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 […]
James Patrick, Little Rock, AZ
N. Blandis, Portland, OR. I am a second generation American born of Greek parents. My father’s birth certificate in Los Angeles California in 1921 listed his race as GREEK. His place of birth was listed as Stork NEST , meaning at home. I have never classified myself as WHITE. I have ethnic features and the […]
Helen Nelson, Saxonburg, PA. I grew up working in the tobacco fields. Cutting tobacco with an ax. Piling the plants. Stringing plants on a wooden lathe with a spear. I was a dying breed, is what they told me in college. No one believes me now that this is who I was and who I […]
T.C. Green, Los Angeles, CA.
Leslie Cole, Lake Worth, FL.
Sara, Submitted via Twitter: @smamela
Evangeline Brennan, CA. I chose the words, “A heritage that no one sees”, because, simply put, I am white (and, yes, I understand that it is a racial euphemism). My father’s family came to America sometime during the Irish Potato Famine. My mother, on the other hand, is Filipino, born in the Philippines and emigrated […]
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.
Dania Abreu-Torres San Antonio, TX My husband and I are Puerto Ricans. I am more “white” than he is -He usually was mistaken as a muslim-. We have a blonde, blue eyed girl. In Florida, he use to take her to the supermarket. He was followed by a lady and asked if the baby was […]
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.
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 […]
Leighayn Green, Nutrioso, AZ. When I see the Confederate flag on something, I am wary and a little fearful of the person who put it there. My dad and his dad are from Texas. I remember my granddad exclaiming in awe and admiration a run Tony Dorsett made for the Dallas Cowboys back in the […]
L D, Fremont, CA. My wife and I are white. We have 3 granddaughters – two mixed white/Asian and one mixed white/black. This is the future of America. I can’t be more proud of my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren.
Antoinette Malveaux, Seattle, WA.
Jamaal Allan, USA. Listen to Jamaal’s story on NPR’s Morning Edition What’s in a Name? The Poetry Question-Discovering the Relevance of Words As a white male, a majority of majorities, I can’t talk about race. I’m not qualified to. Race isn’t an issue for me, right? Life is easy; things are handed to me. […]
Courtney, Wyoming, MI. All this pride to be black, white, brown, American, whatever, just let it go. You didn’t put any work to be the color you are, or the country you were born, it just happened. You can love who you are or where you are from, outside of being prideful. I’m not certain […]
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. […]
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 […]
Michael Petrillo Walled Lake, MI
Charlie Zimmerman, Canon City, CO.
Jason, Kansas City, MO, . Awesome project.
Jim Glazar, Goodyear, AZ. I think it is sad that white Americans think that all minorities will treat whites the way that whites have treated all minorities. The Golden Rule is the way we should live our lives.
Aaron Fitzgerald, Australia. It is OK to be white, we are NOT responsible for all the problems that the POC world faces; that the Jewish-run, liberal, left wing, Marxist media would have you believe. All races have been responsible for genocide, likewise all races have been victims of genocide, even white people, as seen in […]
Adana, Seattle, WA. I have 2 children. My son looks just like his papa: dark, wavy hair and alabaster skin. My daughter looks like me: golden skin and curly brown hair. When I’m out with my son, I’m asked if I’m his nanny. When I’m out with both kids, I’m asked if they have the […]
Sierra Odessa New York City, NY Manhattan
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 […]
Ibrahim Khazzaka, Brooklyn, NY.
Mike Tracy, Oakland, CA. When I was 3 or 4 I asked my parents to put brown sugar on my oatmeal so I could grow up to be a running back like Jim Brown or Floyd Little.
Har Simran Kaur Khalsa, Los Angeles, CA. Since I started wearing mostly white clothes along with my practice of Sikhism, it has become glaringly clear that I am not white — or rather, that my skin is far from white. I am aware that I still experience much white privilege.
