Dustin F. Hecker, Needham, MA. Identity politics will be the death of the grand American National experiment. In my humble opinion, we need to stop focusing on the 2% of our DNA that makes us look different than others and focus on the 98% of our DNA that makes us really quite similar. That does […]
Chuy Benitez, Houston, TX. When you grow up at the collision of two countries, of two cultures, of two identities, you learn very quickly the different nuances between the two cultures and you adapt to appease whichever culture you have to encounter. It makes you more observant, but of course it doesn’t occur without making […]
Flora Griffith, Omaha, NE. I was eight years old when I first began to feel like an outsider. My school was very segregated, white people hung out with white people and black people hung out with black people, ect. I felt alone, I was never truly accepted into the black, white, or latino communities. The […]
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 […]
Victoria, Salem, OR. As a biracial person, people often ask me, “what ethnicity are you?” – aka what race can I define you as? People who first meet me will ask me this question without ever asking for my name. They seem to only care about what I am not who I am. However, I […]
Olivia Chovanes, Philadelphia, PA.
Ehsanullah, Ashburn, VA. Family of four From Afghanistan Love Basketball
Anonymous, Baltimore, MD. When people discuss race, they seem to refer to only people of color. I always check Caucasian on forms. At the doctors yesterday, there was a new option, Eastern European. It felt like a better fit for me. Just because my skin lacks pigment, doesn’t mean that I am the same as […]
Lora-Ellen McKinney, Renton, WA. I am not my color, though I am in some ways what my color represents in America. I am, by this definition, an African American first because this what people see. I also identify with African American history, culture, family structure and faith practices. But alone in my house where I […]
Mac Dates, Montpelier, VT.
Sarah Walker, Minneapolis, MN.
Sierra McGeoghegan, Weymouth, MA. Growing up and even now I am always denied my Mexican heritage by lots of people of all races. I am Irish + Mexican and a few other races. My family treated my Hispanic blood as a taboo, the Latinos I knew as a child rejected me once I shared I […]
Wyndee Holbrook, San Antonio, TX. Mrs. Thicklin was my 5th grade teacher. She was my best teacher and she was my first African American teacher. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She taught me unequivocally that race does not define people, regardless of what my dad said.
I have not experienced racism. It’s as flat as that. My whole family are nice people and I have not been exposed to racism. However, I do know quite a bit about it. From the history of how racism came to be to the people who changed it for better and worse. My ethnicity is […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Race and racism isn’t something I’ve had really any experiences with all my life. I don’t know anyone, I’ve never heard or seen anything before videos and everything with this project, and nothing has ever happened towards me. The only experiences I’ve had are from […]
As a kid, people call me brown sugar, or caramel, and think of me as a kid who crossed the border with her family illegally, because of my skin color. My family was always poor and had jobs that didn’t always keep roofs over our heads. We always ran or hid from the police and […]
Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”
Anaisa Sanchez, Riverside, CA. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom made sure I knew about all the Mexican Traditions within our culture. Of course growing up Mexican you always listen to everything your respectful elders comment on. However, as I’ve gotten older, I question everything that crosses my path. For example, there […]
Rucheeka Desai, College Park, MD. I am the only person who has a say in who I am and who I will become. My race does not define me, my skin color does not define me, and other people’s opinions definitely do not define me.
Daaiyah Ellison, Lakeland, FL.
Marlina Tadesse, College Park, MD.
Chad Franklin, Laguna Hills, CA.
Daaiyah Ellison, Lakeland, FL.
Valaire L. Moore, Morrow, GA. I am a black woman with locks. From white people I am seen as an Islander and from blacks I am seen as a weed smoker…from all I have been labeled Rastafarian, Hippie and basically everything, but ME…the image people have of me clouds the actual vision of ME…they see […]
Jeff Marks, Mountain View, CA. I have been hearing about the importance of “seeing race” a lot lately. What does this mean for my life? It can’t mean I should TRY to categorize people, should it? I often meet people that don’t easily fit in a standard racial category. For me, I will take it […]
Cassandra Young, Norfolk, VA. Often times when filling out a survey or application we are asked to select our race. Many of the times the directions state to only choose one. I am biracial and one race does not define me.
Delaina Peek, Sarasota, FL. One’s culture and Race is important and defining, but Love overcomes all and we all are the voices of Love
Marquelle, CA. Don’t believe the hype! I am African American! I am not a violent criminal. I have never been arrested! I am not lazy and uneducated, on welfare, or living in poverty. I am gainfully employed, and I attend California Baptist University! I am not athletic. I cannot play basketball or run fast! I […]
Amaka Amanambu, Davie, FL. Love is what we should speak, act and show. Doesn’t ask where is my footprint.
Megan, Keithville, LA. People always call me and my family trashy because we have tattoos and I have piercings as well. People should be able to express themselves in whatever way they want to, whether it be by tattoos and piercings or anything other. Be you 🙂
Jenn M. Hayward, CA, We aren’t given the same voice and representation as everyone else, even though we have just as interesting of a history, if not even more fascinating. This is a blessing and a curse. We don’t have role models or an image, but at the same time, that has proven to be […]
REPOST: Streamed live on June 29, 2014 Who Will “Us” Be? w/ Anand Giridharadas, Eric Liu, Michele Norris, Monica Lozano & Paul Taylor There have long been two notions of what it means to be American: one is civic and colorblind, found in our Constitution and creed; the other, quite simply, is about being white. […]
Michala Day, Farmville, VA.
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 […]
Adrea Benedetti, College Park, MD. I will not let race define who I am nor will I judge another based on the color of their skin.
Justin Weick, West Long Branch, NJ. Monmouth University
Tricia Stewart, Minneapolis, MN. I am bi-racial and I’ve experienced racism from both sides(black and white). You don’t always realize in the moment whether something has an impact on you, whether it be negative or positive; eventually in some form you will feel it. Only you can determine if you’re going to allow it to […]
Brenda Ward, Schaumburg, IL. The color of our skin has nothing to do with who we are. It is where we live, who raises us, our family traditions, our geography. We try to peg the differences on color because it is easier to see and understand and our lack of interest in exploring and appreciating […]
Desiree’ Parker, Sacramento, CA. In a room full of black people I am comfortable, in a room full of white people I am comfortable, in a room full of mixed races I am comfortable. I act “black”, but I have no reason to hate them just as they have no reason to hate me. We […]
Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]
Eddie Releford, Towson, MD. Towson University Your race doesn’t define who you are. You define who you are. Where all human, just different shades of beautiful. One day… people will realize were all the same. Until then fight hate with love.
Matthew, TX. Black, White, Asian, or Pink with Purple polka dots – your skin color is not who you are. Do not obsess over the shade God painted you when you were born. Do not let history define you. Do not allow others to control your actions. Love, respect, kindness. Not hate and vengeance for […]
Kristin Koby, Palm Bay, FL. I was put up for adoption before I was even born. A loving white family of 7 took me in and treated me, a mixed race infant, as their own. They soon after adopted a black child so that I could have a sibling my age to grow up with […]
Morgan Engelhardt, Norfolk, VA. A lot of times I get shut down for calling myself Pacific Islander or Asian because I look white. The truth is, I’ve always preferred to identify myself with my Filipino ancestors rather than my white ones. It feels like home to me.
Doug Shipman, Atlanta, GA. The demographic changes seen in the census are at a turning point– race has to change because the categories are rapidly falling with intermarriage, internationalization and the rise of majority-minority in America.
