Debra Cope, Alexandria, VA. Adoption is beautiful, and I really don’t mind helping others navigate the awkward preconceptions that accompany it. But this phrase just burns me because it equates my spunky, lively child with an object . She’s not my toy — she’s my daughter!
Michele Malmstrom, Charlottesville, VA. My daughter has always had very low self-esteem. I tried her entire life to address the problem by complimenting her and giving her the tools for building her confidence: cello lesson, in which she excelled, girl scouts where she achieved the silver award, college educated with a B.A. and at 24 [...]
Laura N. Weston, Baltimore, MD. About 80% of the time people assume (mostly men) I am Puerto Rican even though I am half Caucasian and half African American. I stress to everyone who thinks it is important enough to ask me what I am that I am Mixed or Biracial and I state with what. [...]
Tina C. Ozturk, Washington, DC. You can’t imagine how many times people of all races exclaim my daughters cuteness while questioning my motherhood. I try not to take it personally, but I do find it rude and disrespectful to risk hurting a parent’s feelings just because you are curious. What’s the point?
William Kincaid, St. Louis, MO. I use some literary license in choosing the word “daughter”. She is actually the great-great-granddaughter of one of my family’s former slaves, if you want to get technical about it. But a six word statement is no place to get technical. Regardless there are not enough words to express how [...]
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, [...]
Tracy Hart Washington, DC Yes, I’m from a tobacco-pickin, Southern white trash family, and I mean that in the most endearing way. Some stereotypes my family breaks: we were Southern but poor sharecroppers rather than slave-owners. Other stereotypes my family embraces: using discriminatory language in equal measure across all those who are not white Southerners. [...]
Achilles C., Saint Paul, MN. I am a young African American single father, working hard to make sure my two daughters understand and value their own beauty, in the face of constant imagery and media messages that would suggest otherwise – my oldest was 3 the first time she wanted her hair straight like some [...]
Suzanne Strathman Alma, MO How many times have I been asked if Marquita is my “real daughter”. My thought is “She looks pretty real to me.”. Marquita is African American and we are white. We adopted her when she was 4 years old.
Irene Eggers Wheat Ridge, CO The baby’s light older siblings adore her.
Naghmeh Moshtael Portland, OR These are my daughter’s words. We live in a world of different race, culture and heritage. My husband in African American, born in Seattle and raised in Compton, CA. I am originally from Iran, raised in Cameroon (Central Africa) and now living in the US. My daughter is adopted from Ethiopia. [...]
Alexis S Atlanta, GA As we stepped on to the elevator accompanying a father and his two girls. She said “Look daddy black people”, and he turned redder than a ripe tomato and said, “That’s right honey, yellow, tan, gold, and brown people.” It was shocking to my family in hers, the fact that she [...]
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 [...]
Anne Hickling Phoenix, AZ I don’t know how to answer this when she asks. The answer is both “Yes” and “No.” Her Cuban grandparents self-identify as white, but here in the SW borderlands, she likely is seen by many as one of those “brown” people, you know, the ones who crossed the border legally or [...]
Carla Los Angeles, CA This comment is what I often heard from many people, including my own regarding my daughter from birth until about 8 years of age. I believe people actually thought they were complimenting her and maybe even me….someone who is for the most part unmistakably of African ancestry. Sometimes I would take [...]
Sonali Miller Portland, OR
Bea Melnarowicz Chicago, IL My daughter is bi-racial: her father is Spanish-French-Mexican, and I am Eastern European Caucasian. I am often told she looks ‘nothing’ like me, even jokingly by some of my friends. I am surprised each time I hear this considering the age and time we live in. The tone is rarely friendly, [...]
Charles McCoy Owens Chicago, IL Throughout my life, both professional and private, white people who are friends have said to me that race doesn’t matter and that they see me as Charlie, a person just like everybody else. Interestingly though when I am the same age as their daughters or sisters and a friendship begins [...]
