Khoa Le, Elk Grove, CA. Ever since I started school as a kid, whether it’s a math class, history, or English, a teacher will always have technical difficulties with their computer. They then ask the class, does anyone know how to fix this. An Asian kid raises his hand and helps the teacher. As I […]
Virginia, Cambridge, MA. I’m half Filipina. And I’ve always thought of myself as half. But one day at a faculty meeting a colleague told me I “passed” as white. It’s bothered me ever since.
Marryn Hilliker, Strasburg, PA. I chose these words that are jokingly spoken towards me very frequently. I’m a 20 year old white girl, blue eyes, red hair (although my “basic-ness” was worse when I was a blonde) attending college, who just happens to be apart of a sorority, loves Starbucks coffee, participates in the Netflix […]
Clare Hilger As an artist and art teacher I believe art can make us consider important issues in our world though visual means impacting us intellectually aesthetically, and emotionally. We enrich our lives through the sharing of art.
Hank Van Putten Jr, Casselberry, FL. Experience is a hard teacher. The exam comes first, then the lesson follows. – Vernon Jordan
Sarah Naomi Burnett, Norristown, PA. Being a ‘white’ girl raised on the border of Mexico the ‘race-card’ issue was raised daily. I always felt that if I was a color, and they were a nationality, those two identifiers didn’t quantify either of us equally. I had a culture at home that was Irish/Italian but where […]
Karen Gephart Altschul, Vernon Hills, IL. I was five, the first time I can remember somebody asking me that question. “What are you? Chinese or something?” Huh? Um, what are you talking about? I’ve been asked this question, “what are you”, on the first day at a job. A girl from China asked me if […]
Timena Mano, Northern CA. Since I was a young child, one thing I knew for sure was that I was Samoan. I am Polynesian but again, more specifically, SAMOAN. I remember in middle school, a classmate asked my friend Ofa if she was Samoan, and she quickly shouted in an offended tone, “No!” I recall […]
Jolie Anne Chevalier, San Jose, CA. This is me at eight years old back in 1979, the daughter of an African-American/Seminole Indian mother, and a Irish-French-American father. Growing up, I was faced with contradictions in a world of opposites; although I was multiracial my mother told me I was Black, and to identify as such […]
Kimberly Davenport, Elizabethtown, KY. Irregardless of our containment, the color of our skin, our heritage, our social structures…one element binds us all and that one element is that which cannot completely be embodied.. the human spirit. I just ordered a dna test..so once and for all I can clarify to some degree what my exterior […]
Adam Costa, Salem, NH You see a lot of dancing in the social media spotlight and trends that are started. Either on TikTok or through dances created by rappers and trying to do copy them draws a lot of backlash. I jokingly try to do something and I always draw a response from my friends, […]
Anonymous, LA I was raised in an odd grey area between Cajun and Southern White, without really fitting into either group. The first thing people ask when I eventually mention my heritage is, “can you speak French?” To which I respond, with great embarrassment and shame, “no.” Most people just give a disappointed or confused […]
Juliet Kim, Irvine, CA In Korean culture, mental health and awareness is not something that is openly talked about. Being a first-generation citizen of the United States, I grew up with both American and Korean cultures that have shaped me into who I am today. I feel that mental health and awareness is extremely important […]
Terri F. Reilly, St. Louis, MO. I don’t only teach white college students, but many of them come into the classroom with blinders of privilege that need lifting.
Cameron McCall, Fontana, CA. The reason I choose these six words is because I don’t like how I am stereotyped to be un-educated and ghetto. I am a proud African American male in college and I am proud of the proper english that I use.
