Never met Grandfather because “Bull” Did

Andrea James Andrews Fresno, CA Our personal family legend includes Bull Connor from Alabama. My grandfather was diagnosed as Schizophrenic but that didn’t stop Bull Conner from killing him either before or right after they took him to the Colored Hospital for the Insane. Have an irrational hate for anything “Alabama” since then (born and […]

Black-white man; white black man

Kirl T. Lawson, Oakland, CA. I have so many tales to share about my experience with my color (or lack of “definitive color recognition”). growing up in Chicago, I was called “a white n*****” by friends at times w/ affection and at times derisively. Initially the appellation hurt my feelings until I took an objective […]

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 […]

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’m not from the country ‘White’.

Matthew Palavido Beaumont, CA My family’s background is Polish and Swedish and the town I grew up in in New Jersey was predominantly “white”. Like a lot of Americans, I grew up rather sheltered and culturally insensitive/ignorant. While on a camping trip with my family and friends from my wife’s side of the family, we […]

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 […]

Wait, why is your grandma Asian?

Ryan Flanagan, Mountain View, CA A friend in high school asked me this question after meeting my grandmother, who is Filipino. I grew up eating pancit and lumpia and feel a strong connection to my Filipino heritage, but am often met with eye rolls since my appearance reads as white. I worry that my blue-eyed […]

That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]

She’s nice for a black woman!

Barry Watkins, Santa Rosa, CA. My mother took me back when she told me that. She was loving & guileless. She drove off the road when I told her I had Black roommates in SF, though I grew up in Beaumont, TX. I never thought of my roommates as “Black”, they were individuals – Ron […]

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 […]

“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 […]

Guessing my race isn’t a game

Sheila Islam, Oakland, CA. You do not win a prize if you get it right. People hardly ever guess it right and thats not exactly the problem. The problem is, that when people do this, I feel objectified. I feel like my physical appearance is being ripped from me and being judged. I am so […]

“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 […]

“Didn’t know you were an alien”

Tifanny Lopez, Mountain View, CA People have called me an alien when they find out I wasn’t born in the U.S. Suddenly my whole identity changed in their eyes. I was once told that I had the opportunity to hide the fact that I was an ” alien” since my pronunciation is very well.

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 […]

Where are you from?

Beth Aguirre, San Francisco, CA People outside San Francisco ask me where I’m from. I am a 4th generation Asian – San Franciscan. When I say I’m from San Francisco, please ask me, “Really, where are you from?” Just because I have dark hair and tan skin doesn’t mean I’m not from San Francisco.

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 […]

Single White Dads Need Help Too.

Jamin Rohner San Diego, CA Eye White Open Sometimes, we all go through situations where we could really use a some help, even if it’s only a little. Whether it be something relatively small, like supplemental food stamps or grants for reeducation in times of employment hardships, to more immediate needs like emergency, short-term shelter […]

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 […]

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 […]

My parents think you are white.

Jennie, Los Angeles, CA. I am 4th generation Chicana. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is White. One of the saddest things is to be rejected in relationships or see as different from your significant others’ family. I find that Mexicano families do not understand the history of Mexican-Americans. Someone I dated pointed out […]

Rejected because love is colorblind.

Paula Morris, Long Beach, CA. A white girl growing up in Orange County, CA, where I was anything and anyone “different” was “bad”, I have found love with two wonderful men in my life: the first one (who died) was African American, and the second one is African. The happiness both have brought me is […]

Wow, you speak English really well!

Sharmila Guha, Oakland, CA. It was my first summer job after high school. A man in the lunch room one day tried to ask shy me this odd questions… which just left me stunned. I was born and raised in Los Angeles; why wouldn’t I speak English well? I guess the “dad from India and […]

We were equal until you knew.

Jose “Jay” Zarate, Soquel, CA My skin is pale, my hair normally just light brown, yet in the summer you’re always eager to point out my streaks of red. It’s funny how you focus on that, how the contrast seems to shock you every time the sunlight reveals it or starts to make it apparent. […]

America, we are your children too.

Sheree Lewis, Fontana, CA. The term American should represent the vast multitude of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, languages, complexions, origins and spiritual beliefs of its inhabitants. When those in power do not address the mistreatment of humans because their race is considered inferior, or choose to scrutinize and negatively profile individuals because of a difference in […]

Don’t whisper. I can still hear you.