Dawn E Josiah Landis, NC My daughter is Hawaiian American. I’m the white part of her, her dad is the Hawaiian part of her. After 25 years of marriage, he pushes us out of his life and returns to his roots. I’m the one that deals with the anger and pain from my daughter because [...]
Allison M Philadelphia, PA
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 [...]
Traci Butler USA I’m a Caucasian mother of a beautiful, amazing little girl who happens to be of mixed heritage, because her father is from Africa. I have a difficult time when it comes to school forms or paperwork for doctor’s offices, because they don’t give you a box for “mixed ethnicity” or a space [...]
Morgan Cooper, Stockton, CA. In 2007, when my ex husband and I were expecting our baby girl, we jokingly called her “Blackanese”, a term I still use endearingly. Most simply put, I am half Black and half White and my ex husband is half Japanese and half White. Never in our wildest dreams did we [...]
Deborah Gonzalez Carmichael, CA My daughter identifies herself as a Jew + Cuban + American. Being a Jew is more than a religion; it is an ethnicity, and per Hitler, a race. And for some reason “Cuban” has its own box to check on the U.S. Census; not Latin American, Caribbean, Hispanic etc. I’m not [...]
Barbara Schmidt Metuchen, NJ We are a caucasian couple that adopted our daughter from Southeast Asia. Random people in the supermarket make dumb comments and children have asked where is her real mom. We must carry her adoption paperwork when we travel internationally, since passport control sometimes questions whether she is really our daughter. School [...]
Lora Fraracci Des Moines, IA Drake University My beautiful daughter.
Dania Abreu-Torres San Antonio, TX My husband and I are Puerto Ricans. I am more “white” than he is -He usually was mistaken as a muslim-. We have a blonde, blue eyed girl. In Florida, he use to take her to the supermarket. He was followed by a lady and asked if the baby was [...]
Sandra Oldfield Canada I’ve gotten used to answering this question about my daughter who is adopted from the US
Kristen Green Richmond, VA My five-year-old multiracial daughter said these words while sitting on my lap today while we were both in bathing suits by the pool and she was comparing the color of our arms and legs. My answer, another race card: You’re a mix of mom and dad.
Vickie Diemer San Diego, CA ‘Overheard” at 14 years old…. radiating through the entire house.
Tracey Frierson North Ridgeville, OH Version 2: biracial anxiety; black/white; neither/both! I have two adult biracial daughters, three years apart, raised in the same home under similar circumstances- one for whom racial identity has been problematic, the other who identifies herself as Black and has always seemed to adjust positively to that aspect of her [...]
Jeff Lewis Vienna, VA A few years ago my oldest daughter, now eight years old, described the skin color of my wife, me, herself and her younger sister in terms of ice cream flavors.
Katherine Howard Venice, CA A three year old shouted this at my daughter when I came to pick her up from a play area. The child said this with a tone and with a look that I was shocked to see from a child so young. I am used to and prepared for this from [...]
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 [...]
Rebecca Schwarzlose Roayl Oak, MI I am white and my husband is Indian. My daughter has my husband’s complexion. When we are together as a family people assume that she’s mixed but when I’m out with my daughter alone (which is most of the time) everyone assumes that she’s adopted. People ask me where she’s [...]
Nicole Minneapolis, MN As a descendant of Germans and Scandinavians, I am termed WHITE. My daughter is is a strawberry blonde with creamy white skin and blue eyes. Again and again I have been asked how it was possible when her father is an African American. I have heard, “he can’t actually be her father” [...]
Louis Moore Anchorage, AK
KT Holbrook-Yanit Eugene, OR What my white father asked because I dated young men of several ethnicities. I have to admit I was sad but relieved when he passed away the year before I married my non-white husband. Now I feel he would have grown up had he gotten the chance to meet his beautiful [...]
Jessica Goldhirsch Arlington, MA
Padmaja Ganeshan Singh Seattle, WA Growing up here, in the US, my daughter’s definition of a princess, is a blonde, white young girl wearing a gown, tights and a tiara. The dress is mostly pink. DD now wears pink dresses, tights and is more or less always in a Tiara. She knows fair is only [...]
Hilary Roberts-King Baltimore, MD Children’s books and Sesame Street make multi-cultural living look so easy. Of course I want my daughters to be proud of their beautiful biracial hair. Of course I genuinely admire my daughters’ beautiful curls. But it is so much more complex than that. It’s not just hair.
Christine Alexander Spring Valley, CA
Adrienne Kern Keller, TX My daughter was two weeks from turning one on September 11, 2001. She is one of them. An Arab (pronounced with a Texas drawl: A-Rab). A camel jockey. A rag head. She is Turkish and Saudi and Egyptian. She is not white like me, her mother, who is also mixed race. [...]
Peter Chin Washington, DC That was the question that my daughter asked me when our house was broken into a second time in three years. As a Korean-American living and working in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, I was tempted to answer her question by telling her about the long-standing hostilities between the two groups. But [...]
Eric Brooklyn, NY I gave my daughter a calendar of notable African-Americans for Black history month. She thumbed through the pages and then announced “hey you know who’s missing from this calendar, Britney Spears”. I told her Britney Spears is not in the calendar because she’s not African American, to which she replied “she’s not?”. [...]
Stephanie K. New York City, NY I’m a first generation daughter in the U.S. My parents are Chinese immigrants. They just don’t get it.
Danelle Hoffer Cabot, AR Michele, thank you for this amazing project! I am the incredibly proud white mother of a 16 year old mixed race daughter who is accomplished, bright and has the warmest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. My husband is white and we married when she was 4. He adopted our daughter [...]
Thais Machado Teixeira Brazil My mom is black. My dad is white. I am not fair skinned enough to be white or dark enough to be black. Still, people believe that I’m my father’s daughter, but when I show them my mom I have to explain she married a white man so they can believe [...]
Malie Carvalho Hilo, HI This is what my daughter says to me…she looks like her other parent, not all of our races are the same.
Michele Kacmarcik Savin Wilmington, DE When I listened to the report on Wednesday I ached for my daughter… whose birth mother, my husbands first wife, was adopted from Korea. She was teased on the bus as a first grader, and told to go back where she came from… which was Wilmington Delaware! I never imagined [...]
Ashley S. Westerman Submitted via twitter: @AS_Westerman @michele_norris #TheRaceCardProject
Brenda Bielke Submitted via Twitter: @brendabie @michele_norris
Kristina K. Albuquerque, NM Perhaps it takes a directly personal experience to be willing to see white privilege. We are a mixed-race family. My husband and I are white and watching our adopted Chinese daughter understand what it means (to her; to the world around her) to be different–not white/euro/caucasian like her parents, like most [...]
Dina Stonberg Philadelphia, PA I have had the privilege to not have to think about race most of my life. Fell in love with a wonderful, kind, caring African American man – formed our family through adoption and now have the privilege of raising a beautiful, smart African American daughter. She is a joy every [...]
Patrick S. Perkins ID Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation This is an interesting program and it made me recall an experience with my 4 year old in a grocery store. There was a man of east Indian descent in line behind us and my daughter kept looking at him and looking back at [...]
Mary Palmer Manahawkin, NJ I am a white woman married to a white man. We are the parents of two biological sons and one adopted bi-racial daughter, all of them grown.
Anonymous Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Courtney M Oklahoma City, OK I’m white. I was raised in a military family that traveled everywhere and was taught to love what makes us different. Then I had children with a man who isn’t white. Now, race has taken on a whole new meaning. Explaining race issues to them is painful…for so many reasons.
Silagh White Bethlehem, PA
Wendy Wetzel Submitted via Twitter I’m white; she’s black. How do I help her through so much new to me?