Chiyoko, USA. I am one quarter Japanese. I have auburn hair, light brown eyes, and freckles. I am five foot nine, and my skin is paler than even my white friends’ skin. But my name is Japanese, which leads people to ask me where I’m from, no, where I’m REALLY from. I’ve been called J*p, […]
John Jason Elizaga American Canyon, CA
Tojo, Chicago, IL. Even the really Japanese people in my family don’t appear shockingly Asian so I can see where this comes form, but I am Japanese-American. That means I’m American too.
LiLi Alameda, CA Just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I have dragon/tiger parents, I’m automatically great at math, I speak perfect Mandarin, play violin and piano, and have never gotten below an A- on an assignment. I break all of those stereotypes, every single one of them, and hey I’m still Asian.
Jaimie Nguyen San Jose, CA There are not much Asians in the media, not many Asians exposed in the light. Also, it saddens me how narrow-minded this society is. When there is a foreigner in America of a European descent, we say this person is “exotic”, “sexy”, “edgy”. Then, if there is a foreigner in […]
Janice Ng Nashville, TN “How can you be full Asian?”
Jim Roberts Atoka, TN I’m half Caucasian and half Asian. Growing up in the rural South during the eighties was a painful and humiliating experience. It seemed as if the only racial identities anyone could process were “black” or “white.” Fitting into neither category assured my brother and me years of abuse from all sides, […]
Tom Dierolf Brevard, NC If you saw a photo of me among asian, black and latino faces, and asked to pick the immigrants to the U.S., you would probably not pick me. But I immigrated from Germany in 1960, and I know that all of the others in the photo could have had family living […]
Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.
Judith Molthen Nelson Madison, WI Remarks made when I tell people I was raised in Thailand.
Ian Shi C Malaysia I’m Malaysian and some people classify me as other other races. It’s just silly. Just because I don’t look or act like a Malay or Chinese. There’s even a race column on my ID. It’s stated ‘Chinese’. Anybody had something like this? Plus I don’t get it why people are still […]
Chung Ho Santa Clara, CA Apparently apart of my Asian genes is supposed to make me good at math…if not then I should at least be good at kung fu…
Sean Ji, Ann Arbor, MI. The reason I said these 6 words is because ever since I came to the U.S at the age of 2 years old, I never really grew up around other Asian people. My hometown is Ypsilanti, Mi, which is really close to Ann Arbor, but much derided by those in […]
Marilyn Lee Sacramento, CA
Tiana Tran Kailua, HI I thought of this because even though I am Asian, it does not mean that I am going to be the best at everything. I am not a genius. Sometimes it’s hard to live up to this “bar” where you have to be perfect.
Lisa Lee San Francisco, CA Asian Americans are constantly reminded that they don’t “belong” in America, despite their contributions of building up this great nation. We are reminded in ways big and small, such as the seemingly harmless remark of “but you speak English so well!” The Civil Rights Movement paved the way for all […]
Will Chiang New York City, NY Brooklyn
John Mendez Las Vegas, NV Just because I’m Asian, it doesn’t mean that I have to be good at math. As a matter of fact, I struggle in that subject.
Derrick Busman Grand Rapids, MI Being an Asian, living amongst primarily white individuals, I tend to receive a lot of racism. One of the most common things, is the assumption that all Asians excel at math or scholastic studies in general.
Katherine Pan San Francisco, CA
Carey Tan Brooklyn, NY Biracial (white and Asian). Partnered with a white man from rural West Virginia. We don’t experience much (if any) hostility. I’m told that this is increasingly normal in society, and this demographic development is supposed to fill us all with hope and pride. But I look around at all the entrenched […]
Matt McDonough Morris, MN I chose these six words because I find that I sometimes will forget that I’m Asian just because I’ve been raised in the United States my entire life and live in an Irish-American family where we don’t really practice any traditional Korean customs. Most of my friends are white and it’s […]
Thi Thumasathit Palo Alto, CA I’m Asian-American. I was born in Thailand, but immigrated here when I was 3 months old so I speak perfect accent-free English. Since the age of 4, I grew up in Hull, Iowa, population 1,500. Invariably, I am asked (even in the Bay Area), “Where are you from?” After I […]
Alec Dughi Castro Valley, CA I am always asked if I am Asian. And the answer is yes, I am. I think the politically correct term would be Chinese American, but sure, I’m half Asian. But I’m also half white, and the two races are constantly fighting to rule my life. I don’t really fit […]
Roland Groce, Jr., Seattle, WA. All 52 years of my life has been affected by white privilege and racism. My son is bi-racial, now graduated from college and approaching grad school at a racist institution (University of Washington). I am concerned that at the UW, Asian people have taken over and continuing to carry out […]
Phuong Christian Portland, OR Just because someone is Asian does not mean they inherently have the “smart genes”. I’ve seen hopes and dreams shatter because people couldn’t live up to this expectation.
