Janice Cooper, MN. My newly married parents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany via Ellis Island during the mid 50’s to follow the American Dream. Growing up in small town Michigan and attending Catholic school, my younger brother and I were constantly accused of being Nazis during our grade school years. Even though my parents […]
Courters, Bay Area, CA. I grew up in a latin home, of a first generation born parent. By DNA–I am native-american sicilian. I was raised with latin catholic, tibetan, native american, and sicilian culture. As a child, in my desert neighborhood, I stayed dark and it was rarely noticed that I was not “technically” latin […]
Eric Kelderman, USA. For much of my life, people assumed I was Jewish. After I met my biological parents, I found out they were right — and wrong.
Clay Terry, Cincinnati, OH. I just want to put it out there that I have a multitude of African American friends, not all black people are ignorant. However, most of them are. I did not grow up racist nor are my parents racist. I developed my way of thinking from observing the black community around […]
Julia, Monmouth University
Barbara Rodriguez, Florence, SC. Yes, they both are Cuban. The look of shock never ceases to amaze me. Is it because I’m blonde and have green eyes…yes! Is it because of where I live…yes! Growing up in New York, everyone I knew could tell me about their heritage. My neighborhood was a perfect melting pot […]
Ninfa Pena-Purcell, College Station, TX. This picture of my parents captures a young Mexican American couple with aspirations to live the American dream in the 1950s only to find out that their family of six children would never be welcomed in their neighborhood. Years later this experience has stayed with me and made me resolve […]
Alexander Chee, Submitted via Twitter: @alexanderchee #theracecardproject Portrait of My Father by: Alexander Chee REPOST from granta.com His drink was Crown Royal, his candy bar, a Baby Ruth, though he didn’t like chocolate much. He was good at poker, loved reading Tolstoy. His suits were bespoke. […]
Lynn Schilaty, Snohomish, WA. when attending a teacher parent conference my husband and I didn’t expect what we saw on the faces of teachers when they realized WE were the (white) parents of our adopted daughter. We could see in their split second recalculation on their face as that they struggled to take our daughter […]
Kelly B. Ferrell Sterling, VA As the child of nomadic parents, we lived where we could and/or where my parents found work. At one point in the mid “70s, we lived in up-state NY, outside of Ithaca. We were the only black family in the area (in the county the way I remember it) and […]
LaPortia Barrows, Daytona Beach, FL. My parents fought for not just my equality but my children’s children’s equality. Why is that I still have to explain to my children that some people are not going to like them just because of the color of their skin? Why do I have to shield my children from […]
Alessa Abruzzo Philadelphia, PA Biologically I’m Korean. Ethnically I’m Irish-German-Italian. I was adopted at 4.5 months old, at which point I flew from South Korea to the USA and into the loving arms of my parents who happen to be white. To put it plainly, I was raised by white people – My entire immediate […]
Michael, Beaumont, CA. I was hated for being a white football coach in a nearly all black school. It didn’t matter that I had the players best interests at heart, if I had to speak to a player about his behavior I was only doing it because I was white and didn’t like black people. […]
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 […]
Rachel in Honolulu I have encountered this many times dating other races. I have white (well really pinkish) skin. I’m attracted to all ‘races’. Many times when I have dated other races, I have been told that they are afraid to introduce me to their parents because their parents don’t approve of them dating white […]
Arleny, Riverside, CA. I am of no race other than myself. My parents are both Mexican, but being judge wrongly for something I’m is not fair.
Miriam Normile, Waukesha, WI. Hatred is tiresome.
Steve Morris, Seattle, WA. In the mid-1950s my father made a business trip from our home in Connecticut to Florida and back. He decided to make the trip by car, and to take my mother, my brother, and me along with him for a family travel experience. In the Deep South I witnessed undisguised segregation […]
Jim Minkler, Spokane, WA.
Jane Medina Orange, CA My daughter Annie had just turned 21. So she, my husband, my son, and I put on our cocktail party clothes and went to the fanciest restaurant in Orange, California to buy Annie her first drink. As our car climbed the steep hill where the restaurant sat like a crown above […]
Jennie, Los Angeles, CA. I am 4th generation Chicana. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is White. One of the saddest things is to be rejected in relationships or see as different from your significant others’ family. I find that Mexicano families do not understand the history of Mexican-Americans. Someone I dated pointed out […]
Ashley S. Westerman, Submitted via twitter: @AS_Westerman. @michele_norris #TheRaceCardProject
Alex Liu, Columbia, MD. Culture, inmigration patterns, history – it’s all very nuanced. Confucius did boil down the success formula though…what do ya’ll think?
Lori Wallrath, Iowa City, IA.
Brandon Milardo, Somerville, MA. Me with my parents at graduation in 2012.
Anonymous, NJ. I have never been so angry at or disappointed in my parents in all my 16 years of life. Before you dismiss this as just another teenager hating on her parents, hear me out, because it is far from that. Both of my parents moved to America from Lebanon, a small country in […]
Allen D. Jenkins, Gulfport, MS. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… I John 4:18
Katherine Barrax, Sherman, TX. I grew up in a house with parents who both went to college. I was reading before I entered kindergarten, and I was always corrected when I spoke incorrect English. So my entire life people have said “you sound white” or “you’re not really black” because I speak like an educated […]
Judee Fernandez, Los Angeles, CA. I am a white looking Mexican woman born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents who are brown and proud. Yet all my life, I’ve been asked questions about beauty and my look, more than anyone has asked me about what I know and my experiences. The other day, I went […]
Larry, Orlando, FL. In closing up my elderly parents’ home, I was given some family news I did not expect from a relative I haven’t kept up with. It seems she did genealogical research and found out my grandmother’s family was deported in 1912 because they were Jewish. They came to America again a few […]
Erin, St. Louis, MO. In my world today I associate power with people who are white. All my teachers and school leaders, white. My parents, white. The police in my area, white. All forms of power and authority in my life are white and this is how its been since I was little. Fear those […]
Jameson Magdaleno Sacramento, CA This is my personal observation as a Mexican American regarding the plight of families with illegal immigrant parents who have children born in the U.S. today and their struggle to stay united. – Jameson Magdaleno
Federico Hewson New York City, NY Our times, our parents times and the residue of their struggles are remembered in all our struggles and celebrations today.
