My children jumpstarted my racial identity.

Johnny, Concord, MA. As a gay Asian man married to a white man with two adopted children of color (one black, one Latino), I came to understand my own racial identity trough the experience of welcoming our two children into our family. It’s taught me that to really provide a strong racial identity for my […]

Family talks, and I get mad

Tasha Thompson, Coon Rapids, MN. I’m a 19 year old white female, and my grandma was born in the 40s. She is very old fashioned and when she talks about my mom’s work in a majority black community where the accept EBT, she starts to sneer and act like it’s the worse thing that could […]

White People Tears Are My Lipton’s

Alex Miller, New York, NY. White people. Some of you, not all… please notice that I said SOME…some of you have been wondering, for a while, “Why am I always called a racist?” “Why do blacks blame me for slavery? My family never owned slaves!” And that sort of gives me pause because: What, did […]

Touched. Terrified, Empathetic. Praying for change.

Leanne Gutierrez, Eden Prairie, MN. Growing up white and privileged in a midwestern college town, I later lived in a Central American country for several years, married a man from that country and now have been raising a beautiful multi-culture/multi-colored family in various states in the midwest. Seeing racism, watching my family process it and […]

My Family Well Kept Secret Revealed

Mary F. Howard, Stockbridge, GA. I discovered I am one-fourth Native American. My paternal grandfather is full blood Cherokee. I just learned several months ago by eavesdropping on a conversation about race between my paternal uncle and aunt. They had just learned of additional children by their father outside of the marriage. It has often […]

I am a proud American man

Charles Tanner, Midland, TX. I am an American,there is not a pre or post to that I was not brought here I was born here. Yes my distant family came from somewhere else. But as with anyone who truly wants to be an American they assimilated. Just as if I wanted to make any other […]

While there’s no finishline: Americans All

William Eckman, Atlanta, GA. We come from different families, different cultures, different schools but for all to win as a great nation we must be less tribal and remember “out of many one”! This is the glue that holds us together and allows all of us to work to make tomorrow better than today across […]

What country does my family represent?

Chevelloni El, Newark, DE. My daughter attends a multicultural festival at her school each year where students share their experiences, cultures and history. She wants to tell about our history an cultures but I would be embarrassed to set up a table that says that we are African Americans- Africa is a whole darn continent. […]

White, but can’t have Mexican family?

Jade Weber, Holland, MI. When my grandparents come up to visit, and we go out people always ask if my grandfather is related to us. My whole family is white, but my grandfather is Mexican. My grandmother married him so, he is part of my family. Sometimes when people ask we can tell they are […]

Slavery’s legacy broke my family pride.

Katherine E. Byroade, West Hartford, CT. When I was a child, my southern grandmother took great delight in the fact that she was a Jamestown descendant and DAR member and saw her membership in those organizations as part of her legacy to her granddaughters, ensuring our social success. She was matter of fact that the […]

The Hiroshimas were good Americans.

Ken Prestwich, Worcester, MA. The Hiroshima family included my first friends growing up on a small farm just outside of LA (they had one too) in the early 50s — the parents, like so many where we lived, had been interred during the war. They were fine people; a second family to me (I am […]

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 […]

Successful, Black, Gay, a family’s shame…

Karim Ali, Columbus, OH. I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]

Scared that we are not enough

Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.

The confederacy did not raise me.

Emily, Philadelphia, PA. I am a white American. My family is here because the Turkish government was committing genocide against Anatolian Greeks in the early 1920s. My grandmother lost her family and came to NY, and when Smyrna was burned she had no home to go back to. The confederacy does not serve my family. […]

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 […]

I’m white my daughter is black

Jennifer Berkemeier, Farmington Hills, MI. I’m a single mom. I adopted my daughter from Haiti in 2012 when she was 4 years old. I’m white, and 15 years older than most of her friends’ moms. We get a lot of stares and unwelcome comments from little kids (“Is she your grandma?” “How come you’re different […]

That girl spat in my eye.