Lydia Ho Los Angeles, CA I moved to the U.S. four years ago, and having to come across my classmate’s Facebook comment identifying a picture she took of her friend with me standing in the background was nothing but pain in my heart, when I saw her commenting: “that Asian girl in the background”. I […]
Jackie Tieu Beaverton, OR As an Asian American I am left out of conversations about race all the time. Conversations about race are centralized on blacks and whites. Asian issues are rarely talked about and not acknowledged enough. I am not white and I am not black. I am Asian.
Sonia Kang Northridge, CA Are you their mom? As a biracial mom (Black/Latina) married to a Korean man with children who look more Asian than anything else, we are often looked at with curiosity. They look at them then at me. Is she the nanny? Who can she be? Whether at their Korean language immersion […]
Kipp Jarecke-Cheng Maplewood, NJ One day, out of the blue, my seven-year-old son said to me and my partner, “White people shouldn’t adopt tan babies like me.” We were stunned by our son’s comment, partly because it seemed so uncharacteristic of him, but mostly because my “tan” son is Asian, like me, while my partner, […]
Sabrina Dendle Los Angeles, CA
Reich Krieger Germany Americans: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Asians: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Africa: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Europe: “Race is a social construct, everyone is the same.” Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.
Barbara Schmidt Metuchen, NJ We are a caucasian couple that adopted our daughter from Southeast Asia. Random people in the supermarket make dumb comments and children have asked where is her real mom. We must carry her adoption paperwork when we travel internationally, since passport control sometimes questions whether she is really our daughter. School […]
Sara Higgins Eugene, OR Explore Identity “I’m not interested in living in a world where my race is not a part of who I am. I am interested in living in a world were our races, no matter what they are, don’t define our trajectory in life.” – Kerry Washington (Behind the Scenes of Scandal […]
Peter Kim Los Angeles, CA Heard the phrase “majority minority” on the radio the other day. I know exactly what they meant and I have heard it many times before, but it irked me. Used to express when an ethnic minority is greater than 50% or outnumber the “majority.” The implications are that the majority […]
Jill T. Furutani Orlando, FL I am a 3rd generation Japanese American. I used to reply that Yes, I tried very hard to lose my New Jersey accent. And why are all Asian women mistakenly called Kim?
Karina Irvine, CA I live in an area that has many distinct Asian groups who are first generation Americans: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. My grandmother was first generation Filipino and my Grandfather and father are both Caucasian. That makes me part-Asian. But to my Asian friends who are first generation, they see me as […]
Susan Lee New York, NY On the phone no one can tell I’m Asian-American, but in person I sometimes elicit this response. Because I am Asian, some people expect me to speak with an accent. Once a real estate agent, on the phone, described the neighborhoods she was going to show me. In person, she […]
Vincent Remolete Boston, MA I had blacks and whites chasing me home after school. Anyone Asian was considered a chink or a jap in 50’s America. My father was a veteran of WWII. No respect.
