Never belonging. Puerto Rican or American?

Lorna Hagen, Brooklyn, NY. I am Puerto Rico born New Yorker that moved to the US when I was 12. Somewhere in the plane ride over I lost something – I have no shared childhood experiences with my North American friends (lullabies, games, etc.) and no shared adolescent experiences with my Puerto Rican friends. It […]

You’re foreign. Not American. No way.

Franke Santos, Los Angeles, CA. Despite being born in the U.S., speaking only English, and being given a white-sounding name, I am routinely asked “where are you from?” When I respond, “Los Angeles,” I get the follow-up “where are you really from?”

Why not love one another daily?

Jim Schneider, Long Grove, IA Despite being a 58 yr old, white male raised in an all white, rural community in central Illinois, nothing will warm my heart more that seeing America making significant progress towards ensuring that ALL Americans (regardless of ethnicity, gender, identity, religion or any other means of sorting us out as […]

The Day After The World Changes

Duryan Bhagat-Clark, Aberdeen, NJ. My father is an immigrant from Bombay, India. He moved here to go to college and graduate school. He is Muslim. While working at Rutgers University he met my mother; she is Jewish. They were married within a year. As I often joke, I know there will never be peace in […]

Uniquely Made, The American Girl Today

Christina Rains, Riverside, CA. French, Indian, Mexican, Dutch, but American? It is quite clear that you cannot judge individuals by their color. Race in reality just identifies where your family has lived and what part of the world you are from. Throughout my life, I have been called “white girl” but in reality, this categorization […]

Made-up, fear, love, in, out, together

Dev Michel Luthra, Jamaica Plain, MA. I am the child of an Indian (Asian) father and a European mother, both of whom were raised in Africa. I have spent most of my life here in the US. My brother and children were born here. I still struggle with how entitled the white elite is in […]

Relax, we’re on same team now!

Michael Gauer, Egan, MN. I’m a white man who had a black roommate and believe the color of skin it totally irrelevant. White Americans have learned this, so we must all move forward with confidence that the bad racial past is behind us.

I’M African American. Am I African-American?

Dahomey Abanishe, Secrest, FL. As a child in Kansas, I always assumed I was African-American and not because of what I was culturally but because of how I looked. I am Truly a Nigerian American culturally. My father is Nigerian and I was raised eating pepper stew and listening to Fela. No one fried chicken […]

Neighborhood party we were not invited

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

Bicultural and Bilingual should be enough.

Megan Medrano, Houston, TX. Growing up Latina in south Texas, I have always been surrounded with rich culture. My home was filled with both the English and Spanish language and I was encouraged to live both my Mexican and U.S. Latina identities. I did not realize how important an ethnic identity was until I came […]

I am a proud American man

Charles Tanner, Midland, TX. I am an American,there is not a pre or post to that I was not brought here I was born here. Yes my distant family came from somewhere else. But as with anyone who truly wants to be an American they assimilated. Just as if I wanted to make any other […]

Torn. Frijoles charros or apple pie?

Inga Paterson-Zuniga West Orange, NJ I am a German-Scottish Spanish teacher, born and raised in the USA. I learned to see the world through multi-colored lenses after living for several years in Mexico, marrying into a Mexican family and acquiring a love of all things Mexican. As a middle school Spanish teacher I hope to […]

While there’s no finishline: Americans All

William Eckman, Atlanta, GA. We come from different families, different cultures, different schools but for all to win as a great nation we must be less tribal and remember “out of many one”! This is the glue that holds us together and allows all of us to work to make tomorrow better than today across […]

Meet My WHITE AFRICAN AMERICAN Son

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 […]

Racism; as American as apple pie

Malcolm Harris Jarvis, San Diego, CA. Unfortunately, the apple does not fall far from the tree leading, in many cases, to generations of racists. Racism in any of its myriad, ugly and self crippling forms will always be deeply entrenched and ensnared in the soul of countries and their citizens unless we have the unthinkable, […]

WHITE: Not Allowed 2 Be Proud

Jason McLevis, Duluth, MN. Growing up in a multi racial neighborhood I am well cultured. It was not until Junior High that I became aware I was supposed to be ashamed to be “White”. I am not allowed to be proud of any of my heritage. I must stand aside in shame while any other […]

Daughters of Muslim father are American.

Suzie Husami, San Diego, CA. My mother and father met in college in upstate New York – he, a Lebanese -Muslim-Republican named Muhammad and she, an American non-practicing Methodist-Democrat named Maureen. They fell in love and had three daughters – Najla, our olive-skinned sister, and my twin sister and me – pale and freckled. My […]

Born in America, Your’re just American

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

“So, what are you?” “An American.”

