Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]

Mixed and feeling like I’m voiceless.

Charlie J., Honolulu, HI. People who are mixed race (and identify with both/all sides of their heritage) are expected to sit quietly in a corner while white people and poc duke it out. For example, I’m always ‘too white’ or ‘too hispanic’ to have an opinion when racist things are being said around me, and […]

It is not a heritage thing

Sara Lachance, Springdale, AR. Seeing Confederate flags on the back of trucks and outside people’s houses makes my stomach hurt. I once encountered a person with the confederate flag on their sunglasses right between the lens, like it was staring me down. I am forced to be associated with those people because A. I am […]


A “white girl” with a unique heritage

Ashlyn Rachelle Sharp, Azle, TX. I hate the term “typical white girl”. Why does a girl whose taste buds enjoy pumpkin spice lattes have to be categorized automatically in some stupid stereotype? I may be “white”, but my heritage is so much more than just a typical white girl. My veins are flowing with the […]


Will you have an arranged marriage?

Krishna Ghodiwala, Washington, DC. I am an Indian American woman who was born in Canada, immigrated to the US at the age of 3, and went on to receive an excellent education that has helped me pursue a successful career in US politics and issue advocacy. My Indian heritage is a big part of my […]


Adoption. Origin unknown. OK with that.

Cindy Droog, Grand Rapids, MI. Clearly, I am Caucasian. Beyond that, so many people aren’t comfortable with the “origin unknown” concept. They want to tell me that my extremely short stature, or reddened face, must indicate a certain heritage. They have a difficult time understanding that my heritage is not something I’ve sought to understand. […]

I’m Black, not African American

Trish, Houston, TX. I’m Black. I’m American. Black is my race. American is my nationality. One has nothing to do with the other. How can all Black people be African American? It’s impossible for a Black person who was born in the UK, to be an African American. Black Americans are not “special” kind of […]


You’re not asian,You’re White.

Kristine Ratanaphruks Durham, NC I look ethnically ambiguous and, at times, I pass for white. I grew up watching white men call my father “boy” — I’ve heard countless racist remarks made by people who don’t realize my heritage — I’ve heard the question ” What are you? ” too many times to count and […]


That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]



Graham Davis, Malvern, PA. I am a white Anglo-Saxon protestant male. I am 5’4 with dirty-blond hair. I am a heterosexual. I am no better than anyone. I was created an equal to you. I will die an equal to you. I am proud of my heritage, but it does not define me. I should […]


Which category do I belong to?

Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]


You’re not like a real Mexican.

Aaron Duran, Portland, OR. I’m of mixed heritage, being Mexican and Italian. However, I more closely identify with my Mexican heritage due to closeness of family and family history. Still, growing up in a small, farm and ranching based town, I found myself often downplaying my Mexican side. Even going so far, as a kid, […]

I really hate the word “white”.

Anna, Columbia, SC. I know I have “white” skin, but I really hate that word. I don’t think about myself as “white”. I am Italian and Czech. My dad was the first generation of my family to live in America. Our family wasn’t here for the Civil War, we didn’t enslave anybody. In fact, my […]


Wearing your difference on the outside.

Mona Khadr, Washington, DC. “But where are you from, originally?” is a question I get a lot. When I was younger, I answered proudly (“Egyptian!”) because my heritage was something that made me unique from my mostly white-American peers in the suburbs of MD and PA. As I got older and entered high school, college, […]

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Latinas with fros are sexy too!

Jeanette Ruiz, Atlanta, GA. Growing up I learned to hate my afro hair. I was the only one in my family with course African hair texture. Although there were others in our Hispanic neighborhood with course hair and dark skin, my mother with straight silky hair made it seem like a problem. She would take […]

Union troops killed by Slavery Supporters

Larry Morgan, Washington, NC. I have long regarded the Confederate Battle Flag (CBF) as an anachronism for which we Americans have shown remarkable tolerance. It is to the nation’s credit that although Jefferson Davis spent some time in prison, he and his top generals were not summarily executed, as would have happened in most other […]

Heritage not hate? Heritage of hate.

Ava Chamberlain, Dayton, OH. I don’t understand the phrase “heritage not hate.” It suggests the two are mutually exclusive categories. In reality, the heritage of the Confederate battle flag cannot be separated from a deeply entrenched hatred of people of color.

