Still figuring out my six words.

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

Same DNA but born this way

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

I thought your house would be big

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

Threatened because was the white girl.

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

Why steal when you’re already looking.

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

I am the token black girl

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

To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]

Uniquely Made, The American Girl Today

Christina Rains, Riverside, CA. French, Indian, Mexican, Dutch, but American? It is quite clear that you cannot judge individuals by their color. Race in reality just identifies where your family has lived and what part of the world you are from. Throughout my life, I have been called “white girl” but in reality, this categorization […]

I Won’t do your Math homework.

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

Yes!! My name means White in spanish!!

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

I will birth a bi-racial baby

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

I thought you were a “hoodrat”

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

Texican and Kansan adopt beautiful Chinita.

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

No, I won’t do your homework

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

Grew Up Black. Now part Mexican.

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

Soo, what are you?

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

Don’t see racism where it is not

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

I’m A Human, Not A Fruit

Gabrielle Guzman San Diego, CA Yes, I am Mexican. Yes, I know I apparently hold the same facial features as someone who would be considered Asian. No, I did not just cross the border. No, I do not speak Spanish, although I can understand it fluently and am taking classes to learn it. I am […]

You may not know you’re racist.

Taylor Hirano, Irvine, CA. Growing up in a mostly Caucasian community, many of my fellow peers didn’t know they were racist against me. It could come from backhanded compliments like “You’re so pretty for an Asian”, to minor comments such as “My sisters boyfriend is Asian, you probably know him”. Whenever I said anything they […]

Two worlds, where do I belong?

Manuel Catalan, Lompoc, CA. Being a Mexican American always makes me think about how race affects everyone. I was born in the United States but my family comes from Mexico, although I look like I could’ve been born in Mexico myself. I serve in the U.S Marine Corps and I get to experience and meet […]

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 […]

White Baby Boomer Low Wage Slave.

Skyler Crane Oceanside, CA There is a small splash of African in my ancestry, never talked about, though obvious in physical traits of many of my relatives, Why I give my Race Card sentence is that born a baby boomer to low, very low, middle class WASP parents, i was not given or alerted to […]

Who’s directing? It’s HER? No Way!!

Lorna Green, Altadenam, CA. I am an independent filmmaker, a writer-director, African American, and a woman. This combination confuses some people; it makes no sense to them because most directors are white guys. Granted, I selected a profession that relegates me to invisibility, but what’s interesting is the day-to-day reality of this. Working with new […]

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 […]

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 […]

Told to see race, am puzzled

Jeff Marks, Mountain View, CA. I have been hearing about the importance of “seeing race” a lot lately. What does this mean for my life? It can’t mean I should TRY to categorize people, should it? I often meet people that don’t easily fit in a standard racial category. For me, I will take it […]

So ‘Ratchet’ is the NEW Black?

Cyerra Hawkins Riverside, CA I’m a African American female and I am irritated behind the fact that people associate African american women as loud and verbose. people are people we all have different personalities and ways of expressing ourselves. Stop with the categorizing and that is for any race or ethnicity. Vicious stereotypes have been […]

I feel like I’m being replaced.

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

Racism; as American as apple pie

Malcolm Harris Jarvis, San Diego, CA. Unfortunately, the apple does not fall far from the tree leading, in many cases, to generations of racists. Racism in any of its myriad, ugly and self crippling forms will always be deeply entrenched and ensnared in the soul of countries and their citizens unless we have the unthinkable, […]

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 […]

Half Kraut, half Jap: lotta KRAP.

Karl Koessel Blue Lake, CA German-descent St, Louis raised 16-year-old volunteers for war. Japan surrenders while he’s in boot camp. Sent as occupational soldier, but really doing puberty. Comes to Berkeley in 1951 with new wife for school and I am first of 7 children to come. Growing up in mixed neighborhood where groups appeared […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Don’t judge book by its cover!

Leon Robert, Riverside, CA. I identify as black but often times get mistaken for a white person over the phone. When people have come into my work to see me, I’ve heard comments like, “Oh, I though you were white”. My usual response is, “Interesting. What does a white person sound like?” The responses are […]

Guide To Your Privilege Right

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

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 […]

America’s Legacy of Racial Terrorism Endures

Shirley, Glendale, CA. I find it heartbreaking and appalling when we have the likes of Bill O’Reilly and those in the conservative right say that say “All Lives Matter.” To me, that is as oppressive and violent as Jim Crow Laws. From a Latina feminist perspective, Black Live Do Matter as long as Black African […]

Being Asian, my Authenticity is Questioned

Colette, Sacramento, CA. “I love Asian girls” “I love Japanese people” “Konnichiwa” “Ni hao” “Sayonara” “Kamsammida” ‘Your a bad Japanese. You don’t know Japanese.’ “Are you Chinese?” “I don’t think people in Osaka speak Kansaiben” “I know Chinese” “You look the most Japanese” “You could be an other Asian too” One Caucasian man approached my […]

Ever had sex in the backseat?

Earlaine Williams, Oakland, CA. This is the question that was asked of me, when I was 17 years old, by the white man who was administering the driver test at the Depratment of Motor Vehicles in Richmond, CA in 1960. I was behind the wheel and he was the person who would determine whether or […]

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 […]

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. […]

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.

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 […]