coming to college, I always thought of myself as a black person. But when I got to college a few years ago, I heard people use the term “people of color” and it boggled me. Even though the term is used to foster solidarity, the term can be used to […]

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Black~Soulful~Queen~Loving~My~Skin

Ebonee Small, Ontario, CA. I am a young black woman proud of the skin I’m in. I love my race of people when those who don’t. I’m always proud because it seems as if every obstacle placed before my race we always concur leaving others dumbfounded. Others outside my race seem to always try and […]

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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 […]

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This guy named Ish can Fish

Noah Clayton, Lakeland, FL. In the past year I have started be become really fond with Bass fishing. I caught my first Bass towards the end of 2012 and ever since then I have become “hooked”. As I was watching videos on YouTube and doing a little research on techniques and places to fish I […]

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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. […]

Excuse me, I was before him!

Ayako Sato Washington DC I often get passed up in line even though the person at the counter looks directly at me and knows I have not been helped. Sometimes I wonder if it is because I am an Asian-American female and the person at the counter has an image of a passive Asian as […]

Friend’s birthday, my dress is ruined.

Celeste Bourdeau de Fontenay Newark, NJ I attended a dinner for a friend’s birthday at a nouveau riche- bling, expense account, restaurant in New York a few blocks from the Westside Highway. I was the only African American at the table and some of the staff had issues. One of the servers could not pour […]

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Sometimes I cry when making pasta.

Meredith Taggart, Portland, OR. I’m Italian and Scottish and otherwise a European mutt. I’m generally considered “white,” and look ambiguously ethnic. For me, the idea of race is all about a longing for a greater connection to my heritage. I never feel more connected than when making pasta. Learning the language, visiting Italy, making/eating Italian […]

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Too white for my own good.

Lauren Qualters, West Chester, PA. For my race card project I chose the phrase “Too white for my own good” which is most certainly a true statement, in both humerous and negative ways. I am certainly very sterotypically “white” but not in an intentional or discriminatory way. My traits are my own and they embody […]

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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 […]

Is this all on one check?

Mary Henry Oxford, OH I am white, my husband is black, our daughter is biracial. If I’m out with just my husband or just my teenaged daughter, wait staff usually ask if our order is on one check, suggesting they don’t realize that we’re related (my daughter is not very dark-skinned, but looks more like […]

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Pale freckled redhead burned by words

Marie Farrell, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in San Diego, California where the sun shines all the time. I was the kid that never tanned, just freckled and burned. I was also raised by an Irish mother so there was a lot less love than fights and tension. I recall a day when I bravely […]

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Don’t ask why families don’t match

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 […]

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Will he choose Mexican or Caucasian?

Josh Smith, Sacramento, CA. My son is 3 years old, and the son of a white male with no real cultural identity (myself) and a Mexican woman (my wife Yadira) who is the first-born daughter of Mexican immigrants, with a large family that celebrates its culture and traditions often. I frequently wonder which ethnicity he’ll […]

Peach crayon never worked for us.

Maya PS Boston, MA Growing up in a color-challenged yet friendly midwest suburb, we were one of 3 families of color in our local school. Even though it was not an issue for most of our childhood, sometimes the desire to squelch our culture reared its ugly head. We did try to assimilate as much […]

I was the only white teacher…

Alena, Des Moines, IA. I was the only white teacher in the City of Little Rock Early Childhood Center, a school partnered with Little Rock School District that hired certified teachers and had a great full-day program for young, inner-city 3 1/2-5 year old students from “the projects.” Many of my young charges had no […]

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Seen It With My Own Eyes

Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]

Where did you get them from?

Alli Minch, Veneta, OR. When we still lived in California and my biracial twins were very young, a woman stopped me in the store to comment on how cute they were, and asked me where I got them from, since she was interested in adopting. They’re my children, not a designer handbag you can order […]

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Held against your will?

Judy Vasquez, Murrieta, CA. I am a caucasion female, brown hair with brown eyes and my husband is proudly Hispanic/Mexican. We were pulled over at a checkpoint one evening on or way home from a family event and when the officer looked in the car, he asked me, “Ma’am, are you being held against your […]

What do we owe each other?

Lisa Williams, Johnson City, TN. When I think of what I owe other people, I think in terms of how I want to be treated – I’m thinking of civility, a lack of preconceptions, tolerance for differences, to name a few. I also think in terms of responsible actions (for instance, if I were drunk, […]

At least she doesn’t act Mexican…

Pamela Espinoza Fletcher, Redlands, CA. This is what my ex mother in law said when asked about her son marrying a Mexican. I was offended but truthfully really didn’t understand coment. I guess prior to that I had just been me. My parents are both Mexican. My siblings and I were raised in a Spanish […]

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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 […]

Struggling to overcome my fear.

Lucy Jones, Portland, OR. I am 32 years old and white. I have had social anxiety all of my life. As a child, I was around black people often and I was comfortable, but quiet because of my anxiety disorder. This changed in college. I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southern […]

Too white to be half Latin

Laura Leon, Riverside, CA. My father was full Puerto Rican and very proud of it. He always taught us to be proud of our culture, especially me because I am “whiter” than my sisters. Over the years I’ve been accused of lying about my culture due to my fair skin, a concept I never understood. […]

Henry is seen, Enrique is invisible

Enrique Marquez, Philadelpia, PA. I changed my name on my resume to Henry after rarely getting responses when I would write my actualy name, Enrique. Henry is the English version of Enrique. Henry received many more callbacks in one week than Enrique did in months. Nothing else was different.

That’s My Husband! That’s Her Daddy!

Anonymous, IA. My mother had left the hospital to go home for a while, take a long hot shower,get fresh clothes for us both,and other little errands. Since I was a toddler of 3 or 4 years old I couldn’t be left alone in the hospital Pediatric Intensive Care ward,so my mother left my father […]

Your kids will be half black!

Jamie, Kake Elsinore, CA. For over three years, I was in a interracial relationship. On one occasion out we had went to a nice place to eat, as my boyfriend went to pay the bill an elderly couple came up to me and urged me to end my relationship for countless reasons and because “my […]

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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 […]

“You Speak English So Well!” -People

Anonymous, USA. The worst thing about people on the street commenting on how good my English is, is that the only language I’m really good at is English, and I can’t speak my own language. Whenever I try, I just fail, and life seems so pointless. It’s so much easier to speak English: the default. […]

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I’m proud to be a Bahamian!

Willis Mackey Jr., Christchurch, VA. I think that race is not a colour, but an ethnicity. I am so tired of being placed into the stereotypes of an African American. I am skin colour is black, I am a Bahamian. Born and raised in the Bahamas I should not have to be classified because of […]

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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 […]

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You Italian then? No, I’m Hispanic.

Andrea Lopez, Sacramento, CA. When confronted with the question of whether or not I’ve experienced racism in my life, I always remember the first time I felt discriminated against. I was about twelve years old and I was meeting my best friend’s father for the first time. She moved to California from Georgia with her […]

I am white but not racist.

Stephanie DeRoose, Baltimore, MD. During a service trip to Washington DC, I encountered many nice and talkative people while I walked the streets. I made a comment to another volunteer and her response was, “It’s because they’re black isn’t it?” I had never experienced such rude commentary and didn’t know what to say. My comment […]

I am not my daughter’s nanny.

Shellee Perez, San Jose, CA. I unfortunately found that people have certain stereotypes of what it means to be Black inculcated in their minds and apparently the tone and features of my own child do not fit their bias. As a result, people would rather view my relationship with my daughter as servitude for a […]

Who Will Your Children Play With

Linda Hunt CT I am in a 40 year bi-racial marriage and very early on when my children were small, my grandmother made the comment above. I said they will play with whoever they wanted as long as they were decent.

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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 […]

I’m speaking in Spanish. please reciprocate.

Jose Pimienta, Tujunga, CA. Very often, when I speak Spanish to someone who also speaks spanish, they reply to me in English. I take no offense to it, but it does remind me to continue reflecting on such a big topic in my life, which is: race, ethnicity, nationality and culture and how they play […]

Fifty shades of brown in a white world

Karen Sulmonetti Falls Church, VA My son was born in Guatemala and is very brown with beautiful dark brown, circle eyes and dark brown hair. As an adopted child, he has grown up with white parents and enjoys life in America. Even though we educate him on his birth country, he is all-American because of […]

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“So, what are you?” they ask.

Karen Gephart Altschul, Vernon Hills, IL. I was five, the first time I can remember somebody asking me that question. “What are you? Chinese or something?” Huh? Um, what are you talking about? I’ve been asked this question, “what are you”, on the first day at a job. A girl from China asked me if […]