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My Family Well Kept Secret Revealed

Mary F. Howard, Stockbridge, GA. I discovered I am one-fourth Native American. My paternal grandfather is full blood Cherokee. I just learned several months ago by eavesdropping on a conversation about race between my paternal uncle and aunt. They had just learned of additional children by their father outside of the marriage. It has often […]

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Because I’m dreaded, I’m categorically placed…

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 […]

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“He’s not your son? Oh good!”

Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]

Will racists be in Heaven? – Revelation 5:9

Rev. Paul Nulton, Vernon, NJ. I grew up in a very racist family and church. My grandfather subscribed to magazines like “The Cross and The Sword” – John Birch society rants about how African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics (all foreigners) were less human than white folk. I remember the minister ranting about Dr. Martin Luther King in […]

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Linda Ronstadt, I have missed you!

Christine Bunker, Riverside, CA. It is almost that time of year when the weather changes and the tamale pot gets taken out of storage. It is the one time of year when the sound of Linda singing, “Canciones De Mi Padre,” fills our home and our hearts. We feel close to her because she sings […]

Mom said brown girls are ugly.

Anna, Santa Maria, CA. I am a 47 year old Filipina. I remember being constantly compared to my lighter skinned cousins and feeling awkward to be among my own family. If I could, I would travel back in time and give my 3 year old self a tight hug and tell her how important it […]

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We are all brothers and sisters

Christina Williams, Aliso Viejo, CA. Race is such as small idea in comparison to bigger ideas like love, togetherness, family, connection and happiness. I wish to raise my children in a world where people are celebrated for ideas and compassion and not for superficial ideas such as skin color and ethnicity. Race is outside of […]

Scared that we are not enough

Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.

Mexican Until Death Does Me Apart

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 […]

I am a proud American man

Charles Tanner, Midland, TX. I am an American,there is not a pre or post to that I was not brought here I was born here. Yes my distant family came from somewhere else. But as with anyone who truly wants to be an American they assimilated. Just as if I wanted to make any other […]

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Love My Backgrounds, But Spirit First.

Sun Absy, Omaha, NE. My family is incredibly diverse, racially, culturally and religiously. I feel fortunate to have spent a life within environments where peoples’ superficial traits aren’t the focus. An aspect of overcoming racism and prejudices is learning to let go of categories and labels and to stop (whomever you are and whatever group […]

Not Connected To My Own Heritage

Amanda Bajema, Riverside, CA. When my great grandparents immigrated to America from the Netherlands after World War II they put in their best effort to become a part of American culture, which in turn meant loosing their own. Growing up my mother and her siblings were growing up they were not to learn Dutch, to […]

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All races in family equals love

Val Andrew, Overland, MO. My parents taught us early on to accept all people and invited international college students of different races, religions, and nationalities to stay with us during holidays. During the Vietnam War we hosted an AFS student from Vietnam for a year. I grew up a few miles from Ferguson and taught […]

When will we see the light

Jeannie Coicou New York City, NY Brooklyn The story behind my six words is that in this world there are forces that benefit by keeping the masses asleep. Realizing that we’re all a human family. Separation and devision is merely a tactic and as long as we don’t see each other as brothers and sisters. […]

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Just found out I’m a Jew

Larry, Orlando, FL. In closing up my elderly parents’ home, I was given some family news I did not expect from a relative I haven’t kept up with. It seems she did genealogical research and found out my grandmother’s family was deported in 1912 because they were Jewish. They came to America again a few […]

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I don’t know where to begin.

Elizabeth Johnson, Arlington, VA. There are so many things I wish I could say but am worried they will come out the wrong way. I want to say I see you’re struggling. I want to say I see racism among my friends and within my own family. I want to say it’s wrong. I want […]

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Your family isn’t your “real” family

Anonymous, Des Moiones, IA. Drake University This is what my mom was told in 1954 when social services came into her home and removed her and all of her siblings from her mom. At that time they were truly poor and were having a hard time finding enough food to eat. Her mother had a […]

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Norwegian with nappy hair doesn’t fit.

