Steve Hammond, Oberlin, OH. The first time I heard the phrase white privilege was at our dining room table. The kids were catching us up with their day at school and I was a bit surprised by something one of the kids had done that involved managing to never go to one of her classes […]
Tara Saltzman, Evergreen, CO. My teens arguing in favor of de-degrading(?) the word n*****, inspired by conviction that changing the influence of words (no longer receiving the word “n*****” as having negative intent or implication), changes relationships. wondering if they are empowered by the innocence of youth and lack of historic understanding AND regardless able […]
Cash’e Chapman, Philadelphia, PA.
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 […]
Tanya Adams, Durham, NC. Will my sons come to know a time when we are in a United State as Americans??? My heart grieves!
John Mitchell MS As of July 1, our trans-racially adopted twins are one year old. I sometimes forget that they are adopted and not white like me. As my favorite blogger Carlos Whittaker said in a similar dialogue, “I think that’s kinda the point.”
Ethan Tsai Boulder, CO Growing up with the stereotypical Tiger Mom supposedly fosters the growth of amazing children, but I have only seen the heartbreak and misery it usually brings. The incredible pressures brought on by parents that want to live vicariously through their children – raising them to only accept being number one (and […]
Lauren Higgs, Bahamas. A woman actually came up to me and asked me this.
Renu Gehring Portland, OR I am an ethnically Indian woman married to a white man. Our two kids are a happy blend of brown and white. We live in a community that has a large number of recent Indian immigrants. I am surprised by their reaction when they see me with my children. When they […]
Sean Robertson, Kensington, MD. People impressed with how my wife handles our children have stopped her on the street to ask what agency she was hired through. I suppose it’s an improvement from the Dominican Republic where hotel security tried to prevent me from “bringing in a local prostitute.”
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 […]
Emily Warren, Dothan, AL. A few years back I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua for a week. During the preparation for my trip I got lots of support from family and friends, but also lots of questioning such as “Why are you going to a foreign country to help children, there are plenty […]
Anonymous Minneapolis, MN Submitted at the Guthrie Event- Minneapolis One Read
Kate Lechtenberg, Des Moines, IA. The statement is spoken as a compliment, and the question is asked with genuine curiosity and is often followed with qualifications: “I mean, are you their real mother? Their birth mother?” Together, these six words set off essays in my mind, essays full of my own questions, frustrations, challenges, and […]
Kristina Ientile, West Long Branch, NJ. Monmouth University
Nvizaboman, Syracuse, NY. Pointing a gun in the face of a Black boy or choking a Black man, is not a common cultural practice in the Black community. I just feel that needs to be said. Please stop killing us because our lives are an appointment we don’t want to miss. Thank you.
i, Lulu, San Antonio, TX. I was 52 when I confirmed what I had long dodged: I was adopted — more like appropriated — at birth. Back then and in my part of the world (Texas), those things happened. My adoptive parents are on my birth certificate as the birth parents. Whatya gonna do, right? […]
Barbara Lewis Madison, AL It has been said that one thing that makes this country great is that any child can grow up to be president. This is not true for my daughters. Because of the “natural-born” clause in our constitution, my daughters, who were born in China but legally adopted into the US by […]
Maria Roach Bowie, MD My children are too young to understand racism. They see people in three categories: family, friends, neighbors. But I see the moms who fearfully pull their children off the playground when my family arrives. There are good people and bad. Judge by actions, not by skin color!
Kara Cordell Oklahoma City, OK Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
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 […]
Natalia Lopez, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in East LA and being told I was one of the “good children”, I played into the identity that I was and will always be an exception to my peoples inferiority. Striving to be more like the white girls I saw on television made me feel like I […]
Bonnie Jerome-D’Emilia, Haddonfield, NJ. These are my three children. We had never discussed the derogatory use of the word yellow to connote Asian, until we were forced to. My daughter was shocked.
Kristin N. Rivers, Ph.D., San José, CA.
Debra Taylor, Bolton, MO. Fourteen years ago I married a black man. My father told me my child and grandchild did not exist because I was dead to him.
