Your words don’t change who I am

Blake Coffey, Van Nuys, CA. In a world where being mixed is supposed to be looked at as beautiful, it’s not as easy when you are. People automatically assume that all mixed people are supposed to look mixed just like they assume all Mexicans are brown. I’m born to a mixed black/white father who looks […]

The only white person here? (How does it feel)

Rebecca Zavala, Los Angeles, CA. Well, to start I’m not even white… I get this ALL THE TIME. People assume I’m white or Asian, or a mix of the both. It is not insulting to me now, but growing up it was a little irritating having to continually explain that I am Mexican American. At […]

You Look Like Your Dad

Krystal Lopez, San Jose, CA. Being Mexican that’s all I tried to be growing up, but the truth is there is a black hole that I have made with being Native American. Growing up I never knew the man I would call my “Dad”. It was always just me and my Mexican & German mother. […]

A “melting-pot” of my past & future.

Holly Sandman, Ione, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about my ancestors and their immigration into America. I am Irish. I am Scottish. I am Dutch. I am German. I am Swedish, and these are only the ones I have identified so far. I am a melting pot of ancestors and struggles and successes. But […]

Not Mexican Looking “You know Spanish!?”

Daisy Reyes, Rialto, CA. Even as a little girl in Mexico I was the “Chinita” (little Chinese). When I came to the U.S., I was either confused with Filipino or just Asian when people couldn’t figure out which race. My now husband, has been confused with a Hindu. We are both Mexican-born. But the thing […]

Mexican but dont Speak Spanish, thats ok

Monique Martinez, Riverside, CA. I am half Mexican and half Filipino but everyone always thinks I am full Mexican. When they find out I am mixed, half the time they don’t believe me. Then when they find out I don’t speak Spanish, I get comments like “how do you not know Spanish, you not a […]

I find my identity in Christ

Janine D Herrera, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. When beginning this exercise, I almost regressed back to my old thinking habits. I came up with the six-word phrase, ‘English language no Spanish still Mexican.’ However, I realized I was going back to what I was delivered from. I used to struggle with my identity. I am Mexican […]

Fighting against being stereotyped.

Nichole Wesson, Long Beach, CA. I grew up what I believed to be middle-class in Dallas. I attended private, Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12-grade high school graduation. My high school class was 1/3 African-American, 1/3 white, 1/3 Mexican/Hispanic/Latino. I have done well in my career and recently returned to school to get my B.A. […]

Finally I learned to accept myself

Katherine Porter, San Leandro, CA. I grew up disowned by my racial cultures…too different from White, too different from Chinese. Talked about by cousins, wondered about by strangers, eroticized by college boys, and discounted by the census. Always had to check “other” on the surveys. Felt like I had to be the best example of […]

Good hair is well maintained hair.

Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]

Adobo Beef Stew Rice Potatoes: Dinner

James Estanislao Herr, Los Angeles, CA. Dad’s side came over in 1717–Swiss-German and Irish with some Danish and Greek thrown in. Mom came over in 1954. Filipino, Spanish and Chinese with I guess some Portuguese somewhere along the way given my middle name. Grew up in an all white community outside Philadelphia. Not sure who […]

Stop With The Cherokee Syndrome, Already

Jemmie Valencia, San Francisco, CA. Proudly that they are Cherokee and they know this because their great great grandmother had long black hair- was a Cherokee Princess, even!, when they find out that I am in fact from the Yurok Tribe of Northern California. With as many white folks out there wearing wolf, eagle, & […]

White Latino-Hispanic, Nonwhite Latino-Hispanic

Christina Curiel, Fallbrook, CA. In the early years of my life, I always saw myself as a very ‘lucky’ person. When I became older and learned about institutions, and methodology, and racial diversity, is when I learned that racism is indeed real, and still exists in this culture through conditioning as well as many other […]

My dad was born in Kenya (and he is not black)

Jess, Valencia, CA. My dad was born in Kenya. People then assume he is black, and I do not blame them. However, before I can get a word out and correct them, that he is white, they assume I am part black and look for those black features. I have had people say, “oh I […]

I will never really ‘get it’.