WilmaS, Seattle, WA. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if my sons were adopted…It’s happened a lot. A complete stranger approaches my family, usually in a grocery store or some other public location, and compliments me on my family. “Your sons are so handsome,” the person will say, and by […]

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Stronger TOGETHER than we are apart

Britt Mikelle, Centreville, VA. People always ask me where I come from. I tell them, “from love.” Only love or lust would have created me. I am a mutt in every since of the word. Growing up in a multiracial home, I did not know racism untill I was old enough to date. My family […]

Nazi past, American present, Christian regardless

Jessica Eaton, Minot, ND. My maiden name is “Hess” and carries a lot of weight for being a “Nazi name”. Growing up, other students in school would call me a “Nazi” because of my last name and distant relation to a couple of people who took part in the Nazi regime. I didn’t like it, […]

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Successful, Black, Gay, a family’s shame…

Karim Ali, Columbus, OH. I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]

I’m caught in two different worlds.

Carissa Lew, CA. Being born in America but having my heritage from China leads me to believe I should choose one or the other. Many people question me about how “connected” I am to my heritage, but truth be told..I’m not very in tune with my Chinese culture. It’s difficult to discern who I really […]

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Not Racist, Not Privileged, Just White.

Francis Skony, Chicago, IL. Being an almost 40 year old man from Chicago, I’ve always grown up with a melting pot of friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I do not judge anyone by their race – I will have an opinion based on how some present themselves to the world. If you have no respect and no […]

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My race does not define me

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 […]

What country does my family represent?

Chevelloni El, Newark, DE. My daughter attends a multicultural festival at her school each year where students share their experiences, cultures and history. She wants to tell about our history an cultures but I would be embarrassed to set up a table that says that we are African Americans- Africa is a whole darn continent. […]

I don’t need to feel proud

White Dude, White Area, USA. Well, to be honest, I’m not “proud” of being white. I’m not ashamed, I’m not proud. I don’t hang my head or puff out my chest. It’s not a huge part of me, to be honest. It doesn’t make me. So, I understand when people are proud of their race […]

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I will never really ‘get it’.

Celia Beasley, Seattle, WA. Being an upper-middle class white woman, I know I will never truly understand what it feels like to be a person of color in America. Despite my attempts to be aware of racism in this county through conversations, news stories, interviews, books, this website, etc, I know that I will never […]

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Free Black since at least 1820

Sherryl N Weston, Denver, CO. I was an adult before we learned the full scope of my mother’s complete ancestry story. Timbuctoo, NJ was co-founded by my 5-generations ago grandfather. Looks like he was a part of the 1860 Battle of Pine Swamp, where the residents beat the tar out of slave catchers who had […]

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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 […]

My Aunt won’t talk to me…

Rachel, MD. …because a past boyfriend of mine was of a different race then mine. I was lucky to grow up in such a diverse community that when a racist comment was made it was shot down even faster. In high school, even though everyone had their groups of friends, race truly did not matter. […]

I’m not trying to be anything else

Alex Mayes, Suffolk, VA. I grew up in a multicultural family. I am hispanic but mixed with black, white, and native american. I typically don’t talk about what I am. Many people assume that because I talk a certain way or act a certain way, that I am trying to be anything besides black. I […]

White Privilege Asian Wife Still get it…

Lee, Queens, NY. I live in NYC. A melting pot no? I am one of the few people where I work who is white American. I have a lot of experience but there are people there that have more experience than me and are better then me. I make at a minimum $15 more per […]

Raised by whitefolks judged by blackfolks

Lashanda Burns Carter, Scranton, PA. I was raised by a white family from the age 4 until 13. There were some great things and some really horrible things. But I am who I am because of the environment. Open-minded nonjudgmental, well spoken, humorous, and very shy African American. Who loves Motley Crue and hates cornbread. […]

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I’m genuinely sorry about my family.

Katy Wilkerson, Houston, TX. In the deep South, in my experience, racism is pervasive, especially when you talk about poorer and poorer white people (not just men). There truly does still exist a level of social acceptability that is just not OK. I’ve always been extremely disgusted by it, despite being white and having these […]

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Family matters; race, not at all.

Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]

As American as rice and beans

Jorge Valladares Orlando, FL My parents came to this country as undocumented immigrants from Honduras, Central America. Their three children provide public service of some kind – I work with students with disabilities at a public college; my sister is a high school Spanish teacher and my brother is a former post-9/11 US Marine and […]

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Don’t ask why families don’t match

Alicia Barnes, Starkville, MS. Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status. When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I […]

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Being biracial and adopted is complicated

Lauren Juanita Hines, Alexandria, VA. I am the American melting pot personified: born to a Mexican father and Caucasian (white, mostly Irish) mother, raised by a Lebanese mother and a German-Irish father. I remember weddings as a child where we all danced the Middle Easter dabke. Cousins on the other side of the family won […]

No B’s in an Asian Family

Jessie Blakely Los Angeles, CA I was raised in Hawaii, where there really isn’t such thing as a racial stereotype. Hawaii kids tend to be so ethnically diverse, that any stereotype today may apply to up to 1/2 of their bloodline, but rarely more. When I moved to the mainland to go to college, I […]

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With kids, people don’t separate us.

Steve Cox, Jackson, OH. Prior to having kids, people usually thought my wife (Chinese ethnic, Thai national) and I (white) were separate. If we went through a line at the store and we were both caring something, they would assume we were separate. Same thing would happen at airports and people would send us to […]

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Slavery’s legacy broke my family pride.

Katherine E. Byroade, West Hartford, CT. When I was a child, my southern grandmother took great delight in the fact that she was a Jamestown descendant and DAR member and saw her membership in those organizations as part of her legacy to her granddaughters, ensuring our social success. She was matter of fact that the […]

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Chinese, mixed, family, unknown, curiosity, food

Charlotte Wong Santa Cruz, CA I am half Chinese, and half sort-kind-of-European. I don’t know what kind of European. I never knew my father, who was white, and my mother never knew his true ethnic background, aside for him being white. My mother would always say “your father would say he is like Heinz Ketchup” […]

The plantation haunts my gay marriage.

Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]

DON’T ASK ME TO JUST FORGET

Thaddeus, Nashville, TN. I was raised poor in Louisiana where the generations of my family before me farmed and picked cotton, fished and lived off the land. Our water was rain water caught in a ground cistern and we used an outhouse for a toilet and boiled water for each night to bathe. So please […]

No, I don’t know the landscapers.

Beatrice Arreola Wilmington, DE It was the summer of the end of my sophomore year in college, when I got an internship in an engineering firm. It was my second engineering internship and I was excited that I was working in my field of study. I was part of the small structural section in the […]

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White, but can’t have Mexican family?

Jade Weber, Holland, MI. When my grandparents come up to visit, and we go out people always ask if my grandfather is related to us. My whole family is white, but my grandfather is Mexican. My grandmother married him so, he is part of my family. Sometimes when people ask we can tell they are […]

Multicolor family: pink face feels darker

Paul Berry Palo Alto, CA In my 80 years, I’ve been married twice, have three children, five grand children– and among all of them, I’m the only one that Americans call “white.” My first spouse was described on our marriage license as “color: ed”; the second, on her US immigration papers, as “color: yellow.” So […]

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Your families background doesn’t even matter!

Sara Proffett, Healy, AK. I am Russian, Scottish and Spanish. I’ve always been kind of tan and I have light brown hair. I’m short but not stout. I’ve always been made fun of for being a tiny little girl. I am a mix of different races so I was never really made fun of for […]

Why Are We The Only White People?

Maureen Forster Philadelphia, PA I was maybe 6 yrs old when My Dad, Stepmother, older sister and older brother were in Baltimore on a little family trip. We stayed at a Holiday Inn or something along those lines and were out in the pool. I grew up in a small city with much diversity but […]

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“May I please touch his hair?”

Ryan Harrell, Holland, MI. Our adoptive son, Tagg, clearly is not a biological member of our family. In his two years with us we have encountered the entire range of reactions from loving acceptance to ignorant comments to outright disgust and disdain. But through it all, the fact is that we represent the new reality […]

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“No eres gringa, no actúes así.”

