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 […]


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 […]

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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 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 […]

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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 […]

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.


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 […]

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 […]

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 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. […]


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 […]

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 […]

They will never let you forget.

John Johnson Portland, OR They will never let you forget you are black. I doesn’t matter where you go or what you do. First and foremost you will always be black. If you are at the beach you are a black man at the beach. If you are in an antique store you are a […]

We are NOT all that smart.

Phuong Christian Portland, OR Just because someone is Asian does not mean they inherently have the “smart genes”. I’ve seen hopes and dreams shatter because people couldn’t live up to this expectation.

Not Just Any Other White Girl

Francesca Magno Portland, ME I come from a very large Irish/Italian family. We have traditions and ideals representative of different cultures. Yet, when people identify me I am simply a white girl. People do not view me as a mix of races. I could be any other ugg wearing, latte in hand, textaholic, but I […]

I’m proud of my state’s diversity

Bridget Ruff Portland, ME Everytime I meet someone from another part of the country, they immediately label me as a white hick from a rural state. I live in Portland (yes it’s a city and it doesn’t rain) and go to a school where 26 different languages are spoken by a quarter of the students. […]

The only Mexican in my family

Sarah Willis Portland, OR My dad is a half Mexican half German man who married a European mutt and had seven children. I am the only one of the seven that he marked the box on my birth certificate as Hispanic instead of white, making me the only mexican in my family.

I’m white and not ashamed.

Matt Portland, OR Lately I’ve seen people of all races attack and belittle white people. Everyone complains about how whites are so racist, but where I come from everyone except white people are treated equally. We constantly get ridiculed for something our generation has no part of. We get made out to be the bad […]

That ghetto “white” girl. Paper minority.

Shaylee Reichardt Portland, OR Growing up in not the nicest of neighborhoods, I was always everybody’s one “white” friend. They didn’t see me for all of my ethnic background. I guess I’m just the white girl who is only a paper minority. They cant see my whole family.

“He’s not really yours, is he?”

Stacey Golden Portland, OR I am Euro-American and my husband is African American. When we decided to adopt children, we adopted children that had bio-parents that were the same race as us, thinking, at the time, that then our children would feel more comfortable in a family that would have been like their bio-family. That […]

Your children really look like Americans

Renu Gehring Portland, OR I am an ethnically Indian woman married to a white man. Our two kids are a happy blend of brown and white. We live in a community that has a large number of recent Indian immigrants. I am surprised by their reaction when they see me with my children. When they […]

You don’t look like a Latina

Marie-Elena Reyes Portland, OR I have been speechless when told this (often by white women). The first time, I was angry and hurt to hear my life and racialized experience in America wiped away by someone trying to make me feel accepted. The most recent time this happened I knew what I wanted to say […]

Just Wanna Be A Good Person

Elizabeth Simson Durant Portland, OR Facing race and racism is hard for white people like me because we feel guilty and ashamed. We wish we weren’t racist. We don’t mean to be. “We can’t help it.” It shook me up the day I realized that being “good” i.e. being “innocent” is part of my white […]

Black, he fixed it and me.

Winslow Parker Portland, OR Back story: She was from upstate New York, I from San Diego; both of us from snow-white neighborhoods. It was 1971. Grey-brown smoke on the the northern horizon still lingered in my mind; Watts burning. We moved into the thin white line on the eastern edge of the Grand Concourse young, […]

Not all whites are “The Man”

Greg Cooper Portland, OR It’s odd to feel almost universally reviled for the past acts of others. Particularly so when I know so many of the historically oppressed who are so much better off than I, through no effort of their own.

Topic: slavery. All eyes on Brooke

Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]

He sees color, but I don’t.

Rebecca A Portland, OR But who am I to say he is wrong? My boyfriend is Filipino and I am white. He thinks people judge us for being in a biracial relationship, and I tell him he’s paranoid. When you’ve grown up in an environment where racist acts happen against you like he did, what […]

MLK’s promissory note sent back….again.

Steffen Estrada Portland, OR I was 13 years old when I heard Dr. King’s August 1963 speech and it hit me like a brick. From then on I saw the world (and the world of my black friends) through a different lens. Thank you so much Michele for your wonderful reporting and this opportunity for […]

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 […]