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 […]
Hannah, St. Louis, MO. My mother is from Africa. She has dark skin. My father is Swedish. My mother used to get asked if she was my Mexican nanny. I was bullied as a kid because I look like no one in my family. No one understands I identify more as a minority but I […]
Deckonti, Vineland, NJ. Just one of the many comments I would get growing up in a predominately all-white Catholic School where I was the only black and dark skin girl in my class.
Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]
Secunda Joseph, Houston, TX. I’ve always seen the beauty in myself even as a kid. My brother and I were the darkest of all aunts, and cousins besides my brother, and around family ” I was everything good” one of my several nicknames was chocolate drop. Then kindergarten started what I heard was “with your […]
Alene Brothers, Greenwood, SC. Two of the most common questions I hear are “where are you from” and “what are you?” People see dark tan skin, dark brown eyes, and brown/black hair and think I have to be foreign. Although my family identifies as “white,” we’re a mix of different backgrounds, especially on my dad’s […]
Briana B., Sacramento, CA. I am a Mexican American woman and I so happen to be bilingual. A lot of times at work people will ask me if I speak spanish or will make hand signals to me and mouth really slow that they need a to-go box. It gets under my skin because in […]
Shaiann Desvignes, Philadelphia, PA.
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 […]
Laura Clarksville, MD Being Black we come in all shades. My mom is extremely fair-skin; my dad was very dark. I look like my dad. Blacks and whites do a double take when my mom and I are together and I call her mom.
Tracy, Pittsburgh, PA. During the summer I’m darker so I’m African American, during the winter I’m lighter so I’m other. My family comes from a mix of dark and light skinned Spaniards, French and Jews. We are Dominican. I am American.
Michelle Martini, USA. When it came time to choose my daughter’s first baby doll, there were only dark-skinned dolls left in the specific brand/style I wanted. Thinking it didn’t matter, I bought it. She has since chosen her own doll — also dark skinned. I’ve gotten a few comments. Most people seem to think we’re […]
Anonymous, Miami, FL. Though I was born and Raised in a suburb a few miles south of Miami, Florida. My mom and dad are from Ethiopia and Sudan respectively. As a child, I’d say about 99% of the community were “white”. During middle and high school it shifted to about 49% “white”, 49% Hispanic and […]
Donna Reiss, Brownstown Twp , MI. Its Christmas time in Detroit, 1961. I was 3 years old and in the bank line with my Mom. There were 3 black men in front of us in line, talking and laughing amongst themselves. I had never seen, nor let alone been exposed, to people who didn’t look […]
Erin Thomas, Riverside, CA. In 1956, when I was in 4th grade (9-10 years old), we had a less-than-kind teacher, but you were taught to respect your teacher, no matter what. We were sitting in a circle on the floor having some kind of sharing session and the teacher had a boy, Dale, stand up […]
Anisha (Blair) Taylor, Riverside, CA. “Your beautiful. For a black girl.” . Those words spilled out the mouth of a young black male, in my 12th grade math class. Only then was reminded. That being a Dark skin Black Women, We are not considered to be as beautiful as other women. I was in second […]
Lynda Black, Philadelphia, PA. By denying me and others due to the color of our skin, you deny the world of our gifts and ability. Therefore, you lose. All of us are weakened, our potential never fully realized because you saw with your eyes. Your fear and narrow place made life less than for everyone. […]
Ana Canino-Fluit, Penfield, NY. I am Puerto Rican, I lived in Puerto Rico till I left for college at 17. Till I was 16 I had never given much thought to racial identity. My senior year in high school I was selected to be a exchange student to our sister school in southwestern New York […]
Trealavon Grier, Harrisburg, PA. As a dark skinned African American, I have only experienced racist rejection from others that look like me. Self hatred, unfortunately, is real. Now in my 40’s, I realized how much of my life was wastep on other people’s issues. This was the beginning of self love and the fulfillment of […]
Anonymous, Omaha, NE. Born and raised in the midwest, I studied Spanish and went to live in Latin America. While there, I met my now husband, we wed and have two children. I was always considered an expat (expatriate) while living abroad and my white-privilege was amplified during my time there. Now that we have […]
Ally, USA. I know that in the past, it was better to have lighter skin because that meant you weren’t poor, but now, with all that disgusting skin bleaching, it makes me want to rip my ugly dark skin off and bleach it too.
Maureen Forster Philadelphia, PA I was maybe 6 yrs old when My Dad, Stepmother, older sister and older brother were in Baltimore on a little family trip. We stayed at a Holiday Inn or something along those lines and were out in the pool. I grew up in a small city with much diversity but […]
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 […]
Linnette Derry, New York City, NY. I often think about the inevitable discussion about race that I will have to have with my son one day. That day when he will begin to ask me why people think I’m his nanny/housekeeper instead of his mother; the day when he will ask me why people keep […]
Egypt Bracey, Philadelphia, PA.
Melanie Douglas, Peyton, CO. I have transracial adopted kids. They have better hair than I do, they have better skin than I do, it is really something that they got everything I could ever want for them outside of my gene pool, and all I ever want is to be in their gene pool. I […]
Daphne Revie, Compound, NY. Taking my daughter as a baby to libraries and play groups only nannies would talk to me assuming I too was a nanny because I have dark skin and my daughter is very light. The moms generally didn’t speak to me at all.
Ntwali Gaju, Riverside, CA. It amazes me how difficult is for us people to accept and appreciate how God made us and other around the world. For example, I am black, and I come from Africa. In my country, you are considered more beautiful if you are light skin than dark skin. So, I always […]
CaMera Gibson, Birmingham & Jacksonville, AL.
Imani B., Baltimore, MD. So are all dark skin girls ugly and I’m the exception? Woukd i be ugly if i was lighter? Your insulting me. Please don’t.
Janna Sakson, Pound Ridge, NY. This usually strikes me as code for “people of a darker color/race have been moving into the area.” I’m sure that’s not always the case, But when this is said, I’ve asked, “Is it still safe?” And there’s some hemming and hawing…so I wonder.
Deborah Robinson, Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in profoundly white Eugene, Oregon, where I’d laugh at banners emblazoned, CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. “What, as long as it’s not here?” I’d wonder. Yet the whiteness of my hometown did not mean it was a racially hostile one. I nurtured no ill will for folks from different walks […]
Cristina Reyes, Houston, TX. I chose the six words I wish I could go around the streets of Santo Domingo yelling. I have never understood, in all my years, why the Dominican culture steadily continues to deny their “blackness.” Their children aren’t taught to consider themselves “negro” instead they are to consider themselves “indio.” The […]
Kiwana Johnston Detroit, MI One of the things I’ve hated hearing the most is, “I didn’t know dark skinned people could be pretty until I met you”. It is a double sided insult that smells of self-hatred when expressed by other black people & cruel ignorance when expressed by other races. It’s as if people […]
Em New York, NY Born in Mexico, to mexican parents, crossed the border to find a better life, learning english on tv, grew up in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the US, with Colombians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, two brothers many shades darker than I, my mother “the help,” always having too […]
Joslynn Poole USA There is little solidarity amongst black people. For example gang violence, red against blue, light skins vs dark skins. I could care less about another persons race or ethnicity. I just want my own people to figure out how to do better.
Ruth Roseville, MI Why can’t I just be the woman who is next, or next please?
Lora Fraracci Des Moines, IA Drake University My beautiful daughter.
Tony Moody Germany I am a retired Military Officer and Civil Service Employee. I live in Germany. A few times people assumed I am African because I am dark-skinned. In some parts of Europe there is prejudice against African Immigrants. When I say I am American or was a soldier then the conversation normally shifts […]
Lisa Clark Sacramento, CA I’m of mixed race and it hurt to hear my daughter express that she prefers the blonde Barbies to Disney’s Princess Tiana and other non-blonde dolls.
David T Roth Nashville, TN I was walking through Centennial Park in Nashville, TN. I looked up to see a young Father holding his daughter of 3 or 4 facing him. It was obvious that they were interacting in a way that only parent and child can. Where the world around them disappears and they […]
Alexis Berkeley, CA I am of mixed race, African-American and white. Because I do not have dark skin, people love to tell me that I don’t look black, or simply ignore the fact that I am mixed. I am told simply, “You’re not black! You are white”. I am black AND white, I cannot and […]
Thomas LaVergne Kenton, OH People sometimes do not believe I am who I am due to stereotypes from Hollywood films. Not all Indians have dark skin, brown eyes, black hair, and live on reservations. Racism can exist by people denying you your identity.
Eleanor Williams Maplewood, NJ My name is white, my skin is dark. Torn between my minority & majority roots I don’t know who I am.