Kristiane Valenza, Vicksburg, MS. After moving to rural Mississippi from New York to teach Spanish at the high school level, I’m frequently met with confusion as to how I have an “ethnic” name and can teach Spanish, but I have fair skin and European features. When people ask me, “Are you from Vicksburg?” they really […]
Joshua Ruiz, DENVER, CO. No, I am not a gangster or some stereotypical Chicano, Mexican, or any Hispanic. I was born in New York City in a Jewish hospital to Nicaraguan parents who lived on 120th and Lexington in some studio room or something like that. Until 2 months later we moved to an open […]
Laura Pierson, Los Angeles, CA. I am Native American, Mexican, Spanish, English, Germany, and Irish. I was raised by a single mom that is Native American, English, German, and Irish. I didn’t know what being a Mexican meant or was like and I’m still trying to figure it out. As a child, I told people […]
Michelle Tovar, Houston, TX.
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 […]
Tom Lewis, Phoenix, AZ. Most “white” people in the USA are descended from people who were considered “other” and often not even white when these ancestors arrived. All of these groups changed and improved America. Germans, Irish, Italians, Poles, and Jews were as unwelcome as Mexicans, Dominicans, Africans and Muslims are now. I am white […]
Naomi, Grand Rapids, MI. I am an American, of Mexican decent… No, I don’t speak Spanish, no I don’t know where my family is from in Mexico… My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were born in Texas… I grew up in Gary, IN around mostly Black people… people don’t know what box to put me in. How […]
Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]
Jessica Laursen San Diego, CA to New Orleans, LA When moving from San Diego to New Orleans as a teenager I realized the jobs held predominantly by Mexican-Americans in Southern California were performed by African-Americans in the south. Jobs such as janitor, yard maintenance, cook. I began to realize how incredibly complex social “status” is. […]
Ninfa Pena-Purcell, College Station, TX. This picture of my parents captures a young Mexican American couple with aspirations to live the American dream in the 1950s only to find out that their family of six children would never be welcomed in their neighborhood. Years later this experience has stayed with me and made me resolve […]
Valerie Grajeda Rountree, San Jose, CA. I grew up not speaking Spanish in a very Mexican neighborhood. My mother sent me to schools out of my area to prevent me getting involved with the local gang population. I grew up with other nationalities and met my future husband in high school. He is white. Our […]
Krystal Lopez, San Jose, CA. Being Mexican that’s all I tried to be growing up, but the truth is there is a black hole that I have made with being Native American. Growing up I never knew the man I would call my “Dad”. It was always just me and my Mexican & German mother. […]
Priscilla Esparza, Riverside, CA. Living life as a Mexican American is best described by Abraham Quintanilla,”Being Mexican American is tough. Anglos jump all over you if you don’t speak English Perfectly, Mexicans jump all over you if you don’t speak Spanish perfectly.” “we got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are and we […]
Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]
Saif Ashfak, Wayne State, Warren, MI Are you an arabic or Mexican ? Lot of people can easily confuse me because of my lighter skin and fairer complex, but what I truly am is a Bengali.
All my life, people have mistaken me for “races” that I am not: Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Indian, Brazilian. I was always flattered because I thought this meant I looked exotic and “different,” I wanted to look different. I didn’t want to look “haole,” our stolen Hawaiian word for “white.” That’s when I uncovered the implicit […]
Sarah Naomi Burnett, Norristown, PA. Being a ‘white’ girl raised on the border of Mexico the ‘race-card’ issue was raised daily. I always felt that if I was a color, and they were a nationality, those two identifiers didn’t quantify either of us equally. I had a culture at home that was Irish/Italian but where […]
Arely Herrera, Memphis, TN One of my professors of the “(De)constructing Race in America” course I am currently taken has embedded the importance of having your own “narrative” in my mind. Now, for me, it is always important to look at the history and re-write what my race means to me. “Mexican” doesn’t completely describe […]
Ninasophia Stowe, Riverside, CA I am mixed with Black, German and Mexican. Growing up I was very confused about what it meant to be mixed. I didn’t feel fully accepted by the Black community because I didn’t have enough black features, was called the “black friend” around white people and didn’t speak Spanish so felt […]
Christal L, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Instead of getting to know people, some find it easier to put people into boxes. Black = bad. White = good. Mexican = illegal, etc. It’s sad. Get to know people. Skin color gives a hint to who a persons ancestors could have been. It says nothing about the […]
Carissa Renee Chacon, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Born with the curliest, thickest dark brown hair (well now it’s auburn). Hazel eyes that have green and specks of gold. Skin white as snow. There’s always been a push and pull situation regarding my ethnicity. Most people don’t believe me when I say I speak Spanish fluently. […]
Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Lauren C, TX I wish for my half white, half Mexican children to grow up knowing that perceived differences should be an opportunity to learn about another person or people, and how much they may truly have in common. An opportunity to embrace someone or their culture and traditions, and maybe learn something new about […]
Yadhira, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. My friends and cousins tell me that I need to have a Quinceañera and I tell them I don’t want a big party with everyone dancing, Some of my family members say I should have my quinceanera at Mexico, but I don’t want one I […]
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 […]
Alex Weitz, Lakeland, FL. It is because I play soccer (that’s also six words)
Abraham Sanchez, Palo Alto, CA. Just cause I don’t act the same as other Mexicans does not define my moral value. You don’t say that to someone who looks like you right?
Arely Cruz, Summerville, GA. A common “come-back” to be used always is “Why don’t you go back and jump the border.” Well, why don’t you get your facts straight, because I was born in America.
Jordan, American Canyon, CA.
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 […]
Jameson Magdaleno Sacramento, CA This is my personal observation as a Mexican American regarding the plight of families with illegal immigrant parents who have children born in the U.S. today and their struggle to stay united. – Jameson Magdaleno
Rocio Tapia, Forest Park, GA. Being from Mexico, I do not have any sense of race. I know what I am and do not identify with any of the categories listed when I am asked about my race or ethnicity, so I often leave it blank or choose “Other” if I am pressed to select […]
Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]
Claudia Vero Beach, FL Scary but enlightening’s
Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]
Mathew Rayne, Houston, TX. Once in awhile you go for a drive and see the people around you enjoying what there doing. Everyone is their own person! Sometimes your expected to do something that… you just rather not do? It’s my family line? In my blood? Just because I’m Hispanic doesn’t mean i wanted to […]
Rachel Gonzales Pottstown, PA I’m the whitest woman who ever lived (except in the summer, when I’m the sunburniest woman who ever lived). He’s half-Mexican by way of California and half-German by way of WWII. Our adopted daughter is part African American, part Italian, part “Caucasian mix” (that’s what it ACTUALLY SAYS in her medical […]
Brisa Gardiner, Canada I am very confused about my identity and what parts of my background are “mine to use”. I was born in Mexico and lived there for my toddler years but I am only 25% Latin, with the rest being Scottish and Swiss. My mother, who is half Guatemalan, grew up in Guatemala, […]
Ernesto C., Riverside, CA. Living in Southern California, I’ve noticed that many people don’t seem to know that there are other cultures besides Mexican. This happens because most people act like there are only Mexican people living in California when there are obviously so many more cultures.
Jeannine Chavez, Huntington Park, CA. As a United States citizen who lives in Los Angeles as a gay Mexican female, it has limited my privileges. Being a different race, sex, and having a different sexuality than others have all caused me to be oppressed and quite often hear remarks about these three social identities that […]
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 […]
Paul Avery, Chicago, IL. I am part Mexican and Black, live in Chicago, going to City Colleges, wish I could leave earth for a planet where gay men made up 80% of world population.
Yvonne Rosenberg, Sioux Falls, SD. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Tx. Raised by Mexican American Grandparents who grew up in a generation where Spanish was not spoken outside the home because of white America. In raising me, they refused to speak Spanish in the home. I was referred as a “coconut” by those of […]
Celestina Garcia, Bloomington, IN. Cripplingly aware of my Hispanic heritage, yet I feel that it doesn’t belong to me. I have my mother’s Anglo nose, and my fathers Mexican brows. I wade through a sea of whiteness wishing to connect yet when I find a Chicana we find that we aren’t on the same page… […]
Lucas Lopez, Seattle, WA. I’m Mexican and Guatemalan.
Juan Dominguez, Sacramento, CA. Mexican people say I am a shame to our people with gauges in my ears, the clothes I am wearing, the fact I do not have an accent when I speak. It’s like I was raised in America but by Mexicans that eat tortillas with every meal celebrate mothers day the […]
Cristal Alanis, Greensboro, NC. Based on the color of our skin does not determine our background. Central and South America have other countries too, not just Mexico.
John Heath Olguin, West Orange, NJ. Before you get all worked up about my 6 words. Let me explain. I watched a little boy of Mexican-American decent sing our national anthem and thought nothing of it. The next day I read about all the negative comments that came about of his performance (see link) and […]
Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. It’s weird how simple hair and skin color can categorize humans into different ethnicities and cultural origins that might not define that person at all.
Jacquelin Rojas, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Whenever someone asks me if I Like spicy food like pepper, Takis, Hot Cheetos, or Hot Fires, I say I don’t like anything spicy, they look at me in a weird way and tell me your not Mexican because you don’t like any spicy […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I never really have thought through what my grandma was saying. I was only just a little girl. I still am but after all these years, I have decoded her. She never thought she was being controlling. She never knew how meaningful all those sentences, […]
Carolina, Powder Springs, GA. As a Hispanic person, being called Mexican can be seen as an insult, but what is worst; the fact that I feel offended or the fact that it can be offensive?
Amy Hueitt, Gastonia, NC. I am a single mother of two children, one who is 8 with Autism, ADHD, and developmental delays. My daughter is almost 6 and typical. My son is black, white, and Mexican. He appears to be just Mexican. My daughter is black and white, she looks white. I am black and […]
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 […]
Patricia Louise Batugo Panahon, Porter Ranch, CA.
My 6 word memoir is about my family because I am Mexican, but my cousins are black and Mexican. Most of my family is Mexican because my mom’s side is all Mexican and so is my dad’s side. But on my mom’s side I have black cousins. Some experiences I’ve had with racism is when […]
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, […]
Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]
Kasey Nichols, Clemmons, NC. I’ve known I’ve been adopted since I can remember and never questioned my ethnicity until I reached middle school age because we had to fill out cards with “check yes if Latino, African American, white or other.” Biologically I’m Mexican and Italian, but I was raised white with my dad being […]
Chuck Lehneis San Diego, CA Born here in San Diego, I find I fit in best. Yet, I don’t identify totally with the culture, by and large. Most of the surfers are white, most of the tourists are white, most of the people who are out and about on a Saturday night too. I see […]
Steven Jacob Alvarez, Orange, CA. I’m about 85% Mexican, and 15% Irish. Throughout my early life, I always considered myself purely Mexican. It wasn’t until after finding out my Great Grandma was from Ireland that i began to think differently. Now I understood why I was lighter skinned, and why I had to rebuff claims […]
Veronica, Woodland, CA. Don’t look down on me because I don’t speak Spanish. I would love to learn but you shaming me makes me nervous to even try, should I make a mistake. You think I spit on “my language”? Well, you spit on me, your Mexican sister.
Mina Perez Holland, MI A lot of people think that “soccer” is just for Mexicans. But in reality soccer is for anyone to play, it doesn’t matter what color of your skin you are. People shouldn’t get judged because of their skin, because anyone who’s any color can play soccer. People don’t understand the fact […]
Peter Smucz, USA. The concept of race is actually a manifestation of a very old and fundamental human process, that of ingroup and outgroup identification. It developed for a single purpose, to facilitate harm against the outgroup, in this case the race in question. But hatred doesn’t come out of nowhere, their needs to be […]
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 […]
Lois Ann Knezek, Sanger, TX. I was born and raised in Hawai’i to a Hawai’i born Japanese woman and an Irish Bostonian. Luckily, in Hawai’i, everyone is mixed so I didn’t feel any different. Then I married a haole from Texas and moved to a culture where people didn’t know what I was. I wasn’t […]
Eric Flores, Lubbock, TX. I am a Mexican-American or simply put American. I was born and raised in a conservative town. I was too Mexican for the Whites and too White for the Mexicans. I was stuck in the middle. I always wanted to be white but now I am glad that I am Mexican. […]
Jessica, Seattle, WA. I moved to a nice, peacefully safe area. First there was just a few illegal Mexicans but it’s changed. We made it easy for them by giving them free money, food, schooling. I hate them. I don’t like the Mexican culture, mannerisms,beliefs,..everything….is it so wrong to prefer not to like them. Why […]
Blake Coffey, Van Nuys, CA. In a world where being mixed is supposed to be looked at as beautiful, it’s not as easy when you are. People automatically assume that all mixed people are supposed to look mixed just like they assume all Mexicans are brown. I’m born to a mixed black/white father who looks […]
Monique Martinez, Riverside, CA. I am half Mexican and half Filipino but everyone always thinks I am full Mexican. When they find out I am mixed, half the time they don’t believe me. Then when they find out I don’t speak Spanish, I get comments like “how do you not know Spanish, you not a […]
Janine D Herrera, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. When beginning this exercise, I almost regressed back to my old thinking habits. I came up with the six-word phrase, ‘English language no Spanish still Mexican.’ However, I realized I was going back to what I was delivered from. I used to struggle with my identity. I am Mexican […]
Sofia Camarena, Austin, TX. Being born in Oaxaca, and still having people question how “Mexican I am” is frustrating.
Isabella, Memphis, TN. I am half white, half Mexican. I’m not more white than I am Mexican. I’m not more Mexican than I am white.
Anne Bressler, Redmond, OR.
Sierra McGeoghegan, Weymouth, MA. Growing up and even now I am always denied my Mexican heritage by lots of people of all races. I am Irish + Mexican and a few other races. My family treated my Hispanic blood as a taboo, the Latinos I knew as a child rejected me once I shared I […]
Wherever I may go, my sister and I are always questioned about our ethnicity, we apparently look Native or Brazilian or Indian. I don’t know if I should be offended or flattered. I hate when people think of all maids as Mexican or Latina, it’s just rude. No one should be put under a generalization […]
When I was younger, I always thought that race was real, I was surprised to find that it is not biologically real. Now that I know this I realized that some stereotypes I made about people are not true. I had always thought that if you looked one way then you were from a certain […]
Some experiences I heard about racism is that Donald Trump said that he was going to build a wall between California and Mexico to avoid all Mexican people because they are all illegal. When he said that it made me feel uncomfortable because I am a Mexican boy and too me it makes me think […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I have watched movies and shows where actors make fun of Mexicans. This really doesn’t bother me because I learned not to let it. Negative comments towards me used to bother me in the past where I would get to the point where I would […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Both my parents grew up in Mexico. When people see me they think they have to translate in Spanish for me. It seems everyone always asked “Do you know English?” When I was only six, the stereotypes I was exposed to were “You look Mexican, […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts 7th Grade Trailblazer I used to think that I was not any other type of race than Mexican because I grew up around Mexican food and my nana used to speak Spanish a lot. Then one day my dad was talking about race and he told me I […]
R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Why people often think that they can only be one thing for their entire life is one of my greatest curiosities. One of our greatest powers is the ability to change, to be something different. Choosing to have just one label for the rest of […]
Kitt Smith, USA. I have white skin, green eyes and brown hair. I appear every bit a homogeneous American white. I am not. I am a first generation American born to a Mexican illegal and a Irish immigrant. My family has no history here and no part in the oppression of black people. Both sides […]
Raquel Villalobos, Sacramento, CA. Most assume that all Mexicans are in the U.S. illegally and that is simply not true. We are in the 21st century, it is time to bring racism and stereotypes to an end.
Matthew Powers, Riverside, CA. “Growing up Irish and being raised by a single mom in the 50’s and 60’s in Omaha I saw racial tension and acts all around the city, but I can’t say I understood anything about it until my younger sister and I were transferred to a different school because mom couldn’t […]
Amber Nicole Gutierrez, Hemet, CA. Everyone grew up with a different life-style, just because I look of Mexican decent does not mean I am the same as every Mexican stereotype. I am an American and have grew up in the middle of both worlds of “American” and “Mexican”. I understand Spanish and speak some. I […]
Daniela Rubio, Downey, CA. Just because their are a lot of Hispanics/Latinos in southern California, specifically to Los Angeles, it doesn’t mean we are all the same. We are all not illegal immigrants, we don’t eat beans and rice everyday. It does not give anyone the right to judge us or lump us all together.
Cierra Huerta, Eaton Rapids, MI.
Robert De Dios, Sanger, CA. I am a high school student who use to get the ” oh you were born here in America?” Back when I was in middle school I often got this question simply because I was intelligent and these group of people never really heard about a Mexican or Latino being […]
Daniel A. Rodriguez, Philadelphia, PA. Hello, my name is Daniel A. Rodriguez and I am 15 years old. I am of Mexican and White descent. My parents came from Mexico shortly before I was born here, in the United States. My father is a construction worker and my mother is a house cleaner, which many […]
Paul Audette , Submitted via Twitter: @wisereturn5m.
Mark Cooper Lafayette, IN In elementary school, my best friend turned to me and said, “Mark, I don’t even think of you as asian anymore!” I knew he meant that our friendship had stepped beyond perceived race, but the phrasing could not be anymore alienating. I have family that trace back to the Mayflower, to […]
Irlena A. Rodriguez, Tucson, AZ. Mexican is not a race, and not all Latinos are Mexicans. We have different cultures and ethnicity across Latin America. I am Latina and I am Colombian, Not Mexican. there’s a big difference.
Alexandra Degortari, Highland, CA. My whole life I have always be questioned or even tested to make sure I am not lying about being Mexican. Everyone would say “you’re not Mexican, you’re white!”, or “well if you’re Mexican then prove it! Say something in Spanish.” Had I been born with tan skin I would never […]