What I am, not just “Asian”.

Alvin Vang, Fresno, CA. Well as you can see I am Asian but if you dont know what type of Asian I am you can’t just call me a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philipian, Thai, Laos, Cambodian, Malay, and etc. You can ask me likw what race of asian are you instead of taking a huge […]

I’m just American, not African American.

Lottie MSF, St. Louis, MO. Born in LA, raised in Compton, became an adult in Bay Area, relocated to MO. Loved by entrepreneur/homemaker grandparents. Raised by entrepreneur, GED, get the job done, courageous, make it happen parents with 50+ years of marriage. I’m a well balanced contributing, career woman, parent, wife, aunt & daughter. My […]


A Cajun Girl in her Kilt

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 […]


Yo soy Tejano, not “White Washed”

Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]

I am the “Indian Looking” girl

Manvir Toor, Sanger, CA. I attended a concert last Sunday, and a woman tried to get infront of me in the line to buy T-shirts. She repeatedly asked her husband, “Do you remember we were infront of this Indian looking girl?” The fact that she ws trying to reclaim her spot in the line could […]

Where you goin’, where you been?

Caitlin Grames Sterling Heights, MI Race, gender, heritage, and all other innate traits we are born with are only secondary to our life experiences. Our stories make us who we are as individuals. And you can’t capture a whole history with just “black”, or just “white”.

White husband, still a Nubian Queen

Kavisa, Brooklyn, NY. My parents raised me to be extremely proud and knowledgeable of my African American and Caribbean heritage. My love for Africa intensified further after spending 2+ years living and volunteering in Tanzania. In the mist of becoming fluent in Swahili and embracing East African culture I fell in love with my future […]

No one believes I am black

Sozit Mohamed, Sunnyvale, CA. Being Ethiopian with Arab heritage in my family, most do not believe I’m black/African. Also, being black and muslim, seems to be the worst thing you can be in America right now.

Why must our differences be wrong?

Sarah Whitlock Indianapolis, IN It is so frustrating to be around people who are discriminatory. I am tired of having to worry about offending someone because I make a comment that mentions their race or ethnicity. Such a comment is not a problem specifically because it is potentially negative, but because it mentions their race. […]

I don’t want my white privilege.

Jason Struhs Salt Lake City, UT All safety and comfort that I currently enjoy has been at the expense of those who  have a different cultural heritage than I.  I do not want to benefit from this, but it is impossible not to.  Walking alone in a suburb late at night, an officer is more […]


Own history, own America, our turn.

Keith Stokes, Newport, RI. Persons of African heritage have been far too long a background to much of American history. The more we can learn and share about our important contributions to American history, the more we as a people will be able to share in the full fruits of living and prospering in America.

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Southern Belle? No. Korean husband.

Leah Lee (now Leah Durst-Lee), Chicago, IL. Keeping cultural heritage is very important to me, so when I married my husband, Sihyun Lee, I wanted our kids to have a Korean surname. Our first year and a half of marriage, I took my husband’s name and became ‘Leah Lee.’ It was awful! Almost everyone I […]

I am not plain white rice.

Nicole Rice, San Juan Capistrano, CA. I am more than just ‘white’ even though everyone looks at me and says that is all I am. I have a lot more in me than just white, but no one will ever know unless they ask. I have even received the nickname ‘white rice’ because of my […]

Do you make your own tortillas?

Norma Torres Addis, Seattle, WA. The first time I heard this question, I thought it was funny. After hearing it a few times, it made me wonder. If my heritage is Mexican and I don’t know the first thing about making tortillas does that make me less of a Latina? So many times organizations I […]

All I’ve got is the food.

Kelsey, Cleveland, OH. I’m Lebanese/Irish but grew up solely around my Lebanese family. However they rarely acknowledged where we came from. The closest I’ve gotten to my heritage is through food: being taught how to make baklava, seeing big bowls of hummus, baba ghanouj, and tabbouleh surrounded by stacks of fresh pita bread at parties, […]


Black Vietnamese. Speak spanish. Eat rice.

Hao Nguyen, Durham, NC. I wanted to say… Black Vietnamese. Speak english, spanish, vietnamese. Eat suong kho, pho, and corn dogs. Words that describe my mixed race/heritage children. Having to choose only 6 words, I had to put them in order of words that most describe them. Having to choose what comes first — black […]

I don’t need to feel proud

White Dude, White Area, USA. Well, to be honest, I’m not “proud” of being white. I’m not ashamed, I’m not proud. I don’t hang my head or puff out my chest. It’s not a huge part of me, to be honest. It doesn’t make me. So, I understand when people are proud of their race […]


Don’t fear me, I’m like you.

Constance Morton, Henderson, NV. I am multi-racial, but what you see when you look at me is my connection to Africa. But my ancestors came from the British Isles as well as walked tall and proud on their Native American soil. Why cannot I celebrate my rick heritage with pride in your presence? If we […]

On the subject of white guilt

Kevin, New York, NY. I don’t really understand this whole issue on white guilt, but I think it stems from privilaged elite “European Americans” who feel they have it all and need to clense their conscience somehow and feel guilty. Well I grew up “White” and poor in an all black neighboorhood, took racial abuse […]

I cannot choose just one race

Jade Pritchett, Port St. Lucie, FL. Growing up, I never understood how I was supposed to chose a bubble, check a box, pick one race. I am multiracial, and proud of it. Teachers would tell me to choose the one that I “feel”. Does that mean that I can’t feel them all? When I grew […]


Little bit of everything and everywhere

Ashlee Johnston, Ladera Ranch, CA. People tell me they thought that I am White but once I tell them about my Asian/Hawaiian/Spanish/Canadian…. background they say they can tell. I am proud to be so many things from all over the world.


Wait, you’re black? Are you sure?

Madison Jones, Lansing, MI. As soon as someone finds out that I’m half-black, the one drop rule sets in and I become full black. Also, everyone feels the need to verify if I’m sure of my heritage and not just confused or something since I’m so light.


Messianic Jew Yogi? Pick one fool!

Signe Wendt, Austin, TX. Jewish by heritage when I began to worship Jesus I was told I was no longer Jewish and I had to pick one.Now I try to connect Christians to their faith as a yoga teacher and I am not sure who is more uncomfortable with that. Yogis (at least in Austin) […]


You’re mixed with that hair, right?

Khairah L. Walker, Montclair Heights, NJ. My hair is not my heritage. It’s been an issue my entire life, people define me because of it. People hate me for having it, curse me when cutting it. It is not ME. Yes it is my crown but I am my temple. I revel in my blackness, […]

As Mutt as a Mutt Gets

Christi Perkinson, Red Wing, MN. My mom is full blooded German so I’ve always known that I was half German, but the other half was a mystery. My dad’s side is quite the mystery. His Father was born in the south while his Mother was born in Canada. Both sides came over to the U.S. […]

Plantains and potatoes get equal weight.

Lucia Flores Medford, MA My parents raised us to be proud of our Dominican heritage, and at the same time went to great lengths to ensure that we had the cultural/intellectual capital to succeed in a white-dominant society. As a result, I am an active participant in American culture as well as Dominican/Hispanic culture in […]

Entire countries meld in this body.

Isabella Thomas, Philadelphia, PA. My name is Isabella Thomas, and I’m a student currently attending Central High School in Philadelphia. The concept of ‘race’, to me has always correlated with ‘color’. Or perhaps an erasure of identity. I am not simply white, just as my peers- my friends- are not simply black, or Asian. I […]

I like kimchi more than potatoes.

Sarah Diggins, Berlin, MA. I’m almost entirely Irish by heritage (my dad’s side is 100%), but I never really clicked with the culture. I grew up loving Celtic music, looking at gorgeous landscapes of the Irish countryside, and hearing stories about my Irish cousins and ancestors from my grandparents. But when I went to live […]

Not white, I am Celtic American.

Janet Modesto, CA I am from Irish, Welsh and Scottish grandparents and don’t identify with other cultures that are grouped White/Caucasian. I am proud of my heritage and refuse to check the box, always write in Celtic American.

To belong everywhere and nowhere simultaneously

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 […]

How long have you had him?

Heather Ann Lindstrom Buffalo, NY My beautiful son was born to two very different parents. Me, of Swedish and Irish heritage,and his father of Samoan and Chinese heritage. When I would take my son out as a baby, it felt like everyone I met assumed he was adopted and asked “How long have you had […]

I’m caught in two different worlds.