Tierra Wells Holly Hill, SC Personally I have not experience this, but there has been stories told to me about this subject. When an African American walks into a store apparently the sales associate, who happens to be white, begins to look at the African American customer very closely. It’s as if the sales associate […]
Queenie, Virginia Beach, VA. I am an African American mother of a 23 year old son. We have seen lots of race issues on the news, on television shows, and on social media in the last year. The response that I see many white people say is that they are tired of hearing about these […]
Tori Collins, Washington, DC. Depression is real and doesn’t care about your race. If you’re African-American and female not only are you expected to be resilient enough to just take the hits and keep going, if you can’t due to emotional or mental illness, you’re considered to have an attitude, you’re a mean or a […]
Rikki Clark, Milwaukee, WI. I teach African-American literature and folklore at the university level. Often white students will say in class how they would have never owned slaves. But there is a fundamental problem when we view history through a twenty-first-century lens. Our modern morals and values are out of context. I would hope, if […]
Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]
Julie A. Perkins, NV. I’m 22 years old, half African America, half Caucasian. Because I’m black, I have been racially profiled and discriminated against because of my gender and skin color. But I’ve also had the terrible taste prejudice from many black people due to my mother being white and me not being full black. […]
Carmen Davis Portland, OR I was a very young child from the Midwest traveling with my mother by train to Detroit in the 1940’s. There was an African American couple on the train with a wonderfully packed picnic basket. As a very gregarious child I was eager to explore the car. My mother told me […]
Auguste Budhram Austin, TX I was broke, in my twenties and had just moved to NYC when a friend told me that I could earn some extra cash by being a part of a focus group. When I called the ad agency, I was told I’d be asked a series of questions to determine if […]
Tanya Haney Middleton, WI I am a white mother and school employee; my kids are white, Asian and I have been a foster parent to an African-American child. I have been struggling and driven to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of institutional racism, but I struggle daily. People look […]
Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite […]
Aniaka McCowan, Union City, CA. Everyone one always says “oh my god you have a kid” Just because I hold a child doesn’t mean I’m a young mother. A caucasian women asked me why I ruined my life having a bastard child you probably don’t even know the father. I simply said why do you […]
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 […]
Natalie, Seattle, WA. My grandmother never got to pass for white. She was sent to indian boarding school. 50 years later, I grew up in white suburbia, where no one assumed I was Native or even mixed-race. I self-identify as Native, I speak Chahta, I participate as a tribal citizen, I carry on the family […]
Freda NC I am African American. Growing up I was often asked this question in some form or another “are you mixed, what are you, what are you mixed with, what’s your nationality, are you Indian, where are you from?” As I got older, the question began to offend me more, especially when the person […]
Felix Muhlebach, Chapel Hill, NC. I was at the Head of the Hooch, 2nd biggest rowing event in the US. More than 1600 crews. More than 5000 athletes. I saw only one Afro American crew. No mixed race boats. Check on attached event picture file. Statistically, one out of 5 athletes should be Afro American. […]
Kerwens R. Pinthiere Cranston, RI It really bothers me when people call me African American because of my skin color. I am Haitian and I am proud.
Simone Pratt Brooklyn, NY I can talk about race all day… I work in multicultural advertising so it’s what I do, but outside of work as well… Some context on my 6 words: Race is something that puts us in boxes in our society (“talking Black”… “Acting White”… “Black music”… on and on), however race […]
Brittany Barnes Reno, NV I am adopted. I was born in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, now known as Western New Guinea. I don’t really tell people where I was born, because I don’t find it necessary in conversations and it never really comes up. People look at me and automatically assume that I am African-American and […]
Nicole Minneapolis, MN As a descendant of Germans and Scandinavians, I am termed WHITE. My daughter is is a strawberry blonde with creamy white skin and blue eyes. Again and again I have been asked how it was possible when her father is an African American. I have heard, “he can’t actually be her father” […]
Kelly Blount, Snohomish, WA. If you live in the U.S.A. Your an American. Not African American, not Asian American, Irish American, etc. Once everyone believes that it would help a lot.
Gabi, Holland, MI Just Because I am Dutch does not mean I have to Dutch Dance. People should not be forced to do or like something just because of their race.
McKinley Dixon, Richmond, VA. In the dominantly caucasian school that my sister used to attend, she would get picked on for her hair being curlier and fuller than the other girls in her school. It got to the point where she would straighten it every morning before we go to school. Damaging her hair, for […]
Valerie Elverton Dixon, East St Louis, IL. As an African-American woman living in a society where the standard of beauty is light skin and straight hair, I am so grateful that I came of age during a time in this nation’s history when we started to celebrate and to affirm the beauty of various skin […]
Susan Williams Frappier, Canada. It`s just a hair thing. I spent my childhood wanting to have bouncy, floaty, flippable hair. It`s only now at 37…38 tomorrow, that I have embraced and called beautiful and amazing MY hair. I no longer want to be like everyone else. I still think the others are beautiful, it`s just […]
Lunia Collado Cranston, RI As an adult, I’ve been living between the US and the Dominican Republic. While in the US, curly/kinky hair is not usually a big deal, it definitely can be, and is often perceived as unprofessional for situations such as job interviews and media appearances. In the Dominican Republic, the issue of […]
Donna Monroe, Indianapolis, IN. It was the summer of 1957. I was riding on a train with my mother when I saw another little girl who was having her hair braided. She was crying. My heart went out to her because I cried when my mom tried to comb the tangles out of my hair.
Brenda Becker, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in a white Queens neighborhood where neighbors worried that “they” would “get in,” and the cool girls had straight sheets of hair. I was delighted to meet and make black friends at my all-girls Catholic high school. It was the 70s, and even as I struggled with my […]
J. L. Woodward-Lyons Boston, MA
Tre’zure Glover, Banning, CA. Being an African American woman comes with its assumptions and stereotypes. The main stereotype and assumptions deals with our hair. Many people question why is our hair so nappy? Why is it so greasy? How long does it take to grow? do you wash it everyday? Those are just some questions […]
Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]
Melissa U., Charlotte, NC. My Taino people would love me, from my plump lips to my curly hair. My African people would love me from the rhythm in my hips to the powerful thoughts in my mind. My Spanish people, they might deny me, but I can’t deny them. They are in my language, they […]
Ernest Fabrizio Garcia New Fairfield, CT Neither of us are African-American, but our children are. There seems to be a conception that doing black hair well is partially genetic.
Shaunise Allmond, Baltimore, MD. Society assumes since I am a black woman with natural hair I cannot do simple tasks like combing my hair. My hair texture is extremely curly and what some consider nappy. I have broken combs in the past and will continue to break them in the future. My problem with people […]
Tiana, Wildomar, CA. Typically I get complimented on my hair that I have inherited from my mother’s side. As a mixed breed people struggle to figure out what I am exactly, but my hair is a tell tale sign that I am not white. Aside from various compliments I always get that one girl that […]
Nikki Hearn, Sacramento, CA. Being “Black” just the way God made me is enough.
Myla Ledesma, Westbloomfield, MI. My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican. Me and all my siblings are biracial, we all look alike the only difference is their light skin and I’m brown skin. We all have medium length hair. Anytime I’m with them we get ask are we mixed and when […]
Meteorologist Rhonda Lee, Shreveport, LA. I was let go from my job as a meteorologists at KTBS in Shreveport, LA for a Facebook post where I defended my hair, and later Black kids. I’m pregnant now and feel there is still so much I need to do to change the world before my son gets […]
Rae Winfrey, Chicago, IL. It is so satisfying that black beauty is now viewed as a compliment and not an insult. Where we embrace our culture and not try to hide it or be something else. From the kinky coils in my hair from my tired feet from walking all day, my black is still […]
Khairah L. Walker, Montclair Heights, NJ. My hair is not my heritage. It’s been an issue my entire life, people define me because of it. People hate me for having it, curse me when cutting it. It is not ME. Yes it is my crown but I am my temple. I revel in my blackness, […]
Charlotte, Houston, TX. I grew up close to African Americans. They were guests in our home and people on the bus with us. I never noticed how taboo touching was between us until I was 30 and a neighbor girl came over to play with my kids. She skinned her knee and as I hugged […]
Clare Norris-Bell, Los Angeles, CA. In the Black community, hair has been been a measurement of one’s value for generations. In the African-American culture, “good” hair refers to hair that is not kinky or not what is pejoratively called “nappy”. It is hair that is closer to the texture of people in parts of the […]
Carolyn Hipkins, Largo, MD. All my life I’ve been told that I have “good hair”. Its very soft and with a loose curl pattern. If I straighten it or put a relaxer in it it looks like Caucasian hair. But let the humidity go up. My hair reverts to its natural curly state. I spent […]
An Indigenous Native American’s with Curly Hair, USA Western Hemisphere Indigenous Natives The “straight hair myth” started by The English Settlers in North American, and spread like a nasty virus throughout our entire hemisphere. Anyone else tired of this lie. THE PENCIL TEST: In the past Whites had a test which was used to define […]
Drew Murray, Owensboro, KY I grew up in a very divided household when it comes down to the words race and racism. When I 7 my parents divorced, I moved in with my mother and she began dating, 9 months rolls around and she is pregnant by her then boyfriend, now husband. This man was […]
Stefanie Walker, Sacramento, CA. Sometimes I just want to dye my hair and see what it would be like to blend into the crowd-to not be defined by my red hair color anymore-to not be a “red head”. Red heads are the biggest minority of all in my opinion, how many do you actually know? […]
Laura, Red bank, NJ. Let me just start by saying that racial forms are the death of me. I keep clicking back and forth between non Hispanic white and Latin American. Here’s the thing. My mom and her family are from Puerto Rico. The language and culture are very important to her but here is […]
Terence P Ward New Paltz, NY I’m one year in to a five-year exploration of dreadlocks as a participant-observer, so I can learn about the experience and the perceptions; it’s called Dread Like Me and I maintain a blog about it at dreadlikeme.blogspot.com. I expected people to treat me differently because they would think I […]
Sophia Farber Brooklyn, NY Of course, when envisioning ideal partners, I do give a thought to what our daughter’s hair might be like. Guilty. Wondering if and when Michelle Obama will let the girls go natural at a state event.
Nicole, New Orleans, LA. Black women are so obsessed with their hair that it can totally consume their life… “I can’t get in the pool ‘cuz I can’t get my hair wet”. “Girl, I can’t work out and sweat and mess up my hair”. “I can’t buy that. I gotta pay to get my hair […]
Mia Turner New York City, NY The obsession so many young black women have with long straight hair has undermineded the cultural identity and pride of a generation.
