Melissa U., Charlotte, NC. My Taino people would love me, from my plump lips to my curly hair. My African people would love me from the rhythm in my hips to the powerful thoughts in my mind. My Spanish people, they might deny me, but I can’t deny them. They are in my language, they […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]
Nicolette, Alpine, WY. “You’re not black.” “No, I’m not.” “Then why do you have black-girl hair?” “I just like braids, that’s all.” When I had my white-girl hair professionally braided by an African hairstylist from Togo, I never expected I would lead people to such confusion. Why did I do it? I just like braids. […]
Gerald D. Franks, Town Creek, AL. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at me. I’m the typical American mixture of various European ethnicities (aka white), and I have Cherokee lineages as well (documented, not just family lore). While doing some genealogical work I decided to have my genome fully sequenced in case there were […]
Sozit Mohamed, Sunnyvale, CA. Being Ethiopian with Arab heritage in my family, most do not believe I’m black/African. Also, being black and muslim, seems to be the worst thing you can be in America right now.
Secunda Joseph, Houston, TX. I’ve always seen the beauty in myself even as a kid. My brother and I were the darkest of all aunts, and cousins besides my brother, and around family ” I was everything good” one of my several nicknames was chocolate drop. Then kindergarten started what I heard was “with your […]
Dinah Paulos, San Francisco, CA. My family originates in Ethiopia, and I am the first generation who was not born there. So what does that make me? I am the true definition of African American. My family is from Africa and I was born in America, thus making me an African American. When I tell […]
Jeffrey Miller, Tampa, FL. Our rich history, our artifacts, our language, even our names were taken from us.
Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]
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.
Ahpaly Coradin, Pembroke Pines, FL. It is easy to forget that discrimination, ostracism and prejudice are not the exclusive currency of the white race. As much as I have been discriminated against by whites in America and abroad, I have suffered similarly from my own kind, in all my lands of origin.
Hadja Diallo, Philadelphia, PA. People always say that I don’t look African!? But I ask myself how is someone supposed to look African? Are we all supposed to be ugly? I wouldn’t say that all Africans are beautiful, but most of them are. I know that it’s not there (people) fault that they think Africans […]
Jesse Hernandez-Oliver, Modesto, CA. I’m Mexican, African and Native American (Apache and Cherokee soecifically) with ringlet curled hair that resembles finger waves of the 1920s when brushed. Growing up I remember everyone always asking to touch my hair. I can speak some Spanish too so that also through people off,which I always found to be […]
Patricia, Akron, OH. White person: “we all walked out of Africa” Black person: “Some of us got (a) free ride”
Karen Than Myaing Silver Spring, MD In this photo: what do you get when you mix an Israeli, a Trinidadian, a Jamaican, a Caucasian, a Burmese and an African American? Our beautiful family. We are Jews, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist. We are female. We are male. We are children. We are human. We do not […]
Alia Laurence Orlando, FL When I was 18, we found out that we were not simply Cherokee and various shades of European pale. (My father always considered being part Cherokee his ‘greatest shame’.) We found out we were also part African. Specifically, African-American of Malagasy descent. Not that this should’ve come as a great surprise […]
OTI OBOH New York City, NY Brooklyn I’m Nigerian born raised in the US and find my fluidity in my identity as Nigerian, as American and as Nigerian-American flow in the different spaces I occupy. The Civil Rights allowed for more expansion of African people to occupy different parts in the world.
Marion Reid Kee Redmond, WA Some of my ancestors went through a lot so that I could be “white” and not have to know about them as African, Native American, Eastern Mediterranean. Others who were considered white may not have been free. Some of my Celtic ancestors were forcibly resettled by the English. Others were […]
Annie Chicago, IL I AM NOT AFRICAN, NEVER BEEN THERE AND DON’ CARE TO GO. I WAS BORN ON AMERICA SOIL. DON’T CALL/LABEL ME ONETHING SO ONE RACE CAN FEEL SUPERIOR OR LESS DOMINANT. I HAVE YET TO SEE A BLACK PERSON OR A WHITE PERSON. WHERE ARE THEY?
Janis Adams Atlanta, GA The older I get, the more I realize how bad colonization is, was, hurts, ruins. Groups of people greedy for resources, riches exploit the world..
Skyler Crane Oceanside, CA There is a small splash of African in my ancestry, never talked about, though obvious in physical traits of many of my relatives, Why I give my Race Card sentence is that born a baby boomer to low, very low, middle class WASP parents, i was not given or alerted to […]
Scott Kraenzlein, The New York City, NY. Born to a (white) Canadian mother and a (black) African father in Canada I was adopted at birth by a white couple who divorced when I was 2. My mother married my stepfather, a German national, when I was 7 and we moved to Germany. I spent my […]
Sope Lanlehin Columbus, IN Though Nigerian by birth, I still get this said to me quite a bit.
Ernest Henson, Longview, TX. African first question Black man’s last
Miriam C. Vargas Puerto Rico
Reich Krieger Germany Americans: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Asians: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Africa: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Europe: “Race is a social construct, everyone is the same.” Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.
Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]
Tony Moody Germany I am a retired Military Officer and Civil Service Employee. I live in Germany. A few times people assumed I am African because I am dark-skinned. In some parts of Europe there is prejudice against African Immigrants. When I say I am American or was a soldier then the conversation normally shifts […]
Vanessa Uzoh Dallas, TX My freshman year of college was the first time I actually had to think about how identified myself within my own racial community. I didn’t know how to handle this and other questions that people asked me, but I knew that I definitely wasn’t going to let the opinion of others […]
Neil A. Sookdeo Baltimore, MD With six degrees, four from grad schools in the USA, I cannot compete fairly to teach African or Caribbean history in which I have a Johns Hopkins doctorate. I have NOT even experienced such race hate even in apartheid South Africa because I look Asian. I know fear feeds racism. […]
Maada Jawa Thomas Plainsboro, NJ
Lauren Mooney Elk Grove, CA As children, my mother always referred to us as Lebanese Leprechauns. She was first generation American, of hard-working Lebanese immigrants. My father was of Scots-Irish decent; his family having immigrated several generations earlier. American first and foremost, both parents also made sure we knew about the cultures of our ancestors. […]
Joy Schmidt Waxhaw, NC I was born in West Africa and adopted by Caucasian parents. But since my parents are missionaries we also live for most of my childhood in Cameroon. When we moved to the U.S. permanently I was starting 9th grade, and one of the most frustrating things that I am met with […]
Kathleen Wieland Norwich, CT I’m a 6th generation New Orleanian & a genealogist. My natural-blonde sister & I had always hoped to find something “interesting” in the family tree to explain her incredible tan – as well as some very dark complexions & hair in one of our “purebred German” lines. I got very excited […]
Khemani G Orange, NJ It bothers me sometimes when I am filling something out and the race box says only African American when I am actually Afro-Caribbean. Although there is a difference between the two culturally I feel they are both united by the concept of blackness. Something that was once frowned upon but now […]