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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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?”
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, […]
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 […]
Noah Allen, Heber City, UT.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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. […]
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 […]
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.
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, […]
Justina Adarkwah Christchurch, VA I’ve always had a problem with identity, but ironically I realized it was me that thought I had a problem, it was society, my community, everyone else who had an opinion about ‘what’ I was and who I should be. I’m not sorry to let everyone one know that its not […]
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. […]
Ashley Stefanowicz Hampton, VA
Christian Rigby Heber, UT I believe that everybody has the potential to become the person they want to be. We should not let things like our race or ethnicity define our purpose in life. This means two things. First it means that we must make it our job to not judge others biased on their […]
Catherine Cranston, RI People do not call me a white girl but the girl in the wheelchair.
Mari Filer Tuscaloosa, AL
Reginald A. Taylor North Bethesda, MD
Ann Lewis Richmond, VA Racism is a system of oppression that only People of Color can experience; there is no “reverse racism” or racism against white people, because there is no system which intentionally oppresses them. If you are white, you can experience prejudice or even discrimination based on your race, but you will never […]
Jordan Schramm Richmond, VA When I think of white, I think of a simple 8×12 sheet of printer paper. My skin does not resemble that color at all, so why define me in such a way? And when you call someone “black”, they are not the color of a chalk board, you are wrong. Color […]
Georgia Gausdioso Encinitas, CA
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 […]
Emily Gadient Des Moines, IA Drake University
Harmony Mason Spokane Falls Community College Spokane, WA
Kyra O’Kelley Atlanta, GA
David G Robertson United Kingdom
Marcus Atlanta, GA Born of African American parents, raised by my African American mother and Irish-German (adopted) father. Big brother to a bi-racial sister and my cousins are white, Asian and Latino.
Mark Fitchett Morristown, TN
Yamel T. Colorado Springs, CO I was always pushed away because I could not speak English when I was little. As a result people never really got to know who I really am. I feel like people should never assume or outcast a person because they speak only a certain language, because they never get […]
Jennifer Cantrick Ann Arbor, MI While in reality race is one aspect of thousands that makes a person who they are, in America more often than not race is used as a defining characteristic rather than a descriptive one. The disproportionality in the way people see race over every other factor besides gender as a […]
Randy Welles Colorado Springs, CO
Katie Devor Ann Arbor, MI
Emily Rosenthal Ann Arbor, MI
Kendrick Mejia Jamaica Plain, MA No matter what box you check at the end all that matters is how you feel about yourself.
Kai Brown Boston, MA Often times I feel that as soon as people see me, they label me as a certain race and adjust their expectations of me according to the stereotypes of my race. If you have to judge, please judge me by my actions and not my skin color.
Olufunbi Eboda Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Lauren Machado Lakewood, CA
Roger Fisher Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Grazzi Bindlesmock Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan
Rachel Pak College Park, MD University of Maryland
Jennifer Guadarrama Morris, MN
Sarah College Park, MD University of Maryland
Jalessa Allen NC Listening I heard a young man, Davon, proclaim his race does not define him. Your race describes you. Your characteristics describe you. All theses things together define who a person is, not a single characteristic.
Melissa Dobsen Ann Arbor, MI
High School student Washington, DC
Joseph Reeves Paducah, KY Define the word N….. and get busy if it defines U! I am of confused heritage and descendant of lost stories. My history has been lost so I fight not to allow the Black Hole of my genetic pool to swallow me whole. Who am I? Why won’t they talk? I […]
Julia Watson Iowa City, IA