Veteran Patriot Still White Washed Wetback

Michael Morentin, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up a third generation Mexican-American I find myself walking America as a 30 year old Marine Corps veteran and recent college graduate whom is too brown for those around me who are white, and not brown enough for those around me of hispanic heritage. Being third generation Mexican-American the […]

“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 […]

My neighborhood was notorious for racism.

Julie Simon Los Angeles, CA In 1959, members of the Collins Park community (New Castle, Delaware) firebombed the home of one of the first Black families to move into the neighborhood. On the second occasion, the house was destroyed. Historian Yohuru Williams has written about this event and it is included in the Encyclopedia of […]

I’ll experience this, hopefully they don’t.

Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]

Cross street? Or smile? I’m sorry.

Anonymous Berkeley, CA This is the struggle I have inside ever time I am walking alone at night and come across a man or group of men, often men of color. Should I cross the street to be safe and be “that girl” that crosses the street in fear of the black man? Or should […]

Lizzie’s Journey from Plantation to Farm

Michelle Hill, Oakland, CA. Our family is so fortunate that my great, great, great grandparents were not separated from each other and their children during slavery. Because the family stayed together, we have a family Bible, pictures and records that document their lives in this country. My great grandmother, Mama Lizzie, was born in 1870 […]

No way! You speak Spanish?!

Victoria Chapperon, Anaheim, CA. When people look at me they think I’m white. Once I start speaking perfect Spanish, they freak out and ask me either where I’ve learned it, or if I am from Mexico. Even, when I tell them that I am from Argentina, they automatically think that just my parents are. Just […]

White men run errands too

Michael Kelley Los Angeles, CA I am a White man and when I am out running errands, some Black or Hispanic person will invariably ask if I am the Police. It’s funny that they still think it even though I grew my hair out because I got tired of being asked this question.

Not Connected To My Own Heritage

Amanda Bajema, Riverside, CA. When my great grandparents immigrated to America from the Netherlands after World War II they put in their best effort to become a part of American culture, which in turn meant loosing their own. Growing up my mother and her siblings were growing up they were not to learn Dutch, to […]

A Social Construct, Race Matters Everywhere

Mohammad Salem Shirzad, Sacramento, CA. As an afghan immigrant, I have witnessed the roots of race in different geographical and social contexts, from Afghanistan to the United States. It is sad to say that race do matter in today’s societies all over the world. But this is the truth in today’s world. Cosumnes River College

Yes there are Christians in Egypt

Christine Abraham Santa Monica, CA Ask me where I’m from – born and raised in Santa Monica. My ethnicity? Egyptian…but I feel the need to identify as Christian. Coptic Orthodox Christian. Especially in this post-9/11 world. Sad…

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 […]

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, […]

My grandson is not an other!

Henry Lonnemann, San Mateo, CA. The census called in 2010 and asked: “What race is your son?” I said he is not, but if you are curious about his ancestors he is a mix of Korean, Irish, German, Japanese, and probably some french. They then said they would have to mark him as “other”. My […]

Hispanic and I only speak English

Marlo Torres, Riverside, CA. I am Puerto Rican and I have always grown up with the question of; You’re Hispanic, why don’t you speak Spanish? At first it was always something that I just laughed off and my usual response was I don’t know or my parents never taught me. As I grew older and […]

I didn’t know you are black

Gianni Johnson, Moreno Valley, CA. A lot of times when the topic of race or ethnicity comes up people are not sure where exactly to place me. People who I’ve just meet, and even people whom I have known for a while will say, “I didn’t know you are black” or they might say “I […]

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 […]

Teacher this is my home flag

Randi Sin, Eureka, CA When my dad was in the 3rd grade he was tasked to draw his home flag. He proceeded to draw the American flag, in which the teacher told him this was incorrect, his was the Mexican Flag. This was met with very offending words from my grandmother, who just like my […]

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 […]

The only white person here? (How does it feel)

Rebecca Zavala, Los Angeles, CA. Well, to start I’m not even white… I get this ALL THE TIME. People assume I’m white or Asian, or a mix of the both. It is not insulting to me now, but growing up it was a little irritating having to continually explain that I am Mexican American. At […]

People of color–do I count?

