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 […]

Wik na tiki wawa bastən wawa

M.H. Culley, CA. It is sad that my Indian Elders and Ancestors were taught to be so ashamed of being Indian that they tried to protect their descendents by not teaching us their songs and language. This is even more painful because in the 20th century out tribe was declared extinct by a white bureaucrat […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

Samoan/Jewish – aka The Last Unicorn

S. Dreyfuss, Novato, CA. Sometimes I call myself The Last Unicorn, after the silly 1980’s movie about a unicorn, the only one of her kind, that goes searching for evidence of others. Growing up with the unusual combination of Samoan/Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve always wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. Any single […]

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 […]

Haitian Cuban fusion. Proud legacy continues.

Suzette Chaumette, San Leandro, CA. We speak of ourselves as a Caribbean family. We teach our girls about the significance of the drum, Haitian Revolution, Toussaint Louverture, Alexandre Petion, Hatuey, Anacaona, Jose Marti, and more. We love celebrating our respective cultures, which are unique, but also our similar backgrounds as Taino, Arawak, African, French and […]

What are you? I can’t tell

Jenn O, Los Angeles, CA. This is the dreadful question that I get almost all the time… I find myself always having to explain my background to people before they’re able to get past my appearance, and actually engage in an intellectual conversation.

People never guess my race correctly

Lara Jean DeShayes, Oakland, CA. I was born in Olongapo Philippines to a Filipina mom and French-American Naval seaman. In Oakland, I’m often assumed to be Latina or Hispanic but as I’ve travelled around the world, people often mistaken me for someone of their own race: Turkish in Istanbul, Greek in Athens, Italian in Naples, […]

Race is a story we tell

Charles McCoy, Los Gatos, CA. I grew up being steeped in the folklore of Irish and Italian cultural heritage, thinking I was “half Irish”and “half Italian” and listening to my grandmother crowing about only being Toscana and speaking Toscana ( the received Italian dialect). As I did my DNA testing, I discovered that I am […]

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, […]

Adobo Beef Stew Rice Potatoes: Dinner

James Estanislao Herr, Los Angeles, CA. Dad’s side came over in 1717–Swiss-German and Irish with some Danish and Greek thrown in. Mom came over in 1954. Filipino, Spanish and Chinese with I guess some Portuguese somewhere along the way given my middle name. Grew up in an all white community outside Philadelphia. Not sure who […]

Yes I’m Black, but not angry

Ellise, Riverside, CA. My race is not what you see, It is what I feel. Do not let your stereotypes fool you, I am happy, beautiful, and peaceful about who I am. I use to be angry with who I was. I have been told “I was pretty for a black girl” all my life. […]

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 […]

Rose colored veil of white privilege

Bill Lee, Simi Valley, CA. I was raised seeing the world through the rose colored veil of white privilege. I now know this. Spoiled and clueless white Americans need to wake up to a new reality where we are just another face in a multi cultural crowd.

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

White Latino-Hispanic, Nonwhite Latino-Hispanic

Christina Curiel, Fallbrook, CA. In the early years of my life, I always saw myself as a very ‘lucky’ person. When I became older and learned about institutions, and methodology, and racial diversity, is when I learned that racism is indeed real, and still exists in this culture through conditioning as well as many other […]

“Appalachian” means “none of your business.”

Amy Tanisha, Petaluma, CA. When asked the infamous “what are you?” question, I define myself on my terms. Sure, its easy for someone to understand that my mom is white and my dad is black, but “white” or “black” is not the house I grew up in. I grew up in a house full of […]

Arab, not Muslim. Know the difference.

Alice Saidawi, San Francisco, CA. Often times when I tell people I am Arab or Palestinian, they often immediately assume that I am Muslim as well; there is a huge differentiation. I’ve encountered many experiences where the person I was talking to seriously did not understand the difference. I’ve had to clarify this difference to […]

Who is your daughter’s father?

Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]

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 […]

“Why don’t you like me?”

Mandy P, Sacramento, CA. When I was 7 years old we moved to Sacramento from Oregon. The culture and diversity is very in California than in Oregon. Moving to California exposed me to many other races and cultures. I saw many other races in my environment. Although in my neighborhood, where I lived and attended […]

Held against your will?

Judy Vasquez, Murrieta, CA. I am a caucasion female, brown hair with brown eyes and my husband is proudly Hispanic/Mexican. We were pulled over at a checkpoint one evening on or way home from a family event and when the officer looked in the car, he asked me, “Ma’am, are you being held against your […]

I ate pasta, family ate rice.

Melanie Vanderlipe Ramil, Sacramento, CA. Growing up, I wanted to be as “non-Filipino” as possible and felt great achievement whenever a friend said to me, “You seem so white!” During my middle school years, I claimed to not like rice (the staple for every night’s family dinner). My mom, after rushing home from work to […]

Deny reality; keep faith in humanity

Mekdelawit, San Francsico, CA. I have faith that people mean well; no one wants to hurt another human being for no reason. That’s a liberal belief. However, reality fails me at times and I lose hope. The reality is, many are willing to step on others to get to the top, but I believe it’s […]

Glad my daughter is not white.

Nice White Lady, San Francisco, CA. I’m a white mom to a brown daughter who can’t shake the shame and embarrassment that stems from a long history of white women instigating and being complicit in violence against Black people. When people see me, they see someone who is too fragile, too protected, too privileged, too […]

Your accent… Are you from here?

Ivan Vazquez, Sacramento, CA. Although I was born and raised in San Diego, CA ; I grew up in a household that comprised of both the English and Spanish language, about 60% English and 40% Spanish. I am a child of second-generation immigrants and even though I received my entire education in English, I came […]

Can We All Just Get Along!?

Bryan Quevedo Moreno Valley, CA California Baptist University It was not until taking CBU HIS311 class that I have learned a lot about race and how some people are completely ignorant to what has happened in American history. The other day I walked into a grocery store to hear a cashier argue with a black […]

Y’all had me scared of US

Dr. Jacqueline Lawrence, Windsor, CA. As a young child, my first memories of blacks in San Francisco were scary, and they weren’t from television. I remember smelling the strong scent of urine in the elevators, hearing moms tell their children to “Get cho ass out of my face” and “Go sit cho ass down” and […]

Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

I am white. No, brownish pink.

Har Simran Kaur Khalsa, Los Angeles, CA. Since I started wearing mostly white clothes along with my practice of Sikhism, it has become glaringly clear that I am not white — or rather, that my skin is far from white. I am aware that I still experience much white privilege.

Race in America, what a mess.

Ellen Finch, San Jose, CA. My heart breaks for those with skin of the “wrong” color who are treated so poorly in so many ways. And my heart breaks that so many people of the “right” color inflict it–whether it’s deliberate or simply from subconscious cultural bias. I thought we’d have made so much more […]

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 […]

Latina I am I am me

Carmen Angelica Zapata, Santa Monica, CA. I lived in Spain for a year after growing up in the United States and for the first time I was not other. No one yelled “speak English!” no one asked if I was legal, or if I was going to be deported. It was the first time in […]

Whites afraid of becoming the minority

Tyler, CA. If there’s one thing I’ve observed in my life that pertains to the current state of racial prejudice in this country, it’s that the prevailing fuel for white people’s racism is their fear of the possibility that they might finally become less than the majority. With two white parents, as kind as they […]

I’m Hispanic but I’m not Mexican

Ernesto C., Riverside, CA. Living in Southern California, I’ve noticed that many people don’t seem to know that there are other cultures besides Mexican. This happens because most people act like there are only Mexican people living in California when there are obviously so many more cultures.

My DNA can’t recall my RACE!?

Mckenzie C, Sacramento, CA. Science tells us that race cannot be found in our DNA. There is not one person that could find out about an individuals race based solely on DNA, because it is simply not there. The cool thing about this; DNA is the one and only thing that contains our whole genetic […]

Girls are different? Sorry, didn’t know.

Katharine Corona, CA When I was young I grew up on a street with boys and ended up being a pretty big tomboy. I enjoyed sports, I was competitive and I liked playing with my friends. As I got older I began volunteering at the local hospital and became a fire explorer with my friends. […]

I am white. So?

Alan S. Doctor, Cambria, CA. I was born in San Francisco on 15 Sep 1930. Dad was Scotch/English and Mom was Polish with a dash of German. Both 1st generation born in USA. My neighborhood friends were Hispanic, Oriental, white and refugee Jews from Germany. In high school I liked to walk home through the […]

Brown Lives Matter Too

Anonymous, Perris, CA. African Americans get much of the publicity nowadays while Mexican Americans face the same stereotypes and discrimination issues without retaliation. CBU HIS311

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 […]

I am NOT just a statistic

Jeannine Chavez, Huntington Park, CA. As a United States citizen who lives in Los Angeles as a gay Mexican female, it has limited my privileges. Being a different race, sex, and having a different sexuality than others have all caused me to be oppressed and quite often hear remarks about these three social identities that […]

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 […]

My brown skin is beautiful okay?

Vanessa Guzman, Corona, CA. I am a Mexican women who has brown skin and all my life I was always self conscious about it because people would always point it out to me even those who were also Hispanic but they were lighter skinned. Even my family would. And I always took it as negative […]

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 […]

I’m proud of my immigrant parents!

Priscilla A Contreras, Garden Grove, CA. My parents came to the United States to create a better future for themselves and their children. They are the most honest and humble people I know. I will always be proud of them and stand against those who believe immigrants are the problem.

I will never really ‘get it’.

Celia Beasley, Seattle, WA. Being an upper-middle class white woman, I know I will never truly understand what it feels like to be a person of color in America. Despite my attempts to be aware of racism in this county through conversations, news stories, interviews, books, this website, etc, I know that I will never […]

I’m not proud of being a WASP.

Nancy MacLeod, Philo, CA. I have ancestors that came to America in 1630- among the 1st to take advantage of the indigenous people. What is to be proud of, is how your family lived, how you live. I can be proud of my family because they were hard working and honest- but were they compassionate […]

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 […]

Saddened, inspired, still far to go

Jeff Schaffer Los Angeles, CA Seeing this exhibit reminds me of the sacrifices made by our predecessors, and inspires me to continue working for a world in which all are cherished for their diversity, and there is equal opportunity for all.

I’m the future, can’t you see?

Lauren Lola Newark, CA Why are people always so curious about what my racial makeup is? They treat it like it’s a game- like they’re going to win a prize if they get it right. The overly asked question “What are you?” often is directed at me by individuals who are just meeting me the […]

Complicated, a foot in two worlds.

Javiera, San Diego, CA. My husband often jokes that I’m not “brown” because my light skin makes me look like an average white person. But growing up in rural Missouri, I never felt like a “white” person because I was teased for my hispanic features. I’m not mixed race and was born in a Latinx […]

Last Black Man Standing In SanFrancisco

Stephen Grove Malloy, San Francisco, CA. Would love to contribute my experience here in the Nation’s Wealthiest and Progressive City…one would think it were Shangrila when in fact it has been the most negative “race” based experience I’ve encountered in my 55 years of African-American Life in these United States.

Half-white, half-middle-eastern. Where do I belong?

Aimiee Gauvreau, Redondo Beach, CA. I’m almost 47 now; I felt more alone as a child and teenager of the 70s and 80s. I teach high school English in a beautiful California beach community, and the kids are more open now, yet I see how the aloneness persists within them too. Maybe in another 50 […]

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. […]

A Chicano from the Barrio

Miguel Ramirez-Cornejo, Riverside, CA. As a kid I was told that because I grew up in the barrio that I would become a cholo. I would grow up to be in a gang, do drugs, and end up in jail. I heard this from other kids and even adults. But as I grew I used […]

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.

I’m not privileged because I’m white

Kaylee Cole, Boulder Creek, CA. Everyone always says your white you get everything but really you white people don’t get everything they want. In reality white people are trying to make up there mistakes well most. If we keep trying soon this wont even be a problem.

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. […]

You’re Native American? Well, how much?

Kaitlin Reed, Poughkeepsie, NY. I am a Yurok Indian. We are the salmon people and my ancestors have lived by the Klamath River in northern California since time began. But after centuries of continual sexual conquest against Native American women, I am not the color of Pocahontas. That’s right, I’m white-skinned and Indian. This hasn’t […]

I feel uncertain about the future

Cara Rose, San Jose, CA. I’m White. Formerly, I was Mixed; Portuguese and British/German. I only became White when the US census bureau declared the Portuguese a White race. I don’t know how to feel about losing a part of my racial heritage that has been swept into a generic term that doesn’t seem to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Not just for being a black girl.

Anisha (Blair) Taylor, Riverside, CA. “Your beautiful. For a black girl.” . Those words spilled out the mouth of a young black male, in my 12th grade math class. Only then was reminded. That being a Dark skin Black Women, We are not considered to be as beautiful as other women. I was in second […]

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 […]

Discrimination still exists; whites always suspected!

Brian, West Hills, CA. To expand on those six words, I’d say that discrimination against people of color still exists, though often more subtle than it used to be (e.g., implicit bias). Still, the degree of discrimination is vastly underapreciated, especially by whites. On the other hand, whites are always under suspicion for being racist, […]