Ben, Madison, WI. Every time I think about race, especially when I’m asked to indicate it, I feel three things: anxiety, resentment and shame. Anxiety: Even if I have the option not to indicate my race I feel a wave of anxiety. I have a “White name” and light skin, English was my first language, […]
Steve Pederson , Submitted via Twitter: @stevped
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 […]
Tyler Brown, Washington, DC. As an African American and Irish American man ppl have referred to me as biracial or mixed for most of my life…both terms uncover misunderstandings about race and what makes a person. One being can’t be two races at the same time, neither can they be mixed like cake batter in […]
Jennifer Wong Cernak, Chester, MD. I have been listening to your race-card stories for a long time and heard the topic of mixed race come up again and again. In the past identity has been a struggle for me, but now I feel comfortable with who I am. There were many days, growing up, I […]
Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]
Anna Berch-Norton, Pittsburgh, PA. Yeah, when white guys call their friends “my nigga” and people say to their Vietnamese friend, “it’s funny cause you’re Asian”, that doesn’t mean that we’re totally over that whole racism thing. It means that people are subscribing to the hipster theory of racism that you can say really racist, disgusting […]
Mikaela Rejbrand, San Francisco, CA. Being a person of mixed race, my biological mom is white and my biological father is black, and having married an Irish man, my children are much lighter skinned than I am and therefore am often mistaken for “the babysitter”. The constant theme since my children have been born is […]
Vasvi Babu, Scottsdale, AZ. Romindian: 50% East Indian, 50% Romanian. Married 21 years at a time when few Indian women married outside their own. Boys know who they are because my husband and I know who we are and what we stand for.
Mark Sundermann Holt, MI This morning’s story about Mixed Heritage gave me hope. How does one pick from the following? German, Mexican, Dutch, Zapotec, Irish and (possibly) Menomini? I’m a MUTT.
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 […]
Edward O’Neill, Queens, NY.
Christine Mitchell, Reading, PA. I’m a black woman married to a white man but still, imagine my surprise in the delivery room when my baby came out white. Not “white” like black babies are often very light skinned until their color comes in, but white. They put our bracelets on so our babies wouldn’t get […]
Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.
Kristin Koby, Palm Bay, FL. I was put up for adoption before I was even born. A loving white family of 7 took me in and treated me, a mixed race infant, as their own. They soon after adopted a black child so that I could have a sibling my age to grow up with […]
Morgan Engelhardt, Norfolk, VA. A lot of times I get shut down for calling myself Pacific Islander or Asian because I look white. The truth is, I’ve always preferred to identify myself with my Filipino ancestors rather than my white ones. It feels like home to me.
Aku Kadogo, teacher South Korea I am an African American woman from Detroit, MI. I have lived in Australia since 1978. My daughter is African American Australia (Caucasian father). My grand daughter’s father is from Thailand. I am currently living and teaching in S. Korea. I have spent many years with Indigenous people in Australia, […]
Hemma Jari, UK. There are less mixed race kids in the UK than in America. Although I live in Manchester, which is (outside of London) probably the most multi-ethnic city in the UK, I’m still one of the few mixed race kids in my year. People here have a tendency to ‘stick to what they […]
Kiki I., American Canyon, CA.
Allie Reese, Washington, DC. I’m a mixed white/Southeast Asian TCK: In the US, I’m some kind of Asian (but in Indonesia I’m ‘bule’, or a white foreigner). My childhood took place in neither of these countries. I don’t seem to have a place here, let alone anywhere.