Karen Palmer New York City, NY Brooklyn I am the child of two teachers, the grandchild of a police officer, a seamstress and two farmers, all African-American and alive during the Jim Crow era. I could never have become a college graduate, world traveler, journalist and school founder without their many sacrifices and the example […]
Deborah Lenoir-Hebert Antananarivo, Madagascar I grow up in France (provence) with my white-adoptive-parents and come from Madagascar, which used to be an ancient french colony. So white parents, black girl, thousand questions! Plus I live in Germany now, I don’t now how to answer the question and I like it.
Allan Clark Madison, WI Not at this time.
Michelle Nickol Tucson, AZ Now that both my parents have passed away, I wish I had a camera to record the reactions on people’s faces when I’d introduce my Mother, Caucasian, and my Step-Father, African American. You could see the genetic race meters whirring in their minds trying to imagine how much of what went […]
Gene Heller San Francisco, CA In 1969 my best friend was black and had a serious Afro. I, a Jew with curly red hair, proudly imitated my friend’s hairstyle by using a pick to create a massive Jewfro. We often shared tales of how annoyed both sets of parents were about our out-of-control hair, and […]
Chris Crawford Cleveland, TN It makes me sick to think little children are being brought up to hate. I watched a video on you-tube where children were punching a little girl and she was crying while parents stood there laughing. These were black kids and they videoed this abuse to this white child and proudly […]
Ginny Adams North Platte, NE I learned this from my parents while growing up in Detroit; 60* years later I still find myself struggling not to react this way.
Lily Cohen New York, NY I wasn’t born racist. My parents didn’t raise me to be racist. For the first twelve years of my life I was not racist. It all changed after my parents had to move to a Black area, and I had to attend a Black school. Needless to say, I didn’t […]
Harriett Fargnoli Rockville Centre, NY It’s so hard some days to make sense of anything. Humanity, not color, should define us. I was born in the Midwest to non-racist parents. I moved East where everything is ethnic.
Crystal White Detroit, MI Growing up with a fair complexion in a place like Michigan is harder than most would think. With Detroit being pretty much the only city inhabited by African Americans until recent years, living in the suburbs was a difficult life. From being called the n-word in elementary school where I was […]
Hilary Kansas City, MO I’m not a suitable match for their son since I’m not Indian. They barely spoke to me and have no interest in getting to know me.
Edmundo de la Garza Seattle, WA I was born in Chicago to fair skinned parents, one with green eyes and the other with hazel eyes. Mexico, especially in the larger urban areas, is quite cosmopolitan; although it was controled by several European empires, peoples from many countries emmigrated to Mexico for economic opportunities, and these […]
Ben Sian Atlanta, GA Born in the US to Filipino parents.
Adana, Seattle, WA. I have 2 children. My son looks just like his papa: dark, wavy hair and alabaster skin. My daughter looks like me: golden skin and curly brown hair. When I’m out with my son, I’m asked if I’m his nanny. When I’m out with both kids, I’m asked if they have the […]
Alice L. Costa Mesa, CA I always get asked “Where are you from”. Answer: LA. Where are your parents from?: Earth. Why is it that when people see a non-white person, they have to be identified by their race/ethnicity/heritage? Do people ever ask a white man where his parents are from? What their heritage is? […]
Kavitha Iyengar Ann Arbor, MI
Daniel Guerrero Philadelphia, PA Rather than choosing one box, choose all that apply to you, not to be a doofus, but because you’re not one dimensional, and nor is your race.
Stephanie K. New York City, NY I’m a first generation daughter in the U.S. My parents are Chinese immigrants. They just don’t get it.
Deborah Owens Laurel, MD The greatest gift my parents gave me was believing that it was cool to be a little black girl. My first incidence of racism was when I visited a beach in Michigan on a field trip with a group of black kids and all of the white people got out of […]
Harvetta Asamoah Gathersburg, MD At 4 years old, while watching attacks on TV with dogs (at that age dogs terrified me under any circumstances), trembling, and listening to my parents loudly discussing it, this word, “Negro” puzzled me. So I raised my small voice, patted his knee and finally got Daddy’s attention, “What, baby?” “Daddy….what’s […]
Shevon Desai Ann Arbor, MI My parents emigrated from India to the US over 50 years ago. In terms of ethnicity, I think of myself as South Asian – but in terms of race, we are officially Caucasian (my family are Parsis – Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors originally came from Iran). Race and ethnicity for […]
Gladys Pressley Ann Arbor, MI
Anonymous, Santa Cruz, CA I’m tired of my bi-racial experience being used as proof of progress… Sometimes I think my parents were selfish to have kids and then act like everything would be fine. There are still unequal power dynamics, still racism in their relationship, and they wonder why their kids are insecure and damaged. […]
Rebecca Sellers Bellingham, MA
Anonymous Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation