Kristin Maerke, Springfield, MO. When I was younger I was very annoyed by the question, “What are you?” Which were usually the first three words spoken to me. I have since learned to embrace my cultural diversity, and sometimes even enjoy making people guess (it tends to make them quite uncomfortable).
Jenn O, Los Angeles, CA. This is the dreadful question that I get almost all the time… I find myself always having to explain my background to people before they’re able to get past my appearance, and actually engage in an intellectual conversation.
Phil Audibert, Gordonsville, VA.
Daisy Reyes, Rialto, CA. Even as a little girl in Mexico I was the “Chinita” (little Chinese). When I came to the U.S., I was either confused with Filipino or just Asian when people couldn’t figure out which race. My now husband, has been confused with a Hindu. We are both Mexican-born. But the thing […]
Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]
Tiffany, San Francisco, CA. People who ask me this question aren’t convinced by my response that I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. “Go back to China!” when I don’t respond to male strangers hitting on me. #AnitaEllenSpeak
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I wrote this six word memoir because people should know that no one should assume someone else’s ethnicity. I also wrote this six word memoir because most people that I encounter think of my ´race´ and tend to assume what ´race´ I am and sometimes […]
Yochanan Kushnir New York City, NY Manhattan The answer is drowned in silence and pain.
Yasmin Igal, Seattle, WA. Africa is a huge continent made of 1000s of languages and assuming I speak African because I’m Somali doesn’t makes no sense whats-ever. Born in America and being raised here, children use to ask me that and i thought it was a joke, but sadly it was a legit question for […]
Sunil Yapa, New York, NY. I’m biracial and grew up in rural Pennsylvania. The question where are you from has always hounded and haunted me. I’m from the US. I’m from Sri Lanka. The only two places in the world where they are certain I don’t belong.
Jordan Beuch, Riverside, CA. A common question that I have been used to getting is, “Ok but really, What race are you?” It has always kind of irked me because often it times it seems as if people are trying to put me away into a category based of those simple words. BUT, none of […]
Demetrios Pathammavong, Sanger, CA. I am an American, although my grandparents are from Laos. It is often a repeated questions of where I am from. When I answer that I am from America, people then ask the same question. Sometimes I say ”Oh, I am from Laos.” in reality I was born in California. This […]
Laura Mariko Cheifetz Atlanta, GA I call myself hapa yonsei. I’m biracial white Jewish and Japanese American, fourth generation on both sides. However, there are two assumptions that I run into all the time. First, “what are you?” People want to know my ethnic background (not racial… that doesn’t satisfy their intrusive curiosity), but they […]
Anna Ying Zeng New York City, NY Brooklyn Submerged = hidden away Shadows= still there, lurking Murmurs = voices cannot be completely silenced Truths = comprised of many stories and experiences
Debra Brown Sprindale, OH My question is based on my belief that though things are better in the US between the races (by ‘races’ I mean Blacks and whites, specifically); there is an underlying animosity from white people, as a group, against Black people, as a group, that persists. I am not referring to individual […]
W. Drezek San Antonio, TX
Cassie Meyer Helena, MT Genuine comment about white guilt.
Lara Furar Canton, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I remember being asked this question as a child. And at various times throughout my life ever since. There was enough of “something” in my background that made it difficult for people to “figure me out”. For some reason, they needed to do that – […]