Carissa Lew, CA. Being born in America but having my heritage from China leads me to believe I should choose one or the other. Many people question me about how “connected” I am to my heritage, but truth be told..I’m not very in tune with my Chinese culture. It’s difficult to discern who I really […]


White Martial Artist, who’s not White.

Gerard Liston, New York, NY. The way I look confuses people. Most cant pin point my heritage. I am by birth Irish and Ecuadorian. Furthering my cultural heritage is my love of music. I love to play the drums and that love took me all the way to Africa. There I learned to play the […]


I am Mexican when its convenient

John Heath Olguin, West Orange, NJ. Before you get all worked up about my 6 words. Let me explain. I watched a little boy of Mexican-American decent sing our national anthem and thought nothing of it. The next day I read about all the negative comments that came about of his performance (see link) and […]


Race is a story we tell

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 […]

I was born and raised American.

Anonymous, NJ. I have never been so angry at or disappointed in my parents in all my 16 years of life. Before you dismiss this as just another teenager hating on her parents, hear me out, because it is far from that. Both of my parents moved to America from Lebanon, a small country in […]

I’d like to return my white privilege.

Danielle Blixt, Riverside, CA. Although my heritage is Lebanese, Costa Rican and German, to the outside world I look white. I recognize and accept that going into an interview I have an upper hand. I understand that when I walk into a restaurant no one is thinking I am up to not good or that […]


Women tell hidden mixed heritage story.

Jodi Su Tharan, Berkeley, CA. My family is Jewish, Apache Chiricahua, additional hidden tribes that still remained unnamed after years of research, Welsh, Scots, Irish, English and probably more. We joke that we are ‘the great unwashed’..not nice but in a way reclaiming the history of poor folks from all over becoming the beauty of […]

Not Trayvon, fear becoming Sabrina

Cyndi Morris, Los Gatos, CA. I’m a White mom of a Black son, living in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood. I struggle against my in adequate education on race in America. I’m sure I stumble as I guide my son toward valuing everything about himself, including his African American heritage. I have known that I need […]

My heritage is Irish, not white.

S. Aleana, Ocala, FL. I did not come from a privileged white family. My family line on all sides traces back to the early 1900’s. They were poor Irish immigrants. I have been told I do not understand how minorities feel because I am white and privileged. I have never been handed anything in life, […]

I’m 50-50, they only see black.

Autumn Battani, Los Angeles, CA. People only identify me as black. And that doesn’t make sense to me. Even when I was little, and we would fill out forms for tests, I would ask my teacher what I was supposed to do. The papers always said you can only choose one, but I’m two. And […]


Yes that’s right an Arab Latino

Philippe Nassif, Houston, TX. A blessing and a curse growing up mixed racial in the deep south. Born to a Mexican mother and Lebanese father, I have successfully learned to identify with all of my heritages while feeling like an outsider at the same time. When you are with Arabs, there is always your “other […]

Biracial. Never wanted to be white.

Anjali, USA. Growing up I feel like I only belong to my Sri Lankan culture and heritage because I dismiss the white part of myself. I am half Sri Lankan and half white, but I look tan. I wish I was darker. Some say I look white, but when I look at myself I can […]


Jenna, USA. Every culture or race seems to have this deep inter connection with their skin color and culture and heritage. People seem to embrace their ‘uniqueness’ and take pride of where they are from and who they are. I am white. I am proud to be white. But why do those words sound so […]

Am I Hispanic enough to ‘count’?

Alix Sotomayor, Boone, NC. I have always felt suspended between two worlds, since my ethnicity is widely varied (like that of most Americans). I am mostly (~70%) white, of Scots-Irish and English descent, but also have a chunk (25%) of Puerto Rican heritage (the missing ~5% comes from smidges of Native American and German ancestry). […]


Hey Dominicans! You too are black.

Cristina Reyes, Houston, TX. I chose the six words I wish I could go around the streets of Santo Domingo yelling. I have never understood, in all my years, why the Dominican culture steadily continues to deny their “blackness.” Their children aren’t taught to consider themselves “negro” instead they are to consider themselves “indio.” The […]


Not white, but my kids are?

Rob Silva Oakland, CA First generation with Indo-Dutch/ El Salvadoran heritage. Family has seemingly always been the non-white in the group, especially when listening to the my parents’ stories of assimilation. So strange then when my son was bullied at his new school in Berkeley for being the white kid.