Amanda Sperow, Chehalis, WA. Oregon State University Because I am a young woman with blonde hair, and I take pride in the way I look most people presume I am a “bimbo” or dumb blonde. It’s sad our minds don’t extend beyond the sexuality of an individual, and we can only see as deep as […]
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. […]
Anonymous, USA. Grew up as the only little brown girl in class, always having to explain why my hair grew up to the skies when it rained and the humidity took control of my tresses, then drew tightly too my head. Never getting assistance from the PTA moms passing out red and black combs on […]
Omar, USA Race has two meanings, and both can haunt us. The color of our skin, hair, eyes, etc.. or the delirious desire to be the fastest, the strongest, to win the race. They’ve always been intertwined. Well, as we know now, those division lines of color, or those finish lines of race-tracks are very […]
Jeanette Ruiz, Atlanta, GA. Growing up I learned to hate my afro hair. I was the only one in my family with course African hair texture. Although there were others in our Hispanic neighborhood with course hair and dark skin, my mother with straight silky hair made it seem like a problem. She would take […]
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. […]
Donna Cook, Roseville, MN. I have very fair skin, Fitzpatrick Scale I, and growing up in Los Angeles meant lots of unintended, fairly serious, and wretchedly painful sunburns. I was also a bit of a tomboy wild child who would refuse to let my mother brush my hair, hair she intentionally left long as a […]
Aaron Matthew Villalobos, Norman, OK. While I’m admittedly more apple pie than beans & rice, I have never felt my heritage as a Mexican-American detracted from my ability to honor my country with the gift god has given me–my voice. I love singing our national anthem. I feel like it’s the biggest contribution I can […]
James Camron, Cherry Hill, NJ
Mireya, Sparta, NC Why is it so surprising?
Abby Korschgen, Burlington, IA People have always been around me showing off their tan, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t tan. I guess that’s what I get for being predominately Irish and German. I have learned to love who I am and that I don’t need a self-tanner to make myself feel […]
John, England Before I had any sense of nuance, I looked at race relations across the pond and here in the UK, the way the media had intended for me to see it. Whites are the aggressors, blacks are the victims. Granted it wasn’t always so – I’m old enough to recall various newspapers getting […]
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 […]
Sandra Castañeda Anaheim, CA I have spent 42 of my 44 years in this country and it doesn’t make an ounce of difference, I’m still treated differently. My head says I’m American my heart says I’m Colombian, because that’s where I’m accepted.
Kelsey R., Primghar, IA I was adopted at the age of 2 months old. Most people who know my family know this about me. Others just assume I’m their biological child because I look just like my dad. I have heard this throughout my whole life. Adults didn’t believe me as a child when I […]
Amelia, Salt Lake City, UT I understand that I am nothing. I’m a worthless piece of trash, a waste of a human life. There are many who hate me. Some don’t even know me. I’m a slow learner, sure, hate me for that. I’m annoying sometimes. Hate me for that. I messed up. Hate me […]
Leah Perlongo, Sunapee, NH. Ever been asked “Where are you from?” and the answer they expected was not the town you were born, but a country you’ve never been to? I find it frustrating that we in USA assume that people who look a little different are probably from another country.
Steven Winberry, Mulkeytown, IL
Stephanie Connors Eureka, CA Music is one of my biggest reminders of the cultures that I grew up with. It fills me with nostalgia and pride, longing and love of the people who came before me. The people from: everywhere! I love all of it now. From day to day I swirl around in a […]
Dilan Edward Kirkland, Apopka, FL I used to care, but after all the rioting, looting, raping, and killing, I honestly couldn’t care less about racism or social injustice any more than I do right now. my daddy always said you can’t always have what you want. Just a part of life. Only a degenerate doesn’t […]
Soledad O’Brien, Submitted via Twitter: @Soledad_OBrien. @michele_norris #theracecardproject
Tawana Littlejohn Washington, DC We were welcomed with mostly open arms, the year was 1967.
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 […]
Eric N Peguero, New York, NY We, Latinos, may raise your children, do your laundry and clean your floors, but we are not THE HELP. We are people like you perhaps a little less proud of how we earn a living and very willing to earn that living honorably. We deserve respect.
Audrey Kennedy, Baltimore, MD
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 […]
Debra Cope, Alexandria, VA. Adoption is beautiful, and I really don’t mind helping others navigate the awkward preconceptions that accompany it. But this phrase just burns me because it equates my spunky, lively child with an object . She’s not my toy — she’s my daughter!
Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]
Kazandra Vanessa Trejo, Bowling Green, KY. I was born in beautiful Los Angeles, California. A state full of fields and Latino immigrants who have labored their lives away to prove a better future for their children. To be a Mexican-American that is aspiring to obtain a degree from a university makes me feel like the […]
Treylieus Curry, Denton, TX. Everyone has a story and their road my not be pretty or easy to navigate but the destination is freeingly beautiful.
