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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Anja Bedrick, Berkeley, CA.
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!!
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 […]
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.
Danielle Stewart, Oakland, CA.
Elizabeth Chennamchetty, San Diego, CA.
Bert Olson, San Jose, CA. This is an observation on human nature, not confined to race. Humans tend to bond with people of similar appearance and background. It takes effort to understand the other.
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 […]
Aaron Harmon, Sacramento, CA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Julianna Cressman, Irvine, CA.
Iraina Chaney, Bakersfield, CA.
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 […]
Azizi Saulet, Riverside, CA. They are not black enough for black kids. They too black for white kids. Where do my kids fit in?
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 […]
Marcella Gucho, Sacramento, CA. I’m half Hispanic and half Irish, and it’s put me a few interesting positions with other groups of people. For instance, some assume that Mexican stereotypes can’t bother me because “I’m White passing.” Some more extreme people I’ve encountered as a child think I’m a mistake because of my parentage (i.e., […]
Jacob Stella, San Diego, CA.
Cyndi Morris, Los Gatos, CA. I’m a White mom of a Black son, living in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood. I struggle against my in adequate education on race in America. I’m sure I stumble as I guide my son toward valuing everything about himself, including his African American heritage. I have known that I need […]
T.C. Green, Los Angeles, CA.
Clay Underwood, San Diego, CA. My grandfather, born 1890’s, was an avid fisherman. My brother and I fished with him in rural north Alabama when we spent summers there in the 1960’s. If grandaddy caught a carp he would give it to one of the black families he knew (he called blacks “darkies”). We were […]
Bob Johnson, Colverdale, CA. It saddens me to see so may people using accusations of racism against them as an excuse not to take responsibility for their own actions and lives. You cannot improve yourself by hating or blaming others. Of all the races, whites are by far the most conscious and careful about not […]
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….
Fess Makame Justice, Oakland, CA. This is a quote by Shakespeare who helped organize the Bible.
Leonard Ting, Cupertino, CA.
Jorge Talamantes, Azusa, CA. Student ’15 I am a Latino man of Mexican and Cuban descent, so when people tell me that I speak Spanish well because I happen to have lighter skin and “can pass as a white boy”, I am offended that they relate skin color to race and ethnicity. My race and […]
Robert F., American Canyon, CA.
Sandra Durbin, San Diego, CA. It was hard. I was smart, black and female, 18 years old in 1966. I joined the U S Navy, because they promised me college. I give the govenment 3 years, and they give me four years of college. It was horrible. I was given a Captain’s Mast, at 8:30 […]
Dianne Goodwin Brant, Cambria, CA. My Dad used to travel to South Carolina in the late 50s-early 60s. He told me of the segregated bathrooms, water fountains, etc. I cried myself to sleep at the injustice. Things are changing, but not enough to suit me yet.
Christoph Wagner, Los Angeles, CA.
Rachel Robbins, San Francisco, CA. When I was child, we didn’t really have the commonly held words and concepts regarding the identities of biracial people the way we now do. So I was understandably a bit confused by my biracial family. My mom and aunties are biracial, and my own father was out of the […]
Autumn Battani, Los Angeles, CA. People only identify me as black. And that doesn’t make sense to me. Even when I was little, and we would fill out forms for tests, I would ask my teacher what I was supposed to do. The papers always said you can only choose one, but I’m two. And […]
Aniaka McCowan, Union City, CA. Everyone one always says “oh my god you have a kid” Just because I hold a child doesn’t mean I’m a young mother. A caucasian women asked me why I ruined my life having a bastard child you probably don’t even know the father. I simply said why do you […]
Juliane Le, San Jose, CA.
S. Dreyfuss, Novato, CA. Sometimes I call myself The Last Unicorn, after the silly 1980’s movie about a unicorn, the only one of her kind, that goes searching for evidence of others. Growing up with the unusual combination of Samoan/Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve always wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. Any single […]
Gym Rati, Pasadena, CA. We were on a road trip and in Colorado a restaurant displayed a sign that Mexicans were not allowed. We sent in our light skinned cousin for takeout. The hamburger felt like sand in my mouth. I was 10 years old.
Mary Ann Morano, Los Angeles, CA. There is only one race; the human race.
Nisha Balaram, Oakland, CA. My dad would joke around, saying that my mom couldn’t help but fall in love with him when she first saw him. My mom was usually busy in the kitchen at the time, and would smile and roll her eyes in response to his comment; when the pungent scent of lentils […]
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.
Deja, Moreno Valley, CA. This statement literally kills me . “Pretty for a black girl” I didn’t know “pretty” depended on your skill color . Goes to show how some look at “black girls” like their not good enough to be pretty.
Paulyna Ouk, Riverside, CA. Why? Is it because I’m Asian?
Rishi Ahuja, San Jose, CA.
Phillip Keys, Milpitas, CA. I am white & grew up in a largely white part of Santa Clara County in California. However, after living in Japan for nearly 10 years, I now live in Milpitas, a city in which “minorities” are the majority, namely 62% Asian per the 2010 Census. By now I am of […]
Kalea Deutsch, Los Angeles, CA. That’s how I see it. I am a product of a black father and a white mother. Being black has brought me zero benefit. It is instead a negative label I am burdened with. It is the realization that I, as a partially black woman, am labeled as largely undesirable […]
Rico Rodriguez, Hillsborough, CA. I’ve been told, by a lot of people who have never met me, that my racial background is not what I say it is. Just because you think I look like a certain race, doesn’t mean that I am.
Christine Wilkinson, San Francisco, CA.
Jeanine Flier, Tujunga, CA. I am a mother of 3 multiracial children. They all have different types of hair. My oldest son has a very curly large beautiful Afro . My middle child as wavy thick hair similar to mine. My youngest child has large black curls. My oldest child is the ONLY ONE WHO […]
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 […]
Ed Houlemarde, Duarte, CA. I am what is considered a Creole – depending on wher I am I can be lumped into that areas primary race. In school I did not belong to a “race” Because my skin is olive I had mostly minority friends or friends of color. Teaches and later co-workers thought I […]
Sarina Bhandari, Los Altos Hills, CA. My parents grew up in India and had an arranged marriage in 70’s. Shorty after, they moved to the United States. In 1992, they had me, a first-generation Indian-American. I grew up with a lot of privilege, and I’ve never felt silenced by dominant society. In fact, I’ve never […]
Imelda Hinojosa, Manhattan Beach, CA. 9 Generations, descendants who served in the Civil War, Spanish/American, WW1, WW2, Korea, VietNam and Nephews Currently Serving in the US Military, and I am daily asked WHERE I am from (here) followed by “No, where are your parents from??” HERE. “Oh, then your Grandparents??” HERE!!! I am BROWN 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 […]
Gail Young, CA. Love me for me not my shell.
Janai Leeb, Val Verde, CA. My 5 year old, bi-racial daughter is just discovering that her family may be a little different. I’m a black American and my husband is Austrian. From her perspective, I look like the odd man out in our four person family.
Colette, Sacramento, CA. “I love Asian girls” “I love Japanese people” “Konnichiwa” “Ni hao” “Sayonara” “Kamsammida” ‘Your a bad Japanese. You don’t know Japanese.’ “Are you Chinese?” “I don’t think people in Osaka speak Kansaiben” “I know Chinese” “You look the most Japanese” “You could be an other Asian too” One Caucasian man approached my […]
Ajay Singh Bainiwal, Stockton, CA.
Michael Swanegan, Chino Hilla, CA. Im a 22 year old African American male who lives in California. Whenever I enter a store, gas station, or even a movie theater. I feel an unwanted vibe as if I’m on the radar by all the managers and floor workers. A negative vibe as if I’m being looked […]
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 […]
Judee Fernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a white looking Mexican woman born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents who are brown and proud. Yet all my life, I’ve been asked questions about beauty and my look, more than anyone has asked me about what I know and my experiences. The other day, I went […]
Ephron McCullough, Perris, CA. Said the MALL COP to the young BLACK man. The security camera said different! I’m FREE, because I was INNOCENT! NOT GUILTY! HAH!! Check your camera angle! Black Man – 3 Police – 0
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 […]
Adrienne Karyadi, Los Angeles, CA. I think of this as a supermarket check-out line experience: I’m waiting with strangers in some kind of line, and they notice me with my son. My son tries to engage them and they respond. And then they start wondering: what ethnicity is he? because he doesn’t look like he […]
Chrissy Iemma, San Diego, CA. I am a white woman. I have an interracial young adult son. The injustices that the African Amercican community face troubles me to the core. I talk about it and talk about it – to my son, his father, my black friends and it bothers me that I seem to […]
Rose Johnson, Redwood City, CA. I feel so dirty. I don’t know why. I feel racist even though I go out of my way to be kind to all the Mexican kids at my school, or the homeless African-American guy who camps near the 7-11 I go to after school, because I know they probably […]
Jules Jeung, Union City, CA. At this very moment, as I write this, destruction is going on in Oakland due to the decision of the grand jury in the Michael Brown/Ferguson case. I grew-up in Oakland. I hate having negative thoughts about another race and their experience in this country. I hate feeling like a […]
Ben Sheehan, Los Angeles, CA. Georgetown Day School Equality of opportunity can only happen when humanity at large recognizes that certain people are born with certain racial, cultural, and economic privileges. Once we begin to acknowledge that, we can start closing the prevailing opportunity gaps. We have to acknowledge that the reality exists before we […]
Angel Walker, Hayward, CA.
