Ardean Orr, Syracuse, NY. All four of my grandparents immigrated from Italy, so I’m pure Italian, but also white. My father was a jazz musician who often played with musicians who happened to be black, so I grew up in a tolerant home when it wasn’t popular. Growing up in America it seemed like blacks […]
Malika Los Angeles, CA Our daughter began to draw what she saw in the world very early. She wakes up from vivid dreams, grabs a sheet of paper and illustrates the thunder and lightning, fairies and wizards, monsters and princesses from her nighttime imagination. Having grown up in America as a woman of African ancestry, […]
Julie Newell, Lubbock, TX.
Erica Sykes, Chesapeake, VA. I am always approached and asked, “Are you mixed?” What does my nationality have to do with anything going on in your life? It’s none of your business.
Heather Lopez, Philadelphia, PA. I’m mixed, I’m half White and half Cuban. Many people think I’m just white because of the color of my skin.
Ollie, New York, NY. I’m mixed – white and Iraqi. It infuriates me that people, of all races, can’t see past my light skin. My Iraqi side is also Jewish and the racism within, and anti-semitism outside, has made claiming a poc identity an uphill battle. I feel like half of me is being systematically […]
Sonni Williams Germantown, MD My name is Sonni, and I am 47 years old. I have 3 sons, and all of them have white fathers. When my first two were born, it was clear to everyone that their father was white, or that they were of mixed heritage because of their fare skin and hair […]
Jy’Maire O’connor, Philadelphia, PA. People bade me off the color of my skin just because my skin tone is brown/black doesn’t mean I’m only black and those stereotypes you place on “African Americans” doesn’t really apply to me i’m more than one race and you would know that if you talked to me instead of […]
Anonymous, UT. I’m not white, I’m not black. I’m a mixed Latina. I honestly despise brown/black people, I can’t stand their ugly skin, noses and hair. It goes from blacks to Polynesians. I don’t like their culture, I don’t like their looks and how they act. I’m racist, and I’m not white. I came from […]
Sisley Brewer, Palo Alto, CA.
Ben, Madison, WI. Every time I think about race, especially when I’m asked to indicate it, I feel three things: anxiety, resentment and shame. Anxiety: Even if I have the option not to indicate my race I feel a wave of anxiety. I have a “White name” and light skin, English was my first language, […]
Renee Bracey Sherman. Oakland, CA. “Can I touch your hair?” they ask, hand already extended, a mere inch from my thick brown curls. I feel invaded. Living as a biracial woman isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People come up to me with an inquisitively tilted head and say “What are you?” If I […]
Yema Pizzuto, MD. Have you ever been told, “Really? But you don’t look…” Or “Oh yeah, I see how you’re…because you look…” Or the ‘Ol time favorite, “I’m sorry, I thought you spoke Spanish.” Yeah, not every mixed person is of Spanish decent. About the word “mixed”, it doesn’t imply that I’m just black and […]
Ileana Serrano, Sacramento, CA. Whenever people try and guess my “race”, I usually get different responses, but they’re always followed by “mixed with white”. My skin tone might be a bit more fair than what people may think Mexicans are supposed to look like, but that doesn’t make me any less Mexican. I’m not mixed […]
Tyler Brown, Washington, DC. As an African American and Irish American man ppl have referred to me as biracial or mixed for most of my life…both terms uncover misunderstandings about race and what makes a person. One being can’t be two races at the same time, neither can they be mixed like cake batter in […]
Jennifer Wong Cernak, Chester, MD. I have been listening to your race-card stories for a long time and heard the topic of mixed race come up again and again. In the past identity has been a struggle for me, but now I feel comfortable with who I am. There were many days, growing up, I […]
Anna Berch-Norton, Pittsburgh, PA. Yeah, when white guys call their friends “my nigga” and people say to their Vietnamese friend, “it’s funny cause you’re Asian”, that doesn’t mean that we’re totally over that whole racism thing. It means that people are subscribing to the hipster theory of racism that you can say really racist, disgusting […]
Mark Sundermann Holt, MI This morning’s story about Mixed Heritage gave me hope. How does one pick from the following? German, Mexican, Dutch, Zapotec, Irish and (possibly) Menomini? I’m a MUTT.
Natalie Rossi Canton, MA I am 50% Irish, 50% Italian, and 100% Chinese. I am adopted, I live with a white American family. I am Asian and when we went to Flushing NY and I looked at the building beside me and saw all the Asians, I could not find myself. there was a sea […]
Hemma Jari, UK. There are less mixed race kids in the UK than in America. Although I live in Manchester, which is (outside of London) probably the most multi-ethnic city in the UK, I’m still one of the few mixed race kids in my year. People here have a tendency to ‘stick to what they […]
Christine Mitchell, Reading, PA. I’m a black woman married to a white man but still, imagine my surprise in the delivery room when my baby came out white. Not “white” like black babies are often very light skinned until their color comes in, but white. They put our bracelets on so our babies wouldn’t get […]
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 […]
Morgan Engelhardt, Norfolk, VA. A lot of times I get shut down for calling myself Pacific Islander or Asian because I look white. The truth is, I’ve always preferred to identify myself with my Filipino ancestors rather than my white ones. It feels like home to me.
Kiki I., American Canyon, CA.
Allie Reese, Washington, DC. I’m a mixed white/Southeast Asian TCK: In the US, I’m some kind of Asian (but in Indonesia I’m ‘bule’, or a white foreigner). My childhood took place in neither of these countries. I don’t seem to have a place here, let alone anywhere.
Veronica M Chouinard, Carmel, IN. I would just like to add that my ethnic background is mixed with a lot. My mother was a full blooded Puerto Rican woman. My father was a French Creole of color from New Orleans, LA. Yet so many people ask me if I’m Pilipino. Yet, I kid you not, […]
Michelle T, Los Angeles, CA. What a wonderful and positive way to engage in discourse about race. Well done, Mrs. Norris!
Teri V. Markanson, Crescent City, CA. Before I knew what the definitions were, these words were used to describe me as a young child.
Danixa Carr Brooklyn, NY I am Panamanian and Puerto Rican. My mom is Afro-Panamanian (her roots are mixed as well) and my dad is mestizo. Growing up, I’ve always identified with my Panamanian side and considered myself to be Latina. However, I had one life altering experience in Panama. I traveled to Panama in 2010 […]
Michael Ponsler, Brooklyn, NY. I’ve enjoyed an extremely diverse social life, dated & married interracially and on countless occasions have been the only white person within a crowd, community or family gathering. I have never been harassed, harmed or threatened by a person of another race. However, I have been rejected, assaulted and/or threatened several […]
Elizabeth, Denver, CO. My mother is mixed race, Indian and white. She grew up pretty poor, but she told me once that she always had two pairs of shoes: one pair of moccasins and one pair of boots. Depending on who her father was trading with she would either have to pull on her boots, […]
Julie Taeko, San Francisco, CA. Writing a book called “Good Morning, Mixed-Race America!” to highlight the stories of 12 mixed-race individuals who are part-Asian, millenials and loving life! Checking All the Boxes & Embracing Our Own Unique Multi-Cultural Identity.
Jamie Lee Myers Jacksonville, FL Many people seem to identify who they are by their race. We also all seem to have a tendency toward making assumptions based on how people look. I am fair with naturally red hair that is currently blonde. Most think I am Irish and that is in my family tree, […]
Charlie J., Honolulu, HI. People who are mixed race (and identify with both/all sides of their heritage) are expected to sit quietly in a corner while white people and poc duke it out. For example, I’m always ‘too white’ or ‘too hispanic’ to have an opinion when racist things are being said around me, and […]
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 […]
Alyssa Swearingen, Norfolk, VA. I come from parents who are different races. I have a mother who is white, and a father who is black. All my life, I get told “You don’t look black,” or I get asked if “I’m sure I am HALF black.” I’ve been told numerous times that I look like […]
Andrea Alexander, Rochelle Park, NJ. The constant dilemma of “boxing” your identity when your category is not among the selections.