My mixed-race son looks All-American.

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 […]

But where are YOUR PEOPLE from?

Reed Atlanta, GA “Where is your family from? No, but where are YOUR PEOPLE from? I mean, what is your HERITAGE? Like, your ancestors. I mean … where do your features come from?” That was one of the more polite conversations that someone has initiated about by race. Although I was raised white and generally […]

Loving and Hating being Asian

Vivian Li San Jose, CA I deeply appreciate my heritage as a Chinese-American. It has taught me about a complex culture, thousands-of-years-old ideology, and a strong sense of identity. I am proud of the country my ancestors hail from and its incredibly rich and its understudied history. It has given me beautiful looks, and the […]

Why cant I enjoy my heritage?

Jennifer Kerkow Chaska, MN I’m mostly Scottish and German but Im around 1/4 Indian. I feel like I cant fully embrace it and claim it because it isnt the majority of my heritage, although its a part of me that I love. When my great grandparents came to America (from Poland) they didn’t take the […]


They only see the Asian half.

Katelyn Tsukada Northampton, MA My mother is of Irish and Italian heritage; my father of Japanese descent. Both of my parents were born in the United States as were their parents before them. Both consider themselves to be American as documented by their passports, drivers licenses and birth certificates. My mother and father speak English […]

Mexican but not always okay sharing

Guadalupe Madrigal Riverside, CA I am first generation born in the U.S. proud of heritage and of the U.S. both. When I was growing I had to be careful when and where to say I was Mexican. It was a matter of being humiliated, bullied, or accepted. I was so insecure that i kept to […]

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Mixed heritage. Feeling strange growing up

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 […]

You’re not from here, are you?

Hanne Nielsen New Zealand Wherever I go, I’m always from elsewhere. Born in Canada, with Danish heritage, and living in New Zealand, every place assumes I’m ‘really’ from one of the others. What does ‘really’ mean? In New Zealand, everyone came from elsewhere at some point, usually from many elsewheres.

Go Ahead and Call Me Cracker

Jackie Barclay USA Years ago, I had a run-in at a convenience store with a black woman who apparently hated me because I’m white. I didn’t know the woman and had never gone to that store before but she started calling me a huzz, a bitch, etc. Just when I was getting angry enough to […]

I’m Mexican-American, heritage comes first

Bessie King Boston, MA I don’t think I have been offended by being asked “Where are you from?” before. I was raised to know that I am a Mexican with an American passport in a country where everyone is from somewhere. Until the USA truly embraces diversity and it’s own history, there will be no […]

Native Americans swept dead under rug.

April & Bill Ledford Carrboro, NC Native Americans and their contributions to US history, heritage, music, culture, food, customs — along with the often ignored, horrible American Holocaust — are still swept under the rug on a continuous basis in the media, history books, and everyday American society. The fact we have an NFL team […]


Natives Can Have Curls Without Admixture

An Indigenous Native American’s with Curly Hair, USA Western Hemisphere Indigenous Natives The “straight hair myth” started by The English Settlers in North American, and spread like a nasty virus throughout our entire hemisphere. Anyone else tired of this lie. THE PENCIL TEST: In the past Whites had a test which was used to define […]

Light skin doesn’t make me privileged

Em New York, NY Born in Mexico, to mexican parents, crossed the border to find a better life, learning english on tv, grew up in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the US, with Colombians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, two brothers many shades darker than I, my mother “the help,” always having too […]

Mexican With White Skin No Spanish

JS CA Brought up to believe my Mexican heritage was secondary to my white heritage. Didn’t learn Spanish, didn’t learn culture. As a young woman I identify with being Mexican only when I am allowed to. For example, on a jury questionnaire, I check “white” because I fear I don’t have “enough” Mexican ancestry to […]

Do not deny me my heritage.

Jennifer Kerkow Chaska, MN Im Scottish, German, and Indian. It was my Great grandfather who was indian and I love it and want to embrace it and claim it but im told my people I cant because it isn’t a large part of my DNA though you can see it in me.

Empty people wrapped in white skin.

Amie Lecorchick NJ I have no idea who my ancestors were or where they came from…all I know is that I’m white, and I live in America. As a white American, I feel like the only cultural heritage I have is a collection of atrocities. I am surrounded by this enormous array of diverse, amazing […]