Do you eat dogs and cats?

Ian, Lake Forest, CA Being an Asian American, we are constantly under the attack of racial discrimination and stereotype. In middle school, since I lived in a white town, being the ONLY Asian in my school’s 150 years of history, I get asked the same question every single day: “Hey! you Asian right? so you […]

“A Teacher Who Looks Like Me”

Meghen, CA I’ve been babysitting for my current family for about a year and a half now, and I’ve heard of and been present for stories in that time on being Black in a predominantly white neighborhood. One of the first and better chats was my 10 year-old getting excited about moving as she would […]

Race is adaptation to your environment.

Tate Lee, Mission Viejo, CA Specific mutations can be specifically beneficial for an environment. In a cold climate, shorter and thicker arms would prove to keep someone warmer, while longer and thinner ones would expend more energy to keep blood circulating. We can see from history that physiological changes occur when individuals live their lives […]

I don’t belong on both sides

Renee Chen, Mission Viejo, CA As a first-generation Chinese American, I found it increasingly difficult to be accepted by both cultures as it seems that I don’t fit in as either Chinese or American; I’m either too “white-washed” by my relatives or “too Asian” by my peers when I was younger. And they base it […]

White Male Privilege Is A Lie!

Thomas Hardy, Chico, CA I grew up in an extremely poor family. My father was a WW11 vet that lost most of his knee in the war. He was tough though and had his own tree service where he, himself climbed. We had 7 kids and 6 of us boys slept in one bed, shared […]

I compose music. But I’m brown.

Luis Enrique Jimenez Jr., Los Angeles, CA IT’S TIME TO LET CLASSICAL MUSIC DIE By: Nebal Maysaud Western classical music depends on people of color to uphold its facade as a modern, progressive institution so that it can remain powerful. By controlling the ways in which composers are financed, it can feel like our only […]

A$!@n Kid Helps Teacher with Computer

Khoa Le, Elk Grove, CA. Ever since I started school as a kid, whether it’s a math class, history, or English, a teacher will always have technical difficulties with their computer. They then ask the class, does anyone know how to fix this. An Asian kid raises his hand and helps the teacher. As I […]

More than “just a Black girl”

Jolie Anne Chevalier, San Jose, CA. This is me at eight years old back in 1979, the daughter of an African-American/Seminole Indian mother, and a Irish-French-American father. Growing up, I was faced with contradictions in a world of opposites; although I was multiracial my mother told me I was Black, and to identify as such […]

Ignorance is Bliss in Korean Culture

Juliet Kim, Irvine, CA In Korean culture, mental health and awareness is not something that is openly talked about. Being a first-generation citizen of the United States, I grew up with both American and Korean cultures that have shaped me into who I am today. I feel that mental health and awareness is extremely important […]

I was scared of my race

Kiesha Ireland-Tran San Francisco, CA I am an African American girl, yet I grew up scared of black people. I felt that I was unsafe and didn’t belong with them. An adult in my life lead me to believe these things that changed how I perceived myself and others. People identified me as ‘white’ despite […]

I’m African American; With No Kids.

Aniaka McCowan, Union City, CA. Everyone one always says “oh my god you have a kid” Just because I hold a child doesn’t mean I’m a young mother. A caucasian women asked me why I ruined my life having a bastard child you probably don’t even know the father. I simply said why do you […]

The Nappy Headed Black Girl

Tre’zure Glover, Banning, CA. Being an African American woman comes with its assumptions and stereotypes. The main stereotype and assumptions deals with our hair. Many people question why is our hair so nappy? Why is it so greasy? How long does it take to grow? do you wash it everyday? Those are just some questions […]

Your hair’s pretty. What are you?

Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]

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 […]

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 […]

Red hair gets the most stares.

Stefanie Walker, Sacramento, CA. Sometimes I just want to dye my hair and see what it would be like to blend into the crowd-to not be defined by my red hair color anymore-to not be a “red head”. Red heads are the biggest minority of all in my opinion, how many do you actually know? […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Old chains are hard to break.

Jennifer Allen, Oceanside, CA Chains of habit, societal expectations, historical wrongs, unfair advantages, inaccurate history. Even when you have the tools, it takes time and effort to chip away at the customs enough to take them off. For everyone

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 […]

Oh sorry I am new here!

Anonymous, Sacramento, CA. I remember the time when we just moved here in the United States, we were called “beggars” by an old lady because of the way we dress. Coming from a country where lifestyle was just simple and plain affected our adjustment, and made it hard for us to adopt, especially the place […]

Haole is a very racist word.

Theresa Nakata, San Diego,CA Growing up a “haole” girl in rural Kona, Hawaii, every school year I was bullied for the color of my white skin and the shape of my nose. As I got older and experienced other cultures, the personal shame and pain I felt about being white in Hawaii was replaced with […]

Out of isolation. Family comes first.

Cheryl Devall, El Cerrito, CA Unlike most of my extended family, I live alone by choice, childfree. Love my people AND need my space. After the ‘Rona hit, I figured I’d be safely sheltered, working from home in Northern California. Until my older sister, who lives with our recently widowed Daddy in San Diego, texted […]

You tell me what I am!!!

Paul, Hayward, CA So My Mom is creole and her parents(my grandparents) passed for white and I didn’t know I had black ancestry until I was 28yo my dad is Irish/English… people tend to tell me what race I am. I identify mostly as white but look Latino but depends on who you ask… apparently […]

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 […]

He should already know the answers

John David Rodriguez, Sacramento, CA. Being an Asian-American today is not even a far cry to what it was 20-75 years ago, especially if you were a Japanese American who had to endure living in the American Japanese Camps. Not even many Americans remember those days. I am a Californian that is Japanese, Mexican, Irish, […]

Black lesbian CPA, it’s really me.

Andrea Hyson, San Francisco, CA. About two months ago, I finally met a new employee in another department. This woman and I had numerous phone conversations but hadn’t yet met. I decided to stop by her office to introduce myself. Another employee was at her door as I approached. As I turned into her office, […]

Proud to be American, Mexican American

Sal Guardado, Riverside, CA It has taken over 30 years to gain a sense of personal belonging to a country in which I was born and raised. Could this be because I was born to immigrant parents and always felt the need to compensate for somehow not being “American” enough? As I age, reach new […]

Poverty and racism leave children “behind.”

Susan F. Bohrer Merced, CA I started a tutorial program and later worked as a social work intern in a middle school where 70% of the students lived in poverty; 80% belonged to minority populations. From the teachers I learned that college was for other kids, and from the students I learned that it didn’t […]

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 […]

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 foreign policies that justified invading 3rd world countries. College seemed irrelevant and I left […]

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 […]

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 […]

It’s already hard to be heard.

Natalie Skelton, Mountain View, CA Close your eyes and hear someone’s words, unfiltered by race, sex, orientation, religion, whatever. If you read what someone thinks before you know what they look like, do you have a different viewpoint? Try to remember that.

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.

You’re pretty…for a dark-skinned girl!

Vernae Williams, Sacramento, CA. I grew up in a family full of light skinned people. I always felt like an outsider because within the Black community light skin is seen as the “right skin”, and dark skin is viewed as being ugly. Growing up I never truly felt comfortable in my own skin due to […]

What can we do to heal?

Stacy Cole, Los Angeles, CA I used to live in St. Louis, Missouri. That was where I first experienced a taste of being “the other”. I worked at a restaurant where almost all servers and customers were black (I’m white). I had some close black friends before that, so I didn’t think anything of it. […]

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 […]

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.

Black, white, brown are colors not races.

Maureen Krueger, Santa Ana, CA I choose my friends not on the basis of skin color no more than I base my choice of friends based on height, weight, the color of their eyes, or the color of their hair. Friendship is based on character and similar interests. Those who use physical characteristics to determine […]

Bi-racial daughter draws Black self portraits.

Malika Los Angeles, CA Our daughter began to draw what she saw in the world very early. She wakes up from vivid dreams, grabs a sheet of paper and illustrates the thunder and lightning, fairies and wizards, monsters and princesses from her nighttime imagination. Having grown up in America as a woman of African ancestry, […]

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, […]

Hard to go outside a Jew

Gavin Vogel, Los Angeles, CA I chose these six words because of my Grandfather, a person who does not go to Temple very much but keeps Judaism close to his heart. As a young skinny boy in Manhattan, he was walking home from school one day as a few bullies walked by and they called […]

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 […]

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 […]

Just call me a human being

Lily Campbell, San Francisco, CA. I am a Freshman in Highschool, and for the past month, my religious studies teacher has been teaching us what the meaning of race is. Race is a category that humans have created to tell each other apart from one another, but we are all apart of one race, the […]

I LOOK white but… I’m MEXICAN!!!

Jade, West Sacramento, CA Whenever race comes up in a conversation I try to avoid it because every time I tell someone I’m Mexican they always say, “But you don’t look Mexican” and it bothers me because not everyone looks a certain way.

Yes, I’m Latina.

Tracy Centeno, Van Nuys, CA I am Mexican and Salvadoran born and raised in California. My granddad was mix with another race so he looks white but he wasn’t. Many thought that I was full whit and kept saying that can’t Mexican or Salvadoran, it made me feel sad too know that my own community […]

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 ask again, am I racist?

Karla Torres, Oakland, CA Am I racist? This is something I’ve been asking myself recently as I’ve encountered new neighbors living on my street. This neighborhood has always been predominantly black and Latino and while there have been issues between the neighbors, things have never gotten to this level of uncomfortableness. All the homes here […]

My children don’t look like me.

Ava Nanjung, San Diego, CA As an Indian/White mother to my three biological children of color, strangers find no issue asking me or them if they are adopted. Not one inherited my white skin. I wish one of them looked more white. If they did, I wouldn’t have to worry about them simply existing in […]

Born Wright, I’m a bridge builder

David B. Wright, San Diego, CA I believe my parents raised me to believe that there was only one race and we all belonged to it. I have striven to live up to that and still need to improve. I am a Wright which means Builder and I am constantly trying to build the bridges […]

Not your basic blonde white girl.

Noel Schultz, Mission Viejo, CA For the race card project I chose the six words “Not your basic blonde white girl”. There are many stereotypes that fly around those who are Caucasian, females especially blondes. Some say that blonde white girls who live in Orange County are pretentious and privileged. Claiming that everything is naturally […]

Living In Accordance With Nature’s Way

Chad Howarth, Oceanside, CA We are each responsible, regardless of race, for making ourselves strong. The particular suffering that is in our blood, and imposed by accident of birth, are the weights we are given so that we might lift them and become strong. I am not particularly sensitive to popular race issues for this […]

Asian girls are the terrible drivers

Van Pham, Aliso Viejo, CA In my whole life, I have been wondering why people could judge others by their ethnicity. I acknowledge that races were ranked based on intellectual and moral standards according to our ancestry. Hence, some ethnicities would rank themselves as superior and others as inferior. However, according to the Gene Denby […]

Stop Pretending your Racism is Patriotism

Linnea Bevan, San Luis Obispo, CA I would first like to start off with a tweet from our current president in July of 2019: “Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful,” Trump tweeted. “If you hate our country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!” To start off this discussion, it […]

You’re German? Was your family Nazis?

Kaleb Wombacher, Irvine, CA Being of mostly Western European descent I really don’t experience a lot of hate or judgment so I try my best to be a good ally for those who do. But the most appalling thing I’ve been asked regarding my own race came from my overtly German/Austrian Lastname, Wombacher-Trolinger. It was […]

May I please touch your hair?

Vy Nguyen, Aliso Viejo, CA I have never seen blond hair in person until I immigrated to the USA. My husband took me to his friend’s birthday party and I saw a little girl with silvery blond hair for the first time. I asked her if I could touch it. She was shy at first, […]

Do you wear Hijab at home?

Hda, Irvine, CA I am a person who used to cover my head with a scarf. It is a religious reason and I like to follow it, so I used to cover my head from a certain age until now. This was so normal before I came to the U.S because almost all the girls […]

Reasons to not Hate Mexicans

Angel, Northridge, CA You should not hate people of Mexican origin because them, along with others should feel happy in their own skin. If a person is happy in their own skin they can be hard workers, be strong enough to get college degrees, and not want to commit crimes against societal bullies. Mexican children […]

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 […]

Being Brown Makes Me Look “Hood”

Victor Vega, Los Angeles, CA. What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even […]

I see my privilege and efforts.

Margaret Noble, San Diego, CA We are sorting this difficult work out as educators at my high school. Mostly I feel shame for my whiteness and access. But I am more than this identity – I am working hard at growing, serving others, and see the world as it is around me.

Chinese Peruvian, 100% Magician

Adam Won, Sacramento, CA This will represent deep healing for me, considering that I am both a Chinese Cantonese and have a grandmother with mostly indigenous Peruvian background with a recently discovered distant Italian/Spanish Basque background. I grew up with both cultures because my father is a Chinese Peruvian mestizo (he does look more Chinese […]

Life is beautiful, remember to smile.

Zhuo Tong, Irvine, CA There are several races in this world, and not a single one can be omitted, because their race is the sign of their culture, we should respect each races’ skin color and respect their culture. Different races’ people look different, they have their own characteristic, we should love each other and […]

The Internet Says I Am Racist

Jacob Young, Laguna Niguel, CA Race is an issue being discussed frequently in popular culture in today’s political climate but I believe that America is not doing enough to talk about race in person. We are seeing a lot of the discourse around race taking place online, on twitter, facebook, chat boards. However, I don’t […]

If the same, then why judge?

Adrian Hernandez, Mission Viejo, CA The word race is a social construct that categorizes people. In reality, were all part of the same race which is the human race. What society does is group people and were judge based on that group when we are actually the same. Instead, judgment should be based on intentions, […]

We from the same religion place.

Yau Shing Alan Tse, Irvine, CA We from the same religion place: Our ancestors all originated in Africa, which means we all came from the same place. We are changing in every corner of the world. It may make us different from each other now, but it doesn’t change what happened in the past. We […]

Your agenda doesn’t trump mine, Stop!

Native of San Diego, San Diego, CA Yes I was born having blond hair and blue eyes, yes I was born here in America. That’s where it stops. My family was poor and we Never had things handed to us. We literally had a field in our backyard where we grew our own food and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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.