Yesenia Frausto, Ontario, CA. Everyone is unique in their own ways. Whether it being race, religion, or personal qualities. That is what makes our world an interesting place, thus I believe the key to making our world a better place would start with oneself. It is important to accept who you are and finding happiness […]
Robert Hernandez, Riverside, CA. I do not speak Spanish because my father did not want me to be scrutinized growing up.
Jemmie Valencia, San Francisco, CA. Proudly that they are Cherokee and they know this because their great great grandmother had long black hair- was a Cherokee Princess, even!, when they find out that I am in fact from the Yurok Tribe of Northern California. With as many white folks out there wearing wolf, eagle, & […]
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 […]
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 […]
Hannah Strickland Sacramento, CA
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 […]
Ayvee Verzonilla, San Francisco, CA.
Henry Lonnemann, San Mateo, CA. The census called in 2010 and asked: “What race is your son?” I said he is not, but if you are curious about his ancestors he is a mix of Korean, Irish, German, Japanese, and probably some french. They then said they would have to mark him as “other”. My […]
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 […]
Caitilin Weber Los Gatos, CA I was raised in Alabama and moved to California in my mid-30’s. Alabama was at the time a “bi-cultural” society (as I like to call it). We had black and we had white. There were very few people of Asian or Hispanic descent in the Alabama I knew. So, when […]
Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]
Matt Spencer West Hollywood, CA I am well-aware of the privilege that I enjoy growing up white in America. Very rarely does my race cross my mind. My Caucasian race is not how people define or understand me. Men don’t cross the street when I approach them and women don’t clutch their purses. Nobody asks […]
Robert Amore, West Hollywood, CA. NYC Born, High School North Shore Long Island, University Evanston Ill., Manhattan Resident for 20 years. Moved to Los Angeles in 2005. To my shock not once but at least 6 times asked the above question. Why anyone would be asked this question is disgraceful. Observing Race discrimination and prejudice […]
Betty Rosenda Green, Chino Hills, CA. With the recent controversies of Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone in blackface and Zendaya Coleman having been cast originally to play Aaliyah, I believe it is important to see how deep mainstream media like Hollywood work to erase Black Women, particularly with darker complexions specifically in this case, by […]
Tiffany, San Francisco, CA. People who ask me this question aren’t convinced by my response that I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. “Go back to China!” when I don’t respond to male strangers hitting on me. #AnitaEllenSpeak
Juliet Rose, Banning, CA. Hi, my name is Juliet, and I’m white. Well, white-passing. I’m 1/8th Filipino and I still don’t know if that even counts to the vast majority of people, all I know is my skin is white and people have actually used that against me before. I know white people have done […]
Chuck Lehneis San Diego, CA Born here in San Diego, I find I fit in best. Yet, I don’t identify totally with the culture, by and large. Most of the surfers are white, most of the tourists are white, most of the people who are out and about on a Saturday night too. I see […]
J.F. Hathaway, Sacramento, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
Julie G. Denison, Newport Coast, CA. My alternate card was going to be, “Don’t blame me for being white.” Thank you for bringing this together. I had a hunch that Americans were so much more wonderful than America has seemed lately–hence the “infinite hope”.
Steven Jacob Alvarez, Orange, CA. I’m about 85% Mexican, and 15% Irish. Throughout my early life, I always considered myself purely Mexican. It wasn’t until after finding out my Great Grandma was from Ireland that i began to think differently. Now I understood why I was lighter skinned, and why I had to rebuff claims […]
ROBERT EDWARD NOEL Fairfield, CA AGE 4 DARK BALTIMORE EVENING AS MY MOTHER AND I WERE STARTING TO GET INTO OUR CARE A BLACK CHILD MY AGE WALKING BY WITH HIS FATHER APPROACHED ME, AND REACHED OUT HIS TOY FOR A FEW MINUTES SHARING IT WITH ME AND THEN WE PARTED. 68 YEARS LATER 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 […]
Veronica, Woodland, CA. Don’t look down on me because I don’t speak Spanish. I would love to learn but you shaming me makes me nervous to even try, should I make a mistake. You think I spit on “my language”? Well, you spit on me, your Mexican sister.
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 […]
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. […]
Refugio Zavala, Stockton, CA. All throughout my life, people have judged me by the color of my skin. When I was in the United States, people would call me things like “beaner” and “wetback.” These are racial slurs meant to humiliate and make me ashamed of my culture. So what that I liked to eat […]
Vincent Lei, San Ramon, CA. Grew up in Macau, China. Mainly speak Cantonese there. Moved to America four years ago and started to speak English and Mandarin. I made some friends from mainland China and also some American friends. I learnt about the difference between Mainland China and Macau. School system were different. Most mainland […]
Briana, Stockton, CA. The color of my skin does not define the true person I am on the outside or even within. The color of my skin does not show you my deep meaning. One cannot judge off of the pigmentation that they see of one person. In reality, we are many things, deeper than […]
Dustin Marek, San Jose, CA. I was always afraid of never being accepted, since most of my very Caucasian family is scattered throughout the U.S. and when I met them for the first time they accepted me with open arms.
