Lara Jean DeShayes, Oakland, CA. I was born in Olongapo Philippines to a Filipina mom and French-American Naval seaman. In Oakland, I’m often assumed to be Latina or Hispanic but as I’ve travelled around the world, people often mistaken me for someone of their own race: Turkish in Istanbul, Greek in Athens, Italian in Naples, […]
Gordon Lee Pattison, Los Angeles, CA. In 1959, when I was 14 years old, I moved from Los Angeles to Honolulu. I had just started taking French as a foreign language at my junior high school in Los Angeles and wanted to continue. However, there was only one junior high school in Honolulu at that […]
Kaylee Cole, Boulder Creek, CA. Everyone always says your white you get everything but really you white people don’t get everything they want. In reality white people are trying to make up there mistakes well most. If we keep trying soon this wont even be a problem.
Mandy P, Sacramento, CA. When I was 7 years old we moved to Sacramento from Oregon. The culture and diversity is very in California than in Oregon. Moving to California exposed me to many other races and cultures. I saw many other races in my environment. Although in my neighborhood, where I lived and attended […]
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. […]
Kaitlin Reed, Poughkeepsie, NY. I am a Yurok Indian. We are the salmon people and my ancestors have lived by the Klamath River in northern California since time began. But after centuries of continual sexual conquest against Native American women, I am not the color of Pocahontas. That’s right, I’m white-skinned and Indian. This hasn’t […]
Judy Vasquez, Murrieta, CA. I am a caucasion female, brown hair with brown eyes and my husband is proudly Hispanic/Mexican. We were pulled over at a checkpoint one evening on or way home from a family event and when the officer looked in the car, he asked me, “Ma’am, are you being held against your […]
Cara Rose, San Jose, CA. I’m White. Formerly, I was Mixed; Portuguese and British/German. I only became White when the US census bureau declared the Portuguese a White race. I don’t know how to feel about losing a part of my racial heritage that has been swept into a generic term that doesn’t seem to […]
Denise Duvernay, Cupertino, CA. People are always trying to figure out exactly, what I am. But does learning my nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual background, or any other particular thing tell you anything about WHO I AM? So often, I feel like people are just looking for any excuse to dismiss you, or box you into […]
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 […]
Anisha (Blair) Taylor, Riverside, CA. “Your beautiful. For a black girl.” . Those words spilled out the mouth of a young black male, in my 12th grade math class. Only then was reminded. That being a Dark skin Black Women, We are not considered to be as beautiful as other women. I was in second […]
Araceli, Pasadena, CA. No I wasn’t born here. Does it really matter? My family moved to this country when I was 2.5 yrs old. I grew up in the US. My family lived in a middle class suburban neighborhood. We all speak to each other in English. We’re just Americans who also pay 23% of […]
Dianne, Marin County, CA.
Brian, West Hills, CA. To expand on those six words, I’d say that discrimination against people of color still exists, though often more subtle than it used to be (e.g., implicit bias). Still, the degree of discrimination is vastly underapreciated, especially by whites. On the other hand, whites are always under suspicion for being racist, […]
Vue Moua, Merced, CA. I’ve heard these words when I was in sixth grade. I am now in my fifth year of college, but I’ll never forget these words.
Jeff Marks, Mountain View, CA. I have been hearing about the importance of “seeing race” a lot lately. What does this mean for my life? It can’t mean I should TRY to categorize people, should it? I often meet people that don’t easily fit in a standard racial category. For me, I will take it […]
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, […]
Leonard Fribourg Mission Viejo, CA I worked swap meets for many years and was always astounded when folks would ask if they could “Jew me down” and think nothing of it.
Stephanie Lucianovic, Menlo Park, CA. My words come from Hamilton, and they have become even more powerful for me to remember and say to others since the recent election.
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 […]
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 […]
Charles Los Angeles, CA Leaders of color are seldom portrayed in our theater, films or story traditions.
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 […]
Sandra Hamilton Pomona, CA
Oliver Parr, Tuscaloosa, AL. Being white in the state of Alabama automatically means that most people assume the worst. I was raised in the State of California where race truly is not even a topic of discussion. I grew up not looking at the color of a persons skin but how tough it is. I […]
JSRL Padre, Glendale, CA. I am Filipino. Born in Quezon. Imported to East LA. Learned to walk and talk in Los Feliz. Never heard Tagalog at home. It’s not my parent’s first language. That would be Ilocano for my papa, and maybe Alcalenian or Pangasinan for mama. Because of where I grew up, Spanish is […]
Patricia Williams, Encinitas, CA. Thank you for creating this project!
