• September 17, 2013

Visualizing Race, Identity, and Change

A feature in National Geographic‘s October 125th anniversary issue looks at the changing face of America in an article by Lise Funderburg, with portraits of multiracial families by Martin Schoeller, that celebrates the beauty of multiracial diversity and shows the limitations around our current categories when talking about race.

View the feature story “Changing Faces”

In many ways race is about difference and how those differences are codified through language, categories, boxes, segmentation, and even the implicit sorting that goes on in our heads in terms of the way we label others and even ourselves.

Appearance and identity are most certainly linked when it comes to racial categories, but there is another important ingredient in that stew: Experience. There is no room for that on those official census forms, but when a person picks up a writing instrument to choose which box they check, experience most certainly helps guide their hand.

Imani Cornelius, 13, Shakopee, Minnesota. Self-ID: black and white | Census box checked: black | Imani needs a bone marrow transplant but a shortage of African American and multiracial donors has kept her waiting for two years, because matches rely on shared ancestry.
Imani Cornelius, 13, Shakopee, Minnesota. Self-ID: black and white | Census box checked: black | Imani, who is African American and German, has a bone marrow failure disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). She needs a bone marrow transplant but a shortage of African-American and multiracial donors has kept her waiting for two years, because matches rely on shared ancestry. To find out how you might help, visit bethematch.org.

David Kung, a math professor in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, wrestled for years with what box to check when confronted with official forms. His mother is white. His father is Chinese. His last name speaks of his heritage but it is hard to easily slot him into a single category based on his outward appearance. When he had to fill out those forms, sometimes he would check multiple boxes and let someone else figure out how to handle the confusion. Sometimes he would flip a coin. In that moment he thought of family traditions, songs, food, memories. Marking just one box was agonizing. It meant denying part of his ancestry. When the census forms changed, allowing individuals to choose more than one category, David Kung tore into the envelope, checked multiple boxes, and then sat down and cried.

View David’s Race Card Project submission and listen to his story.

Official statistics can paint a useful picture. Appearance is an important aspect of the story. But to understand race—and more specifically racial ambiguity—it helps to understand those whose lives are defined by it.

For three years now I have been collecting stories about race and cultural identity on the Race Card Project, and it has provided a window into society like no other I’ve ever experienced in more than three decades of working as a journalist. The stories I am talking about are short. Very short. Six words long. And it is amazing how much power people can pack into such a small package.

“I am only Asian when it’s convenient”—Heather Brown, Seattle, Washington

“My mixed background means ‘White Enough'”—Maximilian Willson, Olympia, Washington

“See a Soul, not a label.”—Susan Clementson, Bothell, Washington

“Don’t cry. Mama loves your curls.”—Hilary Roberts-King, Baltimore, Maryland

“Afraid children won’t look like me”—Alexandria Jones, Columbus, Ohio

“My name and skin don’t match.”—Jennifer Lopez, Salt Lake City, Utah

“Lonely life when black look white”—Sandra L. Gross, Inglewood, California

“The future belongs to the hybrids.”—Skip Mendler, Honesdale, Pennsylvania

“I won’t disrespect my white mother!”—Sabrina Price Durling, East Windsor, New Jersey

“Not ‘bi-racial,’ not ‘mixed,’ just human!”—Tyler Brown, Washington, D.C.

More amazing is how the exercise, over time, has opened a window for people to share much more than just their six words about who they are and what they are feeling. The submissions that arrive via snail mail, the Internet, and Twitter are often accompanied by comments, essays, pictures, and artwork. And of the more than 30,000 submissions I have archived, a large percentage, in some way, touch upon multiracial experiences—most specifically marriage, parenting, and the questions of identity for the resulting offspring.

I guess it’s not surprising given the trends in interracial marriage. A 2010 Pew Research Study found that interracial marriages in the U.S. reached a record of 4.8 million and have been steadily climbing since those figures were compiled. To put that in context, one of out of every seven new marriages is among people of different racial backgrounds.

For a long time the mere mention of the phrase “race relations” invoked questions about the largely binary, and frequently complicated, dance between black and white Americans (think Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner or, more recently, Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn in the blockbuster ABC television hit Scandal). But today the blurring of the color line is much more stratified and much more diverse.

The Pew study found that among newlyweds in 2010, 36 percent of Asian women married outside their race, compared with 17 percent of Asian men. Pew also found that 26 percent of Hispanics married outside their race, compared with 9 percent of whites and 17 percent of blacks.

But remember, statistics only tell part of that story.

LEFT: Julie Weiss, 33, Hollywood, California | Self-ID: Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, Indian, Hungarian, and German Jew | Census boxes checked: white/Asian Indian/Chinese/Filipino RIGHT: Maximillian Suguira, 29, Brooklyn, New York | Self-ID: Japanese, Jewish, and Ukrainian | Census boxes checked: white/Japanese
LEFT: Julie Weiss, 33, Hollywood, California | Self-ID: Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, Indian, Hungarian, and German Jew | Census boxes checked: white/Asian Indian/Chinese/Filipino RIGHT: Maximillian Sugiura, 29, Brooklyn, New York | Self-ID: Japanese, Jewish, and Ukrainian | Census boxes checked: white/Japanese

The six-word tales that have poured into the Race Card Project create a portal that allows us to dive beyond the surface into the deeply nuanced issues of racial ambiguity and cultural identity. They are by no means comprehensive. It is not possible to explain every facet of multiracial life. But the six-word stories present a broad mosaic that informs us in these times and will serve as an amazing archive in the future as we try to understand the years when America was steaming toward a majority-minority status.

For many, there are no easy answers—or no fixed answer. Identity is not always a concrete concept but rather something that is situational, or shifting, based on time, place, growth, or circumstance. There are those who are proud of their ability to confidently “code switch” or move easily between cultures, sometimes borrowing the moniker Edgewalkers from Dr. Nina Boyd Krebs, whose book of the same title explores how people form diffuse cultural boundaries in the new Global Frontier.

Edgewalkers are like happy ambassadors who “move between cultural traditions and cultural communities with some level of ease, comfort and enjoyment.” Edgewalkers welcome questions, even when the query is boneheaded or uncomfortable (“Ooooh, is that your father?”). They are calm when people stare or ask about their suntans or light eyes. They enjoy confounding people. Humor is always in their toolbox. Patience too. They see these encounters as a chance to chip away at a tortured history.

There are also those who don various identities based on convenience, advantage, or comfort. Erica Shindler Fuller Briggs of North Charleston, South Carolina, is asked the question “What are you?” so often she has started charging people for the answer. “It’s my retirement plan,” she says. “What I charge is determined by timing: At what point in the conversation did they ask the question? If it’s within the first few minutes of the conversation, I charge no less than $1 per minute, the fee for insult and time wasted catering to shallow character.”

Shindler Fuller Briggs says people are either appalled or entertained. In either case she has made her point, prompting those who seek information about her identity to ask themselves a question: Why is it important? At age 42, she’s developed a hard edge around the constant questioning of her identity over time, and for understandable reasons. At one point, a shoe store manager assumed she was Hispanic and fussed at her for not knowing her own language. When she told him she was not Latina, he seemed offended. A corner store clerk refused to believe she was black. “No, you’re too pretty to be black,” he said.

So how does she answer that oft-asked question, “What are you?” Her answer is found in her six-word submission to the Race Card Project: “What would make you more comfortable?”

View Erica’s Race Card Project submission and read her story.

For some, even that word, what, makes them bristle. As in “What are you?” instead of “Who are you?” or even “How are you?”

Though race is one of those seismic issues—the stuff of movements and monuments and multiday conferences at top universities—the moments revealed in the six-word submissions are smaller in nature and much more intimate:

Brown-skinned mothers who are mistaken as the nannies of their lighter skinned children.

Blue-eyed teenagers who grow outsize afros to win easy (or at least easier) acceptance on the basketball court.

Asians with Irish last names who delight at seeing the faces of potential employers when they show up for job interviews.

And blonde women who understand why their children choose to identify as “Black-tino” out of cultural convenience but quietly die inside because they feel rejected or left out. This is all part of the crazy quilt of America. Our diversity is the marvel of the world and represents one of our greatest strengths as a nation. It heralds progress but not without pain for those who live on the knife-edge of multiple cultures. That will become evident if you spend any time scrolling through the stories that my project, the Race Card, has received.

I’ve been in journalism long enough to know that people who are exceedingly happy with their lot in life are less likely to share their stories if given the chance. Those who have something to get off their chest are more likely to sidle up to the keyboard. But for a subject as historically and emotionally fraught as this, I am honored that anyone chooses to share their story and that the Race Card Project has become a forum where people can emote but also absorb a bit of life as lived by someone else.

Consider the pain that seeps through the six words submitted by Chad Oiastad of Madison, Wisconsin: “My grandfather would hate my children.” I visibly seized up the first time I read that. A little shudder went through me just writing it now. But I have seen enough other stories come through the site to know that grandchildren have also had a way of melting away generational bias, or even fear of the unknown, and replacing it with love and pride and fierce protectiveness.

I think of the six words submitted by Phyllis Kedl, of Minneapolis, who could not be more proud of her multiethnic brood that includes fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to Phyllis and her husband. Her six words: “Family matters; race not at all.”

I applaud Kedl’s outlook and her optimism. I can’t go all the way there with her though. If anything, the Race Card Project has taught me that race often does matter. To insist otherwise is to dismiss the observations, views, and experiences of the thousands of people who have shared their stories with me. Discussions about race have taken on a particular aspirational nuance in that there seems to be this often expressed wish that we could get to some kind of finish line where matters of race would be over … done with … a thing of the past.

LEFT: Yoel Chac Bautista, 7, Castaic, California | Self-ID: black/Mexican/"Blaxican"| Census box checked: black. RIGHT: Tayden Burrell, 5, Sarasota, Florida | Self-ID: black and white/biracial | Census box checked: white/black
LEFT: Yoel Chac Bautista, 7, Castaic, California | Self-ID: black/Mexican/”Blaxican”| Census box checked: black. RIGHT: Tayden Burrell, 5, Sarasota, Florida | Self-ID: black and white/biracial | Census box checked: white/black

If you don’t know what I am talking about, think about the phrase “post-racial,” with its suggestion that we could take some kind of express elevator up to the top floor where the view was great, the air was clear, and no one would make you feel icky or uncomfortable. In matters of romance, I have also repeatedly heard the phrase that “the heart perhaps is the last frontier,” with the idea that a rainbow generation would lead us to a promised land where race was at least less prickly than it’s been in the past. Perhaps that day is coming but it surely is not here.

Lessons abound if you take the time to dig. Ali Berlinski offers a dose of simple wisdom. Her six words are a descriptive anthem: “American Polish Filipina living in Spain.”

What a delicious stew. Or perhaps I should say estofado … or ilaga … or gulasz.

In any case, Ali Berlinski says she uses prickly humor to talk about her eclectic upbringing. “Being a biracial kid can be hard, especially when you have a white name and a face that screams ‘I give pedicures.'”

Berlinski embraces her racial ambiguity as a “beautiful mess.”

