Renu Gehring Portland, OR I am an ethnically Indian woman married to a white man. Our two kids are a happy blend of brown and white. We live in a community that has a large number of recent Indian immigrants. I am surprised by their reaction when they see me with my children. When they […]
KayBee, Washington DC. Submitted via Twitter: @PetiteKaybee
Courtney, Wyoming, MI. All this pride to be black, white, brown, American, whatever, just let it go. You didn’t put any work to be the color you are, or the country you were born, it just happened. You can love who you are or where you are from, outside of being prideful. I’m not certain […]
Janice Davidsson, Norfolk, VA. You can’t help who you fall in love with and this American girl fell in love with an African boy. So that makes our son African American. Here’s the catch that a lot of people have an issue with… He’s white. He has blonde hair and blue green eyes and is […]
Audrianna Galvin, San Francisco, CA. Half black, half white female
Annaleisle Gingher Peachtree City, GA Understanding my ethnicity has explained so much and helped me understand who I am. I may be classified in a box as “white” but I am a second generation Sicilian with dark skin and dark hair. I’ve always identified with other races. Only to understand we are all the same […]
Seth Skaggs, Marion, OH. Four months out of the year, I get to be white. Well, white-ish. My parents always told me that my tanned skin came from being part Native American on both sides, but beyond that I was raised white. I never thought about it growing up because “it was just a tan”, […]
Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]
Samantha , Submitted via Twitter: @dsc00 My mom’s advice to my sister and I while growing up. For the longest I resented my fair skinned mom for making us feel inferior. Time has healed some of the pain but not all. Funny thing is both my sister & I ended up with white partners. So […]
Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]
Julie Long, Pioneer, CA. When I was 8, we moved from a big city to a small country town, where there were, maybe two other families that weren’t white. I had no idea at 8 years old what race was. I never even differentiated a difference based on appearance, but I remember being suddenly shocked […]
TR Kelley Swisshome, OR “White trash” is a hip cultural joke. “N*****” is “hate speech”. Why?
Jennifer F Taylor, Arcata, CA. Excellent work with enjoyable discussions on NPR…. Thank you Michele!
Jade Weber, Holland, MI. When my grandparents come up to visit, and we go out people always ask if my grandfather is related to us. My whole family is white, but my grandfather is Mexican. My grandmother married him so, he is part of my family. Sometimes when people ask we can tell they are […]
Sydney Skroch, Minneapolis, MN. I have lived in Minnesota my whole life and my world has opened up extremely slowly to diversity and different cultures. However, learning about the world through the eyes of others has always been super interesting to me, and with every new experience, I feel myself shaping. I am part Italian, […]
Lauren C, TX I wish for my half white, half Mexican children to grow up knowing that perceived differences should be an opportunity to learn about another person or people, and how much they may truly have in common. An opportunity to embrace someone or their culture and traditions, and maybe learn something new about […]
Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]
Cynthia Waszak Geary, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in Durham, NC and attended Hillside High School as part of the first court ordered desegregation plan to achieve racial balance. I am heart broken that since that time there has been a steady and deliberate re-segregation of schools in the US. I am hoping for leadership […]
Susi Matthews, Kansas City, MO. I am 1/4 Navajo plus Cherokee and Mohawk. I am also English, Irish, Scots and German. I LOOK white; my full sister looks Native. I experienced the reactions she got when we were kids on vacation. A small restaurant in Colorado thought she was Native America and refused to serve […]
Jane Meacham, Washington, DC. My dad is a lawyer in Kansas City, MO, who always had mostly black, working-class clients. When the city school district started to decline in quality in the early 1970s, we moved away to a nearly all-white suburban school district nearby. So I realize now, all these years later, that his […]
Jessica Anderson, Denver, CO. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee, but I now live in Colorado. People always ask ridiculous questions when they find out where I’m from, including, “Did you wear shoes?” and “Where are your overalls?” Being a white, M.A. holding, middle-class woman doesn’t shield me from these stereotypes. […]
Frank Siringo, Denver, CO. Marrying someone from a different race has allowed me to see the world through a different lens. It is an enlightening and challenging part of our relationship that continues to provide growth opportunities almost 20 years on.
Gabrielle Ientile, Spring Lake, NJ. Monmouth University Sometimes I hear people say that white people don’t have a culture. Then what am I? Where do my traditions and lifestyle fit in? What are the consequences of an “absent” culture?
Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]
Katherine Hannan Wears, Ogdensburg, NY. When I was a practicing attorney, I scheduled an appointment with an attorney who was a specialist in the field of construction litigation. The contact was made through an attorney I knew well. As I waited at the appointment, I didn’t consciously think, “What will he look like?” When he […]
Elya, Chevy Chase, MD. I grew up very privileged, and when I realized that I was being bullied by my white peers because of race, my parents decided that I would no longer be sheltered because of my race. I became very active in my student activism group and because I am mixed, I was […]
Brandie Bushee, Cedar Falls, IA. In our current times we hear about racism every day. I hate it. I’m not one to say “I don’t see race; I’m colorblind”, because to “be blind” to race is to ignore the problem of racism. But I am one to say that I love everyone no matter their […]
Alexander Belisle, Bronx, NY. My mother is Latvian and my father is from Belize but all my life I passed as white. I always listened to the prejudicial biases expressed by others who were unaware of my ancestry.
Marlot Roads, West STL County, CO. March 10 1964 Frankfort, KY
Jordan Seigal, Flushing, NY. I’m Eurasian with a white father. At times I think, of course he was white. I wonder why, exactly. Why were Asian men not good enough? I look Asian. I have been turned down and called terrible things by Asian women, because of my appearance. Am I considered better because I […]
Ernest Leon Tyree Jr Dravosburg, PA After spending 12 years in the military I learned a lot about fear and the power it holds. One the most powerful motivators is fear which is unfortunate, that being said the person who holds the power has a great responsibility to know that people fear them and to […]
Susie, Fairbanks, AK. I am tired of being told I am not white enough or Asian enough. As mixed race, racial identity is already hard enough. My mother is Korean and my father white. I identify as asian, my sisters identify as white. I am the most anglo looking, as they both look Asain. Me […]
Jasmine Shabazz, Beachwood, Ohio. So, never once have I blamed the white kids and there families for slavery. Never once did I say there ancestors enslaved mine. And I hate to look like the girl who always plays the race card, or who always wants to cry about the struggles my ancestors went through. But […]
Kim Kime, Hilo, HI. People seem to think, at least where I live in Hilo Hawaii, that white means money and a background with out hurt. They forget that many whom came to america came here to get away from racism, abuse, war, and or fame. I am Irish, I know my peoples pasts. It […]
Jim Zeirke, Sussex, WI. I’ve faced more overt racism than most blacks. While much of black racism is discreet, I’ve been told to my face that I’m not getting opportunities because I’m white. In the mid-1970’s I applied for a job and when went to the job interview a guy came out and told all […]
Gay White, W. Bloomfield, MI. I am a product of the civil rights movement and I watched racism go underground until we had a Black President then it all started to rise to the surface we are only seeing what had always happened the difference is that we are going to have to teach then […]
Patrick Lawrence, Chandler, AZ. Growing up white in Hawaii during the seventy’s the color of my skin gave 85% of the population an excuse to hate and attack me daily.
Cameron Warren, Downingtown, PA. I’m a very Irish child, and being proud of that has always been hard due to the fact I have red hair and freckles. While most say, “oh but you’re white, whats the problem” the problem is just that. I have been bullied and teased almost my whole life and not […]
Gianna Radoi, USA. People think that being white means you are American. I am second generation, born and raised in America, but my parents are from Europe. Sure, they fled communism in the 80’s, but for a better life. Things did not always come easy for them when they started new lives here, with only […]
Kim F., Louisville, KY. This is cool!
Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.
Sarah Walton Nashville, TN I descend directly from southern slave-owners and, more recently, racists. My family’s wealth is built on the backs of over a thousand slaves. It is my karmic duty to be a social-justice & race-relations activist; to call for reparations; to march; to force as many friends & family to look through […]
All my life, people have mistaken me for “races” that I am not: Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Indian, Brazilian. I was always flattered because I thought this meant I looked exotic and “different,” I wanted to look different. I didn’t want to look “haole,” our stolen Hawaiian word for “white.” That’s when I uncovered the implicit […]
Hilary Forrest, Pasadena, CA. Every single time a person meets me, they’ll assume my race is “white.” That’s where you’re wrong. My nationality is American; my ethnicities are Hispanic as well as Icelandic. But no, of course because of the paleness of my skin or the freckles adorning my cheeks, I always get a, “No […]
Michael, San Rafael, CA. While all races practiced slavery, Whites were the ones to end it. All Christian White countries ended slavery approximately 150 years ago but sadly it is still practiced by Blacks, Asians, Asian-Indians and Muslim Whites today.
Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Kasey Nichols, Clemmons, NC. I’ve known I’ve been adopted since I can remember and never questioned my ethnicity until I reached middle school age because we had to fill out cards with “check yes if Latino, African American, white or other.” Biologically I’m Mexican and Italian, but I was raised white with my dad being […]
Julie B., Itasca, IL. This story started on social network, I followed one blogger I have mutual friend with. She is black woman in her 30th, single. I was reading her timeline and it was pretty interesting meaning her style and subjects she chooses. We started exchanging comments and “likes” and everything was fine, I […]
Hannah Strickland Sacramento, CA
Rebecca Zavala, Los Angeles, CA. Well, to start I’m not even white… I get this ALL THE TIME. People assume I’m white or Asian, or a mix of the both. It is not insulting to me now, but growing up it was a little irritating having to continually explain that I am Mexican American. At […]
Megan, Keithville, LA. I am a white female and I do have nice things. People always assume that my dad gets me everything. Little do they know, I’ve had a job since I was 15 to be able to buy myself nice things. I pay for my gas, I pay for anything extra I want, […]
Oliver Parr, Tuscaloosa, AL. Being white in the state of Alabama automatically means that most people assume the worst. I was raised in the State of California where race truly is not even a topic of discussion. I grew up not looking at the color of a persons skin but how tough it is. I […]
Miles Foltynowicz, Edwardsville, IL. I’ve dealt with racial ambiguity most of life. It is not uncommon for someone to ask me, “What are you?” in reference to my race/ethnicity without explicitly saying so. Others play the Asian guessing game: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean et cetera. If you are hoping I will reveal my proud ethnic heritage […]
John Stinchcomb, Indianapolis, IN. It would be awfully boring if we all looked alike. Like music & art the broader the spectrum the better.
Anonymous, USA. “White boy”, , , . What I don’t understand is why there has always had to be a race at the bottom. No one seems to be able to get the freaking idea of racial equality through the six inches between their ears. First it was Africans. Then Jews, Asians, Latinos, Middle Eastern […]
Franlkin Davis, Staten Island, NY. I’m tired of all the Liberal anti-White educators, media-types, race-baiting colored preachers of hate, and Democrat politicians telling me and members of my race we should be ashamed to be White. RESIST! Stand up! Speak out! Vilify the ideologically deficient Liberal propagandists telling us “we’re all the same”, we are […]
Robert Amore, West Hollywood, CA. NYC Born, High School North Shore Long Island, University Evanston Ill., Manhattan Resident for 20 years. Moved to Los Angeles in 2005. To my shock not once but at least 6 times asked the above question. Why anyone would be asked this question is disgraceful. Observing Race discrimination and prejudice […]
Juliet Rose, Banning, CA. Hi, my name is Juliet, and I’m white. Well, white-passing. I’m 1/8th Filipino and I still don’t know if that even counts to the vast majority of people, all I know is my skin is white and people have actually used that against me before. I know white people have done […]
Lauren, Silver Spring, MD. This was a term that was often used to describe me during my middle school days, it always hurtful to hear that people thought that because I was smart and took pride in my education it made me somehow less black.
J.F. Hathaway, Sacramento, CA.
Stephanie Woodworth, Piscataway, NJ. My six words are in reference to how hesitant (in some cases, even terrified) people are to talk to each other when differences are involved. It’s as if even the most well-meaning people become paralyzed at the thought of acknowledging not only our differences, but our collective level of ignorance about […]
Maritza Aviles de Garcia, Dallas, TX. My entire life has been spent walking between two worlds, the predominantly white world outside of my home, and the watered-down Puerto Rican culture of my home. Growing in Central Texas, there were three Puerto Rican families. We were one of them. I translated for my parents whether they […]
Sarah Martin, Wichita, KS. Perhaps this is my artistic side coming out, but when you paint a human being, they are not painted simply using white or black. No, they are painted with a wide variety of colors that blend together to make a beautiful picture. Too often people separate persons into categories that divide […]
Gerard Liston, New York, NY. The way I look confuses people. Most cant pin point my heritage. I am by birth Irish and Ecuadorian. Furthering my cultural heritage is my love of music. I love to play the drums and that love took me all the way to Africa. There I learned to play the […]
Julie G. Denison, Newport Coast, CA. My alternate card was going to be, “Don’t blame me for being white.” Thank you for bringing this together. I had a hunch that Americans were so much more wonderful than America has seemed lately–hence the “infinite hope”.
ROBERT EDWARD NOEL Fairfield, CA AGE 4 DARK BALTIMORE EVENING AS MY MOTHER AND I WERE STARTING TO GET INTO OUR CARE A BLACK CHILD MY AGE WALKING BY WITH HIS FATHER APPROACHED ME, AND REACHED OUT HIS TOY FOR A FEW MINUTES SHARING IT WITH ME AND THEN WE PARTED. 68 YEARS LATER THAT […]
Erin Yarbrough, Norman, OK. My husband is half black and half Korean. I’m white. Our son is three races, but I hear and fear that others don’t see him as any race. Multi-racial is sometimes a hard way to identify.
Amber Price, Atlanta, GA. I was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I grew up ashamed of my Blackness. I heard the n-word for the first time in elementary school. I prayed every night for God to make me white. At the age of 17 I was told to go sit with the rest of the Blacks […]
Briana, Stockton, CA. The color of my skin does not define the true person I am on the outside or even within. The color of my skin does not show you my deep meaning. One cannot judge off of the pigmentation that they see of one person. In reality, we are many things, deeper than […]
Richard Young, Dallas, TX.
