Nicolette, Alpine, WY. “You’re not black.” “No, I’m not.” “Then why do you have black-girl hair?” “I just like braids, that’s all.” When I had my white-girl hair professionally braided by an African hairstylist from Togo, I never expected I would lead people to such confusion. Why did I do it? I just like braids. […]
JMM, Nashville, TN. I’m white. 100% pale as can be white. I grew up as one of a small handful of white children in my elementary and middle school, and was relentlessly teased. White girl. Cracker. White b****. All names I was called. I had gum put in my hair. I was beaten up. I […]
Clara Silverstein, Boston, MA. As one of the white children in Richmond, Virginia in the 1970s whose family willingly participated in busing, I had few friends of any race. What we could have used at the time was leadership instead of racist rhetoric, white flight, and school administrators who cancelled all after-school activities. The possibility […]
Danielle Cuddy, Napa, CA. Growing up as an adopted South Korean female in the city of Napa proved a challenging adolescence. I was called, “China Girl” in elementary school, but that was okay with me because the other children would come to realize that they were wrong and I was actually from the opposite side […]
Alexandria James-Hayes, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I have lived in the suburbs my whole life and I grew up around mostly white people. My parents are divorced, my father lives in Alabama and I live with my mother and stepfather. When I use to visit Alabama my fathers family would always say “you talk like a […]
Susan Riker Washington, DC Freshman year on the 4th floor of the International dorm at Mt Holyoke College.
Julianna, Diamond Bar, CA.
Delaney Rodarte, Prescott, AZ. When I was much younger I was darker skinned and people saw me as Mexican, but now in my later years, especially since I have gone to public school, people see what is now pale skin and refuse to accept me or admit that I am native american and men won’t […]
Rachel Robbins, San Francisco, CA. When I was child, we didn’t really have the commonly held words and concepts regarding the identities of biracial people the way we now do. So I was understandably a bit confused by my biracial family. My mom and aunties are biracial, and my own father was out of the […]
Paula Morris, Long Beach, CA. A white girl growing up in Orange County, CA, where I was that anything and anyone “different” was “bad”, I have found love with two wonderful men in my life: the first one (who died) was African American, and the second one is African. The happiness both have brought me […]
Maggie Trias, Boulder, CO. I am half Puerto Rican, but I look white, and lost contact with my Puerto Rican family a long time ago. Instead of feeling empty like I’m missing half of myself, I have learned to cherish my connections with people from all over the globe, and have let go of my […]
Kristen, Virginia Beach, VA. I have ALWAYS been pale. Like so pale its embarrassing to wear shorts (especially in the beginning of the summer). If ever I get a tan, its gone in like 2 weeks. Yeah, I don’t think it will ever be “cool” to be this white.
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, […]
Tracey Rae Palmer, Myrtle Beach, SC. I was told never to kiss a n***** or get close to them; they would only rob you or kill you for money. I found myself in collage in 1979 and a black man got an “A” in his class. With arms held wide and incredible excitement, he kissed […]
Colleen Schwab, Seattle, WA. I grew up in a very diverse area of CA where many children were first generation immigrants, and many children were of multi-racial backgrounds, mostly middle to lower class families. And my whole family has grown up with and around people from many different backgrounds. So I had no issue trying […]
Susan Thackston, Agoura, CA. I was listening to an NPR story resently on Morning Edition. The program talked about “The Race Card Project” and that it was collecting peoples experiences during the 1960’s period of the civil rights movement, distilled into 6 words only. George Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, was only three years older […]
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. […]
Megan DeHerrera, Santa Cruz, CA. I am told at first glance I look white and I am in my ancestry but I am also of Mexican American ancestry and that’s more of what I identify with.
Pamela Russell Bejerano, Portland, OR. As a white girl growing up, I always felt I had no culture. As an adult, I realized that what I was seeking was a racial identity. But I am discovering daily that this racial identity is not just Scottish and Norwegian, but part of a society that unfairly awards […]
Susan Riker, Washginton, DC. Freshman year on the 4th floor of the International dorm at Mt Holyoke College.
Jillian Hiscock, Submitted via Twitter: @jhiscock.
Yaela Ettlinger, Olympia, WA. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: Seattle Community Colleges Born 1950. Attended Madrona Elemetary on 34th street and Union, Seattle from 1955 – 1962. We could all play together until 3rd grade. Then the other African-American girls began to follow me and my best friend Joan around the playground […]
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 […]
Terynee, East Lansing, MI. My name is Terynee, my sister’s names are Tyani and T’Asia. These are all names my mother thought to be creative and beautiful. I love my name and both my sisters names, but when people “Try” and pronounce it, it is repeatedly devoured. I get that it is different but sometimes […]
Alice O’Neill, Boston, MA. People get the impression that you can’t have anything wrong with your life if you’re white, but there are plenty of things that anyone can experience regardless of race. You don’t know my experiences, you know the color of my skin.