“My family could very well be the United Nations. Navigating through so many cultures can get messy but it is always oh so rewarding.”

Navigating cultures is something that National Geographic and the Race Card Project have in common, and we want to include you in our journey to better understand the changing face of America. We want to see and hear how you identify yourself in terms of culture, race, or even region. Are you raising mixed race children? Are your parents of different races? Do you have siblings who identify themselves in different ways, even though your biracial background is the same? Are you unsure how to describe a friend, colleague, neighbor, or teammate?

Whatever your story, we want to hear from you. Share your six words and illustrate it with a photo on Twitter or Instagram tagged with #NatGeoRaceCardProject.

Michele Norris is a host and special correspondent for NPR and the curator of the Race Card Project.

There are 258 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Derra
    September 4, 2016

    I am Native American, Scotts, and Jewish. My husband is Irish, Italian, and Ghanian. Many of my siblings are either married to someone who is of a different race or mixed race. Married forty years.

  2. Hadassah Chayim
    August 27, 2016

    I’m Jewish: European, Middle Easterm, North African, and Indian (India). I never know what box to check on paperwork. I generally just put Other or Multi…and sometimes check everything that fits or fill in Jewish. I’m my appearance people see all those aspects of me but sometimes people assume I’m Muslim so I have to say no I’m Jewish. People even assume I’m not American either but I am. It doesn’t bother too much but it can. I’d fit in much better living around the Mediterranean.

  3. Paul
    August 10, 2016

    I’ll respond to some comments…

    Assuming you are Natively from Spain and Ukraine, in traditional terms you would be considered a Caucasoid.

    Keep in mind that these traditional racial lists changed over time.

    @Bunna Sloni

    I never understood why people refused to fill in some easy charts either.
    Keep in mind that a lot of racial lists (like the US census) have a lot of problems on them.
    The obvious one being Hispanic isnt a race. Since the nation is very diverse things the list needs improvement.


    I agree, nothing wrong with prefering your own kind (can mean a lot of things).
    The problem starts when a person assumes one race is superior to another.

  4. Paul
    August 10, 2016

    I spend a lot of time reading about racial related things.

    I used to think the “race as social construct” thing was ridiculous.
    But I have accepted it as valid.

    And im quite monoracial, monoethnic.

  5. Rose
    July 26, 2016

    Native American (Pueblo) Dutch, English, German. I turned out lighter than most from my tribe. I grew up fully immersed in my indigenous culture, which has been affected by the genocidal construct of the Certificate of Indian Blood and membership laws. There are those who claim indigenous ancestry but never lived it. To me, culture is way more important than race. That is what truly makes you who you are. I’ve seen some “Full Blood” Indian people who live/act more white than mixed blood natives trying to survive looking different than everyone else on the reservation. It’s tragic how we have objectified our genetic makeup.

  6. Yuri
    July 16, 2016

    My mothers from Barcelona Spain and is my father is from Kyiv Ukraine.I recently found out this is a unique mixture.can anyone tell me what this mixture is called?Above everything I’m a human because I bleed redthis.

  7. Mia Case
    July 7, 2016

    I am multi-racial, and I feel like it’s the coolest thing ever.

  8. Justin Turocy
    February 23, 2016

    i get bullied for being white…. but im actually not white (not that there’s a problem with that). But im actually Mexican and Costa Rican, i just want others to know that i hate being bullied for something that isn’t even true. But im a proud Mexican

  9. Bunna Sloni
    November 30, 2015

    What I don’t understand is how someone can cry over what box to tick about their race, get over yourself. Being multiracial isn’t the coolest thing ever.

  10. Hannah-Christina Hambleton
    November 27, 2015

    All my life I have wanted to know who I was and which race/ethnicity I belonged to.Eventually after some extensive family I discovered I have British scandinavian(Swedish and Norwegian)Maltese and Hispanic ancestors its hard to know what to check in boxes because there is no multiracial box.

  11. Paulinus
    November 13, 2015

    Thank you all. I believe the racial identity is an inherent part of human nature.

  12. Caron
    November 10, 2015

    Dear Peter and Others,

    1. Please read the book Working Toward Whiteness – How America’s Immigrants Became White – The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs by David R. Roediger.

    2. Check out the human genome project and genetic research which have scientifically proven that races do not exist. Human DNA is 99% the same.

    3. Also, remember “whiteness,” like “race,” is a human invention created and perpetuated by society. By using the words “white” and “race,” you are supporting a tool of oppression.

    Whiteness or Race: fiction, illusion, erroneous, unscientific, social construct, political construct, oppressive, divisive, inaccurate, biased, justifies slavery, upholds discrimination, legitimizes segregation, validates supremacy, reinforces stereotypes, human invention, eugenic fantasy, myth, false reality, arbitrary, upholds the bastion of privilege, cancer of the United States

    4. Check out ‘Race – the Power of an Illusion at PBS.org.

    “It would seem better to define everyone as simply human beings, not with non-scientific or socially-constructed labels of superiority and inferiority, and accord them rights, duties and freedoms based solely upon their existence, rather than upon their state of pigmentation, genetic makeup, or presumed continental origin of their ancestors.” (Author Unknown)

  13. Charlette Jackson
    November 10, 2015

    I am African American, and Iḿ proud to be. However the only race that I see is the human race. I’m not going to objectify myself to a color.

  14. Peter
    November 5, 2015

    I am proud to be WHITE. I want to live and associate with my own tribe and have my children and grandchildren look like me as well as have them be self-sufficient, hard-working individuals that grow up with values and a sense of tradition.

  15. Ty H
    September 28, 2015

    I alwas thought for the longest time that I was purely black, as I knew superficially that both my mom and dad were black. However, as it turns out, I am somewhat mixed. My mom is mostly black with some Native American, and I’m sure my dad is mixed with some white along the line because I’m light-skinned and brown-haired like someone who is biracial

  16. Al
    September 22, 2015

    There is only one race black. Every other “race” is a sub-type.

    • Michelangelo
      October 2, 2015

      There is no such thing as race. Homo sapien is one species (out of other homo groups now extinct) with varying geographical adaptations and even more cultural (group rules) variations. We’re no better than dogs. We’re just bred by Mother Nature.

  17. anna
    August 31, 2015

    I’m an irish-filipino mix but my sister and I tend to look more like our irish dad. Despite that, I have more of the filipino features (I can get as tan as my mother, but if I don’t tan im very white, while my sister stays a pretty light shade even if she does tan) And also I have an asian nose. So my sister usually just goes under the term white, but I usually have to say I’m mixed? Also when I’m around white friends they say I don’t look white, but when I’m around other filipinos they’re shocked when I say I’m mixed. I’ve always felt left out because nobody really thinks I’m part of their race. And I’ve never met any other mixed people with the same problem. They usually tend to lean towards one race but I can’t exactly identify as either?

  18. Jerry Delince
    August 23, 2015

    This may just prove that there actually is no such thing as “race.” Like a great deal of other concepts in our civilization – it is yet another consensual hallucination.

  19. Rob Walters
    August 4, 2015


  20. Nikanorah
    July 30, 2015

    I believe that races shouldn’t be mixed because every race should support it’s diversity. We are all equal and all the races are noble.

  21. CJ
    July 27, 2015

    These people are really ugly.

  22. fatima
    June 18, 2015

    Human beings are members of a whole,
    In creation of one essence and soul.

    If one member is afflicted with pain,
    Other members uneasy will remain.

    If you have no sympathy for human pain,
    The name of human you cannot retain.

    Saadi (Persian: سعدی) ‎(1184 – 1283/1291?) was a Persian poet, a native of Shiraz, Persia

  23. Michelangelo
    June 16, 2015

    I meant John of 9.17.13… LOL
    Where’s my head?

  24. Michelangelo
    June 16, 2015

    John’s (6.17.2015) description of “race” was on the nose, human, dog or otherwise. Ninety-nine percent of the time, our outward physical appearance provides neither a benefit nor disadvantage in nature. The real issue with humans and their prejudices stems from ethnicity – the social traits that bind groups together. Differences in these [abstract] concepts can manifest as a simple slur all the way to genocide. Ethnicity is where we need to concentrate our discussion.

  25. Kim Anderson
    May 31, 2015

    I have 25% American blood and 75% Filipino blood. My father has 50% American blood and 50% Filipino blood. My mother has 25% Spanish blood and 75% Filipino blood. Race is not a big deal to me. However, there were times that I was bullied because of this and it hurts me emotionally. I even wonder how will I call myself.

  26. Diana Olson
    May 18, 2015

    I’m Caucasian, but my 25 year old son is bi-racial. French and Scottish on my side, and African American on his father’s side. I never really placed a lot of emphasis on race. I was a single mother until I married when he was 8. His step father was Polish American. He grew up around kids of all races, and I had friends of different races, but it wasn’t a deliberate thing. It’s just the way it worked out. Some people would annoy me with the question, “what race does he identify himself as?” As if he had to choose. I finally recently asked my son that question. He said he just doesn’t think about it. He’s just himself. His answer reflected how I raised him.

  27. Amy
    April 14, 2015

    The article it’s super interesting but… Races? There is only one race in the entire world, which is human race

    • phil dynan
      April 14, 2015

      What Amy just said!

  28. Ahmasi
    April 1, 2015

    To be clear; ‘Jewish’ is not an ethnicity or race; it is a religious identification like Christian or Muslim. European Jews, Ashkenazi, are first and foremost European or white, so mixing that title in with nationalities and ethnicities is incorrect!

  29. Levefn
    March 11, 2015

    I am glade that the census show that blacks are still marrying blacks but interacial marriages is on the rise .Men care less than women when it come to the race mixing it is rising with females to. Economics is definately a plus when you race mix . . Hispanics mix the most then Asians . White men love asians but they mix with all races and white women mix the most . I love my black AA race the majority still marries in their race . I did learn one thing the stats show even though white men do not marry black a lot but when they do it last the most than any other race they never talk about that race mix ,that when they do it last not so much with black men and white women are divorcing the most Asainsbmix race couples divorce a lot check the stats I did .

  30. Phil Dynan
    March 9, 2015

    I feel that the term “race” is artifical and shallow and, in modern terms, pointless. There is only one race, the human race. “sub groups” referred to as “races” is not longer appropriate. When I was young I lived in Eritrea and Ethiopia – most people have dark skin, but were considered Caucasian because of “bone structure” – there was much prejudice towards Arab and “Negro” Africans…..and so I concluded that “Race” was no longer valid. People will find ANY characteristic to divide – when what we should be doing is uniting as the human race that we are all a part of.

  31. Sanjana @ Green Global Travel
    March 9, 2015

    One of my favorite articles from National Geographic! Truly amazing.

