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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Lisa Craig Washington, DC It’s a bit complicated. My father’s family consists of Scottish, Swedish, French, German, English, Mexican, and two different Native American tribes. My mother’s family consists of French-Canadian, English, Inquit (Alaskan Native Americans), and some other ethnicities that I am not aware of (I am not close to them). All of my […]
Christian J. Collier, Chattanooga, TN.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Karen Than Myaing Silver Spring, MD In this photo: what do you get when you mix an Israeli, a Trinidadian, a Jamaican, a Caucasian, a Burmese and an African American? Our beautiful family. We are Jews, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist. We are female. We are male. We are children. We are human. We do not […]
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 […]
Nicole Minneapolis, MN As a descendant of Germans and Scandinavians, I am termed WHITE. My daughter is is a strawberry blonde with creamy white skin and blue eyes. Again and again I have been asked how it was possible when her father is an African American. I have heard, “he can’t actually be her father” […]
Jen Owen, Glen Allen, VA “I can hardly talk to you anymore.” My father said this after he’d used a racial epithet and I told him never to say that. I don’t want that hate put in my children’s’ heads and hearts. NO, you never COULD talk to me like that. We left that family […]
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. […]
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 […]
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. […]
Chloe Kandel Wong, Douglaston, NY.
Ronnie Dunn, Cleveland, OH My family was the third African American family to move on my street, Gay Avenue, on Cleveland’s Eastside in 1964. I was three years old and the youngest of three children. My siblings, a sister and brother, respectively and four years older than I, had already started school. The grandchildren, a […]
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 […]
Ryan Harrell, Holland, MI. Our adoptive son, Tagg, clearly is not a biological member of our family. In his two years with us we have encountered the entire range of reactions from loving acceptance to ignorant comments to outright disgust and disdain. But through it all, the fact is that we represent the new reality […]
Jennifer Meyer Eugene, OR
Luis Toro, Denver, CO. They try to tell us Hispanics are either white or black but my family’s ancestry is definitely Native American, we even know what tribes.
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 — […]
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 […]
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 […]
Steve Cox, Jackson, OH. Prior to having kids, people usually thought my wife (Chinese ethnic, Thai national) and I (white) were separate. If we went through a line at the store and we were both caring something, they would assume we were separate. Same thing would happen at airports and people would send us to […]
Samantha Salas, Mission, TX.
Teresa Figueroa, Stafford, VA.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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.
Jaya Harrover Saxena Astoria, NY My dad moved to America from India as a child. My mom’s family has been in America since the 1630s. I have always been me.
Steve Pederson , Submitted via Twitter: @stevped
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 […]
Armando Reyes, TX. I was born in Texas. 5 generations of my family were born in Texas. Before Texas was part of the US. I can’t go back to where “we” came from. I’m already here.
Kyla J., Scotts Valley, CA. Everyone deserves to be tolerated, no matter your skin color, language, or family.
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 […]
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 […]
Sameese Smith, Philadelphia, PA.
Olga Johnson, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Race is becoming more difficult to distinguish according to google, due to intermarriages, travel and better communications between humans on earth.
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 […]
Sara Proffett, Healy, AK. I am Russian, Scottish and Spanish. I’ve always been kind of tan and I have light brown hair. I’m short but not stout. I’ve always been made fun of for being a tiny little girl. I am a mix of different races so I was never really made fun of for […]
Charlotte Kendall, Orlando, FL. This was in New York in 1967. The sh** hit the fan at school! Family and church were there for me. I couldn’t believe the racism, from students and teachers. We learned a lot.
Nancy Clark Wilsonville, OR Denmark is black, he has been married to my niece for 24 years and I love him more than I can express. He has always been part of my heart, I can ‘t image life with out him there.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Brett Corey Miller, Athens, GA.
Zoe Zeerip, Rockford, MI. The elders in my family still believe race defines relationship.
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
Susan Mary Hull, United Kingdom. Being interested in people, engaging in conversation, listening to their stories is fascinating.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Tracey, Canada. I was moved, my heart and soul cried, and yet, I was inspired.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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” […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 and feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered this not always […]
Ryan Sumner, College Park, MD. Italians are often seen as stereotypically loud and have a passion for food. My family falls into these stereotypes
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!).
Anon Ymous Charlotte, NC “Replaced slavery chains with entitlement chains” As a white with guilt, all I can say is: I’m so sorry, twice…
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, […]
Kent & Laurie Runge Morris, MN
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Annabell Standford, Louisville, KY.
Debra Heiberg, San Antonio, TX. I want to see a world where there is not so much judgement
Crystal Woods Lagrange, GA We don’t talk about it nearly enough.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Andrew Kerbs, Asheville, NC.
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… […]
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 […]
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 […]
Jordan Day, Littleton, CO. I don’t care what people say about me being loud. It runs in the family.
Anthony Caraballo, Philadelphia, PA. Technically, American who is ethnicity is Latino. My family is from Puerto Rico.
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, […]
Ehsanullah, Ashburn, VA. Family of four From Afghanistan Love Basketball
Rudy Vogt, Louisville, KY. I feel constantly blamed for the actions of family I never met.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Sandra Hidalgo, Elizabeth, NJ. Family is my priority, my faith is my fuel, and I do whatever it takes to break stereotypes.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Bonnie Howard Fort Pierce, FL
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 […]
Kristia Molina New York City, NY Brooklyn I sacrifice a lot for my family because we are going through a tough time
Countess Lene Los Angeles, CA We’re one family!
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 […]
White Dude, White Area, USA. Well, to be honest, I’m not “proud” of being white. I’m not ashamed, I’m not proud. I don’t hang my head or puff out my chest. It’s not a huge part of me, to be honest. It doesn’t make me. So, I understand when people are proud of their race […]
Louise S. Malone, Albuquerque, NM. My family were originally slave owners in South Carolina. I watch the point of view change with each generation.
Sharee Meeks Laidlaw, Murray, UT. Our family is a mix of many races. Some of the members are adopted but I forget which ones.
Sherryl N Weston, Denver, CO. I was an adult before we learned the full scope of my mother’s complete ancestry story. Timbuctoo, NJ was co-founded by my 5-generations ago grandfather. Looks like he was a part of the 1860 Battle of Pine Swamp, where the residents beat the tar out of slave catchers who had […]
Maureen Burns, Ann Arbor, MI. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I have three lovely granddaughters. We’re all different. It doesn’t matter. We’re family.
Ms. Forthekids, Tacoma, WA. Let us keep this ‘race’ conversation going!
Lisbet Mingo Oakland, CA What it feels like to share everything with those closest to you–except the color of your skin. And how that changes everything…
Rachel, MD. …because a past boyfriend of mine was of a different race then mine. I was lucky to grow up in such a diverse community that when a racist comment was made it was shot down even faster. In high school, even though everyone had their groups of friends, race truly did not matter. […]
Alex Mayes, Suffolk, VA. I grew up in a multicultural family. I am hispanic but mixed with black, white, and native american. I typically don’t talk about what I am. Many people assume that because I talk a certain way or act a certain way, that I am trying to be anything besides black. I […]
Lee, Queens, NY. I live in NYC. A melting pot no? I am one of the few people where I work who is white American. I have a lot of experience but there are people there that have more experience than me and are better then me. I make at a minimum $15 more per […]
Lashanda Burns Carter, Scranton, PA. I was raised by a white family from the age 4 until 13. There were some great things and some really horrible things. But I am who I am because of the environment. Open-minded nonjudgmental, well spoken, humorous, and very shy African American. Who loves Motley Crue and hates cornbread. […]
Thomas Coke, Grand Rapids, MI.
Jorge Valladares Orlando, FL My parents came to this country as undocumented immigrants from Honduras, Central America. Their three children provide public service of some kind – I work with students with disabilities at a public college; my sister is a high school Spanish teacher and my brother is a former post-9/11 US Marine and […]
Lauren Juanita Hines, Alexandria, VA. I am the American melting pot personified: born to a Mexican father and Caucasian (white, mostly Irish) mother, raised by a Lebanese mother and a German-Irish father. I remember weddings as a child where we all danced the Middle Easter dabke. Cousins on the other side of the family won […]
Jessie Blakely Los Angeles, CA I was raised in Hawaii, where there really isn’t such thing as a racial stereotype. Hawaii kids tend to be so ethnically diverse, that any stereotype today may apply to up to 1/2 of their bloodline, but rarely more. When I moved to the mainland to go to college, I […]
Beatrice Arreola Wilmington, DE It was the summer of the end of my sophomore year in college, when I got an internship in an engineering firm. It was my second engineering internship and I was excited that I was working in my field of study. I was part of the small structural section in the […]
Paul Berry Palo Alto, CA In my 80 years, I’ve been married twice, have three children, five grand children– and among all of them, I’m the only one that Americans call “white.” My first spouse was described on our marriage license as “color: ed”; the second, on her US immigration papers, as “color: yellow.” So […]
Valerie Guerrero, Mission, TX. All my life I’ve grown up around my Hispanic family. It’s unusual for me to ever say something in English in front of them out of respect because they don’t really understand the language. The few times that I accidentally say something in English I get the old “no eres gringa, […]
Louise Bannon, Holly Springs, NC. Raising, playing, growing and living as a diverse family is an extraordinary experience. It brings both good days and tough days – obstacles and disappointments, laughter and lightheartedness. The journey is full of stares – stares full of curiosity, stares full of love and stares of hatefulness from the people […]
Gaby Segalla, Washington, DC. I’ve been adopted…twice. I was raised in a diverse community and I attend Georgetown Day School which is a very accepting school. I’m Vietnamese but I’ve been raised in America by a white family. When I am with my family and a friend who is white to other people I’m the […]
Christopher Allen, USA. As far as we can go back thanks to grandparents, my family were farmers. More often for survival than profit. Now my family includes electricians, train operators, postal workers, teachers, military men and women,lawyers, one doctor, one engineer (my father), corporate drones, business owners. We’re an enormous and close extended family that’s […]
Tunya Marie Loftis, Dallas, TX. I love who I am. I am the firstborn of my mother with four siblings under me. Strangely enough, when I was young, I didn’t know my Mom was white. She was my normal. She was just Mama. Who taught me how to read and color. She did my hair, […]
Michelle Christine Fairfax, VA I consider myself a friendly, open, unbiased person. Why do I not know the two families on my street that don’t look like me?
Melissa, Oakton, VA. I am a white girl girl who has married a Thai man. My Thai man was adopted as a baby by a black family. It has been a a great an amazing cultural learning journey!
Johanna Riddle, New Smyrna Beach, FL. I’ve always known that I was descended from slave owning families. This is something I shared with my students as we began to explore the history of slavery in the United States. I’ve always believed that we must be willing to take an honest look at history, and at […]
Melanie Douglas, Peyton, CO. I have transracial adopted kids. They have better hair than I do, they have better skin than I do, it is really something that they got everything I could ever want for them outside of my gene pool, and all I ever want is to be in their gene pool. I […]
M’Karyl Gaynor, Decatur, GA. I am 52 years old and I am from the Midwest (Rockford, IL) and while there was not an absence of racism per se…my friends and I were fortunate enough to grow up in a community where our families, communities and educational experiences allowed us to experience integration at its best…I […]
Katie Blunt, Freson, CA. “We don’t care if you marry a black man, but we just want you to know that your life will be harder if you do,” my parents said to me when I was sixteen. I married a man whose family is from the Philippines. I always wonder if that’s white enough […]
Julia Page, Moses Lake, WA.
Christy Braddock, Silver Spring, MD. Marc Quarles’ 6 words spoke to me when featured on All Things Considered this morning: ‘With Kids, I’m Dad. Alone, Thug’ I am a white mom of 2 children of color and 2 caucasian children. When I am with my black children, I feel visable in all race communities in […]
Steve Bennyhoff, Santa Fe, NM. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more compassionate about my fellow man. I now realize that any differences that we may have are only superficial and that if we got to know each other better as individuals, we would find that we are, in fact, from one big family
Ryan Gonzales, Vacaville, CA. Everyone looks at my last name and think that I am Mexican because my last name is Gonzales. My family came from Spain not Mexico.
Shannon M., Killeen, TX. My fiance is black. My son is mixed. At THREE years old my son has already encountered racism. Every time my fiance walks out of the house, I worry. When he gets angry at someone or something in public, I get scared and try my hardest to calm him down – […]
Paul, Portland, OR. I could talk about this all day. Race, ethnicity, and ancestry fascinate me. The question of who I am has been with me since I can remember. When I was little, we lived near the reservation in South Dakota, and everyone thought I was Native. My sister who is pale, blue eyed […]
Tim Brown, Millington, TN. I grew up in a very large Southern white family of absolutely insufferable racists. While researching our family’s genealogy, a cousin of mine found that the US Census listed many of our not-so-distant ancestors as “mulatto”, a term generally reserved to describe people who were half white and half black. We […]
Reed Atlanta, GA “Where is your family from? No, but where are YOUR PEOPLE from? I mean, what is your HERITAGE? Like, your ancestors. I mean … where do your features come from?” That was one of the more polite conversations that someone has initiated about by race. Although I was raised white and generally […]
Kurt Huber Monroe, CT My favorite quote on family is from Desmond Tutu. “You don’t choose your family. You are Gods gift to them, as they are to you.”
Linda Levittown, NY My three children are a mix of English/Irish and Puerto Rican and when you line them up in a row, you can see one mirrors me, the second mirors my husband and our third is a pretty even split down the middle and can “fit” either side of our mixed family. A […]
Miriam Haas Ossining, NY Early one morning my mother sister and I left the county center parking lot in White Plains NY for a trip to Washington. I was in the sixth grade and white. We went to the March on Washington. I will never forget it.
Alia Laurence Orlando, FL When I was 18, we found out that we were not simply Cherokee and various shades of European pale. (My father always considered being part Cherokee his ‘greatest shame’.) We found out we were also part African. Specifically, African-American of Malagasy descent. Not that this should’ve come as a great surprise […]
Donna Hanson Bella Vista, AK My ancestors were slave owners and themselves indentured servants and sharecroppers. I’ve worked on my family genealogy for over 14 years and find both the goodness and harshness of humankind interwoven throughout the generations.
Cecelia H Philadelphia, PA I remember being in fourth grade and the entire class had to make a dish displaying their ancestry and representing where your family came from. The project had my family scrambling. We don’t know what country we are from. As descendants of slaves in this country that information has been lost […]
Christine Marriott River Falls, WI I lived in the south, born in 1956. I saw awful things as a little white girl from a racist dysfunctional family. They taught me how not to be. Maybe it was because they treated me like they treated black people. My school was segregated early. I got in so […]
Tiana Icesis Bryant New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words are like the Civil Rights Movement is different from any other subject, more independent, it’s a Lone Ranger. All the other things people say that’s important are not really because they are backed up with some things. People back everything up that’s important to […]
Jaxon Isaac Stams New York City, NY Brooklyn In my school, there are more non-Caucasians and are of multiple races. In my family, my grandparents on my father’s side are interracially married, including my Uncle Ron, who is Trinidadian. On my mom’s side, my mom’s aunt is married to a man from Yemen.
Karen Palmer New York City, NY Brooklyn I am the child of two teachers, the grandchild of a police officer, a seamstress and two farmers, all African-American and alive during the Jim Crow era. I could never have become a college graduate, world traveler, journalist and school founder without their many sacrifices and the example […]
Erica Williams Cincinnati, OH
David Brandon Sumrall Riverside, CA I grew up in a family that was always racist, but as my cousins and I have grown, we now have four mixed children, two gay people, and one handicapped child. To say that my family has changed is an understatement. Through each of these people, we have learned to […]
ANNA GRASSI Cremona, Italy My husband ( German ) and I ( Italian ) adopted an Indian-born daughter. We live in Italy. It is not always easy to make people understand that we are a family: adoption and different skin colours make us “very perculiar”. Why did we parents choose a girl so different from […]
Kathleen Cole Chicago, IL
Katrina V. Cromwell, Pearl Harbor, HI. My father is Hispanic and White and my mother is Black. They met in high school and they have been married for 28 years. I knew nothing about racism until my father sat me down as a kid and told me about things that my parents went through in […]
Carla Prater Bryan, TX I recently found out that I have family roots in Texas. A man who rebelled against his father over slave owning and moved here. It is easy to be proud of my descent from a prominent abolitionist in central Texas, but it also means that I am the descendent of slave […]
J.S. Oklahoma City, OK I am me. I come from a long line of intolerant, hate filled family that would sooner walk away from those who are different they are rather than stay and learn and revel in the diversity. I am me and I am never going to be that which I seemed destined […]
Sarah Willis Portland, OR My dad is a half Mexican half German man who married a European mutt and had seven children. I am the only one of the seven that he marked the box on my birth certificate as Hispanic instead of white, making me the only mexican in my family.
Bill Doyle Valparaiso, IN Wish I could be there with my Eugene Cousins.
Mustafa Moore Eugene, OR The University of Oregon
Michael Malek Najjar Eugene, OR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze
Martha Lauren Younger-Holrogd Eugene, OR
MIRIAM L. IOSUPOVICI Imperial Beach, CA I am the child of Holocaust survivors. I grew up with ghosts of murdered family. Nobody needs to tell me that racism is potentially deadly, creates inter-generational wounds, can be structural and has many forms. We hurt our nation when we deprive any citizen of the means to have […]
Patricia Wilson Laurel, MD I am a baby boomer and I grew up in the era of segregation, lynching, blatant discrimination, marches, race riots, sit ins, boycotts, fighting for the rights to be treated as human beings, fighting for the right to vote; as well as the right to be recognized as a female with […]
Jane Dorick Midlothian, VA This was, I think, my mother’s way of letting others know that she didn’t consider herself a racist or as culpable for the horrible things done to blacks that we were all witnessing.
Valerie Bell Edison, NJ I read a very old will on ancestry.com. Strongly hints that I have black cousins. Part of me feels very happy…I’d love to hug them. Part of me feels very guilty that the probable descendents of the same man got very different deals in life.
Jeff Lewis Vienna, VA A few years ago my oldest daughter, now eight years old, described the skin color of my wife, me, herself and her younger sister in terms of ice cream flavors.
Martha DeWolfe Huntsville, AL Some of my ancestors were so evil a part of the family broke away and went to Canada to get away from them! Lucky for me, the ones who left were in my direct line…but because of the pirates’ horrible deeds, people all over the world are related to me within […]
Karen Davis Portland, OR First sorrow, family unable to love, second sorrow, learning of racism, still shocked 60 years later. How can this be? I don’t understand it any better today than I did then.
David T Roth Nashville, TN I was walking through Centennial Park in Nashville, TN. I looked up to see a young Father holding his daughter of 3 or 4 facing him. It was obvious that they were interacting in a way that only parent and child can. Where the world around them disappears and they […]
Yvonne Kasper Hogan Phoenix, AZ Because of WWII, my family was displaced and I was born in Germany. When we came to the States in 1957, people would ask where I was from, because of my accent. I’d tell them, very innocently, that I was from Germany. They immediately called me a Nazi. My parents […]
Pilar Parish Koopman Ann Arbor, MI Amazing Project!
Robert Templeton, Kyleigh Glasper Colorado Spring, CO I have a multicultural family, but I just see them as family.
Danielle Morency Ann Arbor, MI I grew up in an upper-middle class suburban town composed of 93.4 percent white people. You could say that I had limited exposure to people of other races. While being a white person in society did provide me with certain advantages throughout my life, these were not things I was […]
Allan Jespersen California, MD
Mary Winter Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan
Sameer Belgaumi Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan I’m a Pakistani-American who grew up in Saudi Arabia. I hear this question so often that I wish I had a better reason than “I was born speaking it.” The truth that English was one of the first languages I learned, seems like such […]
Bradley McIntyre Woodbridge, VA I was always the darkest kid in my mostly black school. I always saw myself only as black. Three years ago I learned that my grandmother is not black. My maternal great grandfather is an Irish merchant sailor and my maternal great grandmother is Arawak Indian (native of Jamaica). It is […]
Marlene Ross Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project – University of Michigan
Laura Bell Gahanna, OH Disowned by my “white” family after my mother married a black man, I was raised by my step-father’s family since the age of three, I am 41 now. Anger towards the family that left us, happy for the family that welcomed us.
James F. New Haven, CT A few years ago we adopted four beautiful children from Brazil. Their skin is darker than ours. We also have a biological child who, obviously, looks a little more like us. We love our little multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual family. It’s a beautiful thing!
Suella Torres Deming, NM My husband and I will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary in February. We have a daughter together and 7 more mixed kids between us. Our kids are Afro Mexican Americans. With the exception of my oldest who is a third white. The range in colors is vanilla to caramel to […]
Michelle P. Covington, LA We decided to adopt a child years ago. We are not infertile, but felt like it was a great way to add to our family, while loving someone who needed us. Our research showed us that African-American children, especially boys, are the least adoptable in our country. We decided to adopt […]