Sarah S., Washington, DC. My Puerto Rican grandmother used to call me “muchacha fea,” while calling my dark-haired, dark-eyed, darker-skinned, curly-haired sisters, “muchacha linda.” That woman treated me like Cinderella. When we were kids, one of my sisters took my grandmother’s cues, and decided to torment me by saying that I was adopted (I wasn’t), […]
Eric Miyeni Johannesburg I don’t like the phrase “body part” much. At its worst it has a tendency to remind me of murders and psychotic murderers. At its best it reminds me of the work of medical doctors. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. I’m just not cut out to do what they do. […]
Haley Landre, Louisville, KY.
Nadra Enzi, New Orleans, LA. Anyone with eyes can see that I’m a dark Black man. That and a couple dollars might buy you a cup of coffee at a trendy shop. Two terms of Obama-inflamed identity politics makes me reassert a lifelong commitment to individualism. I’m not a one-size-fits-all person. The fact I voted […]
Andrea Lopez, Sacramento, CA. When confronted with the question of whether or not I’ve experienced racism in my life, I always remember the first time I felt discriminated against. I was about twelve years old and I was meeting my best friend’s father for the first time. She moved to California from Georgia with her […]
Chloe Servin, Miami, FL. I’ve gotten that phrase countless times. Pupils, teachers, when I meet new people. I currently am pale with slight color, but when I was younger I’d go outside every day and I was active, so I had a much darker color, plus I’d also go to the pool almost daily. One […]
John P. Moultrie, Ormond Beach, FL. It’s taken sometime to get to this point, but we are finally together. Sixteen years ago, we met and at that moment, I knew she was the one for me. But that was not the case for her. Years later, through heartache and divorce for both of us, we […]
Lynn P., Raleigh, NC. My mother is white and my father is black. I am light skinned and proper speaking but not white enough in skin tone. I do not think I should have to choose a side, so why as me to? I wish I was more white skinned, then I would feel accepted. […]
Adriana Pedroza Both of my parents were born and raised in Mexico. Looking at my family pictures, I’m the odd one out. As a child, I was blonde, and my eyes have always been on the lighter side. My skin is not dark. I don’t have my mom’s dark hair or my dad’s dark eyes […]
Annaleisle Gingher Peachtree City, GA Understanding my ethnicity has explained so much and helped me understand who I am. I may be classified in a box as “white” but I am a second generation Sicilian with dark skin and dark hair. I’ve always identified with other races. Only to understand we are all the same […]
Isaac Chicago, IL Check out this video about a blind date gone wrong once a young lady realizes her date is exactly what she said she was looking for: Tall, dark, and handsome. Clicking on the link below will take you to youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDq_wEGwZNA
Kristen Stephens Adelphi, MD My skin is special, not because I am light but because it is mine. Love the skin you are in!
Sarita Houston, TX As a child in the south, I was picked on for several reasons: I have a dark complexion, I have decent hair, and I spoke English the way I was taught to. All of which cut very deeply. The worst came from family members, cousins, who would introduce me to their friends […]
Mikah Broken Arrow, OK A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I’m Mexican… I’m light-skinned with dark hair and it disappoints me that it’s hard to get a dark tan or that people can’t tell. I’m proud to be a Mexican American and I’m still finding my identity as a person and […]
Rebekah Day Vinita, OK As the only brown complected person in my large family, I stand out against the pale white. I am constantly asked if I am adopted, or a “half-sister” in relation to my siblings. I am a woman of mixed heritage of various European and Native American blood, along with the rest […]
Jeffery J Jaekley Bolivar, MO Race matters. It shapes our identity, yet it is not the whole of our identity. There are elements that are common to the experience of any racial group, yet these are not universal to all members of that group. I’m bi-racial–white and Native American. Among whites, I’m often the darkest […]
Lynn Li, Hilo, HI. I feel a little sheltered living in Hawaii. I’m 100% Chinese and my significant other, Angel, is Afro- Latino. No one looks twice at us on the islands. Mixed race couples and children are everywhere. Plus, we pass as locals because of our looks. But we met in San Francisco and […]
Pamela Marshall Milwaukee, WI Life long experiences in dealing with racial ignorance is taking its toll. Being light enough that whites assume you are one of them has allowed me to hear racist comments that would have not been spoken, had they known they were in the presence of a black woman. Then my struggle […]
Kavita Charleston, SC As an Indian-American woman working in agriculture, I used to frequently get some variation of this comment when I sold at farmers’ markets. Really? Should I thank you for that comment?
Joe DiPietro Oakland, CA As a short, dark white guy who’s been called “kike,” “spic,” and “raghead” by white guys, “gringo” or “anglo” by Hispancis, “dago” and “WOP” by blacks, I’ve learned what voice I have in the discussion about race and ethnicity. None. Yeah, I know–I haven’t lived the oppression. I’ll be a good […]
Conner Bennett Atherton , CA
Paula J. Currie-Raymond Oakland, Montreal All of my youth I felt less than; however, I was never sure why that was. I spent a lot of time asking myself the question – never in a conscious way, but rather in the subconscious. I lived all of my youth in a neighborhood where most families were […]
Ryan Moody Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Carolyn Ash Denver, CO In the opening chapter of his book The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois describes double consciousness as follows: “One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from […]