Susanna Gourlay Wilbraham, MA This is a saying my dad taught me. I moved to the USA from Scotland and it was a phrase he told when I was talking to him about how sad it was that people get treated differently based on the color of their skin. The saying means, “We’re all God’s […]
LaPortia Barrows, Daytona Beach, FL. My parents fought for not just my equality but my children’s children’s equality. Why is that I still have to explain to my children that some people are not going to like them just because of the color of their skin? Why do I have to shield my children from […]
Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, Minnepolis, MN. “The balance in trying to give your children an open road to follow their dreams and making sure they recognize the dangers signs is HARD. It is a complex conversation already then add the dynamics of faith! I see progress and hope beyond my understanding AND I see the reinforcement institutionalized […]
Kathy E. McCabe, Columbia, SC. Yes, these were the words running through my mind back in 1968, while standing outside amongst the rest of the junior high school student body. I watched with curiosity as the two black students made their way ever so cautiously off the school bus. Oh, we had been forewarned of […]
Jeremy Martin, Cincinnati, OH. My 7-year-old daughter about the only African American girl on her cheer team. How do we move past skin color as an identity, even for children?
J. L. Woodward-Lyons Boston, MA
Diane Santorico CO I would love to see this project done with grade school children.
Ray Magner Amherst, MA I may not be the most religious person, but I do know that the God I believe in has no patience for hatred.
Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]
Adam Conner Washington, DC My sister and I are both adopted from South Korea. Our parents are white. One of my memories from childhood is being at the grocery store and constantly having people ask my mom “Are they yours?” point to my sister and me. I remember one time someone then adding “Are you […]
Mac Los Angeles, CA My children grew up in southern California and attended fabulously diverse schools that frequently featured “Heritage Days” where the school children were encouraged to wear clothes, and bring in food and other articles representative of their ethnic background. From their earliest years, my kids found this confusing. What were we anyway? […]
Elaine Oyzon-Mast Avondale Estates, GA Filipino, German, English, Irish, supposedly with a touch of Cherokee and Iroquois. The melting pot serving up three beautiful boys.
Linda Hunt CT I am in a 40 year bi-racial marriage and very early on when my children were small, my grandmother made the comment above. I said they will play with whoever they wanted as long as they were decent.
Karen Sulmonetti Falls Church, VA My son was born in Guatemala and is very brown with beautiful dark brown, circle eyes and dark brown hair. As an adopted child, he has grown up with white parents and enjoys life in America. Even though we educate him on his birth country, he is all-American because of […]
Paula Gormley Greensboro, NC I am white. My children are from two separate worlds: United States and Tanzania. We are living in the US, but I am grooming them for lives in which they, children of privilege, will have an obligation to help their African brothers and sisters. I always tell people that they have […]
Anonymous Kennewick, WA Being Latina, with a white name, but in knowledge of my Latino surname. I try to be supportive of my friends with their biracial and transracial adoptions, but it is so hard. I have suffered and struggled so much with my identity. People have such good intentions, but the children suffer. Then, […]
Kenneth Hosto, Tucson, AZ. I grew up hearing words and observing ideals that I will not share with others. I still hear those words and see those beliefs in practice when I visit with my elderly parents. I am glad that I can change what my family represents as I pass on new words and […]
Shari Washington, Clinton, MD. Angry that in 2014 I still fear for my beautiful brown children and their children simply because of the color of their skin. I am shocked and appalled by the brutality and number of incidents brought to light as of late involving the denigration of black people, esp., black men.
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 […]
Abby London-Crawford New York City, NY The Bronx I still teach the songs of the Civil Rights Movement to pass on its legacy to young children.
Dilyn Grasp, Boring, OR. I am a white woman from a small town in Oregon (look it up, it’s a real place). My boyfriend is a first generation American. His parents are from China and Taiwan. When we started dating two years ago (when I was 20 and old enough to make my own decisions), […]
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.”
Anonymous, Canton, MI. As a conscious black man in America, I’m aware of the institutional racism that still exist. I am an educator in the urban community and have seen some names that will hinder some of my students from getting picked out of the pile of resumes. I’m thankful my parents named my brother […]
Nedra Rutherford, Bridgeport, CT. People often think that I am not smart, my children have different fathers and last names. My husband is the father of them all.
