White men run errands too

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.

A Forgotten Race: The Human Race

Danielle Dollinger Menlo Park, CA People often struggle to identify themselves with a certain race. Whether it is African American, Chinese, Russian, Native American, White, Brazilian, etc. While searching for an identity within a certain race we are unable, however, to remember perhaps the most important race of all, one in which all humans belong […]

Welcomed for work, ignored for rewards

Herman Soon Napa, CA When I was 10 my eye doctor told me “You will have to work twice as hard to be considered even.” At the time I didn’t understand but it has been the ruling truth of my life. Just for the opportunity has always been a struggle. At one job I trained […]

Biracial White/Asian Travels to Southern States

Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]

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 […]

Xenophobia or racism? They are different.

Robert San Francisco, CA Fear of outsiders is not the same as hate for outsiders. Urban cultural stereotypes popularized and promoted by the very individuals in that culture have played an important role I creating fear. It’s not the reason but it is irresponsible of us not to talk about it.

How’d your daughter get blue eyes?

Cynthia Moreno, San Jose, CA. Since my daughter’s birth I have been asked why she has blue eyes! I was constantly asked if I was her nanny until she was able to say “mommy”. The most common question, “But how did she get blue eyes?” Do I really need to explain my genetic background to […]

Life’s, Short, So, Talk, Is, Cheap

Jermaine Guevara, San Francisco, CA. Life is definitely short, tomorrow isn’t promised so consider today a gift. I’m a non-conformist which is I say talk is cheap. People are people regardless of their skin tone and it is inhumane to think one is superior due to race.

Nothing in common. Everything in common.

Alana Peck Marina, CA People who don’t know me well tell me I look nothing like my sister. If race wasn’t such an overpowering factor, I’m not sure I would hear that as often. It’s hard to have everything and nothing in common with a person I’ve known for almost my entire life.

Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]

intimidated by black men’s physical superiority

FessunUp Cracka, San Francisco, CA. My father never said n*****, but the multitude of subtleties…assumptions…these are mine to deal with. When I was a teenager, I frequently made racial slurs…weird, considering that there were only 3 black kids in my 1500 student high school. Now it is different for me. This cracker minored in black […]

“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 […]

Half Indian, Half German, totally American

Marika Oakland, CA People often ask me “What are you?” or “Where are you from?” which is par for the course for people like me who are ambiguously brown looking, which is how I’ve come to refer to myself. Over time I’ve noticed my attitude toward other people who ask these questions changing. I used […]

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 […]

He called my dad a wetback.

Arturo Aguilar Los Angeles, CA My dad was a car painter and during vacation from Jr. High School I would go work as his helper. One day a client of the body shop came in and was unhappy about the time it was taking to get his car painted. He complained to the owner by […]

With kids, I’m dad, alone….thug!

Marc A Quarles, Pacific Grove, CA.   Pacific Grove, I’m African-American my wife is German we have two children a son 15 and a daughter 13. We live in a predominately white affluent area on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Every summer my wife and children go to Germany to visit her parents and other […]

Yes, I was born in America

Yonah Vang, Fresno, CA. Most of the time in high school, students who are not Asian are really confused. They can not understand that the Hmong ethnicity is a type of Asian. They also constantly assume that I was born in a different country.

“You can’t say that stuff here”

Danielle R, San Francisco, CA. Someone in response to their friend’s racial slur at a party… How about you can’t say that stuff anywhere? Racism hasn’t been defeated, it has moved behind closed doors. Change won’t happen if people only call their friends out when they’re worried that someone will hear. Just because there’s no […]

United we stand,divided we fall

Justin Singh, Cupertino, CA. Race shouldn’t divide us and we shouldn’t split ourselves off based on the color of our skin. If we do that humans in general wouldn’t be strong as we are together. In our ancient past we survived by being together and living harmoniously. If we continue to split ourselves off based […]

I am Latina and I want to prosper.

Angela Cendejas, CA. Too many people suggest that its best that I stay at the junior college in my small town, but I want to go big. I want to go ivy league, East coast, expensive. I can make a difference and just because I have started out low doesn’t mean I can’t prevail. I’m […]

Being Brown Makes Me Look “Hood”

Victor Vega, Los Angeles, CA. What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even […]

Oh sorry I am new here!

Anonymous, Sacramento, CA. I remember the time when we just moved here in the United States, we were called “beggars” by an old lady because of the way we dress. Coming from a country where lifestyle was just simple and plain affected our adjustment, and made it hard for us to adopt, especially the place […]

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 […]

No, I do not own Ugg Boots

Hannah Stadnick, Riverside, CA. I believe that “white girls” get put into a very strong stereotype. Pumpkin spice lattes, Ugg boots, twitter, flannels, etc. are just a few of the common things that are stereotypical “white girl” attributes. If a girl shows up with any of these things they are almost automatically stereotyped into the […]

Asians ARE people of color, too!

Maureen Boyd, Oakland, CA. It is very hard when non-Asian people of color who are supposed to be your allies in racial justice do not honor your experience as an Asian person as an experience of a person of color. While the model minority stereotype, global employment markets and certain cultural values may have resulted […]

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 […]

Race Does Not Determine My Destiny

Kirsten, San Francisco, CA. The reason I titled my race card, “Race Does Not Determine a Destiny” is to tell others to stop letting their race come in between them and their dreams. Race should not determine one’s worth or future. Appearing a certain way should not limit someone from reaching for their goals.

Not black enough to be black

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 […]

Yes I’m blonde, don’t make assumptions

Melissa Villegas, Temecula, CA. From as far back as I can remember people assume that because I am blonde I have the most fun and have no brains. They seem to assume I am easy to pick-up and easy to make fun of. I cannot tell you how many “dumb blond” jokes I have heard […]

Race segregates ignorance and quasi-perfection

Melvin Jones, San Francisco, CA. One would think that California is a progressive state that seldom harbors racism. Unfortunately that is just a heartbreaking fallacy. The reality of the status quo, is that the Golden State is riddled with a plethora of “undercover racist” who abuse, deny, intimidate, African-Americans and Latinos. To misfortune, or fortune, […]

My Dad said “Jap”. Everyone blushed.

Malcolm Gin, Berkeley, CA. My Dad is Chinese and 86 years old. He was stationed in the Pacific Theater during World War II, fighting on the United States’ side. Nearly got his butt shot off several times for looking and being Asian, by our own side. Lately he was talking about his experiences in the […]

That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]

Your hair’s pretty. What are you?

Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]

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. […]

Kofi is a fake white man!

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 […]

I thought you’d be something else?

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 […]

Half Kraut, half Jap: lotta KRAP.

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 […]

You are a 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 […]

Seasonal confusion; your problem not mine

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 […]

“You’re really white for a Mexican”

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 […]

You’re nice for a black person.

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 […]

Can your name effect you negatively.

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 […]

Not Mexican, Hispanic, brown, just human

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 […]

Yes, Brown is beautiful and worthy

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 […]

America’s Legacy of Racial Terrorism Endures

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 […]

We are who we make us

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 […]

Only check one: white non-hispanic

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?

Yes!! My name means White in spanish!!

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 […]

You’re not Mexican, You’re Mexican-American

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 […]

Always felt different. All are unique.

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 […]

To be young, gifted, and black.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 feel uncomfortable with you here.

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 […]

Asian nephew, but wife’s not Asian?!

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, […]