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). [...]

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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 [...]

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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.

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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 [...]

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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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 [...]

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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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

I’m not pretending to be Latina

Meghan Morales Seattle, WA Even though I’m mixed race (Latina with Puerto Rican & Dominican heritage & White), my lighter toned skin provides me the privilege to ‘pass’ most days. I’m often mistaken for someone whose sole race is White from those who do not know me. Because of this, it was especially shocking to [...]

Persecution and humiliation, my Huguenot heritage.

Andrew Steven Doss Callands, VA I learned of my Huguenot heritage when I took up genealogy several years ago. They were forced to leave their ancestral homeland simply because their religious beliefs defied the state organized religion. It’s amazing that so many other people around the world are facing this same type of persecution today.

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 [...]

We are all shades of brown.

Paul Ruscher Eugene, OR Explore Identity It is time to ignore appearance…it facilitates judging others. I am a father of 11 including 5 adopted kids and I love them all and wish others did. but my biological kids (Caucasian) have always been more accepted than my darker complected ones (adopted from India and some from [...]

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 [...]

Something other: ambiguous race, ambiguous identity.

Rachel Crooks Tallahassee, FL As a woman with a Mexican mother (“Mexican” to signify “mixed race,” although my mother has been identified by some as being Native American or Filipino or ‘Asian’) and a Jamaican father (his ethnicity is never questioned, though his nationality is reduced to ‘African American’), I grew up in a strange [...]

Biracial anxiety; black/white; both/neither?

Tracey Frierson North Ridgeville, OH Version 2:  biracial anxiety; black/white; neither/both! I have two adult biracial daughters, three years apart, raised in the same home under similar circumstances- one for whom racial identity has been problematic, the other who identifies herself as Black and has always seemed to adjust positively to that aspect of her [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Chinese-American girl isn’t even Asian

Dana Mulligan Falls Church, VA I am totally, completely, one-hundred-and-ten percent of white decent. However, I identify as an Asian-American. Due to her father’s job, my mother grew up overseas in Taiwan and Hong Kong. She passed the culture she learned there on to me. We take our shoes off at the front door, have [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

My heart is Hawaiian, I’m not.

Jan Mason NY Born and raised in paradise as a Haole (white) person I had more than my share of discrimination but living on the “mainland” where I “fit in” with the white majority(?) my island heritage is invisible. I have taken to checking the box or “Pacific Islander” though I feel guilty about if [...]

Black Irish, mother’s grandfather from Barbados.

Dan Hubbs Queensbury, NY Mixed race ancestry was a family mystery. When visiting Irish relatives in Ireland, all of whom were fair skinned, I knew there was something else in my background. It turns out my mother’s father’s family, who were quite adamant about their “English” heritage, were mixed race and from the British West [...]

White privilege equals open vernacular relishment

Kathryn Sanders Summerville, SC I am white Southern woman . I will never forget overhearing a group of white co-workers harshly criticize a black co-worker’s slip into African American vernacular at an on-the-job baby-shower while handing out gifts. I have some Appalachian forbears and am an English major and I take great pleasure in using [...]

Heritage Day? I am a mutt.

Christina Vallem Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan When the elementary school holds a Heritage Day my kids would ask me “What are we?” At first I would say we are “mutts.” Kids love dogs and understood the answer. My best answer evolved into “Northern European mix.” An improvement over rattling off [...]

What ARE you? I can’t tell.

Lara Furar Canton, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I remember being asked this question as a child. And at various times throughout my life ever since. There was enough of “something” in my background that made it difficult for people to “figure me out”. For some reason, they needed to do that – [...]

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. [...]