Raymond R. Rochester III, Elkins Park, PA. It was 1981, me being 31 years old … I was on my way to Paris, France … Aboard a Boeing 747, pre-take off, a French pilot was introducing himself … When he got to me he spoke, and upon my reply he instantly acknowledged, “Ahhhh, you are […]
Emily Alfonso, Summerville, GA. Everyone thinks because of my last name, that I am hispanic. But I’m not, I am Italian, Irish, and French.
Blair White Haddad, Los Angeles, CA. Being the child of an adopted mother, for a long time I only knew half of my genetic make up. After being reunited with my bio grandmother we discovered our Native American/ French background. My whole life I’ve been asked the question- what are you? Instead of identifying myself […]
Danielle Fernandez, Trumbull, CT. I’m Indian, but born in Zimbabwe. I always greet the question of “what is your background?” with a little sigh, and then gear up for the long explanation. Thankfully, in my area, the response is usually “that’s cool.”
Sandra Aguilar-Rodríguez, Bethlehem, PA. I am Mexican, I speak English, French and Spanish. I have a PhD in History, but still I find it difficult to understand why in the United States being bilingual or trilingual is not appreciated. I want my children to speak, read and write at least in another language, and if […]
Charles McCoy, Los Gatos, CA. I grew up being steeped in the folklore of Irish and Italian cultural heritage, thinking I was “half Irish”and “half Italian” and listening to my grandmother crowing about only being Toscana and speaking Toscana ( the received Italian dialect). As I did my DNA testing, I discovered that I am […]
Bea Melnarowicz, Chicago, IL My daughter is bi-racial: her father is Spanish-French-Mexican, and I am Eastern European Caucasian. I am often told she looks ‘nothing’ like me, even jokingly by some of my friends. I am surprised each time I hear this considering the age and time we live in. The tone is rarely friendly, […]
Suzette Chaumette, San Leandro, CA. We speak of ourselves as a Caribbean family. We teach our girls about the significance of the drum, Haitian Revolution, Toussaint Louverture, Alexandre Petion, Hatuey, Anacaona, Jose Marti, and more. We love celebrating our respective cultures, which are unique, but also our similar backgrounds as Taino, Arawak, African, French and […]
Emma Alvarez Gibson, San Pedro, CA. My husband’s heritage is Japanese/Portuguese/French. Mine is Mexican/Irish/Scottish. Neither of us fit in anywhere while growing up; both sides of each of our families considered us oddities at best. People never knew what to make of us. I was too white for the Mexican kids and too uptight about […]
Claudia Martin Thailand Thai-German-French-Cambodian. In Asia people always assume I’m white, and am treated like an outsider, telling me I’m not really Asian, but in Europe, it’s the opposite. So if I’m neither accepted as a white, or an Asian, I can’t help but feel like I’m always excluded.
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 […]
Linda Starry Houston, TX I have been a teacher since 1974. My first year teaching was the first year of forced busing in Houston. My first class was mostly Black and Mexican. There were two white kids, and one Creole child whose parents said he was French. The children thought I was Mexican, because I […]
Cayla Olson, Duluth, MN. I have always felt that I had to qualify my racial identity with those six words. I am part native, my mother being Ojibwe and French, and my father being Oneida and Irish. We lived on my mom’s home reservation, and it was never any mystery to me as to what […]
Annette Atkins St. Joseph, MI The mixed-race issue was experienced and felt deeply in 19th and 20th century Minnesota — and especially powerful after Dakota people were banished from the state in 1863 and when bounties were offered for Dakota scalps. What “boxes” could endanger a person and which could protect her? This S-F-F-M-1900 was […]
K. Veidt Mid-Atlantic, USA I am proud of my race. I am proud of my French, Scottish, German, and British heritage; I am proud of my White skin. That makes me a racist in many eyes. Why? Other races are encouraged to be proud of their heritage, proud to be Black, Hispanic, etc., and yet […]
Jean M. Hebrard Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan