K.E. Broadnax, Cleveland, OH. This was said to me while attending college. I am black, and went to a predominantly white, upper-class university (as many are, to be fair). His statement was prefaced by the question, “What nationality are you?” If I was me now, back then, I would’ve replied “American.” But I knew what […]
Aida Verri, New Orleans, LA. You are not ugly, pretty, stupid, smart, strong, weak, violent or calm because of your “race”. Your skin color isn’t your race, isn’t your culture, isn’t your identity.
Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]
Charlie, USA. I brought my car in for an oil change (in the predominantly black area I live in) and they told me that it’d be an hour before they could get to it. ‘No big deal,’ I though, ‘There’s a shopping center across the street.’ As I made my way down the sidewalk, a […]
Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]
Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]
CaMera Gibson, Birmingham & Jacksonville, AL.
Hadja Diallo, Philadelphia, PA. People always say that I don’t look African!? But I ask myself how is someone supposed to look African? Are we all supposed to be ugly? I wouldn’t say that all Africans are beautiful, but most of them are. I know that it’s not there (people) fault that they think Africans […]
Misha Kamau James Tyler Milwaukee, WI
Brandi N. Scarlett, Lansing, MI. When people ask me what ethnicity I am, I get excited. I am so proud to be mixed race. My mother is white and First Nations, and my father is Jamaican. However, I always make sure to tell people no matter WHAT I am, I identify as being black. I […]
Carla Los Angeles, CA This comment is what I often heard from many people, including my own regarding my daughter from birth until about 8 years of age. I believe people actually thought they were complimenting her and maybe even me….someone who is for the most part unmistakably of African ancestry. Sometimes I would take […]
Jessie V. West Sacramento, CA. As a little girl I was always told “you have such pretty hair” and then with that i was asked what are you? As a kid I never thought about it until I got older.It wasn’t until I was in High School that that phrase used to bug me. At […]
Taesha Detroit, MI I think almost every dark-skinned black girl goes through a phase (that hopefully she grows out of) where she doesn’t believe she is beautiful in this ideally white society. But what can you expect when she is emerged in a society that constantly bombards her with the ideology “the lighter the better?” […]
Mary Detroit, MI My dad was born in 1906 and would say this about perhaps the first black female anchor on a Detroit TV station; I can’t remember her name. I hope I replied “why can’t you just say she’s pretty?”
Kem Huntsville, AL I was so shocked when a white co-worker said this to me. He actually thought he was giving me a compliment!
Kimberly San Jose, CA Since moving to the San Francisco area, I’ve been told by a few men quite bluntly that I’ll never measure up to an East Asian woman. This is what I’ve heard; “You white women age faster. Asian women are so much prettier. Asian women don’t get fat. Asian women are nicer, […]
Freda NC I am African American. Growing up I was often asked this question in some form or another “are you mixed, what are you, what are you mixed with, what’s your nationality, are you Indian, where are you from?” As I got older, the question began to offend me more, especially when the person […]
Sydney Buffalow Washington, DC A phrase that continues to be said to me till this day and I’m an adult now! I also hear it used when people feel they are complimenting a pretty female who happens to be black. As if being black and pretty don’t go together!
Lezlie Harrison Brooklyn, NY