David Clark, Sacramento, CA. This reflects my hope that the conversation is elevated beyond race to realize the truth that we are all one.
Jennifer Shawgo, Sausalito, CA.
Nancy Sale. Pleasant Hill, CA. During my career as a public school teacher this statement (which I made up) was written on a paper banner by my students and hung on the wall of every one of my classrooms for years – I still have the banner even though I am now retired.
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 […]
Sheila Islam, Oakland, CA. You do not win a prize if you get it right. People hardly ever guess it right and thats not exactly the problem. The problem is, that when people do this, I feel objectified. I feel like my physical appearance is being ripped from me and being judged. I am so […]
Christina Guirguis, Manhattan Beach, CA.
Chinna Ford, Vallejo, CA. It’s hard work being the token. You must learn to lighten the mood with an acceptable race joke every so often. When slavery is mentioned in classrooms you must ignore the peering eyes of your classmates. You must, sing, dance and excel at sports because in the words of my white […]
Jesse Hernandez-Oliver, Modesto, CA. I’m Mexican, African and Native American (Apache and Cherokee soecifically) with ringlet curled hair that resembles finger waves of the 1920s when brushed. Growing up I remember everyone always asking to touch my hair. I can speak some Spanish too so that also through people off,which I always found to be […]
Ryan Gonzales, Vacaville, CA. Everyone looks at my last name and think that I am Mexican because my last name is Gonzales. My family came from Spain not Mexico.
Ivan Vazquez, Sacramento, CA. Although I was born and raised in San Diego, CA ; I grew up in a household that comprised of both the English and Spanish language, about 60% English and 40% Spanish. I am a child of second-generation immigrants and even though I received my entire education in English, I came […]
Tiana, Wildomar, CA. Typically I get complimented on my hair that I have inherited from my mother’s side. As a mixed breed people struggle to figure out what I am exactly, but my hair is a tell tale sign that I am not white. Aside from various compliments I always get that one girl that […]
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, […]
Alexander Calica, II, Carlsbar, CA. This phrase was often used by adults when I was growing up after hearing my answer to their question, “What nationality are you?” I would always respond by saying, “My father is Filipino and my mother is Dutch.” The initial inquiry would be posed after having heard me speak at […]
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 […]
Celia Beasley, Seattle, WA. Being an upper-middle class white woman, I know I will never truly understand what it feels like to be a person of color in America. Despite my attempts to be aware of racism in this county through conversations, news stories, interviews, books, this website, etc, I know that I will never […]
Tania Rose, San Francisco, CA. Super-cool, interesting, important, vital conversation. Thank you.
Ryan Mearig, Fountain Valley, CA. School does a great job of giving you the surface level depiction of slavery. It took 22 years to learn that every foreign race was oppressed, and that we thought it was ok.
Unique Martin, Murrieta, CA. I say I’m black because that is how I identify myself. It’s just that simple. I say I’m beautiful because for many years in my childhood, I thought I was ugly. No one ever said I was, but how I was treated, discriminated against because of my skin color, the diversity […]
Khalil B., American Canyon, CA.
Katie Rotondo, El Segundo, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about race and ethnicity lately. Looking back, it bothers me how many times I was asked what ethnicity I am, responding by saying I am Italian, and getting the famous saying, “But you don’t look Italian!” This is a daily response. Just because I don’t […]
Barbara Young, Stockton, CA. I’ve realized my own white privilege for some time now. But being the white female half of an interracial marriage, I suddenly experience America in a new frightening way. My husband is a 6’4″ 300 lb black man. I have a plan worked out in my mind of how I can […]
Lawrence Cohen, Long Beach, CA.