My eloquence should not surprise you.

Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. The fact that I am a Latina should not make you assume I am not intelligent. I am college educated, I am well-spoken, and I have undergone experiences that have created a foundation for my intellect and my ability to communicate. Don’t be surprised because I can use “big words”.

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You are an white person undercover.

Tricia Jenkins-Roberts, Watsonville, CA. I was a 20 year old indigenous childcare worker at a Salvation Army in South Phoenix which was a predominately Black and Latino neighborhood. Apparently the father of one of my students felt I wasn’t “Black” enough and said this to me as he picked up his son and I was […]

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Black lesbian CPA, it’s really me.

Andrea Hyson, San Francisco, CA. About two months ago, I finally met a new employee in another department. This woman and I had numerous phone conversations but hadn’t yet met. I decided to stop by her office to introduce myself. Another employee was at her door as I approached. As I turned into her office, […]

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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. […]

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Race is a story we tell

Charles McCoy, Los Gatos, CA. I grew up being steeped in the folklore of Irish and Italian cultural heritage, thinking I was “half Irish”and “half Italian” and listening to my grandmother crowing about only being Toscana and speaking Toscana ( the received Italian dialect). As I did my DNA testing, I discovered that I am […]

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Yes, I was born in Detroit.

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 […]

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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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Who’s directing? It’s HER? No Way!!

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 […]

People say I’m not black enough

Yodassa Williams, Oakland, CA. Whenever I speak freely around strangers, I am reacted to as if I am an alien for being black but not “sounding black”. “You speak so well” they say, leaving out the ending, “for a black girl.” I’m irritated and saddened by the insult that a black person’s use of proper […]

Latin mothers like white American boyfriends.

Jazelle, San Francisco, CA. It seems like with Latin American mothers, who comes from 1st generation parents, morph this idea that being with a white American male will bring me happiness. Traditional Mexican families that live in the US don’t evolve into the new generations, they stick to what they know; their culture and ancestral […]

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Raising a bi-racial daughter in America.

Heather Sams, Moreno Valley, CA. My daughter is a beautiful, intelligent, biracial young lady. I am white and her father is a light skinned black man. I say those race terms that way because that is honestly how people in society view others, by color. My daughter is as pale skinned as I am. When […]

It’s easier to say I’m white.

Marcella Gucho, Sacramento, CA. I’m half Hispanic and half Irish, and it’s put me a few interesting positions with other groups of people. For instance, some assume that Mexican stereotypes can’t bother me because “I’m White passing.” Some more extreme people I’ve encountered as a child think I’m a mistake because of my parentage (i.e., […]

Not Trayvon, fear becoming Sabrina

Cyndi Morris, Los Gatos, CA. I’m a White mom of a Black son, living in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood. I struggle against my in adequate education on race in America. I’m sure I stumble as I guide my son toward valuing everything about himself, including his African American heritage. I have known that I need […]

Wow! You speak Spanish so well.

Jorge Talamantes, Azusa, CA. Student ’15 I am a Latino man of Mexican and Cuban descent, so when people tell me that I speak Spanish well because I happen to have lighter skin and “can pass as a white boy”, I am offended that they relate skin color to race and ethnicity. My race and […]

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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 […]

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I’m African American; With No Kids.

Aniaka McCowan, Union City, CA. Everyone one always says “oh my god you have a kid” Just because I hold a child doesn’t mean I’m a young mother. A caucasian women asked me why I ruined my life having a bastard child you probably don’t even know the father. I simply said why do you […]

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Samoan/Jewish – aka The Last Unicorn

S. Dreyfuss, Novato, CA. Sometimes I call myself The Last Unicorn, after the silly 1980’s movie about a unicorn, the only one of her kind, that goes searching for evidence of others. Growing up with the unusual combination of Samoan/Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve always wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. Any single […]

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Haitian Cuban fusion. Proud legacy continues.

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 […]

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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 […]

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“…NO, where are you FROM?” HERE!!

Imelda Hinojosa, Manhattan Beach, CA. 9 Generations, descendants who served in the Civil War, Spanish/American, WW1, WW2, Korea, VietNam and Nephews Currently Serving in the US Military, and I am daily asked WHERE I am from (here) followed by “No, where are your parents from??” HERE. “Oh, then your Grandparents??” HERE!!! I am BROWN and […]

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I am mom, not the babysitter

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 […]

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Being Asian, my Authenticity is Questioned

Colette, Sacramento, CA. “I love Asian girls” “I love Japanese people” “Konnichiwa” “Ni hao” “Sayonara” “Kamsammida” ‘Your a bad Japanese. You don’t know Japanese.’ “Are you Chinese?” “I don’t think people in Osaka speak Kansaiben” “I know Chinese” “You look the most Japanese” “You could be an other Asian too” One Caucasian man approached my […]

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How much do they pay you?

Rosa-Maria Lazarovits, Santa Barbara, CA. This happened when my girls were toddlers and we played at a park. A latino woman approached me and asked in Spanish: “How much do they pay you?” Assuming I was employed as a nanny. She gasped when I quickly replied: “nothing!” She could not conceive these beautiful, fair skin […]

Yes, white skin, and still Mexican

Judee Fernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a white looking Mexican woman born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents who are brown and proud. Yet all my life, I’ve been asked questions about beauty and my look, more than anyone has asked me about what I know and my experiences. The other day, I went […]

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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 […]

“He’s so cute! What is he?”

Adrienne Karyadi, Los Angeles, CA. I think of this as a supermarket check-out line experience: I’m waiting with strangers in some kind of line, and they notice me with my son. My son tries to engage them and they respond. And then they start wondering: what ethnicity is he? because he doesn’t look like he […]

Reading actually helps quell racist thoughts.

Jules Jeung, Union City, CA. At this very moment, as I write this, destruction is going on in Oakland due to the decision of the grand jury in the Michael Brown/Ferguson case. I grew-up in Oakland. I hate having negative thoughts about another race and their experience in this country. I hate feeling like a […]

We begin at different starting lines.

Ben Sheehan, Los Angeles, CA. Georgetown Day School Equality of opportunity can only happen when humanity at large recognizes that certain people are born with certain racial, cultural, and economic privileges. Once we begin to acknowledge that, we can start closing the prevailing opportunity gaps. We have to acknowledge that the reality exists before we […]