Sabrina Fuentes, Apple Valley, CA. Some people are racist and some people are not. It is a fact, but some individuals believe that if they stay quiet about the matter they are doing no wrong, but it is on the contrary. We are all one race, HUMAN. It is about time we remember that.

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 […]

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 […]

First Black Female Air Traffic Controller

Sandra Durbin, San Diego, CA. It was hard. I was smart, black and female, 18 years old in 1966. I joined the U S Navy, because they promised me college. I give the govenment 3 years, and they give me four years of college. It was horrible. I was given a Captain’s Mast, at 8:30 […]

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 […]

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.

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, […]

Skin color is a coping strategy.

Matthew Mark, Aliso Viejo, CA Skin color changes varies with the environmental conditions one lives in. Melanin is due to biological evolution and it is evident as people living near the equator have darker skin compared to people living near the artic. High skin pigmentation offers protection from skin cancer and sunburns. Body size and […]

Did not choose to be Jewish

Sarah Elizabeth Rosen, Laguna Hills, CA. I did not choose to be Jewish. But, I have come to realize as I got older to appreciate who I am and how my religion is important to me. People think I am Mexican because I am tan, but really I am a Eastern European Jew. When I […]

I don’t understand why race matters.

Jennessa Cairo, Los Angeles, CA. I believe it’s important to know who we are, and to learn and respect our cultures all over the globe. But growing up I never saw race, I just saw people as equals. Sometimes I just don’t understand why is matters to people.

Listening, learning to sit in discomfort.

Kris Cornwall, San Mateo, CA To help effect change, I have to understand the privilege that is my normal. And this means listening to the truths of those who don’t have my privilege – allowing my discomfort to open my heart not close my ears.

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 […]

I Am A Light-Skinned Black Woman

Rosina B., Temecula, CA. African Americans come in all colors and hues, and just because my skin may be light it does not make me a lesser African American, it only make me more proud to be who I am!!

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 […]

Can’t see beyond my white privilege

Jessica, CA. I am a white female living in California with my white family. I grew up in an area where I was one of a few white girls in my school. I made friends of all different races and came to understand the benefits of diversity, however, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. I […]

Not Mexican Looking “You know Spanish!?”

Daisy Reyes, Rialto, CA. Even as a little girl in Mexico I was the “Chinita” (little Chinese). When I came to the U.S., I was either confused with Filipino or just Asian when people couldn’t figure out which race. My now husband, has been confused with a Hindu. We are both Mexican-born. But the thing […]

I am the “Indian Looking” girl

Manvir Toor, Sanger, CA. I attended a concert last Sunday, and a woman tried to get infront of me in the line to buy T-shirts. She repeatedly asked her husband, “Do you remember we were infront of this Indian looking girl?” The fact that she ws trying to reclaim her spot in the line could […]

Learning Latine is not a race

Sabrina F. San Jose, CA Growing up I racially Identified myself as Latine, but then I learned that it isn’t a race. This made me confused as to what I should identify as since I never considered myself white and neither did others. That is what lead me to learn that race is a social […]

Just because I’m brown, I’m different

Jessica Hernandez, San Juan Capistrano, CA. My little sister were born light skinned versus me who was born brown. My parents like to bring that up all the time, saying that because she is light skinned, she’s going to get all the guys. Because she is light skinned, she will be beautiful. So what about […]

Why’d my black nanny love me?

Sharon Raven Clark, Mammoth Lakes, CA 83 yrs ago, Anna knew all about the continuing atrocities of whites against blacks…yet she loved me…why??? how could she??? I didn’t become aware of “white supremacy” until our high school was integrated in 1956 and many jocks walked out. I was so embarrassed. Time and again, black women, […]

Like you, gingers do have souls.

Katelyn Nicole Volz Hemet, CA “You know they say Gingers have no souls right?” “A Ginger gains a freckle every time they steal a soul.” “Do the carpets match the drapes?” Does ANYONE know how tired I am of hearing that? Yes, my hair is red, yes it’s natural, and yes I am Irish. Does […]

“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 […]

With kids, I’m dad, alone….thug!

Marc A Quarles, Pacific Grove, CA. Pacific Grove, I’m African-American my wife is German we have two children a son 15 and a daughter 13. We live in a predominately white affluent area on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Every summer my wife and children go to Germany to visit her parents and other friends […]

Send the light skinned cousin in.

