Nicole Huber, Colorado Springs, CO. I am Asian American. Being an Asian American, no one clutches their purse tighter when I walk by, and no one finds it surprising that I teach at a university. But despite Asian Americans being perceived as the “model minority,” we are not seen as “real” Americans. I was adopted […]
Catherine Tiger, Kansas City, MO. I’ve been to many pow wows and I love to explain to my friends what it is that we do their. It was one day when a man over heard my friend and I talking and he asked if Native America’s dance around a fire and really think they can […]
Wes Midgett, Philadelphia, PA.
Catherine Vance Agrella, Asheville, NC. I’m white, and by definition am associated with some of the worst perpetrators of racism. But I also come from deep Appalachian Scots-Irish roots and have a clear ethnic identity. I do know what it feels like to be mocked for my speech, or thought of as a dumb hillbilly, […]
Jennifer Roberts, Burlington, VT. White or black, with your super sized pants hanging off your skinny boxer baring a$$, your large stiff ball cap set perfectly askew at some angle only you understand, loitering much of the day by the bus stop downtown, yelling f-bomb laced obscenities at some “b!tch” on the other end of […]
Lynette M. Silva, Dallas, TX. My ethnicity apparently changes depending on the immediate environment. I get followed in stores here in Texas, and asked questions like, “Where are your people from?” But when I go to work–I’m a Ph.D.–I am told, “You’re Hispanic? I just don’t see it.”
Fred Wherry, New York, NY. An administrative assistant remarked to my (now ex) European partner: “When I first saw Fred I was a little scared of him. Then I found out he’s gay and your partner!” Somehow, if seen alone or if I appeared too “hard,” I was intimidating. By being “soft” I could disarm […]
Chris Thompson, Rochester, NY. I have been an engineer for 13 years, and I notice that when I don the regular business casual attire, colleagues not directly in my department think I’m either in food or custodial services. Now I wear a tie daily, and the “compliment” I get is that I look like a […]
Michael Kenji Yamasaki, Rio Rancho, NM. OBSERVATIONS – Where are you from? No really … Where are you from? I can relate to Mr. Marc Quarles (African-American, with a German wife and two biracial children). There were times when I too have been asked, “Where are you from? No really where are you from?” However, […]
Heidy Avila Murillo, Baltimore, MD. My marriage is biracial, I am Hispanic and my husband is a Caucasian born in Maryland. This year after obtaining my US citizenship, my husband and I decided to have three days vacations in Canada. We visited Niagara Falls, Toronto city, and since I love Diego Rivera’s artwork, we decided […]
Anastasia Rogers, Detroit, MI. I am a firm believer that everyone, no matter if you’re a man, woman, or something in between, black, white, Asian, or a different race, should be treated equally and with respect. That being said, I often find myself making snap, harsh judgments about people that I’ve never even had a […]
Starr, Albuquerque, NM. Black women are often characterized as sassy which I take as an insult. The root of sassy is sass or to balk, talk back; in order words, to disobey, or not know your place with the not-so-subtle inference that your place is inferior. I’ve been called sassy because I am smart and […]
Eduardo Meza, Albany, NY. I get it! I look like the typical thug you will find in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout most of California. I know I am immediately judged by my cover. People mistake my form of self-expression for some sort of territorial gang branding. I am gay, latino, well-educated (Master’s Degrees), family-oriented and a […]
Ashley Cooper Hair, Washington,DC. Georgetown Day School In the town where I went to high school, the privilege I felt was one of class. There were almost no people of color. Living in Washington, DC, I feel my white privilege constantly. Not only am I not followed around Best Buy, my shopping bags are never […]
Henderson Smith III, St Louis, MO. I told this lady in Cinn, Ohio after she grab her purse when she looked and saw me walking down the supermarket aisle. I explain to her that I was an Logistics Engineer at GE Aircraft Engines and a Captain in the Air National Guard.
Kevin Ramos, Lakeland, FL. Why does everyone think I’m Mexican?
Jasmine VanExel, Northampton, MA. Smith College
Tanya Rao, Shrewsbury, MA.
Amy Hartgrove, Kansas City, MO.
Casey Barnes, Kansas City, MO.
Lauren Hazelrigg, Kansas City, MO.
Ziba USA When people find out I am from Iran, they ask me questions such as do you wear Burka in Iran? Or did you have an arranged marriage? When I explain to them that 60% of university students are women and we do not wear Burka, they give me a puzzled look. Many times […]
Jordan Summers, Bowling Green, KY.
Joyce Moody, Windsor Mill, MD.
Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]
Michael Murton, Bowling Green, KY.
Aubrie B., Moscow, ID. I am an 18 year old adopted Chinese girl. For years, I’ve endured the disgusted looks of onlookers whenever I go out in public with my adoptive father in the most harmless places; the grocery store or a restaurant. Even when my adoptive mother is there, many still glare at me. […]
Levaughn, Grand Blanc, MI. I’m a master social worker and received my accelerated advanced degree from a top ten university…MSU… I am an outpatient therapist and attained this job in less than a year from graduating. Which in my field is highly unlikely. I have worked very hard to go from poverty to the “American […]
E.C. Boyd, Canton, OH. I was not born, but I was raised in a predominantly white neighborhood because the school system was better in Perry Township than the low-income, mostly black Canton City Schools. As the only black person on my school’s debate team, I dealt with a lot of people surprised that I could […]
Kevin Moses, Logan, UT. As a 6’3″, young, Black man, at all times I am painfully aware of my presence in a room and the constant strain of worrying about being perceived as threatening is exhausting. I’m incredibly friendly, and the dissonance that comes from people assuming otherwise hurts.
Michelle, Norfolk, VA. When I tell people my father is from Denmark most people in America always ask me why my hair is not blond. Scandinavians have just as many different natural hair colors as they do blond.
Bria Williams, Keswick, VA.
Abigail Macy, Zimbabwe. I am a white American living in Zimbabwe. It never ceases to amaze me how much racism I experience, how much prejudice there is against white people. It bothers me that things such as a dance are classified as “white” or “black”. I hear things like, “Oh, you can’t do that, you’re […]
Denise Noboa, Norfolk, VA.
Chiyoko, USA. I am one quarter Japanese. I have auburn hair, light brown eyes, and freckles. I am five foot nine, and my skin is paler than even my white friends’ skin. But my name is Japanese, which leads people to ask me where I’m from, no, where I’m REALLY from. I’ve been called J*p, […]
Katie Rotondo, El Segundo, CA. I’ve been learning a lot about race and ethnicity lately. Looking back, it bothers me how many times I was asked what ethnicity I am, responding by saying I am Italian, and getting the famous saying, “But you don’t look Italian!” This is a daily response. Just because I don’t […]
Leslie Cole, Lake Worth, FL.
Stan Sankey, Federal Way, WA. While liking all my black friends, many on the national scene are trouble makers. The country is more divided than in many years under Obama and Holder.
David Evans, Seattle, WA. People equate young black gang members with crime and trouble… I was watching the PBS special and when the young black guys were speaking I felt they were in gangs and up to no good. You need to change the image of the young male black gang image or you will […]
Hazel Kasgur, Philadelphia, PA. My dad is from Istanbul, Turkey. He works hard and tries to be helpful. At most of the jobs he’s had, people are rude to him. At most of the jobs he’s had, all the other employees are American and white. I think his coworkers are rude to him because he’s […]
Emily Scott, Virginia Beach, VA.
Abraham Vargas, Milwaukee, WI.
John Jason Elizaga American Canyon, CA
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 […]
Chris Gajewski, Barre, VT. I was hurt eleven years ago due to me making the worst choice a person could make. I got behind the wheel of a car one too many times while being intoxicated. After learning to walk and live again, I slowly began to repair my broken life. I clawed my way […]
Vicky Black, West Fargo, ND.
Roberto Solis, Homestead, FL.
Christopher Brown, Dallas, TX. I’m here to spite all those who reference black men as useless, dead-beat or otherwise absent when it comes to fatherhood. I’m am only one, but I’m one in a line of dads who exemplify the term and the best meanings associated with it.
Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl […]
Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain […]
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” […]
James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at […]
Cristina Reyes, Houston, TX. I chose the six words I wish I could go around the streets of Santo Domingo yelling. I have never understood, in all my years, why the Dominican culture steadily continues to deny their “blackness.” Their children aren’t taught to consider themselves “negro” instead they are to consider themselves “indio.” The […]
Peter Alison, Richmond, VA. I come from an Austrian mother and an American father, so when people ask me about my ethnic background I tell them I’m half-Austrian. Throughout middle and high-school this elicited responses asking me if I hated Jewish people, or if I praised Hitler. It was annoying at first, but later it […]
Michael Kelley Los Angeles, CA I am a White man and when I am out running errands, some Black or Hispanic person will invariably ask if I am the Police. It’s funny that they still think it even though I grew my hair out because I got tired of being asked this question.
Brooke Piburn Lakeland, FL
Davis Apseloff Dunwoody, GA
Adrienne Crew Los Angeles, CA I’m always troubled about the concept of being an “Oreo” and not really projecting an “African American” identity but rather always being the upper middle class nerd that I was born and refusing to “code switch.” What is “Black” anyways? I get this comment both from whites and non-whites.
Meghan I CA With the stereotype of blonde’s being dumb, I enjoy proving this wrong with my high college GPA, hard work ethic, and confident personality.
Christine Faris Lufkin, TX Actually, no. Yes, I was blessed to come from a middle class family. And yes, I’ve been blessed to travel the world. Wanna know how? I worked my ass off. Blew out a knee, graduated high school early, started college at 16, took summer school, worked multiple jobs, all so I could […]
Sheryl Huntsville, AL There are genuinely good people that would discourage racism towards minorities any day, but who unfortunately are extremely ignorant, so their perception of other races are still innacurate and stereotypical. For example, a friend of mine–Black–started working at a law firm. He and his White co-workers were talking about politics one day, […]
Norris Howard Detroit, MI Over 50 people in this bar and you approach the only group of black men and ask them a drug related question. You don’t even see your own ignorance.
Anita Gardner Farrell Huntington, WV
Ryan C Los Angeles, CA Chinese, 20-something-year-old male, university student, and gay. Never going to be a doctor, lawyer, or businessman–contrary to familial and societal expectations. Still looking for peace of mind in my life choices.
Katharine Corona, CA When I was young I grew up on a street with boys and ended up being a pretty big tomboy. I enjoyed sports, I was competitive and I liked playing with my friends. As I got older I began volunteering at the local hospital and became a fire explorer with my friends. […]
TR Kelley Swisshome, OR “White trash” is a hip cultural joke. “N*****” is “hate speech”. Why?
Tracy Hart Washington, DC Yes, I’m from a tobacco-pickin, Southern white trash family, and I mean that in the most endearing way. Some stereotypes my family breaks: we were Southern but poor sharecroppers rather than slave-owners. Other stereotypes my family embraces: using discriminatory language in equal measure across all those who are not white Southerners. […]
Lisa Harrison Long Beach, CA This is such a common reaction from people over many, many years. I don’t look half Cambodian by others standards. I just say I’m multi-racial. The list of my heritage is too long!
Mara Floyd Fort Myers, FL Doris* and my mother have been best friends for over 40 years. Both teachers with their masters’ degrees, the two women from neighboring cities met at an educational conference. They were as different as could be. One was married, one was divorced. One owned a house, the other lived in […]
Aris Foucault Etheridge Leverett, MA I think it’s possible that the poor urban white perspective may be a helpful one in thinking about race as it relates to poverty. What are the similarities between the poor urban white experience and the poor urban black experience? What are the differences, and how do these differences effect […]
Janice Ng Nashville, TN “How can you be full Asian?”
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 […]
Lonna Jo Bowen-AlMoctar, Louisville, KY. I am from a clan of hillbillies in Eastern Kentucky. My family has a swath of land, called Bowen Farms, near Red River Gorge. As long as I can remember, the old cemetery on my family’s land has been called the “slave cemetery”. My Uncle has always kept up with […]
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 […]
Nayna Sasidharan Arlington, VA That asked within the first few minutes of meeting someone
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. […]
Abbie Elliott Leesburg, VA For my entire adult life, dating has been a challenge. As an Asian-American, I vehemently resisted falling into stereotypes. But, as an Asian-American on the dating scene, my looks delivered my first impression for me. Men developed ideas about me even before I spoke. Where they expected to find a quiet, […]
Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.
Joshua San Antonio, TX We are all one race and have only minor different biological features. Do you really believe that is the driving force behind our discrimination and stereotypical caricaturizations of each other? If we were all perfectly homogenized and mixed race, would will still discrimination against each other based on class, money, or […]
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 […]
Wendy Stokesbary Cedar Rapids, IA I went to middle school with lots of African american students and noticed the boys seemed to admire my curvy figure- I was flattered, not frightened, because no one ever tried to hurt me. I grew up with a curiosity and respect for diversity, and partly because of my professional […]
Michael Doran, Selinsgrove, PA. I am a student of music, and I love with the genre of soul/blues music like The Temptations or John Legend. Once, at an audition for the Voice, I was approached by a group of black guys who told me the six words above. It amazes how these barriers of white […]
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 […]
Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my […]
KK Boas Austin, TX Associated Press says “A man with a gun. A black teen, shot dead” ABC news says “The trial of a Florida man accused of shooting a black teenager begins today in a case that has drawn similarities to the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case.” Even the Daily Beast, in an […]
Amy Broadie Minot, ND I frequently overhear things said by people who don’t realize that I am half black and half white. On several occasions, I have received numerous apologies from coworkers or friends for saying something stereotypical/rude/racist after they learned about my background. I always reply by saying, “You can’t see what I hear.” […]
Chung Ho Santa Clara, CA Apparently apart of my Asian genes is supposed to make me good at math…if not then I should at least be good at kung fu…
Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]
Rachel Salt Lake City, UT Blonde hair and blue eyes must mean no brains, right? Despite having a college education, being an avid reader, having an understanding of and experience teaching math and science, and having written published news features, I still have times when I am treated like my intelligence is less than others […]
Repeka Touli Murray, UT So I Am an ALIEN, Apparently “Alien” is the one word I grew up hating because when I was old enough to carry an Identification card (for having a job), I thought it was the coolest thing ever because it made me feel like I‟ve grown up and I get to […]