Dionyves Martin, The United Kingdom Growing up mixed race is confusing. All too often you are expected to choose sides as if part of a childish game of goodies and baddies. The country you were born in and identify with comes second to the colour of your skin. ‘Where were your parents born then?’, is […]
John Reuter, Cumming, GA Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat
Emily, Perris, CA. I have NEVER been so proud to be a Filipino-American. My culture is my everything and I would not trade it for the world. Being the handful of Asians at my school makes me even more unique. I want to promote diversity, I want people to be okay with the color of […]
Melissa Teates, Falls Church, VA For a long time I have wanted to help but wasn’t sure how a white person helps. I marched when asked and wrote letters when needed. Now I am taking action. I have joined the NAACP and I am working to get slaveholder names (Mason and Jefferson) off my local […]
Karen Campbell, Los Angeles, CA
Kieran, Mesa, AZ I am caucasian and I did not do the history. Get to know me before you assume. 1 chance goes far.
Paul VonAesch, Rochester, NY There is one race, and only one…..the Indy 500. You thought I was going to say something else didn’t you.
Kay Thorson, Richmond, VA I “can” pass for straight (if I want to) in uncomfortable situations, but so many other minorities or ethnic groups cannot. The fear is the same.
Chuck, Albuquerque, NM People often say things like “Oh he must have a fetish for Asians” or “She must be looking for a Green Card” or “He must not be able to get a White girl”. No one ever says “Oh, you two nerds are perfect for each other” even if it’s true. In Asia, […]
Jen Owen, Glen Allen, VA “I can hardly talk to you anymore.” My father said this after he’d used a racial epithet and I told him never to say that. I don’t want that hate put in my children’s’ heads and hearts. NO, you never COULD talk to me like that. We left that family […]
Jamika Richardson, Wilmington, DE My name is often used to judge me! ”Where are you from?” ”what does your name mean?”
Ashley, Ashland, VA It’s very hard to be proud of the skin you are in when your ancestors were terrible people.
Jennifer Allen, Oceanside, CA Chains of habit, societal expectations, historical wrongs, unfair advantages, inaccurate history. Even when you have the tools, it takes time and effort to chip away at the customs enough to take them off. For everyone
Jennifer Luberecki Hagerstown, MD Being Korean-born and adopted at 3 by Caucasian parents, I grew up with my adopted parents culture (which is Polish and Scottish) and feel thoroughly American. Which is why it feels like a shock, and sometimes a slap in the face, when other people make assumptions about who I am. The […]
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 […]
Ariana Amador, Dallas, TX You can’t talk like a color.
Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown, PA.
Chaddirck G Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan No matter how I dress, what I do, or say I am viewed this way on U of M’s campus, in the state of Michigan and outside of it. No matter what I do to lesson the fear of me being a Black and […]
Yoselin, Dallas, TX As a Latina speaking Spanish is a natural thing especially to my parents who do not speak English. Going around speaking another language that is not English gets you to look at different, “Learn English” “speak English” is probably the most common things I hear when speaking Spanish. Even though I get […]
Rev. Kathy Bird DeYoung, Aurora, CO. I was raised in metro Detroit in one of the white northern suburbs. Now I live in the most integrated city in the nation, Aurora, Colorado. My city of origin is more integrated now, thankfully. But, I still wouldn’t want to return. I’m frustrated by this new ethic where […]
John Kwong, Mesquite, TX Growing up an Asian American in Dallas, TX, I often heard the words of ignorant people say “All Asians look the same,” “Chinese, Japanese, Korean… what’s the difference?” To be truthful, these words hurt. Associating all extremely different ethnic groups into a single title. Our backgrounds, our culture, and our family […]
Jeffrey Nolish, Detroit, MI. We all belong. Diversity is a gift.
Kirsten Liske, Santa Cruz, CA
Anonymous, Sacramento, CA. I remember the time when we just moved here in the United States, we were called “beggars” by an old lady because of the way we dress. Coming from a country where lifestyle was just simple and plain affected our adjustment, and made it hard for us to adopt, especially the place […]
Cindy, Decatur, Al. We can’t change things but I hope blondes and redheads always remain, I hate what is being lost, I hate being hated for being white I guess now we know!
Yonatan Bryant, Redwood City, CA. White people have been trying to kill my people for 2000+years. I think that gives us an out on being part of any “race”.
Victoria Finney Cambridge, MA I still remember how upset she was when I asked her this. Like I had said something wrong that I shouldn’t have. Like I had failed a test somehow. “Tori, aren’t you happy with the way you are? You are beautiful; black is beautiful.” Why is she saying this? Why does […]
Xanh Quang, Chicago, IL. The fact that this isn’t knowledge as basic and as practiced as a fact like the sky is blue or there are five great lakes is a tell-tale sign that you are American: western-centric, America (even though there are two, we always know they mean the one third of North-centric, and […]
Sharaya S., Wayne State, Detroit, MI Growing up in foster care and different states, people treat you different in the South vs. the North. It’s never fully accepting but feels like home, even when the hatred can be felt from complete strangers.
