Scrub brown skin with whitening soap.

Kate Blanco, Berkeley, CA. Filipinos and Filipino-Americans tend to have an obsession with “whiteness”. I was once told as a young kid to use whitening soap because I was so dark skinned. I believed them. I was taught to view my brown skin as ugly and white/lighter skin as beautiful. I tried to scrub off […]

They all asked, “Was he black?”

Amy D., Royal Oaks, CA. One night in San Francisco, when walking home from my car after a late work night, a man came toward me and tried to steal my purse. My immediate instinct was to resist and call out, hoping for some intervention from those living in the houses nearby. Ultimately he took […]

White Privilege doesn’t exist for me

Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. I was born into an average middle class family that is dominantly white. I know that my father was born into a working class family where my grandfather worked a number of odd jobs but mostly was a handyman for most his life. My dad was the first in his […]

I’m Jocelyn, I do speak English.

Jocelyn Rueda, Napa, CA. I am a Mexican female. I once went to a store and went up to the register to ask a question and the women was looking for someone to talk to me. She was a white women and she thought I didn’t speak English.

No one believes I am black

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.

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Indian American South Asian Desi American

Jacob Kuriakose, San Diego, CA. I would like to bring up the idea of “Indian” to label Native Americans, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, etc. I would also like to talk about lumping East Asians, South Asians, and South East Asians into the general term “Asian” as well.

I have always wanted Blonde Hair

Sierra Lozano, CA. I feel as though I need more than six words to say how I’ve felt my whole 18 years of living. I grew up in Orange County, California and have lived here my whole life. I am of mixed ethnicity, but can not identify with any particular race. I remember coming home […]

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.

Can’t take you home to momma.

Tammy Medell Gardner San Jose, CA I am white. The man with whom I fell in love in 1982 was black. We met in Fort Worth, Texas working at the same company. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, while I was from northern Michigan. Our romance, so new and full of hope, soon faltered […]

I can’t find Home… Found it!

Mari Pollack Los Angeles, CA Joy was adopted at the age of 11 from an abusive home in Korea into a loving family in California. Now a rebellious alcoholic in her 20s, she is homesick for a home that doesn’t want her and unable to feel truly a part of her adoptive family. She returns […]

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I wanted to play with everyone.

Leigh Marz, Kensington, CA. I remember visiting my grandma in Arkansas in the summer. She took my younger brother and I to a park so we could play with other children. But when we started to play with some African American kids on the monkey bars it was suddenly “time to go.”

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Me llamo Lora y hablo español.

Lora McManus, Altadena, CA. Being transracially adopted (by Caucasian parents) comes with a plethora of advantages and challenges. One of the most common misconceptions that I face on a daily basis is the assumption that I was raised in an Chinese family and speak Mandarin, when actually neither of those are true. Stereotypes are one […]

I am not plain white rice.

Nicole Rice, San Juan Capistrano, CA. I am more than just ‘white’ even though everyone looks at me and says that is all I am. I have a lot more in me than just white, but no one will ever know unless they ask. I have even received the nickname ‘white rice’ because of my […]

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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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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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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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Wow, you speak English really well!

Sharmila Guha, Oakland, CA. It was my first summer job after high school. A man in the lunch room one day tried to ask shy me this odd questions… which just left me stunned. I was born and raised in Los Angeles; why wouldn’t I speak English well? I guess the “dad from India and […]

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No you’re NOT Latina, YOU’RE white.

Karen Davis, Cupertino, CA. Recently, I was told by my closest friends that I am NOT latina I am white. I can not understand this because they know I speak fluent Spanish. My father was a migrant worker. My mother was from Mexico and her English was okay however it was obvious she preferred spanish. […]

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Witnessing people confusing anecdote with fact

Deborah Robinson, Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in profoundly white Eugene, Oregon, where I’d laugh at banners emblazoned, CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. “What, as long as it’s not here?” I’d wonder. Yet the whiteness of my hometown did not mean it was a racially hostile one. I nurtured no ill will for folks from different walks […]

Hated for being a white coach

Michael, Beaumont, CA. I was hated for being a white football coach in a nearly all black school. It didn’t matter that I had the players best interests at heart, if I had to speak to a player about his behavior I was only doing it because I was white and didn’t like black people. […]

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Learning I was a white girl

Rachel Robbins, San Francisco, CA. When I was child, we didn’t really have the commonly held words and concepts regarding the identities of biracial people the way we now do. So I was understandably a bit confused by my biracial family. My mom and aunties are biracial, and my own father was out of the […]

My parents think you are white.

Jennie, Los Angeles, CA. I am 4th generation Chicana. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is White. One of the saddest things is to be rejected in relationships or see as different from your significant others’ family. I find that Mexicano families do not understand the history of Mexican-Americans. Someone I dated pointed out […]

My Skin Color Doesn’t Define Me!

Marquelle, CA. Don’t believe the hype! I am African American! I am not a violent criminal. I have never been arrested! I am not lazy and uneducated, on welfare, or living in poverty. I am gainfully employed, and I attend California Baptist University! I am not athletic. I cannot play basketball or run fast! I […]

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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 […]

Rejected because love is colorblind.

