I’m a “who”, not a “what”.

I'm a "who", not a "what".

I’m a “who”, not a “what”.

Jerrel A. Burgo,
Syracuse, NY.
The Race Card Project On Location: Syracuse University

My race/ethnicity is not easily identifiable for many people. No one’s race/ethnicity should be deemed “easily identifiable”. Humans do not fit into boxes that were constructed for us. We choose, on our own, how we identify. Many times, people will ask me, “What are you?”. I wish everyone knew that is not an appropriate way to ask someone about their racial/ethnic identity/ies. I’m a “who”, not a “what”. I am frequently asked if I am Latino. I am not Latino. Some people have said to me, “You’re definitely Black.” I do not identify as Black. Other times, people have said to me, “You’re definitely something.” Rather than making an assumption based on my appearance, you should ask me how I identify if you are interested to know. Try “What is your race/ethnicity?”, “What is your racial/ethnic background?”, or “With what race/ethnicity do you identify?” All of those options are better than “What are you?”. I am always happy to share my culture with others. Put your assumptions about race/ethnicity aside and please afford me the same courtesy that I would afford you if I were inquiring about your identity/ies.

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