Ellie Myers, Saint Louis, MO. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where the tension around race politics is palpable. Race never played a big role in my life, because it never had to. That is, until I started dating black men. I remember friends in high school joking about me going to, […]
Louise Bannon, Holly Springs, NC. Raising, playing, growing and living as a diverse family is an extraordinary experience. It brings both good days and tough days – obstacles and disappointments, laughter and lightheartedness. The journey is full of stares – stares full of curiosity, stares full of love and stares of hatefulness from the people […]
Liliane Dizon, Tampa, FL. Each time I have been pregnant, people (mostly white women) have said the rudest things to me. Most recently, as my daughters were standing next to me, a woman said “You must be excited to finally have one of your own!” I asked her to clarify what she meant. She pointed […]
Beth Watson, Tacoma, WA. In ‘post-racial’ ( I use this term sarcastically) America, living in the Pacific Northwest, I can’t believe how many times I have been asked outright, “where did you get her from?” in response to seeing me and my bi-racial daughter in public. This question, of course, comes at the end of […]
Chantal Phan, Canada. Navigating a multi-cultural marriage is challenging, yes, but so awesome! I am always surprised by how much we have in common.
Silagh White Bethlehem, PA
Lori Wallrath, Iowa City, IA.
William G. Duval, Fairfax, VT. My wife and I have a racially blended family in one of the whitest states in the union. I think it has made a difference in some admittedly small ways.
Caitlin Wong, USA. I am a White American woman who relatively recently started seeing a Chinese man. He was born and raised in American, but he is not biracial. It’s a fairytale romance – I am in love and I couldn’t be happier. At first it surprised me that we got stares, especially in New […]
Julia Guerra, Austin, TX. My brothers are very important figures in my life. They were born to a white mom and a white dad. They are blonde and red-haired, with blue and green eyes. When they were little babies, my white mom married my Mexican dad and he adopted both of them as his own. […]
Melanie, USA. When I first had my children someone told my husband that our children will be considered black in this country. When I fill out forms for them there is a check box for black and white but not both. I mark both. I will not have them pick one over the other. Relatives […]
Shamica, Oklahoma City, OK. I never knew that becoming a mom would be different based on race. I was raised on military bases, everyone got along. I knew that people could be racist but I never really experienced it. I was . . . naive. Then I married my husband, at a young age, then […]
Anna Hill, Dallas, TX. I assist Hispanic school children with their homework after school. They bring their issues to me and the majority are black educators making differences between black children and Mexican children.
M. Peek Fitzgerald, Harrisburg, PA. In my 53 years of life I feel that I must carry something like this every time I leave my home. This is not the America I fought for. Not the America that I have to explain differences to my children. I’m an American too and I feel like a […]
Taylor Valdosta, GA Systematic racism exits and is targeted towards blacks. It’s in the government and in schools, Its always and will always continue to be that way in this country. American is not for blacks! Whites don’t want us here but we are here and we have put more work into building the country […]
Shoumita Fiorillo Wellesly, MA
Patricia Osborn Grand Rapids, MI People are always surprised when they see me. My last name doesn’t. “match” how I look. Although my parents are awesome and didn’t think twice about any of their children’s spouses race , my aunts and uncles made so many comments ranging from me not wanting to be a true […]
Trig T. Crawford Henderson, NV
Nancy Buell Tempe, AZ I expected to find slaves in my ancestors census records but I did not expect to find ” M”. Which meant the children were 1/2 white and there were 3 of them. Who was the father? It sure looked like it had to be the father or the sons, all my […]
Susan F. Bohrer Merced, CA I started a tutorial program and later worked as a social work intern in a middle school where 70% of the students lived in poverty; 80% belonged to minority populations. From the teachers I learned that college was for other kids, and from the students I learned that it didn’t […]
Tricia Redlands, CA I am a Mexican American that grew up in a home that did not speak Spanish. Both my mother and father were Mexican Americans born in California and their parents didn’t speak Spanish in the home as well. One time I asked my grandfather why he didn’t teach his children Spanish. His […]
Eddie Smith, Lakeland, FL. At least our children seem to understand this. We must allow them to value this reality and stop passing our ignorance on to them.
Andrea Robinson Freeport, NY To God be the glory, if we are to be a united nation.
