Think Grace, Act Grace, Teach Grace

Kelsey Connolly, Wilsonville, OR. “Think Grace, Act Grace, Teach Grace” I have always been a learner at heart, but not necessarily an excellent student. In school, I learned best by looking at examples and modifying the results with my own knowledge, and that worked out very well for me… up until I left my little […]


“Why don’t you like me?”

Mandy P, Sacramento, CA. When I was 7 years old we moved to Sacramento from Oregon. The culture and diversity is very in California than in Oregon. Moving to California exposed me to many other races and cultures. I saw many other races in my environment. Although in my neighborhood, where I lived and attended […]


Neither This or That, but Also

Rena Joy Dunbar, Eugene, OR. Our Black and White bi-racial identity was questioned even before we emerged from the womb. What ‘race’ would we turn out to be? Which ‘race’ would we choose? These questions and the dual nature of our identities continue to challenge perceptions.

Base your Judgment on the inside.

Colby Finch, Eugene, OR. Im Colby Finch, 16 yrs old. I grew up in foster care, and in the system, I met a lot of people who were colored. I made a connection with another youth. His name was Devonte, and my foster parents at the time were uneasy about people of color. I brought […]


I am not who you think.

Michelle DePass, Portland, OR. I live in Portland, a City that is overwhelmingly white. Our State Constitution was a racist one. Slavery was not allowed, however Black people were discouraged by a clause in the Constitution that says that Black people who locate in Oregon are subject to public whippings every 6 months until they […]

Secretly Jewish, with no idea why

Brian Chapman Portland, OR I discovered, in my 40s, that my ethnicity and my ancestry were not what I had been led to believe. For mysterious reasons (anti-Semitism) my father concocted a fictional back story that became how my brothers and I viewed ourselves. Now, with knowledge of a different cultural identity but absolutely no […]


Change must come from within you

Anonymous, Portland, OR. Honestly, the change had to come from within. I grew up in a very white area and my parents were raised in a way that was unacceptable and I had to change myself and their views. So I say, it comes from within because if you truly believe things should change, it’s […]

At least I’m not a whiteboy

Julia Rivers, Milwaukie, OR. As a high school student dependent on scholarships in order to attend college and reach my goals of a much higher level of education, every day I am consumed by the thought of how I can make myself stand out. What will make the people in charge want to give me […]


Yes, that is my real name.

Hyosim Nancy Collins, Beaverton, OR. My middle name is Nancy. I was born in South Korea and arrived in the United States when I was 4 years old with my Korean family. Soon after we arrived in California, my father decided we should all have “American” names. When I became a Naturalized Citizen at the […]


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 […]

Where did you get them from?

Alli Minch, Veneta, OR. When we still lived in California and my biracial twins were very young, a woman stopped me in the store to comment on how cute they were, and asked me where I got them from, since she was interested in adopting. They’re my children, not a designer handbag you can order […]

Struggling to overcome my fear.

Lucy Jones, Portland, OR. I am 32 years old and white. I have had social anxiety all of my life. As a child, I was around black people often and I was comfortable, but quiet because of my anxiety disorder. This changed in college. I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southern […]


Grandma didn’t let dad speak Spanish

Allen Nunez Wickham, Molalla, OR. I remember being asked by my mom at 5 years old if I wanted to learn Spanish., and replying that I didn’t want to. Only later did I realize later that people actually grew up speaking Spanish and English, and my dad’s inability to speak Spanish has greatly impacted my […]


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, […]

The grief cycle of being white.

Theresa Martinez, Ontario, OR. In my journey to understand who I am and what I stand for, I have gone through the entire cycle of anger, jealousy, embarrassment, and now I can say that I am confident in who I am and have found peace.


Greek American, cheeseburger cheeseburger not funny

N. Blandis, Portland, OR. I am a second generation American born of Greek parents. My father’s birth certificate in Los Angeles California in 1921 listed his race as GREEK. His place of birth was listed as Stork NEST , meaning at home. I have never classified myself as WHITE. I have ethnic features and the […]


“You can pass.” Lifetime identity struggle.

Erica Jameson, Ashland, OR. My parents adopted five muti-racial children, something unheard of in the rural mountain town we lived in. Between being confused about being different, to occasional thoughtless racism, the line “You can pass [for white]” still makes me uneasy. Does this mean that I should want to? I still don’t know.

I am sorry for my ancestors

Krystal, Tillamook, OR. Half of my family is from Europe, the other half is from America–as in, Native Americans. When my great-grandfather passed away, they went through his possessions and found a KKK hood, and I bear that shame to this day. I am sorry for my ancestors and what they did to people based […]


Why is your name Pablo?

Pablo Chauvin, Portland, OR. My name is Pablo and I’M WHITE. I grew up in a small town in Southern Oregon on a 40 acre commune. My parents are college educated and my Dad was a philosophy major with a never ending thurst for knowledge. So why the name Pablo? Growing up in a small […]

But what about your blue eyes?

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), […]


I’m not Iranian, I’m Puerto Rican

Darilis, Portland, OR. I moved from Puerto Rico to Michigan and people never knew what I was. Some thought I was Black, many thought I was mixed Black/White, and others thought I was Samoan. I recall one day I was at a store and a gentleman asked me if I was from Iran. I smiled […]


I am not your curiosity game.

Victoria, Salem, OR. As a biracial person, people often ask me, “what ethnicity are you?” – aka what race can I define you as? People who first meet me will ask me this question without ever asking for my name. They seem to only care about what I am not who I am. However, I […]

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Witnessing people confusing anecdote with fact

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 […]


I wouldn’t ride my bike naked!

Tricia Tillman, Portland, OR. I have a funny story about how race and gentrification interact. My son walked out the front door of our house which is in a neighborhood that is gentrifying and yelled back in “Mom, I just saw 2 naked people riding down the street!” When I walked outside, we heard an […]


Defined by my character, not race.

Kim Hollins, Portland, OR. It’s all about who you are and not what you look like in my book. A person’s character can greatly affect one’s perception of an individual as well as racial groups they may be a part of. What you say and do contributes to racial stereotypes and adversity way beyond the […]


Dirty drunk Indians, but not you.

Doey Cushman, Portland, OR. So I am of mixed race Chinook Indian and northern European. Many times white people forget and will talk about natives catch themselves and then say they don’t mean me. This has happened many times over the years even coming from my own relatives. My own children and grandchildren are very […]

It all comes down to respect.

Haley Sprecher, Portland, OR. I have grown up in a diverse community and have been raised to respect everyone for who they are. Every single one of us has had different experiences which makes us individuals. Something has to change, the behavior of some people is unacceptable. A little bit of respect goes a long […]

Belief Gap Not An Achievement Gap

Kelly Cutler, Portland, OR. Our beliefs play a powerful role in the discussion of race, especially in the world of education. In my view, the system of education suffers from a “believe gap” related to students of color, rather than students of coloring having an “achievement gap”. When are we going to unpack our believes […]


Mixed and I love my perspective

Shava, Lake Oswego, OR. At times it can be confusing. I have wondered where I fit in. But in the end…I’m so glad to have the depth of experience that being multicultural has given me. I’m black, white and I’m Jewish. It’s amazing!

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Well…there’s so many minorities now…

Tony Reyes, Portland, OR. I’m half Latino. My mother is a white, evangelical, conservative. I came home the night Obama was re-elected and asked if she had heard the results. The above statement was how she very bitterly responded. Apparently people of color aren’t intellectually capable of choosing a president on the basis of anything […]

Life in the borderlands is painful.

Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”


My privilege: not guilt, but Responsibility

Anonymous, Portland, OR. I use the Race Card project framework to update my racial autobiography occasionally, so it changes over time. Right now, I am struck by the urgency to unpack my White privilege and not waste time or energy on guilt. I didn’t make systemic racism but I know it exists to engineer some […]

Self-image shattered living in South.

Carol Salami-Goswick Eugene, OR I’m a white woman who was born, raised, and lived in CA until I was 54. I was in college during the 60’s and was sympathetic to the black folks struggling for equality in the South. In my 30’s I had a serious relationship with a black man. I worked in […]

White person, in a white place.

Connor York, Portland, OR. Experiencing life as a middle class white male in a largely white area can make it difficult to understand the complex issue of race and what it means in our society, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Accurate racial history must be taught.

Heathyr, Klamath Falls, OR. If we really want to confront racism and eradicate it, we need to be taught an accurate history of this country’s racist practices. Racism wasn’t just the genocide of the Natives, slavery, or Jim Crow. It was redlining and eugenics and the discoveries of pseudo-science.


Bland white girl seeks racial identity.

Pamela Russell Bejerano, Portland, OR. As a white girl growing up, I always felt I had no culture. As an adult, I realized that what I was seeking was a racial identity. But I am discovering daily that this racial identity is not just Scottish and Norwegian, but part of a society that unfairly awards […]

Where will we wash colored clothes?

LaLana Martin Gold Beach, OR When I was 9 years old, our mixed-race family (Asian/Pacific Islander and German/French) was on vacation in the southeast. With six of us there was a lot of laundry. We stopped at a laundry mat and I hopped out of our camper to help Mom with the wash. A sign […]

Are we not all just Americans

Nate Handlin, Portland, OR. We need to end the labels, this only breeds division to us all. Instead of us vs. them, would it be nice to say this is our country, these are our issues we need to deal with, not theirs, not my people. but Americans. Was this not the reason we became […]


Yo, dumbass white hunky mother f*****

Rudy Owens, Portland, OR. So, you want six words? Here are six I heard so many times I can’t even count them. They came in various themes on being a “hunky” or “f*****” or “dumba**.” They weren’t intended to provoke, to share hatred, and to demonstrate power. They were repetitively used by many people, my […]


I used to hate being light-skinned

Jason Gist, Beaverton, OR. I grew up in public housing where it seemed like I was the lightest kid around. From an early age I knew that blacks had a color complex amongst themselves. Ideal beauty for a male ment being dark, female light. The further down you went in opposition to that ideal was […]


Actually, I speak English very well.

Guadalupe Mitchell, Damascus, OR. Growing up, most people just saw a little brown Mexican girl. I remember when entered the second grade and my family had a moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, I was placed in an ESL classroom. My classmates made fun of me because my Spanish was not very good. After struggling […]

My wife calls me ethnically flexible.

Paul Kuck, Portland, OR. I could talk about this all day. Race, ethnicity, and ancestry fascinate me. The question of who I am has been with me since I can remember. When I was little, we lived near the reservation in South Dakota, and everyone thought I was Native. My sister who is pale, blue […]

Racial dispute, four white officers respond.

Laura Moog Portland, OR I witnessed two 11 or 12 year old boys, one white, one black, hurling racial epithets at each other in the park this week. Then their Moms got involved and things got physical. All of the police officers who responded to the scene were white and male. I have always held […]

I struggle with appreciation and appropriation.

Alec Marchant Ashland, OR As a white male who finds much inspiration, pleasure and interest in cultures other than my own, I sometimes worry if I muddy the lines between appreciation and appropriation. Through my studying and relationships with these other cultures, I know I have been guilty of appropriation on at least one occasion. […]

“I am chocolate Mama is ice-cream”

Naghmeh Moshtael Portland, OR These are my daughter’s words. We live in a world of different race, culture and heritage. My husband in African American, born in Seattle and raised in Compton, CA. I am originally from Iran, raised in Cameroon (Central Africa) and now living in the US. My daughter is adopted from Ethiopia. […]

The whitest brown girl I know.

Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]


Integration ended my neighborhood’s block party.

Shoshana Hoose Portland, OR I grew up in an all-white neighborhood in Newington, Ct. My mother’s best friend, a Quaker, and her husband sold their home to an African-American family in 1966 as part of an organized effort to integrate the Hartford suburbs. My Dad, a lawyer and state legislator, handled the legal work. When […]

Ambiguously different from everyone else. Stereotypes.

Jessica Winfrey Portland, OR I am biracial and bicultural and was educated for the first 6 years in a very diverse school on an air force base in North Dakota. After my parents divorced, my mom and I moved into the neighboring town, which was predominately white. I recall being warned ahead of time that […]

Raised mixed, married mixed, had mixed.

Alisha Partlow Eugene, OR My mother is red haired, blue eyed Danish/German. My father, dark haired, brown eyed Mexican. I married a man whose biological mother was a 6foot blonde of Swedish decent, and we assume his father was African american. Our offspring consists of a 22 year old, red haired, green eyed freckled face […]

Grandma said I looked too haole.

Carol Silva Portland, OR My step-grandma danced, taught, and had her own hula group who performed during the week on Oahu. Once when she and my grandpa were visiting us on the Mainland, my grandpa suggested that when I got older I could come to Hawaii and dance in the show. This was unlikely to […]