Kathy Mercado Temecula, CA I do not know what it is like to be pulled over by the police because of the color of my skin. I do not know what it is like to be called degrading names because of my ethnic background. I do not know what it is like to be profiled […]
Lisbet Mingo Oakland, CA What it feels like to share everything with those closest to you–except the color of your skin. And how that changes everything…
Eric Miyeni Johannesburg I don’t like the phrase “body part” much. At its worst it has a tendency to remind me of murders and psychotic murderers. At its best it reminds me of the work of medical doctors. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. I’m just not cut out to do what they do. […]
Sara Bee Boston, MA I have been passing as “white” most of my life–on the phone. People of all stripes seem to have misconceptions about what black people sound like, if their reactions to me in person are any indication. This happens especially at job interviews or when I go to see an apartment. One […]
Darshi Balasuriya Long Beach, CA I spend my days mostly in Orange County California. I live in this white world and often see myself in the reflection of those whom I love and enjoy the company of. I rarely think about color of skin or race. But occasionally I encounter treatment from others that doesn’t […]
Rachel Settle, Gurnee, IL. I am a European American, but I have been shamed to think I’m not as good as everyone else because of my skin.
Haley Landre, Louisville, KY.
Charity Son Anchorage, AK I was disappointed that this seems to even surprise a congenitally blind white woman I work with–“I didn’t know you were black!.” Happens on the phone as well. In person, black people, white people, all kinds of people seem to resent the way I speak. What does it even mean, to […]
Lisa Dawson Andrzejczyk, Palm Coast, FL. I am black.. I never thought of myself as anything else. I am light-skinned for certain, clearly aware that few if any of my African ancestors exited a slave ship looking like me; but ever since I was a little girl people felt if was someone appropriate to ask […]
Natalia Z., USA. I’ve had people ask me if I was Mexican. When I said no they asked if I was Indian. I’m half Hispanic and European and I have tan skin. But I’m not Mexican I’m Peruvian. Some people always assume just because I have tan skin means I’m Mexican.
Adrea Benedetti, College Park, MD. I will not let race define who I am nor will I judge another based on the color of their skin.
Adriana Caicedo Hart , Indian Trail, NC. I was born in Colombia, I came to USA in 2003. My physical features, my accent and my skin color say I am not born in American, they say I belong to a different culture; but when I go back to my home country for a visit, I […]
Linden Gibson Raleigh, NC I will never get used to being looked at by total strangers as a threat to their safety just by walking down the street. I see the fear in the averted looks, how they step aside or suddenly have something important to say to a companion, or seem to need to […]
Daniela Charlotte, NC Some people look puzzled when I say I am half Japanese. They tend to ask me if I perm my hair or go tanning because typically Japanese females have pin straight hair and fair skin. However they don/t seem to pay attention when I say HALF Japanese (I am also half Peruvian).
Ebonee Small, Ontario, CA. I am a young black woman proud of the skin I’m in. I love my race of people when those who don’t. I’m always proud because it seems as if every obstacle placed before my race we always concur leaving others dumbfounded. Others outside my race seem to always try and […]
Maya PS Boston, MA Growing up in a color-challenged yet friendly midwest suburb, we were one of 3 families of color in our local school. Even though it was not an issue for most of our childhood, sometimes the desire to squelch our culture reared its ugly head. We did try to assimilate as much […]
Pamela Torres, West Palm Beach, FL. CubanAmerican daughter often teased for being light skin. It hurts.
Amy Tanisha, Petaluma, CA. When asked the infamous “what are you?” question, I define myself on my terms. Sure, its easy for someone to understand that my mom is white and my dad is black, but “white” or “black” is not the house I grew up in. I grew up in a house full of […]
Anna, Columbia, SC. I know I have “white” skin, but I really hate that word. I don’t think about myself as “white”. I am Italian and Czech. My dad was the first generation of my family to live in America. Our family wasn’t here for the Civil War, we didn’t enslave anybody. In fact, my […]
Bryant, Chandler, AZ. I was raised in a family that didn’t think about race. I didn’t connect that I was white and others were black. My family just didn’t think that way, I wasn’t raised to think about the color of someones skin. Only the merit of their actions. The shock that would stay with […]
Anna Shaw, Deltaville, VA. This is the question that my brother and I were asked by native children in the Bahamas. Each member of my family has freckles and these are not the cute sprinkle over the nose—these freckles, especially during the summer, become large dots that cover our entire bodies. At the time I […]
Greg S. Furman, Vancouver, WA. They will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Except white males. Your privilege predetermined your only value.
