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Being Brown Makes Me Look “Hood”

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 [...]

No One Is Better Than You…

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” [...]

She is just some white girl

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 [...]

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You are important. Your voice matters!

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 [...]

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Mixed heritage. Feeling strange growing up

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 [...]

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Your words don’t change who I am

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 [...]

My skin is not your accessory.

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 [...]

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Dress like trouble, seen as trouble

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 [...]

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I am not defined by society

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 [...]

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Didn’t know/you don’t sound black.

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 [...]

The whitest brown girl I know.

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. [...]

From a white teenage girl’s perspective

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. [...]

What am I? Dirty but clean

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 [...]

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What color will your kid’s be?

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 [...]

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I’m Black but NO-ONE believes me!

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 [...]

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Sorry, My Mom Don’t Like Blacks

Amber Roberson-Rowell Essex, MD That was my second incident of prejudice and what instilled in me that race–the color of my skin–was a problem. The first was during my first day of pre-school and being pushed off a tricycle by a little white boy and being told “You don’t belong here!” I was the ONLY [...]

What does Puerto Rican look like?

Janet Jimenez Washington, DC Puertorriqueño(a) is the “proper” term used to address a native islander from Puerto Rico. Do not confuse with Newyoricans, or anyone else born outside the island to Puertorriqueño parents. A real Puertorriqueño(a) knows the words to “La Borinqueña”, speaks Spanish (FLUENTLY), has lived on the island, and cries to the words [...]

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Whites say Hispanic, Hispanics say White

Renee Lewin Asutin, TX My mother is Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley, my father is white from Orange, NJ. I was raised in a home where English was primarily spoken, but Spanish was still commonly heard. As I was growing up I viewed myself primarily as Mexican. I spent most of my time with [...]

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“Appalachian” means “none of your business.”

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 [...]

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We’re a’ Jock Thamson’s bairns

Susanna Gourlay Wilbraham, MA This is a saying my dad taught me. I moved to the USA from Scotland and it was a phrase he told when I was talking to him about how sad it was that people get treated differently based on the color of their skin. The saying means, “We’re all God’s [...]

Self segregation leads to continued stereotyping.

Monica Mingo Germantown, MD Whenever I meet someone who doesn’t have friends who share different skin colors, I challenge it. How can you live in the world we live in and not have White friends if you are Black and Black friends if you are White? If you live in the United States, the melting [...]

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I Am Shattered Pieces Scattered Black

Lauren Anderson Kansas City, MO I’m not sure what I would consider myself. The only thing that I know is that I am brown-skinned, but light-skinned. Many believe I am mixed with another race or other race(s), but my parents are both Black. I’m not really sure what it means to be Black or where [...]

Being white doesn’t mean can’t understand

Tim Fall El Macero, CA I refuse to believe that complete understanding is barred because of the color of a person’s skin. There may be other factors that interfere – culture, economics, religion – but not the amount of melanin in one’s epidermis. Being in a mixed race family and raising children who are navigating [...]

Mom, will I turn brown now?

Asheley Woodruff Burtonsville, MD My family recently moved from Idaho to Maryland. For the first time, my children were immersed in a racially diverse population. I realized, quickly, that my children did not understand that the United States is not a white country with a few Black, Hispanic, Asian people living in it. Furthermore, we [...]

See me, not just my skin

Jeffery J Jaekley Bolivar, MO Race matters. It shapes our identity, yet it is not the whole of our identity. There are elements that are common to the experience of any racial group, yet these are not universal to all members of that group. I’m bi-racial–white and Native American. Among whites, I’m often the darkest [...]

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He’s too dark for my friends

Lynn Li Hilo, HI I feel a little sheltered living in Hawaii. I’m 100% Chinese and my significant other, Angel, is Afro- Latino. No one looks twice at us on the islands. Mixed race couples and children are everywhere. Plus, we pass as locals because of our looks. But we met in San Francisco and [...]