Veronica M Chouinard, Carmel, IN. I would just like to add that my ethnic background is mixed with a lot. My mother was a full blooded Puerto Rican woman. My father was a French Creole of color from New Orleans, LA. Yet so many people ask me if I’m Pilipino. Yet, I kid you not, […]
Juleah Richards, Chippewa Falls, WI. BORN IN 1960; ST.PAUL MINN. LIVED IN WONDERFULLY MIXED NEIGHBORHOODS IN SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS UNTIL I WAS 10YRS OLD. MY MOM MARRIED A FARMER FROM RED RIVER VALLEY. WE MOVED TO SPOT 10 MILES FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND 90MI FROM CANADA. THERE WERE ONLY SCANDINAVIANS AND FRENCH FOLKS. NONE OF MY […]
Myla Ledesma, Westbloomfield, MI. My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican. Me and all my siblings are biracial, we all look alike the only difference is their light skin and I’m brown skin. We all have medium length hair. Anytime I’m with them we get ask are we mixed and when […]
Beth Brawley, Columbia, SC. My son is mixed race and when he was young a neighbor had a cousin over. They wanted to shoot a pellet rifle at cans. I told the neighbor and cousin they needed permission and I would supervise. The little boy who was visiting asked who lived at the house I […]
Michelle T, Los Angeles, CA. What a wonderful and positive way to engage in discourse about race. Well done, Mrs. Norris!
Ahtum, San Antonio, TX. I often get asked what are you but when I had a baby with red hair, the question became how did you get a baby with red hair. I always start off with, “well, my mom IS white” then lead into “but my husbands grandmother had red hair” I often want […]
Debra Taylor, Bolton, MO. Fourteen years ago I married a black man. My father told me my child and grandchild did not exist because I was dead to him.
Lauren Russell, Springfield, MO. Words my babysitter told me when I was 7 years old. I remember–she sat me down one day, studied me for a moment and then spoke cold and low, “I found out about your real father and I know he isn’t white. You should be ashamed of yourself and ashamed of […]
Anthony Strong, Pheonix, AZ. Being mixed, half black and half Cuban, my life has been a hurricane of racial confusion, offenses, and frustration. I was raised in a predominately African-American area and then moved into a primarily white suburb by my mother. I have had a chance to look at things from all angles. One […]
Teri V. Markanson, Crescent City, CA. Before I knew what the definitions were, these words were used to describe me as a young child.
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Danixa Carr Brooklyn, NY I am Panamanian and Puerto Rican. My mom is Afro-Panamanian (her roots are mixed as well) and my dad is mestizo. Growing up, I’ve always identified with my Panamanian side and considered myself to be Latina. However, I had one life altering experience in Panama. I traveled to Panama in 2010 […]
Michael Ponsler, Brooklyn, NY. I’ve enjoyed an extremely diverse social life, dated & married interracially and on countless occasions have been the only white person within a crowd, community or family gathering. I have never been harassed, harmed or threatened by a person of another race. However, I have been rejected, assaulted and/or threatened several […]
Gianni Johnson, Moreno Valley, CA. A lot of times when the topic of race or ethnicity comes up people are not sure where exactly to place me. People who I’ve just meet, and even people whom I have known for a while will say, “I didn’t know you are black” or they might say “I […]
Kimmberlie Sims Mobile, AL
Elizabeth, Denver, CO. My mother is mixed race, Indian and white. She grew up pretty poor, but she told me once that she always had two pairs of shoes: one pair of moccasins and one pair of boots. Depending on who her father was trading with she would either have to pull on her boots, […]
Julie, Summervile, GA. Yes I`m from the South and i`m a redneck but that`s not all of me. My mother`s father is a Native American and what I know of my father`s family his mother was italian. My mother`s mother`s mom was German. So here I am in the South all types of mixed.
Johnny B., USA. Growing up in thee northeast US, in a multi-racial mixed racial attitude combined with military and college education has afforded me a peaceful coexistence.
Julie Taeko, San Francisco, CA. Writing a book called “Good Morning, Mixed-Race America!” to highlight the stories of 12 mixed-race individuals who are part-Asian, millenials and loving life! Checking All the Boxes & Embracing Our Own Unique Multi-Cultural Identity.
