Judge by character, not by color.

Helen Zhang, Camarillo, CA. When I was in middle school, I noticed that my classmates tended to form “cliques” with people of the same ethnicity. However, I preferred to learn about the values and traditions of other cultures. Speaking to people of different backgrounds continues to allow me to stay open-minded and gain new perspectives.

Use privilege to give a voice to others

Isabelle Norconk, San Diego, CA. As a white woman, I don’t experience the struggle and discrimination that other men and women of minority groups feel. That’s not to say I have no problems, they just don’t have to do with systemic racism and racial stereotypes. Something I can do to combat this and to add […]

What’s it like being a “wetback”

Mary Rodriguez, Carmichael, CA. True question asked of me by my very first crush. I remember this time vividly. I was in science class and across from me was the “love of my life”..it was 6th grade. I was really excited to work with him, and when he looked at his friend then back at […]

Becoming American, it is not easy

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.

You’re Indian; do you speak Hindu?

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, […]

People of color–do I count?

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 […]

I’ve been guilty of hurtful discrimination.

Jonathan Routon, Riverside, CA. Often times people are afraid to own up to past racism due to how they may be judged. I must confess that I have thrown hurtful and disgusting words in my youth and while I am far from proud of this period of my life I also fully own the fact […]

I Am Not a Horrible Person

Angela Crites, Riverside, CA. It is ridiculous that in today’s society, white people are automatically deemed as “racists” with “privilege,” and are incapable of really being good, decent human beings and American citizens. I thought the goal of Civil Rights and everything that people like MLK Jr. fought for was EQUALITY, not a spreading of […]

A Social Construct, Race Matters Everywhere

Mohammad Salem Shirzad, Sacramento, CA. As an afghan immigrant, I have witnessed the roots of race in different geographical and social contexts, from Afghanistan to the United States. It is sad to say that race do matter in today’s societies all over the world. But this is the truth in today’s world. Cosumnes River College

Not Connected To My Own Heritage

Amanda Bajema, Riverside, CA. When my great grandparents immigrated to America from the Netherlands after World War II they put in their best effort to become a part of American culture, which in turn meant loosing their own. Growing up my mother and her siblings were growing up they were not to learn Dutch, to […]

I’m not just a white girl

Madison, Laguna Niguel, CA. People usually assume I’m white because that is the color of my skin and I have red hair. My paternal grandmother is first generation Sicilian. My father has dark Italian skin and my mother has light skin. My paternal grandmother has red hair and passed it on to me, so no […]

Armenian, Tagalog, Ilocano, no. Wolof, yes.

Anoosh Jorjorian, Santa Monica, CA. My paternal grandmother came to the U.S. to escape the Armenian Genocide. My maternal grandfather jumped aboard a U.S. submarine during World War II because the Japanese Army put a price on his head. When they raised my parents, they wanted more than anything for their children to assimilate into […]

Asians challenge the Black-White racial binary.

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 […]

White grandchild adoptive Native American grandparents

Charlie Cook, Sacramento, CA. My dad was born from a White Russian and American couple. At 6 days old, he was placed into the wonderful home of my grandparents, one of the Cherokee tribe and one of the Mohawk tribe. Race doesn’t define you, your history, culture, and family help you grow into the person […]

“Beauty Inside Shines through the Outside”

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 […]

Not Enough to be Either One

Dellyna Ochoa, San Bernardino, CA. Its hard to try and be apart of both worlds when everyone says you’re not enough to be apart of either one. I have to learn how to find my own rhythm in the madness. I give a shout out to CBU HIS311 for an opportunity to.

I am not white, or caucasian!

Heather Sanchez, Upper Lake, CA. As the world gets more politically correct, I have turned to study my own roots, as a ‘white’ person. What I have found has debunked many of the world’s stereotypes for white or caucasian people. This makes me proud. Is that wrong? I find great pride in the troubles and […]

Chicana Falsa I Am Not!

Amber Nicole Gutierrez, Hemet, CA. Everyone grew up with a different life-style, just because I look of Mexican decent does not mean I am the same as every Mexican stereotype. I am an American and have grew up in the middle of both worlds of “American” and “Mexican”. I understand Spanish and speak some. I […]

Just another Mexican from Los Angeles

Daniela Rubio, Downey, CA. Just because their are a lot of Hispanics/Latinos in southern California, specifically to Los Angeles, it doesn’t mean we are all the same. We are all not illegal immigrants, we don’t eat beans and rice everyday. It does not give anyone the right to judge us or lump us all together.

I’m “too white” or “too black”

Edison LaCour, Orange County, CA. I am a product of a biracial marriage, or now with my newfound knowledge from my Biological Anthropology class, a multiethnic marriage. While race is a social construct, this has not stopped me from feeling it’s effects from society. Biologically, it is said that behavior is influenced by mostly by […]

Changing the path of my children!!

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 […]

Can you translate? It’s not that easy!

Alejandra Garcia, Nuevo, CA. I am a 23 year old Latina who works at a public high school. People see me and they assume I’m like Google Translate. Yes I speak Spanish but just because I look Mexican doesn’t mean I’m fluent. People expect me to translate English to Spanish within seconds. It is not […]

I’m always asked “What are you?”

Madysen Phororo, Corona, CA. South African dad, and white mom: I’m pretty ambiguous in terms of my race. There were questions I got in high school along the lines of “Do you think you’re more white or black?”. My mom was told that I’d have to choose what race I was when I went to […]

I don’t know what to answer?

Carolina, San Jose, CA. My mother was born in Morelos, Mexico and my Father was born in Lima, Peru. I was born in San Jose, CA. Whenever anyone asks me “where are you from?” I never truly understand the question. I’m American? I’m mixed? I’m Latina? Especially since I’ve been studying abroad in parts of […]

I’m more than a basketball player.

Michael Erike Los Angeles, CA Black….if I’m still in school at this age I must be an athlete right…wrong. There’s more to any race than what meets the eyes. I don’t go around judging others by simply how they look so do I deserve that treatment? Life is a colorful depth of inspiring beauty, strength, […]

Texican and Kansan adopt beautiful Chinita.

Sandy Mayer, Los Angeles, CA. I was surprised that our daughter’s Guatemalan foster family lovingly called her Chinita but understand that this is accepted in some Latino cultures. Growing up in a bi-cultural household, my sisters and I were called “cosas de la vida” by my Mexican mother. My husband and I are determined to […]

Happiness is accepting who you are.

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 […]

I Won’t do your Math homework.

Nicholas Le, Sanger, CA. Since im Asian people always say im really good at math. Some people ask me if I can do their homework. I really suck at math so I couldnt even do my own homework. One day there was this dud in middle school and he told me to do his homework, […]

Yes, I was born in California

Robert De Dios, Sanger, CA. I am a high school student who use to get the ” oh you were born here in America?” Back when I was in middle school I often got this question simply because I was intelligent and these group of people never really heard about a Mexican or Latino being […]

Veteran Patriot Still White Washed Wetback

Michael Morentin, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up a third generation Mexican-American I find myself walking America as a 30 year old Marine Corps veteran and recent college graduate whom is too brown for those around me who are white, and not brown enough for those around me of hispanic heritage. Being third generation Mexican-American the […]

My DNA can’t recall my RACE!?

Mckenzie C, Sacramento, CA. Science tells us that race cannot be found in our DNA. There is not one person that could find out about an individuals race based solely on DNA, because it is simply not there. The cool thing about this; DNA is the one and only thing that contains our whole genetic […]

So ‘Ratchet’ is the NEW Black?

Cyerra Hawkins Riverside, CA I’m a African American female and I am irritated behind the fact that people associate African american women as loud and verbose. people are people we all have different personalities and ways of expressing ourselves. Stop with the categorizing and that is for any race or ethnicity. Vicious stereotypes have been […]

Not a tool against Black Women.

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 […]

Told to see race, am puzzled

Jeff Marks, Mountain View, CA. I have been hearing about the importance of “seeing race” a lot lately. What does this mean for my life? It can’t mean I should TRY to categorize people, should it? I often meet people that don’t easily fit in a standard racial category. For me, I will take it […]

“We” – Muhammad Ali

Kelly O’Brien, Carmel Valley, CA. Muhammad Ali used to say that this is the shortest poem in the world… He stood at the microphone and turn both hands first to himself, and he’d say “Me”. Then he reverse his gesture toward the audience and say “We”. I’ve always loved this incredibly astute and simple act […]

The Very Sight Of Them Disturbs

Sammy Bell San Francisco, CA Blazing Saddles is a satirical comedy by Mel Brooks that mocks racism, elitism, class-ism, cronyism, and sexism in a western spoof. One part of the movie that was most telling to me about the experience of racism for Blacks included the line “I want the very sight of him to […]

Linda Ronstadt, I have missed you!

Christine Bunker, Riverside, CA. It is almost that time of year when the weather changes and the tamale pot gets taken out of storage. It is the one time of year when the sound of Linda singing, “Canciones De Mi Padre,” fills our home and our hearts. We feel close to her because she sings […]

I’M NOT TAN, BUT I’M MEXICAN

Alexandra Degortari, Highland, CA. My whole life I have always be questioned or even tested to make sure I am not lying about being Mexican. Everyone would say “you’re not Mexican, you’re white!”, or “well if you’re Mexican then prove it! Say something in Spanish.” Had I been born with tan skin I would never […]

Mom said brown girls are ugly.