Ursie Bankhead, Buffalo, NY. I have a PhD, have studied race issues. And still struggle in my workplace. Mostly within my own department. I have support from several friends of various races/ethnicities/backgrounds, etc. But, it is difficult at times being “the only” and to experience microinvalidations during staff meetings or to end up in a […]
Chris Thompson, Rochester, NY. I have been an engineer for 13 years, and I notice that when I don the regular business casual attire, colleagues not directly in my department think I’m either in food or custodial services. Now I wear a tie daily, and the “compliment” I get is that I look like a […]
Jennifer Blankenship, Grand Terrace, CA.
Linda Bronstein, West Hartford, CT The Jewish people have been the target of hate for thousands of years, in just about every country in the world. My parents’ generation in America faced restrictive quotas when applying for colleges and jobs, and “restricted areas” when looking for homes to rent or buy. But in post-World War […]
Rheannea Howerton, Plano, TX
Alison Montes, Dallas, TX Puerto Ricans are multiracial. We are mixed with Spanish, African, and Indigenous races so we are more than likely able to pass as any of those races easily; which is what happens to me. I am mistaken as a Caucasian every time and it is not until they notice I am […]
Jerrell Bratcher, Baltimore, MD Why does the color of my skin offend you? I’m tired of “you are smart.” I’m tired of “you don’t sound black.” What makes it so difficult for you to see my ideas as my own? Oh, it’s because I’m black. Why must everything that I say, think, or do as […]
Ashton King, Canada Racial prejudices are more dangerous than racism itself which is now agreed to be a systemic issue. Prejudice requires a person to ACT upon their racist ideas and prejudice is something every person of every race as we can see it very clearly any time we hear “fuck white people.” “Fuck the […]
Theresa Nakata, San Diego,CA Growing up a “haole” girl in rural Kona, Hawaii, every school year I was bullied for the color of my white skin and the shape of my nose. As I got older and experienced other cultures, the personal shame and pain I felt about being white in Hawaii was replaced with […]
Finnegan Lang Caplette, Garland, TX I am a White Texan born and raised in the Dallas area and I have Autism. I have tried my hardest in life to defy the meaning of the word Autism. I have become a public speaker for anti-bullying and special needs kids and I am also a camp counselor, […]
Lawrence Dortch, Vienna, VA. I’m tired of smiling all the time to alleviate other people’s fears of me. I am not a monster and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or smile when I don’t feel like it to make white people feel comfortable.
Nancy Wilson Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation Misunderstanding is breaking my hopeful heart. I was robbed by a black man I’d smiled at on the street. I still smile at people on the street. But, I might hold my purse tighter. I was robbed by a black man I’d looked in the eyes […]
Randa New, Hillsboro, OR. While passing blacks walking on the sidewalk black adult looks away while their child will smile back at me. How can I connect with them when they look away?
Ivette Schumacher, York, PA.
Jazmine McKinney, Winter Garden, FL. Yes, I am black. No I am not angry. I actually smile all the time, and I get odd looks because of it. I guess I don’t act like people think black girls should act? Yes, I love Disney. I honestly don’t like rap music all that much. I love […]
Jaimie Benfield, Louisville, KY Proud to be white and sick of all this crybaby bs about racism when a lot of the blacks I have met are way more racist than any white person I know. You have the same opportunities as anyone else so stop tearing up our country and crying and being criminals […]
Jacky Grey, Eugene, OR Having no connection to my heritage thorough my parents makes me feel like an imposter when I meet “real” people do color.
Poonam Sherpa, Mountain View, CA
Danielle, Holland Middle School, Holland, MI
Daryl, WDET 101.9 NPR DETROIT, Detroit, MI IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, YOU HAVEN’T SPENT A NIGHT WITH A MOSQUITO.
Oscar Alvarez, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Luke Brockman, Oregon State University, Blachly, OR My six words are an attempt to underline my privilege in this country. I’m white, but have never understood the attitudes of an overwhelming amount of other white people, and am unable to understand the attitudes of the so many beautiful people of color… but I will never […]
Alma Arriaga, Texas State University, Austin, TX I am a combination of the places and cultures I was born in and raised with.
