“What is your ethnicity?” I’m human.

Sabrina Perrin, Delaware, OH. As I started growing up, I started getting more and more questions about what ethnicity I was. Although these questions weren’t typically offensive, I find it a little bothersome that people look to depict others for their ethnicity or race. I don’t want to label people based on these things, as […]

Race is a misunderstanding of Biology

Coco Smith Salem, OR A phenotype is not a race. There is only one human race. What people are calling race, is actually ethnicity. That is a cultural binding construct. It is that diversity that makes the world an interesting place. Without it, none of us would be here.

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Not all Latinos are Mexicans

Irlena A. Rodriguez, Tucson, AZ. Mexican is not a race, and not all Latinos are Mexicans. We have different cultures and ethnicity across Latin America. I am Latina and I am Colombian, Not Mexican. there’s a big difference.

Why do you sound so white?

Ladaja Kennedy, Norfolk, VA. Growing up, I went to a predominately white school with mostly white friends. Because of this I was usually not hanging around with people of my same race and ethnicity, thus not sounding like the others or having connection like everyone else did when it came to it. Then later when […]

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What nationality are you anyway?

Kristina, Zion, IL. I’m multiracial, which caused an identity crisis in my teens. I was never enough of one race or the other to really fit in with anyone. So, I decided to just be myself. I can love all my ethnicities, and the people who were meant to love me understand that.

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“So you’re black and what else?”

Dawnae Maldonado, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. All my life I have experienced some type of racist comments and questions. It was always, “what ethnicity are you?” “Where are you from?” “You’re black and what else?” “You’re Latina?! Do you speak Spanish?” “Oh, you’re black.” “Are you Asian?” “Are you Indian?” and the list literally goes on […]

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Adopted but am I still Mexican

Kasey Nichols, Clemmons, NC. I’ve known I’ve been adopted since I can remember and never questioned my ethnicity until I reached middle school age because we had to fill out cards with “check yes if Latino, African American, white or other.” Biologically I’m Mexican and Italian, but I was raised white with my dad being […]

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I am not your curiosity game.

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 […]

Am I Jewish? Ancestry vs. Religion

Alexandra Vogt Crofton, MD Because I was not raised in the Jewish faith, I feel unable to claim my ancestry on my father’s side the way I do with the family history on my mother’s side (Norwegian immigrants.) I wish there were commonly used terms that differentiated Jewish ethnicity from the religion.

Why must our differences be wrong?

Sarah Whitlock Indianapolis, IN It is so frustrating to be around people who are discriminatory. I am tired of having to worry about offending someone because I make a comment that mentions their race or ethnicity. Such a comment is not a problem specifically because it is potentially negative, but because it mentions their race. […]

We are who we make us

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 […]

Mexican, ethnicity of my heart!

Kathy Smith-Wenning, Highlands, NJ. My boxes check white, Anglo-Saxon but the ethnicity of my heart is Mexican. That is for all the good, the beauty, and the kindness afforded to me by the Mexican people here in NJ and Oaxaca, Mexico.

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No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]

Suburban white kids nicknamed me Chinaman

Aaron Yeh, Las Vegas, NV. White mother, Chinese father, I was raised by my mom and don’t speak Chinese. Sometimes I look in the mirror and my Asian features surprise me. It’s startling how I identify more with being ‘white’ than anything else. The “other” box on forms asking my ethnicity has always comforted me, […]

I am WHITE. I’m NOT RACIST.

Heather Simms, Suffolk, VA. Something that has bothered me throughout the years is the immediate perception because I am a middle class white individual that I automatically have some sort of racism integrated into my DNA. I respect and love everyone regardless of color, ethnicity or appearance. Racism is a concern in our society but […]

She wishes for American eyes.

Rose McKenney Lakewood, WA I’m glad we’re finally acknowledging the number of multi-ethnic people in the US. Sadly people my age (50s) have been asked to choose one; yet I know several multi-ethnic people around my age. They lost a lot because they or their parents felt the need to choose one tradition or ethnicity.

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I can’t believe you are Vietnamese!

Stephanie Do, San Jose, CA. Whenever I tell people that my ethnicity is Vietnamese, people are usually shocked and then say that I look like I’m Mexican or Indian. There’s only been a handful of people who know I’m Vietnamese right when I meet them.

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Race should not matter in America.

Jordan Hockett, Round Rock, TX. We are all Americans. Its the bottom line, and true. You cant judge someone by their skin color if their born or a citizen in our great country. That’s the diversity that keeps us, The Free People, separated from each other. We shouldn’t use race as tool to differentiate us […]

Being Asian doesn’t mean I’m Chinese

Kay West Jordan, UT I get called Chinese all the time, and I have a lot of Chinese friends, but I am Japanese. Just because I am Asian, does not mean I am Chinese. Just like being Hispanic does not make them all Mexican. Being Caucasian doesn’t mean they are all from England. Every culture […]

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My race isn’t who I am

Jackson R Barnes, Ferrum, VA. My race/ ethnicity hasn’t effected me in the slightest. I have not been discriminated against or any other of these ill circumstances that I hear others go through. Perhaps I am sheltered or maybe I am blind, but in a case such as this maybe it is better to be […]

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We are all spirits of human race.

Katarzyna Smirnov, Longmont, CO. Yes, to expound I am tired of people misusing race or interchanging it with ethnicity. There is not one single genetic marker that distinguishes one ethnicity from another. The only time the color of ones skin should matter if they go missing or you are painting them in which case you’ll […]

Im just white on the outside.

George Nalbandian, San Francisco, CA. I look like a typical white boy, but my culture and family traditions are nothing like that of a white male/ or an American. My ethnicity is Armenian, and my skin tone is pale, but there are a lot of darker skinned Armenians too. A lot of us look Middle […]

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I didn’t know you are black

Gianni Johnson, Moreno Valley, CA. A lot of times when the topic of race or ethnicity comes up people are not sure where exactly to place me. People who I’ve just meet, and even people whom I have known for a while will say, “I didn’t know you are black” or they might say “I […]

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No you’re NOT Latina, YOU’RE white.

Karen Davis, Cupertino, CA. Recently, I was told by my closest friends that I am NOT latina I am white. I can not understand this because they know I speak fluent Spanish. My father was a migrant worker. My mother was from Mexico and her English was okay however it was obvious she preferred spanish. […]

I'm a "who", not a "what".

I’m a “who”, not a “what”.

Jerrel A. Burgo, Syracuse, NY. The Race Card Project On Location: Syracuse University My race/ethnicity is not easily identifiable for many people. No one’s race/ethnicity should be deemed “easily identifiable”. Humans do not fit into boxes that were constructed for us. We choose, on our own, how we identify. Many times, people will ask me, […]

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I’m proud to be a Bahamian!

Willis Mackey Jr., Christchurch, VA. I think that race is not a colour, but an ethnicity. I am so tired of being placed into the stereotypes of an African American. I am skin colour is black, I am a Bahamian. Born and raised in the Bahamas I should not have to be classified because of […]

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You Italian then? No, I’m Hispanic.

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 […]

“They’ve never heard of us before”

Lucy Moua, Fresno, CA. My name is Lucy and I am Hmong. “Hmong” some may question and say as most people are not aware of this particular ethnicity. Growing up, I’ve always thought my ethnicity was well known and familiar to people as I grew in a community where people embraced the Hmong culture even […]

Belief Gap Not An Achievement Gap

Kelly Cutler, Portland, OR. Our beliefs play a powerful role in the discussion of race, especially in the world of education. In my view, the system of education suffers from a “believe gap” related to students of color, rather than students of coloring having an “achievement gap”. When are we going to unpack our believes […]

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I’m biracial. I can’t choose one.

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.

Many feelings, but not enough words.

Tatyana Parrish, Valley Stream, NY. My six words are a fairly simple way to explain how complicated this matter is to me. My father was never there, and my mom worked her absolute ass off in order to make up for that. My father is African American, and because of this I’ve come to resent […]

Terrified to Discuss Race Because I’m White

Hanne, Columbus Grove, OH. I grew up in a primarily white upper class community. Anyone in my town that are of a different ethnicity or race were adopted and brought into the community. I grew up being told to stay away from the topic of race because it will offend others. When I started college […]

It’s sad how uncomfortable this is

Wes, Boston, MA. I feel like the topic of race has become uncomfortable for many people because we assume the worst of people’s words. A discussion that includes the ethnicity of another person too commonly leads to an argument or someone accused of being a racist when no harm was intended or when a fact […]

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Hispanic doctor. It’s not an oxymoron.

Lynette M. Silva, Dallas, TX. My ethnicity apparently changes depending on the immediate environment. I get followed in stores here in Texas, and asked questions like, “Where are your people from?” But when I go to work–I’m a Ph.D.–I am told, “You’re Hispanic? I just don’t see it.”

Wow! You speak Spanish so well.

Jorge Talamantes, Azusa, CA. Student ’15 I am a Latino man of Mexican and Cuban descent, so when people tell me that I speak Spanish well because I happen to have lighter skin and “can pass as a white boy”, I am offended that they relate skin color to race and ethnicity. My race and […]

Colorblindness means you can’t see me.

Ashley Diaz Mejias, Richmond, VA. I write this as 34 year seminarian and old mom of two girls; my husband is haitian and puerto rican, and I am cuban and white. I am part of a church that, over the past year, has walked through race dialogues in an effort to begin bearing witness to […]

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I’m Appalachian–it’s an invisible ethnicity

Catherine Vance Agrella, Asheville, NC. I’m white, and by definition am associated with some of the worst perpetrators of racism. But I also come from deep Appalachian Scots-Irish roots and have a clear ethnic identity. I do know what it feels like to be mocked for my speech, or thought of as a dumb hillbilly, […]

“He’s so cute! What is he?”