Celia Beasley, Seattle, WA. Being an upper-middle class white woman, I know I will never truly understand what it feels like to be a person of color in America. Despite my attempts to be aware of racism in this county through conversations, news stories, interviews, books, this website, etc, I know that I will never […]

Yes, I was born in America

Yonah Vang, Fresno, CA. Most of the time in high school, students who are not Asian are really confused. They can not understand that the Hmong ethnicity is a type of Asian. They also constantly assume that I was born in a different country.

I’m white. How can I help?

Anne Huntemer, Sonora, CA. Coming from a place of privilege, how can I help welcome and fight for my friends of color? I know I haven’t experienced what you have, but I’m here to support you in any way I can.

You’re such a white girl

Madison Schweizer, Murrieta, CA. Lately, more and more people have been making comments about me and my friends being “white girls”. We walked into our bible study to a bunch of girls who spoke Spanish and immediately felt like the minority. We felt even more like the minority when one of the girls said that […]

Yes I’m Black, but not angry

Ellise, Riverside, CA. My race is not what you see, It is what I feel. Do not let your stereotypes fool you, I am happy, beautiful, and peaceful about who I am. I use to be angry with who I was. I have been told “I was pretty for a black girl” all my life. […]

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 […]

Life’s, Short, So, Talk, Is, Cheap

Jermaine Guevara, San Francisco, CA. Life is definitely short, tomorrow isn’t promised so consider today a gift. I’m a non-conformist which is I say talk is cheap. People are people regardless of their skin tone and it is inhumane to think one is superior due to race.

Yes, I was born in Detroit.

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 […]

Misery’s voice spoke directly to me.

Regina Mason El Cerrito, CA I discovered my great, great, great, grandfather’s narrative, Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, following clues my Aunt Katherine gave me about an ancestor’s connection to the Underground Railroad. No one in the family knew that a relative had written his life story. It would take me years corroborate […]

What? But you don’t look Cuban!

Beatrice Miranda, Grand Terrace, CA. When I’m overheard speaking in Spanish. Really? My response… Yes, I’m Cuban and it was my first language. (As I’m thinking, well, what am I supposed to look like?) But you’re so WHITE! Yes I know…I own a mirror, thanks. (As I cringe at being compared to say a sheet, […]

Not all Asians look the Same

Michelle, San Jose, CA. Are you [insert East Asian ethnicity] I never got Vietnamese. Looking back, people may have responded that way based on my features or because they had never seen enough Vietnamese girls to make an educated guess. I used to be flattered by people thinking I was not Vietnamese because I didn’t […]

“Si se puede” the famous quote.

Elaine Gastelum, Calexico, CA. My name is Elaine Gastelum and I’ve been raised in a small town called Calexico. Calexico is right next to the border going to Mexico in a city called Mexicali. My town is full of Mexican-Americans that have been raised by Mexican and/or Mexican-American parents. We’ve been taught about our famous […]

Saddened, inspired, still far to go

Jeff Schaffer Los Angeles, CA Seeing this exhibit reminds me of the sacrifices made by our predecessors, and inspires me to continue working for a world in which all are cherished for their diversity, and there is equal opportunity for all.

I’m the future, can’t you see?

Lauren Lola Newark, CA Why are people always so curious about what my racial makeup is? They treat it like it’s a game- like they’re going to win a prize if they get it right. The overly asked question “What are you?” often is directed at me by individuals who are just meeting me the […]

Don’t whisper. I can still hear you.

Sabrina Fuentes, Apple Valley, CA. Some people are racist and some people are not. It is a fact, but some individuals believe that if they stay quiet about the matter they are doing no wrong, but it is on the contrary. We are all one race, HUMAN. It is about time we remember that.

America, we are your children too.