Kristin Cooke, Richmond, VA I often was told my white friends were more black than me because of their tan. Outside of being asked “Do you and your siblings have the same parents?” or comments in regards to me sounding white or “educated”, Black people too would often not drive towards friendship with me because […]
Rachel Quinnelly, Sapulpa, OK
Jowanna Michelin, North Las Vegas, NV
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 […]
Melanie Hoa San, Mechanicsburg, PA >When I think about race, this familiar question is the first thing that pops into my mind. Although this exact wording (which I have heard countless times) could come across as rude or ignorant to some, it does not offend me. Instead, I proudly reply, “half-Vietnamese, some Irish, some Cherokee, […]
Amber Gerideau, Lancaster, PA I’m a mixed-race black woman. My mother is of Irish descent and my father was a dark-skinned African-American. I was born in San Francisco where my family lives for 10 years during 5he 70’s & early 80’s. We then abruptly moved back to my father’s very small hometown in Western Pennsylvania […]
Karla Rivera, Dallas, TX My father did come from Mexico crossing the border but he has his papers. He works in construction in a nicer white populated area. My father works very hard and he tries his best to speak English. I wish people would stop judging him, for someone who quit school at a […]
Isabella, The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH Ever since I can remember people have been shocked to see what my dad looks like. My nana is 100% Japanese and my papa is Irish/American. So my dad looks very Japanese, even for being only half. My mom is a white woman with blonde hair and […]
Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]
Sarah Prieto, Miami, FL p>I was born in Miami and raised by Cuban refugees, exiles among many people just like me. I never felt completely anything, American or Cuban. When I ask people where they’re from, it is because I want to understand their immigrant, child or grandchild of the immigrant story. Our families’ traditions […]
Opeyemi Parham, Dummerston, VT. Both my Middle Class, African slave descent parents were artists. So my life had shadows from Margot Jefferson’s Negroland, but great differences, on tolerance of cultural diversity and expectations.
Jim Michonski, Virginia Beach, VA. I grew up in a military family. The March on Washington happened when I was two years old. We mostly lived outside of the US until I was nine. I don’t have memories of and was not exposed to the racial turmoil of the 1960’s. One of the strongest experiences […]
Kelly Mulvany, Chandler, AZ This country is beautiful BECAUSE we are not all white. The variety of cultures and beautiful people ARE what makes America great and I would not like to see that whitewashed. If that means giving up privileges than so be it- after all, have so many people already proved it’s doable?
JR Baltimore, MD I am white and an Ashkenazi Jew. I was brought to this country by my refugee parents from Soviet Union when I was 18 with no preconceived notion about race or racism. I heard these words about 10 years later. They were shouted into a phone by a black man on Light […]
Lydia Taylor Memphis, TN I was born and raised in Alaska. When I was 4, my father got out of the Air Force and accepted a job as a State Trooper in Dillingham, Alaska. He moved from Anchorage to Dillingham first, to start his job as we as find us a place to live. We […]
Ken Prestwich, Worcester, MA. The Hiroshima family included my first friends growing up on a small farm just outside of LA (they had one too) in the early 50s — the parents, like so many where we lived, had been interred during the war. They were fine people; a second family to me (I am […]
Christine Farrell, Naches, WA. My dad was an Italian/Irishman who grew up in the Bronx and Harlem areas of New York City. He grew up tough and he grew up mean. He was the only white kid in many of the schools he attended. He was involved in gangs, had been in and out of […]
Arlene Arias, Waterbury, CT. As an adult, I am an educator and social worker who fights for equality and promotes the value of diversity.
Emily, Philadelphia, PA. I am a white American. My family is here because the Turkish government was committing genocide against Anatolian Greeks in the early 1920s. My grandmother lost her family and came to NY, and when Smyrna was burned she had no home to go back to. The confederacy does not serve my family. […]
Chloe Kandel Wong, Douglaston, NY.
Olivia Paez, Destrehan, LA. My mom is white, and my dad is Cuban. I was told a lot of times I am to white to be Hispanic, but I know my blood.
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 […]
Ronnie Dunn, Cleveland, OH My family was the third African American family to move on my street, Gay Avenue, on Cleveland’s Eastside in 1964. I was three years old and the youngest of three children. My siblings, a sister and brother, respectively and four years older than I, had already started school. The grandchildren, a […]
Lillie Carroll, Richmond, TX “You are so white” is something I hear almost all of the time. I hear it after I say something quirky or do something weird. What boggles me is that something in light of being funny or myself has been boxed into the title of “being white”. Why can’t I make […]
Marco Peccolo, Italy I’am from Italy, but most of the times people hear my accent and they assume I am Mexican or Middle Eastern.
Cheryl Devall, El Cerrito, CA Unlike most of my extended family, I live alone by choice, childfree. Love my people AND need my space. After the ‘Rona hit, I figured I’d be safely sheltered, working from home in Northern California. Until my older sister, who lives with our recently widowed Daddy in San Diego, texted […]
Rosemary Brinson Siipola, Kalama, WA. Reflecting on growing up in Duplin County, North Carolina, my Grandma Cora was the matriarch of a large family. Inez was her helper, confidant, friend and nurse for decades. My sister and I loved her and we played with her grandchildren. Over 50 years later, I think about Inez and […]
Katherine Suszczewicz USA When you don’t know, your imagination will choose to make something up. Over and over again.