Jamie Lee Myers Jacksonville, FL Many people seem to identify who they are by their race. We also all seem to have a tendency toward making assumptions based on how people look. I am fair with naturally red hair that is currently blonde. Most think I am Irish and that is in my family tree, […]
Jazmin Whitmore, Asheville, NC. I am the result of two worlds but I was only raised in one. My father was Jamaican and my mother was European/Native American mix. My mother raised me. Although it was not her intention she raised me to be “white”. I did not realize how devoid I was of my […]
Lenzy KB, Tulsa, OK. Like many Native Americans, I’m mixed and frankly, don’t look like the stereotypical “Hollywood” Native. I have to balance the Native world — both its contemporary and traditional components — daily with life in modern society.
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 […]
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 […]
Alexeana Lopez, Saint Louis, MO. Segregation doesn’t always come from white people.
Anonymous, USA. Someone, maybe many people, in my family took on the persona of mixed race Black/Native Americans so they could be, what? Less Black? I don’t know if it was my father’s generation, or his father’s, or even farther back. I grew up thinking I was Indian and consequently less connected to my Black […]
Alex Mayes, Suffolk, VA. I grew up in a multicultural family. I am hispanic but mixed with black, white, and native american. I typically don’t talk about what I am. Many people assume that because I talk a certain way or act a certain way, that I am trying to be anything besides black. I […]
Mary Spain I’m married to a dark haired dark eyed white skinned Spanish speaking man of pure European descent. He is Spanish. We live in Spain! When many of my American friends comment on our biracial marriage or our children being mixed I want to correct them but feel that by doing so i’ll come […]
Amy Bramlett, Tuscaloosa, AL. My name is Amy. My fiance Keith and I have the most perfect baby girl together. She’s 8-months old and she is a mixture of her African American daddy and Caucasian mommy. Her name is Layla. When I first told my family that I was dating a black man (long before […]
Erica Sykes, Chesapeake, VA. I am always approached and asked, “Are you mixed?” What does my nationality have to do with anything going on in your life? It’s none of your business.
Alyssa Swearingen, Norfolk, VA. I come from parents who are different races. I have a mother who is white, and a father who is black. All my life, I get told “You don’t look black,” or I get asked if “I’m sure I am HALF black.” I’ve been told numerous times that I look like […]
Andrea Alexander, Rochelle Park, NJ. The constant dilemma of “boxing” your identity when your category is not among the selections.
Kimberly Jackson, New York City, NY, Most people do not associate the name “Kimberly Arlene Jackson” with a half-Vietnamese, half-White American person. The surprise is often hard to hide.
Sophie Molly Reneé, England.
Bettina Sferrino, Oakland, CA. As a mixed race person, I get these questions all the time. The persons asking have a strong desire to know and place the “other,” and a feeling that somehow the persons asking these questions can’t move forward interacting with me without knowing that information. I can’t help but think for […]
Chantal Thomas San Jose, CA
Angelyce Serrano, Coram, NY. My whole life people has seen me as “that black girl”. That is not the case. I am Puerto Rican, Black-American, Taino, and Spaniard. Yet, for whatever reason my whole cultural background is ignored and I am just labeled as black. Going to Catholic School from 4years old to 18years old […]
Jennifer Ward, Denver, CO. As discussions have proliferated in Denver and online about race, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how change should be implemented, one idea that has been reiterated is that white people’s place is to support, while black people’s place is to lead and direct. I understand that, but where does that […]
Rebecca Tester Lenoir, NC What does it mean to be “mixed” anyway? Does it even matter? I’ll never forget that first day of school when everyone wanted to know the colors of my parents.
Jalize Brooks, Boston, MA. I like that im mixed. It makes me different.
Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]
Zeren New York City, NY I’m a mixed ethnicity Palestinian-Arab, European, Afghan American…I naturally have light skin, eyes and hair as many Arabs, whites and Afghans do. But I grew up in China where I was a minority on more than one count, not just my skin color, but my ethnicity and my nationality kept […]
Elaine Oyzon-Mast Avondale Estates, GA Filipino, German, English, Irish, supposedly with a touch of Cherokee and Iroquois. The melting pot serving up three beautiful boys.