Sheree Lewis, Fontana, CA. The term American should represent the vast multitude of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, languages, complexions, origins and spiritual beliefs of its inhabitants. When those in power do not address the mistreatment of humans because their race is considered inferior, or choose to scrutinize and negatively profile individuals because of a difference in […]

Shamed for being who I am

Avery, Los Angeles, CA. All throughout my life I’ve felt many challenges that come along with my race. All throughout elementary school, when I was an impressionable little kid, in all my history classes I was told that white people did all the harm in the world and were literally heartless. I even got bullied […]

We win by perpetuating race consciousness?

Devon Hughes, Los Angeles, CA. I used to assume NOTHING about someone because of their race – zero. Nowadays, I can’t but help assume someone of a certain shade past mine holds a grudge, carries a judgement, expects special treatment. What happened?? I don’t like feeling this way at all. I am truly starting to […]

You’re Not Black, You’re Too White

KayKay Mara, Lancaster, CA. I have spent my whole life being judged by my skin color. It was never a big deal to me since I was always warned that life was going to be this way no matter how hard I tried to fix it. People don’t see that sometimes the little things they […]

Girls are different? Sorry, didn’t know.

Katharine Corona, CA When I was young I grew up on a street with boys and ended up being a pretty big tomboy. I enjoyed sports, I was competitive and I liked playing with my friends. As I got older I began volunteering at the local hospital and became a fire explorer with my friends. […]

That is Mr. “Mutt” to you!

Chris Cochran, Murrieta, CA. Where are you from? It’s a loaded question in that I could answer where I was born, where I was raised, where I live currently, or from which country does my family hail. Well, I’m a bit of a “mutt” actually because I am a conglomerate of many immigrants of many […]

Shouldn’t need to defend my race.

Rebecca Hassine, Palo Alto, CA. With racism being such a prominent issue throughout the world, especially within the United States currently due to the hostile political atmosphere, I always feel as though I need to defend my race. Defending my race, in other words, is like constantly needing to defend my identity. No one should […]

“No one is born hating another person..”

Erica McCullough, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion, people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”- […]

Poor White Kid, Wheres My Privilege?

Chris, Redlands, CA. Growing up on welfare, to a single mother in rural Michigan, I learned not to expect help from anyone. However, my whole life I have heard of this privilege that we all are given given because we are white. While I’ve never been in another persons footsteps, life hasn’t been very easy, […]

Mexican really? You dont look mexican.

Priscilla Esparza, Riverside, CA. Living life as a Mexican American is best described by Abraham Quintanilla,”Being Mexican American is tough. Anglos jump all over you if you don’t speak English Perfectly, Mexicans jump all over you if you don’t speak Spanish perfectly.” “we got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are and we […]

Judge by character, not by color.

Helen Zhang, Camarillo, CA. When I was in middle school, I noticed that my classmates tended to form “cliques” with people of the same ethnicity. However, I preferred to learn about the values and traditions of other cultures. Speaking to people of different backgrounds continues to allow me to stay open-minded and gain new perspectives.

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 […]

What’s it like being a “wetback”

Mary Rodriguez, Carmichael, CA. True question asked of me by my very first crush. I remember this time vividly. I was in science class and across from me was the “love of my life”..it was 6th grade. I was really excited to work with him, and when he looked at his friend then back at […]

Becoming American, it is not easy

Sandra Castañeda Anaheim, CA I have spent 42 of my 44 years in this country and it doesn’t make an ounce of difference, I’m still treated differently. My head says I’m American my heart says I’m Colombian, because that’s where I’m accepted.

You’re Indian; do you speak Hindu?

Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, Berkeley, CA. It wasn’t easy to choose just one sentence (6 words, no less) to summarize the constant negotiation between frustration and a sort of mirthless humor that I experience when dealing with questions about my race and ethnicity. On the most basic level, “Hindu” is a religious identity — not a race, […]

People of color–do I count?

