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 […]
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 […]
Ajay Singh Bainiwal, Stockton, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Patrick Hart, Berkeley, CA.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Graciela Patino, Los Angeles, CA.
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, […]
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.
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 […]
James Rick, Oceanside, CA.
Alexander Korukov, Los Angeles, CA. What is more to say?
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
Omar Ortega, Pescadero, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Bryan, San Bernardino, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Devin C. Hughes, San Diego, CA.
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.
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 […]
Favian Acuna, La Verne, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Phillip Labra, Sacramento, CA.
Charles, Santa Monica, CA.
Ali Iranmanesh, Oakland, CA. It took me a long time to realize that no matter what you accomplish in your life, people still at times view you through their own hazy and distorted lens of what and who you should be.
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 […]
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. […]
Walter Thompson-Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a native of Los Angeles, California and the proud son of an African American father and a first-generation Mexican immigrant mother.
William B. Cogswell, Salinas, CA.
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, […]
Mariana Arneaud, Lakewood, CA. Why do I need to “prove” it? Since I don’t LOOK Vietnamese, I shouldn’t say that I am?
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 […]
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, […]
Jarrod H., Oakland, CA. I am a junior at Bishop O’dowd High School in Oakland, CA, in the English class of Ms. Sarah Tunik.
Allen Dinh, Sunnyvale, CA.
Michelle Brooks, Bay Area, CA.
Cherilyn Cole, Burlingame, CA. I often look back at the lessons I learned while growing up in Mexican-dominated communities. I was never “brown” enough, even though my mother is Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish. My father, who is ironically darker skinned than my mother, is of wide variety of white European races. I always wished to […]
Jennessa Cairo, Los Angeles, CA. I believe it’s important to know who we are, and to learn and respect our cultures all over the globe. But growing up I never saw race, I just saw people as equals. Sometimes I just don’t understand why is matters to people.
Cortney Pouncey, Sacramento, CA. Being biracial, my hands have always been forced to choose what ethnicity I should identify as. In reality, I am just as black as I am white. How could I pick one and deny the other? I believe biracial people are the key to end racism.
Lola Rain, Roseville, CA. Growing up a white kid in a Hispanic neighbor changes ones perspective on what it means to be priviledged and entitled, neither of which I was as an only child but somehow grew into as an adult — most likely because I’m always trying to prove myself. But as I age, […]
Cathy Jo Deusenberry, Davis, CA. No matter where you land in life, if you come from the hills of West Virginia you will always be a Hillbilly. We are nothing like the toothless uneducated people depicted in films, television and books. We are hard working folks with teeth!
David Swerdlick Submitted via Twitter: @Swerdlick NC, DC, CA, NYC
Melinda Quintero, Santa Monica, CA. Said to me and my 5 month old daughter while in line at a store. Woman was in her twenties.
Ernie Hills, Sacramento, CA. “As a young musician growing up in a white bread and mayonnaise world, I revered the recordings of black jazz musicians. This, more than anything else, is responsible for erasing the lingering racial animosity that was part of my family’s unspoken legacy. Thanks for being with us today!”
Clare Norris-Bell, Los Angeles, CA. In the Black community, hair has been been a measurement of one’s value for generations. In the African-American culture, “good” hair refers to hair that is not kinky or not what is pejoratively called “nappy”. It is hair that is closer to the texture of people in parts of the […]
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 […]
Nathan Krasniak, Moreno Valley, CA. As a young child, my parents instilled a solid work ethic and introduced me to setting goals. 18 years later I am so very thankful! Initially I wasn’t very receptive. I didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have chores and I had quite a bit of them. My parents would […]
Robert Segalman, Sacramento, CA. People of race have been especially supportive of my efforts to establish a FCC mandated accessible telephone service for people with speech disabilities (see www.speechtospeech.org) . I have significant cerebral palsy (see www.drbobsautobiography.org) and have worked to establish this service. People of color, like Dr. Joel Tolbert at California Public Utilities […]
Jay Bailinson Napa, CA In lived in Oakland CA. during preteen and early teen years. I belonged to a Boys Club sponsored by the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Oakland’s China town area. I played on sport teams in a church leagues sponsored by this church. I was one of two white boys on the team […]
Erich Gibeault, Sacramento, CA. It seems to be less of a problem as the newer generations come in.
