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Bullied growing up in Mexican communities.

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 […]

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I don’t understand why race matters.

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.

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I’m biracial. I can’t choose one.

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.

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I feel like I’m the minority

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, […]

We Hillbilles are people too, really!

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!

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Miles, Duke, Ella. Music conquers race.

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!”

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Girl, you got that good hair.

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 […]

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Changing the path of my children!!

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 […]

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Who are you trying to IMPRESS?

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 […]

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Disability and race activists work together

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 […]

Learned about race FEAR at 13.

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 […]

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 […]

Always desired culture. I’m just white.

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 […]

“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 […]

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My culture is what I choose

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 […]

I always wanted a brown Barbie.

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 […]

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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 […]

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White people are a shining light

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 […]

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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 […]

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The Pinoy Debate: Asian? Pacific Islander?

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 […]

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I’m white but wear a weave

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 […]

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2042 can not come fast enough.

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 […]

Don’t marry a black, they said.

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 […]

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Like you, gingers do have souls.

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 […]

Red hair gets the most stares.

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? […]

I was scared of my race

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 […]

Not white, I am Celtic American.

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.

I am proud to be black

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 […]

I’m caught in two different worlds.

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 […]

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More than “just a Black girl”

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 […]

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Will he choose Mexican or Caucasian?

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 […]

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Mexican-American, But No Hablo Espanol

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 […]

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Dominican/Mexican White California Surfer Boy

Alfredo Zavala, Paso Robles, CA. Grew up in Southern California to a Mexican father and a Dominican mother in a bi-lingual home. I am the product of many cultures. Mexican, Dominican, American, Californian, Surfer/skater/ punk, Catholic, Evangelical and Latino White boy in east LA and Orange County. Caribbean music is part of my DNA as […]

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You’re Indian; do you speak Hindu?

Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, Berkeley, CA. It wasn’t easy to choose just one sentence (6 words, no less) to summarize the constant negotiation between frustration and a sort of mirthless humor that I experience when dealing with questions about my race and ethnicity. On the most basic level, “Hindu” is a religious identity — not a race, […]

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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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Pretty fly for a white guy

Thomas Paine, Santa Barbara, CA. I don’t begrudge being white because I know the advantages it has afforded me. It  just sucks being associated with racist rednecks and boring as hell WASPS. The grass is always greener I suppose.

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My grandson is not an other!

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 […]

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. […]

Not black or white. I’m gray.

Nikki Hyde, Los Angelos, CA. I’m a proud member of the multiracial community but still looking for a simple, clear word to describe what I am, not what I am not or what percentage of something else I am.

White Pride doesn’t mean White Power.

Morgan Krost, Norco, CA. I think everyone should be proud of their race and be able to show support without it being deemed racist. The media shows a lot of encouragement of Latinos and African Americans for various months or important leaders’ birthdays, but not for White people. It’s like society thinks every day is […]

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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 […]

Mexican white girl what are you?

Gabriella Ortega, Riverside, CA. I live in a world where my own kind thinks I’m a shame because I’m Mexican and don’t know Spanish. They think of me as a white girl but white people take one look at me and assume I know Spanish because I’m Mexican. Sometimes I begin to question myself along […]

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Invisible Black woman, microscope on me

Devin Horton, Los Angeles, CA. My race card refers to conundrum of my experience and my physical self being essentially invisible but also having the world simultaneously watch and critique my every move with microscopic precision. It can cause serious anxiety.

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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 […]

I don’t fit in your boxes.

Belva Brown Jordan, Claremont, CA. Often, people make assumptions when they see me, before actually meeting me or knowing anything about me. They think they know which “box” to put me in. Based on little information they assume to know who I am, where I come from, what I experienced as a child, my intellectual […]

Unwillingly passing, race card isn’t mine.

April Faye Weathers, Los Angeles, CA. I’m light skinned and have always felt self-conscious about my skin tone. Growing up, my white mom taught my brother and I to be proud of our black identity and feel comfortable in our own skin. She embraced our father’s culture and made it part of her own, blending […]

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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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I Am A Light-Skinned Black Woman

Rosina B., Temecula, CA. African Americans come in all colors and hues, and just because my skin may be light it does not make me a lesser African American, it only make me more proud to be who I am!!

I’d like to return my white privilege.

Danielle Blixt, Riverside, CA. Although my heritage is Lebanese, Costa Rican and German, to the outside world I look white. I recognize and accept that going into an interview I have an upper hand. I understand that when I walk into a restaurant no one is thinking I am up to not good or that […]

Proud to be African born there!

Joan Kalimba, Riverside, CA. Pure African from Rwanda, much of what I get is, do you guys ride on giraffes, and things like do lions walk around your neighborhood like it is the most normal thing to do, but not much of the racial part.

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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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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 […]

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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 […]