Paula Morris, Long Beach, CA. A white girl growing up in Orange County, CA, where I was that anything and anyone “different” was “bad”, I have found love with two wonderful men in my life: the first one (who died) was African American, and the second one is African. The happiness both have brought me […]

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Daughters of Muslim father are American.

Suzie Husami, San Diego, CA. My mother and father met in college in upstate New York – he, a Lebanese -Muslim-Republican named Muhammad and she, an American non-practicing Methodist-Democrat named Maureen. They fell in love and had three daughters – Najla, our olive-skinned sister, and my twin sister and me – pale and freckled. My […]

What would 2pac have to say?

Jack Wright, Capitola, CA. As polarizing and misguided as Tupac Shakur often was, he represented a raw and uninhibited catalyst for the change he felt his world desperately needed. We can only guess to what those words may have been but it leaves one to wonder, who exists in popular culture today with the ability […]

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But I’m not White… I’m Jewish.

Liza Frolkis, Nevada City, CA. I understand that because modern Jews are descended from multiple populations that ‘Judaism’ is not technically a race. But the truth is that as a student of history and with a serious soft-spot for little things like social justice, the innate right of all human beings to life, liberty and […]

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Nothing in common. Everything in common.

Alana Peck Marina, CA People who don’t know me well tell me I look nothing like my sister. If race wasn’t such an overpowering factor, I’m not sure I would hear that as often. It’s hard to have everything and nothing in common with a person I’ve known for almost my entire life.

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Half Indian, Half German, totally American

Marika Oakland, CA People often ask me “What are you?” or “Where are you from?” which is par for the course for people like me who are ambiguously brown looking, which is how I’ve come to refer to myself. Over time I’ve noticed my attitude toward other people who ask these questions changing. I used […]

Shouldn’t be issue. But guess what…?

BJ Lynn, Redondo Beach, CA. My household is multi-ethnic. Racial awareness is not by necessity racism, but the line between is thin. A PhD in our extended family observed that in a multi-ethnic culture, the majority cannot help being racist. There my be no evil intent and there my be good strong bridges but the […]

Q: Where are YOU from? A: Here.

Lorena San Diego, CA I’m multiracial and live in a very ethnically diverse city, but I was still asked this question SO. MANY. TIMES. growing up. I never realized how ignorant and rude of a question it was until I became an adult. I can only hope no one asks my son this question. Because, […]

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I’m not adopted! I’m mixed-race.

Julie Taeko, San Francisco, CA. Writing a book called “Good Morning, Mixed-Race America!” to highlight the stories of 12 mixed-race individuals who are part-Asian, millenials and loving life! Checking All the Boxes & Embracing Our Own Unique Multi-Cultural Identity.

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Black-white man; white black man

Kirl T. Lawson, Oakland, CA. I have so many tales to share about my experience with my color (or lack of “definitive color recognition”). growing up in Chicago, I was called “a white n*****” by friends at times w/ affection and at times derisively. Initially the appellation hurt my feelings until I took an objective […]

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Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]

Yes My Mom Is White…

Marisa Boessneck, Moreno Valley, CA. Yes my mom is white so what? Just because I have dark brown hair and a tan skin color doesn’t mean I am not mixed. It really bothers me when I go to the grocery store with my mom who is blonde hair blue eyes and I get asked if […]

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I am who I am, unique!

Eric Medina, Grand Terrace, CA. I have always been unsure about what nationality to identify with. I have resolved to identify with the human race. I think we are all human, right? I enjoy the diversity of this race. CBU His311

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Did not choose to be Jewish

Sarah Elizabeth Rosen, Laguna Hills, CA. I did not choose to be Jewish. But, I have come to realize as I got older to appreciate who I am and how my religion is important to me. People think I am Mexican because I am tan, but really I am a Eastern European Jew. When I […]

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You’re not Mexican, You’re Mexican-American

Vanessa Ayala, Fountain Valley, CA. I was 17 when I first realized how important it was for others for me to be politically correct about my race. I was at work one day and an older gentleman stopped me to “compliment” me, he said I looked like a beautiful Aztec princess I just smiled and […]

Waiting for my caramel macchiato grandbabies.

Yvette Sandoval, Riverside, CA. I am Gaelic (Scottish & Irish), Celtic (Welsh), English, Scandinavian (Swedish), Native American Indian (if recently a discovered lineage holds to further research) – basically, a typical All American Heinz 57! When my daughter and her husband give me grandchildren, they will be all of that plus Mexican and other White […]

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Yes!! My name means White in spanish!!

Blanca Soto, Hemet, CA. I grew up in a community that was composed of mostly white people. Every time someone would ask my name they would go on to say doesn’t that mean white? Yes! I would reply. Mostly likely laughs would follow and the oh so unique question of “why would your parents name […]

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Citizenship does not define, personality does.

Margarita, San Marcos, CA. Many people have judged not just me but my parents as well because of their citizenship status, we’re not good enough, just a burden to society. People have said that I won’t finish high school because I’ll end up pregnant by my senior year. My parents have had trouble getting jobs […]

They don’t know the real truth!