Katrina Nye San Jose, CA I am full Asian and my husband is a quarter Japanese. Once our son was born I asked my husband which one of us will have the responsibility to give him “the talk” about dealing with racism. My husband replied that it had to be me, because even though he […]
Martin Smith Mobile, AL We are told that the wealth and functionality of Whites and the poverty and dysfunction of non-Whites comes from “White privilege.” Yet it doesn’t work for Asians, who as a group are as wealthy as Whites. How did they overcome racism like that, and why did the Blacks not? The Jews […]
Neil A. Sookdeo Baltimore, MD With six degrees, four from grad schools in the USA, I cannot compete fairly to teach African or Caribbean history in which I have a Johns Hopkins doctorate. I have NOT even experienced such race hate even in apartheid South Africa because I look Asian. I know fear feeds racism. […]
Andrew V. Chavanak Falls City, NE When companies choose to make diversity a priority in hiring, or universities seek to create a more diverse student body and white people miss out, it’s not racism. Racism is about power, and no one can claim that power is shared equally in this country. Hearing other white people […]
Christina Wong Seattle, WA I’m a second generation Asian American woman who married into a Caucasian family. I have always felt Americanized and never really identified with being Chinese while growing up, except for those occasions of childhood taunts that I must be smart because I’m Chinese or when I experienced the exceedingly rare occurrences […]
Kenna Hensen Philadelphia, PA I’m so ashamed to say I have racist thoughts. I grew up in a small suburban town believing that no matter your ethnicity, racist remarks where never appropriate. I moved into a large urban city 5 years ago and found my thoughts and feelings on racism being altered by my experience […]
Kimberly San Jose, CA Since moving to the San Francisco area, I’ve been told by a few men quite bluntly that I’ll never measure up to an East Asian woman. This is what I’ve heard; “You white women age faster. Asian women are so much prettier. Asian women don’t get fat. Asian women are nicer, […]
Jenna Overton Langhome, PA I’m a half-black college student. My friends and I were having a discussion about race one day and a few of the white males in the group (my boyfriend among them) reasoned that they probably couldn’t think about race in the same way minorities do, because to be white is to […]
Jennifer Chow Brookline, MA We seem to occupy this in-between space, identified as neither a minority, nor the majority. Where are we?
Anonymous, Canada. My Father’s family is Guyanese, they believe in the 1 drop rule, but for white, not black. So my very brown, fro haired grandmother says she’s white. My mother is German and English, but tans dark. She’s convinced she has brown ancestors (she doesn’t). Then there’s me, wavy dark brown hair, brown skin, […]
Sarah Pasadena, CA I love the words “Check all that apply.” I proudly check white AND Asian. Sometimes even Pacific Islander to honor the island where I grew up. I refuse to only check ONE box. I will not choose between my Asian heritage, my white experiences, or my island culture.
Thuc Luong Philadelphia, PA I am Asian and when I was a kid about 6 years old I moved to the US, this is when I finally feel like a minority. People treated me wrongly calling me Chinese. I am not even Chinese. They would mock the Chinese language by saying ching-chong macha hay to […]
Cecile Nguyen Austin, TX Alternative title could also be “I hate the Asian Guessing Game.” I really don’t mind people being curious about my ethnicity. What I do mind is how people go about finding out my ethnicity. “Are you Chinese? Japanese? Korean?…[list goes on]” Believe me, they’ll keep going until I stop them. And […]
Anne Guillory Thom Vancouver, WA Don’t feel comfortable in ethnically oriented gatherings, except in Louisiana.
Marcus Atlanta, GA Born of African American parents, raised by my African American mother and Irish-German (adopted) father. Big brother to a bi-racial sister and my cousins are white, Asian and Latino.
Teresita Tomita Gant Kailua-Kona, HI When I lived in the continental US, I found people generally judged me by the way I looked. When I was little, I looked more Asian so that’s the way I was treated. With the passage of time, my appearance has changed. Some persons think I’m white so the way […]
Lauren Mooney Elk Grove, CA As children, my mother always referred to us as Lebanese Leprechauns. She was first generation American, of hard-working Lebanese immigrants. My father was of Scots-Irish decent; his family having immigrated several generations earlier. American first and foremost, both parents also made sure we knew about the cultures of our ancestors. […]
Luis David Garcia Huntsville, TX I am Mexican, my wife is Pacific Islander and our girls were born in Virginia and Texas. My girls are the minority among minorities and yet are lumped together with the largest population in the planet (Asian/Pacific Islander). Now try to tell my Chamorro wife that she is Chinese and […]
Natasha Jane Chrisandina USA Is it wrong for an Asian to speak good English? You ask, why do I speak such good English. I ask, why shouldn’t I?