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 […]
Tony Harris, San Diego, CA.
Mekdelawit, San Francsico, CA. I have faith that people mean well; no one wants to hurt another human being for no reason. That’s a liberal belief. However, reality fails me at times and I lose hope. The reality is, many are willing to step on others to get to the top, but I believe it’s […]
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.
Courtney Chandler, Roseville, CA. The inherent racism our society exists with is devastating. It’s been more apparent since Trump became president, but that doesn’t mean we can become complacent after he is out office.
Diondra Hogan-Ansong, Fontana, CA. Self love is important and I love me. I look in the mirror at times and I say to myself “You’re freaking amazing” and so is everyone reading this. CBU HIS311
Joseph Brown, Lake Elsinore, CA. Being a black male in America is complex. Not only do we have to fight systemic racism, we also have to overcome various obstacles that present themselves in our in communities. One example of systemic racism is what we’ve recently been witnessing from police officers murdering people of color and […]
Patricia Burns, Los Angeles, CA. Thank you.
Jeri Grigsbay, Magalia, CA.
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 […]
Travis Crawford, Visalia, CA. NFL players (and others) are kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and other injustices toward African Americans (that is my understanding of the situation). First, they are free to do so, as is their right. I feel that (mostly white) people have the right to complain about it […]
Robert Symens Bucher, Oakland, CA. Aspen X I am a white man, and I realize that the concept of race was created by people like myself a long time ago. The purpose of race was to create a tiered society in which white people had superiority to the other races. It is important for all […]
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.
True Native, Vacaville, CA. It is sad to say that racial discourse in America has degraded into a petty fight for blacks first, all others, well who cares about all others. The level of fatigue with black-centric race politics is extremely high. No other race is given such accord in the theater, the movies, sports. […]
Jolynne, Chino, CA. If someone makes me nervous it’s usually because they’re different to me. Different than what I’ve been exposed to. It’s hard to emotionally stay with the difference regardless of what that difference is. The brave ones of us stay.
Mark Steensland, Elk Grove, CA. Mark provides a link to: When Readers Do Get It by: Nicholas Kristof, featured in the NY Times to illustrate his 6 words.
Greg Bryan, San Francisco, CA.
Robin Fisher, Boulder Creek, CA. I identify with people in marginalized demographics who have experienced victimization at the hands of the social majority since I suffered abuse there as well; not the same kind, but abuse nonetheless. I watch their journey carefully to discover clues on how to move beyond victimhood. I understand the rage […]
Ryan Mearig, Fountain Valley, CA. School does a great job of giving you the surface level depiction of slavery. It took 22 years to learn that every foreign race was oppressed, and that we thought it was ok.
Courters, Bay Area, CA. I grew up in a latin home, of a first generation born parent. By DNA–I am native-american sicilian. I was raised with latin catholic, tibetan, native american, and sicilian culture. As a child, in my desert neighborhood, I stayed dark and it was rarely noticed that I was not “technically” latin […]
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 […]
Jonna Marie Mallillin Alameda, CA “First generation means second is mediocre” explains the stress immigrant parents put on their first generation children. People who immigrate to the states come for new opportunities. As a child of an immigrant, getting good grades, going to a good college, and getting a high paying job is the American […]
Dianne Rush Woods, Hayward, CA. Race is never far away and the power and privilege that does or does not come with it, haunts my thoughts.
Marcus Rocio, Moreno Valley, CA. I’m a black man that doesn’t have a criminal record and loves everyone. I love fried chicken and watermelon but who doesn’t
Cierra Garza, Parlier, CA. When I first moved to my new high school 15 minutes away from my hometown, I had no friends. I am now a senior in high school. I’ve met new people and made friends but, one thing that always comes up when someone is comfortable with me is the phrase, “I […]
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 […]
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. […]
Holly Sandman, Ione, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about my ancestors and their immigration into America. I am Irish. I am Scottish. I am Dutch. I am German. I am Swedish, and these are only the ones I have identified so far. I am a melting pot of ancestors and struggles and successes. But […]
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 […]
Monique Martinez, Riverside, CA. I am half Mexican and half Filipino but everyone always thinks I am full Mexican. When they find out I am mixed, half the time they don’t believe me. Then when they find out I don’t speak Spanish, I get comments like “how do you not know Spanish, you not a […]
Janine D Herrera, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. When beginning this exercise, I almost regressed back to my old thinking habits. I came up with the six-word phrase, ‘English language no Spanish still Mexican.’ However, I realized I was going back to what I was delivered from. I used to struggle with my identity. I am Mexican […]
Nichole Wesson, Long Beach, CA. I grew up what I believed to be middle-class in Dallas. I attended private, Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12-grade high school graduation. My high school class was 1/3 African-American, 1/3 white, 1/3 Mexican/Hispanic/Latino. I have done well in my career and recently returned to school to get my B.A. […]
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 […]
Christina Curiel, Fallbrook, CA. In the early years of my life, I always saw myself as a very ‘lucky’ person. When I became older and learned about institutions, and methodology, and racial diversity, is when I learned that racism is indeed real, and still exists in this culture through conditioning as well as many other […]
Jess, Valencia, CA. My dad was born in Kenya. People then assume he is black, and I do not blame them. However, before I can get a word out and correct them, that he is white, they assume I am part black and look for those black features. I have had people say, “oh I […]
Geoff Kincade Glendale, CA There is a quote, but I don’t remember the attribution, “Of course I’m prejudice, I don’t have time not to be”.
