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 […]
Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]
Harleen Thind, American Canyon, CA. The reason why I chose these six words are because my mother and father are of different races, my father is European and my mother is Indian. Indians and Europeans were enemies in the past, they despised each other in the worst of ways. My father decided not to care […]
Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Robert Hernandez, Riverside, CA. I do not speak Spanish because my father did not want me to be scrutinized growing up.
Mary Mills, Los Angeles, CA. I am a black female surfer. (What stereotypes?)
Ajay Singh Bainiwal, Stockton, CA.
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, […]
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 […]
Mary, Oakland, CA. Wherever I am living in this country also affects my racial/cultural identity.
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 […]
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 […]
Makiah, Riverside, CA. Sophomore College Student, CBU HIS311 I have a black mother and a white father. My mom always taught me that I should only identify as black. I never accepted the fact that I am mixed race. I learned that I can’t let other people define how I see myself. I am who […]
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 […]
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 […]
Shanelle Smith, Richmond, CA. Aspen X Sometimes I feel that at school, students that are non black just assume that I’m not doing as well as them or that I automatically don’t understand the material we are learning. I have also been excluded from being in groups with the “super studious” kids in my class, […]
Anna, Santa Maria, CA. I am a 47 year old Filipina. I remember being constantly compared to my lighter skinned cousins and feeling awkward to be among my own family. If I could, I would travel back in time and give my 3 year old self a tight hug and tell her how important it […]
Monique Hollis-Perry Alpine, CA Military bases overseas were homes to many biracial families like mine, and my sister and I went to school with classmates who looked like us. It was many years and thousands of miles from being sent to Fort Gordon, GA as a test case in the 1960s to see how (or […]
Hilary Forrest, Pasadena, CA. Every single time a person meets me, they’ll assume my race is “white.” That’s where you’re wrong. My nationality is American; my ethnicities are Hispanic as well as Icelandic. But no, of course because of the paleness of my skin or the freckles adorning my cheeks, I always get a, “No […]
Michael, San Rafael, CA. While all races practiced slavery, Whites were the ones to end it. All Christian White countries ended slavery approximately 150 years ago but sadly it is still practiced by Blacks, Asians, Asian-Indians and Muslim Whites today.
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 […]
Thomas Lloyd, Fair Oaks, CA.
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, & […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
Gregory Ruderman Valencia, CA In most ways, being Jewish in modern America is significantly easier than at any time in the past, such as when my grandfather got his degree at MIT, something Jews typically couldn’t do in his era, but there are times when the discrimination is more insidious. From the supposed “war on […]
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.