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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Tim Brown, Millington, TN. I grew up in a very large Southern white family of absolutely insufferable racists. While researching our family’s genealogy, a cousin of mine found that the US Census listed many of our not-so-distant ancestors as “mulatto”, a term generally reserved to describe people who were half white and half black. We [...]
Rebekah Bickford, Baldwin, ME. My white family moved from Indiana to Mississippi in 1977, when I was 8 years old. Our family was seen as “Northern Yankees” and we were not welcomed by many in the white community. The black children were kind to me when I entered school and quickly became my friends. I [...]
Donna Batson, Eugene, OR.
Reed Atlanta, GA “Where is your family from? No, but where are YOUR PEOPLE from? I mean, what is your HERITAGE? Like, your ancestors. I mean … where do your features come from?” That was one of the more polite conversations that someone has initiated about by race. Although I was raised white and generally [...]
Kurt Huber Monroe, CT My favorite quote on family is from Desmond Tutu. “You don’t choose your family. You are Gods gift to them, as they are to you.”
Karen Than Myaing Silver Spring, MD In this photo: what do you get when you mix an Israeli, a Trinidadian, a Jamaican, a Caucasian, a Burmese and an African American? Our beautiful family. We are Jews, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist. We are female. We are male. We are children. We are human. We do not [...]
Jennifer Meyer Eugene, OR
Adrian S. Bennett Bremerton, MA I am dedicated to Equality for all persons and the values that make up Diversity. As I journey through my career as an Equal Opportunity Adviser and an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Program Analyst, my hardest realization has been that some people will always see me as an oppressor… [...]
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 [...]
Kristia Molina New York City, NY Brooklyn I sacrifice a lot for my family because we are going through a tough time
Miriam Haas Ossining, NY Early one morning my mother sister and I left the county center parking lot in White Plains NY for a trip to Washington. I was in the sixth grade and white. We went to the March on Washington. I will never forget it.
Alia Laurence Orlando, FL When I was 18, we found out that we were not simply Cherokee and various shades of European pale. (My father always considered being part Cherokee his ‘greatest shame’.) We found out we were also part African. Specifically, African-American of Malagasy descent. Not that this should’ve come as a great surprise [...]
Donna Hanson Bella Vista, AK My ancestors were slave owners and themselves indentured servants and sharecroppers. I’ve worked on my family genealogy for over 14 years and find both the goodness and harshness of humankind interwoven throughout the generations.
Cecelia H Philadelphia, PA I remember being in fourth grade and the entire class had to make a dish displaying their ancestry and representing where your family came from. The project had my family scrambling. We don’t know what country we are from. As descendants of slaves in this country that information has been lost [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Nancy Clark Wilsonville, OR Denmark is black, he has been married to my niece for 24 years and I love him more than I can express. He has always been part of my heart, I can ‘t image life with out him there.
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 [...]
Christine Marriott River Falls, WI I lived in the south, born in 1956. I saw awful things as a little white girl from a racist dysfunctional family. They taught me how not to be. Maybe it was because they treated me like they treated black people. My school was segregated early. I got in so [...]
Jaya Harrover Saxena Astoria, NY My dad moved to America from India as a child. My mom’s family has been in America since the 1630s. I have always been me.
Tiana Icesis Bryant New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words are like the Civil Rights Movement is different from any other subject, more independent, it’s a Lone Ranger. All the other things people say that’s important are not really because they are backed up with some things. People back everything up that’s important to [...]
Jaxon Isaac Stams New York City, NY Brooklyn In my school, there are more non-Caucasians and are of multiple races. In my family, my grandparents on my father’s side are interracially married, including my Uncle Ron, who is Trinidadian. On my mom’s side, my mom’s aunt is married to a man from Yemen.
Karen Palmer New York City, NY Brooklyn I am the child of two teachers, the grandchild of a police officer, a seamstress and two farmers, all African-American and alive during the Jim Crow era. I could never have become a college graduate, world traveler, journalist and school founder without their many sacrifices and the example [...]
Erica Williams Cincinnati, OH
Lisbet Mingo Oakland, CA What it feels like to share everything with those closest to you–except the color of your skin. And how that changes everything…
Rebekah Day Vinita, OK As the only brown complected person in my large family, I stand out against the pale white. I am constantly asked if I am adopted, or a “half-sister” in relation to my siblings. I am a woman of mixed heritage of various European and Native American blood, along with the rest [...]
