You’re too pretty to be black.

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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 [...]

She’s so pretty, is she mixed?

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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 [...]

Your hair’s pretty. What are you?

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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 [...]

You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.

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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?” [...]

She’s pretty for a black woman.

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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?”

You’re not as pretty as Asians.

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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, [...]

Your hair’s pretty. What are you?

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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 [...]

Enough to make you look pretty

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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 [...]

You are pretty, are you Indian?

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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 [...]

You’re pretty …for a black girl.

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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!