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 […]

Hi. You must be the nanny.

Mayra Cramer, Menlo Park, CA. I’m a brown typically Hispanic looking upper middle class woman living in an affluent suburb of San Francisco. I’ve allways had a hard time fitting in because I was raised in “white” neighborhoods and went to elite and desirable schools. My third child is fair and people in the street […]

Listen to the experiences of others

Rick DeBruyne, Pomona, CA. Streaming film available at www.diversitytrainingfilms.com. The Color of Fear, Edited by Richard Bock, The Color of Fear is a powerful movie examining closely the issue of racism. Considered by many to be the best film of its kind, exploring the conscious and unconscious behavior of racism. It has been seen by […]

Bi-racial daughter draws Black self portraits.

Malika Los Angeles, CA Our daughter began to draw what she saw in the world very early. She wakes up from vivid dreams, grabs a sheet of paper and illustrates the thunder and lightning, fairies and wizards, monsters and princesses from her nighttime imagination. Having grown up in America as a woman of African ancestry, […]

no kissing in public gay boy

Robert Lee Los Angeles, CA It’s awkward enough seeing others making out in public, but for a gay man to just give a loving peck to his significant other still tends to be frowned upon at times. Not really race related, rather orientation, but it’s of the same ilk.

Somewhere between Salsa and Country!

Stephanie Connors Eureka, CA Music is one of my biggest reminders of the cultures that I grew up with. It fills me with nostalgia and pride, longing and love of the people who came before me. The people from: everywhere! I love all of it now. From day to day I swirl around in a […]

Let’s lower the volume and talk.

C.S. Concord, CA Shouting at each other over the fences that divide us hasn’t served us. It shows a fundamental lack of respect and obscures any attempt to view each other, our opinions, our inclinations and needs in a measured, reasonable way. We have to be able to face each other, look each other in […]

You don’t talk with an accent.

Grace Marie Sanchez, Scotts Valley, CA. When I took a room mate to my house after graduating from college this is what she said to my Mother. I was completely embarrassed that she said this to my Mom but she did not seem to realize this was a faux pas. I remember my Mom doing […]

You’re foreign. Not American. No way.

Franke Santos, Los Angeles, CA. Despite being born in the U.S., speaking only English, and being given a white-sounding name, I am routinely asked “where are you from?” When I respond, “Los Angeles,” I get the follow-up “where are you really from?”

I’ll experience this, hopefully they don’t.

Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]

My Skin Color Doesn’t Define Me!

Marquelle, CA. Don’t believe the hype! I am African American! I am not a violent criminal. I have never been arrested! I am not lazy and uneducated, on welfare, or living in poverty. I am gainfully employed, and I attend California Baptist University! I am not athletic. I cannot play basketball or run fast! I […]

You must be better to succeed.

Curtis McCullom Irvine, CA Being a black male from Mississippi, my father taught me that in order to succeed in white American, I had to be the best in all my endeavors. If I was applying for the same position as a white person, I could not be the same. I had to be better. […]

Always Less Than The White Girl

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 […]

We are all brothers and sisters

Christina Williams, Aliso Viejo, CA. Race is such as small idea in comparison to bigger ideas like love, togetherness, family, connection and happiness. I wish to raise my children in a world where people are celebrated for ideas and compassion and not for superficial ideas such as skin color and ethnicity. Race is outside of […]

Too brown for the fancy restaurant.

Jane Medina Orange, CA My daughter Annie had just turned 21. So she, my husband, my son, and I put on our cocktail party clothes and went to the fanciest restaurant in Orange, California to buy Annie her first drink. As our car climbed the steep hill where the restaurant sat like a crown above […]

Who are you trying to IMPRESS?

Nathan Krasniak, Moreno Valley, CA. As a young child, my parents instilled a solid work ethic and introduced me to setting goals. 18 years later I am so very thankful! Initially I wasn’t very receptive. I didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have chores and I had quite a bit of them. My parents would […]

I didn’t know english, but learned.

Phillip T., Elk Grove, CA. Prior to going to school I didn’t know a lick of English. My parents spoke to me either in Cantonese or Vietnamese, but when I enter kindergarten I learned English for the first time. I don’t remember much of kindergarten, I don’t even remember her name. I was in E.S.L […]

Oh…you don’t sound Japanese-American.

Lyndon Narita, Novato, CA. After assisting a customer over the phone, they commented that my name, Lyndon, was a nice and uncommon name. They asked if my family was originally from Europe. When I explained that I’m Japanese-American…well, you know what they said. I still don’t know what a typical Japanese-American is supposed to sound […]

Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

Robb Pérez, San Clemente, CA. My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak […]