We begin at different starting lines.

Ben Sheehan, Los Angeles, CA. Georgetown Day School Equality of opportunity can only happen when humanity at large recognizes that certain people are born with certain racial, cultural, and economic privileges. Once we begin to acknowledge that, we can start closing the prevailing opportunity gaps. We have to acknowledge that the reality exists before we […]

Family

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 […]

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You must be Cuban or something.

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 […]

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Your accent… Are you from here?

Ivan Vazquez, Sacramento, CA. Although I was born and raised in San Diego, CA ; I grew up in a household that comprised of both the English and Spanish language, about 60% English and 40% Spanish. I am a child of second-generation immigrants and even though I received my entire education in English, I came […]

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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, […]

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To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]

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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 […]

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I’m Black, I’m Beautiful, I’m Proud!

Unique Martin, Murrieta, CA. I say I’m black because that is how I identify myself. It’s just that simple. I say I’m beautiful because for many years in my childhood, I thought I was ugly. No one ever said I was, but how I was treated, discriminated against because of my skin color, the diversity […]

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But you don’t look Italian

Katie Rotondo, El Segundo, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about race and ethnicity lately. Looking back, it bothers me how many times I was asked what ethnicity I am, responding by saying I am Italian, and getting the famous saying, “But you don’t look Italian!” This is a daily response. Just because I don’t […]

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White interracially married sudden paradigm shift.

Barbara Young, Stockton, CA. I’ve realized my own white privilege for some time now. But being the white female half of an interracial marriage, I suddenly experience America in a new frightening way. My husband is a 6’4″ 300 lb black man. I have a plan worked out in my mind of how I can […]

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Being Brown Makes Me Look “Hood”

Victor Vega, Los Angeles, CA. What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even […]

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Y’all had me scared of US

Dr. Jacqueline Lawrence, Windsor, CA. As a young child, my first memories of blacks in San Francisco were scary, and they weren’t from television. I remember smelling the strong scent of urine in the elevators, hearing moms tell their children to “Get cho ass out of my face” and “Go sit cho ass down” and […]

Relief, family pride, and then hope

Joy Los Angeles, CA Looking into my family history, at first I found relief at finding no record of slave ownership, even among ancestors in the South. Was it just because they could not afford to buy slaves? But then I found a transcript of a sermon my great-great grandmother’s brother gave at a church […]

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Not white, but my kids are?

Rob Silva Oakland, CA First generation with Indo-Dutch/ El Salvadoran heritage. Family has seemingly always been the non-white in the group, especially when listening to the my parents’ stories of assimilation. So strange then when my son was bullied at his new school in Berkeley for being the white kid.

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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 […]

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You are important. Your voice matters!

Kathy Mercado Temecula, CA I do not know what it is like to be pulled over by the police because of the color of my skin. I do not know what it is like to be called degrading names because of my ethnic background. I do not know what it is like to be profiled […]

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My mixed-race son looks All-American.

Emma Alvarez Gibson, San Pedro, CA. My husband’s heritage is Japanese/Portuguese/French. Mine is Mexican/Irish/Scottish. Neither of us fit in anywhere while growing up; both sides of each of our families considered us oddities at best. People never knew what to make of us. I was too white for the Mexican kids and too uptight about […]

Loving and Hating being Asian

Vivian Li San Jose, CA I deeply appreciate my heritage as a Chinese-American. It has taught me about a complex culture, thousands-of-years-old ideology, and a strong sense of identity. I am proud of the country my ancestors hail from and its incredibly rich and its understudied history. It has given me beautiful looks, and the […]

Mexican Born achieving my American dream

Jesus Castro Menifee, CA California Baptist University CBU HIS311 I was born in Mexico and am the first person in my family to have a career with retirement benefits. Proud to be in this country and served in the Military. I now have a family and I am teaching my 2 year old son the […]

Can We All Just Get Along!?

Bryan Quevedo Moreno Valley, CA California Baptist University It was not until taking CBU HIS311 class that I have learned a lot about race and how some people are completely ignorant to what has happened in American history. The other day I walked into a grocery store to hear a cashier argue with a black […]

I don’t see you as Black

Adrienne Crew Los Angeles, CA I’m always troubled about the concept of being an “Oreo” and not really projecting an “African American” identity but rather always being the upper middle class nerd that I was born and refusing to “code switch.” What is “Black” anyways? I get this comment both from whites and non-whites.

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Bi-racial daughter draws Black self portraits.

Malika Los Angeles, CA Our daughter began to draw what she saw in the world very early. She wakes up from vivid dreams, grabs a sheet of paper and illustrates the thunder and lightning, fairies and wizards, monsters and princesses from her nighttime imagination. Having grown up in America as a woman of African ancestry, […]

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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 […]

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Yellow outside, white inside, adopted Twinkie.

Karen Skillin Rojas San Francisco, CA Adopted from Korea at 4 1/2 months old, I was raised in an entirely Caucasian family and community until I went to college. I often struggle with not identifying with my Asian exterior (yellow), which is how the world around me sees me. I find I identify so much […]

Tired of Asians being a minority

Jaimie Nguyen San Jose, CA There are not much Asians in the media, not many Asians exposed in the light. Also, it saddens me how narrow-minded this society is. When there is a foreigner in America of a European descent, we say this person is “exotic”, “sexy”, “edgy”. Then, if there is a foreigner in […]

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1/2 Black; 1/4 Chinese; 1/4 Norwegian

Jordan Yee Fremont, CA The biggest illusion is the illusion of SEPARATION. We all have the same roots and we are all branches of the same tree. People constantly ask me my ethnicity- I’m Black/Chinese/Norwegian but that doesn’t DEFINE who I am (it just gives me my good looks lol) .. but I don’t want […]

I became an activist and prisoner

Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]

The whitest brown girl I know.

Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]

I just found out I’m prejudice.

Jenna Roberts Sacramento, CA I was raised in a low income area, primarily white and latino. My experience with African Americans was very limited until I moved to Sacramento, a relatively large city compared to where I’d come from. It was the first time I’d experienced “Urban Youth.” I’ve lived here for 14 years, and […]

Always felt different. All are unique.

Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my […]

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“Appalachian” means “none of your business.”

Amy Tanisha Petaluma, CA When asked the infamous “what are you?” question, I define myself on my terms. Sure, its easy for someone to understand that my mom is white and my dad is black, but “white” or “black” is not the house I grew up in. I grew up in a house full of […]