Shaunta Whitaker, Lompoc, CA. I am a grandmother and I love being a grandmother but with it comes some heartache because of some of the stares I have to endure when I am out with my grandson. I am African-American with a dark brown complexion and my grandson is mixed with Mexican, Italian and African-American […]
Alicia Barnes, Starkville, MS. Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status. When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I […]
Nina Martin Phoenix, AZ I am quietly proud of my multiracial background: my mother is Chinese, and my father is half German, half American. I also look absolutely nothing like my mother, save for straight hair and slightly tanner skin. While never a negative issue, this has led to some interesting situations since the time […]
Kayle Dallas, TX Our breakup happened for many reason, but the main one is because his parents would never feel 100% comfortable with their son for being with me. I’m black and he’s white. Such simple labels that belie a myriad of different experiences. I would think that any parent would be thrilled their son […]
Natalie, Seattle, WA. My grandmother never got to pass for white. She was sent to indian boarding school. 50 years later, I grew up in white suburbia, where no one assumed I was Native or even mixed-race. I self-identify as Native, I speak Chahta, I participate as a tribal citizen, I carry on the family […]
Nicholas Howe, Northhampton, MA. Smith College I attended a mixed-race suburban public high school in Connecticut, where I competed on both the swim team and the track team in the late 80’s. Only one member of the swim team was African American, and his race was the elephant in the room that nobody would talk […]
Charlotte Wong Santa Cruz, CA I am half Chinese, and half sort-kind-of-European. I don’t know what kind of European. I never knew my father, who was white, and my mother never knew his true ethnic background, aside for him being white. My mother would always say “your father would say he is like Heinz Ketchup” […]
Dan Ellerman, Baltimore, MD. I was adopted from S. Korea at the age of 3 by a German/Irish couple. I grew up in a white household and neighborhood and went to predominantly African American schools in Baltimore city. The words I chose were told to me by my family and friends with the best intentions […]
Amy Spencer, Kalona, IA. On Location: Drake University Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I think, ‘Dang, you’re pale.’ But inside, I’m mixed, because my husband and kids are a huge part of me.
Ardean Orr, Syracuse, NY. All four of my grandparents immigrated from Italy, so I’m pure Italian, but also white. My father was a jazz musician who often played with musicians who happened to be black, so I grew up in a tolerant home when it wasn’t popular. Growing up in America it seemed like blacks […]
Brittany Bown, Burbank, CA.
Emily, San Francisco, CA. I love how there are so many different cultures, and I want for people to keep celebrating their cultures. However, when it comes to deciding who has it harder or who is to blame for present issues, I think that we should focus not on how we differ, but how we […]
Melissa Devore, Canton, OH.
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.
Anonymous Ann Arbor, MI The concept of being an “edgewalker” is from Nina Boyd Krebs–it means you can move between cultural traditions and cultural communities with some level of ease, comfort and enjoyment. Being raised in a Black/White family, we talked about and lived race/ethnicity/socio-economics/etc. daily. I know now that this is a blessing as […]
Anonymous Being of mixed race can make a person feel out of place, and lacking of identity. My friend and I were talking about which race we feel closer to and he said to me, “white people think I’m Asian, Asian people think I’m white.” of mixed Asian and white I do feel similar. Being […]
Julie Phan, San Jose, CA. Hey, what are you? Uh, I’m Asian…? Really? You don’t look Asian. You’re tan, and chill, and not like other Asians. And you’re kinda ghetto. Honestly, you look Mexican or mixed. 1. My skin color does NOT identify my race, nor does it identify anybody else’s race/ethnicity. 2. Is not […]
Azariah Solomon, Wilmington, NC. My brilliant mother always used to say, “One day, there will be no black or white … everyone will look just like you and your sister: golden!
Jim Minkler, Spokane, WA.
