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 [...]
Chelée Elk Grove, CA My mother is a black Jamaican woman and my father is Ukrainian. I was born in the usa but grew up and went to school in Jamaica where I was considered white and wealthy, but when I came to America for the last years of high school and college I was [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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
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 [...]