Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]
Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]
Kelly C, Los Angeles, CA. My husband is Japanese and I look “white” though I don’t really know what I “am” because my father was adopted. Our kids are wonderful, beautiful, happy pre-teens. Growing up in a diverse and inclusive place, they have friends from a variety of ethnicities, religions, and social classes. But in […]
Michael Morentin, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up a third generation Mexican-American I find myself walking America as a 30 year old Marine Corps veteran and recent college graduate whom is too brown for those around me who are white, and not brown enough for those around me of hispanic heritage. Being third generation Mexican-American the […]
Michelle T, Los Angeles, CA. What a wonderful and positive way to engage in discourse about race. Well done, Mrs. Norris!
Michael Kelley Los Angeles, CA I am a White man and when I am out running errands, some Black or Hispanic person will invariably ask if I am the Police. It’s funny that they still think it even though I grew my hair out because I got tired of being asked this question.
Mari Pollack Los Angeles, CA Joy was adopted at the age of 11 from an abusive home in Korea into a loving family in California. Now a rebellious alcoholic in her 20s, she is homesick for a home that doesn’t want her and unable to feel truly a part of her adoptive family. She returns […]
Joy Los Angeles, CA Looking into my family history, at first I found relief at finding no record of slave ownership, even among ancestors in the South. Was it just because they could not afford to buy slaves? But then I found a transcript of a sermon my great-great grandmother’s brother gave at a church […]
Sandy Mayer, Los Angeles, CA. I was surprised that our daughter’s Guatemalan foster family lovingly called her Chinita but understand that this is accepted in some Latino cultures. Growing up in a bi-cultural household, my sisters and I were called “cosas de la vida” by my Mexican mother. My husband and I are determined to […]
Krystle Irvine, Los Angeles, CA.
Stephen Docherty, Los Angeles, CA.
Amanda Nelski, Los Angeles, CA. People like to put other people in boxes. “Where are you really from?” they ask. I used to answer Detroit. When they asked where my parents are from, Detroit was not suitable either. “You don’t look like you’re from Detroit.” After some banter I would eventually confess my lineage is […]
Diane Smith, Anchorage, AK. I was the only white girl in my 6th grade class at Windsor Hills Elementary School in Los Angeles. I wished so much that I looked like my classmates. My greatest compliment back then (the 1960s) was that I might be white on the outside, but I was black on the […]
Maya Segirah, Los Angeles, CA. As if the qualifier, somehow, makes me different from the rest, which are by implication inferior, and therefore I’m better? I should be pleased with this? What makes people think THIS is a compliment? And why are they invariably annoyed when I point out that this is not a compliment?
fakeKofi M. G. W. Opantiri, Los Angeles, CA. I am the eldest child of two boys and a girl born to an American-African father and a French-Canadian (white) mother. Born in New York City in 1949, the “one-drop” rule informed me early on that I was Negro and colored. Like millions of American-Africans, I became […]
Mac Los Angeles, CA My children grew up in southern California and attended fabulously diverse schools that frequently featured “Heritage Days” where the school children were encouraged to wear clothes, and bring in food and other articles representative of their ethnic background. From their earliest years, my kids found this confusing. What were we anyway? […]
Mary Mills, Los Angeles, CA. I am a black female surfer. (What stereotypes?)
Jessie Blakely Los Angeles, CA I was raised in Hawaii, where there really isn’t such thing as a racial stereotype. Hawaii kids tend to be so ethnically diverse, that any stereotype today may apply to up to 1/2 of their bloodline, but rarely more. When I moved to the mainland to go to college, I […]
Natalia Lopez, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in East LA and being told I was one of the “good children”, I played into the identity that I was and will always be an exception to my peoples inferiority. Striving to be more like the white girls I saw on television made me feel like I […]
Thomas C. Hofstra, Los Angeles, CA. My spouses six words are “I try to understand our world”
Brian Buchner, Los Angeles, CA.
Ryan C Los Angeles, CA Chinese, 20-something-year-old male, university student, and gay. Never going to be a doctor, lawyer, or businessman–contrary to familial and societal expectations. Still looking for peace of mind in my life choices.
Steven J. Scott Los Angeles, CA
Jeff Schaffer Los Angeles, CA Seeing this exhibit reminds me of the sacrifices made by our predecessors, and inspires me to continue working for a world in which all are cherished for their diversity, and there is equal opportunity for all.