Gym Rati, Pasadena, CA. We were on a road trip and in Colorado a restaurant displayed a sign that Mexicans were not allowed. We sent in our light skinned cousin for takeout. The hamburger felt like sand in my mouth. I was 10 years old.

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 […]

Omg! Is that all of your hair?

Brejanae Malone, Los Angeles, CA As a black woman we are known to express ourselves through our hairstyle. It’s a sense of togetherness and pride, especially when being asked is my hair mine. To be judged for my race alone is already enough but now my hair is questioned too. My answer to those who […]

Define race. Ha I thought so!

Nicole, Irvine, CA Who can give a clear definition of race? Does that definition “A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct within a given society” sound familiar?-most of us don’t even know our ancestry until we take DNA tests so can we […]

White woman regrets black friend opportunity.

Jill Crusey, San Diego, CA Grew up on the south side of Chicago as a white girl who went to a high school where black students entered through one door and white students entered through another. Did not know how to bridge the divide in my heart and move toward my fellow black students even […]

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 […]

Always felt different. All are unique.

Nona Lynn Simons Orangevale, CA My Six Words: Have you ever felt different from everybody else? I have and sometimes I still do! In the fifth grade, I was different because I was part Jewish and my classmates weren’t. They went to church and I didn’t. During the last week of school, one of my […]

You are all the same but different

Malan Hadizadeh, San Francisco, CA I was driving my then three year old son to preschool the Friday before Mother’s Day and asked him, “Who’s the best mom?” thinking that he would say me. His response was “You’re all the same but different.” I was hurt and proud, all at the same time. To this […]

I hope he’ll look “American” enough.

Katrina Nye San Jose, CA I am full Asian and my husband is a quarter Japanese. Once our son was born I asked my husband which one of us will have the responsibility to give him “the talk” about dealing with racism. My husband replied that it had to be me, because even though he […]

I am not a MAIL-IN-BRIDE

Kristal Vanessa Baradi, Milpitas, CA …or Domestic Helper. I am a Filipino- American, I was born in Hawaii. My husband is white, we meet in the Army (yes, I served for 8 years Active Duty). Everywhere we go people ask me where I was from of how long did it take for my husband to […]

Cleaning myself to look like her

Matthew Garcia, Salinas, CA. I’m African-American, my mother would have my stay at my baby sitters house after school while she was working. One day my mom picked me up from my baby sitters house but before we left my mom and the babysitter were having conversation. I was playing in the living room when […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

White privilege has broken my heart.

April Anderson, Sonora, CA When I read From the Editor in Junes’ Nat Geo (I’m a bit behind) I suddenly had this sentence pop into my head. I didn’t know it was six words until I counted it out. Two of my best friends are Japanese and it has broken my heart to see their […]

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. […]

You’re the African American of Indians.

Nikolette Joseph Union City, CA People always ask me what is my ethnicity. I respond saying Fijian and they look at me like what the heck is that. I explain to them that its an small island next to Hawaii. ”Ohhh okay” as they say. The Fiji water , that’s where you come from? So […]

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, […]

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 […]

“You’re white-passing, you aren’t discriminated against!”

Sanaz Chloe Homayounieh, Irvine, CA It’s a common joke among Iranians: “They used to classify us as Caucasian, but once 9/11 happened, now we aren’t white!” Traveling has always been an interesting experience for my family. Growing up, being stopped at airport security was not unusual. Whether they checked our hair, ankles, or even our […]

Don’t forget about the smaller nationalities

Emily Kim, Garden Grove, CA I look Vietnamese, I have a common Korean last name but I’m neither, I’m Cambodian. All my life I grew up with peers always assuming I’m Vietnamese without even asking what race I am first. I went to schools that dominantly had Vietnamese students witch is why they probably why […]

White girls rescued by black boys

Mary Barnett, NEWBURY PARK, CA I was about 11 02 12. Mary Penn Carter and I were playing in a section of woods in Danville, Virgina that we called Tarzan’s Chamber beause we would swing on vines fro, tree to tree. This days from boys who were friends from school tied Mary Penn so her […]

“Color Blind” thinking is white privilege

Alicia Wolff, Petaluma, CA As a child in the ‘80s, up north, with a deeply religious family, I was raised to believe God didn’t see color and neither should we. It has taken me decades to understand how that overly simplistic view denies the reality of how race functions in our society and allows white […]

Stop With The Cherokee Syndrome, Already

Jemmie Valencia, San Francisco, CA. Proudly that they are Cherokee and they know this because their great great grandmother had long black hair- was a Cherokee Princess, even!, when they find out that I am in fact from the Yurok Tribe of Northern California. With as many white folks out there wearing wolf, eagle, & […]

Who are you trying to IMPRESS?

Nathan Krasniak, Moreno Valley, CA. As a young child, my parents instilled a solid work ethic and introduced me to setting goals. 18 years later I am so very thankful! Initially I wasn’t very receptive. I didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have chores and I had quite a bit of them. My parents would […]

Am I hispanic enough for you!

Gigi Fierro, Menlo Park, CA Being mixed doesn’t mean I’m not more of one culture than the other, nor does it mean that I’m not Hispanic or European enough to be accepted into either community.

Kofi is a fake white man!

fakeKofi M. G. W. Opantiri, Los Angeles, CA. I am the eldest child of two boys and a girl born to an American-African father and a French-Canadian (white) mother. Born in New York City in 1949, the “one-drop” rule informed me early on that I was Negro and colored. Like millions of American-Africans, I became […]

The only person in the room

Mia, CA Growing up in a mainly white neighborhood and going to a prominently white school was really hard being black. I never said anything about it to my family because I have never been good at expressing my feelings, but it would sometimes really bother me. In class when we talked about things dealing […]

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 […]

Always presumed mixed. Shocked genetically white.

Jeni Bate, Salton City, CA I have frizzy hair. I grew up in an all** white town and the only other people with hair like mine were my mother and grandmother, both of whom are/were racist. My mother always denied we have any black in our family, but I thought she was lying because she […]

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.

My mixed-race son looks All-American.

Emma Alvarez Gibson, San Pedro, CA. My husband’s heritage is Japanese/Portuguese/French. Mine is Mexican/Irish/Scottish. Neither of us fit in anywhere while growing up; both sides of each of our families considered us oddities at best. People never knew what to make of us. I was too white for the Mexican kids and too uptight about […]

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?”

My tastebuds tell me I’m Japanese

Ka’Olu, Los Osos, CA I’m a “third culture kid” raised in Southern California by expat Japanese parents. We were repatriated when I was a teenager, then I moved back to California in my late 40’s. In Japan, I felt I was not really Japanese, but in the US, I don’t really feel American. Because I […]

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 […]

You’re the blue-eyed guest of honor

Haley Cantin, Sanger, CA. I am white american female and I always get “because of your eyes”. When someone compliments me and says I’m pretty I often ask why.. and most responses I get are “because of your eyes”. But everyone has eyes? Am I not pretty becuase of anything else? Do my eyes define […]

Let me walk in your shoes

Renee Poselski, Riverside, CA. So Cal – Atlanta – Hawaii – Russia: No matter where I have lived, my heart yearns to connect and understand. Writing this, I am hesitating because I don’t want you to think that I can’t understand because I am white. My whiteness is a wall between you and me. I […]

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 […]

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 […]

Officer why were we pulled over?

Chandra Campbell, Mountainview, CA WHY ARE POLICE CONTINUOUSLY pulling over persons of color, bullying them, ordering them out of the car and setting them on the ground handcuffed, and finally after humiliating them publicly letting them go!

Seasonal confusion; your problem not mine

Courters, Bay Area, CA. I grew up in a latin home, of a first generation born parent. By DNA–I am native-american sicilian. I was raised with latin catholic, tibetan, native american, and sicilian culture. As a child, in my desert neighborhood, I stayed dark and it was rarely noticed that I was not “technically” latin […]

The Oneness of Humanity is transformational.

Charles Fuller, Marina, CA I believe that “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” There is nothing more essential to human progress than embracing and celebrating humanity’s diversity. “Hidden Thoughts on Race in Six Words” in National Geographic emotionally moving.

Invisible Black woman, microscope on me

Devin Horton, Los Angeles, CA. My race card refers to conundrum of my experience and my physical self being essentially invisible but also having the world simultaneously watch and critique my every move with microscopic precision. It can cause serious anxiety.

Judge by character, not by color.

Helen Zhang, Camarillo, CA. When I was in middle school, I noticed that my classmates tended to form “cliques” with people of the same ethnicity. However, I preferred to learn about the values and traditions of other cultures. Speaking to people of different backgrounds continues to allow me to stay open-minded and gain new perspectives.

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 […]

Irish descent, why hate me blacks?

John Sutter, Porterville, CA My wife, who is white, was discriminated against when she was a restaurant manager at a national fast food restaurant in the South. Her crew was composed of black men, who made life hell for her. They would set off the burglar alarm during the middle of the night so she […]

Passed for White; woke to shame.

Beryle Fobes, Torrance, CA Born at end of WWII to res-born Native American hetero male who later remarried a Japanese war bride. White mother remarried racist. Children married Black and Native American; grandchildren more mixed than me. Always looked White though, as do progeny. International family at varying stages of race awareness.

It’s who we are on Earth

Ruth A Kees, Oakland, CA We are a mixture of the changes in a very changing world. Tribes helped us survive and tribes have split us apart and every time it has happen we have to learn all over again we are better together.

Despite our “privilege”, we are killed.

Veronica Shao, CA Asian Americans are often seen as more White than we are POC. This view erases the majority of the Asian-American diaspora, especially non East-Asians. Despite our somewhat “White-adjacent” status, we still have to confront racism and discrimination in our daily lives: something that has only become heightened during the COVID-19 Pandemic

You’re Indian; do you speak Hindu?

Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, Berkeley, CA. It wasn’t easy to choose just one sentence (6 words, no less) to summarize the constant negotiation between frustration and a sort of mirthless humor that I experience when dealing with questions about my race and ethnicity. On the most basic level, “Hindu” is a religious identity — not a race, […]

It’s less than meets the eye

Felipe Ricketts, San Diego, CA Each one of us is unique and a unique expression of humanity. Humanity is the language we all share. Humanity will save the day. We, all of us, are the solution. Let’s find our humanity and act accordingly.

“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 […]

Race is nothing. Family is everything.

Sheli Turner, Los Angeles, CA While I am now a biracial 62 year old woman, who bore living witness to the difficulties my parents had in this country due to their marriage, this means less and less to my sons who are now marrying, and will also have mixed-race children by default. What “race” will […]

I will believe Black people’s stories.

Sally Drummond, Pleasanton, CA I am a 71 yo white woman. I have lived in blue states and red states. I have witnessed blatant racism in and out of the US. What I have been most appalled throughout my life, and especially in 2020-2021, is the abject dismissal, denial and ridicule of people of color […]

Bohunks were not white in Nebraska.

John Rodney Davis, Carmichael, CA As a young child in Northern California, I never felt different in the overwhelmingly white world I was raised in. Occasionally a non-white person would enter the world I lived in —- the “cultural water I swam in. They were different. I was not. Wherever I went —- the store, […]

Watching White Southern Hate Devastated Me

Aviyah Farkas, Los Angeles, CA I am a 73 y.o. woman who grew up on the Lower East Side, Manhattan; a multi ethnic, multi colored place of acceptance. As a young girl watching white southern hate, Bull Connor, German shepherds, attacks against Black children, caused tremendous pain and devastation for me. My father was a […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

I’m ashamed to be white.

Jason Zeller, San Diego, CA Even though my ancestors came to the United States after slavery was abolished and I am not aware of their involvement in any racist activities, as a white person in America I am ashamed of the vile history of racist violence and genocidal activities that white people in the U.S. […]

Grandma for grandkids of many colors

Emma Cate, San Jose, CA We have four grandsons who are half black, one adopted grandson who is brown, two great-grandkids who are half Chinese. In our extended family, we have people who speak the following languages fluently: German, French, Chinese, Haitian, and Spanish. I think in another generation there will be many families like […]

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 […]

Exotic for a black girl

Jasmin Fortune, Temecula, CA. I am a multiracial girl who has bullied for the way I looked from K-12. I have been hated because girls thought their boyfriends liked me. I would be threatened to get jumped because they thought I thought of myself as better than them. Black girls never liked me because I […]

Χιος to Hughes…we’re all immigrants

Patricia Hughes, Lake Arrowhead, CA. My father’s father took the long route of immigration from Greece during the political upheavals occurring in the early part of the 20th century, and later sent for his family. My father and some of his siblings were born in America. Growing up extremely poor in Denver, Colorado, my father […]

Chased and called Jap in Detroit.

Joyce Fidler, Toluca Lake, CA. In 1956 I was in first grade, my mother was Japanese-Hawaiian, and I knew nothing about WWII. I didn’t realize my mother was part Japanese, nor did I know why anyone should care. Years later in high school I failed to grasp why students on my Indianapolis school bus would […]