Sandy Outside USA As an U.S. diplomat serving overseas, my job is to represent American society, with all of its varied nuances and complexities. However, I often find myself facing these very words in both my personal and professional spheres. Unfortunately, due to the nature of diplomacy, there’s often not much more I can do […]
C.Q. Menlo Park, CA I know people who have been surprised that I’m Asian. Why should it matter? So much beyond my eyes defines me. I am proud to be Hapa, but Hapa isn’t all I am.
Hannah Lucky Tran Philadelphia, PA As an Asian American educator, I have personally experience and witnessed countless acts of bullying based on Asian identity and/or labeling. Society tends to disregard the Asian American experience, sugarcoating it with ‘model minority’ rhetoric. I hope to open up dialogue on the daily struggles of Asian Americans–beginning with the […]
Sam Rhee Crown Point, IL I’ve come across this “benign” stereotyping from children on an infrequent but still significant basis. I live in a town with very few Asian residents, and it usually, but not always, children who openly ask breathtakingly offensive questions based on media stereotypes. Along with my Six Words, I’ve also had […]
Mark Mott Hillsboro, OR I am an Asian American who grew up in VA, I was called many things and many were not my name. I struggle to this day with my race, I am glad my children will not have to struggle with not being accepted because of skin color like I did.
Steven Moya Colorado Springs, CO My race is very unique. People always ask if I’m Mexican, Asian, or white and I always tell them no I’m Dominican. They assume this because of the color of my skin. Most people don’t even know what Dominican is but they know what Cuban is and what Jamaican is […]
Bryan Ren Ann Arbor, MI Being an Asian American in the United States has created a dilemma. I find it hard to relate to being strictly American, but I also discover difficulties while trying to hold on to my Chinese roots. As a result of my race in this country, I feel a disconnection between […]
Tu Nguyen Philadelphia, PA I am a 9th grader at central high school in Philadelphia. I wrote these words because I know that I’m not the only one who has heard them before. I am Vietnamese, but people often assume that I am in some way, Chinese. I notice that often then not, people tend […]
Ashley Z. PA One of my white friends once asked me if anyone had ever been racist to me. I said no, but I tried to explain that racist was too strong of a word. I’ve certainly felt racial tension, and that awkwardness when people feel they’ve said something that might offend me but it”s […]
Katie Yamano Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project-University of Michigan
Heather Brown Seattle, WA
Kim Ji Hee Spokane, WA I am nine years old. I picked these words because they are the only words I could think of to express how I feel about being Asian and White.
Sihyo David Kim Fresno, CA
Maria Naylor USA Race is in the eye of the beholder. My color changes based on the surroundings (people), but instead of blending in like a chameleon – I stick out!
Mei Powers Silver Spring, MD Because that’s the only two Asian races that matter?
David Dearth Huntington Beach, CA After sending over 150 proposals to the Small Business Administration of the Federal Government…. didn’t receive even a single reply. In a telephone call to the SBA, I was told by a government official the he could tell that I sounded “White” and I probably will never get any contracts […]
Juliette A Clancy Culpepper, VA Since I am half Asian and my eyes are the only Asian thing about me, people think that I’m automatically straight off a boat from China. I AM 50% SOUTH KOREAN AND 50% IRISH. Get to know me before judging me for what I look like.
Steve Titterton Lindenwold, NJ I’m white, and the father of two Asian children. Went into that thinking that race was irrelevant if I thought so, the social workers told me that I was wrong, and they were right. My card is about how I was made aware of what it means to make assumptions about […]
Joseph San Diego, CA There is no box for me. I am lumped in with all others who are not Asian, African-American, Latino, Native American, etc. This categorization process strips me of my identity. When it comes to opportunity, what about the fact that I grew up poor, never knew my father, and never finished […]
Melanie M. Cogdill Submitted via Twitter: @mcogdill My bi-racial kids? They are only seen as Asian.
Anonymous Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Ben, Reno, NV. One time a bunch of friends and I were hanging out, and I forget what exactly was said, but one of them whispered in another ears. I asked what what it was, my friend laughed that the other friend forget I was Asian lol.