Jennifer F Taylor, Arcata, CA. Excellent work with enjoyable discussions on NPR…. Thank you Michele!
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 […]
Lorna Green, Altadenam, CA. I am an independent filmmaker, a writer-director, African American, and a woman. This combination confuses some people; it makes no sense to them because most directors are white guys. Granted, I selected a profession that relegates me to invisibility, but what’s interesting is the day-to-day reality of this. Working with new […]
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 […]
Mckenzie C, Sacramento, CA. Science tells us that race cannot be found in our DNA. There is not one person that could find out about an individuals race based solely on DNA, because it is simply not there. The cool thing about this; DNA is the one and only thing that contains our whole genetic […]
Richard Hakala, Rocklin, CA. Love this project – I see we are in Black History Month! Isn’t Black history just part of American history? Aren’t all people who have contributed to our society part of our rich heritage?
Michael Chin, Los Altos, CA. I am personally grateful for both the East Asian cultural values passed down to me by my Chinese parents, as well as the diversity and liberal way of thinking hardwired into me during my time growing up in the Bay Area, as both aspects of my background have contributed equally […]
Timothy Jodi, Mountain View, CA. Being black or white doesn’t make us any different from others. We are all equal despite our color, gender, and ethnicity. I believe that we have the same equal rights no matter our race is. We are all human being.
Kevin Andrian Suryanto, Mountain View, CA.
Katie Foxx, San Jose, CA. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of who I am. Because I was born white people automatically assume I’m racist and have had everything given to me and have never bared any hardships myself, and never been a victim of racism. I shouldn’t have to worry about everything that I […]
Alejandro Chavez, San Jose, CA. This is the world we live in.
Rowanne Moon So, Campbell, CA. This race card is most relatable to those who were born as a Caucasian individual. In the country we reside in, we are dominated by people with a white complexion and that seems to always win everything over all.
Clayton, CA. I spent a lot of my misguided youth playing video games into the late hours of the night. It was how I found solace in times of pain or loneliness. Because you can’t see another person physically when playing games — only their avatar — you really can’t tell what race someone might […]
Valerie Grajeda Rountree, San Jose, CA. I grew up not speaking Spanish in a very Mexican neighborhood. My mother sent me to schools out of my area to prevent me getting involved with the local gang population. I grew up with other nationalities and met my future husband in high school. He is white. Our […]
Ashley Monzon, San Jose, CA.
Christine Leach, San Francisco, CA. If the sun is intense enough, I can and have gotten sunburned in ten minutes, literally. I joke with my friend in Nigeria that I can’t visit him because it’d be too painful, physically. It’s a silly point, but one I’ve joked with friends about, who are black, hispanic, or […]
Jen, Corona, CA. What would it take for us to coexist in love? I am Korean and since I was a little girl, I’ve seen peers and adults look down on me or exclude me for my color. I see people cry for justice, and yet they still feel uncomfortable associating themselves with people outside […]
Denise Taylor, Temecula, CA. We love movies with popcorn, breakfast for dinner, prayers before bed, and extending kindness. Just love… a lot of love.
Claire Rainey, Los Alamitos, CA. I have a friend from Spain who I adore. He is gay, I am a Christian. One day we were road tripping with our mutual friend from France. She was telling us about her new found “love” Fernando who happens to be 100% Mexican. My Spanish friend condemned her for […]
Miranda Metto, Richmond, CA. Very tired demands from racist aggressive, rude, uncivilized ignorant black people and their white fan club to pity and apologize to people who aren’t contributing anything equal or better than anyone and to be expecting all white people to dumb ourselves down so they can keep up.
Alieu Atuahene Barrie, Palmdale, CA. The hardest part about being African American (other than obvious hates crimes) is the fact that people never pronounce my name correctly.
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 […]
NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]
Max Davies Newport Coast, CA There’s societal wickedness, and then there’s personal stupidity. We can all do something about the former, but the latter is beyond anyone but the individual concerned. There are many understandable reasons why people do things that harm themselves and their loved ones, but understanding the reasons for stupidity doesn’t mean […]
Karl Koessel Blue Lake, CA German-descent St, Louis raised 16-year-old volunteers for war. Japan surrenders while he’s in boot camp. Sent as occupational soldier, but really doing puberty. Comes to Berkeley in 1951 with new wife for school and I am first of 7 children to come. Growing up in mixed neighborhood where groups appeared […]
Manvir Toor, Sanger, CA. I attended a concert last Sunday, and a woman tried to get infront of me in the line to buy T-shirts. She repeatedly asked her husband, “Do you remember we were infront of this Indian looking girl?” The fact that she ws trying to reclaim her spot in the line could […]
Christine Alexander, Spring Valley, CA.
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 […]
Vincent Yanez, Long Beach, CA. For as long as I remember my mother, and myself as I got older, was given a very hard time from people in our neighborhood and some family members about my little sister, little brother, and I not being able to speak Spanish. My mother and father both grew up […]
Sabiha Viswanathan, Menlo Park, CA. Race is beauty. I could not imagine my life without diversity. Learning about different cultures has fostered my love of 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 […]
Audrianna Galvin, San Francisco, CA. Half black, half white female
Genevieve Schneider, Redlands, CA. Lots to say and no one to listen or appreciate it. One niece in her 40s and whose DNA shows she’s 95% white, (blond w/ light green eyes),did actually listen without dismissing my thoughts. I have 4 white grandparents, two white parents, two white siblings; all with light to very light […]
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 […]
Mariana Arneaud, Lakewood, CA. Why do I need to “prove” it? Since I don’t LOOK Vietnamese, I shouldn’t say that I am?
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 […]
Mikaela Rejbrand, San Francisco, CA. Being a person of mixed race, my biological mom is white and my biological father is black, and having married an Irish man, my children are much lighter skinned than I am and therefore am often mistaken for “the babysitter”. The constant theme since my children have been born is […]
Terry Campbell Concord, CA How amazing it’s been to pass from the viability of youth to become the unseen senior. It’s hard to comprehend as we were the generation that would never grow old.
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 […]
Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. It’s weird how simple hair and skin color can categorize humans into different ethnicities and cultural origins that might not define that person at all.
Jonathan Pineda, San Francisco, CA. I’ve been living in the Mission District all of my life, due to the gentrification going on and many natives being pushed out and tech workers moving in, police presence has increased dramatically. Also due to the gang injunction which has done nothing except give police officers an excuse to […]
Julie Long, Pioneer, CA. When I was 8, we moved from a big city to a small country town, where there were, maybe two other families that weren’t white. I had no idea at 8 years old what race was. I never even differentiated a difference based on appearance, but I remember being suddenly shocked […]
Justin Chiang, Mountain View, CA.
Theresa Sanchez, San Jose, CA.
David Galaviz, Watsonville, CA.
Kris Bailar, Sacramento, CA.
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 […]
Kevin Xiong, Sacramento, CA. Color is just a label.
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 […]
Amber Griego Oakley, CA When asked who am I, well I simply say I’m a woman looking for the answers and still figuring it out life day by day.
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 […]
Jessica, CA. I am a white female living in California with my white family. I grew up in an area where I was one of a few white girls in my school. I made friends of all different races and came to understand the benefits of diversity, however, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. I […]
Laurel Sanchez, La Verne, CA.
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 […]
Daniel Estrada, Lancaster, CA.
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 […]
Suzette Chaumette, San Leandro, CA. We speak of ourselves as a Caribbean family. We teach our girls about the significance of the drum, Haitian Revolution, Toussaint Louverture, Alexandre Petion, Hatuey, Anacaona, Jose Marti, and more. We love celebrating our respective cultures, which are unique, but also our similar backgrounds as Taino, Arawak, African, French and […]
Cheri Atalig, Sacramento, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
Fatima Abdel-Gwad Sacramento, CA Yes, I’m Muslim. Yes, I’m American. I’m really from America.
Diane Auten, Arroyo Grande, CA. I am a 43 year old, white, chubby mom who also happens to be a Hip Hop and Zumba instructor. I often get (new) people who come up to me after my class and say, “WOW! I was so surprised at what a great class that was.” Which basically means […]
Charlotte Wong Santa Cruz, CA I am half Chinese, and half sort-kind-of-European. I don’t know what kind of European. I never knew my father, who was white, and my mother never knew his true ethnic background, aside for him being white. My mother would always say “your father would say he is like Heinz Ketchup” […]
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 […]
Andre A. Clark Los Angeles, CA As a hard working, young, black software engineer, I am often praised for my contributions, but equally (if not more often) overlooked for chances to lead or to be cultivated into a leadership position.
Chris C., San Francisco, CA. What is my place and where do I feel comfortable exercising my voice in the race dynamic? Having been raised as a model minority, I wasn’t confronted with race as non-consentually as other races, yet my people continue to be oppressed by the majority along levels of academia, professionally, in […]
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 […]