Kristin Maerke, Springfield, MO. When I was younger I was very annoyed by the question, “What are you?” Which were usually the first three words spoken to me. I have since learned to embrace my cultural diversity, and sometimes even enjoy making people guess (it tends to make them quite uncomfortable).

Ashamed of American Black culture today

Keville Bowen, Chester, PA. I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as […]

Never Accepted As American While Abroad

J Smith Kenya I’ve spent several years living outside the US (Europe, Asia, Africa) and being half Japanese, I am always mistaken for being from the continent of Asia. Even when I tell people repeatedly that I am also half white and that my Japanese side of the family has been in the US for […]

To belong everywhere and nowhere simultaneously

Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]

Pride comes before the downfall, duh…

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 […]

This country belongs to Native Americans.

Lewis Hernandez, Milwaukee, WI. White people, raped, murdered and stole this country from the American Indian. Now it’s one America. One white. One Black. One rich. One poor. Separate and unequal. Separate and unjust. The American Indian has been fighting terrorism since 1491 when Caucasians first came to their country.

I’m okay with no racial majority

L J Laubenheimer, San Jose, CA. The thing lots of people miss with whites losing the majority is that no one race will be in the majority. We’ll all be minorities, which will ultimately remove a source of resentment and conflict. I’m white, I live in Silicon Valley. I doubt whites are the majority here […]

It doesn’t matter. You look foreign.

Michiko Minoura USA I’m second generation Japanese American. This was a comment made to me by a student I met my first year in college. The International Student Association was planning a road trip and I wanted to come along. I did, but I wonder what would happen if I was white without an obvious […]

Tenth generation American, still asked origin.

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.

I’m Not African American, Just American

Davin Bjornerud, Menifee, CA. I don’t know why black folks in America want to be considered African American. There are many traits that make us different and the fact remains that we are born here in America. White folks don’t say “I’m European American”, so blacks or any other ethnic group that is born here […]

She gave the eraser back.

Harry Ford, Minneapolis, MN. Race is a difficult subject given the large amount of pain many people of color have experienced related to race within this American landscape. We are people in pain hoping that our contributions will be seen by the others.

Prayed God would make me White

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 […]

I raised my children color blind

Annette, Houston, TX, . I am white and I am weary of being included in a white subset of American original sin. The only original sin I have is biblical. I do not expect to be patted on the back for raising my children to be color blind. My children are 16 and 18. They […]

White immigrant = not an immigrant.

Linda M Larsen, Hudson, WI. Hungarian+British +Canadian = American. I’m an immigrant, a ‘legal alien’ from Canada, with Hungarian and British parents, living in the USA. I’m supremely aware of the fact that no one sees me as ‘immigrant’ because I’m white. I moved from a very visibly multi-racial large Canadian city to small-town, lily-white […]

AMERICAN DISGRACE: SLAVERY? GENOCIDE, AMERICAN INDIAN

John Austin, Park Hill, OK. We always seem to begin every discussion of race and race relations in America with some mention or reference to the enslavement of black Africans. Their import to the mainland U.S. to be used as draft animals in a “White” America. To say, a sad, disgusting, devastating, illicit event in […]

Pick ’em up & lay ’em down.

Anonymous, Seattle, WA. My five-month-old Ameri-Kenyan daughter and I were part of a group of 300 Americans with the National Parks Service who commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights March. For five days, we marched from Selma to Montgomery. She rode just over my heart, clapping and singing as we went.

White grandchild adoptive Native American grandparents

Charlie Cook, Sacramento, CA. My dad was born from a White Russian and American couple. At 6 days old, he was placed into the wonderful home of my grandparents, one of the Cherokee tribe and one of the Mohawk tribe. Race doesn’t define you, your history, culture, and family help you grow into the person […]

America is changing. Deal with it.

Doug Langworthy, Vashon, WA. Our country started changing the minutes we white folks started building our first settlements, displacing the people that had been here for thousands of years. It has been one long evolution of change. Most of it for the better, some of it not. Let’s not fear the change. Let’s not fear […]

You’re American? Were you born here?

Araceli, Pasadena, CA. No I wasn’t born here. Does it really matter? My family moved to this country when I was 2.5 yrs old. I grew up in the US. My family lived in a middle class suburban neighborhood. We all speak to each other in English. We’re just Americans who also pay 23% of […]

Am I American o de alla

Juan Dominguez, Sacramento, CA. Mexican people say I am a shame to our people with gauges in my ears, the clothes I am wearing, the fact I do not have an accent when I speak. It’s like I was raised in America but by Mexicans that eat tortillas with every meal celebrate mothers day the […]

I’m just an American outside America!

Alma Gill, Columbia, MD. When I travel to other countries, I find it fascinating when asked, are you American? I’ve never been asked or identified that way in my own country. I’m always flattered and proud to answer, why yes ~ I am American.

Somewhere between Salsa and Country!

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 […]

Black history is American history

Richard Hakala, Rocklin, CA. Love this project – I see we are in Black History Month! Isn’t Black history just part of American history? Aren’t all people who have contributed to our society part of our rich heritage?

Embrace both change and your person

Michael Chin, Los Altos, CA. I am personally grateful for both the East Asian cultural values passed down to me by my Chinese parents, as well as the diversity and liberal way of thinking hardwired into me during my time growing up in the Bay Area, as both aspects of my background have contributed equally […]

When people ask… What are you?

Naomi, Grand Rapids, MI. I am an American, of Mexican decent… No, I don’t speak Spanish, no I don’t know where my family is from in Mexico… My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were born in Texas… I grew up in Gary, IN around mostly Black people… people don’t know what box to put me in. How […]

Not Really Indian, American Born Desi.

Rahul Iyer Mesa, AZ Not Really Indian, American Born Desi is what could be used to describe me. Not Really Indian (NRI) is a term that is often coined to describe people of Asian Indian background who were born outside of India. The actual legal term used by the Indian Government is Nonresident Indian (NRI). […]

¿Eres mexicana? Entonces, ¿por qué el disfraz?

Maria Seattle, WA You’re Mexican? Then why the disguise? I was asked this by a viejito selling his wares in Tijuana, México, probably about 20 years ago. He had been shocked to hear me speak Spanish. I would of been in my early 20s, all rebellious with punked out bleached blond hair, red converse & […]

Three Cultures. Two Races. No Home.

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. As a mixed child, I have never felt at home with any culture. My mother was born in the Philippines and my father was an airman stationed there. They are wonderful parents who are absolutely in love with one another. I am one of three children, the middle child and only […]

She wishes for American eyes.

Rose McKenney Lakewood, WA I’m glad we’re finally acknowledging the number of multi-ethnic people in the US. Sadly people my age (50s) have been asked to choose one; yet I know several multi-ethnic people around my age. They lost a lot because they or their parents felt the need to choose one tradition or ethnicity.

I Carry Guilt Because I’m White

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 […]

Progressives destroyed race relations in America.

Stacey Seattle, WA The Civil Rights movement was hijacked by progressives. Since that time, they have destroyed Dr. King’s “Dream”. The virtual enslavement of the near-entirety of America’s black populace to the statist ideological plantation is destroying any hope of reconciling the differences between majority & minority. No longer is a man encouraged to exhibit […]

You look too foriegn for me.

Danielle Silver Forest Park, OH A white guy I liked told me this. I am white( German, Irish, Penn. Dutch), Hispanic, Native American. I used to get asked where I was from in school. I said, “I’m an American.” My ancestors have been here for generations. My full brother has never been asked where he […]

I am Mexican, Black, and American

My 6 word memoir is about my family because I am Mexican, but my cousins are black and Mexican. Most of my family is Mexican because my mom’s side is all Mexican and so is my dad’s side. But on my mom’s side I have black cousins. Some experiences I’ve had with racism is when […]

“They” should all be like you.

Shelagh Mullings, Coral Springs, FL A white supervisor said this to me in 1965 when I was the lone “Negro” working in a white collar job for a large international corporation in San Francisco. I am a naturalized American with light skin (yellow) who was born in Jamaica, BWI. I was well-spoken, quiet (shy), and, […]

Oh, you’re white, right? No, actually.

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 […]

Chinese adoptee with a white name

Jennifer Charmley, Charlotte, NC. My dad is white American and my mom is a Chinese immigrant, and I am their adopted daughter from China who grew up in Seattle feeling half-white half-Chinese. As a customer on the phone I’m treated as a white woman, while in person I’m frequently asked what part of Asia I’m […]

Not American, not Mexican; something else.

Chuck Lehneis San Diego, CA Born here in San Diego, I find I fit in best. Yet, I don’t identify totally with the culture, by and large. Most of the surfers are white, most of the tourists are white, most of the people who are out and about on a Saturday night too. I see […]

I saw a group of “undesirables.”

Danielle Giese, Cheverly, MD. This is what my white neighbor called a group of African American young men who were congregating outside of the a local grocery store. Apparently, one of them was showing off his new baby. I wondered if that will be how my sons will be described years from now. Will they […]

Many hearts, one God, infinite hope.

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”.

No One Traces Ancestors Back (to) America

Anonymous, USA. I find funny it when people say, “I’m full American” or something along those lines because all Americans are immigrants, or of the family of immigrants. Therefore, no one is “full American.” The United States is a young country, and most people can use common technology to trace back where their family immigrated […]

“American” is the most accurate label

Anonymous, San Antonio, TX. Look, I’ll keep it real simple. My family is from Texas. Now we’ve had a French Texas, a Spanish Texas, a Mexican Texas, a Republic of Texas, a Confederate Texas, and finally Texas, USA. Am I Mexican? Hell no. I’m from Texas, and this is the United States of America. My […]

Exotic name! where are you from

Vidhya Mallikarjunan, Blacksburg, VA. I was born and have lived in the US for my whole life. And I’ve been blessed to live in a town where my race doesn’t come up too often especially in negative ways. But still so innocently people will constantly ask “where I’m from” but I’m from Blacksburg. It’s so […]

I find my identity in Christ

Janine D Herrera, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. When beginning this exercise, I almost regressed back to my old thinking habits. I came up with the six-word phrase, ‘English language no Spanish still Mexican.’ However, I realized I was going back to what I was delivered from. I used to struggle with my identity. I am Mexican […]

Nazi past, American present, Christian regardless

Jessica Eaton, Minot, ND. My maiden name is “Hess” and carries a lot of weight for being a “Nazi name”. Growing up, other students in school would call me a “Nazi” because of my last name and distant relation to a couple of people who took part in the Nazi regime. I didn’t like it, […]

I’m one of the rare ones.

Nabeste, Chicago, IL. I’m a Mexican-American. I hate white people. I have grown to hate them. They came to America to steal the land and kill the Native American Indians. They brought the slaves here. They brought with them diseases that are here now. They went and took Texas and all the states that belonged […]

America, we are your children too.

Sheree Lewis, Fontana, CA. The term American should represent the vast multitude of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, languages, complexions, origins and spiritual beliefs of its inhabitants. When those in power do not address the mistreatment of humans because their race is considered inferior, or choose to scrutinize and negatively profile individuals because of a difference in […]

Shouldn’t need to defend my race.

Rebecca Hassine, Palo Alto, CA. With racism being such a prominent issue throughout the world, especially within the United States currently due to the hostile political atmosphere, I always feel as though I need to defend my race. Defending my race, in other words, is like constantly needing to defend my identity. No one should […]

My Gorgeous Mulatto Daughter Is European

Ehron, Belgium. My daughter was born in the United States to a black mother, but a dual citizen and I raised her with the eurorequirement to the mentality to live and present in Europe, so I always refer to her as European, not American. When she walks the streets of Belgium and speaks French, people […]

Surprise surprise I was born here

Victoria, Fairfax, VA. I was born in Conway, SC. I’ve lived in the States for nearly two decades now (all of my life so far). It wasn’t till I was in elementary, and I had to ask my mom why boys would say “ching chong” to me that I realized that I was somehow different. […]

What do you think my ancestry is?

Daniel, Charlotte, NC. I do not want to say what country I am from, because I want you all to guesstimate my ancestry? Where would you say I am from? What part of the world do my features reflect? Please explain your responses! Please share your thoughts with me. I am NOT from the U.S.A. […]

Mexican really? You dont look mexican.

Priscilla Esparza, Riverside, CA. Living life as a Mexican American is best described by Abraham Quintanilla,”Being Mexican American is tough. Anglos jump all over you if you don’t speak English Perfectly, Mexicans jump all over you if you don’t speak Spanish perfectly.” “we got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are and we […]

Becoming American, it is not easy

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.

United yet unique, diverse yet connected.

Dana, San Antonio, TX. Around the world, my white skin and my blonde hair make me easily identifiable as an American. This superficial categorization has lead me to wish that people took the chance to get to now me for who I am, rather than making assumptions about my character. In return, I challenge myself […]

I’m white but I still have a culture (Welsh and proud)

Katherine Davies, Houston, TX. I understand that racial inequality is a huge problem, has been for centuries and hopefully, will not exist centuries from now, but judging someone because of their race, their culture, whether they are black, white, hispanic, asian or anything in between. I get told all the time that white people don’t […]

”I am white, But not racist.”

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I’ve been called racist just by talking to someone of color. As someone whose ancestors are English, American, French, and Belgian, I realize, that being called racist isn’t the worst thing someone can do to you in terms of discrimination in ethnicity and racism, but […]

I am more than a “race”

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I wrote this six word memoir because people should know that no one should assume someone else’s ethnicity. I also wrote this six word memoir because most people that I encounter think of my ´race´ and tend to assume what ´race´ I am and sometimes […]

Straight white male? Must be racist.

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Even if I haven’t really been discriminated against by groups of people thinking they are superior to other groups of people, I feel that as a white person I am being mis-represented by white supremacy groups and neo-nazis. I feel that certain groups of people […]