Laura Haney, Fordland, MO Growing up in rural MO there were no black people. I never heard a racist remark growing up, I never heard anything on the subject, period, not at home and certainly not at school. When I was a kid, (I’m 53 now) there was a black family that lived in town, […]
Matthew Palavido Beaumont, CA My family’s background is Polish and Swedish and the town I grew up in in New Jersey was predominantly “white”. Like a lot of Americans, I grew up rather sheltered and culturally insensitive/ignorant. While on a camping trip with my family and friends from my wife’s side of the family, we […]
Jasmine Shabazz, Beachwood, Ohio. So, never once have I blamed the white kids and there families for slavery. Never once did I say there ancestors enslaved mine. And I hate to look like the girl who always plays the race card, or who always wants to cry about the struggles my ancestors went through. But […]
Lemon Wilson, Beloit, WI My partner is Mexican and I am white, in this day and age people still ask if we are really dating.
Sidney Frye People have always told me, I have a way with words. What they didn’t tell me was that my linguistical gifts would call into question my “blackness.”
Jason Eng, Hong Kong. As a kid I looked more Chinese, and I identified as Chinese, because all my relatives looked Chinese and I was proud to associate myself with the subculture of Asian America. As I got older my appearance changed. Now I think that one should be able to identify as one chooses. […]
T.C. Green, Los Angeles, CA.
Sara, Submitted via Twitter: @smamela
Jazmin Whitmore, Asheville, NC. I am the result of two worlds but I was only raised in one. My father was Jamaican and my mother was European/Native American mix. My mother raised me. Although it was not her intention she raised me to be “white”. I did not realize how devoid I was of my […]
James Michael Rogers Houston, TX I was at my neighborhood park one morning jogging, and I saw three white women walking abreast in one direction, and a black woman coming towards them in the opposite direction. The white women ignored the black woman and no one stepped back to let the black lady pass, and […]
Jackie Loya-Torres Kansas City, MO As a small child in the 1970s, I remember having to take some sort of standardized test in school. You know…the ones where you need a #2 pencil to fill in the ovals? On the cover page, in addition to listing my name, gender and age, I was asked to […]
Jennie, Los Angeles, CA. I am 4th generation Chicana. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is White. One of the saddest things is to be rejected in relationships or see as different from your significant others’ family. I find that Mexicano families do not understand the history of Mexican-Americans. Someone I dated pointed out […]
Kevin Maness PA I have colleagues, students, friends, and acquaintances who are black and who I love, like, and/or dislike, but I’m embarrassed to say that I have no people of color who are in my “inner circle,” so to speak. On the positive side, I guess I’m never tempted to use that old cliché: […]
Matthew, Winchester, VA I’m surprised that some people actually think that since I’m white, they think I’m racist. There’s a whole theory being taught in school about that.
Michael Petrillo Walled Lake, MI
Jason, Kansas City, MO Awesome project.
Livi Dom, Napa, CA. I have opinions on things, but because I’m white I feel as if it’s not my place to talk about them, because I have no idea what it’s like to be discriminated about because of my race. Which is fine! I just stay in my lane, and I try to support, […]
Pajarita Charles, Madison, WI My life as a white, middle-aged, educated, and otherwise very privileged member of society has left me seeking opportunities to find the simplicity of connection that can exist between myself and those different from me, those different by virtue of race. White women and black men — two groups who our […]
Whitney Summers, Baltimore, MD p>Why is a white person not allowed to be proud?
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!
Janice Cagan-Teuber, Arlington, MA To me, “White” has always meant “Christian”. I grew up in a neighborhood that was 99.9% Catholic. We were the only Jewish family around. I was constantly harassed by the neighbor children because I was Jewish. Yes, I look “White” but I don’t identify as “White”. I know I have the […]
Denise Shirley-Carter, Hudson, WI My father is white, Irish, Scottish, etc. My mother’s parents were from Mexico, Spain, then El Paso, TX. However, both my parents are light skinned, my mother very white, so I have a very pale complexion. I have always gotten “but you don’t look half Mexican” or “I don’t believe you” […]
Terry Tringali Killoran, Sterling Heights, MI I had black friends growing up. I thought I did. We played together at school and after school at their house, or ours, in the driveway. Little did I know that’s because my parents wouldn’t let them come inside our house, and vice versa. And I remember once I […]
Lakeesha Graves, Richmond, TX Black and White yet too black for white people and too white for some black people. Where do I belong? Why can’t I be black? Why do I have to be white? Why can’t I be white? Why do I have to be black? Why is my contradictory thinking considered “white […]
Jan Mason NY Born and raised in paradise as a Haole (white) person I had more than my share of discrimination but living on the “mainland” where I “fit in” with the white majority(?) my island heritage is invisible. I have taken to checking the box or “Pacific Islander” though I feel guilty about if […]
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 […]
Rob Moore, Oak Park, IL. I was raised in Southern California, born into a military family. I’ve lived most of my life in a white–or beige–bubble. Recently, because of an important and loving relationship, I’ve been thinking a lot more about race as it affects us today. Reading Claudia Rankine, Patricia Smith, many others who […]
Marilyn Gardner, Boston, MA. Born in the United States, Grew up in Pakistan. Hold American passport. Birthed 5 kids on 3 continents. Now trying to make sense of a life in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
William G. Duval, Fairfax, VT. My wife and I have a racially blended family in one of the whitest states in the union. I think it has made a difference in some admittedly small ways.