James Estanislao Herr, Los Angeles, CA. Dad’s side came over in 1717–Swiss-German and Irish with some Danish and Greek thrown in. Mom came over in 1954. Filipino, Spanish and Chinese with I guess some Portuguese somewhere along the way given my middle name. Grew up in an all white community outside Philadelphia. Not sure who […]
Charles Los Angeles, CA Leaders of color are seldom portrayed in our theater, films or story traditions.
Jennie, Los Angeles, CA. I am 4th generation Chicana. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is White. One of the saddest things is to be rejected in relationships or see as different from your significant others’ family. I find that Mexicano families do not understand the history of Mexican-Americans. Someone I dated pointed out […]
Graciela Patino, Los Angeles, CA.
Alexander Korukov, Los Angeles, CA. What is more to say?
Laura Pierson, Los Angeles, CA. I am Native American, Mexican, Spanish, English, Germany, and Irish. I was raised by a single mom that is Native American, English, German, and Irish. I didn’t know what being a Mexican meant or was like and I’m still trying to figure it out. As a child, I told people […]
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 […]
Walter Thompson-Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a native of Los Angeles, California and the proud son of an African American father and a first-generation Mexican immigrant mother.
Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. As a person of brown skin color and Latin heritage, I am often spoken to in Spanish by strangers with the assumption that I only speak that language. It can often be demeaning when people assume that because I have a culture different than the “majority”, I am automatically categorized […]
Jennessa Cairo, Los Angeles, CA. I believe it’s important to know who we are, and to learn and respect our cultures all over the globe. But growing up I never saw race, I just saw people as equals. Sometimes I just don’t understand why is matters to people.
Clare Norris-Bell, Los Angeles, CA. In the Black community, hair has been been a measurement of one’s value for generations. In the African-American culture, “good” hair refers to hair that is not kinky or not what is pejoratively called “nappy”. It is hair that is closer to the texture of people in parts of the […]
Jason Dunmore, Los Angeles, CA.
Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. The fact that I am a Latina should not make you assume I am not intelligent. I am college educated, I am well-spoken, and I have undergone experiences that have created a foundation for my intellect and my ability to communicate. Don’t be surprised because I can use “big words”.
Tom Gilles, Los Angeles, CA.
Devin Horton, Los Angeles, CA. My race card refers to conundrum of my experience and my physical self being essentially invisible but also having the world simultaneously watch and critique my every move with microscopic precision. It can cause serious anxiety.
April Faye Weathers, Los Angeles, CA. I’m light skinned and have always felt self-conscious about my skin tone. Growing up, my white mom taught my brother and I to be proud of our black identity and feel comfortable in our own skin. She embraced our father’s culture and made it part of her own, blending […]
T.C. Green, Los Angeles, CA.
Christoph Wagner, Los Angeles, CA.
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 […]
Mary Ann Morano, Los Angeles, CA. There is only one race; the human race.
Kalea Deutsch, Los Angeles, CA. That’s how I see it. I am a product of a black father and a white mother. Being black has brought me zero benefit. It is instead a negative label I am burdened with. It is the realization that I, as a partially black woman, am labeled as largely undesirable […]
Judee Fernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a white looking Mexican woman born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents who are brown and proud. Yet all my life, I’ve been asked questions about beauty and my look, more than anyone has asked me about what I know and my experiences. The other day, I went […]
Adrienne Karyadi, Los Angeles, CA. I think of this as a supermarket check-out line experience: I’m waiting with strangers in some kind of line, and they notice me with my son. My son tries to engage them and they respond. And then they start wondering: what ethnicity is he? because he doesn’t look like he […]
Deborah Robinson, Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in profoundly white Eugene, Oregon, where I’d laugh at banners emblazoned, CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. “What, as long as it’s not here?” I’d wonder. Yet the whiteness of my hometown did not mean it was a racially hostile one. I nurtured no ill will for folks from different walks […]
Ben Sheehan, Los Angeles, CA. Georgetown Day School Equality of opportunity can only happen when humanity at large recognizes that certain people are born with certain racial, cultural, and economic privileges. Once we begin to acknowledge that, we can start closing the prevailing opportunity gaps. We have to acknowledge that the reality exists before we […]
Victor Vega, Los Angeles, CA. What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even […]
Adrienne Crew Los Angeles, CA I’m always troubled about the concept of being an “Oreo” and not really projecting an “African American” identity but rather always being the upper middle class nerd that I was born and refusing to “code switch.” What is “Black” anyways? I get this comment both from whites and non-whites.
Malika Los Angeles, CA Our daughter began to draw what she saw in the world very early. She wakes up from vivid dreams, grabs a sheet of paper and illustrates the thunder and lightning, fairies and wizards, monsters and princesses from her nighttime imagination. Having grown up in America as a woman of African ancestry, […]
S Woods, Los Angeles, CA. This is something often said by White people to Black people, when they are amazed that the Black person is able to communicate effectively using Standard American English. As if we all speak like a character from a Black face film. Its degrading. And, it’s one of the ways in […]
Michael Erike Los Angeles, CA Black….if I’m still in school at this age I must be an athlete right…wrong. There’s more to any race than what meets the eyes. I don’t go around judging others by simply how they look so do I deserve that treatment? Life is a colorful depth of inspiring beauty, strength, […]
Micah Bailey Los Angeles, CA
Boka Agboje Los Angeles, CA
Carla Los Angeles, CA This comment is what I often heard from many people, including my own regarding my daughter from birth until about 8 years of age. I believe people actually thought they were complimenting her and maybe even me….someone who is for the most part unmistakably of African ancestry. Sometimes I would take […]
Dae-Hyun Jin Los Angeles, CA Being Asian American, or Asian (fill in the blank), means higher expectations and standards from society. And not in the traditional sense, such as our strong cultural values and morals rooting from ancient Chinese philosophy; but, rather, a new-age philosophy that has effected our own native culture. To clarify, I […]
Nayeli G. Velez Los Angeles, CA I didn’t understand how to take this comment growing up. Now, I cringe when people say it. I see now it’s a comment on my race and culture. A racist comment disguised as a complement.
Samantha D. Los Angeles, CA I’m from Eastern Europe and I find America’s racial diversity very interesting and exciting. That being said America is entirely too focused on the label of race – from job applications, college applications, scholarships, to nearly every government form. The principle of the question really bothers me and I usually […]
Lydia Ho Los Angeles, CA I moved to the U.S. four years ago, and having to come across my classmate’s Facebook comment identifying a picture she took of her friend with me standing in the background was nothing but pain in my heart, when I saw her commenting: “that Asian girl in the background”. I […]
Carissa D. Los Angeles, CA
Carissa Brown Los Angeles, CA I am a struggling white college student with no scholarships. Why? Because all the scholarships available seem to be exclusively for first generation Americans, or Hispanics, or African Americans, or anyone but me. It’s not my fault I’m white. Why can’t I get scholarships??? Why can’t there be any scholarships […]
Krisha Jain Los Angeles, CA I’m an international student from India, and when I tell people that, I always get the same response.
Sabrina Dendle Los Angeles, CA
Juan De Rada Los Angeles, CA There are 20 other countries that speak Spanish, just saying.
Sanjay Raval Los Angeles, CA
Ana W. Los Angeles, CA Black is beautiful, and being an educated black woman just adds embellishments to the race.
Emily Los Angeles, CA I’ve never been a fan of Starbucks, but everyone always assumes I spend everyday there just since I’m a preppy white girl.
Lynn Lomibao Los Angeles, CA To clarify, my statement isn’t intended to create further divisions among “people of color” or to point the finger or to say that white folks aren’t racist. My point is to acknowledge that people of color can be racist, too. Case in point: I learned that people see me differently […]
Peter Kim Los Angeles, CA Heard the phrase “majority minority” on the radio the other day. I know exactly what they meant and I have heard it many times before, but it irked me. Used to express when an ethnic minority is greater than 50% or outnumber the “majority.” The implications are that the majority […]
Mara Andino Los Angeles, CA My parents are both Puerto Rican. My mom has red hair and freckles constantly mistaken for Northern European, my dad is Black and Tiano Indian. Growing up in NYC in the 60’s and 70’s not many people looked like ma and spoke Spanish too. It was a struggle too dark […]
Christian La Mont Los Angeles, CA It’s just another way of saying, “Well, you don’t look like you’re from Colorado, what nationality are your parents? What’s your race? ” It used to bother me. Now, it’s a part of who I am. Born in Mexico, raised in Colorado. And very happy to live in Los […]
Lacey Johnson Los Angeles, CA I know that saying you “don’t see color” is a hot trend right now, but I don’t think that many realize how offensive it is to a person of color to hear those words. By saying you don’t see color, you are denying our struggle, our history, and our existence. […]
Winter Rose Los Angeles, CA Everyone in the USA is required to attend school, unlike impoverished countries around the world. Our education system is paid for. If you are not learning in school, it is through either your own fault, or a physical/mental requirement for special needs, which is also provided for in our system. […]
Susan Alvarez Los Angeles, CA
Michelle Westmiller Los Angeles, CA
Lesley Krane Los Angeles , CA
Maya Segirah Los Angeles, CA I have heard this all my life, exclusively from white people (ok, men) , who, for some arrogant reason, think they have the right to tell who I am or what I should be, to the exclusion of my own experience. When I question their assumptions in any way I […]
Angel Liu Los Angeles, CA I’m an international student studying in America. Since I was born and raised in China, I have an obvious accent when I speak English. People can easily guess where I come from and my ethical background is very simple. I identify who I am very clearly, but when living such […]
Jennifer Lindsay Los Angeles, CA I get asked some variation of this on a fairly regular basis, about once or twice a week. The conversation usually goes something like this: OP: where are you from? Me: Los Angeles, although I was born in Orange County OP: well where are your parents from? Me: My dad’s […]
Rita Kane Los Angeles, CA Recessive genes will never allow the human race to fade to one color, as some people fear. It’s the opposite. We aren’t fading to brown. We probably started out that way. But time has actually evolved us into distinctive groups. The possibility for different colors is in the DNA. The […]
Alicia Lara Los Angeles, CA Being a woman of color, a Chicana, is my source of strength. More often than not it is a shield to protect myself – even that means keeping others out.
Robert Lee Los Angeles, CA It’s awkward enough seeing others making out in public, but for a gay man to just give a loving peck to his significant other still tends to be frowned upon at times. Not really race related, rather orientation, but it’s of the same ilk.
Andre A. Clark Los Angeles, CA As a hard working, young, black software engineer, I am often praised for my contributions, but equally (if not more often) overlooked for chances to lead or to be cultivated into a leadership position.
Bernard Lhert Los Angeles, CA
Angie Featherstone Los Angeles, CA When I was 39 years old, my mother informed me that my great, great-grandmother was an escaped slave named Hatti. Despite all outward evidence to the contrary, I am 1/16th black.
Brigitte Ferry Los Angeles, CA The Universe really likes variety, so why do we hold on so tight to this brand of ignorance! Trillions of years on Planet earth and many more to come, its time to move on!! Just imagine what we could do with all this waisted energy, we might stop being stingy […]
Arturo Aguilar Los Angeles, CA My dad was a car painter and during vacation from Jr. High School I would go work as his helper. One day a client of the body shop came in and was unhappy about the time it was taking to get his car painted. He complained to the owner by […]
Tracy Gray Los Angeles, CA I’ve noticed that when some people described a person as “black,” they will whisper or hesitate, as if they will offend me. It doesn’t matter if they are progressive or conservative. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that I am proud of who I am and I would be […]
Julie Simon Los Angeles, CA In 1959, members of the Collins Park community (New Castle, Delaware) firebombed the home of one of the first Black families to move into the neighborhood. On the second occasion, the house was destroyed. Historian Yohuru Williams has written about this event and it is included in the Encyclopedia of […]
Craig Wolford Los Angeles, CA
Steven Nelson Los Angeles, CA Before the advent of email, people would commonly say this to me when they would meet me after a phone conversation. Funny, they always squirmed when I responded, “Oh. What are black people supposed to sound like?”
Daria Roithmayr Los Angeles, CA For me, and maybe also for Rich Ford, race isn’t primarily about people’s interpersonal interactions but about big structural processes, that explain why jobs, housing, health care, wealth (WHOA that’s a big one), education, incarceration, infant mortality and just about everything else is distributed massively along racial lines. Those disparities […]
Carol A. Los Angeles, CA As an African American woman of a certain age I feel a sense of failure that our generation has not made this world safe for our children.
Countess Lene Los Angeles, CA We’re one family!
Alisa Dennis Los Angeles, CA Many white people do not personally know any blacks, or very few. As a result, their only reference point for black culture is drawn from stereotyped, caricatured images from T.V. news, sitcoms, Hollywood movies, or quickly driving through the outskirts of economically marginalized black neighborhoods where they are likely to […]