  32. xnn
    March 9, 2015

    I only look like some caucausian – yet i am mixed of great grandparent of mixed black white descent from french island – my father is eastern russian and flemish – my mother is french mixed north african.
    I look typical white person – i have no ethnic features that can catergorise me into any minority group so i get hassled as privileged and ‘others’ love to give me a ‘teaching moment’ to make sure i understand all about race – all my relatives blood and marriage are ‘other’ we never grew up with american imposed values as i have gotten by whites and nonwhites

    i hate righteousness of liberal whites blessing those they think look the part

  33. LEENA
    March 1, 2015

    BY FAR, my most confusing moment is when i’m asked to tick a box. I mean, im still quite confused, am I African, an Arab, or white-ish?
    My parents seem to choose a different one every time .
    I still love it though, specially when people talk to us in different languages, thinking that we are from that country

  34. Oluseyi
    February 24, 2015

    As much as I like this piece, and I really do think that it along with The Race Card Project really hit the nail on its head when discussing how nuanced race is, I wish there was more emphasis on ethnic identification and how that in itself is a manifestation of race. You don’t have to be racially ambiguous to struggle with your identity. What about those who might phenotypically look a certain race, however their cultural experiences have challenge/ made it difficult for them to self-identify? I will use myself as an example. Phenotypically speaking, I am considered black. However, I have also been considered Latina. My family is from Nigeria, but I grew up in the United States. And unlike my six siblings (Maria, Jude, David, Michelle, and Elizabeth), I have the only identifiably Nigerian name (Oluseyi Segun), which has baffled many, even Americans, when I say that I am American.

    I only contribute this into the discussion as I readily empathise with those who are physically racially ambiguous (even that idea can be challenged when you break “race down”), however ethnicity for sure posses the same problem.

    At 24 now living within another “black” racial context, I find my identity constantly in flux and becoming a narrative of whatever black racial group is the closest to me.

    I’ve been considered Rwandan (I am currently in Rwandan), Burundian (because I speak French), Congolese (again because I speak French), Ugandan (because I speak English in a non-Anglophone country), Kenyan, even French Guyanese (because I was black), Surinamese (because I spoke English and was black), Guyaneses (because I was a black anglophone), Brazilian, and last but not least Trinidadian. Notice how out of all the things I mentioned, no one ever seemed to consider the fact that I could possibly be American.

    To be American is to be white not only abroad, but even in the U.S., which is made evident by these “broader” racial categories that lists every non-white person as to belonging to a different subgroup although we’re all American.

    Like I said, I bring this up just to illustrate that it is not only people who are visibily racially ambiguous who feel the identity struggle. I wrestle with that every day of my life although I consider myself black, but my mixed heritage places me all over our global map.

  35. Ceres
    February 15, 2015

    I like to call myself an enigma because people cannot figure out what I am. I am Native American, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, English and Scottish. It seems that everyone in my family has always married someone of a different race. Everywhere I go I get asked what I am. It doesn’t bother me at all. When I was in Greece they thought I was Greek, when in Hawaii they thought Hawaiian, in Mexico they think I’m Mexican. I have light tan skin (that can get really dark in the summer)long brown hair, brown almond shaped eyes with a slender muscular build. I’ve been asked if I was Black, Russian, Philopino and even Arab. I love it because every race is beautiful and I wouldn’t change my melting pot blood for nothing. I am proud of all my ancestral DNA.

  36. Crown @ robinson
    February 12, 2015

    Hello. remarkable job. I did not anticipate this. This is a splendid story. Thanks!

  37. Cristina
    February 10, 2015

    I am white meaning Scottish, Irish, German, American Indian…and other things I am sure. My husband is Hawaiian with a very “white” name…he’s Filipino, Hawaiian, Dutch, Scottish, and American indian…and maybe a little Chinese. We live in Texas and he is ALWAYS mistaken for Mexican. He usually replies to Spanish comments with fluent Japanese. My daughter is persian from my ex husband. She is fair like me but with dark wavy hair and green eyes. I am pregnant and I just can’t wait to see what my little man will look like with so many different ethnicity’s floating in his body. Our future.

  38. autumn kuz
    January 31, 2015

    Just curious, is anybody out there equal parts African American, Asian,
    white, and Latino? or something similar, maybe Indian instead of one of the other races? I don’t mean to offend I’m just very curious what 4 different cultures coming together would look like

  39. Tara
    January 6, 2015

    I’m a lot of things; while I am Caucasian, my ancestry comes from all over: I’m Italian on my mom’s side, while on my dad’s side I’m Irish, French, Portuguese, and English. Fun fact, people always assume I’m Mexican or Puerto Rican.

    I think Americans are preoccupied with race because the country is a “melting pot.” In Japan, for instance, almost everyone has a Japanese mother and a Japanese father. In Mexico, most people have a Mexican mother and a Mexican father. America is a country made of immigrants from all over the world, and everyone just wants to know where they fit in!

  40. Jordi Abraham Snell
    January 5, 2015

    I am Melanesian/White. My father is Moluccan and my mother is Dutch! But people always say that i look like a unindentified race..

  41. Melody
    December 27, 2014

    I am Adopted fro. Albuquerque New Mexico and have always been told that I am half Spanish and half French. I am now told that I could be part Navajo or Pueblo Indian. What I don’t understand is why people keep referring to me and my children as looking Asian because my eyes are slightly almond shape. Where my eye shape come from?

  42. ANON.
    December 15, 2014

    I’m 100% irish, traced back centuries. My only foreign ancestor was a Spanish woman in the 17th century.
    Yet, people tend to think I’m Persian, or Lebanese, or Syrian, Middle Eastern in general. Otherwise they will guess I’m Turkish or North African, although I’m very pale, I do have dark curly hair and dark eyes.
    In india, they thought I was a rich indian actress, kids would follow me in the street.
    And if I say I’m none of the above, people guess I’m Brazilian or Latina, even from Eastern Europe, no one ever thinks I’m Irish. I find it quite amusing

  43. Human Being
    October 24, 2014

    I am Black. Yet, I look less Black than some biracial (Black/White, for example) people that I’ve encountered. I’m sometimes mistaken for Native American or biracial but most of the time, Indian. Yes, from the country, India; even by Indians. LOL. Occasionally, I have been asked the idiotically rude question: What are you?

    The entire practice of compartmentalizing people by race is pretentious and archaic. Most of us in the USA are mixed race by default. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who is pure or 100% anything. Get rid of the labels, boxes, and categories. Accept that we are one race: Human. And move on.

  44. Ilyas
    October 23, 2014

    I’m 6months old. My dad is a very handsome cirebonese-sundanese. My mom is almost pure javanese for more than 10generations. A true javanese beauty. I am indonesian and my species is human.

  45. Baatar
    October 22, 2014

    Here in the US people are like i am irish, i am cuban, i am jewish, i am strong black woman, i am puerto rican, i am white. Rather foolish and childish!

  46. ghost in your house
    October 11, 2014

    And there are no pimples in the future, wow this can only be right.

  47. Hagendaz
    September 26, 2014

    I completely agree with your statement.

  48. Hagendaz
    September 26, 2014

    This needs to stop. It’s fine to know your heritage but why does it matter regarding anything else? Also, why are people proud of their heritage? It is pure luck of the draw. You can’t control where you were born or your ethnicity. This is all used to label us and keep us divided. It’s time to move past this and be a human.

  49. silvia
    September 20, 2014

    I love love love the different cultures, and the exotic looking people. Although I no longer ask “what are you?” I think it sounds offensive, I am left trying to pick up on clues that might help me figure it out on my own. I am Cape Verdean, and that in itself is already a mix, given the fact that the islands were unhabitated until they became a slave and goods trading point. Most capeverdeans have %60 african genes. And we are a beautiful people, you can find whites with very course hair as well as blacks with blonde hair and blue or green eyes. In my case there is also portuguese and french. And my husband is Arab… I know many people hate it when others say that mixed kids are the best looking kids… and I’m sorry but they they really are. I refuse to check any ethnicity box when it comes to our children. They are African, Arab, Portuguese and French, but who cares right? Unless it is medically related.

  50. Caron
    September 18, 2014

    Please join me in my struggle to remove the word “race” from our vernacular. If you must label or describe a person, use the word “phenotype”, not race. Phenotype refers to a person’s observable physical appearance.

    Race: fiction, unscientific, arbitrary, divisive, social construct, political construct, oppressive, divisive, inaccurate, biased, justifies slavery, justifies discrimination, justifies segregation, reinforces stereotypes, justifies colonialism, justifies the genocide of people, justifies group supremacy, maintains hierarchical boundaries

    Phenotype: scientific, a threat to the bastion of privilege

    Check out “Race – the Power of an Illusion” at PBS.org.

    “It would seem better to define everyone as simply human beings, not with non-scientific or socially-constructed labels of superiority and inferiority, and accord them rights, duties and freedoms based solely upon their existence, rather than upon their state of pigmentation, genetic makeup, or presumed continental origin of their ancestors.” (Author Unknown)

  51. Katt Lewis
    August 17, 2014

    Half-breed, that’s all I ever heard
    Half-breed, how I learned to hate the word
    Half-breed, she’s no good they warned
    Both sides were against me since the day I was born

  52. Cody
    August 7, 2014

    Race; each of the major divisions of mankind, each having distinct physical characteristics. I find those that deny race entirely are the most racist. Likely a deep seeded hatred and resentment towards White people. I recall in the movie The Great Debaters, Denzel referring to ALL whites as Anglo-Saxons. Quite inaccurate. As Anglo-Saxons migrated from the German Angles and Saxon tribes west to the British Isles. One example of how biased media is subliminally brainwashing America. This destroys racial integrity for all people.

  53. Kimi S
    July 14, 2014

    I hate it when people say mixed is better, when you’re more likely to be fetishized and pushed away by your own culture(s), not to mention you experience racism from more than one race in different ways. For example a Eurasian will get the usual ‘chink’ slurs from whites and will be called a foreigner by Asians and also a wannabe for wanting to learn about your culture. >___>

  54. Monica Abram
    July 6, 2014

    Very interesting article. I want to know how to find out about my heritage, how can I without getting DNA testing?

    • Bruce Rappaport
      July 6, 2014

      A great man, but we should never forget his descendants, one of whom was a successful businessman and did well during the US Civil War – Colonel John Wayles Jefferson.

      Col Jefferson was born a “Negro’ (***) in a time of slavery, but was able to rise above bigotry to succeed.

      *** In depth studies reveal the average “White American” is 5%-10% African American and the average “Black American” is 10%-15% “European American”… In the USA, “RACE” is pure fiction.

  55. Lassie
    July 2, 2014

    My mother was an award winning Siberian husky, and my father was a flea bitten Labrador mix, I was adopted from a pound to a family who adores my mixes heritage.

  56. T.
    July 1, 2014

    I am Bi Racial. My mother is white and my father is black. But my skin is very light, almost white and my hair is considered “white people hair”. I’m constantly being asked my race or people just assume I’m either white or Hispanic.

  57. My Name Is Brittnee Cleveland
    June 30, 2014

    I am considered black, my mom is native american and black, my dad is Nigerian. The ONLY race I am is Human

  58. Nadia
    June 26, 2014

    Wow.. talking about “race” when the only race is the “human”. Everything else is the result of our phenotype that we can categorize in “ethnicities”. This is all so wrong. Asking the race? Thats racist!

  59. rob0t
    June 18, 2014

    My paternal grandmother was said to have really dark parents, both of whom were part Jewish and part African. She came out pale and had “coal black hair” that was straight. My grandpa was a hodgepodge of just about everything under the sun on this green earth. Jewish tribes of Asher and Levi, Russian Jew, Hungarian, Romanian, French, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Norwegian, Choctaw, Cherokee and Iroquois. Combine those with his first wife, my grandmother, and then add more English and Scottish to it with some German and you get me. I once said I was part Cherokee and a woman told me “I can see it in your face.” I was once asked “are you part Norwegian or Swedish?” and I said Norwegian to which the teacher said “I can definitely tell.”

    I love my heritage. I love the bizarre mix that my family has given me and I’m proud of it all. I love it when people ask me where my family comes from and I go listing off everything I’ve ever learned of my family heritage. People just sit there and stare. However, I do hate it when I get someone telling me “Oh, what, was your grandmother some kind of African princess or something?” to dismiss my talking about my family or even to counter my calling them out on their racist rhetoric. Everyone is made up of the various people their families have married and produced children with over the entire history of this planet. All of that history is what makes you You.

  60. Jacqui
    June 16, 2014

    This is in reference to comment submitted by Hospital worker.
    The New York Times had an article some years back about doctors treating patients and subscribing medication based on race.
    In this day and age you cannot do this all the time and be successful. Many people are admixtures.
    One kind of medication does not work well in all black people,or white or what have you. Also, some doctors also zoom in on certain afflictions that might affect black people ,but in the process miss the proper diagnosis.

  61. Essie
    June 13, 2014

    My nine yrs old son is mix of Turkish ( Georgian, Russian, Turkish) and Italian (Jewish, Portugese, Italian) he has light skin but not fair and getting tanned very easy, has high cheek bones and slightly slant eyes but looks like a one line when he smiles :)) also tall for his age. Eyes and hair is dark brown.

  62. Justine-Ann
    June 4, 2014

    This is rather interesting. I truly believe that we are all human and deserve the same treatment. America is so much better than South Africa. Us South Africans, should be a united country but still today you get a young generation that judges you because of your race. I love everyone for who they are not for their skin colour but for their heart and soul. The change begins within yourself, to accept each and every one before the world can change…

  63. Bob Green
    May 29, 2014

    I have brown skin, type 4 hair, and was born in America so automatically people will call me African-American though I in no way identify with or hold the same cultural values from any group of people belonging to one of the countries in Africa. I personally don’t like this term because many so called “African-Americans” do not have ancestry from Africa alone. I have ancestors from all over, why should I ignore that.

    I believe these labels and a craving to know “what are you” are partly used to mentally compartmentalize people into your expectations of how they should be or act even though you may know nothing about them in the beginning . . . oh he’s Asian so he’s like this, oh they’re white so they’re like this, she’s African-American so she must be like that, etc. etc. etc.

  64. Shay
    May 8, 2014

    What will be the eye color of a child if his parents are Mexican and an American?

  65. My Lee
    April 28, 2014

    Very interesting article! I’m one of those mixed people who likes reading things like this. I have an Asian mother from the Philippines. She is 75% Filipino & 25% Chinese. I have an American father who is 50% German, and the rest is Dutch, Irish, and some distant Native American blood. Therefore my ethnic background is Filipino, Chinese, German, Dutch, Irish, & Native American.

    In fact, since I enjoy talking about this whole mixed race topic a lot, some of my friends have told me I’m “too obsessed about race/ethnicity.” Okay, well I’m sorry that I like to learn about different cultures and am interested in some people’s heritages. Yes I know we ALL belong to one race, which is the human race, and race is socially constructed. But still.. I have a natural curiosity to know some people’s heritages, and it is just very interesting to me.

  66. Mick Brown
    April 26, 2014

    There is only one race – human. There are multiple human ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities. Skin color should be the least defining aspect of a human being. I am an American and my DNA indicates that 92 percent of my ancestors are of African descent, the remaining 8 percent are European and Asian. People who don’t know better want to attribute our family’s features to non-blackness – keen noses, red hair, long kinky dark hair, cocoa brown skin, yellow-brown skin, light-brown eyes, slanted dark eyes – we are a hodgepodge of attributes in this American family. And we’re not that different that any other – not special, just human.

  67. Lynell
    April 25, 2014

    I am mixed with Black,Irish,and Creole (African,French,Cherokee Native American, and Spanish). With freckles and sandy brown hair with high lights of blond… I am right away asked am I mixed? I say yes, but for the most part I identify myself as black just because I feel its more easier to that than to name all the origins of my multiracial heritage.

  68. Laura
    April 24, 2014

    On a personal basis – I feel inquiring into someone’s nationality is a compliment…and a journey. It’s like travelling – catching a glimpse of another culture, different traditions, different foods – fascinating. I ask people regardless of what they look like, everyone has a unique story. It brings me joy, insight and appreciation. Wonderful way to share, learn and grow.

  69. A. J. H.
    April 23, 2014

    Interesting article. The photographs were taken nicely.
    I suppose I can relate to this. I’m French-British, raised for equal parts of time in London and Paris. I’m 20 and on all my documents my parents have put – “Mixed Other”. My Mother is White, European – pale, blue eyes, yellow blonde hair. My Father is Black, Asian and White. Dark-skinned (strange example but like Mindy Kaling’s complexion – but darker) with green eyes and jet black curly hair (not Afro-like).
    As a child I was “white” looking. Dark blonde curly hair, BLUE eyes and very white skinned. As I grew up, I started to get more colour. My eyes turned green, my hair turned brown and my skin turned darker. Everyone was pretty surprised at the transition. I pretty much look like the model “Imani” in this article now, except my hair is lighter brown and more curly and my eyes are a bit lighter. I have a double barrell surname of my Mother’s and Father’s. Jacque-Hernandez. Today, I still identify as “Mixed Other”. I’m not white, black (one drop rule is nonsense) or Asian. I’m ALL of them blended into one and I’m proud of it, too.

  70. Wendy Wilson-Fall
    April 17, 2014

    In our country, we have a huge population of people who have been forced to say they are merely “black.” Within that population of African descended people, there are not only people with mixed non-African descent (Native American, various European descent lines) there are also the majority who are mixed African descent. We forget that African Americans were themselves a melting pot of the various ethnicities of West and West Central Africa. On another note – but related – I always feel that the questions on the census are very inadequate. My mother was mixed African, Malagasy, and white. My father, who would appear to all as “black” also had Indian (as in India) blood. Blacks in the U.S.were never homogeneous to start with. One point I want to make: none of our fascination with mixture should evolve into yet another way to marginalize the darkest people in our society. We still have to heal from our unfounded distaste and suspicions of people who appear African but whose ancestors have been here for two centuries or more. We owe them alot and so far much of their experience has been flavored by contempt and marginalization. At one point in their history, they were the first “multicultural Americans,” and I hope that we will mature as a nation and respect even those who may not “appear” to be mixed.

  71. Chiloh
    April 16, 2014

    Race, like most identifying factors e.g. legitamacy,inheritance, and lineage, are derived from the father.
    The idea of “appearance” and the “one-drop” rule originated with white supremacists and racial purists. I aam amazed at how easily most people accept their defining criteria.
    In the end we are simply Americans.

  72. Kelly Nguyen
    April 16, 2014

    My name is Kelly Nguyen. I am Vietnamese, Chinese & British. People often mistake me for being numerous different races. Sometimes, I get Latina, Filipina, Cambodian, or American as guesses. For myself, I think of being mixed as a blessing, because you get to know about both your sides of the family. I can easily get along with anyone, and it sparks up the conversation when I see someone that are of mixed races themselves. It really is an interesting topic.

  73. Kathleen
    April 15, 2014

    Beautiful faces, wonderful photography.

  74. Megan Vazquez
    April 14, 2014

    I am Italian, German and Puerto-Rican. My last name is VAZQUEZ after my father who is Puerto-Rican but my biological fathers last name is Emrick which is the name I had until I was 4 and my step father adopted me. I look white but by looking at me everyone thinks I am Hispanic, usually I get asked if I am Mexican… I’ve always checked the box for white, but I’m not just white. Sometimes I wish my last name was still Emrick because people wouldn’t assume things about me by looking at my last name but I don’t wish that because I thank my dad for giving me his name when he didn’t have to.

  75. Matt
    April 13, 2014

    I identify as Pennsylvania Dutch (a misnomer because we are of German ancestry). My sister and I both inherited red hair from our mother. While she was complemented on how beautiful hers was, mine was a source of torment. Red haired girls and women are seen as sexy. Red haired boys never are (at least not until Ryan Gosling). Kids and even teachers in school would call me Red instead of my name. “Better dead than red” was something I heard every day and it had nothing to do with communism. Being white may have been a privilege growing up but it certainly didn’t feel that way to me. My red hair and pale skin that never tanned was a constant source of embarrassment and shame and I grew up hating who I was. I can understand it must be tedious for a mixed-race person to constantly have to answer the “what are you?” question. But I think that comes from genuine curiosity… people seeing you as more exotic and interesting because of your mixed heritage. No one ever expressed curiosity in me… I was simply a freak. And while it’s extremely politically incorrect these days to mock someone because they are black, asian, latino, etc. it’s still OK to wear a t-shirt or post on Facebook “I F**king HATE Gingers.”

  76. A.J.S.
    April 13, 2014

    My mother is white and my father is black. I have red, brown, blonde and black in my beard. If im clean shaven i look black. With a beard i look middle eastern… It doesnt matter where i am- my “look” is always a matter to question (especially to law enforcement).— let me know when it REALLY doesnt matter anymore .

  77. Norteamericano
    April 12, 2014

    I guess we’ll largely look like typical Latin Americans in about 50 yrs. or so. There’s an interesting dichotomy between the Latin cultures of Southern Europe and the Germanic/Celtic cultures of Northern Europe. The British/German settlers and their descendants in the U.S. were frankly much more racist than the Spaniards/Portuguese in their Latin American colonies. The British by and large never created large mixed-race populations (i.e. mestizos or mulattos), although granted this was also partially due to the fact that the settlers in what became the U.S. also brought their families with them whereas the Spanish and Portuguese settlers were overwhelmingly men who intermarried with the Native and African women. Therefore, from early dates, attitudes toward interracial mixing were far different in colonies ruled by different European countries. But British attitudes were probably more racist because they were never exposed to different cultures and peoples in the way that the Iberians were. Black African slaves had been kept in Iberia long before they were known in Britain, and also the people of the Iberian Peninsula had absorbed varying levels of Arab/Berber and Jewish ancestry on account of the centuries of Moorish occupation in those lands. Therefore the attitudes in the different countries were quite distinct, which influenced the evolution and development of what eventually became the U.S. vs. what became countries like Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, etc.

    Even still, this is not to say that the Iberians were not racist because they still were. Iberian colonists did create a racial caste system by which those with fairer skin and more European ancestry were at the top, mixed people were in the middle, and full-blooded Natives and/or Africans were at the bottom. Quite honestly you still the legacy of that system in Latin America to this day. If you look at most Mexican immigrants for instance (who tend to be the poorest in society), the majority are nearly fully Native or darker mestizos with mostly Native ancestry. In Mexico itself, there actually is a fairly sizable population descended from Spaniards and other Europeans (known as “criollos”) and light-skinned mestizos with more European features. Northern Mexico for instance contains a lot of people who could pass or almost pass for Spaniards or Italians, which is a far cry from most people we see crossing the border (no offense intended here).

  78. Tessa
    April 12, 2014

    I would not say I think my race is my identity, however I’m still proud of my mixed background. I don’t live to have a racial identity, I fine it sad actually when I hear people going around trying to fit into molds because the race they were told to accept has rules they must live by..Well I’m just going to be me. However, it is tiresome that the world denies multi-racial people the right to be who they are.. How can something mixed be only one thing when it’s many? Doh! Even dogs and cats get their own new breed when they mix them. Why are we forced to choose between our parents? I think if we would stop trying to label everyone based off being black or white, there would be less identity problems, less racism maybe the whole thing would end. If we would let everyone just be exactly what they are. Hybrid end of story, “Liger” looks happy.

  79. Sunny
    April 12, 2014

    One of your last paragraphs struck a chord, to me it is a hope:

    “If you don’t know what I am talking about, think about the phrase “post-racial,” with its suggestion that we could take some kind of express elevator up to the top floor where the view was great, the air was clear, and no one would make you feel icky or uncomfortable. In matters of romance, I have also repeatedly heard the phrase that “the heart perhaps is the last frontier,” with the idea that a rainbow generation would lead us to a promised land where race was at least less prickly than it’s been in the past. Perhaps that day is coming but it surely is not here.”

    If you read Isaiah 2 and pay attention to verses 4 and 11, you can see that day is coming.

  80. Vic Adama
    April 12, 2014

    One race: HUMAN

  81. Michelle
    April 11, 2014

    I see Charmaine mistakenly put that she is lightskinned probably because somewhere in her ancerstry, someone was raped by a white person, assumably a slave owner. Most people don’t know that hundreds of thousands of Irish people were shipped to America as aslaves and forced to breed/intermarry with African slaves. Look it up.

  82. Mariana
    April 11, 2014

    Americans are a little bit obsess over the racial thing. All those photos look like Latin-Americans to me, go to countries like Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panamá or Colombia and you would find people who look just like this.

    Guys, we’re in the same continent at the end of the day, we are not that different. The history of all the Americas was build by people from all over….Not only in the USA.

    April 11, 2014

    Hello all!
    I just want to make this comment.
    We’re all mix people, because in the ancient times, people mix in their own villages and they were different families but their clan didn’t mix with other clans. Nowadays since people start traveling and getting married in other villages our DNA started to mix. All Caucasian people are mix as well. they’re the result of European people who arrived in America and the create this new people and they’re called White Americans.

  84. CJ
    April 10, 2014

    I lived in Brazil in the late 1960s. That was a time when a mixed-race couple in the U.S. would bring lots of hard stares. But in Brazil, families were often a mixture of European, African, Asian, and/or indigenous bloodlines that few people were defined by race. One good friend came from a family with about a dozen siblings (from 2 different mothers, I think) with skin tones from fair to charcoal. It was more likely that people were defined by social status than skin color or race. Yet, when I returned to Brazil a few years ago, although the general population hasn’t changed much, I noticed that most magazine covers and ads featured very fair models, both male and female. While many Americans seem to have taken some tiny steps forward, I am wondering if Brazil has taken a step backwards.

  85. Kayla Thomas
    April 9, 2014

    As a tan skinned female I am automatically assumed to be ‘Black’ and they are right…but theres more to it

  86. Emma Klein
    April 6, 2014

    “I have red hair… Which is an automatic “Irish” labeling, and that’s frustrating as well. I remember in elementary school having to hold the Irish flag to show the schools diversity, because I looked the part. I still remember my irritation when being told “well you look Irish.” What does that mean anyway??”
    YES!! Brian Gresham, I totally understand. I’m like super-Jewish, no Irish there whatsoever–but there’s the red hair. Syrian Jewish Gramma (nobody believes me! and then there’s the people who don’t believe Jews can come from Arab countries), Hungarian Jewish Grandpa, and a Russian Jewish mother. Irish? Nuh-uh. The thing is, I have nothing against the Irish–it’s just that I’m proud of where I come from and I hate how my ancestry and family history automatically gets marginalized by a physical feature and people’s stupid assumptions.

  87. Nikita Tse
    April 5, 2014

    Well I am a 20 year old waitress/artist that was born in South Africa Cape Town, where my mother is a Portuguese/Irish/Dutch/Italian/British mix and my father is Cantonese man from Hong Kong China. I have been mistaken to be “coloured”(relaxed South African slang term for someone mixed with African Genes), Chinese, Indian and I have even been called Hawaiian oddly enough but ironically no matter what country I go to, people always look at the differences. In Hong Kong I was South African. In South Africa I am Chinese..Sometimes. I tend to forget about all these heritages, these name brands and yet to comprehend and picture on how my Arian like Dutch cousins fail to prove to their school friends that they have such diverse relatives just brings me to an agreement on how close minded our vision of family can be. I even have 3 brothers, 2 of which are of the same father as I and share our conflict with race differences. To just look at my mothers eldest son who is of a British man born be so different in appearance and have different cultural influences who came to be my big brother. To be able to pull the race card on a blood relative sounds harsh but it happens and is hilarious in key moments. Its insane and yet is logical. I would never give this up.

  88. Paul
    April 2, 2014

    I’ve been hybridizing plants for the collector market for nearly 20 years, and have truly enjoyed the reputation of reaching my goals of creating truly beautiful and “hardy” new cultivars. It’s likely an odd correlation, but the simple fact of the matter is that there’s a LOT to be said for “hybrid vigor”… which most certainly pertains to people as well! “Slightly Different” isn’t only what fascinates me (and many others), it’s indeed the name of my nursery! Anyone who ignores the benefits of “out-crossing” is not only missing an education, but to me, any ability to be beneficially creative as well.

  89. Trista
    April 2, 2014

    I love that we are different.

  90. D.Rich
    March 20, 2014

    Race only matters because we allow it to, but the reality is that it doesn’t really exist. I read someone’s comment that says race can help you identify with how to treat someone & maybe it can but ultimately I think the better term would be ethnicity. If you go to India, for example you have black (darker skinned) Indians & white (lighter skinned) Indians. There’s a spectrum of color that bounces from “race” to “race”. Despite their color, you would be able to better identify with them based on having knowledge of their ethnicity, cultural norms & beliefs ect.

    I guess you can say I multi racial, but what is amazing is that everyone is mixed. All of is have a little of everything in us & since life truly did begin in one place we are really all branches of the same tree. Maybe we all started out the same color, but as seasons changed & people moved, our colors became more diverse such as the leaves of trees in fall. And how gorgeous are those trees with all their many colors !? I’ve learned to appreciate the world, love myself & others & be accepting by viewing the world as a oak tree in the fall. Different and yet were the same.

    The problem is the human being is depraved in it’s thinking. We always have to “one-up” the next guy, the next race, we always find ways to uplift ourselves over others by putting them down. That can range from things as “simple” as bullying, to genocide & war. If race isn’t the issue, it’s religion, if not religion it cultural beliefs, and the list goes on.

    To me it’s simple & whether your religious or not i think the key in overcoming is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    I’ve found that based on ignorance of people we may all have different experiences based on who people perceive us to be, but being someone who has deep relationships with many people who are “racially” different, I find we experience a lot of the same fears, joys, the need to know who we are, where we come from, the need to be accepted & loved. If we learn to see ourself in others despite color, yea I think we can beat this whole “race” thing.

    Best friend is a “white” girl & many would define me as “black” but I’ve never met anyone more like me 🙂

  91. Dawna Woodliffe
    March 13, 2014

    Hello Aubrey,
    I’m happy to meet you.
    My name is Dawna

  92. Christine
    March 13, 2014

    My husband is a delightful mix of white from lots of countries, Jewish, South American Aboriginal, and Roma by way of Argentina. He grew up around lots of Mexicans and South-East Asians. He looks white as they come but he identifies with the UN and has a beautiful accent when he speaks Spanish. (I am white with some likely native american somewhere in the family tree.)

  93. Angela
    March 5, 2014

    I define my identity, not my race.

  94. Asalkey
    February 12, 2014

    Welcome to our lives, welcoming 2050

  95. Aubrey
    February 7, 2014

    On every test I’ve ever taken it says African American… It always confused me and to be honest genuinely frustrated me. My mother is Dutch/scotish/Irish and my father is Brazilian/Jamaican(which can be anywhere from Asian decent to middle eatern) but just because I have a head full of curls, brown /hazel eyes, and dark brown hair I’m automatically assumed to be black. I love embracing both sides of my heritage but that’s impossible when I’m not given the chance. I’m also marked as ashamed or racist when I correct people that just call me white or black or Hispanic. I want to be called Aubrey, not that mixed girl, not that light skinned black girl, not that Hispanic or white or anything else you can think of. I want to be called Aubrey

  96. delius
    February 3, 2014

    I´m proud to be a Human

  97. Kelsey
    January 27, 2014

    I’m proud to be WHITE.

  98. jackie
    January 26, 2014

    I am black and PROUD!! Love in every moment of being an African American woman. My biological family come in shades from Mocha to Caramel to Deep Chocolate all with beautiful flawless skin and soulful bodies + soulful singing and dancing. LOVE IT!!

  99. Jennifer
    December 17, 2013

    You are interesting; I am not.
    Knowing that it is rude to ask people about their ethnicity, I generally don’t, unless I know them fairly well. But I often want to, not because I care about skin color or have some need to categorize people, but because their appearance suggests that they might have an interesting cultural background. I would really, honestly, love to hear about it. I am just white. My European ancestry is not very interesting, and nobody ever asks about my background.

  100. Bill Cherry
    December 12, 2013

    All I know is that Jordan Spencer is beautiful and that if people start to look like her in 2050 I am eternally greatful even though I will be in my 60s

  101. A Texan in China
    November 27, 2013

    Having moved to an extremely mono-ethnic country, I have begun to realize that the implied purpose of asking “what are you,” is more to determine your cultural background so the asker knows how to relate to you than it is to classify and stereotype or to offend. I interact with expats from all over the world, whose culture you cannot tell from their face. The first question is always “where are you from,” so you can know immediately how to adapt your language, social customs, expectations of their worldview, etc. in your continued interaction with them. Which holidays do they celebrate? How important is the role of family likely to be in their lives? How will they likely view money matters (e.g. who pays for dinner?) How reserved or open might they be? Is their home culture more open or more closed to outsiders? What kind of food might they eat?

    Knowing race can give a starting point to some of these questions, and allow the asker to find out more personal info but ask fewer irrelevant or ignorant questions.

    As much as we in America would like to say race doesn’t matter, when race is an indicator of your culture, it does!!

    I’m a Texan woman marrying a British man. Though we speak the same language and have the same face, our outlooks, worldviews, standards, values, and ways of doing life are oceans apart. Navigating these as we build a life together may not be too unlike it might have been had I married someone of a different race in the United States, simply because the barrier to a good relationship would not be the color of our skin, but difference of our cultures.

    Again, race, as an indicator of culture, IS important, but finding out someone’s racial background is only a starting point to learning more about them.

    I hope that those who are often asked about their racial background will understand that for some, it is an honest and genuine way to learn more about who you are and your unique personal culture!

    – A Texan in China

    A Texan in China

  102. Vanessa
    November 21, 2013

    I consider myself to be black only because that is how society has labeled/identified me. My mother is white and my father is black. As a child I would get questioned when this “white lady” (my mother) would pick me up from school. Even in college my classmates were surprised to know that my mother was white. Today I work in the Court system and have been called Ms. Brown on several occasions by a Judge even though my last name is no where near that. There will always be some type of issue regarding ghis but it’s all in the way you handle it! 🙂

  103. Charmaine
    November 16, 2013

    I used to feel proud because I am a light skinned Black woman. It was my shield of superiority against Black women who hated me for it, including my mother. Then, I hated that some of my ancestors were raped and that is why I have light skin, even though my brother (same mom and dad) is very dark skinned. Then, I decided I must be egyptian or ethiopian, because I see so many of them with light skin, unlike many west africans. I just wanted to know where my african ancestry came from. Now, I embrace my African, Native American, German, Caribbean and Irish blood. Now, I love my beauty more than anyone else’s. I see the beauty in everyone and love my skin because it’s a nice caramel in the summer and creamy tan in sunless winters – finally! I love me and can now love others of all colors!

  104. Elizabeth Robin Chang
    November 12, 2013

    As fascinating as this article is, I personally have never had trouble with people asking the question “What are you?” In fact, it’s a source of pride for me. I love telling people I’m a mix of Chinese and European Jewish. I’m proud to be mixed-what a wonderful thing it is to have all these cultures from all around the world contribute to my upbringing! It makes me unique! It gives me a diversified outlook! It makes me, me! Colorblindness isn’t necessarily the answer to everything: stereotypes are the danger, but having a diversified cultural background certainly isn’t. It’s good to educate people on where you come from, there’s no need to get defensive. Be proud and inform people who are curious! If someone is going to judge you based on poisonous pre-conceived notions about your background, then judge whether this is hate or naïveté- and make a conscious choice to either educate the person or simply turn away and not acknowledge such ugly, close-minded behavior.

    Your identity cannot be summed up or compromised by the label of a race, because race does not exist. If you know that in your heart, others, especially the people that matter, will see that too. However, your mixed background isn’t something that you should shy away from. No one can know your full complexity as a human being with a first encounter. Labels are thrown out all the time, not just race-based ones. The importance is you know who you are. The multiple cultures that contributed and helped shape you into the individual you are today are something to be celebrated. Embrace them and don’t be afraid to tell people about them. People who use it as a weapon aren’t your kind of people, or anyone else’s for that matter.

  105. Elizabeth Robin Chang
    November 12, 2013

    As fascinating as this article is, I personally have never had trouble with people asking the question “What are you?” In fact, it’s a source of pride for me. I love telling people I’m a mix of Chinese and European Jewish. I’m proud to be mixed-what a wonderful thing it is to have all these cultures from all around the world contribute to my upbringing! It makes me unique! It gives me a diversified outlook! It makes me, me! Colorblindness isn’t necessarily the answer to everything: stereotypes are the danger, but having a diversified cultural background certainly isn’t. It’s good to educate people on where you come from, there’s no need to get defensive. Be proud and inform people who are curious! If someone is going to judge you based on poisonous pre-conceived notions about your background, then judge whether this is hate or naïveté- and make a conscious choice to either educate the person or simply turn away and not acknowledge such ugly, close-minded behavior. Your identity cannot be summed up or compromised by the label of a race, because race does not exist. If you know that in your heart, others, especially the people that matter, will see that too. However, your mixed background isn’t something that you should shy away from. No one can know your full complexity as a human being with a first encounter. Labels are thrown out all the time, not just race-based ones. The importance is you know who you are and the multiple cultures that contributed and helped shape you into the individual who you are today are something to be celebrated. Embrace them and don’t be afraid to tell people about them. People who use it as a weapon aren’t your kind of people, or anyone else’s for that matter.

  106. darryl n m hannaway
    November 12, 2013

    i have not read all but, i tend to go with the four basic races when breaking down mixed races. African, Asian, Indian and European. in my mind the rest are more culture than a race

  107. Brian Gresham
    November 11, 2013

    I’ve never felt comfortable by being called by a color. I personally think it’s rude. When I come across a report that asks me my race and “white” is the only thing that fits, I check other or not listed. I’m German Jew, Dutch, Hungarian, that I know of. My family is from Europe, first generation on my mothers side, third on my fathers. I have red hair… Which is an automatic “Irish” labeling, and that’s frustrating as well. I remember in elementary school having to hold the Irish flag to show the schools diversity, because I looked the part. I still remember my irritation when being told “well you look Irish.” What does that mean anyway?? I feel sorry for people that want to define someone by their color… It’s narrow minded and shows we have a long way to go to accept people as people, for who they are and not what they look like.

  108. Alex G.
    November 8, 2013

    Love Yourself, Or Always Be Lonley

  109. Frank Zappaa
    October 31, 2013

    the last blond is predicted to be born in 2050,mud is what will be the result,

  110. GEGJr
    October 31, 2013

    I have detected in several comments, despite attempts to disguise it, a dissatisfaction of the census being used by the government to provide help to certain minority groups who have been and continue to be denied access to equal education etc, etc, thereby being systematically being discriminated against.

  111. Nimble
    October 28, 2013

    America has an obsession with race. I don’t get it.. I’m black and I hate writing it on job applications because I don’t want to be discriminated against because of my heritage. It’s frustrating

  112. CPerez
    October 24, 2013

    My view on race: I BLEED RED, WHAT ABOUT YOU? Each person is unique and we, as in the whole world, need to learn to truely accept each others differences and co-exist peacefully.

  113. bibol
    October 19, 2013

    The US was founded many by Northern Europeans. They assimilated most groups. Even some Black Africans. It only in the past 50 years. Have people not tried to assimilate into the mainstream culture. So now we have problems. In that many of these people think the government owes them.

  114. Daphne
    October 17, 2013

    Diversity..sharing this song from the preschool show Bear in the Big Blue House..its our family anthem

  115. Donna Gonzales-Vera
    October 17, 2013

    Cheers to the evolution of humanity.

  116. Maroon Colony
    October 16, 2013

    Some of the comments in this section are inspiring and terrifying. This the future, whether we like it or not. I myself am racially, culturally and ethnically mixed and feel very comfortable with that identify and also being Black.

  117. Dawna Woodliffe
    October 15, 2013

    Red hair, blue eyes, freckles, white skin, English, Irish ancestors but I like to think of myself as a viking. My husband has brown/black hair, light brown eyes and in the summer very dark skin. His ancestors came from England and Scotland. He likes to think of himself as a Norman. We have 11 children between us as well as 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Their heritage is French, German, Slovak, English, Irish, Scots, Finn, Thai and Chinese. We have what many people call mixed race individuals in our extended family. I think of us as earthlings.

  118. Desa Hanie
    October 15, 2013

    We are proud Irish heritage, my Haynes 57 mix is between the Celtic descant linage, Cherokee, German and the French. My children are strongly related to Cherokee heritage. They also have Spanish in them. They have all of me to!:) what was created in my eyes is beauty and intellectual life. With out the mixing pool we have established my children wouldn’t be as amazing I’m sure. Our mixed culture family has many traditions that we practice to keep all ancestry alive. So they know all the strides their blood line has made it threw… I’m very pale with blue eyes and naturally blonde hair, although I dye mine black:) but my babies have amazing individuality. Each one carrying something beautiful inside them!

  119. Manuel Castrillo
    October 14, 2013

    Well, to as the comments are varied, are the biological peculiarities of human beings and their multicultural relations. To where will the study?, racial variables are the product of those relationships and genetic, most beautiful, intelligent, composition of larger size… genetic factors. There are racial and cultural mixing, but the determining factor is that we are, a single race, with different nuances; the challenge is, externally not us determine in our essence and rather us one in our physical diversity, to have a better life, more harmonious, truth?

  120. Jake-L
    October 14, 2013

    Quite an interesting article. I come from a family with intense racial intermingling these last 150 years (I have Ashkenazi & Sefardí Jew ancestry, Spanish & Scottish ancestry and I am doing all the ancestry research for my family. This gives me a unique perspective, and when I see my reflection in the mirror I see the races of my ancestors, all on equal footing. This makes me believe that if we all had more mixed blood we would not be able to be afraid of the “other races” (whatever this may mean) since we are ourselves made from this incredible genetic tapestry that makes us all the same and different (to spice up life!) at the same time.
    Just for fun I’m doing my wife’s genealogy to hand this info to our children, so now they can add Mexican, Native American, African Black & French blood to their already mixed genetic soup.

    • Bruce
      October 15, 2013

      I think much of the world will have a diverse ancestry in a hundred years, but there will still be some countries that are so large and will continue to avoid diversity so that they will still be mostly the same cultural and genetic makeup.
      Maybe it will look like American politics of today. Polarized.

    • neil bailey
      October 18, 2013

      don`t be confused, we are all chemically charged water bottles, and the unique apperance is gods doing, who am I to criticise, and make it a issue, i don`t need the visual reassurance, that is determined by my relationship with jesus

  121. Michael Crowley
    October 14, 2013

    50,000 years ago we were throwing rocks at the guys on the other side of the river. Romeo’s & Juliet’s family couldn’t get along because they were different. I come from an Irish ancestry and have an adopted Chinese daughter. Maybe by the time she’s my age the human race will come to cherish our differing cultures while accepting we’re all human.

  122. neil bailey
    October 14, 2013

    This phenomina is old ,hat it has been a reality of life for a long ,long,long time, melomine genetically deficiency is called white, how dumb can you get, it is when we get engrossed with pagan humanism, i.e. who are you, which merely high lights ignorance, what are you doing, and how well are you doing it, that is what is important, graduate to be part of the multi generational community, where work ethic prevails, then you are progressing to being allright

  123. Laura Luzius
    October 14, 2013

    Ah, I’m getting tired of having to say this: there is only ONE race – HUMAN!

  124. Stephanie Wilson
    October 13, 2013

    If you read my name you’ll suppose I’m white. But I’m not, I’m Taiwanese, English, Scottish, Irish, and I have no idea what else!
    Luckily I live in New Zealand. So I just go by New Zealander. It’s odd that if you have different “white” in you you’re still a white European New Zealander. But as soon as you have Asian in your blood you have to be “bi-racial” and that is something I have always found weird. Perhaps someday someone will enlighten me on that subject.

  125. Elda M. Lopez
    October 13, 2013

    I love the photos. I wish there were more. They speak volumes!

  126. Glen Caslangen
    October 13, 2013

    I’m brown. Am I a half white or half black?

  127. M C Crockett
    October 13, 2013

    In your article, you refer to the Hispanic race. Is it a race or is it simply a category based on having a surname that originated from Spanish and Portuguese ancestors or land owners.

    I think that Mulatto, the Spanish word derived from the Arabic mullawad meaning of mixed race, should replace Hispanic on all US forms as it is more accurate.

  128. Michael
    October 13, 2013

    our WORLD is ALL mixed UP

  129. Karl Callwood
    October 13, 2013

    I am Apache, Georgia, and Seminole Native American, Tiano Caribbean Indian (are Indians from the Caribbean islands “Native Americans”????), Black, and Caucasian out of Scotland and Spain. My physical appearance, however, is extremely Black and my mix of nappy and straight hair defies hair-care products. My children’s mother is East Indian and Carib Indian. The race box gets checked off based on what racial identity is most beneficial for the circumstance.

  130. dennis siple
    October 13, 2013

    I read somewhere that the US is the only country that keeps racial statistics a part of their census. Maybe, once we all share the same shade of tan, we’ll get over all this nonsense and move forward as “people.”

  131. Michael Bergeron
    October 13, 2013

    55 years ago it was not a common occurrence being “mixed”. As a military brat, being relocated throughout my childhood, it was sometimes challenging….because you did not fit in. But now when I look back…I realized my parents were way ahead of their time. To see past simple appearances and fall in love with a soul, the real person. I am a child of the world and darn proud of it. I love that others are realizing it as well.

  132. Assimilation Derelict
    October 13, 2013

    Diversity is the spice of human existence, life would be dull id we were all blue eyed and blonde, slim, fit. Brilliant? My only concern with the change in demographics in Canada is the travesty I define as a the term we know: assimilation. The blatant lack of understanding the Canadian culture, the history, what Canada is all about … this applies to every country. If I relocated to India I would surely learn the language, customs, history, religions, etc.. at least to know. So I could relate to people. This is not happening here. We have an influx of refugees, and Expat’s alike, professionals driving taxi, working fast food counter, people do not smile, speak nor communicate at any real social level in many areas of this massive city. A fix is in order. Required. Severely needed. people do not get along, feel angst, afraid, distrustful.. .. symptoms. We need to learn to get along. After all is said and done we need each other. I think.

  133. Mudswallow
    October 13, 2013

    People seem to have forgotten that the race boxes originated as part of affirmative action, to measure whether or not different demographic groups (especially people of African-American heritage) were being allowed privileges historically claimed by the majority culture. While it is true that the check boxes are an extraordinarily crude and insensitive measure in today’s society, our country is still very heavily dominated by a white power base and the legacy of black slavery is, tragically, very much alive and well. A book about the history of the racial check-box question, its uses, and its effects on both societal and self identification would make an interesting read.

  134. Marijke
    October 13, 2013

    The prettiest people are the most average looking people. Having a multirace backgroung makes you very average, so you are probably very pretty.

  135. Auslander
    October 13, 2013

    Since when LATINO became a race??? Only in the USA! People from a latin american country can be different races, ie white, yellow, red, etc. At the end, WE ALL BELONG TO ONE, the HUMAN RACE!!!

  136. Melodie
    October 13, 2013

    I don’t think the colour of our skins should be even asked on forms. We are all human beings and should be treated equally. I am so glad that different races are mixing marriages, that is how it should be. Why is it so important to have a specific race! If we were all treated the same, there wouldn’t be so many problems. We can still keep our history on records for people to read about. I am interested in all races, and creeds. If races are mixed continually, then we will all be one, that is how it should be. The photos above are all so beautiful. This up is a great post. Thank you.

  137. Cory BlackEagle
    October 13, 2013

    LAKOTA BY BLOOD! white by skin? It seems that if we don’t fit a pre-conceived notion or stereotype, we aren’t allowed to be who we are, as if someone outside of me knows who I am better than I know myself. My elders say that if there is only one drop of blood but that is who your heart and spirit hear, then that is you (and I have a lot more than one drop). So why, when I tell people I am Lakota Sioux, the first response at least 90% of the time is, “really? How much?” In response, I politely ask them, “if I said I was German or Italian or Slovenian, would you ask me how much?” The answer, when I get one, is always, “no.” “So why,” I then ask, “is it important to ask me that when you find out I am Lakota?” People either get very quiet and have no answer or become angry and sometimes even nasty. Sadly, it doesn’t make much difference if the questioner is non-Indian or Indian, unless it is a traditional Lakota elder. I can see the judgment in their eyes – I must be a wannabe because, being judged by my appearance, I can’t be who I claim to be. Who gave anyone the right or privilege to make such a decision? And yet, as much as everyone seems to want to make me “white”, I have suffered terrible discrimination because I proudly have my traditional last name, marking me as Lakota. I live a happy life by having a great sense of humor, a desire to educate and challenge stereotypes, a thick skin, and, above all, a driving and deep pride of who I am.

  138. bruce rappaport
    October 13, 2013

    Before I was married I wondered how I was Jewish with ties to Israel but American Caucasian. Now with my wife from Thailand but 50% Chinese my boys are proud of all their heritages but I think it must be a bit silly to try to explain it. They are beautiful to look at.

  139. Bujar_nattgeo1
    October 13, 2013

    Very interesting article.
    I am impressed and I just learned something amazing.
    Thank you.

  140. Mingxin
    October 11, 2013

    How about what a mother of a multiracial kid have to face? I brought my daughter for lunch in a restaurant this past weekend, without her father to accompany us. The waitress was so curious and couldn’t help to ask in Chinese which can be translated to ‘you gave birth to this child?’ Yes, I am Chinese. Plus I seem to be the only person who thinks my daughter looks like me! Her father is Italian. I’m happy she looks like her father. But I really have to deal with questions from people that I wish could be less frequent, at least not when I am eating!

  141. Gina Malagold
    October 11, 2013

    What if we were all purple?

  142. Daniel
    October 10, 2013

    I’m just Irish. My parents are Irish and I was born and bred in Ireland and live here. We’re not as diverse here as America but mixed ethnic people are becoming more common. I don’t get why Irish-Americans have to make a point of calling themselves Irish when the majority are mixed, their Irish ancestors go back several decades and many have never even been to Ireland! In Ireland, I don’t think we obsess over race as much as other countries like America. Maybe it’s because Irish people weren’t even considered White for centuries and were labelled “White Negros” by the English. Anyway, we know that race isn’t a biological reality but rather this socio-cultural-political construct by which we identify. I’ve never been asked my race as people have always automatically assumed I’m White having pale skin, freckles, blue eyes and red hair (an Irish stereotype indeed!). However if I ever was asked, my six words would be: ‘Human with a dash of Irishness’ 😉

  143. Ginger Liu
    October 10, 2013

    Why do Americans think they are so different or unique from the rest of the world? To comment on those Americans who think America is the only multinational country on the planet, think again. China is not “full of Chinese” people, there are so many different ethnicities. India too. Russia has many different ethnicities. And these countries have so many different languages. Amd these countries have been like this for centuries. Long before the USA. The only real difference is Americas obsession with itself. The whole world has been doing this long before.

  144. Kena
    October 9, 2013

    My six words:
    One people: united by our DNA

  145. Kena
    October 9, 2013

    I was born in Chile. I grew up being denied my Mapuche heritage because it was considered “less than” to be indigenous. When I was ten, my aunts decided that my hair was too straight and looked too “Indian” for me, and took me to get it permanently curled. When I arrived in the US, at 11, I found out that in the US, straight hair was considered “good” hair because it did not approximate Black hair. This was confusing for me — as it was that I now was considered a “poor thing” because I came from an “undeveloped” country. Even though my family had upper middle class status in my small town. I think those who say the US is the only country where race is such an issue are still living in a pretend dream. All over Latin America, people of African heritage and indigenous people are discriminated against every day. Some are even killed. Look at the banks: who runs them? who cleans them? There are ethnic cleansing stories going on all over the world. It serves none of us to cover the sky with our hands, as they say in Puerto Rico. The sooner we embrace this beautiful rainbow of people that we are becoming –AND own up to our prejudices — the sooner we become one people; united by our DNA.

  146. jason landry
    October 9, 2013

    my soul has no colour.

  147. Malee Holland
    October 9, 2013

    When I was a kid, there was a musical called “West Side Story” and a song by Cher called “Half Breed” and the underlying dilemma in both was the lack of diversity tolerance among “tribes” for intermingling. Times have change immensely, and although their is still a lot of xenophobia going on, its fear-power over cultures is weakening. I am a mutt, sure, and people usually get my origins totally wrong because of it. I think that’s great, to not be able to be pigeonholed on sight. 🙂

  148. Pedro
    October 8, 2013

    Race is more than an obsession in this country. It’s a psychological malformation. I too feel alienated by this country’s understanding of racer in every day life. The photographs are beautiful, though.

  149. Bonnie
    October 8, 2013

    When Someone asks me my race, I say…….. “I am an American.”

  150. yoshodi
    October 8, 2013

    Well in France where I currently live after being in the US for 20 years, there is no census or questionnaire based on race. This seems great and I think it is in theory. I always hated those stupid questionnaires in the US as I didn’t identify myself as African-American, I was purely African, Yoruba to be exact. I didn’t even have an American passport at the time. I thought the categories and options were ridiculous.

    But in France where these don’t exist don’t believe for a minute that people see themselves as unified under the French flag because that would be false. It simply allows them to say there are too many Algerians, blacks, etc collecting this or that when in fact they have no numbers to either support or refute their racists thinkings. Is it better to not know or acknowledge that we come from different heritages. All Africans are not the same either. In a country of 250 different languages and dialect our skins may be the same color but our cultures have subtle differences that have gotten blurred along the centuries. If you really had a questionnaire of who are you, we could really go on forever and ever.

    I am simply fascinated by the mixes that can occur. I will not lie and say that I don’t do a double take when I see a mixed couple regardless of their heritage, where one is dark and the other is lighter and the resulting children are not at all what I would have imagined in the past. I am probably even more fascinated because my child will be mixed with his French father who has some Spanish ancestry and he has no idea what else and myself being Yoruba and partly of a Cameroonian ethnic group whose name I don’t know but really need to look up. The Yoruba faction was always the dominant as it represented 3/4 of me. What else could be in there, is the genetic toss up that comes out when we have babies. Wonderful surprises and kaleidoscope could emerge and I think as we truly mix more and more the face of the world will change and eventually none of these counts will make much sense at all. May be the end of racism? Well most of us won’t be around to see that day but who knows.

    Think about this Tolkien was said to know 800 language and dialects (I think), and he was able to tell you where you were from based on your accent. What a fascinating game like Dr. Dolittle in My Fair Lady. Now today do you think he could be as accurate with these guesses. We are so much more mobile and I am thinking it will be the same with facial features. Someone will not be able to come up to my son and say you are Yoruba, right? Like they have done with me.

    That’s my two cents.

  151. Natasha
    October 8, 2013

    Six words- “You’re too black to be Latin@”

  152. Iris O’Grady
    October 7, 2013

    Very beautiful pictures. Some of these people have the most amazing eyes. I do not think that race is something that should be classified or mandatory to fill out anywhere. People are people.

  153. Celina
    October 7, 2013

    Um…John’s comment about three races is based on very antiquated notions of race and human diversity. modern science overwhelmingly supports the idea that race is not a biological entity but a social construct. there is NO GENE for race; but nonetheless, we continue to place people in more or less arbitrary racial categories and as a result there are real differences in how people assigned to different racial categories experience the world.