Sana Sidiqi, San Deigo, CA. A lot of people want me dead. They call it JUSTICE, but they don’t know the real truth I’m not a terrorist. I’m just a regular muslim guy. Just because someone else that shares a common belief as me did something stupid doesn’t mean everyone like that is stupid. These […]

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Kofi is a fake white man!

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 […]

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Chased and called Jap in Detroit.

Joyce Fidler, Toluca Lake, CA. In 1956 I was in first grade, my mother was Japanese-Hawaiian, and I knew nothing about WWII. I didn’t realize my mother was part Japanese, nor did I know why anyone should care. Years later in high school I failed to grasp why students on my Indianapolis school bus would […]

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Wik na tiki wawa bastən wawa

M.H. Culley, CA. It is sad that my Indian Elders and Ancestors were taught to be so ashamed of being Indian that they tried to protect their descendents by not teaching us their songs and language. This is even more painful because in the 20th century out tribe was declared extinct by a white bureaucrat […]

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You don’t talk with an accent.

Grace Marie Sanchez, Scotts Valley, CA. When I took a room mate to my house after graduating from college this is what she said to my Mother. I was completely embarrassed that she said this to my Mom but she did not seem to realize this was a faux pas. I remember my Mom doing […]

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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 […]

It’s easier to say I’m White

Laura Pierson, Los Angeles, CA. I am Native American, Mexican, Spanish, English, Germany, and Irish. I was raised by a single mom that is Native American, English, German, and Irish. I didn’t know what being a Mexican meant or was like and I’m still trying to figure it out. As a child, I told people […]

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We are all brothers and sisters

Christina Williams, Aliso Viejo, CA. Race is such as small idea in comparison to bigger ideas like love, togetherness, family, connection and happiness. I wish to raise my children in a world where people are celebrated for ideas and compassion and not for superficial ideas such as skin color and ethnicity. Race is outside of […]

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Female Chicana, not from Mexico/Philippenes

Mariela Uscanga, La Mirada, CA. When people see me, I am often confused as Filipino or from Mexico. People will speak to me in Spanish or Tagalog. It’s a bit frustrating only because when I tell people that I don’t speak Tagalog people question my honesty with them. Or, when I tell people that my […]

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Little bit of everything and everywhere

Ashlee Johnston, Ladera Ranch, CA. People tell me they thought that I am White but once I tell them about my Asian/Hawaiian/Spanish/Canadian…. background they say they can tell. I am proud to be so many things from all over the world.

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I’m Ethiopian? Black? People don’t understand.

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 […]

I’m American – where’s my checkbox?

Blair White Haddad, Los Angeles, CA. Being the child of an adopted mother, for a long time I only knew half of my genetic make up. After being reunited with my bio grandmother we discovered our Native American/ French background. My whole life I’ve been asked the question- what are you? Instead of identifying myself […]

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Hi. You must be the nanny.

Mayra Cramer, Menlo Park, CA. I’m a brown typically Hispanic looking upper middle class woman living in an affluent suburb of San Francisco. I’ve allways had a hard time fitting in because I was raised in “white” neighborhoods and went to elite and desirable schools. My third child is fair and people in the street […]

Lakota(1), White(2). Freedom of Religion Act 1978

Kyle McGaa Santa Monica, CA Father’s Lakota Sioux (from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation) and mother’s blond-hair blue-eyed WASP. My father fought for so much in this country (Korea, Vietnam, American Indian Movement, Freedom of Religion Act 1978) and I’m astonished every single day how little people know about American Indians and the land they now […]

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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 […]

Image portrayed, impression made. It DOES matter.

P. Contreras, Benicia, CA. How you choose to dress gives an impression about you. Whether that impression is accurate or not no one will know unless they get to know you. But, they won’t get to know you if your image repels them. Example. Teenage Boy (black, Hispanic, Asian, white) in your neighborhood in jeans […]

You must be better to succeed.

Curtis McCullom Irvine, CA Being a black male from Mississippi, my father taught me that in order to succeed in white American, I had to be the best in all my endeavors. If I was applying for the same position as a white person, I could not be the same. I had to be better. […]

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He should already know the answers

John David Rodriguez, Sacramento, CA. Being an Asian-American today is not even a far cry to what it was 20-75 years ago, especially if you were a Japanese American who had to endure living in the American Japanese Camps. Not even many Americans remember those days. I am a Californian that is Japanese, Mexican, Irish, […]

Being bilingual is not a disadvantage.

Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. As a person of brown skin color and Latin heritage, I am often spoken to in Spanish by strangers with the assumption that I only speak that language. It can often be demeaning when people assume that because I have a culture different than the “majority”, I am automatically categorized […]

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Race segregates ignorance and quasi-perfection

Melvin Jones, San Francisco, CA. One would think that California is a progressive state that seldom harbors racism. Unfortunately that is just a heartbreaking fallacy. The reality of the status quo, is that the Golden State is riddled with a plethora of “undercover racist” who abuse, deny, intimidate, African-Americans and Latinos. To misfortune, or fortune, […]