Mark Whitesel, Statesboro, GA. I’m becoming more and more aware of my privilege as I grow older and how much I have taken for granted.
Samantha , Submitted via Twitter: @dsc00 My mom’s advice to my sister and I while growing up. For the longest I resented my fair skinned mom for making us feel inferior. Time has healed some of the pain but not all. Funny thing is both my sister & I ended up with white partners. So […]
Renu Gehring Portland, OR I am an ethnically Indian woman married to a white man. Our two kids are a happy blend of brown and white. We live in a community that has a large number of recent Indian immigrants. I am surprised by their reaction when they see me with my children. When they […]
KayBee, Washington DC. Submitted via Twitter: @PetiteKaybee
Brooke Evans, Auburn, GA Many people assume that because I’m white I have all of the opportunity or the upper hand compared to people of other races. While in some cases that might be true, I’ve faced my own struggles too. I didn’t always have it easy growing up and I’ve had to work hard […]
Harry Dapron I was a white, nerdy, shy, socially invisible teenager in senior high school. She was a beautiful, black classmate with a lovely, engaging smile that I would see when she turned around in her seat in Latin class to talk to me! I liked her and she seemed to care about and maybe […]
Megan, Keithville, LA. I am a white female and I do have nice things. People always assume that my dad gets me everything. Little do they know, I’ve had a job since I was 15 to be able to buy myself nice things. I pay for my gas, I pay for anything extra I want, […]
Eirann Betka, Grand Rapids, MI. I wish white wasn’t a race. Because where does that mean I come from? I am given five options of classifications to choose from. Five checkboxes. None of which correctly identify my origin, and of all of them, white seems vague and without a home. Where is white? How can […]
Eliana Rodriguez, Winston Salem, NC. I hate the feeling of rejection from the Caucasians I grew up with and the Hispanics that come from my culture. Ive always felt alienated from the white students in my schools but it hurt even more to find out that people from my own culture didn’t accept me cause […]
Miles Foltynowicz, Edwardsville, IL. I’ve dealt with racial ambiguity most of life. It is not uncommon for someone to ask me, “What are you?” in reference to my race/ethnicity without explicitly saying so. Others play the Asian guessing game: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean et cetera. If you are hoping I will reveal my proud ethnic heritage […]
JuLaw, Syracuse, NY. When I was in Fla. in the 60s, Blacks (colored people, negroes,) or what name you may have been called, could not sit on the front sit a bus. We had to go into the back of the bus. Today, externally, it may not be that way, but in some cases, internally, […]
Jason McLevis, Duluth, MN. Growing up in a multi racial neighborhood I am well cultured. It was not until Junior High that I became aware I was supposed to be ashamed to be “White”. I am not allowed to be proud of any of my heritage. I must stand aside in shame while any other […]
Tyler Miranda, Portsmouth, RI.
Michelle T, Los Angeles, CA. What a wonderful and positive way to engage in discourse about race. Well done, Mrs. Norris!
Kiersten Stiles, Watkins Glen, NY Student at Corning Community College
Anonymous, Burleson, TX My mom is white and my father is Hispanic, so I am mixed. I am told that I’m White-passing a lot and it irks me for some reason. I know that I live in a society where White people have privilege, so I should be glad that I am Wiite-passing. However, when […]
Kelsee Jensen, Jonesboro, AR I am from Alaska and have a lot of Alaskan native family members. Growing up, I did not think of myself as white. My family members told me that I was Athabaskan or Alaskan Native, but not white. When I moved to Missouri at the age of 8 I was told […]
Lars Olsen, Honolulu, HI I am white, Viking white… yet I have experienced racism. We humans are strange creatures. It’s great that we all want to express our individuality, our uniqueness. It’s also great that we want to belong, to something, some group. What I find sad is that in doing this great things, somehow, […]
Varshana Trudgian, Great Britain I’m white and have typical Celtic colouring of pale skin, dark hair and blue eyes. But, my parents were Hare Krishnas and I have a Sanskrit Indian name. I am never sure whether getting in touch with certain elements of my childhood are seen as cultural appropriation or not.
Clara Chun, Los Angeles, CA. I’m a Thai-Chinese, Korean, White girl. It’s about as confusing as it sounds, but I refuse to not acknowledge a single part of my identity. Because all of it exists.
Anonymous, Madison, WI. To Fred down the street I’m half-Asian; to Nick the bus driver I’m from southern France; Veronica thinks I’m obviously Native; McKayla says I’m White; to Esme I look like one of those pochos who thinks he’s too good to be associated with “them.” Sometimes it’s okay for me to talk about […]
Jessica Christian, Winchester, VA I am a human who comes from a mixed family. I have always felt stuck in between to choose what ethnicity I want to be. When school or any form I fill out would ask what my race was I couldn’t decide. My skin is fair but I was raised with […]
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 […]
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically Black, Jewish, German, Irish, Italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Jim Schultheiss, St. Johns, MI. I have always felt that I needed to be very careful and thoughtful on issues related to prejudice. Growing up in as a white, heterosexual male in a community largely lacking diversity, I learned I needed to listen very carefully to the thoughts and experiences of others and not impose […]
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 […]
Harley Guyton, Waleska, GA Being a white passing Arab has its benefits. To others, I am seen as privileged. That is something I am not proud of though. Not only is there a disconnection with my culture due to the color of my skin, but there’s also a disconnection to society. White privilege is something […]
Carlos Guerrero, Cumming, GA So I’m half Mexican and half American. I get the looks from my white mom which puts me in the middle of two vastly different cultures. I know I’m one of many White Latinos, just using my voice for my other hermanos.
Anonymous, UK I feel that as a white American I have the ability to help and I want to help. I also feel that there are many bad ways to help that don’t improve anything. I want to make a positive change, I don’t want to put my mind into something and have it be […]
Joni Arredia, Key Largo, FL
Jim Schneider, Long Grove, IA Despite being a 58 yr old, white male raised in an all white, rural community in central Illinois, nothing will warm my heart more that seeing America making significant progress towards ensuring that ALL Americans (regardless of ethnicity, gender, identity, religion or any other means of sorting us out as […]
Shannon Wagner, Washington, DC I studied History in college and have been on a quest of understanding the African American experience, oppression, inequity and the continued struggle of being Black in America.
Thomas Williamson, Cool Valley, MO Born the end of 1949, traveled throughout the country, changed schools every year, in D.C. when Dr. King was killed, experienced racism from both sides, married to oriental & 2 sisters, had to teach my black grand babies about the Tuskegee Airmen, missed a lot of African-American, Oriental & Latino […]
Jane Meacham, Washington, DC. My dad is a lawyer in Kansas City, MO, who always had mostly black, working-class clients. When the city school district started to decline in quality in the early 1970s, we moved away to a nearly all-white suburban school district nearby. So I realize now, all these years later, that his […]
Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]
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.
Sharon Cargill Pyle, Wilmington, DE
Bana Goldsmith, Canada. My high school teacher told me once that he was looking forward to the day when everybody’s skin was the same colour because that would decrease racism. I see his point but, apart from thinking this is not likely to ever happen totally, I feel we need to mature past racism as […]
Brandy Roberts, Cottonport, LA. I am a loving mom of 2 beautiful kids. I am proud to be white, and I can not voice that to a single person, lest I be judged a racist. I have love pure and strong in my heart. I can not for the life of me understand why all […]
Jason Peter Thomas, USA. I did not realize it was a good thing to be proud of my white heritage until gay marriage was legalized in the U.S. I looked up gay rights and found out that white societies provide the most advanced human-rights legislation around the world. This lead me to understand that white […]
Tim Shera, Liberty, NY Reforming 86 year old white boy
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 […]
Bruce Flippens, Washington DC. I was told that by the first man who hired me when I left the Army. He hired me because of my military background, over the phone through several interviews.
Jeni Bate, Salton City, CA I have frizzy hair. I grew up in an all** white town and the only other people with hair like mine were my mother and grandmother, both of whom are/were racist. My mother always denied we have any black in our family, but I thought she was lying because she […]
Brenda Krepps, Chambersburg, PA
Aminah Columbia, SC Being a light-skinned African-American has afforded me the ability to kind of live on multiple sides of the race coin in terms of my superficial assets. Many people assume that I’m mixed; I’m not. Many people assume that I lucky because, since I’m fully black, I have good hair. Man, if one […]
Jasmin Marie Harpe, Burlington, NJ. It has been hard to fit in to both societies growing up as a biracial child, especially being in academia where there are few people who look like me. I had a lot of race issues growing up with my father who has very fair skin, and my mother who […]
Terri Kimmel, Corpus Christi, TX My dad had jet black hair and tawny olive skin. His mother was Sicilian and his father had an English surname, but family lore says there is Native American ancestry. My mother is fair-haired with light skin. My parents divorce when I was in elementary school and dad maintained custody […]
Anonymous, Redwood City, CA. White people have been trying to kill my people for 2000+years. I think that gives us an out on being part of any “race”.
Ronnie Savoie, Gonzales, LA I’m Cajun (Acadian diaspora settling in Louisiana) and have a tiny percentage of Micmac First Nations people from the 1600s. My maternal grandfather was pretty racist, but is my favorite person of all time, and who imparted to me my love of history, although he only had a fourth grade education. […]
Kate Beem, Independence, MO I am white and middle class. I grew up in a town in SE Missouri whose population was about evenly split between Black and whites families. But the wealth was overwhelmingly held by white farmers who still maintained sharecropping relationships. Even as a child, I recognized the inequality. I have been […]
Kevin Lowe, Ireland I first heard about your project in the June 2021 issue of National Geographic magazine and I wondered why the article always used a capital letter for “Black” but not for “white”.
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. […]
TR Kelley, Swisshome, OR “White trash” is a hip cultural joke. “N*****” is “hate speech”. Why?
Julie Long, Pioneer, CA. When I was 8, we moved from a big city to a small country town, where there were, maybe two other families that weren’t white. I had no idea at 8 years old what race was. I never even differentiated a difference based on appearance, but I remember being suddenly shocked […]
Rylan A Brooks, Mount Joy, PA I have never been discriminated against in my life, based on my skin color and my gender. I have seen discrimination first hand on many occasions, once towards one of my best friends. The level of anger I felt was indescribable. I was raised in a household where everyone […]
Ray Alonzo, St. Louis, MO I am 70, white, and a retired educator of college and high school-age students. During my years in the classroom, (1982-2014), I watched amazing fluidity in attitudes, beliefs and actions with my students. They taught me so very much. When I first approached my college podium, “Shaft” “Blackula” and other […]
Larry Smith Flemingsburg, KY I feel like if I’m proud of my white heritage I will be seen as racist. There is a double standard. You can have black history month but you couldn’t have a white history month. You can have a scholarship program for blacks but you wouldn’t be able to have one […]
Anonymous, USA. I speak no Hindi. Live in a big suburban house. Dress and eat like a yuppie white person. What makes me Indian?
Melanie Mills, NC. I am 1/4 Korean, but I only look caucasian. I live in the “Bible Belt”, but I am an atheist. I am so much more than what I seem. I am so much more than just WHITE.
Susan Ross, Longmont, CO What a blessing this memory brings! Annie so tall/my tiny bent grandma – laughing together, I feel included & embraced by warmth and caring and goodness.
Steve Llanso, USA Pretty white and wholly ignorant, isn’t it? Here’s the back story: I grew up in the ’50s and 60s in northern New Jersey in a town where all the black families lived on one road. There were three black students in a graduating class of 250 students, two of whom I knew […]
Jason Zeller, San Diego, CA Even though my ancestors came to the United States after slavery was abolished and I am not aware of their involvement in any racist activities, as a white person in America I am ashamed of the vile history of racist violence and genocidal activities that white people in the U.S. […]
Doug Fraser, Roundup, MT What right do white people have to feel superior to any other race, since we have caused so much trouble for other races throughout history. Why can’t everyone see that we are all part of the same race, it’s called the human race!
Nichole Proctor, Harriman, TN Being white and living in the south can be scary. My husband and I carry white guilt. We know we’re privileged and we’re afraid to rock the boat. We believe in equality for all. We have raised our kids to use their white privilege in positive ways. But we are scared […]
Patricia Hughes, Lake Arrowhead, CA. My father’s father took the long route of immigration from Greece during the political upheavals occurring in the early part of the 20th century, and later sent for his family. My father and some of his siblings were born in America. Growing up extremely poor in Denver, Colorado, my father […]
Rev. BJ Buchanan, McLean, VA I’m from a very multi-racial family. I seek beauty in all mankind. Every race has good & bad people. Embrace the good. Pray for the bad.
Chuck Abdella, Boylston, MA
Maren Robinson Chicago, IL I watched how my American-born half-Iranian husband went from being perceived as white (Iranians are Caucasian) to being perceived as vaguely “middle eastern” (eliciting double takes on trains and extra searches at airports) after September 11th. He is an actor, so I have also watched him play characters who are Caucasian, […]
Jack, Saint Paul, MN. My mom is an expert in manipulation and fake kindness, always sounding kind to hurt and control and shame. Because of rampant child discrimination across cultures, it was not hard for my mother to convince others that she was right, or to uphold the illusion of a happy “white suburban family”. […]
Naomi Crandall, USA I’ve grown up my whole life in an area most people know to be a “bubble”. Although I occasionally come in contact with people from diverse backgrounds, my world is filled with primarily white, middle-class families. Every day I am learning that my appearance and background do not define me and am […]
Rebecca York, Takoma Park, MD Fighting for visibility and validity, in white and of-color spaces is perpetually exhausting. Transnational adoptees are at the heart of America’s racial, cultural, and nationalistic legislation and cultural beliefs. Stop gate-keeping, and let us join the conversation.
Elias Miller, Richmond, VA This is a variation of the famous Shirley Chisholm quote. I feel like so much of the corporate training in diversity, equity, and inclusion has the wrong focus: it teaches us to make generalizations about racial or ethnic groups and to remember those generalizations when we interact with others. The intention […]
V. Anne Spence, Powhatan, VA. Would I have been called a “N****” if my skin were white”? Growing up in El Barrio and the Bronx in New York City was I called the “N” word by a redheaded transit cop at 12. The last incident occurred in a store in here Virginia. I was in […]
Sydney Fitzgerald, Annville, PA Growing up, I went to a private/catholic school that was predominantly white. Along with that, I was raised by two white parents and no knowledge of any other race. My neighborhood had maybe two black families and I only had friends who were white. Because I grew up this way, I […]
Brooke Evans, Santa Barbara, CA I am white with blonde hair and blue eyes and I grew up in Santa Barbara, which is a fairly wealthy town. Because of how I look and where I am from, people assume I am very wealthy, which is not the case. My family has always struggled with money […]
Annaleisle Gingher Peachtree City, GA Understanding my ethnicity has explained so much and helped me understand who I am. I may be classified in a box as “white” but I am a second generation Sicilian with dark skin and dark hair. I’ve always identified with other races. Only to understand we are all the same […]
Anonymous, USA. “White boy”, , , . What I don’t understand is why there has always had to be a race at the bottom. No one seems to be able to get the freaking idea of racial equality through the six inches between their ears. First it was Africans. Then Jews, Asians, Latinos, Middle Eastern […]
Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]
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.
Mia Inez, Rochester Hills, MI My parents tell me and my sister to call ourselves Caucasian if anyone asks are a nationality. My mom is white and my dad is 50% Filipino. I look like him. When I say I’m Caucasian I get weird looks and people don’t believe me. It’s just easier to say […]
Erin Yarbrough, Norman, OK. My husband is half black and half Korean. I’m white. Our son is three races, but I hear and fear that others don’t see him as any race. Multi-racial is sometimes a hard way to identify.
Janeen Irving, San Leandro, CA. For the first 12 years of my life I was clueless to my own color (or lack thereof) growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the next 20 years I tried to prove I was black. To no avail. Now I’ve come to the conclusion I’m an amazing […]
Catherine Kehl, Cleveland Heights, OH. When we divide ourselves into “us” and “other” we don’t only lose the other, we lose ourselves. I was twenty-seven before I realized that my mother sometimes spoke to me in Spanish not because she’d picked some up in college before travelling in South America in her twenties, but because […]
Jonscott Williams, Gilbert, AZ. This is the question either asked, or thought but unasked, by people both Black and White. This is connected to the assumption that one of my parents is White … neither is, though an early ancestor was. Some Black people have questioned whether I was “Black enough” … some Whites have […]
Anna Fox, Goldsboro, NC I am a white women, and growing up, I did not really realize how much privilege I had. I went to a small private Christian school starting in seventh grade and eventually graduating as a senior in high school there. The whole time I attended this school, I think there were […]
Trey Willy Seale, AL I was small and white. Jenny was old and black. She took care of me when I was little when my great aunts that I lived with were away at work. I played with her grandchildren at our home there in the country. Together we would climb the high magnolias, explore […]
Macy Willett, Knoxville, TN Yes, I do have a heritage. Yes, I am also white. While I celebrate the unique backgrounds of my friends and coworkers, I often feel as though I have no identity or culture to grasp onto. No one wants to hear your “percentages” and what comes along with you if the […]
Kristine Knowles, Idaho Falls, ID I’m a 56-year-old woman from the south and racism is worse now, by far than in my youth. Although being called, Cracker, Honky, White, etc never really affected me being told often that I am racist has. Slavery has been around since the dawn of man. The rest of the […]
Ibrahim Khazzaka, Brooklyn, NY.
Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]
Candace, USA I am white. I hold ancestry from several European countries but identify strongest with my Italian side. I am proud to be third generation Italian American. I grew up knowing and loving my nonna who was born in Italy and devouring the stories of my family who fled to the United States as […]
Sophie, Switzerland Accept, tolerate, and respect others, because in the end we are all human.
Moon Young Jin, San Jose, CA I am Korean. Husband is Filipino Indian American. We have Filipino, Korean, Chinese, White, and Mexican family members who all either share blood or love of marriage. It is beautiful and I am loved and I love them all so much.
Shonda Kay Purvis, Green Cove Springs, FL. I have had to rebrand myself and change my name because “Shonda K. Purvis” (and her “BLACK” resume) doesn’t get job interviews, but SK Purvis (and “his” “WHITE” resume) does. (By the way, I am a Caucasian female. You thought I was black, didn’t you?)
Marlot Roads, West STL County, CO. March 10 1964 Frankfort, KY
Cynthia Waszak Geary, Baltimore, MD. I grew up in Durham, NC and attended Hillside High School as part of the first court ordered desegregation plan to achieve racial balance. I am heart broken that since that time there has been a steady and deliberate re-segregation of schools in the US. I am hoping for leadership […]
Bari Goodblood Lehn Wetzel County, WV Born to a Santee Sioux mother and a German father in the Midwest. They met and married when she was relocated to the city as part of termination policy for reservation Indians in the 1950’s. Four babies later, for reasons I never knew, she left us, taking with her […]
Francis, Livingston, MT If the civil war had gone differently I could have been born a slave. The children of slaves are almost always slaves. My great great grandmother was native and many thousands of natives were captured and sold into slavery.
Elaine, Rochester, MN. These were the words that come to mind when I met my first non-white person — an American Indian girl. We were in first grade at a small school in SD. Her family moved to another community later in the year. I wonder why.
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 […]
Jaclyn Huelbig, Edison, NJ. I’m white. When I was a child, I lived in a city (the type that hipsters remain uninterested in!) and I had friends of all races and religions. I had the benefit, for example, of having a conversation with my friend when she chose to don a hijab (her older sister, […]
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. […]
Joe Zuercher, Sergeant Bluff, IA I chose this because I feel that too often, all the sins of the world are blamed on all white people. I’m not saying that white people haven’t done terrible things to other peoples, but instead that I should not be blamed for those misdeeds.
Joan Evans, Lawrencevillve, GA. And I am 100% white. But (far too many of) my students associate “white” with oppression and bigotry. When they tell me I’m not white, they are trying to tell me I’m not a racist. Telling me I’m not white is a compliment. Pretty damning, huh?
Lynn, Great Falls, SC. I tend to look white; especially when not in the sun. I’m actually a mix of: European (German, Irish, & British), Native American (Seminole, Cherokee, & Muskogee Creek), Black (African -sub-sahara regions- and Melanesian), and Middle Eastern (Syrian, Turkish, Indian (India) & Iranian)…….Somehow I ended up looking more European instead……I hate […]
T Storm Heter, Stroudsburg, PA.
Janice Davidsson, Norfolk, VA. You can’t help who you fall in love with and this American girl fell in love with an African boy. So that makes our son African American. Here’s the catch that a lot of people have an issue with… He’s white. He has blonde hair and blue green eyes and is […]
Mary Karpen, Grand Rapids, MI.
Josh Parker Grimm, Kansas City, KS I hate it when minorities, in general, think all whites are racists. I even have a black friend who calls me a racist cracker because I’m white. It doesn’t make sense, I wasn’t born in the 50’s, and I think we all need to be equal. Maybe because of […]
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 […]
Hudson Giles-Lavender, Columbia, MO.
Justice Littlejohn Cherokee, NC Being Cherokee and living on a reservation you don’t grow up white, even if you are only half cherokee and half white. Tourists that come to the reservation always claim they are part cherokee. They are so proud of it. I don’t understand why they kinda get offended when I say […]
Kevin Hayes, Ackerman, MS. “Love sees no color”. “What the world needs now…”. Pretty much says it.
Jessica Anderson, Denver, CO. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee, but I now live in Colorado. People always ask ridiculous questions when they find out where I’m from, including, “Did you wear shoes?” and “Where are your overalls?” Being a white, M.A. holding, middle-class woman doesn’t shield me from these stereotypes. […]
Sadie Petersen Philadelphia, PA As a child, the streets of west Philadelphia were my playground. I loved going to school in the area and wouldn’t change a thing about how I was raised and how race was never even noted in my small family of four, which eventually grew to a family of 7. However, […]
Carrie Hunsinger, Wilmington, DE. I am a 1/2 first generation American. My Mother is American (Detroit) and my father is Dutch (Holland). He’s been here almost 60 years and he still speaks with a heavy Dutch accent and therefore I speak English with a bit of a Dutch accent. When 9/11 happened I was in […]
Sarah Carneal, Centreville, VA. We cannot have an honest conversation about race in this country. It is a fact that white people who bring it up will be called racist before the conversation even becomes honest. Benign things such as, “Where are you from?” are now seen as pejorative questions. It seems apparent to so […]
Laura James, Mobile, AL. I want to be ok being white, but I’m not. I’ve been haunted for decades by a dream in which I was weighed in the balance and found wanting by a well-dressed group of African-American churchgoers.
Madeline F., Canal Winchester, OH I grew up in a highly racist environment that I’m trying to work out of myself every day. It’s hard sometimes to listen to people of color talk about race without making their struggle about my whiteness. I fear that my desire to make black people feel listened to and […]
Cindy, Decatur, Al. We can’t change things but I hope blondes and redheads always remain, I hate what is being lost, I hate being hated for being white I guess now we know!
Ashley Diaz Mejias, Richmond, VA. I write this as 34 year seminarian and old mom of two girls; my husband is haitian and puerto rican, and I am cuban and white. I am part of a church that, over the past year, has walked through race dialogues in an effort to begin bearing witness to […]
Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown, PA.
Janel Ruehl, Bend, OR I’m a white American, but that doesn’t mean much to me. It doesn’t feel like a fully fleshed-out identity I can inhabit. “White” doesn’t connect me to any songs, or celebration. It doesn’t taste like any certain food. It doesn’t offer me any tradition for how to come of age, or […]
Logan Clouse, Bonner Springs, KS One day I was in class and this young lady asked if I lived in the suburbs because I am a white male with some Nike clothes on. I was kinda lost until she kept asking people in my class if they lived in the suburbs and they were all […]
Gerard Liston, New York, NY. The way I look confuses people. Most cant pin point my heritage. I am by birth Irish and Ecuadorian. Furthering my cultural heritage is my love of music. I love to play the drums and that love took me all the way to Africa. There I learned to play the […]
Marian L. Ireland I’m Irish with an Asian-sounding surname; suffice to say people are always surprised to see me turn up when they’re expecting someone just a wee bit different! Moving abroad taught me about white privilege, but being Irish, I identify more with the colonized and oppressed. Please don’t label me as white; I’m […]
Anonymous, Perris, CA. I have green eyes, blonde hair, and light skin so I must be white, but wait.. I speak Spanish. I am Mexican American.
Samantha Williams, Pensacola, FL. My father is black and my mother is Filippino. I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where the majority of my mother’s family lives, I was not as well acquainted with my father’s side of the family. My father stated that they weren’t going to make the same “mistakes” with […]
Khuwailah Beyah, Durham, NC. For as long as I can remember people have said to me, and sometimes to my mother, the I “talk white” or that I’m trying to be white because of the way I speak and some of the things that interest me. I have never quite gotten this. I don’t have […]
Ilana New York, NY I grew up in Israel to a father born in Germany and a mother born in the United States. Yet every time I tick the “white” box I feel uncomfortable. The culture I grew up in was considered “white” but the Middle East is ethnically diverse. Everyone was a “mixed breed” […]
Ike, Midland, TX. If people are going to call me a cracker, which by the way doesn’t bother be at all, at least let me be a Ritz cracker or better yet a cheese cracker.
Anne Hickling Phoenix, AZ I don’t know how to answer this when she asks. The answer is both “Yes” and “No.” Her Cuban grandparents self-identify as white, but here in the SW borderlands, she likely is seen by many as one of those “brown” people, you know, the ones who crossed the border legally or […]
James Moore, Sterling, VA. No one told me when I adopted my baby girl that I was no longer white. I had to find out the hard way. One friend at a time. Sadly.
Josie, Houston, TX Most of my life, I had not given much thought to my racial identity. I never really thought about myself as a “white person” or what it meant to be white, unless I had to fill out a form for school, a job, or standardized tests. It was just a label with […]
Anonymous, LA I was raised in an odd grey area between Cajun and Southern White, without really fitting into either group. The first thing people ask when I eventually mention my heritage is, “can you speak French?” To which I respond, with great embarrassment and shame, “no.” Most people just give a disappointed or confused […]
Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]
Tanya Haney Middleton, WI I am a white mother and school employee; my kids are white, Asian and I have been a foster parent to an African-American child. I have been struggling and driven to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of institutional racism, but I struggle daily. People look […]
Eric D., Houston, TX. While my son was in elementary school, I asked what race dose he tells his schoolmates he was. He quickly responded, “White”. When I asked why, he said that his skin color wasn’t brown or black. As he grew older he learned about both his Spanish and African American heritage. Now […]
Simone Pratt Brooklyn, NY I can talk about race all day… I work in multicultural advertising so it’s what I do, but outside of work as well… Some context on my 6 words: Race is something that puts us in boxes in our society (“talking Black”… “Acting White”… “Black music”… on and on), however race […]
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” […]
J. L. Woodward-Lyons Boston, MA
Donna Cook, Roseville, MN. I have very fair skin, Fitzpatrick Scale I, and growing up in Los Angeles meant lots of unintended, fairly serious, and wretchedly painful sunburns. I was also a bit of a tomboy wild child who would refuse to let my mother brush my hair, hair she intentionally left long as a […]
E.C. Boyd, Canton, OH. I was not born, but I was raised in a predominantly white neighborhood because the school system was better in Perry Township than the low-income, mostly black Canton City Schools. As the only black person on my school’s debate team, I dealt with a lot of people surprised that I could […]
Kieran, Mesa, AZ I am caucasian and I did not do the history. Get to know me before you assume. 1 chance goes far.
Chuck, Albuquerque, NM People often say things like “Oh he must have a fetish for Asians” or “She must be looking for a Green Card” or “He must not be able to get a White girl”. No one ever says “Oh, you two nerds are perfect for each other” even if it’s true. In Asia, […]
Oliver Parr, Tuscaloosa, AL. Being white in the state of Alabama automatically means that most people assume the worst. I was raised in the State of California where race truly is not even a topic of discussion. I grew up not looking at the color of a persons skin but how tough it is. I […]
Victoria Finney Cambridge, MA I still remember how upset she was when I asked her this. Like I had said something wrong that I shouldn’t have. Like I had failed a test somehow. “Tori, aren’t you happy with the way you are? You are beautiful; black is beautiful.” Why is she saying this? Why does […]
Olivia Paez, Destrehan, LA. My mom is white, and my dad is Cuban. I was told a lot of times I am to white to be Hispanic, but I know my blood.
Robert Lanza Tucson, AZ I grew up in NYC as one of the very few white kids in the neighborhood, and for the most part the only one in my terrace. Had a black stepfather. It shaped me, and made me who I am. Anyone who really knows me knows it is not possible for […]
Dave Perry, Tampa, FL. This is a derogatory term which belittles and demeans grown white men. I’ve heard this racial slur repeated far too often without impunity.
Tony Reyes, Portland, OR. I’m half Latino. My mother is a white, evangelical, conservative. I came home the night Obama was re-elected and asked if she had heard the results. The above statement was how she very bitterly responded. Apparently people of color aren’t intellectually capable of choosing a president on the basis of anything […]
Chappell Watkins, Indianapolis, IN. I’m a 47 year old black male I’ve grown up in all white neighborhoods, and over the years I’ve had multiple white friends tell me I’m not black I’m white as if it were a compliment. My question is if you think calling me white is a compliment, what do you […]
Ferguson Police Officer Wife, O’Fallon, MO. Just because he is a white police officer, doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. He grew up in this community and has just as much of a right to work here as anyone else. I should not have to worry myself sick if he will come home every night. […]
Susi Matthews, Kansas City, MO. I am 1/4 Navajo plus Cherokee and Mohawk. I am also English, Irish, Scots and German. I LOOK white; my full sister looks Native. I experienced the reactions she got when we were kids on vacation. A small restaurant in Colorado thought she was Native America and refused to serve […]
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 […]
Jana Ditton , Submitted via Twitter: @janaditton. @totn @michele_norris
Chris B, Landenberg, PA. I am white and teach art in an inner city school. I get hugs from children of color every day! I have the best job in the world! What are society does to these children tomorrow and in the days that follow is inexcusable and reprehensible. The inequality must stop if […]
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 […]
Cayla Olson, Duluth, MN. I have always felt that I had to qualify my racial identity with those six words. I am part native, my mother being Ojibwe and French, and my father being Oneida and Irish. We lived on my mom’s home reservation, and it was never any mystery to me as to what […]