I am, am I, truly Canadian?

Yosh Kasuga, Canada. Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and embraces multiculturalism on the surface and yet I wonder why as someone born in Canada…I don’t always feel as Canadian as the white Canadian. Why do people ask me where I am from? or where my parents are from? …really from? While no […]

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Citizenship does not define, personality does.

Margarita, San Marcos, CA. Many people have judged not just me but my parents as well because of their citizenship status, we’re not good enough, just a burden to society. People have said that I won’t finish high school because I’ll end up pregnant by my senior year. My parents have had trouble getting jobs […]

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Alert! Very Dark woman travelling alone.

Tess, Melbourne, FL. Recently I have had to face the fact that my very dark skin is indeed the first thing most people notice about me. The fact that I’m short/tall, healthy/not healthy, sad/happy, age and what not seem to follow way after my dark skin has introduced me to the world. I love to […]

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Deconstructing “whiteness” won’t change my skin.

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 […]

Black doll for Chirstmas. “Shes Perfect.”

Kia Goodell, Hopkinton, MA. Both my parents are white, my mother being an earthy-crunchy liberal, and my father a stereotypical red-neck. Racist comments by him were frequent, and my mother, wanting to make sure I didn’t catch onto that gave me a black baby doll for Christmas when I was two. I opened the present […]

Hillbilly White Trash? I’m Oxford educated.

C. B, WV. I grew up poor in a rural West Virginia. My race, the way I talk and where I’m from immediately make people assume I’m illiterate, uneducated, and deeply racist without ever actually talking to me. The irony… I get so angry at how common and acceptable it is to use Hee-Haw accents […]

Image portrayed, impression made. It DOES matter.

P. Contreras, Benicia, CA. How you choose to dress gives an impression about you. Whether that impression is accurate or not no one will know unless they get to know you. But, they won’t get to know you if your image repels them. Example. Teenage Boy (black, Hispanic, Asian, white) in your neighborhood in jeans […]

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People assume my daughter is adopted.

Rebecca Schwarzlose, Roayl Oak, MI. I am white and my husband is Indian. My daughter has my husband’s complexion. When we are together as a family people assume that she’s mixed but when I’m out with my daughter alone (which is most of the time) everyone assumes that she’s adopted. People ask me where she’s […]

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Black folks DO live in Alaska!

Diane “Bunny” Fleeks, Fairbanks, AK. My father arrived here in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1959. My mother and I “came into the country” (as we old farts call coming to Alaska to stay) in 1960. I grew up here, left after high school and moved back nearly 20 years ago. African-Americans have been part of Alaska’s […]

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I’m “white” does’t mean I’m racist.

Jordan Gray, Newport News, VA. For much of my adolescence, I have been deeply involved in an extremely conservative church, as well as portraying a confederate chaplain in a civil war reenacting company. Through my journeys in both areas, I have been called many things, but the most troubling of those terms afforded to me […]

“Well you’re not like super Hispanic”

Christina Aviles, Bethesda, MD. “You don’t talk like most Hispanic girls do, you don’t wear your hair like them, you don’t listen to the same music as them, you’re just not, well you’re not like super Hispanic”. This is what my white college roommate said to me during our first semester of freshman year when […]

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I Am Because We Are Micronesians!

Vid Raatior, Hilo, HI. Being a Micronesian in America is as much my personal journey as it is a communal opportunity for common advancement. My success is rooted in the degree to which I help my brothers and sisters succeed in their journeys. How we succeed as a people to overcome negative stereotypes and prejudice […]

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Your family’s not inbred…are you?

Katie R. Phillips, Green Mountain, NC. I might be white, but growing up in the Southern Applachians is definitely its own ethnic identity. I didn’t truly understand this until I went to college, and brought friends home with me for the first time. One of my friends actually asked me if my family was inbred […]

“Lock your car while driving downtown.”

Michelle Allen, Grand Rapids, MI. I took drivers education in the summer of 1997, during a time when my hometown (a predominantly conservative, Christian Dutch community) was starting to become more heterogeneous. This lesson about locking my doors while driving downtown was strongly emphasized by my (white male) drivers ed teachers. It wasn’t until finishing […]

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Computer Science CEO, you own this?

Desh Bagley, Tampa, FL. Yes. I am the owner of the science and technology center that offers Java, C++, Arduino, Robotics, and Engineering workshops for students. Yes. I do wish that more girls took classes here. No. The young guys who take classes aren’t surprised by me. Yes. It’s their parents who often ask to […]

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Pale freckled redhead burned by words

Marie Farrell, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in San Diego, California where the sun shines all the time. I was the kid that never tanned, just freckled and burned. I was also raised by an Irish mother so there was a lot less love than fights and tension. I recall a day when I bravely […]

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. […]

I like kimchi more than potatoes.

Sarah Diggins, Berlin, MA. I’m almost entirely Irish by heritage (my dad’s side is 100%), but I never really clicked with the culture. I grew up loving Celtic music, looking at gorgeous landscapes of the Irish countryside, and hearing stories about my Irish cousins and ancestors from my grandparents. But when I went to live […]

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Mexican Irish Girl: agnostic and dry

Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]

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My name is Jamaal; I’m white.

Jamaal, USA. Learn more about Jamaal’s six words: http://thepoetryquestion.com/2013/05/28/whats-in-a-name/ What’s in a Name? The Poetry Question-Discovering the Relevance of Words As a white male, a majority of majorities, I can’t talk about race.  I’m not qualified to. Race isn’t an issue for me, right?  Life is easy; things are handed to me.  My cup runneth over […]

My eloquence should not surprise you.

Angie Cruz, Los Angeles, CA. The fact that I am a Latina should not make you assume I am not intelligent. I am college educated, I am well-spoken, and I have undergone experiences that have created a foundation for my intellect and my ability to communicate. Don’t be surprised because I can use “big words”.

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I pray for my son everyday

J Hill, Canton, OH. I am the proud mother of three children, two girls and a boy. They are all adults now. Every mother worries about her children. But I feel especially concerned for my son. He has done everything well so far in his life, entering his senior year in college, no kids, hardworking, […]

Isolation left me all mixed up.

Tad C., Overland Park, KS. With very little exposure to other races while growing up I found myself faced with 2 stereotypes for blacks; pigeonholes of overachiever mascots and dangerous thugs. But I did not realize my isolation fostered prejudice until my son fell in with a predominately black group of friends. Now I’m uncertain […]

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“But you’re not like other Mexicans.”

Tom Vásquez, Seattle, WA. I was in high school when this happened. I’m a son of a Mexican-American, so I’m 50% Mexican blood. 50% French-Canadian and English. When I was in high school, I was struggling to understand what it meant to be Mexican-American. The other Mexican kids in my school … well, the ones […]

The lies of my skin color.

Kitt Smith, USA. I have white skin, green eyes and brown hair. I appear every bit a homogeneous American white. I am not. I am a first generation American born to a Mexican illegal and a Irish immigrant. My family has no history here and no part in the oppression of black people. Both sides […]

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No, but where are FROM from?

Tina, Birmingham. AL. Nevermind the fact that I speak with a southern accent, that my attire is noticeably of American influence, or that my last name is German. When someone asks where I’m from and I give them the name of my hometown, this answer is somehow unacceptable, so I give them the name of […]

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Who’s directing? It’s HER? No Way!!

Lorna Green, Altadenam, CA. I am an independent filmmaker, a writer-director, African American, and a woman. This combination confuses some people; it makes no sense to them because most directors are white guys. Granted, I selected a profession that relegates me to invisibility, but what’s interesting is the day-to-day reality of this. Working with new […]

People say I’m not black enough

Yodassa Williams, Oakland, CA. Whenever I speak freely around strangers, I am reacted to as if I am an alien for being black but not “sounding black”. “You speak so well” they say, leaving out the ending, “for a black girl.” I’m irritated and saddened by the insult that a black person’s use of proper […]

“Protect” sister from favorite childhood movies.

Emmy Corey, Harrisburg, PA. I’m a white Alabama native from an all-white town with a black sister who is 17 years younger than I. I love passing down the things that I enjoyed at her age- dolls, movies, books. For the most part, she likes receiving them too. The problem is that before she came […]

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Sorry, this AMERICAN sings it better.

Aaron Matthew Villalobos, Norman, OK. While I’m admittedly more apple pie than beans & rice, I have never felt my heritage as a Mexican-American detracted from my ability to honor my country with the gift god has given me–my voice. I love singing our national anthem. I feel like it’s the biggest contribution I can […]

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Hey Do You Need an Interpreter?

Rebeca Cruz-Esteves, Philadelphia, PA. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in both the U.S. Although my first language is Spanish it’s hard to tell since I have no accent. Growing up it was hard to immediately blend in as I spent my childhood in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. As a teenager my family […]

Red skin. Reservation. Relegated. Re-appropriated. Reimagined. Resolute.

Faith Roessel, Bethesda, MD. Georgetown Day I am Navajo Indian, born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I now live in the “bubble” and within the “beltway” of Washington, DC with my non Indian husband and my three incredible boys. No one can imagine the challenges we face day in and day out […]

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Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

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Too white for my own good.

Lauren Qualters, West Chester, PA. For my race card project I chose the phrase “Too white for my own good” which is most certainly a true statement, in both humerous and negative ways. I am certainly very sterotypically “white” but not in an intentional or discriminatory way. My traits are my own and they embody […]

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Define my integrity, not my identity.

Erin Powell, Washington, DC. “Are you sure your dad is really black?” “If you imagine her with curly hair, you can tell she’s mixed.” “You look straight white, nothing else.” “Ugly half n*****.” Just a taste of the both disparaging and conflicting comments I’ve received on my YouTube vlog about my personal experience being biracial. […]

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I’m African American; With No Kids.

Aniaka McCowan, Union City, CA. Everyone one always says “oh my god you have a kid” Just because I hold a child doesn’t mean I’m a young mother. A caucasian women asked me why I ruined my life having a bastard child you probably don’t even know the father. I simply said why do you […]

You graduated in four years? Really?

Michael Tackie, Pittsburgh, PA. Upon graduation from college with a B.S.in Chemical Engineering, I got this from someone I had known for three years, someone I regarded as a friend. He was white, and majored in History or English, I forget which. I was initially amused, not understanding the subtext to what he was saying. […]