Sonia Kang Northridge, CA Are you their mom? As a biracial mom (Black/Latina) married to a Korean man with children who look more Asian than anything else, we are often looked at with curiosity. They look at them then at me. Is she the nanny? Who can she be? Whether at their Korean language immersion […]
Jennifer Davis St. Augustine, FL I am a white mother of two bi-racial children. It is hard when society identifies them as black when they are an equal part white. But more than that, they are Milo as much as they are Jen, they are outspoken as much as they are unsure, they are me […]
Madeline Murphy New Orleans, LA My father is white. My mother is black. My experiences and perspective as someone who is visibly “mixed” is something I greatly want for my own children – and can’t help but worry about. What if my children look white and people identify them as such? What if they look […]
Roberta Wyse Torres Houston, TX When I completed my childrens’ forms to enter kindergarten, I was confronted for the first time with that droplist, “Check race: select one only:” Really? It went on to explain that if you did not select, then the school would select for you based on the teacher’s best guess, because […]
Dionne Bensonsmith Pomona, CA Mother of 4 transnational, multiethnic and multiracial children. My husband is Russian with two children from his previous relationship, I am African American with one child from my previous relationship and we have a child together. Our children are not mocha, java, vanilla or chocolate swirl…they are Russian, African American, So. […]
Stacey Golden Portland, OR I am Euro-American and my husband is African American. When we decided to adopt children, we adopted children that had bio-parents that were the same race as us, thinking, at the time, that then our children would feel more comfortable in a family that would have been like their bio-family. That […]
Eileen Wasow Washington, DC
Maureen Shuh New Orleans, LA In New Orleans, my children are told by teachers to check one box for race since there is no multi-racial box to check on school and standardized school forms. The teacher will tell my sons what to check based on which race s/he feels is closest to our sons’ appearance. […]
Jill Dziko Vashon, WA As the white mother of 4 children of color, I am constantly being asked if they are my kids. When they were very young I learned to say, “These are my children” and that no other explanation was necessary! My kids think it funny that I am the only white one […]
Chad Oiastad Madison, WI Just that I’m glad social norms have changed. Anyone who views my mixed race kids as anything other than just kids is now the outsider, at least where I live. It’s better this way.
Adana, Seattle, WA. I have 2 children. My son looks just like his papa: dark, wavy hair and alabaster skin. My daughter looks like me: golden skin and curly brown hair. When I’m out with my son, I’m asked if I’m his nanny. When I’m out with both kids, I’m asked if they have the […]
Valerie Grajeda Rountree, San Jose, CA. I grew up not speaking Spanish in a very Mexican neighborhood. My mother sent me to schools out of my area to prevent me getting involved with the local gang population. I grew up with other nationalities and met my future husband in high school. He is white. Our […]
Fisher Crowell Ventura. CA Our children are the beauty and strength of one world united.
Patricia Johnston Walpole, MA On behalf of my children, who are indeed Mexican.
David Bundrick Tucker, GA My mixed race children never knew which race to select on forms. I think it made them feel different from their friends.
Terri Hunter-Davis San Francisco, CA My daughters are 11 and 14. I am middle-aged. Like many women of my generation, I had a career before I had a family. Countless times I’ve been asked if they’re my grandchildren. No, I did not get pregnant in high school. Funny, no one questions a white woman in […]
Emily Miller Oakland, CA I shouldn’t have been surprised when my youngest daughter was born with White skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. She looks just like her Dadddy. But she doesn’t look like me. My eldest daughter has my brown skin, eyes, and hair. But I still shouldn’t have been surprised. I’m mixed race. […]
Kenneth L. Fisher Saint Michaels, MD My wife is white and I am black. I want my children to be Black AND white since they are. America loves labels, neat ways to categorize things. We have no problem celebrating and acknowledging an Irish-American person who has never been to Ireland but a child of mine […]
Tanya Haney Middleton, WI I am a white mother and school employee; my kids are white, Asian and I have been a foster parent to an African-American child. I have been struggling and driven to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of institutional racism, but I struggle daily. People look […]
Mark Mott Hillsboro, OR I am an Asian American who grew up in VA, I was called many things and many were not my name. I struggle to this day with my race, I am glad my children will not have to struggle with not being accepted because of skin color like I did.