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.
Anne Huntemer, Sonora, CA. Coming from a place of privilege, how can I help welcome and fight for my friends of color? I know I haven’t experienced what you have, but I’m here to support you in any way I can.
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 […]
Ellise, Riverside, CA. My race is not what you see, It is what I feel. Do not let your stereotypes fool you, I am happy, beautiful, and peaceful about who I am. I use to be angry with who I was. I have been told “I was pretty for a black girl” all my life. […]
William B. Cogswell, Salinas, CA.
Nikki Hearn, Sacramento, CA. Being “Black” just the way God made me is enough.
Lucy Jones, Portland, OR. I am 32 years old and white. I have had social anxiety all of my life. As a child, I was around black people often and I was comfortable, but quiet because of my anxiety disorder. This changed in college. I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southern […]
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.
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 […]
Regina Mason El Cerrito, CA I discovered my great, great, great, grandfather’s narrative, Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, following clues my Aunt Katherine gave me about an ancestor’s connection to the Underground Railroad. No one in the family knew that a relative had written his life story. It would take me years corroborate […]
Ben Badiei, Mountain View, CA.
Selena, San Francisco, CA.
Olivia Osier, Mission Viejo, CA.
Beatrice Miranda, Grand Terrace, CA. When I’m overheard speaking in Spanish. Really? My response… Yes, I’m Cuban and it was my first language. (As I’m thinking, well, what am I supposed to look like?) But you’re so WHITE! Yes I know…I own a mirror, thanks. (As I cringe at being compared to say a sheet, […]
Peggy Miller, Los Altos, CA. Humans are destroying our planet and I have completely lost all faith.
Michelle, San Jose, CA. Are you [insert East Asian ethnicity] I never got Vietnamese. Looking back, people may have responded that way based on my features or because they had never seen enough Vietnamese girls to make an educated guess. I used to be flattered by people thinking I was not Vietnamese because I didn’t […]
Jarren Michael Suh, CA. Through all the adversities the LGBT and POC community go through I will be able to say “I made it through the unfair advantages society has pitted against me.”
Elaine Gastelum, Calexico, CA. My name is Elaine Gastelum and I’ve been raised in a small town called Calexico. Calexico is right next to the border going to Mexico in a city called Mexicali. My town is full of Mexican-Americans that have been raised by Mexican and/or Mexican-American parents. We’ve been taught about our famous […]
Patricia Dunn-Serota, Sonoma, CA. I had rocks thrown at me as someone shouted no Chinese, but I am Caucasian .
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.
Lauren Lola Newark, CA Why are people always so curious about what my racial makeup is? They treat it like it’s a game- like they’re going to win a prize if they get it right. The overly asked question “What are you?” often is directed at me by individuals who are just meeting me the […]
Sabrina Fuentes, Apple Valley, CA. Some people are racist and some people are not. It is a fact, but some individuals believe that if they stay quiet about the matter they are doing no wrong, but it is on the contrary. We are all one race, HUMAN. It is about time we remember that.
Sheree Lewis, Fontana, CA. The term American should represent the vast multitude of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, languages, complexions, origins and spiritual beliefs of its inhabitants. When those in power do not address the mistreatment of humans because their race is considered inferior, or choose to scrutinize and negatively profile individuals because of a difference in […]
Avery, Los Angeles, CA. All throughout my life I’ve felt many challenges that come along with my race. All throughout elementary school, when I was an impressionable little kid, in all my history classes I was told that white people did all the harm in the world and were literally heartless. I even got bullied […]
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 […]
KayKay Mara, Lancaster, CA. I have spent my whole life being judged by my skin color. It was never a big deal to me since I was always warned that life was going to be this way no matter how hard I tried to fix it. People don’t see that sometimes the little things they […]
Katharine Corona, CA When I was young I grew up on a street with boys and ended up being a pretty big tomboy. I enjoyed sports, I was competitive and I liked playing with my friends. As I got older I began volunteering at the local hospital and became a fire explorer with my friends. […]