Yasmin Gill Baltimore, MD My mother is white, American, and my father is Pakistani. Where ever I go, and whomever I am with, I rarely find someone who is at home with *all* of me. I am American, undeniably so, but there are peices of me that are also uniquely Pakistani. Americans see or experience [...]
Jessica Danielle Jensen Tampa, FL I am the product of two people who only saw “who” there were, not “what” they were. Because of their bond, they produced four daughters (including me) who I believe are very beautiful. Mixed-race children represent the beauty that comes from open hearts and open minds. And, they have GREAT [...]
Chelée Elk Grove, CA My mother is a black Jamaican woman and my father is Ukrainian. I was born in the usa but grew up and went to school in Jamaica where I was considered white and wealthy, but when I came to America for the last years of high school and college I was [...]
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 [...]
Matt St. Louis, MO I take after my mother.
Joyce Jordan Fort Myers, FL This incident occurred when I was 7 years old. I never forgot it and remember watching her get back on the bus. It changed forever how I feel about race. To me Jessie was a friend. I never even noticed that her skin was different than mine.
Shoshi Shaw Denver, CO In middle school I saw nothing wrong with being honest about my past so anyone who asked I would tell, I’m adopted. One day in math, I was correcting a classmates work on the whiteboard and on my way back to my seat, I heard the boy say under his breath [...]
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 [...]
Erica Stone Perrysburg, OH The process I went through to get these words where things that I’m going through right now in my life or what people notice about me first. Some of the words I thought of came naturally while others I had to put more thought into them. The reason I decided to [...]
K. Louis East Brunswick, NJ Growing up, I had a lot of misconceptions about my race. My mother is black and was born in England, and firmly considered herself British even though her father had his roots in Jamaica. I could remember one time were watching a news story were two African American males were [...]
Linda Morris Shawnee, KS Growing up, I got teased a lot for being a fair-skinned black girl by kids who would assume and make sure I knew that one of my parents surely must be white or another nationality besides “black” (ah, kids). When I became a teen and young adult, I would get asked [...]
John Matlock Long Beach, CA This is the answer when I’m asked what my background is. I used to just say “Mexican” but the question and subsequent answer has become increasingly complicated in today’s multicultural landscape.
Michelle Mead San Diego, CA
Daniela Oklahoma City, OK Are You My Mother by P.D Eastman was one of my favorite books growing up because I loved how graciously and lovingly the mama bird at the end confirmed her son’s pleading for a sense of belonging. I am aware that I am not the only multi-ethnic person out there who [...]
Amy Spencer Kalona, IA 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.
Rita Radostitz Eugene, OR
Mary Horton Richmond, VA I didn’t realize until shortly before her death how different the world my mother gave me was from the one she was raised in. My mother had Alzheimer’s, and in the last few years of her life, she reverted to some of the attitudes and behaviors she had learned while growing [...]
Michael Vines New York, NY Just want to make sure that you understand “the girl” was how many people in the 50-60′s referred to their maid.
Jane Dorick Midlothian, VA This was, I think, my mother’s way of letting others know that she didn’t consider herself a racist or as culpable for the horrible things done to blacks that we were all witnessing.
Caroline Hutton Raszewski Columbia, SC As boycotts and riots raged around the South in the early 60′s I was oblivious. It was the first day of school. Mother was braiding my hair as my brother, one year older than I, lay on her bed. She grew serious. “There might be little black children at your [...]
Michelle Martinez Tempe, AZ As a mixed child of divorced parents, a White mom and Mexican dad, I overheard a lot of racist talk in my mother’s family. Even though I never heard her say anything, she never disagreed, either. She sat quietly through it, not promoting it, yet not speaking against it. I often [...]
Mike Elliott Alexandria, VA My mother was brown. Her skin a shade so perfect until the day she died she was “Puddin” to her family and friends. My father a lighter shade of brown was “high yellow” and proud to be colored. He had a fraternal twin who was dark like an egg plant, blue-black. [...]
Eileen Wasow Washington, DC
Jill Dziko Vashon, WA As the white mother of 4 children of color, I am constantly being asked if they are my kids. When they were very young I learned to say, “These are my children” and that no other explanation was necessary! My kids think it funny that I am the only white one [...]
Mira Tanna Orlando, FL My father is from India, my mother from the Netherlands, and I am married to a man from Nigeria. I look white to most people, and my children look black to most people. When I pick my kids up from school or camp, I get curious stares and kids ask me [...]
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 [...]
Christine Boston, MA I was shopping with a dear friend and her two children. She needed to use the restroom so I gladly took her precious chubby baby in my arms while I waited with the other boy in his stroller. It could not have been 5 minutes before some nasty woman came up to [...]
Sabrina Price-Durling East Windsor, NJ I am proud to be more of just one race (black, white) and proud to have more than one nationality (American, German). After 36 years living, I still find it incredibly silly that other people feel the need to put me in a category…and more often than not its black [...]
Cheryl Mercado Arnedt West Orange, NJ My grandmother and her sister — red-headed daughters of NYC cops — both married full Filipino men and were disowned. There was no race in our family – just rice AND potatoes at every meal. My grandfather “Pupa” intentionally didn’t pass down his Asian-ness or his language Tagalog so [...]
WilmaS Seattle, WA If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if my sons were adopted…It’s happened a lot. A complete stranger approaches my family, usually in a grocery store or some other public location, and compliments me on my family. “Your sons are so handsome,” the person will say, and by [...]
Lisa Forster Englewood, CO It doesn’t take much wood to build a child’s coffin, but it takes a lot of wood to build all the coffins of the children and teens who die every year from gun violence – nearly 3,000. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, black children and teens accounted for 45 percent [...]
Terri Hunter-Davis San Francisco, CA My daughters are 11 and 14. I am middle-aged. Like many women of my generation, I had a career before I had a family. Countless times I’ve been asked if they’re my grandchildren. No, I did not get pregnant in high school. Funny, no one questions a white woman in [...]
Wendy Allmendinger North Attleboro, MA I was asked this question far too many times to count when my children were little. I am white, my two beautiful boys are black. The question was often followed by, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” Depending on my mood at the moment, my answers ranged from [...]
Christine Alexander Spring Valley, CA
Adrienne Kern Keller, TX My daughter was two weeks from turning one on September 11, 2001. She is one of them. An Arab (pronounced with a Texas drawl: A-Rab). A camel jockey. A rag head. She is Turkish and Saudi and Egyptian. She is not white like me, her mother, who is also mixed race. [...]
Katherine Fulton Chippewa Lake, OH My mother, father, aunt, grandmother and I have been mistaken for everything from Italian to Egyptian. When we tell the truth, reactions range from surprise to disgust.
Kristen Hartke Washington, DC I have been a DC public school parent for 14 years, and my daughter is about to graduate from high school. She has always attended schools that were at least 80% African-American with about 30% of the students in the free lunch program. I have been a longtime volunteer, working particularly [...]
Gracie Fleming Austin, TX My mother gave me an incredible prayer life, encouraged my intellectual development, and validated my intuition. But time and again I watched others respond to her dark skin and Spanish accent as if she were less than white people. I am mixed ethnicity and keenly aware that my father was not [...]
Anonymous in Minnesota MN
Linda Basilicato Frederick, MD My mother’s comment on my new, polite, handsome, articulate, smart, college boyfriend in 1993. “I had black friends–in school.” (My mother’s compromise)
Francine Piggott Butler Delaware, OH Piggot Road is in the Scottish District in Barbados. The oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere is also found in Barbados. My mother recently told me, “Oh, my grandfather wore a yamulke (kippah).” There’s a lot about my family history I don’t know. I’ve always identified as an African-American, but [...]
Katherine McDowell Portland, OR
Dolly Szymanski Fort Wayne, IN Both of these quotes are things my mother heard or said The first quote – my mother was a child playing at the home of a classmate who happened to be black. Detroit, MI 1920′s.
Dolly Szymanski Fort Wayne, IN Both of these quotes are things my mother heard or said. The second quote – My mother said to me when I wanted to invite some college friends to our home. Some of the friends were persons of color Grosse Pointe, MI in 1959.
Dacia Mitchell Oakland, CA
Dina Stonberg Philadelphia, PA I have had the privilege to not have to think about race most of my life. Fell in love with a wonderful, kind, caring African American man – formed our family through adoption and now have the privilege of raising a beautiful, smart African American daughter. She is a joy every [...]
Sezin Koehler Submitted via Twitter: @SezinKoehler How many times I’ve heard this in my life. As a child very often when visiting the US (my dad is Sri Lankan). Occasionally still even now. I never get used to it. Sezin’s 6 word essay sparked a unique conversation on Twitter…take a look. She’s not your [...]
Krystal Scott Bayoone, NJ This is the answer to the question I am asked weekly. I was asked this question as a child often. However now that I am a mother of two girls one who has lighter skin then I and one who is darker we are asked all the time. In the grocery [...]
Shannon McKenzie Ortonville, MI
Hazel Stream Roseville, CA
Carmen Davis Portland, OR I was a very young child from the Midwest traveling with my mother by train to Detroit in the 1940′s. There was an African American couple on the train with a wonderfully packed picnic basket. As a very gregarious child I was eager to explore the car. My mother told me [...]
Mary Palmer Manahawkin, NJ I am a white woman married to a white man. We are the parents of two biological sons and one adopted bi-racial daughter, all of them grown.
Kimberly Phillips Carbondale, CO
Anonymous Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Wendy Wetzel Submitted via Twitter I’m white; she’s black. How do I help her through so much new to me?
Jean Tokuda Irwin Salt Lake City Public Library “I’m Japanese-American with a Japanese mom and a father who was a GI.” The Japanese called children like me Konketsuji, or loosely translated, GI bastard child. I was one of the offspring of a a Japanese mother and an American GI during the post-war occupation years, in [...]