I didn’t ask to be white

Aubrey Stevenson, Morgan Hill, CA Race is too often used as an excuse to blame people for their shortcomings. We make these generalized statements about people to help us understand certain differences. We attribute differences between people to their race when in reality it has a lot more to do with the way the grew […]

Female Chicana, not from Mexico/Philippenes

Mariela Uscanga, La Mirada, CA. When people see me, I am often confused as Filipino or from Mexico. People will speak to me in Spanish or Tagalog. It’s a bit frustrating only because when I tell people that I don’t speak Tagalog people question my honesty with them. Or, when I tell people that my […]

All the Mexicans here are Black.

Jessica Laursen San Diego, CA to New Orleans, LA When moving from San Diego to New Orleans as a teenager I realized the jobs held predominantly by Mexican-Americans in Southern California were performed by African-Americans in the south. Jobs such as janitor, yard maintenance, cook. I began to realize how incredibly complex social “status” is. […]

Image portrayed, impression made. It DOES matter.

P. Contreras, Benicia, CA. How you choose to dress gives an impression about you. Whether that impression is accurate or not no one will know unless they get to know you. But, they won’t get to know you if your image repels them. Example. Teenage Boy (black, Hispanic, Asian, white) in your neighborhood in jeans […]

Call Me Irish, Not Just White

Rowen, San Francisco, CA. I was always close to my grandmother, although she died when I was pretty young -she made a big impression on me. She was a strong woman and that came through.She had come to the US when she was 21, just her and her sister. They left Belfast Northern Ireland after […]

Me llamo Lora y hablo español.

Lora McManus, Altadena, CA. Being transracially adopted (by Caucasian parents) comes with a plethora of advantages and challenges. One of the most common misconceptions that I face on a daily basis is the assumption that I was raised in an Chinese family and speak Mandarin, when actually neither of those are true. Stereotypes are one […]

You don’t talk with an accent.

Grace Marie Sanchez, Scotts Valley, CA. When I took a room mate to my house after graduating from college this is what she said to my Mother. I was completely embarrassed that she said this to my Mom but she did not seem to realize this was a faux pas. I remember my Mom doing […]

Biker gangs have love for me

Richard Haynie, Oakland, CA. I walked into a roadside tavern near Allentown PA that had several motorcycles parked outside. Loving bikes, I thought nothing of it. Inside, a motorcycle “club” were the only patrons on that Sunday morning. I ordered some food and, despite a warning from the proprietor, decided to stay and eat there. […]

Xenophobia or racism? They are different.

Robert San Francisco, CA Fear of outsiders is not the same as hate for outsiders. Urban cultural stereotypes popularized and promoted by the very individuals in that culture have played an important role I creating fear. It’s not the reason but it is irresponsible of us not to talk about it.

“Good Morning!” But there’s no response.

Clyde Jasper Oakland, CA I’m a tall black man with dreadlocks. I’m a husband and a father. I’m a property owner, and a taxpayer. I’m a veteran. I vote. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from a world class university in Berkeley, CA. In passing, I many times acknowledge a white persons presence and humanity with […]

Girl, you got that good hair.

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 […]

No, not the nanny… They’re MINE.

Valerie Grajeda Rountree, San Jose, CA. I grew up not speaking Spanish in a very Mexican neighborhood. My mother sent me to schools out of my area to prevent me getting involved with the local gang population. I grew up with other nationalities and met my future husband in high school. He is white. Our […]

I thought you were a “hoodrat”

Cierra Garza, Parlier, CA. When I first moved to my new high school 15 minutes away from my hometown, I had no friends. I am now a senior in high school. I’ve met new people and made friends but, one thing that always comes up when someone is comfortable with me is the phrase, “I […]

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 […]

I have always wanted Blonde Hair

Sierra Lozano, CA. I feel as though I need more than six words to say how I’ve felt my whole 18 years of living. I grew up in Orange County, California and have lived here my whole life. I am of mixed ethnicity, but can not identify with any particular race. I remember coming home […]

Learned about race FEAR at 13.

Jay Bailinson Napa, CA In lived in Oakland CA. during preteen and early teen years. I belonged to a Boys Club sponsored by the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Oakland’s China town area. I played on sport teams in a church leagues sponsored by this church. I was one of two white boys on the team […]

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.

Know this: We are all prejudiced.

