Jennifer McCadney Bethesda, MD Growing up as a kid with a black dad and white mom in the late 70s and early 80s — in what was then a non-diverse industrial town — I struggled a lot with racism and my own racial identity. I felt strangely uncomfortable in my own skin and fought, on […]
Elaine, Rochester, MN. These were the words that come to mind when I met my first non-white person — an American Indian girl. We were in first grade at a small school in SD. Her family moved to another community later in the year. I wonder why.
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 […]
Yadhira, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. My friends and cousins tell me that I need to have a Quinceañera and I tell them I don’t want a big party with everyone dancing, Some of my family members say I should have my quinceanera at Mexico, but I don’t want one I […]
Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]
Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]
Kristen Moorhead, Silver Spring, MD. I’ve always told my son, “You can be anything you want to be.” Before Shani Davis’ won gold, POTUS was elected – prior to Neil deGrasse Tyson gracing our screen in Cosmos. What was once – is still – momentous to me is his normal: ‘I like ice skating, why […]
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 […]
Anonymous. Omaha, NE “Excuse me, what’s your nationality?” “I’m from the U.S.” “No,” he chuckled, “like, where are you originally from?” “I was born and raised in the U.S.” “You know what I mean!” “You’re talking about ethnicity…” I offered. “Yeah, whatever. Like, where are you really from?” “I’m Chinese.” “That’s what I thought!” I […]
Amanda Totteana Muniz, Anderson, IN. All my life I’ve had to face the question, “What are you?” This always made me uncomfortable, and irritated. Last time I checked I was a human. When I was younger I would try to explain that I was mixed,(black white, native American) but then I got tired of explaining […]
Aracely Coronado Philadelphia, PA As a Latina born in San Francisco, CA, educated with wealthy white kids, I learned to navigate their world, it was easy; learn their ways, be like them to get ahead. That’s what I was taught. My family provided the real culture, the language, the authentic Latina-ness in my blood. But […]
Molly Northborough, MA Unfortunately, I’ve lived too sheltered of a life to say much definitively on the subject.
Adriene Jordan Washington, DC
Mary Jo Gray Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan
Courtney Rae Ortonville/Morris, MN
Sarylyn Butler Portland, OR
L.C. Phoenix, AZ In youth we never noticed our skins were different shades. We rode the same bus, lived on the same street, were in all the same clubs and classes, graduated high school in the same robes and cords. I hope I’m not just another white girl to you, too.