Jordi A. Snell, The Netherlands. My mother is Dutch and my father is Moluccan (Melanesian I assume). I don’t exactly know what my father’s race is because alot of Moluccans have mixed race ancestry. All I know is that my father’s skin color is ‘Black’, he has thick curly hair when it’s long, but his […]
Danielle Petterson, Tampa, FL. I have light brown skin and I consider myself to be mixed. Most people have a simple-minded belief that “mixed” means that one parent is black while the other is white. To me, it runs so much deeper than that. I have 4 grandparents from 4 different countries: Puerto Rico, Curaçao, […]
Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]
Thomas Campbell, Allentown, PA. Me from Bronx NYC, she from Mclean VA. Her parents are affraid our child will never be given a fair break because they are mixed race.
Heidy Avila Murillo, Baltimore, MD. My marriage is biracial, I am Hispanic and my husband is a Caucasian born in Maryland. This year after obtaining my US citizenship, my husband and I decided to have three days vacations in Canada. We visited Niagara Falls, Toronto city, and since I love Diego Rivera’s artwork, we decided […]
Tiana, Wildomar, CA. Typically I get complimented on my hair that I have inherited from my mother’s side. As a mixed breed people struggle to figure out what I am exactly, but my hair is a tell tale sign that I am not white. Aside from various compliments I always get that one girl that […]
Rosa-Maria Lazarovits, Santa Barbara, CA. This happened when my girls were toddlers and we played at a park. A latino woman approached me and asked in Spanish: “How much do they pay you?” Assuming I was employed as a nanny. She gasped when I quickly replied: “nothing!” She could not conceive these beautiful, fair skin […]
Dilyn Grasp, Boring, OR. I am a white woman from a small town in Oregon (look it up, it’s a real place). My boyfriend is a first generation American. His parents are from China and Taiwan. When we started dating two years ago (when I was 20 and old enough to make my own decisions), […]
Joye Beard, Corpus Christi, TX. In the 23 years that my husband and I have been married I’ve noticed some disconcerting things about being in a mixed race marriage. First, I’m not comfortable around other white people at all. If they’re open minded it’s not so bad. But most are not, and once they learn […]
Stephanie, Marblehead, MA. My husband is of Italian decent and has dark features, such as brown eyes, black hair, olive skin. I am 100% Irish with light features: light brown hair, blue eyes and pale skin. Our oldest daughter shares the same dark features as my husband. Once while picking up a few thing at […]
Michele Warch, Georgetown, DE. My mom is English and Native American. My dad is Scotch-Irish and German. I speak Cherokee and read some Gaelic. I have dark hair and green eyes. Its a gift of my mixed ancestry. I have tattoos and ride a motorcycle. I also have a master’s degree and teach at the […]
Lisa Harrison Long Beach, CA This is such a common reaction from people over many, many years. I don’t look half Cambodian by others standards. I just say I’m multi-racial. The list of my heritage is too long!
Sierra Lozano, CA. I feel as though I need more than six words to say how I’ve felt my whole 18 years of living. I grew up in Orange County, California and have lived here my whole life. I am of mixed ethnicity, but can not identify with any particular race. I remember coming home […]
Brandi Green, Chicago, IL. I constantly am asked “what I am” or “are you mixed” Nope. I’m black and albino. 🙂 It’s a fascinating existence.
Yolanda Brantley, Minneapolis, MN. Growing up as a mixed race child in a predominantly white neighborhood in the ’60’s was scarring. I knew I could appear as only “Caucasian” but my name gave me away. So I changed it to hide from everyone.
Blake Coffey, Van Nuys, CA. In a world where being mixed is supposed to be looked at as beautiful, it’s not as easy when you are. People automatically assume that all mixed people are supposed to look mixed just like they assume all Mexicans are brown. I’m born to a mixed black/white father who looks […]
Ellie Myers, Saint Louis, MO. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where the tension around race politics is palpable. Race never played a big role in my life, because it never had to. That is, until I started dating black men. I remember friends in high school joking about me going to, […]