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. […]
Karen Plascencia, Los Angeles, CA. Our last names have a lot to disclose about our identity, but often times it is a gateway to preconceive notions of what we should look like and who we must be.
Bridget Ford, Long Beach, CA.
Cedric Bedford-Chalale, Oakland, CA. Black people play the race card because that is the only card dealt to black people by white America. It’s a reality….
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 […]
Natilee Pinedo, Chino, CA. Whenever I tell someone that I am a hundred percent Mexican, I always get a look as if I am telling a joke. Just because I have light skin, green eyes and light colored hair people automatically assume I am some type of European. Someone’s race should not be determined solemnly […]
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 […]
Nikki Hearn, Sacramento, CA. Being “Black” just the way God made me is enough.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Juanita Duran-Wilson, Arcata, CA.
Ileana Serrano, Sacramento, CA. Whenever people try and guess my “race”, I usually get different responses, but they’re always followed by “mixed with white”. My skin tone might be a bit more fair than what people may think Mexicans are supposed to look like, but that doesn’t make me any less Mexican. I’m not mixed […]
Sean Dayal, Elk Grove, CA.
Imelda Rivera Edwards, Antioch, CA. My 13 year old son shared this statement with me when I picked him up from school in Dublin, California that has predominantly Asian and white student population. He said, “mom, I told my classmate that that’a racist remark.” I said, “Good for you.” (BTW, I’m Filipina and my son […]
Ricky Sanchez, Sanger, CA. My full name is Ricardo Juan-Ignacio Sanchez. I go by Ricky because I am afraid of people judging me for my name. When someone calls me by my full name at the DMV or somewhere else, I get a lot of weird stares and looks at me. If people look at […]
Patricia Louise Batugo Panahon, Porter Ranch, CA.
Marco Perez, Oakland, CA. I choose these six words because this is how I feel about the relationship between me and my race. I believe that race shouldn’t even be a thing because we are all humans no matter what. The tone of our skin should not define who we are or who we will […]
Gilberto Tapia Jr, Salinas, CA. I grew up within a mostly Hispanic/Latino community. I remember growing up, others would keep their distance because of my skin color as if it automatically made me some type of criminal. The media portrays beauty as being light skinned with blue eyes, but I would not change my skin […]
Shirley, Glendale, CA. I find it heartbreaking and appalling when we have the likes of Bill O’Reilly and those in the conservative right say that say “All Lives Matter.” To me, that is as oppressive and violent as Jim Crow Laws. From a Latina feminist perspective, Black Live Do Matter as long as Black African […]
Desiree’ Parker, Sacramento, CA. In a room full of black people I am comfortable, in a room full of white people I am comfortable, in a room full of mixed races I am comfortable. I act “black”, but I have no reason to hate them just as they have no reason to hate me. We […]
Carolyn Andrade, Garden Grove, CA.
Catherine Chase Yaghi, Stockton, CA. I hate having to exclude a part of myself when checking ethnicity on a form. The options white (non-hispanic) always threw me. It almost always goes with “Check only one”. I’m both!! What do I check?
Blanca Soto, Hemet, CA. I grew up in a community that was composed of mostly white people. Every time someone would ask my name they would go on to say doesn’t that mean white? Yes! I would reply. Mostly likely laughs would follow and the oh so unique question of “why would your parents name […]
Vanessa Ayala, Fountain Valley, CA. I was 17 when I first realized how important it was for others for me to be politically correct about my race. I was at work one day and an older gentleman stopped me to “compliment” me, he said I looked like a beautiful Aztec princess I just smiled and […]
Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my […]
Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Walter Thompson-Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a native of Los Angeles, California and the proud son of an African American father and a first-generation Mexican immigrant mother.
Cody Fong CA I’m half white and half Asian. And if there isn’t an “Other” box I decline to answer.
Terrie, East Palo Alto, CA. Soon after moving to an exciting silicon valley in the first years of the internet boom, it felt like anything was possible in this new world. I was invited by a friend to a party given by a start-up founder, held at his home. We arrived separately from my friend […]
Matthew Powers, Riverside, CA. “Growing up Irish and being raised by a single mom in the 50’s and 60’s in Omaha I saw racial tension and acts all around the city, but I can’t say I understood anything about it until my younger sister and I were transferred to a different school because mom couldn’t […]
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
James K., Riverside, CA. I’m a white male and my wife is half Mexican and half white, but her sister is half Thai because they have different fathers. Any time we get to have our nephew come visit, we try to do as much as possible with him like going to the aquarium or disneyland, […]
Taylor, Riverside, CA. CBU- HIS311
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. […]
Tre’zure Glover, Banning, CA. Being an African American woman comes with its assumptions and stereotypes. The main stereotype and assumptions deals with our hair. Many people question why is our hair so nappy? Why is it so greasy? How long does it take to grow? do you wash it everyday? Those are just some questions […]
Emily, Perris, CA. I have NEVER been so proud to be a Filipino-American. My culture is my everything and I would not trade it for the world. Being the handful of Asians at my school makes me even more unique. I want to promote diversity, I want people to be okay with the color of […]
Gail Young, CA. Love me for me not my shell.
Ebonee Small, Ontario, CA. I am a young black woman proud of the skin I’m in. I love my race of people when those who don’t. I’m always proud because it seems as if every obstacle placed before my race we always concur leaving others dumbfounded. Others outside my race seem to always try and […]
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 […]
Countess Lene Los Angeles, CA We’re one family!
Breanna Garcia Bellflower, CA Growing up with people asking what my ethnicity was and just replying I’m Indian. The next question was almost always “forehead dot Indian or feather Indian?”. I would say “neither I’m Native American”.
Jaime F Galdamez, Madera, CA. This reads a certain way, but in “dog whistle” political speak it reads, to me anyways, like so…. We, the white people, who are outright or overtly or subconsciously or unconsciously racist and/or partial to racist sentiments, etc… We who are full of white resentment and anger towards blacks, Browns, […]
Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]
Peter S. Fair Oaks, CA It is extremely difficult for those in the Majority to understand the grinding reality of our structural Racism. Few people have the imagination to place themselves in the lives of others, and even fewer seem to have the willingness to do so. The great bulk of the Majority just doesn’t […]
Deborah Gonzalez Carmichael, CA My daughter identifies herself as a Jew + Cuban + American. Being a Jew is more than a religion; it is an ethnicity, and per Hitler, a race. And for some reason “Cuban” has its own box to check on the U.S. Census; not Latin American, Caribbean, Hispanic etc. I’m not […]
Heather Thompson, San Francisco, CA. While travelling to Mexico for one week, 5 separate people asked me if I was Cuban, 1 asked me if I was Portuguese (including one American!). I speak beginner-intermediate level spanish, but am Biracial (black, white, and a smidge of Native American). My white friend travelling with me was not […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Benjamin Christy, Laguna Niguel, CA. This is the title of John Lydon’s autobiography, which refers to his upbringing as an Irishman in London. He was reminded of how the Irish were despised and how there used to be signs in apartment buildings and hotels that expressed their displeasure with these three races. I used to […]
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 […]
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 […]
Shawdee Naimy, Redwood City, CA. Growing up in Tennessee was interesting.
Stephanie Do, San Jose, CA. Whenever I tell people that my ethnicity is Vietnamese, people are usually shocked and then say that I look like I’m Mexican or Indian. There’s only been a handful of people who know I’m Vietnamese right when I meet them.
Aaron Diaz, Santa Clara, CA.
Jenelle Frias, Capitola, CA. Underneath our skin color, our sexual orientation, or religion we all are the same.
Amanda Zhou, Los Angeles, CA.
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 […]
Michelle Vega, Riverside, CA. Going out to eat or to Disneyland with his family can get awkward when the host, or worker thinks that I’m with another party, because his entire family is filled with blue eyed and blonde haired people.
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, […]
Christina Guirguis, Manhattan Beach, CA.
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 […]
Natalia Lopez, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in East LA and being told I was one of the “good children”, I played into the identity that I was and will always be an exception to my peoples inferiority. Striving to be more like the white girls I saw on television made me feel like I […]
Shannon Luders-Manuel, Los Angeles, CA. Awesome project, and glad I found it! I’m black & white and write about race issues.
Rob, San Diego, CA. What a thought provoking, humanistic project!
Brenna McCurry, Orange, CA. I feel like because I am white people get mad at me for asking questions or saying anything about race/ethnicity. I feel like I can’t be curious and try to understand them because of the color of my skin.