  154. Tiffany
    October 7, 2013

    I’m a glow-in-the-dark American (i.e. my skin pigmentation is white) who is what my family has always lovingly referred to as an American mutt or Heinz57 mix of European nationalities (aka.. German, English, Danish, Czech, French, etc). My other half refers to himself as black. We have a beautiful daughter together. I see us all as Americans… and as humans. I’m raising my child and any future children we may be blessed with that they are not their appearance. Yes, be proud of everything that makes you unique, but don’t dwell on being cornered into a category.

  155. Bibiana
    October 7, 2013

    Today science has proved there is one race,the human race. I think a better term would be what culture you identify with. If you are lucky you have been exposed to more than one and can identify with more than one. I was born in the USA raised by parents of Spanish ancestry. For those that are geographically challenged ,Spain is in Europe and I am Caucasian. I identify with the Latin culture. It is about the culture you are raised in.

  156. Jan
    October 7, 2013

    I am Native American, specifically Navajo. Though a smidge of French and Spanish may run thru my blood, I claim only Native American, but nice to know I am of these other bloodlines. I have raised my family with their native American heritage and continue on with my grandchildren.

  157. Jeanie
    October 7, 2013

    My father was Engish/Scotch ancestry and my biological mother is from Germany. My biological father, who is Filipino, I did not know of until I was 16. I was born in the late 1950’s in Georgia, so the question “What are you” was something I had to get used to. It has taken years for me to feel good in my skin. Even now at my age, the rare comments such as “you only claim your asian roots when it is convenient”, or “you are white-you were raised white”, sting at a different level. We need to respect others, and their journey, seeing the beauty of the soul inside the skin. Our govt will continue down their path, so we must make the change by example. I currently check: White and Asian on the census, maybe I will write human the next time.

  158. gina
    October 7, 2013

    In 1987 I had a Puerto Rican/Black student in Chicago who was walking down the street with her blue eyed, straight haired blonde 9 mt old baby. The police didn’t believe the chld was hers and took him from her. She didn’t have any family and lived with her boyfriend’s family who weren’t at home. She was arrested for possibly stealing someone’s child and the baby went to foster care for 3 days. She called the school and the principal had to go straightened it out. She went thru the whole terror of a police photo and finger printing.

  159. Ann
    October 7, 2013

    Back when I was in grade school in the 1970’s, white kids always asked other white kids what they “were.” Everyone wanted to have some claim to a specific heritage. Merely being of mixed European descent was simply not special enough. Everyone wanted to be at least half something. My family trained me to say that I’m “English, Dutch, Scotch [sic], Irish, German, and Cherokee.” My paternal grandmother was half Polish. At the end of the day, I don’t know what I am. I’m merely white American. I’m culturally merely American. I have no claim to any heritage, as far as I can tell. I think that’s why these conversations are fascinating to me.

  160. Jim Folonja
    October 7, 2013

    This article is very interesting. I’m a Black sub-saharan African, pure Bantu. Black Africans are the most widely variable group of humans genetically, Africans from the west coast completely differ from those from the east, Bantus, Nilotes etc are all variable genetically. They all look similar though. Black skin, kinky hair. My two cents.

  161. AlwaysElsa
    October 7, 2013

    Six words – Proud to be Filipino. Race:Human

  162. LH
    October 7, 2013

    Americans have a tendency to forget that other peoples and places are melting pots as well. Consider the green-eyed girl made famous (probably without her approval) on the NG cover. If you had only her picture to go on, would you immediately label her as Asian? Or Afghan? Irish? American?

  163. Erin
    October 6, 2013

    I just say……you are all beautiful. I am fully white and find my appearance boring and am envious of all the wonderful mixtures out there!

  164. Theresa
    October 6, 2013

    I grew up with a mon that had yellowish brown skin, freckles, and hazel eyes. Even though she consider herself a Black she would share with me her other ancesteries. She had Native American & Irish added in the mix. Other Blacks that did not know her would say, “She not Black. What is she?” She would also get ask that question. Natives at times, asume she was native. To me she was a beautiful lady inside and out.

  165. oli
    October 6, 2013

    If You Really Research D-N-A Gene Pool you will find that everybody has some of everythingYes black,white,red,yellow;some more than others;but we are all mixed( White Folk also have Neanderthal ) Don’t take my word for it get your D_N_A tested

  166. Vicki
    October 6, 2013

    I first became aware that I looked different from others when I was 6 years old and went to first grade. I’ll never forget the name that was I was called at school. I didn’t even know what it meant-I had to ask my mother. Throughout my life I have been asked if I was Asian and where I was from. My father was Caucasian-primarily English/German, but my mother was Native American, Scottish and English. It was hard growing up during the 1950s, especially in Eastern Oregon where anyone the slightest bit “different” in looks was not accepted. Now I am a mental health counselor, and am not asked my race so often. I check off two boxes or write in “mixed race” on any forms I have to fill out. In my job, I often see people who have had similar experiences, even today. My hope is that someday race/skin color/looks will no longer matter-as many have commented, we will love ourselves and be accepted as unique human beings.

  167. Bill C Pickford
    October 6, 2013

    I think the only reason for the categories on the census form are for for political reasons. They are there to aid politicians on subjects to include in their speeches. Also to avoid areas that the voters will disapprove thereof. On the other hand, it may have came about to be in one of the victim groups when it was necessary to be a victim to get into college in the 70’s. My daughters could not get in with a name like Pickford. My family from England always claimed to be of Saxon origin. I love to watch The Barbarians because they are my kind of people.

  168. Suzanne
    October 6, 2013

    I have two beautiful children who are mixed race/cultures/ethnicities. My husband and I instilled to be confident in themselves. We find it very humorous when people ask what they are or others insist they are hispanic because of their skin tone…which they are not. It is just as funny to us that when we are in public at the check-out lines, restaurants and even when flying that the service personal Never put us together as a couple. We get the biggest kick out of it. It is just natural curiosity. We are not sensitive at all. How are others suppose to learn and be comfortable if they can not ask questions. When I look at the pictures with this article of the beautiful people ,I want to know What they are made of!

  169. John Carter
    October 6, 2013

    Great topic, Being a African American (Black) man. I must say American has come far in race relations. There Black people are playing important roles in all sectors of society. Nearly all African American know we are of mix heritage. There is thousand of African Americans with blond hair and blue eyes. And yet these people will tell you they are Black. Blackness in America isn’t just a skin color, its a culture. Its knowing ones ancestor came to this country in slavery from Africa. We have been taught in those days to hate ourselves and be invisible. Yet the white slave masters and overseers waste no time sleeping with the slaves and selling of his own children like their were farm animals. There were things at in post slavery America light skinned Blacks were treated better than the dark skinned Blacks…….A silent but visible caste system. But we know we cant separate our darker mothers from her lighter sons or daughters and vicesa versa, and be true to ourselves. In the sixties the concept of Black is beauty came into being. Now our darkest brothers and sister are pointed to as being beautiful people. That concept the missing in Latin/ South America and Asia. If you look a Mexican, Brazilian, or Peruvian magazine or television. You would think your in Europe. Where are the indigenous people and people of African descent? Brazil has the largest population of people African descent second to Nigeria in the world. You might see a few soccer stars and some singers and that about it. Where are the politicians, Doctors, Lawyers etc, etc, etc….? If every thing you see that is beautiful and good is all White or European in the media and day to day life. What does that telI a person of African or Indigenous descent? Your not White (European) your not beautiful or good. You have no identity your invisible, If you deny yourself or your history then you are invisible. This is where USA is making head way. White Americans accepting and respecting the beauty of Blackness. We still have a way to go but we are moving forward.

  170. Floretta Machen
    October 6, 2013

    We are ONE.

  171. Marge Hofknecht
    October 6, 2013

    I consider myself a U.S. Citizen first and foremost. My ethnic background is Eastern European mainly and I would be categorized as caucasian. But I’m like everyone else: I’m an individual created in the image of God with talents and capabilities to be used here on this earth to bring glory to His name. I see myself as His precious child no matter the color of my skin and eyes and hair. And I see all other human beings in the same manner: precious souls created to bring glory to God wherever they live and in whatever circumstance in life they find themselves in. Praise Him!

  172. cloti
    October 6, 2013

    if all of us in the world peel out our skins, we’ll be red because the blood will run out and all will be the same color.

  173. BJ Nagele
    October 6, 2013

    I love all the beautiful faces in the pictures and I pray Imani gets her bone marrow transplant. My favorite phrase is “In the blood, not the face.” I would add ” In the heart, not the face.”

  174. Hospital worker
    October 6, 2013

    I work in a hospital and I am required in my job to ask “what race and ethnicity do you consider yourself to be”? I am instructed to inform patients that we are a research educational facility and there is current research that shows people of certain races respond differently to certain types of medical treatment.” It also helps determine how labs or testing are interpreted (which in turn determines medical treatment)

  175. Tomás Ó Briain
    October 6, 2013

    I grew up with discrimination and I learned to avoid it assidiously in my own life. My mother was shunned because of her ‘foreign’ origin. She never reciprocated in kind. Rather she ignored the slights and eventually the differences were forgotten. She taught me that there is only one race, the human one. I try earnestly to be a good and worthy member of it. If I ask you where you are from it is because I want to know where you are from so that I can appreciate the reason for our differences. I know that we, as a race, are stronger because of our diversity and enlarged gene pool. The world is better because of its variety and the mixture strengthens rather than weakens us.

  176. G
    October 6, 2013

    I’m the typical American mix of various European ethnicities (aka white) with a notable amount of Cherokee (documented, not just family lore). I tan well, and a couple summers ago when I got extra-dark I had people guessing I was Hawaiian, Dominican, and Cuban. Beyond all that, by the one drop rule I would be African. So what do I check? If the option presents itself I check Other and write in human.

  177. Hung Chau
    October 6, 2013

    Race and identity is a large subject to discuss about. I am just an average American though I was not born here in the US. In my opinion Diversity is a way of life. Without diversity we will all be dead. Look around us we will see all kind of animals, plants, and liquids. We are not the exceptional. Are we shape-shifter? I think in a sense we all are. From plants that transformed into animals, from animals to humans. And from Africa we migrated to the unknown world and through out the migrating process we transformed ourselves into different races. To me the world of diversity will remain until the earth come to an end. With that thought in mind I am just happy the way I am. And I see we are all human. So, I will let natural evolution taking its course.

  178. Texana Corbett
    October 6, 2013

    When I was a very little girl, in 1953, in central Texas, my father was an newly ordained Southern Baptist minister. He told me that racism would be beaten in my lifetime because people like him would be friendly and respectful with all people, and his children, like me, would grow up to love people of all races, and then our children would marry their children, and the races would mix up, and racial hatred would end. He didn’t make it as a preacher. (He became a computer scientist.)

  179. Mari Zeleznik
    October 6, 2013

    Isn’t it fantastic? We are coming together after our beginnings in East Africa thousands and thousands of years ago. