I am Mexican, I am American

Ricky Quezada, Sanger, CA. I don’t really embrace beng Mexican. I don’t speak Spanish. English is my only Language, but my father was born in Mexico so I know I am Mexican, but he was raised in America so Mexican traditions aren’t really pushed upon me and my family. We are more American than anything, […]

Nickname Joe real name is Jose

Jose, Sanger, CA. My name is Jose im 17 years old as a child growing up in school I was called by Joe by my peers. Ever sense kindergarden my teachers and friends called me Ioe I never knew why until now. I’m a Mexican-American but my skin color is more on the lighter side. […]


I am who I am, unique!

Eric Medina, Grand Terrace, CA. I have always been unsure about what nationality to identify with. I have resolved to identify with the human race. I think we are all human, right? I enjoy the diversity of this race. CBU His311

You don’t look like you’re Mexican.

Alyssa Ortega, Fresno, CA. I was born into a Mexican family, with parents who were BOTH born outside of marriage as a result of infidelity. They are both still Mexican, but much lighter than the rest of their families (They are also BOTH part Spaniard) and were not taught Spanish unfortunately due to circumstance. I […]

“They’ve never heard of us before”

Lucy Moua, Fresno, CA. My name is Lucy and I am Hmong. “Hmong” some may question and say as most people are not aware of this particular ethnicity. Growing up, I’ve always thought my ethnicity was well known and familiar to people as I grew in a community where people embraced the Hmong culture even […]


White Supremacy has colonized our minds.

CB Terry, Ojai, CA. Racism and White Supremacy are not socially understood concepts. If we only submit to these forces mentally, it must mean that it is a system of thought influence and control, far greater than most are capable of addressing.

We don’t serve Your Kind Here!

Pilar Leano, San Francisco, CA. This was said to me in a small town of Fremont, Ohio. In fact, they got my nationality wrong also (they thought I was from Mexico). I still get comments like, you speak great English (even though I just told them I was born and raised in San Francisco). And […]

Blind eyes don’t see a problem

David Q. Booker Chula Vista, CA This is a fantastic project. For some time I have been trying to come with my 6 words but I’ve struggled. Not sure what happened but as I was listening to a segment on Morning Edition, regarding the March on Washington commemoration, it just came to me. I was […]


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 […]

You’re not like other Asian people!

Julie Phan, San Jose, CA. Hey, what are you? Uh, I’m Asian…? Really? You don’t look Asian. You’re tan, and chill, and not like other Asians. And you’re kinda ghetto. Honestly, you look Mexican or mixed. 1. My skin color does NOT identify my race, nor does it identify anybody else’s race/ethnicity. 2. Is not […]

No job because his name was Mohammed.

Vicki Parrish, San Jose, CA. My engineering graduate student from India had the family name, Mohammed. He is in the top of his software engineering class but couldn’t get an internship although all his Indian classmates did. I suggested that he only put his first and middle name on his resume. Within a week he […]

Dred Scott. Oil on canvas by Louis Schultze, 1888. Acc. # 1897.9.1. Missouri Historical Society Museum Collections. Photograph by David Schultz, 1999. NS 23864. Photograph and scan (c) 1999-2006, Missouri Historical Society.

The Civil War Was About Slavery

Tim Fall, Davis, CA. There are still people – in the North and the South – who will tell you the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. They are wrong. It was fought over slavery. Any other issue comes in a distant second: http://wp.me/p2EmLc-1Kx


When Skin Color Fades Away

Leonard Rios, Imperial Beach, CA. I am an American Indian on tribal roles and racism has followed my people childhood to present. I am a traditionalist and live an old school life style founded on respect and the spirit of taking only what we need and giving when all possible. I moved to Imperial Beach […]

That’s right, I am Mexican too.

Arleigh Worstell, Ceres, CA. I come from a long line of hispanic women who married white men (myself included). Through the generations, even while some of us get lighter, we haven’t lost the culture we were raised with.

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 […]

Ever had sex in the backseat?

Earlaine Williams, Oakland, CA. This is the question that was asked of me, when I was 17 years old, by the white man who was administering the driver test at the Depratment of Motor Vehicles in Richmond, CA in 1960. I was behind the wheel and he was the person who would determine whether or […]

People against racism made race essential

Katelyn Crombie, CA. I never cared about race until I was in college. Before then, I was adopted from China and grew up in a family that taught me to love everyone, regardless of appearances. I was also blessed with attending a high school that was racially diverse, despite our predominately white neighborhood, and these […]


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 […]

Been a victim of Black violence

Hilary Sloane, Joshua Tree, CA. It happened several times. The last time a stranger shot me five times through my car window and hit me three times. I have had the opportunity to heal those traumas through encounters with beautiful, loving strangers of color. My responses are relaxing and I no longer jump when I […]


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 […]

I stay in my “own lane”

Livi Dom, Napa, CA. I have opinions on things, but because I’m white I feel as if it’s not my place to talk about them, because I have no idea what it’s like to be discriminated about because of my race. Which is fine! I just stay in my lane, and I try to support, […]

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, […]

What I am, not just “Asian”.

Alvin Vang, Fresno, CA. Well as you can see I am Asian but if you dont know what type of Asian I am you can’t just call me a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philipian, Thai, Laos, Cambodian, Malay, and etc. You can ask me likw what race of asian are you instead of taking a huge […]

I don’t have to speak spanish

Jennnifer, Fresno, CA. No matter where I am, people will come up to me and start speaking Spanish. I assume it’s because they assume that im fully Mexican. but little do many know, I’m mayority Native American with a small amount of Hispanic in me. Because people asssume that I’m Mexican, they assume my first […]

You’re the blue-eyed guest of honor

Haley Cantin, Sanger, CA. I am white american female and I always get “because of your eyes”. When someone compliments me and says I’m pretty I often ask why.. and most responses I get are “because of your eyes”. But everyone has eyes? Am I not pretty becuase of anything else? Do my eyes define […]

A Coconut. Brown Outside. White Inside.

Julio Solis, Sanger, CA. I am Mexican. Many times when I’m eating at a relatives or friends house that is Mexican, they are surprised when I tell them I don’t eat spicy foods. I have got responses like,”You’re not a true Mexican” or “You’re supposed to like spicy foods”. When I hear those responses, I […]

You’re pretty for a DARK SKIN GIRL

Alexandria James-Hayes, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I have lived in the suburbs my whole life and I grew up around mostly white people. My parents are divorced, my father lives in Alabama and I live with my mother and stepfather. When I use to visit Alabama my fathers family would always say “you talk like a […]

Call Me Irish, Not Just White

Rowen, San Francisco, CA. I was always close to my grandmother, although she died when I was pretty young -she made a big impression on me. She was a strong woman and that came through.She had come to the US when she was 21, just her and her sister. They left Belfast Northern Ireland after […]


Who is your daughter’s father?

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 […]

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 […]

She’s nice for a black woman!

Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]

I am the “Indian Looking” girl

Manvir Toor, Sanger, CA. I attended a concert last Sunday, and a woman tried to get infront of me in the line to buy T-shirts. She repeatedly asked her husband, “Do you remember we were infront of this Indian looking girl?” The fact that she ws trying to reclaim her spot in the line could […]

The feather or the dot?

Kathryn Yurcak, Riverside, CA. Yes, I’m Native American. No my great grandmother was not an Indian princess. No I’m not going to do “the rain dance” and please stop doing that Indian chant at me that you’ve seen in movies. I know I look like I speak Spanish and you’re getting angry at me because […]



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 […]


How much do they pay you?

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 […]


The Chicana to make a difference

Maria Pacheco, Riverside, CA. My parents never graduated high school. None of my family members have ever been to college. But this Chicana wants to be the first one to make a difference in my family to show them that it is never too late to go back to school and earn a degree. I […]

It’s ok, my friend is black.

Christine Leanne Garcia, Corona, CA. I have heard people use this excuse countless times. No, it’s not ok. The fact is that racism is real, and very hurtful. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never experienced or witnessed it firsthand. Racism is real, and harmless comments can be extremely hurtful or offensive. Comedy: use with caution. […]

Multicolor family: pink face feels darker

Paul Berry Palo Alto, CA In my 80 years, I’ve been married twice, have three children, five grand children– and among all of them, I’m the only one that Americans call “white.” My first spouse was described on our marriage license as “color: ed”; the second, on her US immigration papers, as “color: yellow.” So […]

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I will never really ‘get it’.

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 […]

Actions speak louder than skin color.

Jack McNiff, Canyon Lake, CA. I was raised in rural Minnesota prior to sixth grade and by then had moved to Minneapolis. My first exposure to differences in “”Race”” was in High School and I never had any real understanding of why there were any significant tensions about who was what color. I felt very […]


My black friends aren’t like that.

Pinkish Jim, Seal Beach, CA. I was raised hearing this idea expressed many ways. My parents bought into all the racial stereotypes in the 50s and 60s and yet they had black friends. Their friends weren’t like the rest of them. They were different. None of the African Americans we actually knew fit the stereotype, […]


I thought you were a “hoodrat”

Cierra Garza, Parlier, CA. When I first moved to my new high school 15 minutes away from my hometown, I had no friends. I am now a senior in high school. I’ve met new people and made friends but, one thing that always comes up when someone is comfortable with me is the phrase, “I […]

I am American, not just Brown

Francisco Lemus, Sanger, CA. These six words signify that I am more than just brown. People tend to categorize others based on how they look, and using that to clump them in a certain group with preconceptions about their ways of life. I have had moments where I was not seen as American because of […]

Korean-American adoptee. Not white. Not Korean

Alyssa Perry, CA. As a Korean American adoptee, I bridge two cultures- physically and culturally. I will never be white enough as I was brought up as a white family. My monolid eyes and yellow skin dictate otherwise. I can never be Korean enough. I can barely speak my mother tongue nor truly what is […]

The beginning of tables turning?