Sarina Bhandari, Los Altos Hills, CA. My parents grew up in India and had an arranged marriage in 70’s. Shorty after, they moved to the United States. In 1992, they had me, a first-generation Indian-American. I grew up with a lot of privilege, and I’ve never felt silenced by dominant society. In fact, I’ve never […]

Don’t assume- alot you don’t know

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 […]

Too brown for the fancy restaurant.

Jane Medina Orange, CA My daughter Annie had just turned 21. So she, my husband, my son, and I put on our cocktail party clothes and went to the fanciest restaurant in Orange, California to buy Annie her first drink. As our car climbed the steep hill where the restaurant sat like a crown above […]

Hi. You must be the nanny.

Mayra Cramer, Menlo Park, CA. I’m a brown typically Hispanic looking upper middle class woman living in an affluent suburb of San Francisco. I’ve allways had a hard time fitting in because I was raised in “white” neighborhoods and went to elite and desirable schools. My third child is fair and people in the street […]

I’m speaking in Spanish. please reciprocate.

Jose Pimienta, Tujunga, CA. Very often, when I speak Spanish to someone who also speaks spanish, they reply to me in English. I take no offense to it, but it does remind me to continue reflecting on such a big topic in my life, which is: race, ethnicity, nationality and culture and how they play […]

I feel uncomfortable with you here.

Terrie, East Palo Alto, CA. Soon after moving to an exciting silicon valley in the first years of the internet boom, it felt like anything was possible in this new world. I was invited by a friend to a party given by a start-up founder, held at his home. We arrived separately from my friend […]

White Pride doesn’t mean White Power.

Morgan Krost, Norco, CA. I think everyone should be proud of their race and be able to show support without it being deemed racist. The media shows a lot of encouragement of Latinos and African Americans for various months or important leaders’ birthdays, but not for White people. It’s like society thinks every day is […]

“We” – Muhammad Ali

Kelly O’Brien, Carmel Valley, CA. Muhammad Ali used to say that this is the shortest poem in the world… He stood at the microphone and turn both hands first to himself, and he’d say “Me”. Then he reverse his gesture toward the audience and say “We”. I’ve always loved this incredibly astute and simple act […]

Armenian, Tagalog, Ilocano, no. Wolof, yes.

Anoosh Jorjorian, Santa Monica, CA. My paternal grandmother came to the U.S. to escape the Armenian Genocide. My maternal grandfather jumped aboard a U.S. submarine during World War II because the Japanese Army put a price on his head. When they raised my parents, they wanted more than anything for their children to assimilate into […]

Disability and race activists work together

Robert Segalman, Sacramento, CA. People of race have been especially supportive of my efforts to establish a FCC mandated accessible telephone service for people with speech disabilities (see www.speechtospeech.org) . I have significant cerebral palsy (see www.drbobsautobiography.org) and have worked to establish this service. People of color, like Dr. Joel Tolbert at California Public Utilities […]

I BET YOU HATE YOUR HAIR

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 […]

Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

Robb Pérez, San Clemente, CA. My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak […]

It’s easier to say I’m White

Laura Pierson, Los Angeles, CA. I am Native American, Mexican, Spanish, English, Germany, and Irish. I was raised by a single mom that is Native American, English, German, and Irish. I didn’t know what being a Mexican meant or was like and I’m still trying to figure it out. As a child, I told people […]

Indian American South Asian Desi American

Jacob Kuriakose, San Diego, CA. I would like to bring up the idea of “Indian” to label Native Americans, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, etc. I would also like to talk about lumping East Asians, South Asians, and South East Asians into the general term “Asian” as well.

Use privilege to give a voice to others

Isabelle Norconk, San Diego, CA. As a white woman, I don’t experience the struggle and discrimination that other men and women of minority groups feel. That’s not to say I have no problems, they just don’t have to do with systemic racism and racial stereotypes. Something I can do to combat this and to add […]

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, […]

Good hair is well maintained hair.

Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]

Miles, Duke, Ella. Music conquers race.

Ernie Hills, Sacramento, CA. “As a young musician growing up in a white bread and mayonnaise world, I revered the recordings of black jazz musicians. This, more than anything else, is responsible for erasing the lingering racial animosity that was part of my family’s unspoken legacy. Thanks for being with us today!”

Two languages, Three dialects, Three cultures

Vincent Lei, San Ramon, CA. Grew up in Macau, China. Mainly speak Cantonese there. Moved to America four years ago and started to speak English and Mandarin. I made some friends from mainland China and also some American friends. I learnt about the difference between Mainland China and Macau. School system were different. Most mainland […]

Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]

“Talaga! I thought you were Pilipino!”

JSRL Padre, Glendale, CA. I am Filipino. Born in Quezon. Imported to East LA. Learned to walk and talk in Los Feliz. Never heard Tagalog at home. It’s not my parent’s first language. That would be Ilocano for my papa, and maybe Alcalenian or Pangasinan for mama. Because of where I grew up, Spanish is […]

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 […]

Uncovering lost migration stories, increasing empathy

Sarah Lee San Francisco, CA My family’s migration stories trace back only two generations, but as a second generation Chinese American, I am often unaware of the struggles and hardships my grandparents went through before living in North America. What I have found most interesting as I’ve uncovered some of these migration stories is that, […]

Changing the path of my children!!

Tina Bradford, Chino Hills, CA. Being raised in a home where “White is Right,” I only had one thing I could do. So I went on my own path of development. Creating myself into the black sheep of the family. Why would I do such a thing? So my children could learn we do not […]

“Si se puede” the famous quote.

Elaine Gastelum, Calexico, CA. My name is Elaine Gastelum and I’ve been raised in a small town called Calexico. Calexico is right next to the border going to Mexico in a city called Mexicali. My town is full of Mexican-Americans that have been raised by Mexican and/or Mexican-American parents. We’ve been taught about our famous […]

1950’s – Mother worked for Civil Rights

Anne Elizabeth Wolfe San Rafael, CA My mother grew up in the South . She worked for Civil Rights in the 1950’s and was called a Communist. The label was erroneous as her ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and Civil War (relatives fought on both sides). My mother was not a Communist, but the […]

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 […]

My children are people not flavors.

Dionne Bensonsmith Pomona, CA Mother of 4 transnational, multiethnic and multiracial children. My husband is Russian with two children from his previous relationship, I am African American with one child from my previous relationship and we have a child together. Our children are not mocha, java, vanilla or chocolate swirl…they are Russian, African American, So. […]

Yes, Brown is beautiful and worthy

Gilberto Tapia Jr, Salinas, CA. I grew up within a mostly Hispanic/Latino community. I remember growing up, others would keep their distance because of my skin color as if it automatically made me some type of criminal. The media portrays beauty as being light skinned with blue eyes, but I would not change my skin […]

Home. The Projects. White and confused.

Dolores Zacconi San Francisco, CA Growing up in the projects as one of the ” 5% white”, had a profound impact on my life; sometimes I was accepted, sometimes I wasn’t. I never felt like I “belonged”; I didn’t play in the playground on the projects’ grounds; I didn’t hang out in the corridors or […]

LAND OF OPPORTUNITY AND FREEDOM

Abbi Bocanegra, Big Bear Lake, CA The number of people coming to the US has changed significantly over time. Many families migrate to the United States to provide a better future for their children and in search of the American Dream. No, we do not come here to steal your “jobs”. Work is work, and […]

I can fluently understand, not speak.

Katrina Dorado, Riverside, CA I grew up in a Filipino household, and I was spoken to in tagalog, but my parents never taught me to speak back fluently in tagalog to them. The first language they had taught me was English, but the majority of my relatives would speak to me in tagalog and my […]

Not Enough to be Either One

Dellyna Ochoa, San Bernardino, CA. Its hard to try and be apart of both worlds when everyone says you’re not enough to be apart of either one. I have to learn how to find my own rhythm in the madness. I give a shout out to CBU HIS311 for an opportunity to.

I am American no qustions needed

Demetrios Pathammavong, Sanger, CA. I am an American, although my grandparents are from Laos. It is often a repeated questions of where I am from. When I answer that I am from America, people then ask the same question. Sometimes I say ”Oh, I am from Laos.” in reality I was born in California. This […]

Struggle is an equal-opportunity ass-kicker, sorry.

Jill Orange County, CA Assuming “equal-opportunity” and “ass-kicker” are each one word. Listen, we can all cry victim for one reason or another. If you want to be happy, you have to take ownership of your experience. If you need some perspective, go to a children’s cancer ward or go to a repressed and/or poverty-stricken […]

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.