mecrop

I am probably not what you think.

Adriana M., Canada. How about being the only-child black sheep of a Colombian mother and Irish/Ukrainian father? My mom could pass for Italian, but her Hispanic legacy is strongly expressed in me, all wrapped up in an Irish surname. I grew up without much diversity and didn’t even realise I looked different from everyone else […]

Italian Boyfriend Uncomfortable Visiting Arizona Home

Mike McNamara Chicago, IL Especially in the non-winter months because he gets so dark. Growing up in Tucson, he was sometimes mistaken for Mexican, which makes sense when you look at him from afar. But only recently has he felt uncomfortable going home to visit his family based on that same mistake that people have […]

waist-up

Is Puerto Rican a separate race?

Diana Gonzalez, Franklin Square, NY. I am an adopted person. I’ve been searching for my past all my life. I’m 60 now. One of my adopted parents was Austrian and one was Italian. I was raised to think of myself as Italian. In the early 1970’s I searched and found out I was born in […]

188869_10200405683241704_1635270126_n

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 […]

mustache

Sometimes I cry when making pasta.

Meredith Taggart, Portland, OR. I’m Italian and Scottish and otherwise a European mutt. I’m generally considered “white,” and look ambiguously ethnic. For me, the idea of race is all about a longing for a greater connection to my heritage. I never feel more connected than when making pasta. Learning the language, visiting Italy, making/eating Italian […]

Trewartha_Kinney_Terri_8711

What are you? White? or Italian?

Terri, Chicago, IL. Um…neither – Really. That is the first question asked by someone who had just met me. Really? That’s the first question you ask me? We really need to stop defining each other by one or two word descriptions and take a few moments to get to know each other beyond the generalizations […]

Race-Card-PHOTO

Apparently, I’m Jesus, or a terrorist.

John Abraham, Grand Rapids, MI. Thanks to my Italian and Lebanese heritage, I am blessed to say I have a fairly full beard and curly brown hair. However, these two attributes have granted me two common nicknames: “Jesus” or “Terrorist”. I suppose I look like many modern-day depictions of Jesus and when I’m referred to […]

14575_10202198467031354_2091456860_n

You have a black girl’s hair

Lauren, Fairpoint, NY. I was required to do this for a MSW course on ethnic diversity. As a white, Italian-American woman, it was very difficult for me to think of an example of a racial micro-aggression that I have experienced. I have coarse, curly black hair. The statement was meant to be an insult.

Photo-on-9-28-14-at-3.12-PM-2

But you don’t look Italian

Katie Rotondo, El Segundo, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about race and ethnicity lately. Looking back, it bothers me how many times I was asked what ethnicity I am, responding by saying I am Italian, and getting the famous saying, “But you don’t look Italian!” This is a daily response. Just because I don’t […]

I’m Proud To Be Irish/Italian American

Sean, CT. I’m not proud to be white, because there’s so many different kinds of white and I’m not proud of my skin color, I’m proud of my culture. Sunday dinners. Seafood. Irish bread. That’s what I identify with, not the color of my skin. And to call me racist for that is complete shi*.

395550_3132095985449_808346539_n

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 […]

I’m White, but sometimes kinda brown

Max Haverhill, MA I’m an American with mostly German and Italian backgrounds. When the warmer months begin, I tend to get tanner than many friends of mine, likely because of the Italian background. I have been confused for other races in the past; there’s a photo in my home of me an my African-American cousin. […]

Dirty dago: my mother at 6.

Keira Dodd Lakewood, OH My Italian grandmother came here in 1956 on the Andrea Doria, and my mother only knew one sentence of English (“I have to pee”) when she first went to school. She got called names and ostracized for her “otherness.” I remember that when I think of how different immigrant cultures are […]

Indian, German, Italian. But still family

ANNA GRASSI Cremona, Italy My husband ( German ) and I ( Italian ) adopted an Indian-born daughter. We live in Italy. It is not always easy to make people understand that we are a family: adoption and different skin colours make us “very perculiar”. Why did we parents choose a girl so different from […]

Nice tan, are you a Mexican?

Amanda Kotyuk San Jacinto, CA My father was a cowboy, born and raised on the horse ranches of Melrose New Mexico. He was a mix of Irish, Italian and Cherokee. My mother on the other hand was Puerto Rican. Her parents and grandparents were born on the island, as was she. My skin is tan, […]

Screen-Shot-2013-10-14-at-6.42.56-AM

You’re Italian? Are you considered white?

Robert Amore, West Hollywood, CA. NYC Born, High School North Shore Long Island, University Evanston Ill., Manhattan Resident for 20 years. Moved to Los Angeles in 2005. To my shock not once but at least 6 times asked the above question. Why anyone would be asked this question is disgraceful. Observing Race discrimination and prejudice […]

Not Just Any Other White Girl

Francesca Magno Portland, ME I come from a very large Irish/Italian family. We have traditions and ideals representative of different cultures. Yet, when people identify me I am simply a white girl. People do not view me as a mix of races. I could be any other ugg wearing, latte in hand, textaholic, but I […]

Mexican, Italian, Persian, what are you?

Rebecca Rodriguez Baltimore, MD This is a picture of my brother and I. Constantly he gets accused of being Arab, Mexican or Italian from Caucasians, “White guy” from African Americans, and Persian from Iranians. My story falls somewhere along the same line. We both grew up Latino (Guatemalan to be specific), and even then – […]

You’ll find your real parents someday.

Alessa Abruzzo Philadelphia, PA Biologically I’m Korean. Ethnically I’m Irish-German-Italian. I was adopted at 4.5 months old, at which point I flew from South Korea to the USA and into the loving arms of my parents who happen to be white. To put it plainly, I was raised by white people – My entire immediate […]

But You Have Blue Eyes?

Amanda Fisher Riverside, CA My dad was 100 percent Italian. My mom is white with a little dash of American Indian. People never ask me about my heritage or my racial background. If I ever add my history to a conversation by saying, “I am Italian” people look at me and always respond with, “But […]

Blonde

Are both your parents from Cuba?

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 […]

Lost in the buildings reflective surface

Natalie Rossi Canton, MA I am 50% Irish, 50% Italian, and 100% Chinese. I am adopted, I live with a white American family. I am Asian and when we went to Flushing NY and I looked at the building beside me and saw all the Asians, I could not find myself. there was a sea […]

two-kinds-of-people

Are you Hispanic, or just Italian?

Rachel Masilamani, Pittsburgh, PA. I was eating lunch alone in the break room on my first day at an office job when 3 of my new co-workers peeked in. “Are you Hispanic, or just Italian?” one of them blurted out. Neither, actually. This lady just laid down her line for White and Not White and […]

Why am I a hyphenated American?

Earnestine Simmons Las Cruces, NM The majority of Americans have foreign ancestors, but they don’t wear an identification tag of their great- or great-great-grandparents. They are not always referred to as “British-American,” or “Swedish-American,” or “Italian- American.” If nationality comes up at all, these people are simply “Americans.”

Not what you think I am.

Briana Ciccarino Baltimore, MD “Are you Latina/Hispanic?” this is the question I often get when meeting new people. I appreciate the compliment and wish I was Latina, but I’m white. How can a white girl look Latina? Not sure. Like so many others, I am a mix of many heritages: I am Italian, Polish, German, […]

“Go back where you came from”

Richard Perez Bay Shore, NY I was born in North Kingstown RI and raised in Queens NY. Somehow, because I am Latino I am often not considered “American”. When I was a teen in the 80’s, I was actually told “Go back where you came from” by an Italian about my age at the time. […]

I’m not Hispanic, thanks for asking.

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 […]

Aaron_Duran_Pic

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, […]

Gab_color_reduced

We thought you didn’t speak English.

Gabriela Denise Frank, Seattle, WA. Despite being a Detroit native who grew up in Arizona, I was mostly surrounded by white kids like me during my childhood. Though my family is Jewish, I never experienced discrimination while living in predominately Christian communities. Even as an adult in Seattle, which is more ethnically diverse, I live […]

Know this: We are all prejudiced.

Richard Coccaro PhD. Clinical Psychologist Mountain View, CA I am first generation Italian. As a boy my father told me, “What a man has in his heart, is all that counts.” I have conducted racial healing groups and we explored our prejudices. It is important to know our prejudices so that we can prevent our […]