Mexican girls don’t need a Quinceañera

Yadhira, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. My friends and cousins tell me that I need to have a Quinceañera and I tell them I don’t want a big party with everyone dancing, Some of my family members say I should have my quinceanera at Mexico, but I don’t want one I […]

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No, I’m not Italian or Spanish.

Michele Warch, Georgetown, DE. My mom is English and Native American. My dad is Scotch-Irish and German. I speak Cherokee and read some Gaelic. I have dark hair and green eyes. Its a gift of my mixed ancestry. I have tattoos and ride a motorcycle. I also have a master’s degree and teach at the […]

“Mexicans Are Supposed To Like Meat”

Giselle Rojas, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. I’m a Mexican vegetarian and I HATE meat. I became a vegetarian about 4 yrs ago due to a video that my cousin showed me on how they killed the animals to make our food, and I thought it was really sad so I […]

Why can’t I call them that?

Lance Bergstrom, Seattle, WA. Three Black guys attacked me and a friend one night. I got punched so hard I passed out and fell down. When I tried to tell the police that they were Black my friend told me not to say Black. Very bizarre night to say the least.

Not All Mexicans Like Spicy Foods

Jacquelin Rojas, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Whenever someone asks me if I Like spicy food like pepper, Takis, Hot Cheetos, or Hot Fires, I say I don’t like anything spicy, they look at me in a weird way and tell me your not Mexican because you don’t like any spicy […]

They all asked, “Was he black?”

Amy D., Royal Oaks, CA. One night in San Francisco, when walking home from my car after a late work night, a man came toward me and tried to steal my purse. My immediate instinct was to resist and call out, hoping for some intervention from those living in the houses nearby. Ultimately he took […]

Tattoos and piercings don’t equal trashy.

Megan, Keithville, LA. People always call me and my family trashy because we have tattoos and I have piercings as well. People should be able to express themselves in whatever way they want to, whether it be by tattoos and piercings or anything other. Be you

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We aren’t all “Strong Black Women”

Ce Submitted via Twitter: @CelesteAurora Sunday March 11, 2012- 140 character exchanges spark a rich conversation… The Tweets that ignited the conversation… We aren’t all “Strong Black Women” @CelesteAurora     Has “strong” become a euphemism for “it doesn’t matter how we treat them because they’ll survive”? Pamela Upsher ‏ @PupsherLive   It seems so. […]

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You’re Invited! You’re not a minority?

Rafael Rosato, Berwyn, PA. This is my college graduation picture from 1988. I received a bachelor of arts degree from an Ivy League University and a short while later was traveling to New York to join a management training program at a prestigious Wall Street Bank. There were 34 of us in that class and […]

My role model was not black.

Jamal Wills, MD. People often say that black kids need black role models. I sort of cheated. The wild hair, thoughtful eyes, the chin and the smile always reminded me of my grandfather. Yet, Albert Einstein was a German Jew whose prominence in the scientific community reached celebrity status. Even then, he still had to […]

I gotta be better to be equal.

Andrea Canchola, San Antonio, TX. As a young, Latina, woman I feel that I have to be better than everyone just to be equal. I’m tiny, short and I will boss you around. Just because I’m a young Latina woman doesn’t mean that I’m not as good as you. I’m probably better because I had […]

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No, where are you REALLY from?

Gerard Achilles Obnial, McAllen, TX. When I first worked in the hospital, it had always been routine that my patients would ask not for my name or how my day went as was customary (even though I knew that people don’t really want to know) — they would always ask for my age and where […]

Every Hispanic Isn’t Always Hispanic Okay?

Mathew Rayne, Houston, TX. Once in awhile you go for a drive and see the people around you enjoying what there doing. Everyone is their own person! Sometimes your expected to do something that… you just rather not do? It’s my family line? In my blood? Just because I’m Hispanic doesn’t mean i wanted to […]

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I always think “don’t be threatening”.

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.

My Skin Color Doesn’t Define Me!

Marquelle, CA. Don’t believe the hype! I am African American! I am not a violent criminal. I have never been arrested! I am not lazy and uneducated, on welfare, or living in poverty. I am gainfully employed, and I attend California Baptist University! I am not athletic. I cannot play basketball or run fast! I […]

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I’m surprised you speak so well.

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 […]

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Defined by my character, not race.

Kim Hollins, Portland, OR. It’s all about who you are and not what you look like in my book. A person’s character can greatly affect one’s perception of an individual as well as racial groups they may be a part of. What you say and do contributes to racial stereotypes and adversity way beyond the […]

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We’re black We love the outdoors

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 […]

Vietnamese, torn between remembering or not.

Thien Kim Ho, Somerville, MA. I grew up in what seemed like a movie representation of my own race. My mother was a nail technician. I don’t know if she still is. My father probably still is an engineer. I don’t know whether I had “tiger parents” or if they were just plain mean. I […]

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Dirty drunk Indians, but not you.

Doey Cushman, Portland, OR. So I am of mixed race Chinook Indian and northern European. Many times white people forget and will talk about natives catch themselves and then say they don’t mean me. This has happened many times over the years even coming from my own relatives. My own children and grandchildren are very […]

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Are you Chinese or something?

Brigitte Dees, Stillwater, OK. Growing up half Japanese, Native American, and white in Oklahoma was a challenge. I don’t look like anyone else and people have reminded me of that my whole life. As an Asian girl I was expected to be quiet, studious, and polite. The reality is I have ADHD and dyslexia, which […]

Black Woman Who Loves to Swim!

Eb, Rowlett, TX. I am a black woman and I am already missing the summertime. I love to go to a local swimming pool (and yes I will get my hair wet!) in the middle of a Texas summer. I have a naturally kinky, curly and thick afro and there is nothing relaxing on a […]

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 […]

They don’t know the real truth!

Sana Sidiqi, San Deigo, CA. A lot of people want me dead. They call it JUSTICE, but they don’t know the real truth I’m not a terrorist. I’m just a regular muslim guy. Just because someone else that shares a common belief as me did something stupid doesn’t mean everyone like that is stupid. These […]

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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 […]

Not all southern people are racist

Logan Money, Summerville, GA. As southern citizens, we are often accused of being racist, homophobic, and resistant to change. Some are, but not all of us are. Most of my friends are minorities and that includes homo/bisexuals. as a matter of fact, most of the major towns are culturally diverse.

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 […]

I walk in two worlds daily.

Lenzy KB, Tulsa, OK. Like many Native Americans, I’m mixed and frankly, don’t look like the stereotypical “Hollywood” Native. I have to balance the Native world — both its contemporary and traditional components — daily with life in modern society.

You can’t do that, you’re white!

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 […]

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 […]

I’m A Strong Powerfull Mexican Woman

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 […]

Breaking the stereotype black male nurse

Chris Porter Seattle, WA History and TV have provided many roles, mostly negative, for black males. Our society rarely sees black men in the role of care taker or nurse, providing nursing care and in the role of leader particularly in a female dominated profession. It has been my life’s mission to tear down that […]

I don’t hear any banjo music here.

Kim Conner, Rutherfordton, NC. I always have to defend myself when people learn I am from the South. I’m a 42 year old white woman, married with kids, and I was born and raised in Upstate South Carolina. I am a first generation college graduate, as in my husband. I have an accent. I’m proud […]

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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 […]

We Hillbilles are people too, really!

Cathy Jo Deusenberry, Davis, CA. No matter where you land in life, if you come from the hills of West Virginia you will always be a Hillbilly. We are nothing like the toothless uneducated people depicted in films, television and books. We are hard working folks with teeth!

“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 […]

Tall girl plays piano not basketball.

Dianna Hamden, CT I realize that height isn’t necessarily race, but it’s a preconception that I’ve dealt with my entire life. Yes, I’m over 6 feet tall. No, I don’t play basketball. After years of the same answer, I finally learned to respond: “No, I play piano–there’s less running involved.”

A white body, a black soul

Lauren Johnston Denver, CO I may fit under the common-white-girl stereotype but I love black history and music. A lot of my friends are black and I find inspiration in Hip-Hop culture, and music. Whenever I’m singing Jazz and R&B, I feel it in my soul. No other genre of music does that to me….

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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 […]

Please don’t ask me to jig.

Zee Brennan Grand Rapids, MI Often times when I share with people that I am Irish, many people aren’t surprised and demand that I dance a jig for them. Although I am also an accomplished Irish dancer, it feels as though there is an assumption among many Americans that all Irish know how to dance […]

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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. […]

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Like you, gingers do have souls.

Katelyn Nicole Volz Hemet, CA “You know they say Gingers have no souls right?” “A Ginger gains a freckle every time they steal a soul.” “Do the carpets match the drapes?” Does ANYONE know how tired I am of hearing that? Yes, my hair is red, yes it’s natural, and yes I am Irish. Does […]

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 […]

“White privilege” makes me feel invalid

Alice N, TN. I want to feel like my achievements are because of me and not because of my race. However, I’m told that I’ve only gotten to where I am because I’m white. This makes me feel like years of studying into early morning and fighting to get myself noticed out of a sea […]

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He’s my dad, not the gardener.

Kelly Stuart, Brooklyn, NY. I was five when my mother married my stepfather, Alfred Brown, Jr. in 1980. My stepfather, or, as I think of him, my father, was 21 years older than my mom and had already raised a daughter by the time he met me, but that didn’t stop him from getting a […]

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My name is Jamaal; I’m white.

Jamaal Allan, USA. Listen to Jamaal’s story on NPR’s Morning Edition     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.  […]

They are Canadian and won’t tip.

Robyn, Norfolk, VA. Real Canadians do not tip in Canada because their wait staff is paid an adequate salary. However, black people, in the restaurant world, have been given the nickname Canadians because they normally do not tip. I feel like this is so wrong to stereotype people and give them unacceptable service just because […]

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”.

Am I here because I’m Asian?

Jamie-Claire Chau, Philadelphia, PA. We have reached a dilemma in our fight for justice. How can we intentionally battle racism without being racist? We think reconciliation is embracing people because of their race rather than despite of their race. I constantly question whether I have what I have and am where I am because I […]

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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 […]

Mexican white girl what are you?

Gabriella Ortega, Riverside, CA. I live in a world where my own kind thinks I’m a shame because I’m Mexican and don’t know Spanish. They think of me as a white girl but white people take one look at me and assume I know Spanish because I’m Mexican. Sometimes I begin to question myself along […]

Is it because I’m a ginger?

Seven, Summerville, GA. I am a redhead from Visalia CA. I moved to Georgia with my family and after the move I realized things weren’t going to be the same anymore. People often poke fun at me saying that I have no soul or that I would take theirs. Just because I am a redhead […]

Is your uncle Osama bin Laden?

Tiffany Compton, Colorado Springs, CO. I always thought I was like everyone else until a kid in my 6th grade class asked me this question. After 9/11 my Middle Eastern background has been stereotyped and my life hasn’t been the same.

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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 […]

I have eyes, I can see

David Wu, Southborough, MA. Even among Asians I am considered to have really small eyes. People always make fun of me fore my eyes. Whenever i trip or run into something simply because I wasn’t paying attention people would tell me to open my eyes. Even when my eyes are open sometimes I get yelled […]

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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A Chicano from the Barrio

Miguel Ramirez-Cornejo, Riverside, CA. As a kid I was told that because I grew up in the barrio that I would become a cholo. I would grow up to be in a gang, do drugs, and end up in jail. I heard this from other kids and even adults. But as I grew I used […]