Valerie Guerrero, Mission, TX. All my life I’ve grown up around my Hispanic family. It’s unusual for me to ever say something in English in front of them out of respect because they don’t really understand the language. The few times that I accidentally say something in English I get the old “no eres gringa, […]

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White Parents Raise Beautifully Diverse Children

Louise Bannon, Holly Springs, NC. Raising, playing, growing and living as a diverse family is an extraordinary experience. It brings both good days and tough days – obstacles and disappointments, laughter and lightheartedness. The journey is full of stares – stares full of curiosity, stares full of love and stares of hatefulness from the people […]

Is that your family? They’re white.

Gaby Segalla, Washington, DC. I’ve been adopted…twice. I was raised in a diverse community and I attend Georgetown Day School which is a very accepting school. I’m Vietnamese but I’ve been raised in America by a white family. When I am with my family and a friend who is white to other people I’m the […]

Is that integrated housing or something?

Christopher Allen, USA. As far as we can go back thanks to grandparents, my family were farmers. More often for survival than profit. Now my family includes electricians, train operators, postal workers, teachers, military men and women,lawyers, one doctor, one engineer (my father), corporate drones, business owners. We’re an enormous and close extended family that’s […]

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No…None of us were adopted

Madilyn Hays, Holland, MI. Me and my siblings are from all different ethnic backgrounds. I’m blond haired, blue eyed and full white. While my brother and sister are both of African American background, their great grand father was actually Louis Armstrong. And then my last two brothers are Puerto Rican. We all have the same […]

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Multicultural American Family Who loves All

Tunya Marie Loftis, Dallas, TX. I love who I am. I am the firstborn of my mother with four siblings under me. Strangely enough, when I was young, I didn’t know my Mom was white. She was my normal. She was just Mama. Who taught me how to read and color. She did my hair, […]

White Girl In A Mixed Family

Melissa, Oakton, VA. I am a white girl girl who has married a Thai man. My Thai man was adopted as a baby by a black family. It has been a a great an amazing cultural learning journey!

Sins of the Fathers live on.

Johanna Riddle, New Smyrna Beach, FL. I’ve always known that I was descended from slave owning families. This is something I shared with my students as we began to explore the history of slavery in the United States. I’ve always believed that we must be willing to take an honest look at history, and at […]

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I wish I had darker skin

Melanie Douglas, Peyton, CO. I have transracial adopted kids. They have better hair than I do, they have better skin than I do, it is really something that they got everything I could ever want for them outside of my gene pool, and all I ever want is to be in their gene pool. I […]

Perceptions of race…change….over time…

M’Karyl Gaynor, Decatur, GA. I am 52 years old and I am from the Midwest (Rockford, IL) and while there was not an absence of racism per se…my friends and I were fortunate enough to grow up in a community where our families, communities and educational experiences allowed us to experience integration at its best…I […]

Don’t marry a black, they said.

Katie Blunt, Freson, CA. “We don’t care if you marry a black man, but we just want you to know that your life will be harder if you do,” my parents said to me when I was sixteen. I married a man whose family is from the Philippines. I always wonder if that’s white enough […]

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The culmination of hate and hope.

Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]

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Yes, you are all my family!

Hillora Lang, Burgaw, NC. As a person with Asperger Syndrome I have always felt estranged from the human race. In high school I began working on my family tree, and it really helped to ground me and allow me to feel a connection to past generations. When doing genealogy research last year I discovered a […]

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We assumed their father was black!

Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.

With Them, I’m Visable. Without, Invisable.

Christy Braddock, Silver Spring, MD. Marc Quarles’ 6 words spoke to me when featured on All Things Considered this morning: ‘With Kids, I’m Dad. Alone, Thug’ I am a white mom of 2 children of color and 2 caucasian children. When I am with my black children, I feel visable in all race communities in […]

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It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

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Why can’t we all just get along?

Steve Bennyhoff, Santa Fe, NM. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more compassionate about my fellow man. I now realize that any differences that we may have are only superficial and that if we got to know each other better as individuals, we would find that we are, in fact, from one big family

I fear for my family’s wellbeing.

Shannon M., Killeen, TX. My fiance is black. My son is mixed. At THREE years old my son has already encountered racism. Every time my fiance walks out of the house, I worry. When he gets angry at someone or something in public, I get scared and try my hardest to calm him down – […]

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 […]