Raquel Saunders, New York, NY. My dad is half black and my mom is white, when look at me you only really see the white. But I am a quarter black, and when I say that people look at me like I just gave them a lie. It pisses me off. Don’t judge me on […]
Kim Floyde, Montrose, CO.
Paul, Hayward, CA So My Mom is creole and her parents(my grandparents) passed for white and I didn’t know I had black ancestry until I was 28yo my dad is Irish/English… people tend to tell me what race I am. I identify mostly as white but look Latino but depends on who you ask… apparently […]
Alan S. Doctor, Cambria, CA. I was born in San Francisco on 15 Sep 1930. Dad was Scotch/English and Mom was Polish with a dash of German. Both 1st generation born in USA. My neighborhood friends were Hispanic, Oriental, white and refugee Jews from Germany. In high school I liked to walk home through the […]
Robert Lanza Tucson, AZ I grew up in NYC as one of the very few white kids in the neighborhood, and for the most part the only one in my terrace. Had a black stepfather. It shaped me, and made me who I am. Anyone who really knows me knows it is not possible for […]
Morgan Fort Lauderdale, FL My now three and a half year old brother named Kendall was born to two crack addicted parents. My grandmother now has full custody of him and is his Mother figure. My grandma goes a few times a week to the Walmart across the street to do her grocery shopping. Benny […]
John David Rodriguez, Sacramento, CA. Being an Asian-American today is not even a far cry to what it was 20-75 years ago, especially if you were a Japanese American who had to endure living in the American Japanese Camps. Not even many Americans remember those days. I am a Californian that is Japanese, Mexican, Irish, […]
Ryan Harrell, Holland, MI. Our adoptive son, Tagg, clearly is not a biological member of our family. In his two years with us we have encountered the entire range of reactions from loving acceptance to ignorant comments to outright disgust and disdain. But through it all, the fact is that we represent the new reality […]
Andrew Dunn, Meridian, ID. My 4x great grandfather was born a slave in Virginia. My 3x great grandfather owned slaves in Missouri.
Francine Piggott Butler Delaware, OH Piggot Road is in the Scottish District in Barbados. The oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere is also found in Barbados. My mother recently told me, “Oh, my grandfather wore a yamulke (kippah).” There’s a lot about my family history I don’t know. I’ve always identified as an African-American, but […]
Andrea Hyson, San Francisco, CA. About two months ago, I finally met a new employee in another department. This woman and I had numerous phone conversations but hadn’t yet met. I decided to stop by her office to introduce myself. Another employee was at her door as I approached. As I turned into her office, […]
R. Flowers Rivera, McKinney, TX. The most aware I’ve ever been of race was when my family moved from Gulfport, Mississippi, to New Fairfield, Connecticut, during the 1980s. At that time, New Fairfield was a town with a population of about 10,000 in which there were three Black children, all of whom were in my […]
Sal Guardado, Riverside, CA It has taken over 30 years to gain a sense of personal belonging to a country in which I was born and raised. Could this be because I was born to immigrant parents and always felt the need to compensate for somehow not being “American” enough? As I age, reach new […]
Anonymous, USA Growing up I received comments on my olive skin tone. I grew up within a white family and culture. Many curious people often ask where are you from? I reply Florida to only receive “yeah but like where is your family from?” Having previous knowledge and the help of a DNA test I’m […]
Jennifer Evans, Albuquerque, NM So often people bring race in as a deep part of someone’s identity or use it as a reason for their inability to be a part of a group or a part of a culture. The truth is that while race can be a big part of someone’s identity it is […]
Mark Albin, South Bend, IN I love the person I am, but I also sometimes fear that other people, that strangers, will hurt me. My sexual orientation has nothing to do with anyone else, but I know there are people in the world who make my identity their mission to resolve. People enjoy being oppressive […]
Cash’e Chapman, Philadelphia, PA.
Becky Lynn Washington, New York, NY I got pretty lucky I guess-grew up in the desert where there was little diversity. Our family was different for a lot of reasons-my father’s job took him out of town often, we didn’t go to church, my brother was a tortured genius so we were always switching schools, […]
Lateefah Torrence, Brooklyn, NY. At the corner bodega, I’m one of those Black Girls who the Middle Eastern owner must watch from his elevated podium behind the bullet-proof glass. On the subway, I’m a Black Girl on WIC who can give Russian ladies directions to the welfare office. In the taxi, I’m the Black Girl […]
Sasha Feoktistov, Eugene, OR Jews as a minority group are put in a particularly awkward place. Because we enjoy most if not all of the privileges of being in the white majority, it makes dealing with subtle cases of bias and discrimination particularly delicate. I’m not about to make a stink about always being told […]