Jean Tokuda Irwin Salt Lake City Public Library “I’m Japanese-American with a Japanese mom and a father who was a GI.” The Japanese called children like me Konketsuji, or loosely translated, GI bastard child. I was one of the offspring of a a Japanese mother and an American GI during the post-war occupation years, in […]
Charon Mcclain, Dallas, TX. In 2009, my father a proud military man passed. He was a great dad and loving husband. He was a proud man who had been in the Air Force and run his own business. I thought I knew all the stories that could be told. Until a pilot sent his condolences […]
Ann Lee Adams, Corvallis, OR. My father was part Cherokee. But we were raised white. So I don’t know what to feel…or be.
Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]
Michelle Blanchard Ardillo, Rockville, MD. A Cajun girl in her kilt, that’s me. My dad was born and raised in southeast Louisiana, as was I, but my mother was born to Scottish immigrants who came to the US for economic and religious freedom. Upon marrying my father, however, she abandoned her Scottish heritage and adopted […]
Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]
Derrick Warren, Baltimore, MD. I remember my father talking to me about his college days in Missouri. There was this fraternity on campus that would require their prospective pledges to pass what was said to be a brown bag test. Essentially, if you were darker than the brown bag, you could not get into the […]
Julia Guerra, Austin, TX. My brothers are very important figures in my life. They were born to a white mom and a white dad. They are blonde and red-haired, with blue and green eyes. When they were little babies, my white mom married my Mexican dad and he adopted both of them as his own. […]
Lisa VonTress Las, Sunrise, FL. As a child growing up in the DC suburbs, I had no idea about what was going on. I had Annie, who was with my family 6 years before I was born until I was 13 when my father moved us. I came back to her later as she worked […]
Jacob Augare, Kansas City, MO. Words from my Blackfeet, Native American father from the Piikani Nation.
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.
Rocio Tapia, Forest Park, GA. Being from Mexico, I do not have any sense of race. I know what I am and do not identify with any of the categories listed when I am asked about my race or ethnicity, so I often leave it blank or choose “Other” if I am pressed to select […]
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 […]
Jake, USA. My mother is from Ghana and my father is from New York. I am African-American and it drives me crazy when people who have a distant relative from Africa consider themselves African-American when they have no cultural ties to Africa. Black Culture is different from African Culture.
Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.
Arlene Arias, Waterbury, CT. As an adult, I am an educator and social worker who fights for equality and promotes the value of diversity.
Robert S. Davis, Hanceville, AL. My southern blue collar father said that he never voted for the party but only for the man. Most of his life he voted for Democrats but in his last years he voted all Republican. He always voted for the biggest bigots running, even if only by party association, Dad […]
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 […]
Dahomey Abanishe, Secrest, FL. As a child in Kansas, I always assumed I was African-American and not because of what I was culturally but because of how I looked. I am Truly a Nigerian American culturally. My father is Nigerian and I was raised eating pepper stew and listening to Fela. No one fried chicken […]
Felix Brooks Jr., Kalamazoo, MI As the father of a biracial child I told my daughter not to let anyone place a label on you. You get to choose for yourself . She took me up on that, and owned her own choice, and never struggled with who she was as a person .
Brad Crump, Floral Park, NY. As a Presbyterian Pastor I serve a diverse congregation (Guyanese, Jamaican, Black, White). As a teacher I work for a Middle School in Springfield Gardens (97% non white). While I spend every day serving the diverse cornucopia of NYC I am seen by many as the problem, the privilege, the […]
Mark Ohrstrom, The Plains, VA. I will not be one too.
Raquel Saunders, New York, NY. My dad is half black and my mom is white, when look at me you only really see the white. But I am a quarter black, and when I say that people look at me like I just gave them a lie. It pisses me off. Don’t judge me on […]
M. Peek Fitzgerald, Harrisburg, PA. In my 53 years of life I feel that I must carry something like this every time I leave my home. This is not the America I fought for. Not the America that I have to explain differences to my children. I’m an American too and I feel like a […]
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.
Nicole S., Overland Park, KS.
Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it […]
Joseph Anico Angeles Irvine, CA I was born in the Philippines and when I turned three, my father (pa) enlisted in the U.S. Navy and moved to the U.S. to provide a better life for me and my mom. Shortly after his enlistment we joined him in San Diego, California. San Diego was the premiere […]
Katie Moore New Echota, GA I used to hate the way I looked growing up. My mom & brother had fair skin & freckles & I had darker skin & hair. I like the way I look now. I’m proud of my heritage. I am of cherokee, creek, German,& African decent. I stand taller than […]
Ezra Rosser Washington, DC Biligaana is a Navajo/Dine word that means “white, other, or the enemy.” I grew up in part on the Navajo Nation where my non-Indian parents worked and where my father still lives.
David Duncan San Antonio, TX Our father would never disclose the full specific reasons for his anger regarding the Trail of Tears and the treatment of the Cherokee people. He talked of land granted his father being stolen by an overseer appointed because ‘Indians’ could not be trusted to manage their own property. His father […]
Yasmin Gill Baltimore, MD My mother is white, American, and my father is Pakistani. Where ever I go, and whomever I am with, I rarely find someone who is at home with *all* of me. I am American, undeniably so, but there are peices of me that are also uniquely Pakistani. Americans see or experience […]
Jessica Danielle Jensen Tampa, FL I am the product of two people who only saw “who” there were, not “what” they were. Because of their bond, they produced four daughters (including me) who I believe are very beautiful. Mixed-race children represent the beauty that comes from open hearts and open minds. And, they have GREAT […]
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 […]
Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]
Beatriz Mallory Newfoundland, PA My father was one of the first black men to work at IBM in the late 50’s; my mother a Puerto Rican who migrated to NY to go to college. My father embedded this mantra in my head from a very age. I was a “little brown girl” in a world […]
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 […]
Dawn E Josiah Landis, NC My daughter is Hawaiian American. I’m the white part of her, her dad is the Hawaiian part of her. After 25 years of marriage, he pushes us out of his life and returns to his roots. I’m the one that deals with the anger and pain from my daughter because […]
Bonnie Howard Fort Pierce, FL
Amy Spencer, Kalona, IA. Drake University. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I think, ‘Dang, you’re pale.’ But inside, I’m mixed, because my husband and kids are a huge part of me.
Patricia Armstrong St. Louis, MO I was no more than 7 years old and made friends with a black girl in the neighborhood. We really had a lot of fun together and my family did not object. After a few weeks, I was invited to her house. After her father saw my white skin, he […]
Debra Taylor Bolton, MO Fourteen years ago I married a black man. My father told me my child and grandchild did not exist because I was dead to him.
Rhonda Nottingham Durham, NC My father was in the US Army when I was born. We lived in many places among many types of people. We moved to nowhere WV when my father left the Army in order to care for my ailing grandfather. I went to an all white high school, as there were […]
Clyde Jasper Oakland, CA I’m a tall black man with dreadlocks. I’m a husband and a father. I’m a property owner, and a taxpayer. I’m a veteran. I vote. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from a world class university in Berkeley, CA. In passing, I many times acknowledge a white persons presence and humanity with […]
I am a white woman married to a Mexican American.
Al Atlanta, GA I was born 51 years ago. I grew up with a father who would definitely be considered racist today, but was probably just typical blue collar in those days – kind of an Archie Bunker figure. I heard the N word at least a dozen times a week. Fast forward to my […]
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 […]
Nina Martin Phoenix, AZ I am quietly proud of my multiracial background: my mother is Chinese, and my father is half German, half American. I also look absolutely nothing like my mother, save for straight hair and slightly tanner skin. While never a negative issue, this has led to some interesting situations since the time […]
Jessica Goldhirsch Arlington, MA
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.
Sebastian Pacheco Lancaster, PA I will never forget the time when I was trying to save my father’s life. It was January 2006 and I called my father (he was 77) who lived in Puerto Rico. He retired as a Union Painter for a hospital in Bronx N.Y. for 30 years. He was not in […]
Katherine Fulton Chippewa Lake, OH My mother, father, aunt, grandmother and I have been mistaken for everything from Italian to Egyptian. When we tell the truth, reactions range from surprise to disgust.
Arturo Aguilar Los Angeles, CA My dad was a car painter and during vacation from Jr. High School I would go work as his helper. One day a client of the body shop came in and was unhappy about the time it was taking to get his car painted. He complained to the owner by […]
LB White does not mean privileged. My grandfather grew up one room house with no electricity and an outhouse. My father worked hard so we didn’t have to.
Thais TX My father, age 83, born in a small town in northern Louisiana, has always called my siblings, cousins, and I “Cottonpicker.” My father is the grandson of “Old Man Bass”–as they referred to him, a slaveowner, and Grandma Meli, short of Amelia, an enslaved African-American woman who lived to see freedom. Grandma Meli […]
Derek Jones, Novel Ideas Book Club Washington DC
Sezin Koehler Submitted via Twitter: @SezinKoehler How many times I’ve heard this in my life. As a child very often when visiting the US (my dad is Sri Lankan). Occasionally still even now. I never get used to it. Sezin’s 6 word essay sparked a unique conversation on Twitter…take a look. She’s not your […]
Mary Palmer Manahawkin, NJ I am a white woman married to a white man. We are the parents of two biological sons and one adopted bi-racial daughter, all of them grown.
Submitted via Twitter: @Only4RM #Trayvon’s father
Anonymous Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation