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. […]

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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 […]

Frustrated, Aggravated, Discouraged by Black Stereotypes

Kern Seattle, OR With each passing decade (now 5 of them)I have reflected on whether the issue of race has improved, declined or remained the same. I must say that it seems that for every step forward (a President of color, women and PEO astronauts, noted Black scientists, a holiday named after a Black man) […]

I don’t know why I’m white.

Eric Braman Eugene, OR University of Oregon Eric is a performer from the group Rehearsals for Life. As part of the University of Oregon’s Identity Project, students from the University of Oregon Rehearsals for Life group organized and performed a skit that mirrored the theme of Michelle Norris’ “Race Card Project.” Their act touches on […]

A missplaced comma, in fluid sentences.

Anil Oommen Eugene, OR University of Oregon I am brown, a Malayalee, a person of Indian descent in a primarily white setting. This is often awkward. It is not unusual for me to feel like a misplaced comma, in the fluid sentences of white experience. Only when I limit what I say and refrain from […]

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 […]

Liberal yet never felt at ease.

Susan Eugene, OR After a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable around most people, white or of any race, my face now defaults to a doubtful distrustful set of creases in the presence of strangers. Sometimes I feel like telling the rare black person I see off campus that I’m awkward around everyone, but it’s also true […]

We are all shades of brown.

Paul Ruscher Eugene, OR Explore Identity It is time to ignore appearance…it facilitates judging others. I am a father of 11 including 5 adopted kids and I love them all and wish others did. but my biological kids (Caucasian) have always been more accepted than my darker complected ones (adopted from India and some from […]

Acknowledging whtie privilege — just the start.

Shannon Rose Eugene, OR Explore Identity People have so much baggage about privilege. So often people act as though it’s the end of a conversation. That somehow acknowledging the privilege that comes with just being seen as white means that you didn’t work hard for what you have, or that you don’t deserve it. I […]

You’re White, You Can’t Be Hispanic

Erica Shofner Eugene, OR Explore Identity Being mixed race is a blessing and a curse. I don’t have to deal with the unfortunate social stigma that comes with being Hispanic in America because of my light complexion, but I’m deprived of acceptance by the Hispanic community for the same reason. I thirst to experience that […]

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“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.