Sophie Molly Reneé, England.
Bettina Sferrino, Oakland, CA. As a mixed race person, I get these questions all the time. The persons asking have a strong desire to know and place the “other,” and a feeling that somehow the persons asking these questions can’t move forward interacting with me without knowing that information. I can’t help but think for […]
Chantal Thomas San Jose, CA
Jennifer Ward, Denver, CO. As discussions have proliferated in Denver and online about race, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how change should be implemented, one idea that has been reiterated is that white people’s place is to support, while black people’s place is to lead and direct. I understand that, but where does that […]
Rebecca Tester Lenoir, NC What does it mean to be “mixed” anyway? Does it even matter? I’ll never forget that first day of school when everyone wanted to know the colors of my parents.
Jalize Brooks, Boston, MA. I like that im mixed. It makes me different.
Shaunta Whitaker, Lompoc, CA. I am a grandmother and I love being a grandmother but with it comes some heartache because of some of the stares I have to endure when I am out with my grandson. I am African-American with a dark brown complexion and my grandson is mixed with Mexican, Italian and African-American […]
Nina Martin Phoenix, AZ I am quietly proud of my multiracial background: my mother is Chinese, and my father is half German, half American. I also look absolutely nothing like my mother, save for straight hair and slightly tanner skin. While never a negative issue, this has led to some interesting situations since the time […]
Kayle Dallas, TX Our breakup happened for many reason, but the main one is because his parents would never feel 100% comfortable with their son for being with me. I’m black and he’s white. Such simple labels that belie a myriad of different experiences. I would think that any parent would be thrilled their son […]
Natalie, Seattle, WA. My grandmother never got to pass for white. She was sent to indian boarding school. 50 years later, I grew up in white suburbia, where no one assumed I was Native or even mixed-race. I self-identify as Native, I speak Chahta, I participate as a tribal citizen, I carry on the family […]
Dan Ellerman, Baltimore, MD. I was adopted from S. Korea at the age of 3 by a German/Irish couple. I grew up in a white household and neighborhood and went to predominantly African American schools in Baltimore city. The words I chose were told to me by my family and friends with the best intentions […]
Amy Spencer, Kalona, IA. On Location: Drake University Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I think, ‘Dang, you’re pale.’ But inside, I’m mixed, because my husband and kids are a huge part of me.
Brittany Bown, Burbank, CA.
Emily, San Francisco, CA. I love how there are so many different cultures, and I want for people to keep celebrating their cultures. However, when it comes to deciding who has it harder or who is to blame for present issues, I think that we should focus not on how we differ, but how we […]
Melissa Devore, Canton, OH.
Anonymous Ann Arbor, MI The concept of being an “edgewalker” is from Nina Boyd Krebs–it means you can move between cultural traditions and cultural communities with some level of ease, comfort and enjoyment. Being raised in a Black/White family, we talked about and lived race/ethnicity/socio-economics/etc. daily. I know now that this is a blessing as […]
Anonymous Being of mixed race can make a person feel out of place, and lacking of identity. My friend and I were talking about which race we feel closer to and he said to me, “white people think I’m Asian, Asian people think I’m white.” of mixed Asian and white I do feel similar. Being […]
Julie Phan, San Jose, CA. Hey, what are you? Uh, I’m Asian…? Really? You don’t look Asian. You’re tan, and chill, and not like other Asians. And you’re kinda ghetto. Honestly, you look Mexican or mixed. 1. My skin color does NOT identify my race, nor does it identify anybody else’s race/ethnicity. 2. Is not […]
Azariah Solomon, Wilmington, NC. My brilliant mother always used to say, “One day, there will be no black or white … everyone will look just like you and your sister: golden!
Jim Minkler, Spokane, WA.
Jordi A. Snell, The Netherlands. My mother is Dutch and my father is Moluccan (Melanesian I assume). I don’t exactly know what my father’s race is because alot of Moluccans have mixed race ancestry. All I know is that my father’s skin color is ‘Black’, he has thick curly hair when it’s long, but his […]
Dilyn Grasp, Boring, OR. I am a white woman from a small town in Oregon (look it up, it’s a real place). My boyfriend is a first generation American. His parents are from China and Taiwan. When we started dating two years ago (when I was 20 and old enough to make my own decisions), […]
Stephanie, Marblehead, MA. My husband is of Italian decent and has dark features, such as brown eyes, black hair, olive skin. I am 100% Irish with light features: light brown hair, blue eyes and pale skin. Our oldest daughter shares the same dark features as my husband. Once while picking up a few thing at […]
Michele Warch, Georgetown, DE. My mom is English and Native American. My dad is Scotch-Irish and German. I speak Cherokee and read some Gaelic. I have dark hair and green eyes. Its a gift of my mixed ancestry. I have tattoos and ride a motorcycle. I also have a master’s degree and teach at the […]
Lisa Harrison Long Beach, CA This is such a common reaction from people over many, many years. I don’t look half Cambodian by others standards. I just say I’m multi-racial. The list of my heritage is too long!
Brandi Green, Chicago, IL. I constantly am asked “what I am” or “are you mixed” Nope. I’m black and albino. 🙂 It’s a fascinating existence.
Yolanda Brantley, Minneapolis, MN. Growing up as a mixed race child in a predominantly white neighborhood in the ’60’s was scarring. I knew I could appear as only “Caucasian” but my name gave me away. So I changed it to hide from everyone.
Ellie Myers, Saint Louis, MO. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where the tension around race politics is palpable. Race never played a big role in my life, because it never had to. That is, until I started dating black men. I remember friends in high school joking about me going to, […]
Laura N. Weston, Baltimore, MD. About 80% of the time people assume (mostly men) I am Puerto Rican even though I am half Caucasian and half African American. I stress to everyone who thinks it is important enough to ask me what I am that I am Mixed or Biracial and I state with what. […]
Marcellus Hendricks, San Antonio, TX. My friend in high school said “you talk proper” I said “and?” He said “you’re black” So that told me, that what? I’m supposed to talk Ingorant because I’m mixed with black? No, excuse me for having an open vocabulary.
Jessica Carmona, Fort Lauderdale, FL. People always insist on the fact that because I am from the Dominican Republic I’m Haitian. No. I don’t think this is so because I don’t follow any of the Haitian customs and I’ve never even been there. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being Haitian it’s just that […]
Marisa Boessneck, Moreno Valley, CA. Yes my mom is white so what? Just because I have dark brown hair and a tan skin color doesn’t mean I am not mixed. It really bothers me when I go to the grocery store with my mom who is blonde hair blue eyes and I get asked if […]
Beth Watson, Tacoma, WA. In ‘post-racial’ ( I use this term sarcastically) America, living in the Pacific Northwest, I can’t believe how many times I have been asked outright, “where did you get her from?” in response to seeing me and my bi-racial daughter in public. This question, of course, comes at the end of […]
Shava, Lake Oswego, OR. At times it can be confusing. I have wondered where I fit in. But in the end…I’m so glad to have the depth of experience that being multicultural has given me. I’m black, white and I’m Jewish. It’s amazing!
Carolyn Hipkins, Largo, MD. All my life I’ve been told that I have “good hair”. Its very soft and with a loose curl pattern. If I straighten it or put a relaxer in it it looks like Caucasian hair. But let the humidity go up. My hair reverts to its natural curly state. I spent […]
Laura Mariko Cheifetz Atlanta, GA I call myself hapa yonsei. I’m biracial white Jewish and Japanese American, fourth generation on both sides. However, there are two assumptions that I run into all the time. First, “what are you?” People want to know my ethnic background (not racial… that doesn’t satisfy their intrusive curiosity), but they […]
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!
Ashley L., Durham, NC. For much of my life, people have asked and assumed that because of the way my sister and I look that we have one black parent and one white parent. While it’s true that we technically have mixed ancestry, both of our parents identify as black, as did their parents before […]
Julie A. Perkins, NV. I’m 22 years old, half African America, half Caucasian. Because I’m black, I have been racially profiled and discriminated against because of my gender and skin color. But I’ve also had the terrible taste prejudice from many black people due to my mother being white and me not being full black. […]
Katherine F., Minneapolis, MN. I met a woman through professional circles when I was recruiting for a volunteer project. As it happens, she lived near me. We formed committees for this initiative and began talking more socially on the phone. I went over to her house a few times for coffee. One weekend she invited […]
Andee Bateman, Noblesville, IN. As an adoptee with flaming red hair, I was asked this question frequently. I found out at 47 that I am not – my biological relatives are from Wales and Norway. In the meantime, I wore the ‘red-headed-step-child’ moniker like a badge. I was loud, round, sassy and nothing like my […]
Roberto Contreras. Mexico. I’m a redheaded Mexican-american. I self identify as Mexican, having grown up in Mexico, but whenever I say my heritage is Mexican the next question is always “Are you sure you are not half-spanish or something?”. No, parents are Mexican, grandparents are Mexican, so it’s interesting to see specific heritage being such […]
Christina Antonia Santos, Palm Bay, FL.
Julia Page, Moses Lake, WA.
Anoymous, USA. I’m 1/4 white genetically. But I look white–light eyes, fair skin, freckles–despite the fact that my full-siblings don’t. My best friend is half white and looks white. Mixed-race kids who look 100% white do exist. And we did grow up in the same neighborhoods, with the same families, in the same cultures as […]
Carrie Stowers, Statesboro, GA.
Kristen Wonsik, Virginia Beach, VA.
LaLana Martin Gold Beach, OR When I was 9 years old, our mixed-race family (Asian/Pacific Islander and German/French) was on vacation in the southeast. With six of us there was a lot of laundry. We stopped at a laundry mat and I hopped out of our camper to help Mom with the wash. A sign […]
Autumn Battani, Los Angeles, CA. People only identify me as black. And that doesn’t make sense to me. Even when I was little, and we would fill out forms for tests, I would ask my teacher what I was supposed to do. The papers always said you can only choose one, but I’m two. And […]
Karen Button, Middletown, CT. Phone call from the neighborhood grocer – followed by my husband on the line asking me to come down to the corner store to verify that he was in fact the father of our bi-racial infant daughter since they were used to seeing me with her and were refusing to let […]
Arturo Carrero, The Netherlands.
Janai Leeb, Val Verde, CA. My 5 year old, bi-racial daughter is just discovering that her family may be a little different. I’m a black American and my husband is Austrian. From her perspective, I look like the odd man out in our four person family.
Deborah Robinson, Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in profoundly white Eugene, Oregon, where I’d laugh at banners emblazoned, CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. “What, as long as it’s not here?” I’d wonder. Yet the whiteness of my hometown did not mean it was a racially hostile one. I nurtured no ill will for folks from different walks […]
Karin Coyne, Pittsburgh, PA. My sweet man is black and I am white. Our baby girl is both. but the world is a complicated place… and she is light-skinned and people ask her daddy, “Is that your child?” This deeply offends him… because it makes him feel as though folks are suggesting that he has […]
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 – […]
Jordan Summers, Bowling Green, KY.
Silvija Singh, Pittsburgh, PA. Unlike my sibs, I do not look white, altho I have a white mother. I do not get treated like a Latvian, the way the blond-haired blue-eyed cousins on this side of the family do. Complexion-wise, I look more like my father, who was from India. But among Indians, I am […]
Khalil B., American Canyon, CA.
Melissa Robinson, Vail, AZ.
Cody Keller, Harrisburg, PA.
M. Landrum Atlanta, GA I grew up poor in a mixed neighborhood in south Atlanta. My two best friends were white and black, and for the most part we all got along. One day my white friend was angry and called my black friend a n*****, and even though I’d never heard the word I […]