Sarina Bhandari, Los Altos Hills, CA. My parents grew up in India and had an arranged marriage in 70’s. Shorty after, they moved to the United States. In 1992, they had me, a first-generation Indian-American. I grew up with a lot of privilege, and I’ve never felt silenced by dominant society. In fact, I’ve never […]

I’ve been guilty of hurtful discrimination.

Jonathan Routon, Riverside, CA. Often times people are afraid to own up to past racism due to how they may be judged. I must confess that I have thrown hurtful and disgusting words in my youth and while I am far from proud of this period of my life I also fully own the fact […]

I Am Not a Horrible Person

Angela Crites, Riverside, CA. It is ridiculous that in today’s society, white people are automatically deemed as “racists” with “privilege,” and are incapable of really being good, decent human beings and American citizens. I thought the goal of Civil Rights and everything that people like MLK Jr. fought for was EQUALITY, not a spreading of […]

A Social Construct, Race Matters Everywhere

Mohammad Salem Shirzad, Sacramento, CA. As an afghan immigrant, I have witnessed the roots of race in different geographical and social contexts, from Afghanistan to the United States. It is sad to say that race do matter in today’s societies all over the world. But this is the truth in today’s world. Cosumnes River College

Not Connected To My Own Heritage

Amanda Bajema, Riverside, CA. When my great grandparents immigrated to America from the Netherlands after World War II they put in their best effort to become a part of American culture, which in turn meant loosing their own. Growing up my mother and her siblings were growing up they were not to learn Dutch, to […]

I’m not just a white girl

Madison, Laguna Niguel, CA. People usually assume I’m white because that is the color of my skin and I have red hair. My paternal grandmother is first generation Sicilian. My father has dark Italian skin and my mother has light skin. My paternal grandmother has red hair and passed it on to me, so no […]

Armenian, Tagalog, Ilocano, no. Wolof, yes.

Anoosh Jorjorian, Santa Monica, CA. My paternal grandmother came to the U.S. to escape the Armenian Genocide. My maternal grandfather jumped aboard a U.S. submarine during World War II because the Japanese Army put a price on his head. When they raised my parents, they wanted more than anything for their children to assimilate into […]

Asians challenge the Black-White racial binary.

Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]

White grandchild adoptive Native American grandparents

Charlie Cook, Sacramento, CA. My dad was born from a White Russian and American couple. At 6 days old, he was placed into the wonderful home of my grandparents, one of the Cherokee tribe and one of the Mohawk tribe. Race doesn’t define you, your history, culture, and family help you grow into the person […]

“Beauty Inside Shines through the Outside”

Matthew Powers, Riverside, CA. “Growing up Irish and being raised by a single mom in the 50’s and 60’s in Omaha I saw racial tension and acts all around the city, but I can’t say I understood anything about it until my younger sister and I were transferred to a different school because mom couldn’t […]

Not Enough to be Either One

Dellyna Ochoa, San Bernardino, CA. Its hard to try and be apart of both worlds when everyone says you’re not enough to be apart of either one. I have to learn how to find my own rhythm in the madness. I give a shout out to CBU HIS311 for an opportunity to.

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 […]

Chicana Falsa I Am Not!

Amber Nicole Gutierrez, Hemet, CA. Everyone grew up with a different life-style, just because I look of Mexican decent does not mean I am the same as every Mexican stereotype. I am an American and have grew up in the middle of both worlds of “American” and “Mexican”. I understand Spanish and speak some. I […]

Just another Mexican from Los Angeles

Daniela Rubio, Downey, CA. Just because their are a lot of Hispanics/Latinos in southern California, specifically to Los Angeles, it doesn’t mean we are all the same. We are all not illegal immigrants, we don’t eat beans and rice everyday. It does not give anyone the right to judge us or lump us all together.

I’m “too white” or “too black”

Edison LaCour, Orange County, CA. I am a product of a biracial marriage, or now with my newfound knowledge from my Biological Anthropology class, a multiethnic marriage. While race is a social construct, this has not stopped me from feeling it’s effects from society. Biologically, it is said that behavior is influenced by mostly by […]

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 […]