Tyler, CA. If there’s one thing I’ve observed in my life that pertains to the current state of racial prejudice in this country, it’s that the prevailing fuel for white people’s racism is their fear of the possibility that they might finally become less than the majority. With two white parents, as kind as they […]
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 […]
Jessica Goldhirsch Arlington, MA
Anonymous, USA. I speak no Hindi. Live in a big suburban house. Dress and eat like a yuppie white person. What makes me Indian?
Mark Donaldson, Edgewater, CO. I’m white, grew up in rural PA in a mostly white school. I live in CO now and work in tech industry where you’re probably either white or Indian. I know I’m racist but try hard to fight against that tendency. I want to be better than I know I am.
Amber Price, Atlanta, GA. I was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I grew up ashamed of my Blackness. I heard the n-word for the first time in elementary school. I prayed every night for God to make me white. At the age of 17 I was told to go sit with the rest of the Blacks […]
Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]
Melissa Brendtro, Nashville, TN. Thank you.
Linda M Larsen, Hudson, WI. Hungarian+British +Canadian = American. I’m an immigrant, a ‘legal alien’ from Canada, with Hungarian and British parents, living in the USA. I’m supremely aware of the fact that no one sees me as ‘immigrant’ because I’m white. I moved from a very visibly multi-racial large Canadian city to small-town, lily-white […]
Debi Gerbert, Ponte Vedra beach, FL. Love the project
Alexia Prichard, Hudson, MA.
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 […]
Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]
SM Boston, MA When I was 22, I received my first speeding ticket, which I deserved as I was speeding. It was a speed trap on a major US highway on the way back to Boston. I accepted the ticket without contest, but since it was my first speeding violation I choose to appear in […]
Mark Lynn Honeycutt, Knoxville, TN. I’m a white, middle class, born and raised East Tennessean. But also a musician. Well, drummer. And my heroes have been black men since I was little. Jazz was tinted “black” to me, and it was/is wonderful.
Anonymous, Columbus, OH. I am mixed race and have always felt in the middle in terms of race. “Legally” I am Black and more often than not experience the same benefits and determents as the Black side of my family. I have also had the misfortune of being mistreated by both races for being “light […]
Mary Carroll, Columbia, SC. I am biracial and adopted into a white family. Growing up in a very southern affluent area, people were always asking me if I was paid well to look after the child and if I would work for them. When I would tell them that the child was my sister, generally […]
John Austin, Park Hill, OK. We always seem to begin every discussion of race and race relations in America with some mention or reference to the enslavement of black Africans. Their import to the mainland U.S. to be used as draft animals in a “White” America. To say, a sad, disgusting, devastating, illicit event in […]
Yonatan Bryant, 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”.
Aaron Huandi Hardy, Parkersburg, WV. I was adopted from China into a family with white and Chinese. My parents my brother and one sister are all white. Me and my other sister are both Chinese (although we are in no way related genetically. Both Isaac and I are in 10th grade and he is 2 […]
Christine Pado, Third Lake, IL. Yeah – so, I’m white and I live in a mostly white neighborhood. We moved out here for affordable housing. Before that I lived in area that seemed like a mini United Nations. It was a shock moving out here but now I guess I’m used to it. Now and […]
Johnny, Concord, MA. As a gay Asian man married to a white man with two adopted children of color (one black, one Latino), I came to understand my own racial identity trough the experience of welcoming our two children into our family. It’s taught me that to really provide a strong racial identity for my […]
Armando Reyes, TX. I was born in Texas. 5 generations of my family were born in Texas. Before Texas was part of the US. I can’t go back to where “we” came from. I’m already here.
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!
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 […]
Kaylee Cole, Boulder Creek, CA. Everyone always says your white you get everything but really you white people don’t get everything they want. In reality white people are trying to make up there mistakes well most. If we keep trying soon this wont even be a problem.
Michael Toth Columbus, OH I get that yes in theory as a white male I have a head start in life, but I most certainly did not have it handed to me on a silver platter. I worked hard to get into college and am still working hard to make the massive student loan debt […]
Julie Kendall, Duncan, OK. I feel stereotyped and judged just because I was born a white female and am considered a conservative, and am older. I didn’t choose my ethnicity any more than the next person. What’s this term “privileged” that I keep seeing posted everywhere in conjunction with being white? That’s kind of offensive. […]
Rena Joy Dunbar, Eugene, OR. Our Black and White bi-racial identity was questioned even before we emerged from the womb. What ‘race’ would we turn out to be? Which ‘race’ would we choose? These questions and the dual nature of our identities continue to challenge perceptions.
Julianna, Seattle, WA. I have wished I was biracial everyday so I could better help with the issues. How can I help now?
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 […]
Charlie Cook, Sacramento, CA. My dad was born from a White Russian and American couple. At 6 days old, he was placed into the wonderful home of my grandparents, one of the Cherokee tribe and one of the Mohawk tribe. Race doesn’t define you, your history, culture, and family help you grow into the person […]
Irene, Manhattan, NY. Im so very appreciative that there are historians/photographers/activists, etc that are here to document/change lives!!!!
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 […]
Kadi Johnson, Pueblo, CO. As a middle aged, middle class, overweight, white woman, I know that the police etc. cut me a lot more slack than a young, brown male. It makes me sick. It is not fair!!!!
Kevin Hayes, Ackerman, MS. “Love sees no color”. “What the world needs now…”. Pretty much says it.
Jim Downey, Wilmington, NC.
Natalia de Cuba Romero. Massapequa Park, NY. IN my heart and in my head I have always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, Born in Queens, NY to a Puerto Rican mom and a dad from Aruba and a bilingual home, lived in Puerto Rico for a number of years…but I’ve always looked like a […]
Justin Banks, Mission Viejo, CA. I was born into an average middle class family that is dominantly white. I know that my father was born into a working class family where my grandfather worked a number of odd jobs but mostly was a handyman for most his life. My dad was the first in his […]
Greg Miodonski, Houghton, MI. Growing up in a mostly white, middle-class neighborhood, I took a lot for granted. I never realized how much privilege I had for simply being white. As we become older and recognize these vast, senseless disparities created between groups of people, it seems like we should use our privilege to help […]
Stephanie Woodworth, Piscataway, NJ. My six words are in reference to how hesitant (in some cases, even terrified) people are to talk to each other when differences are involved. It’s as if even the most well-meaning people become paralyzed at the thought of acknowledging not only our differences, but our collective level of ignorance about […]
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 […]
Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]
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 […]
Ezra Rosser Washington, DC Biligaana is a Navajo/Dine word that means “white, other, or the enemy.” I grew up in part on the Navajo Nation where my non-Indian parents worked and where my father still lives.
Rebecca Zavala, Los Angeles, CA. Well, to start I’m not even white… I get this ALL THE TIME. People assume I’m white or Asian, or a mix of the both. It is not insulting to me now, but growing up it was a little irritating having to continually explain that I am Mexican American. At […]
Sandra Hamilton Pomona, CA
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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.
Kavita Charleston, SC As an Indian-American woman working in agriculture, I used to frequently get some variation of this comment when I sold at farmers’ markets. Really? Should I thank you for that comment?
Jennifer F Taylor, Arcata, CA. Excellent work with enjoyable discussions on NPR…. Thank you Michele!
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 […]
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 […]
Angela, Manchester, NH. Since I was a small child, I have thought black people were more beautiful, more brave, more…everything than whites. I am white and grew up in a very white state. I always felt other than everyone else, and thought that being black must be wonderful. I didn’t realize until I was older […]
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”. […]
Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.
Daisy Weeks, Colorado Springs, CO. Assumptions, with small grain of truth.
Sezin Koehler Submitted via Twitter: @SezinKoehler How many times I’ve heard this in my life. As a child very often when visiting the US (my dad is Sri Lankan). Occasionally still even now. I never get used to it. Sezin’s 6 word essay sparked a unique conversation on Twitter…take a look. She’s not your […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
Audrianna Galvin, San Francisco, CA. Half black, half white female