Mother gave me a different world.

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 […]


I’m his mother, not the nanny.

Toya Dragseth, Saint Paul, MN. My youngest son is biracial. Has his Fathers genes, very light skinned, brownish blonde hair and when he is with just me, people look as if he is not my child but a child I may be babysitting. When he’s with his dad they look very natural together.


The Asian/Pacific Islander category is very enticing.

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 […]


“White” papers over background identity.

Catherine Kehl, Cleveland Heights. OH. When we divide ourselves into “us” and “other” we don’t only lose the other, we lose ourselves. I was twenty-seven before I realized that my mother sometimes spoke to me in Spanish not because she’d picked some up in college before travelling in South America in her twenties, but because […]


My race is not my nationality.

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 […]


Too white for my own good.

Lauren Qualters, West Chester, PA. For my race card project I chose the phrase “Too white for my own good” which is most certainly a true statement, in both humerous and negative ways. I am certainly very sterotypically “white” but not in an intentional or discriminatory way. My traits are my own and they embody […]


Norwegian with nappy hair doesn’t fit.

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 […]


Don’t ask why families don’t match

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 […]

what are you

“So, what are you?” they ask.

Karen Gephart Altschul, Vernon Hills, IL. I was five, the first time I can remember somebody asking me that question. “What are you? Chinese or something?” Huh? Um, what are you talking about? I’ve been asked this question, “what are you”, on the first day at a job. A girl from China asked me if […]

Three months more, would they ask?

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 […]


My kids are mixed. And me?

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.

Will I ever meet my Mom?

Colin McKearnan, Missoula, MT. A question that my 8-year old son (Ephrem) asked me on the way to school. We are white and my wife and I adopted Ephrem and his brother from Ethiopia seven years ago. We also have two birth children.

What would the neighbor’s think?

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.

Me (4)

The culmination of hate and hope.

Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]


Your family isn’t your “real” family

Anonymous, Des Moiones, IA. Drake University This is what my mom was told in 1954 when social services came into her home and removed her and all of her siblings from her mom. At that time they were truly poor and were having a hard time finding enough food to eat. Her mother had a […]

Northern Mother Southern Father meet middle

Sandra Hart, Brookeland, TX. This is an amazing thing to do. Growing up in the South in a white household with a black cleaning lady I felt there was more to the story. But no one would tell me anything or even answer me truthfully. I felt that Emma on orders from my mom would […]

She’s nice for a black woman!

Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]


Red head mother angry unbroken strong

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 […]


Are you my mother? Sí, mija.

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 […]

image5 (3)

They glare at my bi-racial son.

Linnette Derry, New York City, NY. I often think about the inevitable discussion about race that I will have to have with my son one day. That day when he will begin to ask me why people think I’m his nanny/housekeeper instead of his mother; the day when he will ask me why people keep […]


I am Both, Not Just One.

Laura N. Weston, Baltimore, MD. About 80% of the time people assume (mostly men) I am Puerto Rican even though I am half Caucasian and half African American. I stress to everyone who thinks it is important enough to ask me what I am that I am Mixed or Biracial and I state with what. […]


Do you have a foreign name too?

Akira Uchimura, Outside USA. I was born in Costa Rica, raised in Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, El Salvador, Suriname, Japan and Chile (3 to 4 years in each country). I didn’t notice any difference between my friends and I until the “So where are you from” “Do you have a foreign name too?” and “Where did […]

Tiring of race issues shows privilege.

Queenie, Virginia Beach, VA. I am an African American mother of a 23 year old son. We have seen lots of race issues on the news, on television shows, and on social media in the last year. The response that I see many white people say is that they are tired of hearing about these […]

I’m American – where’s my checkbox?

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 […]

Too yellow or not yellow enough

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 […]


I am not just African American.

Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]


Mommy, I want to be Vanilla.

Jasmin Marie Harpe, Burlington, NJ. It has been hard to fit in to both societies growing up as a biracial child, especially being in academia where there are few people who look like me. I had a lot of race issues growing up with my father who has very fair skin, and my mother who […]


Boat after the Mayflower; who cares?

Merrill Mason, Philadelphia, PA. Being descended from early WASP settlers made my mother feel important and entitled. But I believe that suffering and endurance are human experiences, not racial ones. Stories of grit and survival should bring people together rather than create hierarchies.


Yes, those boys are my brothers.

Julia Guerra, Austin, TX. My brothers are very important figures in my life. They were born to a white mom and a white dad. They are blonde and red-haired, with blue and green eyes. When they were little babies, my white mom married my Mexican dad and he adopted both of them as his own. […]

Guilt. I loved my Annie so.

Lisa VonTress Las, Sunrise, FL. As a child growing up in the DC suburbs, I had no idea about what was going on. I had Annie, who was with my family 6 years before I was born until I was 13 when my father moved us. I came back to her later as she worked […]


Mexican-American, But No Hablo Espanol

Vincent Yanez, Long Beach, CA. For as long as I remember my mother, and myself as I got older, was given a very hard time from people in our neighborhood and some family members about my little sister, little brother, and I not being able to speak Spanish. My mother and father both grew up […]


By protecting her, I’m oppressing her.

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. […]


You have to choose. Which one?

Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.

Colorblindness means you can’t see me.

Ashley Diaz Mejias, Richmond, VA. I write this as 34 year seminarian and old mom of two girls; my husband is haitian and puerto rican, and I am cuban and white. I am part of a church that, over the past year, has walked through race dialogues in an effort to begin bearing witness to […]

AM Slaughter pic

Ferguson Should Be More Than a Moment

REPOST FROM: The Weekly Wonk, – DEC. 11, 2014 Ferguson Should Be More Than a Moment by: Anne-Marie Slaughter National Public Radio host Michele Norris has run The Race Card Project for the past four years. Participants are asked to distill their “experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments, or observations about race and identity” into a six […]


Looking at me you don’t see

Raquel Saunders, New York, NY. My dad is half black and my mom is white, when look at me you only really see the white. But I am a quarter black, and when I say that people look at me like I just gave them a lie. It pisses me off. Don’t judge me on […]

Oh, so your mother is Dutch.

Alexander Calica, II, Carlsbar, CA. This phrase was often used by adults when I was growing up after hearing my answer to their question, “What nationality are you?” I would always respond by saying, “My father is Filipino and my mother is Dutch.” The initial inquiry would be posed after having heard me speak at […]

I am always missing some of me

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 […]

White father, Black mother, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS!

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 […]

Hurt: Mother sent Jessie (black) home.

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.

“At least my mother is real.”

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 […]

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 […]

But you’re not really black

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 […]

My mother is of Mexican decent

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.

There might be little black children.

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 […]

Does my white mom hate me?

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 […]

My Mother Hated My Dark Skin

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. […]

These are my children, enough said!

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 […]

Yes, I am her biological mother.

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 […]

Is this what racism feels like?

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 […]

I won’t disrespect my white mother!

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 […]

Mothers carry small boxes to bury.

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 […]

My daughters are not my grandkids.

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 […]

Are those boys your biological children?

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 […]

Uppity white mother, shut your mouth

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 […]

Mom soars! Not in their eyes.

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 […]

Scottish West India. Kilts and coconuts.

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 […]

White mother brown daughter love fear

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 […]


She’s not your mom, she’s white.

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 […]

Yes, we are mixed…

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 […]

Mother’s warnings at four, instilled racism.

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 […]