Adrienne Karyadi, Los Angeles, CA. I think of this as a supermarket check-out line experience: I’m waiting with strangers in some kind of line, and they notice me with my son. My son tries to engage them and they respond. And then they start wondering: what ethnicity is he? because he doesn’t look like he […]

I’m Slavic; more than just “white”.

Nicholas Ellis, Somerville, MA. Being referred to as simply “white” strips me of my ethnicity, of which I am very proud. I look Slavic, I am Slavic, why should I be OK with being referred to in any other way? My people were also slaves, in fact the word “Slave” comes from an old French […]

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But you don’t look Italian

Katie Rotondo, El Segundo, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about race and ethnicity lately. Looking back, it bothers me how many times I was asked what ethnicity I am, responding by saying I am Italian, and getting the famous saying, “But you don’t look Italian!” This is a daily response. Just because I don’t […]

Am I Hispanic enough to ‘count’?

Alix Sotomayor, Boone, NC. I have always felt suspended between two worlds, since my ethnicity is widely varied (like that of most Americans). I am mostly (~70%) white, of Scots-Irish and English descent, but also have a chunk (25%) of Puerto Rican heritage (the missing ~5% comes from smidges of Native American and German ancestry). […]

My wife calls me ethnically flexible.

Paul Kuck, Portland, OR. I could talk about this all day. Race, ethnicity, and ancestry fascinate me. The question of who I am has been with me since I can remember. When I was little, we lived near the reservation in South Dakota, and everyone thought I was Native. My sister who is pale, blue […]

Fake friends slandered my wife’s ethnicity.

Gary Kraemer Phoenix, Metro Area, AZ Two different former friends put up hate speech about people of my wife’s ethnicity on the internet. They were directly confronted, given an opportunity to make it right and choose not to. I broke off both friendships. They actually needed my friendship much more than I needed theirs.

My kids are “beige”, not white…

Linda Levittown, NY My three children are a mix of English/Irish and Puerto Rican and when you line them up in a row, you can see one mirrors me, the second mirors my husband and our third is a pretty even split down the middle and can “fit” either side of our mixed family. A […]

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Being Sicilian explains who I am.

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 […]

We define ourselves, not race.

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 […]

You’re the African American of Indians.

Nikolette Joseph Union City, CA People always ask me what is my ethnicity. I respond saying Fijian and they look at me like what the heck is that. I explain to them that its an small island next to Hawaii. ”Ohhh okay” as they say. The Fiji water , that’s where you come from? So […]

Color:Brown Ethnicity:Greek Race:Human

John Q. Kontos Chicago, IL Sometimes, I wish that there were alien cultures that were a potential threat to our existence on earth, then and perhaps only then, would we view ourselves as one people instead of our current hateful and racist thinking. We all need a reminder from time to time that we are […]

White privilege was actual, palpable relief

Xacu Seattle, WA The country we came from views us as bad and wrong. We were conquered, killed, and hated. Laws were made against us, we were disallowed to speak our own language, forced to speak theirs. When I say hunted, I mean there were death squads sent out by the government that took 21,000+ […]

Why doesn’t my ethnicity have value?

Harry Bulkeley Galesburg, IL We don’t pick our race or our ancestors. Mine began coming to this country in 1635. They founded Concord, MA and one was the master mason on Old North Church. Some left the colonies because they were persecuted for being loyal to the king. Some were canal boat captains. One sold […]

A study of ethnicity in sisters

Miriam Lennmark Tampa, FL If you want to really look at how race affects us, look at sisters. Sisters with the same biological parents, same home, same everything…except the color of their skin, hair, and eyes. Our lives are so different. She looks Caucasian…I look…well, brown. Most people will tell me I look Latin, but […]

Don’t ask me, “What are you?”

Cecile Nguyen Austin, TX Alternative title could also be “I hate the Asian Guessing Game.” I really don’t mind people being curious about my ethnicity. What I do mind is how people go about finding out my ethnicity. “Are you Chinese? Japanese? Korean?…[list goes on]” Believe me, they’ll keep going until I stop them. And […]

Race/Ethnicity does not equal Nationality

Lita Ray Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Since people always ask me what my nationality is in order to know my ethnic background it BOTHERS ME LIKE none other.. because my nationality is American. By asking me what my nationality is takes away from my Americanness. So my 6 words are: […]

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Ask WHO I am, not WHAT.

Jessica Hong, Philadelphia, PA. As an Asian American, people often ask “what” I am within the first 20 minutes (or sometimes 20 seconds!) of meeting me. Others feel self-conscious about asking but are visibly relieved when/if I happen to mention my ethnicity myself. I think the question of my ethnicity wouldn’t bother me so much […]

I’m always ashamed of being mixed.

Yvonne Michigan Black people have really bad stereotypes that’s why I don’t claim black , but I don’t claim Hispanic either, they have there stereo- types as well. Ghetto Hoodlums Mean Scary Constant fights Gang bangs Workers Farmers A lot of kids No husband Poor When people look at me the first thing they see […]