Gina Collignon Madison, WI This came to me in exasperation after the last person called me “exotic.” “What,” I thought, “like a pineapple?” I’m mixed white and Filipina from San Francisco, living in the midwest. I never had to think much about race growing up–in my family and group of friends I was considered white […]
Jamie M. Young, Seattle, WA. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: Seattle Community Colleges I was born in Subic Bay, Philippines at the former U.S. Naval Base. My father is from Minnesota (of Norwegian/Irish decent), and my mother is from Minuhang, Leyte, Philippines. I am mixed race, but I have fair skin and […]
Rob Daniels, Bolingbrook, IL. I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago at a time when our community worked extra hard to be racially and ethnically diverse on purpose. Our small community was also nationally recognized for its racial diversity. I recall thinking that it was so incredible to be around so many different […]
Mark Cooper Lafayette, IN In elementary school, my best friend turned to me and said, “Mark, I don’t even think of you as asian anymore!” I knew he meant that our friendship had stepped beyond perceived race, but the phrasing could not be anymore alienating. I have family that trace back to the Mayflower, to […]
Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]
Maggie Trela, Denver, CO. I was visiting California for Christmas when I was about 5 or 6, when I asked my grandma why we called my great-grandmother “LoLa”. She then explained to me that my LoLa was what they called great-grandma’s in the Philippines. I knew what the country was but I didn’t know what […]
Morgan Engelhardt, Norfolk, VA. A lot of times I get shut down for calling myself Pacific Islander or Asian because I look white. The truth is, I’ve always preferred to identify myself with my Filipino ancestors rather than my white ones. It feels like home to me.
Cheryl Mercado Arnedt, West Orange, NJ. My grandmother and her sister — red-headed daughters of NYC cops — both married full Filipino men and were disowned. There was no race in our family – just rice AND potatoes at every meal. My grandfather “Pupa” intentionally didn’t pass down his Asian-ness or his language Tagalog so […]
Melanie Vanderlipe Ramil, Sacramento, CA. Growing up, I wanted to be as “non-Filipino” as possible and felt great achievement whenever a friend said to me, “You seem so white!” During my middle school years, I claimed to not like rice (the staple for every night’s family dinner). My mom, after rushing home from work to […]
Elaine Oyzon-Mast Avondale Estates, GA Filipino, German, English, Irish, supposedly with a touch of Cherokee and Iroquois. The melting pot serving up three beautiful boys.
Stephanie Delgado, Sanger, CA. Both of my parents are Mexican but my dad has lighter complected skin while my mom has darker. I’ve been asked before many times if my dad is Filipino. When I tell people he’s not, some ask “Are you sure?” Yes, I’m sure I know what my dad is. I personally […]
Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]
Carolyn Hisako Okinaga, Honolulu, HI. I asked this question when I was growing up on Ewa Plantation. Ethnic groups were housed in separate villages on the plantation based on race and position, e.g., Filipinos laborers lived in Fernandez Village, Japanese in B Village, etc. All of the caucasian (“haole”) supervisors/bosses lived in Renton Village; they […]
Manny DeVera, Gurnee, IL. A couple of my friends and I (all Filipino) were in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge taking pictures when a white guy came up to us and said in HIS best impression of an Asian person ” You want me take picture” while making a camera motion with his […]
Ashley S. Westerman, Submitted via twitter: @AS_Westerman. @michele_norris #TheRaceCardProject
Raquela Petre, San Francisco, CA. I am half Filipino and half Swedish, Swiss, and German. However I was born in Hawaii and grew up around second- and third-generation Japanese friends. I decidedly learned Japanese in school and studied there for a year, yet I know close to no Tagalog. I also studied in England, where […]
Ryan, Arlington, VA. Like many first generation Americans who have tried to “blend” to American culture so deeply, it’s hard to know what your racial identity is when it seems you’re a stranger in both cultures…
Tyler Miranda, Portsmouth, RI.
Alexander Calica, II, Carlsbar, CA. This phrase was often used by adults when I was growing up after hearing my answer to their question, “What nationality are you?” I would always respond by saying, “My father is Filipino and my mother is Dutch.” The initial inquiry would be posed after having heard me speak at […]
Nicole “Nico” Cisneros USA I know what I am! I’m Cuban-Filipino-American; first-generation Filipino on my mom’s side and second-generation Cuban on my dad’s side. I love celebrating my heritage, but what really puts a pause in my delight– and what sometimes feels like a gut-check– is when others respond with something like, “…but you’re not […]
Ali Berlinski Spain “Being a biracial kid can be hard, especially when you have a white name and face that screams I give pedicures.” – a beautiful mess. Typically, I use humor to talk about my very eclectic upbringing. My family could very well be the United Nations. Navigating through so many cultures can get […]
Ben Sian Atlanta, GA Born in the US to Filipino parents.
Elizabeth Norris Taylor Fernandina Beach, FL I have lived my entire life with people coming up to me and asking, “what are you?” For a while in college, I had some very clever comebacks… now days I simply shrug and say, “American, and you?” I have had people come up to me and speak Spanish […]
Lisa Crawford Austin, TX This is a question I’ve heard many times in my life–usually as a follow up to questions like “What’s your background?” or “What are you?” I’m half-Filipino, half-Caucasian (German/Norwegian). And no, my dad was NOT in the military.
JayJay Porcadilla Colorado Springs, CO I am Filipino and Portuguese and much more! I was always afraid of the song “Play that funky music WHITE boy” I don’t know why, but it had so I would check white so I would feel like I was part of everyone around me! To this day I am […]
Michelle Umadhay Seattle, WA Many people do not realize that when one culture interacts w/ American culture, in many ways, a third culture is born.
Jenny San Luis Field Fridley, MN Why do people assume that I am Mexican, if not that then they ask that I am Chinese, then for there last resort they will say I’m Japanese. Why can’t I be just Filipino? Ask first before you assume what I am!