I didn’t know english, but learned.

Phillip T., Elk Grove, CA. Prior to going to school I didn’t know a lick of English. My parents spoke to me either in Cantonese or Vietnamese, but when I enter kindergarten I learned English for the first time. I don’t remember much of kindergarten, I don’t even remember her name. I was in E.S.L […]

Oh…you don’t sound Japanese-American.

Lyndon Narita, Novato, CA. After assisting a customer over the phone, they commented that my name, Lyndon, was a nice and uncommon name. They asked if my family was originally from Europe. When I explained that I’m Japanese-American…well, you know what they said. I still don’t know what a typical Japanese-American is supposed to sound […]

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Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

Robb Pérez, San Clemente, CA. My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak […]

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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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Let me walk in your shoes

Renee Poselski, Riverside, CA. So Cal – Atlanta – Hawaii – Russia: No matter where I have lived, my heart yearns to connect and understand. Writing this, I am hesitating because I don’t want you to think that I can’t understand because I am white. My whiteness is a wall between you and me. I […]

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I’ll experience this, hopefully they don’t.

Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]

Why Pull Out The Race Card?

James Laquindanum, Eastvale, CA. Don’t do it! Be intelligent and show some class. Happens quite often to me, especially when having random heated discussions about sports & politics. More often online, folks tend to feel comfortable talking smack behind their smart devices. I don’t use the card, even when it’s used on me because I […]

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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 […]

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Exotic for a black girl

Jasmin Fortune, Temecula, CA. I am a multiracial girl who has bullied for the way I looked from K-12. I have been hated because girls thought their boyfriends liked me. I would be threatened to get jumped because they thought I thought of myself as better than them. Black girls never liked me because I […]

Don’t judge me based on color

Anonymous, Riverside, CA. People usually judge me within seconds based on the color of my skin. Not only does it hurt, most of the assumptions are wrong. I am proud of my skin color just like everyone should be, but I wish people would not go around making assumptions based on a color. CBUHIS311

I feel inadequate but I’m American

Erica Hernandez, Upland, CA. I was born and raised in the United States. I don’t know anything else. I speak Spanish and come from Mexican parents but I’m an American. So, why is it that when i’m in Orange County, California, for example, I feel inadequate? I get weird looks and immediately feel completely intimidated. […]

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“So you’re black and what else?”

Dawnae Maldonado, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. All my life I have experienced some type of racist comments and questions. It was always, “what ethnicity are you?” “Where are you from?” “You’re black and what else?” “You’re Latina?! Do you speak Spanish?” “Oh, you’re black.” “Are you Asian?” “Are you Indian?” and the list literally goes on […]

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Judged for wanting to be different

Jared Baumer, Laguna Hills, CA. It can be hard to stand out and pursue a path of something different then what society and the world want you to do. People categorize you as weird or a loser if you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing. If anyone struggled with this all I can say […]

White men run errands too

Michael Kelley Los Angeles, CA I am a White man and when I am out running errands, some Black or Hispanic person will invariably ask if I am the Police. It’s funny that they still think it even though I grew my hair out because I got tired of being asked this question.

A Forgotten Race: The Human Race

Danielle Dollinger Menlo Park, CA People often struggle to identify themselves with a certain race. Whether it is African American, Chinese, Russian, Native American, White, Brazilian, etc. While searching for an identity within a certain race we are unable, however, to remember perhaps the most important race of all, one in which all humans belong […]

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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

Welcomed for work, ignored for rewards

Herman Soon Napa, CA When I was 10 my eye doctor told me “You will have to work twice as hard to be considered even.” At the time I didn’t understand but it has been the ruling truth of my life. Just for the opportunity has always been a struggle. At one job I trained […]

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Biracial White/Asian Travels to Southern States

Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]

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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 […]

Xenophobia or racism? They are different.

Robert San Francisco, CA Fear of outsiders is not the same as hate for outsiders. Urban cultural stereotypes popularized and promoted by the very individuals in that culture have played an important role I creating fear. It’s not the reason but it is irresponsible of us not to talk about it.

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Always Less Than The White Girl

Danielle Cuddy, Napa, CA. Growing up as an adopted South Korean female in the city of Napa proved a challenging adolescence. I was called, “China Girl” in elementary school, but that was okay with me because the other children would come to realize that they were wrong and I was actually from the opposite side […]

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How’d your daughter get blue eyes?

Cynthia Moreno, San Jose, CA. Since my daughter’s birth I have been asked why she has blue eyes! I was constantly asked if I was her nanny until she was able to say “mommy”. The most common question, “But how did she get blue eyes?” Do I really need to explain my genetic background to […]

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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.

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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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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 […]

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FessunUp Cracka, San Francisco, CA. My father never said n*****, but the multitude of subtleties…assumptions…these are mine to deal with. When I was a teenager, I frequently made racial slurs…weird, considering that there were only 3 black kids in my 1500 student high school. Now it is different for me. This cracker minored in black […]

“Act like you’ve been here before.”

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 […]

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 […]

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Yes, I was born in California

Robert De Dios, Sanger, CA. I am a high school student who use to get the ” oh you were born here in America?” Back when I was in middle school I often got this question simply because I was intelligent and these group of people never really heard about a Mexican or Latino being […]

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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 […]

Somewhere between Salsa and Country!

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 […]

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Texican and Kansan adopt beautiful Chinita.

Sandy Mayer, Los Angeles, CA. I was surprised that our daughter’s Guatemalan foster family lovingly called her Chinita but understand that this is accepted in some Latino cultures. Growing up in a bi-cultural household, my sisters and I were called “cosas de la vida” by my Mexican mother. My husband and I are determined to […]

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You’re foreign. Not American. No way.

Franke Santos, Los Angeles, CA. Despite being born in the U.S., speaking only English, and being given a white-sounding name, I am routinely asked “where are you from?” When I respond, “Los Angeles,” I get the follow-up “where are you really from?”

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Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

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Veteran Patriot Still White Washed Wetback

Michael Morentin, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up a third generation Mexican-American I find myself walking America as a 30 year old Marine Corps veteran and recent college graduate whom is too brown for those around me who are white, and not brown enough for those around me of hispanic heritage. Being third generation Mexican-American the […]

He called my dad a wetback.

Arturo Aguilar Los Angeles, CA My dad was a car painter and during vacation from Jr. High School I would go work as his helper. One day a client of the body shop came in and was unhappy about the time it was taking to get his car painted. He complained to the owner by […]

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With kids, I’m dad, alone….thug!

Marc A Quarles, Pacific Grove, CA.   Pacific Grove, I’m African-American my wife is German we have two children a son 15 and a daughter 13. We live in a predominately white affluent area on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Every summer my wife and children go to Germany to visit her parents and other […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

“You can’t say that stuff here”

Danielle R, San Francisco, CA. Someone in response to their friend’s racial slur at a party… How about you can’t say that stuff anywhere? Racism hasn’t been defeated, it has moved behind closed doors. Change won’t happen if people only call their friends out when they’re worried that someone will hear. Just because there’s no […]

United we stand,divided we fall

Justin Singh, Cupertino, CA. Race shouldn’t divide us and we shouldn’t split ourselves off based on the color of our skin. If we do that humans in general wouldn’t be strong as we are together. In our ancient past we survived by being together and living harmoniously. If we continue to split ourselves off based […]

I am Latina and I want to prosper.

Angela Cendejas, CA. Too many people suggest that its best that I stay at the junior college in my small town, but I want to go big. I want to go ivy league, East coast, expensive. I can make a difference and just because I have started out low doesn’t mean I can’t prevail. I’m […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

Oh sorry I am new here!

Anonymous, Sacramento, CA. I remember the time when we just moved here in the United States, we were called “beggars” by an old lady because of the way we dress. Coming from a country where lifestyle was just simple and plain affected our adjustment, and made it hard for us to adopt, especially the place […]

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A Chicano from the Barrio

Miguel Ramirez-Cornejo, Riverside, CA. As a kid I was told that because I grew up in the barrio that I would become a cholo. I would grow up to be in a gang, do drugs, and end up in jail. I heard this from other kids and even adults. But as I grew I used […]

No, I do not own Ugg Boots

Hannah Stadnick, Riverside, CA. I believe that “white girls” get put into a very strong stereotype. Pumpkin spice lattes, Ugg boots, twitter, flannels, etc. are just a few of the common things that are stereotypical “white girl” attributes. If a girl shows up with any of these things they are almost automatically stereotyped into the […]

Asians ARE people of color, too!

Maureen Boyd, Oakland, CA. It is very hard when non-Asian people of color who are supposed to be your allies in racial justice do not honor your experience as an Asian person as an experience of a person of color. While the model minority stereotype, global employment markets and certain cultural values may have resulted […]

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Pale freckled redhead burned by words

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 […]

Race Does Not Determine My Destiny

Kirsten, San Francisco, CA. The reason I titled my race card, “Race Does Not Determine a Destiny” is to tell others to stop letting their race come in between them and their dreams. Race should not determine one’s worth or future. Appearing a certain way should not limit someone from reaching for their goals.

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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 […]

Not black enough to be black

Christina Gibbs, La Habra, CA. Growing up in Orange County all of my life, I grew up around mostly White, Asian, and Mexican people. I was always the token black person in schools throughout life and in my friend groups. The only only times I was around more than a few black people was when […]

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Yes I’m blonde, don’t make assumptions

Melissa Villegas, Temecula, CA. From as far back as I can remember people assume that because I am blonde I have the most fun and have no brains. They seem to assume I am easy to pick-up and easy to make fun of. I cannot tell you how many “dumb blond” jokes I have heard […]

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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, […]

My Dad said “Jap”. Everyone blushed.

Malcolm Gin, Berkeley, CA. My Dad is Chinese and 86 years old. He was stationed in the Pacific Theater during World War II, fighting on the United States’ side. Nearly got his butt shot off several times for looking and being Asian, by our own side. Lately he was talking about his experiences in the […]

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That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]

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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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Biker gangs have love for me

Richard Haynie, Oakland, CA. I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]