Lisette Lazaro, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. When people see the color of someone skin they automatically go to an conclusion that are one specific race. For example, when they see a person with light brown skin they say the person is Mexican and when their skin is white they automatically […]
Kate Blanco, Berkeley, CA. Filipinos and Filipino-Americans tend to have an obsession with “whiteness”. I was once told as a young kid to use whitening soap because I was so dark skinned. I believed them. I was taught to view my brown skin as ugly and white/lighter skin as beautiful. I tried to scrub off […]
Kadeem Thomas-Evans, Columbia, SC. When I hear the word race I feel strange it’s like there making it seem like your different from every one else just because of the color of your skin. Race is an ugly because its a shame that people were categorized just in the past and now for the color […]
Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. It’s weird how simple hair and skin color can categorize humans into different ethnicities and cultural origins that might not define that person at all.
Jay Marie Fernandez, Bridgeport, CT. With white skin, being of Hispanic origin, in a household that did not speak Spanish, in a predominantly Spanish speaking neighborhood, this sentiment taught me being Hispanic or Latina was something to be hidden. The kids hated me because I thought I was better than them, proudly pri-claiming “I’m white”…now […]
Melanie Smith, East Lansing, MI.
Blake Coffey, Van Nuys, CA. In a world where being mixed is supposed to be looked at as beautiful, it’s not as easy when you are. People automatically assume that all mixed people are supposed to look mixed just like they assume all Mexicans are brown. I’m born to a mixed black/white father who looks […]
Sidney Lozano, USA. When I walk into a room, any room I can feel every emotion arising from every single being. Everyone already hates me not because of the color of my skin but because they can not tell which “race” or “race(s)” that I belong to. Amongst this hatred is a hatred they feel […]
Mike McNamara Chicago, IL Especially in the non-winter months because he gets so dark. Growing up in Tucson, he was sometimes mistaken for Mexican, which makes sense when you look at him from afar. But only recently has he felt uncomfortable going home to visit his family based on that same mistake that people have […]
Doretta Dozier, East Orange, NJ. From the very early age of 5 I was delighted with my sense of how big the world was to me: how bright the sun was, the large expanse of blue sky and the splattering white clouds that seemed to show a never ending aura of greatness. I felt truly […]
Jacob Monarch, Shreveport, LA. It is impossible for white to be an accurate description of the color of anyone’s skin. It ranges between a pale apricot to pinkish to light khaki.
Stacy Smith, Bergenfield, NJ.
Lisa Gullion, Nocross, GA. I only look white, I am a high percent of Cherokee (whom were murdered by the dozens for land), I am Irish who were shipped as slaves just like Africans (they were bred with africans for higher priced mixed slaves). My ancestors faced the same deadly history as your’s but I […]
Mariel Rieland, Seattle, WA. I’m about as stereotypically European-American as you can get… Born to an upper-middle-class family, raised in the suburbs, graduating from a private Christian university. And yet, I’m a sociology major who studies systematic social inequality for a living. I’ve learned how to deconstruct the broken systems of race, gender, and class […]
Carolyn Hipkins, Largo, MD. All my life I’ve been told that I have “good hair”. Its very soft and with a loose curl pattern. If I straighten it or put a relaxer in it it looks like Caucasian hair. But let the humidity go up. My hair reverts to its natural curly state. I spent […]
Charlie Knight, Indianapolis, IN. The color of ones skin; ones sexual orientation; and/or ones religious beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with ones humanity. Simply put, I believe in Equality period.
Betruth, St.Paul, MN. We need to have so much hope for those who choose to see the love and peace in the world. While also seeing all the perspectives and opinions of others. Our cultural differences can lead us a stray from all the facts. I will not be burdened by the pigmentation of my […]
Andrew Lundberg Cleveland, OH
Andrea Cordero Salt Lake City, UT I no longer wan to be viewed just by the color of my skin or my gender. I am ready for this world to see me for my abilities and streangths and not just catagorize me as a “minority”. If we want to see each other as equals we […]
Jennifer Woods, Okemos, MI. I am a 65 year old African American and am sick to death that in 2012 we are still, Still, STILL having this same tired conversation about race. That we still have to have “the talk” with our young men. That black people continue, decades after Dr. King’s dream, to be […]
Gil, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I believe that discrimination and racist attitudes derives from human nature to be lazy. Because we humans are so lazy, we do not spend the effort and time to learn about the individual but instead, discriminate people by their skin color. This attitude is wrong, […]
Brandon Attala, Grand Rapids, MI. ‘Race’ is just a way to classify ourselves on a more individual level. In actuality, we are all made up of 99.9% of the same DNA, and I think that should take priority over the color of our skin or our place of birth or ancestry.
Melanie Douglas, Peyton, CO. I have transracial adopted kids. They have better hair than I do, they have better skin than I do, it is really something that they got everything I could ever want for them outside of my gene pool, and all I ever want is to be in their gene pool. I […]
Patana Bountharack, Akron, OH.
Lynette Neal, Chicago, IL. Many times as a brown girl, it’s hard accepting that this skin we are in is no less than the fair skin someone else may posses. As a young darker complected woman it is important to see other brown women wearing their skin with confidence and a head held high not […]
Leah Pepion, Kaysville, UT. Slowly, generation by generation my Blackfeet culture is being lost, stolen, given up, handed over. Will the Native American culture be buried beneath the earth, beneath the rivers, lost in the sea of suburbs and tv? Can I fill my bones, skin and body up with enough of my delicate culture […]
Victoria N. Fortson, GA My ancestors came to America just like many others. Just because I am white, does not mean my family “owned” “slaves”. When an African American girl says to me “you’re so lucky to have that hair” or “I would pay a lot for some of your hair”, it makes me mad. […]
Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite […]
Christine Alexander, Spring Valley, CA.
Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]
Amanda Claiborne, Pahoa, HI. Asked of me by a typical Hawaiian child of mixed background, brown skin, hair, and eyes. A reminder that blue-eyed freckled folks like me are a minority here.
Rosina B., Temecula, CA. African Americans come in all colors and hues, and just because my skin may be light it does not make me a lesser African American, it only make me more proud to be who I am!!
Cassidy Orth-Moore, Kenya.
Aku Kadogo, teacher South Korea I am an African American woman from Detroit, MI. I have lived in Australia since 1978. My daughter is African American Australia (Caucasian father). My grand daughter’s father is from Thailand. I am currently living and teaching in S. Korea. I have spent many years with Indigenous people in Australia, […]
Alice O’Neill, Boston, MA. People get the impression that you can’t have anything wrong with your life if you’re white, but there are plenty of things that anyone can experience regardless of race. You don’t know my experiences, you know the color of my skin.
Sara, Submitted via Twitter: @smamela
Monte Stroman, Syracuse, NY. Student ’15 I am black but if you look past my skin you would never know
Lynn P., Raleigh, NC. My mother is white and my father is black. I am light skinned and proper speaking but not white enough in skin tone. I do not think I should have to choose a side, so why as me to? I wish I was more white skinned, then I would feel accepted. […]
Tessa Voget, Atlanta, GA. To say I have a complex about how pale I am is putting it mildly. I vacillate between wishing I were more golden, to meet Americans’ (and even my own family’s) expectations — and getting super defensive, layering on the SPF while feeling guilty about the privileges porcelain skin bestows upon […]
Katie, USA. My family is proudly multicultural and many shades of brown, from my pinky-beige to my cousins’ deep cocoa tones. In the past year I have been accused of being racist more times than I can count. When I ask why they would say that the answer is always the same, “You’re white, all […]
Mikaela Rejbrand, San Francisco, CA. Being a person of mixed race, my biological mom is white and my biological father is black, and having married an Irish man, my children are much lighter skinned than I am and therefore am often mistaken for “the babysitter”. The constant theme since my children have been born is […]
Brenda Ward, Schaumburg, IL. The color of our skin has nothing to do with who we are. It is where we live, who raises us, our family traditions, our geography. We try to peg the differences on color because it is easier to see and understand and our lack of interest in exploring and appreciating […]
Seth, Australia. My mothers family is from a Haitian Creole line but I grew up in Montana and my mother and my siblings and I are all of lighter skin but we get dark in summer so other than mom’s hair, and now my beard you really couldn’t tell. So I really grew up outside […]
Margaret Lin, Houston, TX. Although ethnically Asian, I stick out like a sore thumb in Asia. When I visited China last summer, my mother told me that everyone there could tell I wasn’t raised in China. Perhaps it was the way I dressed, or my heavy accent when I attempted speaking Chinese, or how my […]
Stewart Ketcham, South Royalton, VT. Out of the mouth of my five year old adopted African America son. I am white. We were eating chicken and my skin was crispier. Relief at the simplicity of innocence!
Ima Oduok, Houston, TX. As a bi-racial child who grew up with her white family, I always wanted to look more like them. When I watch the movie “Belle” and saw Dido try to rub and beat out the darkness of her skin, I cried. I spent my childhood doing the same thing, hoping to […]
Makaela Powell, Parker, CO.
Leslie Cole, Lake Worth, FL.
Victor Vega, Los Angeles, CA. What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even […]
Christopher Wydler, Miami, FL. People always ask me does it bother you that more than 90 percent of the university you attend contain African Americans? My response is simply I see people for who they are not because the skin of their color.
Kim Skillern Samuels, Cleveland Heights, OH. I lived in a neighborhood of black people, and went to an inner city public school. When friends found that I’d be moving to the suburbs they teased me, and said “Those honkeys are gonna chase you home from school.” At the age of six I thought a “honkey” […]
Brooke, Richmond, VA. Virginia Commonwealth University Racism goes all sorts of ways. My race shouldn’t define everything about me, and definitely shouldn’t generalize me as a person. My race shouldn’t decide how I get treated in public or how much I get paid. My race should not put me above or below anyone, and it […]
Eddie Savage Gilberetville, IA There are bad people in the world, black, white, brown. the color of your skin does not matter. I know I am judged being white and a cop. Racism no matter what anyone says is HORRIBLE and needs to end, but so does the hate children are taught from a young […]
Katie Moore New Echota, GA I used to hate the way I looked growing up. My mom & brother had fair skin & freckles & I had darker skin & hair. I like the way I look now. I’m proud of my heritage. I am of cherokee, creek, German,& African decent. I stand taller than […]
Matthew Zimmerman Wausau, WI It’s awful that my skin color will grant me favoritism over another person. We are all human, and we should all be treated as such.
Michelle K. Chicago, IL Racist men who are interested in me solely for their “yellow fever”: my skin is not your accessory. Racist people who want to befriend me solely because they “loooove” my culture: my skin is not your accessory. Racist people who think being Asian is all about KPop and “kawaii”: my skin […]
Andrea Godbout Brooklyn, NY
Mike Arlington, VA I’m tired of people dressing, acting, talking like trouble makers, gangsters or criminals then complaining of discrimination. You will become as those with whom you associate. Each individual has the choice how to dress, act and with whom to associate. If they want to be treated as the scum of society, they […]
Nicole Bodenstein Milwaukee, WI I’m allowed to have a German last name.
Adriana Pedroza Both of my parents were born and raised in Mexico. Looking at my family pictures, I’m the odd one out. As a child, I was blonde, and my eyes have always been on the lighter side. My skin is not dark. I don’t have my mom’s dark hair or my dad’s dark eyes […]
Justina Adarkwah Christchurch, VA I’ve always had a problem with identity, but ironically I realized it was me that thought I had a problem, it was society, my community, everyone else who had an opinion about ‘what’ I was and who I should be. I’m not sorry to let everyone one know that its not […]
Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]
Patti Bear Middletown, DE This was a exchange when I was in 5th grade, over a call in a kickball game. I know now what I was supposed to call my friend after she called me a cracker but I thought she was making fun of my white face with freckles so I responded with […]
Kwazi Owens Washington, DC I see so much divisiveness among black women due to colorism. I remember growing up and girls automatically not liking me just because of my complexion and me feeling the need to reel in my personality as not seem as though I’m trying to be “better” than others. As an adult […]
R. E. Longdon Clarksville, PA My family complexion has always been called dirty or ruddy. My ancestors came from Europe through England but family folklore has much more than English in our history. Our family always classified as white but we stood out in our hometown to the point our “dirtyness” was speculated by some […]
Keysha Charles Baltimore, MD From the day I was born my skin told my story. It told all that I was, all that I could be, and all that I’ll never be!
Steven Columbus, OH Working a parking booth. Black woman pulled up. Sign clearly posted with the rates for parking. Open the gate. That’s 2 bucks to park here. I bet you don’t charge white people. The sign is for everyone Mam. I’m interested in green not the color of your skin.
Ashley Gremler Ft. Meade, MD I’m White, well mostly. I am a quarter Vietnamese, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me. I’m dating a Black man. I love him for who he is, not for the color of his skin. But I must admit, I love the way our hands look […]
J. Torres Kansas City, MO My father is from Puerto Rico, born and raised. My mother is Colombian. However, raised in Panama. They met in the 1950’s while my dad was in the U.S. Army. Us kids always called ourselves PanaRicans. Until my mother gave us her true background. I attended college in Michigan in […]
Kristi Webber Las Vegas, NV Growing up, there were several clues and incidents which occurred over the years which hinted at some sort of non-European ancestry in my mother’s background, and which would eventually lead to me pursuing her family’s ethnic roots. I had heard vague rumors of “Cherokee” blood but had long ago dismissed […]