“Do you speak Chinese?” *face palm*

Amanda McClendon, Houston, TX. For starters, I’m Korean, so no, no Chinese for me beyond “ni hao” and “xie xie”, which I learned from TV travel shows. Secondly, I was adopted as a baby by parents I like to refer to as American Euro-mutts–English, Irish, German, French, and a touch of Choctaw, and that’s just […]

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Embrace who you are, love it

Eric D., Houston, TX. While my son was in elementary school, I asked what race dose he tells his schoolmates he was. He quickly responded, “White”. When I asked why, he said that his skin color wasn’t brown or black. As he grew older he learned about both his Spanish and African American heritage. Now […]

Lights flipped, pulled over, relax brother

JC Ousley Houston, TX In 1998 I bought a new red corvette despite my mother’s plea, she said the car was trouble for a black man. On the day the car was delivered, I was driving to my parent’s home to show off my new vette when I was pulled over by three Chicago police […]


Drop the guilt, and become aware

Danyahel Norris, Houston, TX. When I have a conversation about race or racism with someone white, I tend to get a few common responses. One being the fact that they weren’t even alive for things like slavery and Jim Crow, so they shouldn’t be blamed for it (not that I ever did). Another is the […]

Ni de aqui, ni de aya!

Yesenia Chavez, Houston, TX. I’m a first generation Mexican- American, born and raised in Houston, Texas. Sometimes it feels like I’m too in between both identities to really feel like I’m either. My Spanish isn’t perfect and sometimes I forget words in English.


Borderlands born. Always illegal. Always home.

Chuy Benitez, Houston, TX. When you grow up at the collision of two countries, of two cultures, of two identities, you learn very quickly the different nuances between the two cultures and you adapt to appease whichever culture you have to encounter. It makes you more observant, but of course it doesn’t occur without making […]

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Don’t hate ’cause I claim biracial

Fe Bencosme, Houston, TX. As the product of an Afro Crucian and Anglo Dominican union I self-identify as biracial and bicultural. Some people find it “exotic,” which leaves me feeling uncomfortable although not as angry as when someone says to me: “Well, no matter what you think you are the truth is you’re black.” The […]


I Am Not White Or Black

Matthew, TX. Black, White, Asian, or Pink with Purple polka dots – your skin color is not who you are. Do not obsess over the shade God painted you when you were born. Do not let history define you. Do not allow others to control your actions. Love, respect, kindness. Not hate and vengeance for […]


How’d your baby get RED hair?

Ahtum, San Antonio, TX. I often get asked what are you but when I had a baby with red hair, the question became how did you get a baby with red hair. I always start off with, “well, my mom IS white” then lead into “but my husbands grandmother had red hair” I often want […]


My Industry can’t get Latino right.

Ricardo Chavira, San Antonio, TX. Actor who splits time between SA and LA. Alumnus of TV series Desperate Housewives. Id say I was shocked that industry can’t tap into Latino market, but I’m not. I also realize that we as Latinos have a tendency to get in our own way.


The ‘Whitest’ Black Guy I Know

Leon Anderson Davis, Dallas, TX. This is by far the most offensive compliment I can be given. I have heard it since my early teens, growing up in suburban Dallas. Somewhere around the age of 25, I realized that this statement presupposed that being intelligent and well spoken were attributes of white people, and that […]


A “white girl” with a unique heritage

Ashlyn Rachelle Sharp, Azle, TX. I hate the term “typical white girl”. Why does a girl whose taste buds enjoy pumpkin spice lattes have to be categorized automatically in some stupid stereotype? I may be “white”, but my heritage is so much more than just a typical white girl. My veins are flowing with the […]

I’m Biracial and I am prejudice

Ana Vega Rios, New Braunfels, TX. Self-awareness is the first step in moving forward. We all are prejudice in some way, it’s about being authentic enough to admit it. Opening an HONEST dialogue is the beginning of change.


I’m genuinely sorry about my family.

Katy Wilkerson, Houston, TX. In the deep South, in my experience, racism is pervasive, especially when you talk about poorer and poorer white people (not just men). There truly does still exist a level of social acceptability that is just not OK. I’ve always been extremely disgusted by it, despite being white and having these […]


A closed mind is most dangerous.

Rhonda Lynn, Crowley, TX. When we are unwilling to approach life with an open mind, we leave room for hate to fester and grow. With an open mind, we bring the willingness necessary to hear the other voice, learn the other experience, and try to understand the other perspective. Each of us has been allowed […]

I’m Black, not African American

Trish, Houston, TX. I’m Black. I’m American. Black is my race. American is my nationality. One has nothing to do with the other. How can all Black people be African American? It’s impossible for a Black person who was born in the UK, to be an African American. Black Americans are not “special” kind of […]

Sad truth: racism is still alive

Javier, Roma, TX. I grew up in a little town in Mexico, near the border with the US, there was not as much cultural or racial differences as bigger cities have. I know that racism exists in Mexico, because I have read articles where they explain how Mexican people discriminate people who they consider Indians, […]


Interracial family: whites stare, blacks care.

Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]

Stop Blaming Whites for Your Problems

Anonymous, Austin, TX. Blaming all white people for slavery is the same as blaming all black people for Boko Haram. If I am to be held responsible for what some white guys unrelated to me did centuries ago, then you should be to blame for what your people are actively doing right now. This goes […]

Born in America, Your’re just American

Jeff Boothe TX If you were born here you are not African-American, Mexican-American, and Chinese-American. No one says they are European-American, Scottish-American, and Spanish-American. Why do people dilute themselves to being less than American.


No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]


I Don’t Have Any People

Dara Boyd, Austin, TX. I am always hearing people say, “my people”, “your people”, “our people”, but why can’t we just be people? It never crossed my mind to call all white people or more specifically Norwegian people (which is a portion of my ancestry) “my people” because they simply are not. America, hell the […]

I’m not a person of color

Gabriella Grange, Plano, TX. Before coming to college, I always thought of myself as a black person. But when I got to college a few years ago, I heard people use the term “people of color” and it boggled me. Even though the term is used to foster solidarity, the term can be used to […]

His parents will never meet me.

Kayle Dallas, TX Our breakup happened for many reason, but the main one is because his parents would never feel 100% comfortable with their son for being with me. I’m black and he’s white. Such simple labels that belie a myriad of different experiences. I would think that any parent would be thrilled their son […]

When do I become just-American?

Wen Wen Yang Dallas, TX I tell people I’m Chinese-American. My parents are Chinese, born and raised in China, while I was born and raised in the United States, so I think the term Asian-American is accurate. I am straddling the divide, but leaning towards American – I’ve never been to China and do not […]

Poor little middle class white girl

Nina Haug Richardson, TX While applying for college, I realized that I have no “hook” – the box, story, or line that might make me more than just another high-achieving middle class white girl applying to too many schools. And I had absolutely no right to complain about this – I grew up in a […]


Brown skin isn’t a measure of my intelligence

Octavia, Dallas, TX. I have been to over forty six job interviews since I moved to Dallas. There is a look that white people give you when they realize that the person that they thought so highly of over the phone is a black woman. I have had people tell me all the reasons why […]

Black People Can Be Racist Too

Michael, Dallas, TX. I went to an all black school where I was 1 of 20 or less white kids. I was beat up, chased home every day, picked on and called white trash. I was bullied to the point of finally dropped out, and decided to get a GED.

Confederate re-enactor chose intimidation as spoils

Lillian J. Hall, Dallas, TX. I was a freshman in college. I was sitting in the dining hall with a friend, near a window. It was “Texas Day”. The theme was obvious by the bails of hay, western-wear-clad employes and of course, barbecue on the menu. My friend and I were chatting, when all of […]


All-American Girl: Minority at Work

Stefanie Bernosky, Houston, TX. I was raised as an All-American girl to an All-American family in an All-American town. I even looked “All-American”, proudly featuring my braces and American Flag sweater in this dated family photo (circa 1994). We can trace my family (both sides) to the United States prior to the United States Revolution. […]

Northern Mother Southern Father meet middle

Sandra Hart, Brookeland, TX. This is an amazing thing to do. Growing up in the South in a white household with a black cleaning lady I felt there was more to the story. But no one would tell me anything or even answer me truthfully. I felt that Emma on orders from my mom would […]

The facts stop where feelings begin

John Smith, Las Vegas, TX. Races are diffrent, not only by color of skin, but by brain and how our body is built, its sad but true some races are capable to do better things then others, when the white man whas building rome the Africans where still living in mud houses, and most of […]

I hate seeing it in people.

Jesse, Edinburg, TX. “What the son wishes to forget, the grandson wishes to remember.” According to Hansen’s Law, the second generation immigrant tends to sever themselves from the customs and traditions of their ancestors in order to achieve assimilation, but in time the “grandson” will value, that which the “son” wished to forget. What my […]


Yo soy Tejano, not “White Washed”

Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]

She’s nice for a black woman!

Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]

I’m not black, I’m dark brown.

Kelly M., Indonesia. My six words were spoken by my daughter when she was seven years old. I am From Texas, my family tree consists of Irish and English immigrants and Cherokee Native Americans. We generally look Caucasian, but all five siblings have slightly different skintones. I now live in Indonesia, I’m a single Mom […]


My Not So White Life

Joye Beard, Corpus Christi, TX. In the 23 years that my husband and I have been married I’ve noticed some disconcerting things about being in a mixed race marriage. First, I’m not comfortable around other white people at all. If they’re open minded it’s not so bad. But most are not, and once they learn […]

Pulled over with child; a lesson

Damien Blythers, Dallas, TX. My eyes water up knowing that I will have to teach my children what to do when you get pulled over. It’s hurtful to know that I am at more of a risk in being victimized while being pulled over than someone of another color. There are unwritten rules and instructions […]

I Forget I Am Not White

Dougherty, Outside USA. I was adopted. My Dad is Irish, raised in Texas and then California. Mom is a retired nurse. I was raised around Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Jews. My friends in elementary school were white. Race was never an issue. Or if it was, I have long since forgot about it. I even […]


I’m told to get over it.

Anonymous, Houston, TX. It’s hard being a young “smart” black man, especially in the military. If to good at my job it’s because “we helped you out more because we don’t want you to think we where racists” then if I’m not good at my job its. “Well you know black people are lazy…” Plus […]

Southern Living: Caught Between Different Cultures

Jackie Houston, TX My parents are South American immigrants who were granted amnesty during the 1980s. I was born and raised in Texas. I didn’t have many Hispanic friends growing up. I grew up around many Texas Germans and am now at college in Houston studying German. People are surprised when they discover that I […]


White Slavery & The Myth of White Privilege

DeAnna Calderon, Austin, TX. I grew up poor in the Southside of Chicago. We were extremely poor and even homeless at times. Sleeping outside in the middle of winter when I was a child. When I was 22 I joined the Army. The treatment I faced as a woman in the military felt like it […]

Sorority initiation, we look like KKK

Marilyn Anne Kay Wimberley, TX The year was 1968. We were gathered in the formal dining hall of the sorority house, lit only by candles, for our sorority initiation. All white females dressed in matching white gowns. One of my sorority sisters commented, ‘we look just like the Klan.’ This was at the University of […]


“No eres gringa, no actúes así.”

Valerie Guerrero, Mission, TX. All my life I’ve grown up around my Hispanic family. It’s unusual for me to ever say something in English in front of them out of respect because they don’t really understand the language. The few times that I accidentally say something in English I get the old “no eres gringa, […]

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 […]


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 […]


Neighborhood party we were not invited

Ninfa Pena-Purcell, College Station, TX. This picture of my parents captures a young Mexican American couple with aspirations to live the American dream in the 1950s only to find out that their family of six children would never be welcomed in their neighborhood. Years later this experience has stayed with me and made me resolve […]

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Teaching History to White Graduate Students

Collette M. Bloom, Houston, TX. It is a wondrous and wonderful experience to see the “AHA” moment appear on White students faces when they finally understand about tragedy and waste of chattel slavery. Many were quite distressed about the willingness of so many to collude in developing the Black Codes of the South. Statutory inhumanity […]

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I’m mixed and I accept all

Marcellus Hendricks, San Antonio, TX. My friend in high school said “you talk proper” I said “and?” He said “you’re black” So that told me, that what? I’m supposed to talk Ingorant because I’m mixed with black? No, excuse me for having an open vocabulary.

You’re spanish and don’t speak it?

Keatan Oliva, McAllen, TX. Growing up near the boarder of Mexico, where I would often cross with my mother to have lunch on weekends, it seemed expected of me to know Spanish fluently. Although I was raised in a town named Rancho Viejo, which might even be considered nearer to Mexico and its culture than […]


You are cute to be dark

Secunda Joseph, Houston, TX. I’ve always seen the beauty in myself even as a kid. My brother and I were the darkest of all aunts, and cousins besides my brother, and around family ” I was everything good” one of my several nicknames was chocolate drop. Then kindergarten started what I heard was “with your […]


Border life safety, mass murder, lose.

Patricia Valdez-Harrison, El Paso, TX. El Paso Texas for the fourth year in a row as been reported to be the safest city in the country even though it shares borders with one of the deadliest cities in Mexico. I chose to end my sentence with lose not only for the lose of so many […]


Does my skin color really matter?

Ricardo Quintanilla Jr., Mission, TX. For what I have seen the world to be, skin color makes for a subject of preference or a form of documentation. Skin color shouldn’t define or explain, it should simply be what it is, a skin color.

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’m not colored I’m an American

Ralph Brown (Coach~B :)), Dallas, TX. My six words are in response to these six words: “We don’t allow colored in here” which were said to me on March 19, 1963 by a young female movie ticket clerk at the Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas. I was attempting to see the world premiere of “How […]


Leave identity issues to other people

Phyllis W. Allen, Fort Worth, TX. I am a sixty year old woman who has lived through segregation, integration, Colored, Negro,, Black, African American, segregation, marches, integration, Pan Africanism, opulent consumption, financial catastrophe and now I’m just me.


Don’t speak Spanish, I’m still Hispanic

Victor Santana-Melgoza, El Paso, TX. For most of my life I have been rejected by many people in the Hispanic/Chican@/Latin@ community for not learning and practicing Spanish (as well as not following other cultural cues). I was raised in a household where English was the main language spoken. I am 4th generation American, raised by […]


You’re not like most black girls.

Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]


Multicultural American Family Who loves All

Tunya Marie Loftis, Dallas, TX. I love who I am. I am the firstborn of my mother with four siblings under me. Strangely enough, when I was young, I didn’t know my Mom was white. She was my normal. She was just Mama. Who taught me how to read and color. She did my hair, […]


Messianic Jew Yogi? Pick one fool!

Signe Wendt, Austin, TX. Jewish by heritage when I began to worship Jesus I was told I was no longer Jewish and I had to pick one.Now I try to connect Christians to their faith as a yoga teacher and I am not sure who is more uncomfortable with that. Yogis (at least in Austin) […]

A World With Out A Mirror!

Sherry Chaudhry, San Antonio, TX. Imagine a World without a Mirror Without a reflection to see ourself. There would be no glassy reflection sitting upon the shelf. Without knowing our own image it would be difficult to judge another. For the image we have of ourselves, determines how we see our brothers by Sherry Chaudhry

A tale of my father

Charon Mcclain, Dallas, TX. In 2009, my father a proud military man passed. He was a great dad and loving husband. He was a proud man who had been in the Air Force and run his own business. I thought I knew all the stories that could be told. Until a pilot sent his condolences […]


I am not just African American.

Erica Watts, Arlington, TX. Growing up, I believed that I was all African American. My mother was African American and so was my brother and that is all I needed to know, to know that I was African American. However, as i got older, people began to question my ethnicity. Some claiming that I looked […]

Never keep secrets from your children.

i, Lulu, San Antonio, TX. I was 52 when I confirmed what I had long dodged: I was adopted — more like appropriated — at birth. Back then and in my part of the world (Texas), those things happened. My adoptive parents are on my birth certificate as the birth parents. Whatya gonna do, right? […]

I am neither Mexican nor American.

Lucie C., San Antonio, TX. I was born in Texas just this side of the river. I’ve lived in Texas all my life although I’ve traveled a lot. One day while traveling through the Texas Hill Country, a gentleman, perhaps Pakistani perhaps Indian (I know NOT to call person either because I might be off […]


Your son looks nothing like you!

Dr. J., Irving, TX. It’s true, everyone tries to find similarities between babies and their parents. But the search ends when people see my son’s curly golden hair, blue eyes, and light complexion. Someone once asked me, “are you sure you want to name him Diego?” (when he was 9 months old). I’ll admit it, […]

My name tells a great story.

Lise (rhymes with ‘please’), Austin, TX. My 6-word essay was originally “What kind of name is that?”– a question (both the polite and impolite versions) I’m regularly asked. My answer is something like this: “Well, my last name is Indian (yes, like from India)–sort of. My father’s family is from India, but the name changed […]


Adopted at birth; family history unknown.

Kristi Boehm, Spring, TX. Every year on my birthday I give thanks to the woman who loved me enough to give me up for adoption. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother and father, and my family life was nothing but ordinary. As an aging adult, with no idea of whether I’m Swedish, German, […]


Yes, those boys are my brothers.

Julia Guerra, Austin, TX. My brothers are very important figures in my life. They were born to a white mom and a white dad. They are blonde and red-haired, with blue and green eyes. When they were little babies, my white mom married my Mexican dad and he adopted both of them as his own. […]


African American Marine New Muslim Traitor

Vincent Simon, Fort Worth, TX. I’m a new revert to Islam, served in the US Marine Corps. Because of my new religion, I have been called a traitor to my country. The person who called me this doesn’t know me very well and didn’t serve in the military. I have been criticized by “good” Christians, […]


Not all white conservatives are racists

Emily, Houston, TX. Many people complain about discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudices relating to race; and I am under no illusion that what they experience is real and happens every day. After experiencing such treatment, I would hope that those people would be more sensitive to the subject and try not to stereotype people. Unfortunately, I […]

I will not yield to you.

James Michael Rogers Houston, TX I was at my neighborhood park one morning jogging, and I saw three white women walking abreast in one direction, and a black woman coming towards them in the opposite direction. The white women ignored the black woman and no one stepped back to let the black lady pass, and […]


Who invented the “race card” anyway?

Kathryn Terry, Katy, TX. I hate the term “race card” because when I hear it, it tells me that the person using it doesn’t have any desire to listen to or understand anything about the experiences of racism that people of color face. If you think there’s a “race card”, who do you think put […]

We perceive race issues so differently.

Kim Baldridge, Austin, TX. I’m always shocked at how differently we seem to see race issues along color lines. When I see whites say “NO I wasn’t a slave owner, but transgenerational hurt and missed opportunity does mean something. ” I may have hope that race issues will be resolved. It seems like America is […]


We were people, before the chains!

Gwen Montgomery, Dallas, TX. This country took a race of people and turned them into second class citizen. Many of our problems are a result of the oppression we went thru for hundreds of years. I’m afraid that the results of those actions may never be changed. We have been fighting every since we got […]