Richard Coccaro PhD. Clinical Psychologist Mountain View, CA I am first generation Italian. As a boy my father told me, “What a man has in his heart, is all that counts.” I have conducted racial healing groups and we explored our prejudices. It is important to know our prejudices so that we can prevent our […]

You Look Like Your Dad

Krystal Lopez, San Jose, CA. Being Mexican that’s all I tried to be growing up, but the truth is there is a black hole that I have made with being Native American. Growing up I never knew the man I would call my “Dad”. It was always just me and my Mexican & German mother. […]

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 […]

I was always different growing up

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 […]

Soul Surfer is Light without color

NanJo Carter, Richmond, CA. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. We moved to Japan when I was 2. We moved to Montgomery, AL when I was six and I attended Capitol Heights Elementary School. These were intense times with the National Guard escorting us to class and the school. We experienced discrimination and […]

Small white girl, watching heroes march

Susan Thackston, Agoura, CA. I was listening to an NPR story resently on Morning Edition. The program talked about “The Race Card Project” and that it was collecting peoples experiences during the 1960’s period of the civil rights movement, distilled into 6 words only. George Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, was only three years older […]

I became an activist and prisoner

Dan Kelly San Francisco, CA I was in a Brooklyn HS in the early 60s and the images coming from the south inspired me to question the social conventions that supported segregation, From that it was a short jump to questioning forteign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]

“They’ve never heard of us before”

Lucy Moua, Fresno, CA. My name is Lucy and I am Hmong. “Hmong” some may question and say as most people are not aware of this particular ethnicity. Growing up, I’ve always thought my ethnicity was well known and familiar to people as I grew in a community where people embraced the Hmong culture even […]

Why are AMWF couples so rare?

Sebastian Lin, Davis, CA. While White-Male-Asian-Female couples have been common place for years, Asian-Male-White-Female couples are still rare. As the model minority, Asian men are generally associated with positive traits like faithfulness, family-orientation, and financially stability. Yet, judging by the lack of Asian Male interracial couples, we are still not viewed as a viable choice. […]

I am Latina and I want to prosper.

Angela Cendejas, CA. Too many people suggest that its best that I stay at the junior college in my small town, but I want to go big. I want to go ivy league, East coast, expensive. I can make a difference and just because I have started out low doesn’t mean I can’t prevail. I’m […]

The Chicana to make a difference

Maria Pacheco, Riverside, CA. My parents never graduated high school. None of my family members have ever been to college. But this Chicana wants to be the first one to make a difference in my family to show them that it is never too late to go back to school and earn a degree. I […]

We’re one people on one planet.

Jedd Birkner, Torrance, CA. Race is a social construct. Prejudice is a way of expressing ignorance and fear. Senseless hatred is passed from generation to generation. I pray that the people in my country with hatred in their hearts for those they perceive as “the other” become a smaller and smaller minority with each generation. […]

Indian dad, European mom, identified Latina.

Nisha Balaram, Oakland, CA. My dad would joke around, saying that my mom couldn’t help but fall in love with him when she first saw him. My mom was usually busy in the kitchen at the time, and would smile and roll her eyes in response to his comment; when the pungent scent of lentils […]

A heritage that no one sees

Evangeline Brennan, CA. I chose the words, “A heritage that no one sees”, because, simply put, I am white (and, yes, I understand that it is a racial euphemism). My father’s family came to America sometime during the Irish Potato Famine. My mother, on the other hand, is Filipino, born in the Philippines and emigrated […]

Judged for wanting to be different

Jared Baumer, Laguna Hills, CA. It can be hard to stand out and pursue a path of something different then what society and the world want you to do. People categorize you as weird or a loser if you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing. If anyone struggled with this all I can say […]

I stay in my “own lane”

Livi Dom, Napa, CA. I have opinions on things, but because I’m white I feel as if it’s not my place to talk about them, because I have no idea what it’s like to be discriminated about because of my race. Which is fine! I just stay in my lane, and I try to support, […]

I’m white. How can I help?

Anne Huntemer, Sonora, CA. Coming from a place of privilege, how can I help welcome and fight for my friends of color? I know I haven’t experienced what you have, but I’m here to support you in any way I can.

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 […]

Lost in race as a mixed kid

Ninasophia Stowe, Riverside, CA I am mixed with Black, German and Mexican. Growing up I was very confused about what it meant to be mixed. I didn’t feel fully accepted by the Black community because I didn’t have enough black features, was called the “black friend” around white people and didn’t speak Spanish so felt […]

Guide To Your Privilege Right

Z Frohna, Los Angeles, CA. So. I’m a white woman who lives in L.A. But I’m also disabled, and a part of the LGBT+ community. Am I privileged? Yes. If someone has privilege, whether it is the dreaded white privilege or economically fueled privilege, it doesn’t mean, “they are a terrible person,” or, “their life […]

I have been alone among many

Gordon Lee Pattison, Los Angeles, CA. In 1959, when I was 14 years old, I moved from Los Angeles to Honolulu. I had just started taking French as a foreign language at my junior high school in Los Angeles and wanted to continue. However, there was only one junior high school in Honolulu at that […]

Rice is my LIFE. Deal with it.

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 […]

See me, not my skin color.

Refugio Zavala, Stockton, CA. All throughout my life, people have judged me by the color of my skin. When I was in the United States, people would call me things like “beaner” and “wetback.” These are racial slurs meant to humiliate and make me ashamed of my culture. So what that I liked to eat […]

Biracial White/Asian Travels to Southern States

Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]

Are you sure you are Hispanic?

Olivia Rose Castillo, Sanger, CA. I am constantly asked if I’m sure of the racial group I belong to because the color of my skin. I am light complected, I’m a lot lighter then most. Doesn’t mean I should be defined by my skin color. All of my are similar in our faces but all […]

Pale freckled redhead burned by words

Marie Farrell, Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in San Diego, California where the sun shines all the time. I was the kid that never tanned, just freckled and burned. I was also raised by an Irish mother so there was a lot less love than fights and tension. I recall a day when I bravely […]

Empowered Latina recovering from self hate

Natalia Lopez, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in East LA and being told I was one of the “good children”, I played into the identity that I was and will always be an exception to my peoples inferiority. Striving to be more like the white girls I saw on television made me feel like I […]

Mexican hands are for farm labor.

Fred Rocha, Huntington Beach, CA Those are the words my parents were told by their counselors in Los Angeles high schools back in the 1940s. All they wanted to do was pursue their interest in Engineering. Instead they were told to go work in the fields. They took the anger they felt and made it […]

Our daughters look like both of us

Heather, CA My husband and I have two beautiful daughters. Both of our girls have white skin, light brown hair, and brown eyes. When looking at them, others would assume they are white. My husband is Filipino/Italian and has dark skin, black hair, and brown eyes. I am white with blond hair and blue eyes. […]

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?”

Wow! you don’t have any kids?

Yira Pineda, Anaheim, CA I am told that it is surprising that at my age, gender and Hispanic culture I do not have any children yet. I hear that by the age of 15 it is common for Hispanic girls to become pregnant and quit school but that was not my stereotypical. I am 27 […]

The Pinoy Debate: Asian? Pacific Islander?

Vince Domingo, Fresno, CA. I’m proud to be Filipino. And I’m also proud to be an Asian Filipino. No, not a “Pacific Islander Filipino”, whenever you see them, avoid them as much as you can, they’re terrible people. They hate puppies. Okay, okay, I jest. They are just misunderstood. This is not even a geographical […]

I feel like I’m being replaced.

Rusty Shackleford, Sacramento, CA. I’ve always been surrounded by diversity and never had any issues with it, or even noticed it. Growing up in a diverse area my best friends were Sikhs, Mexicans, Chinese, etc. As I became older and more aware of the world at large, I knew what diversity was, but it felt […]

I am not one for boxes.

Denise Duvernay, Cupertino, CA. People are always trying to figure out exactly, what I am. But does learning my nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual background, or any other particular thing tell you anything about WHO I AM? So often, I feel like people are just looking for any excuse to dismiss you, or box you into […]

Stereotypes: “Wake-up Everybody!”: Analyze Your Thinking

Mark Ross, California, CA. These issues are complex. Stereotypes (or action using information from stereotype) are based often enough on at least some modicum of reality (authentic or perceived). The wrong view As an African-American male, I have been unduly perceived as a threat. That suspicion has been acted upon several times by government authority, […]

Yes, I was born in Detroit.

Amanda Nelski, Los Angeles, CA. People like to put other people in boxes. “Where are you really from?” they ask. I used to answer Detroit. When they asked where my parents are from, Detroit was not suitable either. “You don’t look like you’re from Detroit.” After some banter I would eventually confess my lineage is […]

Asian-American stories are rarely told.

Timothy Leong, Orinda, CA. I want to change that. Representation in American media spaces need to change in order to combat the stigma that comes with the model minority myth. Also to show the world that we are all different and vary from stereotypes.

Mexican-American, But No Hablo Espanol

Vincent Yanez, Long Beach, CA. For as long as I remember my mother, and myself as I got older, was given a very hard time from people in our neighborhood and some family members about my little sister, little brother, and I not being able to speak Spanish. My mother and father both grew up […]

Still figuring out my six words.

Rob Moore, Oak Park, IL. I was raised in Southern California, born into a military family. I’ve lived most of my life in a white–or beige–bubble. Recently, because of an important and loving relationship, I’ve been thinking a lot more about race as it affects us today. Reading Claudia Rankine, Patricia Smith, many others who […]

Same DNA but born this way

Lily, Lake Forest, CA. Currently taking Biological Anthropology and am finding it both fascinating and eye-opening. My six words are an excerpt from Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way”. It probably looks corny or, perhaps, cliché but I did put some thought into it! When I had first heard those lyrics, I had to research […]

I thought your house would be big

Michelle Robillard, Lake Forest, CA. I’ve never lived in a “house.” It’s always been an apartment or condo, never had my own room except when I was young and my sister wasn’t born yet. I am white and used to be blonde and people assumed I lived well. Quite the opposite. My parents try their […]

Threatened because was the white girl.

Laura C, San Ramon, CA During high school at ROP I was attacked and threatened as was my a boy friends for being “the white girl” getting too good grades and throwing off the grade curve. In college “black women” would approach me the quarter I dated a black guy and threaten to beat me […]

Why steal when you’re already looking.

Michael Swanegan, Chino Hilla, CA. Im a 22 year old African American male who lives in California. Whenever I enter a store, gas station, or even a movie theater. I feel an unwanted vibe as if I’m on the radar by all the managers and floor workers. A negative vibe as if I’m being looked […]

I am the token black girl

Chinna Ford, Vallejo, CA. It’s hard work being the token. You must learn to lighten the mood with an acceptable race joke every so often. When slavery is mentioned in classrooms you must ignore the peering eyes of your classmates. You must, sing, dance and excel at sports because in the words of my white […]

To be young, gifted, and black.

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 […]

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 […]

I Won’t do your Math homework.

Nicholas Le, Sanger, CA. Since im Asian people always say im really good at math. Some people ask me if I can do their homework. I really suck at math so I couldnt even do my own homework. One day there was this dud in middle school and he told me to do his homework, […]

Yes!! My name means White in spanish!!

Blanca Soto, Hemet, CA. I grew up in a community that was composed of mostly white people. Every time someone would ask my name they would go on to say doesn’t that mean white? Yes! I would reply. Mostly likely laughs would follow and the oh so unique question of “why would your parents name […]

I will birth a bi-racial baby

Lindsey Hollister, CA My dad is one of 9 children and the only to procreate within our race. This seems to mean that I am expected to do the same. Little do they know, I have been secretly engaged for two years and am now expecting…

Texican and Kansan adopt beautiful Chinita.

Sandy Mayer, Los Angeles, CA. I was surprised that our daughter’s Guatemalan foster family lovingly called her Chinita but understand that this is accepted in some Latino cultures. Growing up in a bi-cultural household, my sisters and I were called “cosas de la vida” by my Mexican mother. My husband and I are determined to […]

No, I won’t do your homework

Dillon Pham, CA. As a person who enjoys volunteering and helping others, I typically don’t mind if my friends or fellow classmates ask me for help on their homework. Sometimes however, they ask me to send a picture of my homework because they don’t “get it.” This irritates me because one, I feel like I […]

Grew Up Black. Now part Mexican.

Michelle Y. Bess, Chicago, IL. My mom is from California, my dad is from NYC. They raised my 4 siblings and me in Washington State. We grew up identifying as black. Recently, on a trip home, my mom learned that our family moved from Mexico to California on a covered wagon to begin a new […]

Soo, what are you?

Christian Sandoval, Los Angeles, CA. I’m half Asian half Caucasian, but people always mistake me for other races and I honestly don’t have a problem with it. I think people are genuinely just curious for the most part. I grew up in South America for a large part of my life and when I moved […]

Don’t see racism where it is not

Anonymous, San Francisco, CA. I am so grateful for increased awareness about racism in our society (it certainly still exists and we should continue to focus on efforts to achieve equality) but I am also concerned about suggestions of racism (with ensuring public outrage) in cases that do not seem to involve racism at all. […]