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” [...]
David Brandon Sumrall Riverside, CA I grew up in a family that was always racist, but as my cousins and I have grown, we now have four mixed children, two gay people, and one handicapped child. To say that my family has changed is an understatement. Through each of these people, we have learned to [...]
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 [...]
Sharee Meeks Laidlaw Murray, UT Our family is a mix of many races. Some of the members are adopted but I forget which ones.
ANNA GRASSI Cremona, Italy My husband ( German ) and I ( Italian ) adopted an Indian-born daughter. We live in Italy. It is not always easy to make people understand that we are a family: adoption and different skin colours make us “very perculiar”. Why did we parents choose a girl so different from [...]
Kathleen Cole Chicago, IL
Katrina V. Cromwell Pearl Harbor, HI My father is Hispanic and White and my mother is Black. They met in high school and they have been married for 28 years. I knew nothing about racism until my father sat me down as a kid and told me about things that my parents went through in [...]
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 [...]
Carla Prater Bryan, TX I recently found out that I have family roots in Texas. A man who rebelled against his father over slave owning and moved here. It is easy to be proud of my descent from a prominent abolitionist in central Texas, but it also means that I am the descendent of slave [...]
J.S. Oklahoma City, OK I am me. I come from a long line of intolerant, hate filled family that would sooner walk away from those who are different they are rather than stay and learn and revel in the diversity. I am me and I am never going to be that which I seemed destined [...]
SLTR Seattle, WA I was raised in a white protestant homogenous family. From the time I was young, my curiosity led me to friends of other colors, races, personalities…anything new. In my 40’s I find myself with a Mexican husband, in a profession where I constantly learn and teach in a petri dish of races, [...]
Bonnie Howard Fort Pierce, FL
Lydia Taylor Memphis, TN I was born and raised in Alaska. When I was 4, my father got out of the Air Force and accepted a job as a State Trooper in Dillingham, Alaska. He moved from Anchorage to Dillingham first, to start his job as we as find us a place to live. We [...]
Theil Baumann Ramsbey Smithfield, RI Everyone was so friendly when my family moved when I was in second grade. It was because, a classmate told me years later, they had never had a Negro in their class before. I am Caucasian but have olive skin that can tan deeply (although I never do this now!).
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 [...]
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 [...]
Sarah Willis Portland, OR My dad is a half Mexican half German man who married a European mutt and had seven children. I am the only one of the seven that he marked the box on my birth certificate as Hispanic instead of white, making me the only mexican in my family.
Bill Doyle Valparaiso, IN Wish I could be there with my Eugene Cousins.
Mustafa Moore Eugene, OR The University of Oregon
Michael Malek Najjar Eugene, OR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze
Martha Lauren Younger-Holrogd Eugene, OR
MIRIAM L. IOSUPOVICI Imperial Beach, CA I am the child of Holocaust survivors. I grew up with ghosts of murdered family. Nobody needs to tell me that racism is potentially deadly, creates inter-generational wounds, can be structural and has many forms. We hurt our nation when we deprive any citizen of the means to have [...]
Patricia Wilson Laurel, MD I am a baby boomer and I grew up in the era of segregation, lynching, blatant discrimination, marches, race riots, sit ins, boycotts, fighting for the rights to be treated as human beings, fighting for the right to vote; as well as the right to be recognized as a female with [...]
Jane Dorick Midlothian, VA This was, I think, my mother’s way of letting others know that she didn’t consider herself a racist or as culpable for the horrible things done to blacks that we were all witnessing.
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!
Michelle Christine Fairfax, VA I consider myself a friendly, open, unbiased person. Why do I not know the two families on my street that don’t look like me?
Valerie Bell Edison, NJ I read a very old will on ancestry.com. Strongly hints that I have black cousins. Part of me feels very happy…I’d love to hug them. Part of me feels very guilty that the probable descendents of the same man got very different deals in life.
Monique Hollis-Perry Alpine, CA Military bases overseas were homes to many biracial families like mine, and my sister and I went to school with classmates who looked like us. It was many years and thousands of miles from being sent to Fort Gordon, GA as a test case in the 1960s to see how (or [...]
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.
Martha DeWolfe Huntsville, AL Some of my ancestors were so evil a part of the family broke away and went to Canada to get away from them! Lucky for me, the ones who left were in my direct line…but because of the pirates’ horrible deeds, people all over the world are related to me within [...]
Karen Davis Portland, OR First sorrow, family unable to love, second sorrow, learning of racism, still shocked 60 years later. How can this be? I don’t understand it any better today than I did then.
Lisa Craig Washington, DC It’s a bit complicated. My father’s family consists of Scottish, Swedish, French, German, English, Mexican, and two different Native American tribes. My mother’s family consists of French-Canadian, English, Inquit (Alaskan Native Americans), and some other ethnicities that I am not aware of (I am not close to them). All of my [...]
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” [...]
David T Roth Nashville, TN I was walking through Centennial Park in Nashville, TN. I looked up to see a young Father holding his daughter of 3 or 4 facing him. It was obvious that they were interacting in a way that only parent and child can. Where the world around them disappears and they [...]
Rachel Robbins San Francisco, CA When I was child, we didn’t really have the commonly held words and concepts regarding the identities of biracial people the way we now do. So I was understandably a bit confused by my biracial family. My mom and aunties are biracial, and my own father was out of the [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
Yvonne Kasper Hogan Phoenix, AZ Because of WWII, my family was displaced and I was born in Germany. When we came to the States in 1957, people would ask where I was from, because of my accent. I’d tell them, very innocently, that I was from Germany. They immediately called me a Nazi. My parents [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Pilar Parish Koopman Ann Arbor, MI Amazing Project!
Robert Templeton, Kyleigh Glasper Colorado Spring, CO I have a multicultural family, but I just see them as family.
Danielle Morency Ann Arbor, MI I grew up in an upper-middle class suburban town composed of 93.4 percent white people. You could say that I had limited exposure to people of other races. While being a white person in society did provide me with certain advantages throughout my life, these were not things I was [...]
Allan Jespersen California, MD
Mary Winter Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Maureen Burns Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I have three lovely granddaughters. We’re all different. It doesn’t matter. We’re family.
Sameer Belgaumi Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I’m a Pakistani-American who grew up in Saudi Arabia. I hear this question so often that I wish I had a better reason than “I was born speaking it.” The truth that English was one of the first languages I learned, seems like such [...]
Bradley McIntyre Woodbridge, VA I was always the darkest kid in my mostly black school. I always saw myself only as black. Three years ago I learned that my grandmother is not black. My maternal great grandfather is an Irish merchant sailor and my maternal great grandmother is Arawak Indian (native of Jamaica). It is [...]
Marlene Ross Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan
Laura Bell Gahanna, OH Disowned by my “white” family after my mother married a black man, I was raised by my step-father’s family since the age of three, I am 41 now. Anger towards the family that left us, happy for the family that welcomed us.
James F. New Haven, CT A few years ago we adopted four beautiful children from Brazil. Their skin is darker than ours. We also have a biological child who, obviously, looks a little more like us. We love our little multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual family. It’s a beautiful thing!
Suella Torres Deming, NM My husband and I will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary in February. We have a daughter together and 7 more mixed kids between us. Our kids are Afro Mexican Americans. With the exception of my oldest who is a third white. The range in colors is vanilla to caramel to [...]
Michelle P. Covington, LA We decided to adopt a child years ago. We are not infertile, but felt like it was a great way to add to our family, while loving someone who needed us. Our research showed us that African-American children, especially boys, are the least adoptable in our country. We decided to adopt [...]
Corrie Bugby Murray, UT I am a Caucasian woman who adopted three African American sons. I love them. I cherish everything about them. And I hate it when people assume that they aren’t my children. Like the woman who asked me, “Don’t you think you’d love a biological child more?” ?! I have come to [...]
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 — [...]
Grace Ostrum PA Didn’t know I was Native American Indian until I was 38 years old. My family still won’t talk about it.
Robbie Wolfe Chester, VA My mom and us, her children, were noticeably “lighter” than the rest of my family, which were very brown to dark-skinned people. Yet, that’s how we were greeted on Sundays and family gatherings, in front of other family members, friends and invited guests. Running joke? As I got older, I secretly [...]
Kent & Laurie Runge Morris, MN
Mitzi Zohar Outside USA I would reply that my mother’s mother was sixth generation Canadian. Growing up in a wealthy WASP enclave my questioners wouldn’t leave me alone until I had admitted to having three Eastern European Jewish grandparents. Having buttonholed me the questioners would lose interest.
Sandra McDonaugh Portland, OR