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 […]
Joy Owopetu, Manassas Park, VA. What does this even MEAN? I have heard so many times that I sound like a white girl from the valley. It has caused me to experience unfriendly behavior from coworkers who thought I wasn’t “black enough” and I have gotten outright laughed at in public by ignorant individuals who […]
Sydni Booker, Philadelphia, PA.
Barbara Fought, Jamesville, NY. Faculty The most impacting cultural experience for me related to race was when in the 20s I lived in Detroit, a majority-black city.
Felicia Sullivan, Lowell MA.
Alexa Fay, Seattle, WA. I dance at a predominately black dance studio, and anyone who sees my friends there is quick to point out that I look different from everyone else. I wish they cared more about my personality than my skin color.
Catherine Kehl, Cleveland Heights, OH. When we divide ourselves into “us” and “other” we don’t only lose the other, we lose ourselves. I was twenty-seven before I realized that my mother sometimes spoke to me in Spanish not because she’d picked some up in college before travelling in South America in her twenties, but because […]
Stephanie Kuhn, Muncie, IN. I think women get a bad rep and are judged a lot by their looks. Well we are not all the same and just because I may look like a common white girl, there is a lot more to me than what you see on the outside. Stop and take a […]
Elizabeth, Denver, CO. My mother is mixed race, Indian and white. She grew up pretty poor, but she told me once that she always had two pairs of shoes: one pair of moccasins and one pair of boots. Depending on who her father was trading with she would either have to pull on her boots, […]
Jasmine Baker East Lansing, MI Growing up I was placed in the gifted and talented program in my elementary school. I learned to speak what this society refers to as “proper English.” Because of that, many Black students would tease me and tell me that I’m black, stop talking like a white girl. What does […]
Emily Scott, Virginia Beach, VA.
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 […]
Anna Johnston OK A sentence you will never hear.
Diana Vicars Austin, TX These were the words my mother said to me in 1950 when I read out loud the sign over a water fountain at a gas station during a car trip from Texas to Florida. I was six and a begining reader. Dehydrated from car sickness, I lived for the few and […]
Clinton Browning Fayetteville, GA
Christine Marriott River Falls, WI I lived in the south, born in 1956. I saw awful things as a little white girl from a racist dysfunctional family. They taught me how not to be. Maybe it was because they treated me like they treated black people. My school was segregated early. I got in so […]
Brooke Cobbin Jacksonville, FL For years, I have been pleasantly surprising people because when they read my name Brooke (Morgan) Cobbin they expect to see a white girl. When they read my essays, my emails…they think I am white. It’s funny to me because of how names are trendy. How many Madisons do you know […]
Amy Blue Tulsa, OK As a white girl in a top-ranking and racially diverse high school, I could not understand why the student population segregated itself racially. I saw all of my classmates as equals and felt a strong sense of responsibility to make others see their classmates in the same light. I climbed out […]
Toolie, Anchorage, AK. To the black community, I “act” too white to be like them. To the white community, my skin is too dark to be like them. I am black. I am not black enough. I am too black. No matter where I go, I can’t seem to fit in anywhere. All my life […]
Hailey Dodge Grand Rapids, MI Everywhere I go I am always being called white-girl all the time. But the truth of it is that I am not white I don’t blend in with the snow, flour shows up on my skin, and I have blood running through my veins. And to be honest the color […]
Katherine McEvoy Westford, MA
Tonia Torrence Salt Lake City, UT My six words are based on experience as a mediator for the juvenile Victim/Offender mediation program for the Salt Lake Courts. Schoolgirl fight, brown punished, not white or Middle-school fight, brown punished, not white Two middle-school girls were in the mediation with their mothers. The blond white girl had […]
Francesca Magno Portland, ME I come from a very large Irish/Italian family. We have traditions and ideals representative of different cultures. Yet, when people identify me I am simply a white girl. People do not view me as a mix of races. I could be any other ugg wearing, latte in hand, textaholic, but I […]
Kci Burnes Spokane, WA At one time I was homeless and the only person who comforted this white girl at a shelter was a lovely black girl in a predominantly white part of the country.