Jack, Saint Paul, MN. My mom is an expert in manipulation and fake kindness, always sounding kind to hurt and control and shame. Because of rampant child discrimination across cultures, it was not hard for my mother to convince others that she was right, or to uphold the illusion of a happy “white suburban family”. […]
Jason, Kansas City, MO, . Awesome project.
Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]
Julie Kendall, Duncan, OK. I feel stereotyped and judged just because I was born a white female and am considered a conservative, and am older. I didn’t choose my ethnicity any more than the next person. What’s this term “privileged” that I keep seeing posted everywhere in conjunction with being white? That’s kind of offensive. […]
Mary Karpen, Grand Rapids, MI.
True Native, Vacaville, CA. It is sad to say that racial discourse in America has degraded into a petty fight for blacks first, all others, well who cares about all others. The level of fatigue with black-centric race politics is extremely high. No other race is given such accord in the theater, the movies, sports. […]
Jaclyn Huelbig, Edison, NJ. I’m white. When I was a child, I lived in a city (the type that hipsters remain uninterested in!) and I had friends of all races and religions. I had the benefit, for example, of having a conversation with my friend when she chose to don a hijab (her older sister, […]
Jen Davison, Seattle, WA. I am White. When I voted for Obama I said “I don’t see color.” Well, I do now–and I feel ashamed and flabbergasted that I’d not realized my privilege before. Trying my best to dismantle my own White-Supremacy beliefs and behaviors and to be an ally–or at least to hurt people […]
Catherine Moses, Port Arthur, TX. Let it be known for posterity’s sake that I am white, but I want equality, too. We’re on the same side. Why don’t we use that instead of talking about how I can’t possibly understand? You’re right, I can’t understand. I’m sorry. Let’s move beyond that and work together for […]
Eric Flores, Lubbock, TX. I am a Mexican-American or simply put American. I was born and raised in a conservative town. I was too Mexican for the Whites and too White for the Mexicans. I was stuck in the middle. I always wanted to be white but now I am glad that I am Mexican. […]
Francis Skony, Chicago, IL. Being an almost 40 year old man from Chicago, I’ve always grown up with a melting pot of friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I do not judge anyone by their race – I will have an opinion based on how some present themselves to the world. If you have no respect and no […]
Michael Boyle, Newtonville, MA. If you haven’t read it, read the essay by Peggy McIntosh: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Anna, Columbia, SC. I know I have “white” skin, but I really hate that word. I don’t think about myself as “white”. I am Italian and Czech. My dad was the first generation of my family to live in America. Our family wasn’t here for the Civil War, we didn’t enslave anybody. In fact, my […]
Giosue Romano, Annapolis, MD. I thought Italians were white. Does this mean we are POC, or do we get out one box now?
Tay Zaman, Grapevine, TX.
Nichole Wesson, Long Beach, CA. I grew up what I believed to be middle-class in Dallas. I attended private, Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12-grade high school graduation. My high school class was 1/3 African-American, 1/3 white, 1/3 Mexican/Hispanic/Latino. I have done well in my career and recently returned to school to get my B.A. […]
Katherine Porter, San Leandro, CA. I grew up disowned by my racial cultures…too different from White, too different from Chinese. Talked about by cousins, wondered about by strangers, eroticized by college boys, and discounted by the census. Always had to check “other” on the surveys. Felt like I had to be the best example of […]
Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.
Laura James, Mobile, AL. I want to be ok being white, but I’m not. I’ve been haunted for decades by a dream in which I was weighed in the balance and found wanting by a well-dressed group of African-American churchgoers.
Sara Branly, Jacksonville, FL. Although i’m white, i have an incredibly diverse family’ culturally, ethnically, racially, religiously, etc.; you can’t tell anything about a person by the color of their skin.
Ann Lee Adams, Corvallis, OR. My father was part Cherokee. But we were raised white. So I don’t know what to feel…or be.
Brett Maisel Nacogdoches, TX As a young, naive police officer I mistakenly thought most people would appreciate my sincere desire to help and protect the citizens of my community. I was shocked to find out that some people (who didn’t even know my name, background or what was in my heart) hated the very sight […]
Gina Prantil, Boston, MA. I am human Who are you Are you are human too? Then there’s a pair of us don’t tell They’d banish us you know…. Borrowed quite heavily from Emily Dickenson….
Cherilyn Sullivan, Rutland, VT.
Anonymous, Jackson, MS. Dissatisfied with black racism. But we never want to talk about it, and when blacks are tyrannically racist against white people, we just act like it’s no big deal. Black people today were not slaves, and no one I repeat NO ONE is stopping them from succeeding except themselves…but they want to […]
Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]