Emily Scroggins, CA. I am white. 100% white. 50% of my friends are not white/part white. my boyfriend is not white at all. I say this to make a point that I do not discriminate, and I am not racist whatsoever. This being said, there is something that I haven’t spoken about publicly or to […]


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 […]


Y’all had me scared of US

Dr. Jacqueline Lawrence, Windsor, CA. As a young child, my first memories of blacks in San Francisco were scary, and they weren’t from television. I remember smelling the strong scent of urine in the elevators, hearing moms tell their children to “Get cho ass out of my face” and “Go sit cho ass down” and […]


Raising a bi-racial daughter in America.

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 […]


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 […]

I Forget I Am Not White

Dougherty, Outside USA. I was adopted. My Dad is Irish, raised in Texas and then California. Mom is a retired nurse. I was raised around Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Jews. My friends in elementary school were white. Race was never an issue. Or if it was, I have long since forgot about it. I even […]

Scrub brown skin with whitening soap.

Kate Blanco, Berkeley, CA. Filipinos and Filipino-Americans tend to have an obsession with “whiteness”. I was once told as a young kid to use whitening soap because I was so dark skinned. I believed them. I was taught to view my brown skin as ugly and white/lighter skin as beautiful. I tried to scrub off […]

They all asked, “Was he black?”

Amy D., Royal Oaks, CA. One night in San Francisco, when walking home from my car after a late work night, a man came toward me and tried to steal my purse. My immediate instinct was to resist and call out, hoping for some intervention from those living in the houses nearby. Ultimately he took […]

White Privilege doesn’t exist for me

Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. I was born into an average middle class family that is dominantly white. I know that my father was born into a working class family where my grandfather worked a number of odd jobs but mostly was a handyman for most his life. My dad was the first in his […]

I’m Jocelyn, I do speak English.

Jocelyn Rueda, Napa, CA. I am a Mexican female. I once went to a store and went up to the register to ask a question and the women was looking for someone to talk to me. She was a white women and she thought I didn’t speak English.

No one believes I am black

Sozit Mohamed, Sunnyvale, CA. Being Ethiopian with Arab heritage in my family, most do not believe I’m black/African. Also, being black and muslim, seems to be the worst thing you can be in America right now.


Indian American South Asian Desi American

Jacob Kuriakose, San Diego, CA. I would like to bring up the idea of “Indian” to label Native Americans, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, etc. I would also like to talk about lumping East Asians, South Asians, and South East Asians into the general term “Asian” as well.

I have always wanted Blonde Hair

Sierra Lozano, CA. I feel as though I need more than six words to say how I’ve felt my whole 18 years of living. I grew up in Orange County, California and have lived here my whole life. I am of mixed ethnicity, but can not identify with any particular race. I remember coming home […]

Saddened, inspired, still far to go

Jeff Schaffer Los Angeles, CA Seeing this exhibit reminds me of the sacrifices made by our predecessors, and inspires me to continue working for a world in which all are cherished for their diversity, and there is equal opportunity for all.

Can’t take you home to momma.

Tammy Medell Gardner San Jose, CA I am white. The man with whom I fell in love in 1982 was black. We met in Fort Worth, Texas working at the same company. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, while I was from northern Michigan. Our romance, so new and full of hope, soon faltered […]

I can’t find Home… Found it!

Mari Pollack Los Angeles, CA Joy was adopted at the age of 11 from an abusive home in Korea into a loving family in California. Now a rebellious alcoholic in her 20s, she is homesick for a home that doesn’t want her and unable to feel truly a part of her adoptive family. She returns […]

play with everyone

I wanted to play with everyone.

Leigh Marz, Kensington, CA. I remember visiting my grandma in Arkansas in the summer. She took my younger brother and I to a park so we could play with other children. But when we started to play with some African American kids on the monkey bars it was suddenly “time to go.”

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Me llamo Lora y hablo español.

Lora McManus, Altadena, CA. Being transracially adopted (by Caucasian parents) comes with a plethora of advantages and challenges. One of the most common misconceptions that I face on a daily basis is the assumption that I was raised in an Chinese family and speak Mandarin, when actually neither of those are true. Stereotypes are one […]

I am not plain white rice.

Nicole Rice, San Juan Capistrano, CA. I am more than just ‘white’ even though everyone looks at me and says that is all I am. I have a lot more in me than just white, but no one will ever know unless they ask. I have even received the nickname ‘white rice’ because of my […]


Adobo Beef Stew Rice Potatoes: Dinner

James Estanislao Herr, Los Angeles, CA. Dad’s side came over in 1717–Swiss-German and Irish with some Danish and Greek thrown in. Mom came over in 1954. Filipino, Spanish and Chinese with I guess some Portuguese somewhere along the way given my middle name. Grew up in an all white community outside Philadelphia. Not sure who […]


Your words don’t change who I am

Blake Coffey, Van Nuys, CA. In a world where being mixed is supposed to be looked at as beautiful, it’s not as easy when you are. People automatically assume that all mixed people are supposed to look mixed just like they assume all Mexicans are brown. I’m born to a mixed black/white father who looks […]