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, […]
Courtney Martin, Moreno Valley, CA. My grandfather was pure Hispanic. He passed away before my first birthday. I moved to Hawaii when I was 6 months old. When I was 26 I moved to California with my husband and our 2 kids. I have never been called Hispanic or even been thought to have been […]
Hailey M., Sacramento, CA. Growing up I always called myself Mexican even though the color of my skin would have to believe differently.
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 […]
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.
Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. As a person of brown skin color and Latin heritage, I am often spoken to in Spanish by strangers with the assumption that I only speak that language. It can often be demeaning when people assume that because I have a culture different than the “majority”, I am automatically categorized […]
Liza Frolkis, Nevada City, CA. I understand that because modern Jews are descended from multiple populations that ‘Judaism’ is not technically a race. But the truth is that as a student of history and with a serious soft-spot for little things like social justice, the innate right of all human beings to life, liberty and […]
Judy Jessick Fresno, CA In the early 70s, agencies turned us down unless we wanted to adopt a son w/mental or physical disability or a minority child. We applied for a multi-racial child. People freely voiced their opinions (we are Caucasian), including the one above that we were not Dale Evans-Roy Rogers who could adopt […]
Ryan Lewandowski, Tustin, CA. I may look white, but I am 1/4 Lebanese (Middle Eastern) and 3/4th European (Irish, Polish, and Finnish)… So I don’t eat traditional American foods and I don’t feel entitled because I look white… I am a third generation immigrant! CBU-HIS311
Olivia Rose Castillo, Sanger, CA. I am constantly asked if I’m sure of the racial group I belong to because the color of my skin. I am light complected, I’m a lot lighter then most. Doesn’t mean I should be defined by my skin color. All of my are similar in our faces but all […]
John Coffman, Rocklin, CA. I used to believe that we all were heading somewhere. As a kid I loved Star Trek: The Next Generation, a TV show about a future where humanity had progressed to a point where all cultural/religious/racial/political/financial/identity barriers had been dissolved and everyone (except for those less “evolved” alien races) was able […]
Steven Scogna, Sacramento, CA.
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 […]
Sandra Castañeda Anaheim, CA I have spent 42 of my 44 years in this country and it doesn’t make an ounce of difference, I’m still treated differently. My head says I’m American my heart says I’m Colombian, because that’s where I’m accepted.
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 […]
Eric Peterson, San Francisco, CA. If I tell people I’m white and I’m racist, they might picture someone dressed in white sheets and a pointed hat or donning swastika tattoos. Most white people wouldn’t assume I’m racist based on my behavior and my interactions with people of color, but I know it’s in there. I […]
Marie Recine, Mountain View, CA. When I’m with Latinos, people think I’m Mexican. When I’m with whites, people think I’m white or mixed. When I’m alone people have no idea. When I carry an Korean baby, people look down their noses. I’ve been by people that my English is “actually pretty good.” I’ve been told […]
Rachel Guerrero, Menifee, CA. I was born and raised in Southern California. My mother was born in Mexico and my father was born here. I have always considered myself Mexican and when I met my husband he said that I was not Mexican because I was not born in Mexico. He was born in Mexico […]
Alice Saidawi, San Francisco, CA. Often times when I tell people I am Arab or Palestinian, they often immediately assume that I am Muslim as well; there is a huge differentiation. I’ve encountered many experiences where the person I was talking to seriously did not understand the difference. I’ve had to clarify this difference to […]
Bruno, San Diego, CA. Senior Drill Instructor on race relations in the United States Marine Corps.
Rolls, CA. Black Lives Matter is essentially the black version of the KKK, except currently the KKK doesn’t ruin cities with riots and block roads, chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” or it’d be on the news. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s politically benefiting from her support from feminists and race card pulling liberals […]
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 […]
Jessica Hernandez, San Juan Capistrano, CA. My little sister were born light skinned versus me who was born brown. My parents like to bring that up all the time, saying that because she is light skinned, she’s going to get all the guys. Because she is light skinned, she will be beautiful. So what about […]
Ayvee Verzonilla, San Francisco, CA.
William Lee Posey, Jr. San Diego, CA DNA test indicates I am 13% Sub-Saharan African which is the same DNA of African Americans. Since my heritage is from the Southeast United States, this should not be surprising. Some people, both black and white do not want to believe or accept that a white person raised […]