Caprice Becker, Manhattan, KS. I was in High School in a very small town of about 1300 mostly descended from German immigrants in the 1870s, all white (except for the one Korean who had been adopted by a local family when she was a toddler) in the early 70’s. All the surrounding communities in Central […]

My brown skin is beautiful okay?

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

DON’T ASK ME TO JUST FORGET

Thaddeus, Nashville, TN. I was raised poor in Louisiana where the generations of my family before me farmed and picked cotton, fished and lived off the land. Our water was rain water caught in a ground cistern and we used an outhouse for a toilet and boiled water for each night to bathe. So please […]

I will never really ‘get it’.

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

I’m not proud of being a WASP.

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

Not fully White, not fully Black

Anonymous, Columbus, OH. I am mixed race and have always felt in the middle in terms of race. “Legally” I am Black and more often than not experience the same benefits and determents as the Black side of my family. I have also had the misfortune of being mistreated by both races for being “light […]

Just found out I’m a Jew

Larry, Orlando, FL. In closing up my elderly parents’ home, I was given some family news I did not expect from a relative I haven’t kept up with. It seems she did genealogical research and found out my grandmother’s family was deported in 1912 because they were Jewish. They came to America again a few […]

Rural Alaska, six blacks, my family.

Lydia Taylor Memphis, TN I was born and raised in Alaska. When I was 4, my father got out of the Air Force and accepted a job as a State Trooper in Dillingham, Alaska. He moved from Anchorage to Dillingham first, to start his job as we as find us a place to live. We […]

I’m genuinely sorry about my family.

Katy Wilkerson, Houston, TX. In the deep South, in my experience, racism is pervasive, especially when you talk about poorer and poorer white people (not just men). There truly does still exist a level of social acceptability that is just not OK. I’ve always been extremely disgusted by it, despite being white and having these […]

We assumed their father was black!

Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.

I don’t know Inez’s last name.

Rosemary Brinson Siipola, Kalama, WA. Reflecting on growing up in Duplin County, North Carolina, my Grandma Cora was the matriarch of a large family. Inez was her helper, confidant, friend and nurse for decades. My sister and I loved her and we played with her grandchildren. Over 50 years later, I think about Inez and […]

No…None of us were adopted

Madilyn Hays, Holland, MI. Me and my siblings are from all different ethnic backgrounds. I’m blond haired, blue eyed and full white. While my brother and sister are both of African American background, their great grand father was actually Louis Armstrong. And then my last two brothers are Puerto Rican. We all have the same […]

Yes, you are all my family!

Hillora Lang, Burgaw, NC. As a person with Asperger Syndrome I have always felt estranged from the human race. In high school I began working on my family tree, and it really helped to ground me and allow me to feel a connection to past generations. When doing genealogy research last year I discovered a […]

All races in family equals love

Val Andrew, Overland, MO. My parents taught us early on to accept all people and invited international college students of different races, religions, and nationalities to stay with us during holidays. During the Vietnam War we hosted an AFS student from Vietnam for a year. I grew up a few miles from Ferguson and taught […]

We are all brothers and sisters

Christina Williams, Aliso Viejo, CA. Race is such as small idea in comparison to bigger ideas like love, togetherness, family, connection and happiness. I wish to raise my children in a world where people are celebrated for ideas and compassion and not for superficial ideas such as skin color and ethnicity. Race is outside of […]

I’m not guilty, Family from Norway.

Michael J, Rochester, MN. I just feel I am a little tired of feeling guilty about being a white male. My family came from Norway and Sweden, we never owned slaves, and moving to Southern Minnesota, didn’t even have a plantation. Nevertheless it seems that this issue is somehow my fault as well.

“He’s not your son? Oh good!”

Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]

The culmination of hate and hope.

Kimberly, Pittsfield, MA. My father, whom I don’t know, is black and my mother is white. I was raised in a White, Irish family. Growing up, no one in my family looked like me, but I never noticed until ‘Roots’ premiered on TV. I had my son with a white man, so he is one […]

Chinese, mixed, family, unknown, curiosity, food

Charlotte Wong Santa Cruz, CA I am half Chinese, and half sort-kind-of-European. I don’t know what kind of European. I never knew my father, who was white, and my mother never knew his true ethnic background, aside for him being white. My mother would always say “your father would say he is like Heinz Ketchup” […]

Mexican Until Death Does Me Apart

Anaisa Sanchez, Riverside, CA. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom made sure I knew about all the Mexican Traditions within our culture. Of course growing up Mexican you always listen to everything your respectful elders comment on. However, as I’ve gotten older, I question everything that crosses my path. For example, there […]

So much darker… Is she adopted?

Rebekah Day Vinita, OK As the only brown complected person in my large family, I stand out against the pale white. I am constantly asked if I am adopted, or a “half-sister” in relation to my siblings. I am a woman of mixed heritage of various European and Native American blood, along with the rest […]

Don’t ask why families don’t match

Alicia Barnes, Starkville, MS. Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status. When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I […]

It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

THEIR FIRST “NEGRO” HAD A TAN.

Theil Baumann Ramsbey Smithfield, RI Everyone was so friendly when my family moved when I was in second grade. It was because, a classmate told me years later, they had never had a Negro in their class before. I am Caucasian but have olive skin that can tan deeply (although I never do this now!).

Obstacle course meets me every day

SLTR Seattle, WA I was raised in a white protestant homogenous family. From the time I was young, my curiosity led me to friends of other colors, races, personalities…anything new. In my 40’s I find myself with a Mexican husband, in a profession where I constantly learn and teach in a petri dish of races, […]

I’m caught in two different worlds.

Carissa Lew, CA. Being born in America but having my heritage from China leads me to believe I should choose one or the other. Many people question me about how “connected” I am to my heritage, but truth be told..I’m not very in tune with my Chinese culture. It’s difficult to discern who I really […]

I unpack my white privilege daily.

Sarah Walton Nashville, TN I descend directly from southern slave-owners and, more recently, racists. My family’s wealth is built on the backs of over a thousand slaves. It is my karmic duty to be a social-justice & race-relations activist; to call for reparations; to march; to force as many friends & family to look through […]

Your family isn’t your “real” family

Anonymous, Des Moiones, IA. Drake University This is what my mom was told in 1954 when social services came into her home and removed her and all of her siblings from her mom. At that time they were truly poor and were having a hard time finding enough food to eat. Her mother had a […]

Mom said brown girls are ugly.

Anna, Santa Maria, CA. I am a 47 year old Filipina. I remember being constantly compared to my lighter skinned cousins and feeling awkward to be among my own family. If I could, I would travel back in time and give my 3 year old self a tight hug and tell her how important it […]

We are one human family

Maeve, Ypsilanti, MI. I grew up in an international school where we celebrated each other’s differences. It was a rude awakening to grow up and learn that this is not the way it works in the real world. We are one human family, with a fascinating variety of cultures. We need to step out of […]

Yankee child crossed South’s colorline. Paid.

Rebekah Bickford, Baldwin, ME. My white family moved from Indiana to Mississippi in 1977, when I was 8 years old. Our family was seen as “Northern Yankees” and we were not welcomed by many in the white community. The black children were kind to me when I entered school and quickly became my friends. I […]

Military families: ahead of the curve.

Monique Hollis-Perry Alpine, CA Military bases overseas were homes to many biracial families like mine, and my sister and I went to school with classmates who looked like us. It was many years and thousands of miles from being sent to Fort Gordon, GA as a test case in the 1960s to see how (or […]

The plantation haunts my gay marriage.

Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]

Family matters; race, not at all.

Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]

Love My Backgrounds, But Spirit First.

Sun Absy, Omaha, NE. My family is incredibly diverse, racially, culturally and religiously. I feel fortunate to have spent a life within environments where peoples’ superficial traits aren’t the focus. An aspect of overcoming racism and prejudices is learning to let go of categories and labels and to stop (whomever you are and whatever group […]

Norwegian with nappy hair doesn’t fit.

WilmaS, Seattle, WA. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if my sons were adopted…It’s happened a lot. A complete stranger approaches my family, usually in a grocery store or some other public location, and compliments me on my family. “Your sons are so handsome,” the person will say, and by […]

Some see me as an Oppressor

Adrian S. Bennett Bremerton, MA I am dedicated to Equality for all persons and the values that make up Diversity. As I journey through my career as an Equal Opportunity Adviser and an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Program Analyst, my hardest realization has been that some people will always see me as an oppressor… […]

Thanksgiving: Called out my racist brother

Annabel Knight, Austin, TX. We were talking about SS Disability, and he said “No, it’s not hard at all to get on disability–all you have to do is be a fat Mexican.” So wrong, I just couldn’t be silent. My husband backed me up, most of the rest of the table squirmed uncomfortably. Why is […]

Not Racist, Not Privileged, Just White.

Francis Skony, Chicago, IL. Being an almost 40 year old man from Chicago, I’ve always grown up with a melting pot of friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I do not judge anyone by their race – I will have an opinion based on how some present themselves to the world. If you have no respect and no […]

Why Are We The Only White People?

Maureen Forster Philadelphia, PA I was maybe 6 yrs old when My Dad, Stepmother, older sister and older brother were in Baltimore on a little family trip. We stayed at a Holiday Inn or something along those lines and were out in the pool. I grew up in a small city with much diversity but […]

When will we see the light

Jeannie Coicou New York City, NY Brooklyn The story behind my six words is that in this world there are forces that benefit by keeping the masses asleep. Realizing that we’re all a human family. Separation and devision is merely a tactic and as long as we don’t see each other as brothers and sisters. […]

Nazi past, American present, Christian regardless

Jessica Eaton, Minot, ND. My maiden name is “Hess” and carries a lot of weight for being a “Nazi name”. Growing up, other students in school would call me a “Nazi” because of my last name and distant relation to a couple of people who took part in the Nazi regime. I didn’t like it, […]

“Darker than White, Lighter than Black.”

I grew up afraid of race. I was scared to even say “My mom is Black, My dad is white.” (It took a lot of motivation). And once I did, I knew what race was and how harmful it can be. A couple years later at a family reunion, me and one of my cousins […]

You are more than one race?

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Before this project I didn’t know much about race or racism, but then I figured out a lot of people have been stereotypical or racist in my community, with my friends, or people on social media. When I heard this term that people were saying […]

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 […]

I am Mexican American and proud.

Amber Martinez, Denver, CO. I have been emotionally abused just because my family comes from a certain background. I didn’t get to choose where I came from, but it also doesn’t matter. I’m a person and so is everyone else.

I don’t know where to begin.

Elizabeth Johnson, Arlington, VA. There are so many things I wish I could say but am worried they will come out the wrong way. I want to say I see you’re struggling. I want to say I see racism among my friends and within my own family. I want to say it’s wrong. I want […]

Because I’m dreaded, I’m categorically placed…

Valaire L. Moore, Morrow, GA. I am a black woman with locks. From white people I am seen as an Islander and from blacks I am seen as a weed smoker…from all I have been labeled Rastafarian, Hippie and basically everything, but ME…the image people have of me clouds the actual vision of ME…they see […]

Will racists be in Heaven? – Revelation 5:9

Rev. Paul Nulton, Vernon, NJ. I grew up in a very racist family and church. My grandfather subscribed to magazines like “The Cross and The Sword” – John Birch society rants about how African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics (all foreigners) were less human than white folk. I remember the minister ranting about Dr. Martin Luther King in […]

Linda Ronstadt, I have missed you!

Christine Bunker, Riverside, CA. It is almost that time of year when the weather changes and the tamale pot gets taken out of storage. It is the one time of year when the sound of Linda singing, “Canciones De Mi Padre,” fills our home and our hearts. We feel close to her because she sings […]

Stronger TOGETHER than we are apart

Britt Mikelle, Centreville, VA. People always ask me where I come from. I tell them, “from love.” Only love or lust would have created me. I am a mutt in every since of the word. Growing up in a multiracial home, I did not know racism untill I was old enough to date. My family […]

My race does not define me

Kristin Koby, Palm Bay, FL. I was put up for adoption before I was even born. A loving white family of 7 took me in and treated me, a mixed race infant, as their own. They soon after adopted a black child so that I could have a sibling my age to grow up with […]