Olivia Rose Castillo, Sanger, CA. I am constantly asked if I’m sure of the racial group I belong to because the color of my skin. I am light complected, I’m a lot lighter then most. Doesn’t mean I should be defined by my skin color. All of my are similar in our faces but all […]
Willia, Cranston, RI. Yes, I’m Black, But, I’m Human Too…
Ivy, Salem, OR. It’s sad, because I thought for the longest time that race doesn’t matter. At least in my household it doesn’t. I was brought up by white parents who taught me that our skin colors didn’t define us. Our family was a family no matter our racial differences. Yet, when I stepped outside […]
Repeka Touli, Murray, UT. “Alien” is the one word I grew up hating because when I was old enough to carry an Identification card (for having a job), I thought it was the coolest thing ever because it made me feel like I‟ve grown up and I get to own one just like the adults […]
Teri V. Markanson, Crescent City, CA. Before I knew what the definitions were, these words were used to describe me as a young child.
Shelby, Sunnyvale, CA. Too many people in this world focus on how we look when we should be focused on our character and our personality. We are too fascinated with our physical appearance when we should be fascinated with our words, our actions and our intelligence. Those are the things that should truly define who […]
Timothy Yambao, Sacramento, CA. Coming from an Asian family, everyone expected me to get a 4.0+ but I couldn’t never meet their expectations.
Zachary Trebellas, Batavia, IL. I think so much pain over race comes from the fact that it feels like we are being defined by others. The government pics the categories and we have to fill in the bubbles. Or other people look at us and decide what they think we are. It’s frustrating for me […]
Mansoor Qureshi, Waukegan, IL.
Tena Thompson, Hilton Head, SC. We need to start our individual conversations about race and life issues within our centers of influence.
Dawn Taylor, Alta Loma, CA. I don’t want to be defined by the color of my skin and I don’t define others by the color of theirs. We are better defined by our character, how we behave when we think no one is watching. When in doubt, be loving and kind. Give people the benefit […]
Jamie Lee Myers Jacksonville, FL Many people seem to identify who they are by their race. We also all seem to have a tendency toward making assumptions based on how people look. I am fair with naturally red hair that is currently blonde. Most think I am Irish and that is in my family tree, […]
Cherisse Hayes, USA. The borders of the structure of race are become more prevalent and defined, racists are getting more brute at protecting those borders.
Sarah Hilger, Lawrence, KS.
Ally C., Madison, WI. People need to realize we are made up of the same bone structure. Our anatomy makes us, us and the color of our skin or the differences in our cultures do not define us.
Rosita Gonzalez, Madison, WI. I am not who I seem. Roads converged to make me a person of three races, of which only one sticks. My children only identify with the one that sticks. But I cannot tell them much about that race that defines them. I blog about it to examine and heal both […]
Jessica Soriano, Fontana, CA. My race does not define me, and it will not have any impact on the goals that I have set for myself. I am reaching for the stars and will settle for nothing but the best.
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. […]
Greg Johnson, Maineville, OH. After all is said and done, we are each individuals who live and breathe. We happen to occupy this or that body, but that body is not us. It’s not who we are. It can have a tremendous effect on who we are, but it does not have to define us […]
Ebony Delaisla, Fresno/Sanger, CA. I wrote, Mexican? but you have green eyes… because, I’m light skinned with green eyes and every time I tell others I am Mexican they question it.
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 […]
Taylor Pederson, MN. Almost 2 years ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. She has my smile, my big eyes, my fine hair with a touch of red that shows when the sun hits it, my long fingers, and so much more. But no one sees this. They don’t see me in her […]
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 […]
Lisette Lazaro, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. When people see the color of someone skin they automatically go to an conclusion that are one specific race. For example, when they see a person with light brown skin they say the person is Mexican and when their skin is white they automatically […]
Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. It’s weird how simple hair and skin color can categorize humans into different ethnicities and cultural origins that might not define that person at all.
Ty Pethe, Seattle, WA. For better or worse, we are social creatures that innately create groups of people like us. Whether it’s race, nationalism, gender, sex, ethnicity, economic class, sexual preference, religion, culture, age, sub-culture, political identity, philosophical identity, geographic identity, etc., we all tend to find value in our own (shared) identity. It tells […]
Cynthia Deras, GA. Are you hispanic? Why don’t you speak spanish? What part of Mexico are your parents from? Say something in Spanish! Your not really Mexican if you dont speak spanish. Basically thats the reaction I get from the latino community when someone finds out I dont speak Spanish. I lost Spanish as a […]
Matt Bentz, Submitted via Twitter: @mbentz27. Drake University Des Moines, IA
Derek Martin, Adrian, MI.
Ricardo Quintanilla Jr., Mission, TX. For what I have seen the world to be, skin color makes for a subject of preference or a form of documentation. Skin color shouldn’t define or explain, it should simply be what it is, a skin color.
Margarita, San Marcos, CA. Many people have judged not just me but my parents as well because of their citizenship status, we’re not good enough, just a burden to society. People have said that I won’t finish high school because I’ll end up pregnant by my senior year. My parents have had trouble getting jobs […]
Zoe Zeerip, Rockford, MI. The elders in my family still believe race defines relationship.
Jordan Yee Fremont, CA The biggest illusion is the illusion of SEPARATION. We all have the same roots and we are all branches of the same tree. People constantly ask me my ethnicity- I’m Black/Chinese/Norwegian but that doesn’t DEFINE who I am (it just gives me my good looks lol) .. but I don’t want […]
Brittany Carney, Washington, DC. As a person that is three quarters African American and one quarter Japanese, I feel that culturally I’m the other away around.
Cortney Pouncey, Sacramento, CA. Being biracial, my hands have always been forced to choose what ethnicity I should identify as. In reality, I am just as black as I am white. How could I pick one and deny the other? I believe biracial people are the key to end racism.
Khairah L. Walker, Montclair Heights, NJ. My hair is not my heritage. It’s been an issue my entire life, people define me because of it. People hate me for having it, curse me when cutting it. It is not ME. Yes it is my crown but I am my temple. I revel in my blackness, […]
Noah Allen, Heber City, UT.
Olivia Sliwa, Brandon, FL. I am a freshman in college and grew up in a loving, supportive family. Myself and both of my parents are white, but the always instilled in me to treat others as I would want to be treated and to never judge anyone simply because they had a different skin tone […]
Katy Morris, Kansas City, KS.
Charlene Dashiell, Manassas, VA.
Olivia Olmos, Oakland, CA. I am a junior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA, in the English class of Ms. Sarah Tunik–s
R.M. Lutz, East Lansing, MI. My color does not define me. Why should being white make me feel guilty? I didn’t want slavery. I didn’t want Jim Crow. I didn’t ask to be born into a family that is upper middle class. But somehow, people blame me like it’s my fault. Like I wanted to […]
Drew Baker, East Lansing, MI.
Erin Powell, Washington, DC. “Are you sure your dad is really black?” “If you imagine her with curly hair, you can tell she’s mixed.” “You look straight white, nothing else.” “Ugly half n*****.” Just a taste of the both disparaging and conflicting comments I’ve received on my YouTube vlog about my personal experience being biracial. […]
Sheila Islam, Oakland, CA. You do not win a prize if you get it right. People hardly ever guess it right and thats not exactly the problem. The problem is, that when people do this, I feel objectified. I feel like my physical appearance is being ripped from me and being judged. I am so […]
Michael Havis, Brooklyn, NY. I think the word racism no longer defines the conversation we should be having. The image of racism in America is of the KKK or southern slave owners with whips. Being racist and being a good person are not mutually exclusive. Racism today isn’t being a part of lynch mobs or […]
Lindsay Svendsen, DeKalb, IL. This project is amazing, but I wish things like this did not have to exist in order for so many to open their eyes and their hearts. How we appear on the outside does not define who we are nor should it be the basis for any judgements.
Destiny Baker Raeford, NC The only thing that defines how you are as a person is you, not your past, culture, and especially not race.