Stephanie Connors Eureka, CA Music is one of my biggest reminders of the cultures that I grew up with. It fills me with nostalgia and pride, longing and love of the people who came before me. The people from: everywhere! I love all of it now. From day to day I swirl around in a […]
Cassandra Coats, El Cajon, CA. I grew up in a very multi-cultural school where being white was the minority. I was never teased for it, but I felt like I was missing out. I spent most of my childhood wishing I could be Asian, or Native American, or speak Spanish, etc. Sure, I have red […]
Jessica Johnson, Long Beach, CA. My grandparents took pride in not being a “typical” black family. I grew up in Prince George’s County, MD (about 10mins outside of the nation’s capital) which is home to the largest number of middle class black families in the United States. But outside of my community, I noticed even […]
Raquela Petre, San Francisco, CA. I am half Filipino and half Swedish, Swiss, and German. However I was born in Hawaii and grew up around second- and third-generation Japanese friends. I decidedly learned Japanese in school and studied there for a year, yet I know close to no Tagalog. I also studied in England, where […]
Alona Davis, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in a small town in Oregon, fishing with my dad, gardening with my mom, and playing with Barbies of all things. Back in the 80s, I knew a brown Barbie must exist, but i never saw them at the store. My sister had a Barbie with brown […]
Susan Thackston, Agoura, CA. I was listening to an NPR story resently on Morning Edition. The program talked about “The Race Card Project” and that it was collecting peoples experiences during the 1960’s period of the civil rights movement, distilled into 6 words only. George Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, was only three years older […]
James Scott, Upland, CA. White people have done more for people not like us than all the rest of humanity combined. Arabs, Jews, and other blacks enslaved blacks for thousands of years. Whites for 200 before we ended the African slave trade. Stone age people were displaced all over the world. For the most part […]
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 […]
Vince Domingo, Fresno, CA. I’m proud to be Filipino. And I’m also proud to be an Asian Filipino. No, not a “Pacific Islander Filipino”, whenever you see them, avoid them as much as you can, they’re terrible people. They hate puppies. Okay, okay, I jest. They are just misunderstood. This is not even a geographical […]
Haylee Bryan, San Francisco, CA. I’m Irish and Puerto Rican. I have dirty blond hair and blue eyes; however, the texture of my hair doesn’t “fit the rest of my features.” Naturally my hair is coily and “nappy”. When I wear it natural people refer to me as black and my Puerto Rican side comes […]
Nathan Henderson-James, Oakland, CA. 6 words is obviously limiting. However, my 6 reflect my own experience growing up as one of the few white kids in my local public schools. It was an education being constantly in the minority (in school, outside of those walls, I was comfortably back in a white affluent world) and […]
Katie Blunt, Freson, CA. “We don’t care if you marry a black man, but we just want you to know that your life will be harder if you do,” my parents said to me when I was sixteen. I married a man whose family is from the Philippines. I always wonder if that’s white enough […]
Katelyn Nicole Volz Hemet, CA “You know they say Gingers have no souls right?” “A Ginger gains a freckle every time they steal a soul.” “Do the carpets match the drapes?” Does ANYONE know how tired I am of hearing that? Yes, my hair is red, yes it’s natural, and yes I am Irish. Does […]
Stefanie Walker, Sacramento, CA. Sometimes I just want to dye my hair and see what it would be like to blend into the crowd-to not be defined by my red hair color anymore-to not be a “red head”. Red heads are the biggest minority of all in my opinion, how many do you actually know? […]
Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite […]
Janet Modesto, CA I am from Irish, Welsh and Scottish grandparents and don’t identify with other cultures that are grouped White/Caucasian. I am proud of my heritage and refuse to check the box, always write in Celtic American.
Ntwali Gaju, Riverside, CA. It amazes me how difficult is for us people to accept and appreciate how God made us and other around the world. For example, I am black, and I come from Africa. In my country, you are considered more beautiful if you are light skin than dark skin. So, I always […]
Carissa Lew, CA. Being born in America but having my heritage from China leads me to believe I should choose one or the other. Many people question me about how “connected” I am to my heritage, but truth be told..I’m not very in tune with my Chinese culture. It’s difficult to discern who I really […]
Megan DeHerrera, Santa Cruz, CA. I am told at first glance I look white and I am in my ancestry but I am also of Mexican American ancestry and that’s more of what I identify with.
Nikki Hearn, Sacramento, CA.
Jennifer Blankenship, Grand Terrace, CA.
Jolie Anne Chevalier, San Jose, CA. This is me at eight years old back in 1979, the daughter of an African-American/Seminole Indian mother, and a Irish-French-American father. Growing up, I was faced with contradictions in a world of opposites; although I was multiracial my mother told me I was Black, and to identify as such […]
B. Gilliland, Torrance, CA.
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 […]