We are miseducated and don’t know.

Christopher Bland New Orleans, LA Recently I’ve been studying my history, my essence, that extends beyond what was taught in school and at church. I remember learning more about my race’s detriment and disabilities over our triumphs and royalty. From Kemet up until now, we possess more powerful stories than we know about and every [...]

All Power to the People!

Judy Gumbo Albert Berkeley, CA I learned this slogan directly from Kathleen & Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale & Emory Douglas. Eldridge used to call my late husband Stew Albert his “best white friend”; Eldridge gave me the name Gumbo because Gumbo went with Stew; a name which allowed me to establish my own identity.

But you speak English so well!

Lisa Lee San Francisco, CA Asian Americans are constantly reminded that they don’t “belong” in America, despite their contributions of building up this great nation. We are reminded in ways big and small, such as the seemingly harmless remark of “but you speak English so well!” The Civil Rights Movement paved the way for all [...]

Being white doesn’t mean can’t understand

Tim Fall El Macero, CA I refuse to believe that complete understanding is barred because of the color of a person’s skin. There may be other factors that interfere – culture, economics, religion – but not the amount of melanin in one’s epidermis. Being in a mixed race family and raising children who are navigating [...]

Passing down prejudices tragically survives generations

Ann Elizabeth Hemphill Quartz Hill, CA Born in ’46 in Midwest, visiting with relatives in Florida each year, adult years in California. From my early childhood to present, I’ve witnessed the persistence of racial prejudice passed on through the generations. I’m reciting 5 generations, from my grandparent’s to today’s youth. I spend time instructing teens, [...]

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Chinese, mixed, family, unknown, curiosity, food

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” [...]

I’m not your stereotypical Asian American

Dae-Hyun Jin Los Angeles, CA Being Asian American, or Asian (fill in the blank), means higher expectations and standards from society. And not in the traditional sense, such as our strong cultural values and morals rooting from ancient Chinese philosophy; but, rather, a new-age philosophy that has effected our own native culture. To clarify, I [...]

Lizzie’s Journey from Plantation to Farm

Michelle Hill Oakland, CA Our family is so fortunate that my great, great, great grandparents were not separated from each other and their children during slavery. Because the family stayed together, we have a family Bible, pictures and records that document their lives in this country. My great grandmother, Mama Lizzie, was born in 1870 [...]

I’m not Japanese-American. I’m just Japanese.

Katie Hana Kuyama Northridge, CA I’ve always thought it weird to add “American” to my identity when my ethnicity is indeed Japanese. I’m a second generation Japanese living in America, but people always emphasize that because I live in America, I MUST add “American” to my identity. Not necessarily. In paperwork or community involvement, I [...]

You’re Italian? Are you considered white?

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 [...]

Never met Grandfather because “Bull” Did

Andrea James Andrews Fresno, CA Our personal family legend includes Bull Connor from Alabama. My grandfather was diagnosed as Schizophrenic but that didn’t stop Bull Conner from killing him either before or right after they took him to the Colored Hospital for the Insane. Have an irrational hate for anything “Alabama” since then (born and [...]

Misery’s voice spoke directly to me.

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 [...]

Shocked Jews like me owned slaves

Richard Stein San Juan Capistrano, CA Judah Philip Benjamin, QC (August 6, 1811 – May 6, 1884) was an American politician, lawyer, and slaveholder who served in cabinet level positions in the Confederate States of America, including Secretary of War and Secretary of State. It was a shock for me, a Jew, to learn that [...]

It’s more about class, than race

Craig Woolmington-Smith Orinda, CA I was raised in a military family where discrimination was everywhere and a highly respected way of life, but the discrimination was based on one’s rank and nothing else. This was true up and down the ladder from Privates to Generals and was my first introduction to meritocracy, although we didn’t [...]

This question shouldn’t even be there.

Samantha D. Los Angeles, CA I’m from Eastern Europe and I find America’s racial diversity very interesting and exciting. That being said America is entirely too focused on the label of race – from job applications, college applications, scholarships, to nearly every government form. The principle of the question really bothers me and I usually [...]