Rayna Delaney Pharr, TX This occurred to me in 1969 as I started college. I was a naïve white girl from a rural all-white neighborhood. Had read a lot about Blacks and their struggles. I was surprised when I sat down next to a group of Blacks and they ignored by attempts to start a […]
Cassandra Krummel Seaford, NY Being a white girl brought up in New York was difficult. I went to school where many of the students were black and to them, I was a spoiled white girl. Coming to college and joining a sorority never helped the situation. Every time I am confronted by a black person, […]
Janet Little Dayton, OH From a rural, small town- I hadn’t seen any couples that were of different races. During the 1994 OJ Simpson trials, at age 6, I ignorantly asked my mother, “Was that black boy married to that white girl that died?” Her only response was: “Yes, but white girls should only marry […]
Ivy Portland, ME Yes I am a white female but I do not think I fit the stereotypes associated with the label “white girl”.
Rebeca Osborn Ambridge, PA I grew up in largely white, upper-middle-class suburbs, but as a social outcast for different reasons, somehow most of my best friends through life have been non-white or biracial. It’s taken me a long time to learn to just ask questions of people who are different from me, and accept that […]
Haley Powell Santa Barbara, CA Me and my friends have noticed and talked about this before- it’s not like we tried to avoid making any black friends, it’s that we were never even presented with an opportunity in our schools.
Shaylee Reichardt Portland, OR Growing up in not the nicest of neighborhoods, I was always everybody’s one “white” friend. They didn’t see me for all of my ethnic background. I guess I’m just the white girl who is only a paper minority. They cant see my whole family.
Tamie Odom Sherman, TX I was only five at the time. Me and my 2 sisters were going to an all black school in Newburg, NY. The race riots were happening and lots of tension was in the city. Black kids hated me because I was white. I had no idea what I had done […]
Bethany Hilkert Bryant, AR
Jennifer Rapach Pittsburgh, PA I grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania in a public school that was 100% white, 100% Christian. Before I went to college, the only non-white person I knew was my doctor. Now I seek out opportunities to interact with other races and cultures, and a large part of my job is […]
Nikolas van Oekel Virginia Beach, VA
Jessica Wright Athens, GA I have grown up denouncing my Southern birth and heritage. My parents aren’t Southern and disliked its racist past. As a white girl, who am I?
Madeline Meyers Madison, WI
Kyle Lim, Grand Rapids, MI. As a biracial individual, I learned early-on how to de-emphasize certain aspects of my racial identity depending on who I was around. When I met my wife Claire, we were both attending a predominantly white private college and although she knew that I was mixed, her experiences with me have […]
Samantha McFadden New York, NY I grew up outside of New York in a city that was definitely more urban than suburban. I spent the majority of my childhood being referred to as “that white girl” by my classmates. As one of a dozen Caucasian people in my graduating class in high school, you would […]
Lael Weyenberg Worthington, OH Growing up white in Hawaii is a unique experience in race – you’re a minority in number but not an “economic minority”. You watch yourself and don’t act better than others. I was beat up twice for being in the wrong place but didn’t feel unsafe in my home. It is […]
Lori Draper Seward, AK People have stated that colorblindness is good. Really??
Elysha O’Brien, Las Vegas, NV. Whites see me as Mexican, Mexicans view me as White because I don’t speak Spanish. I find it interesting that we don’t qualify other ethnic identities on the basis of language. Featured on NPR’s Morning Edition Segment: Living in Two Worlds but with Just One Language http://www.npr.org/2013/05/23/185839159/living-in-two-worlds-but-with-just-one-language
Erin Murphy Barling, AK I grew up in a mostly African American neighborhood outside Miami, Florida. My friends never made me feel out of place but the other 60% of the students at the schools I attended sure did. My great-grandparents were immigrants -on one side of the family I was third generation American. That […]
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 […]
Natalia de Cuba Romero. Massapequa Park, NY. IN my heart and in my head I have always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, Born in Queens, NY to a Puerto Rican mom and a dad from Aruba and a bilingual home, lived in Puerto Rico for a number of years…but I’ve always looked like a […]
Lisa Aragon Duque San Diego, CA Growing up Hispanic from New Mexico, in Hawaii, mistaken for a white girl. I was neither accepted nor rejected. I felt stuck in the middle. I felt wholly Hispanic in a white world and no one ever questioned me because of my fair skin. Hispanics of all cultures still […]
Sharon Burnham Roanoke, VA
Dominique Houston San Diego, CA The moment I open my mouth, I am often told that my speech betrays my skin.
Julie Naski Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan As a white female, I have found that it is easier to keep my mouth shut when it comes to my attraction to black guys. When I reveal this to people, I am most commonly met with a surprised reaction, and then asked with […]
Jennifer Ashland, KY I am from a small city in Kentucky… people automatically think “Do you have your teeth”, “Do you wear shoes”, “She hates “colored” people”.. while all of these are simply uneducated guesses. I truly didn’t realize how bad racism was until I got older and in high school. I went to a […]
Stacey Aronson Morris, MN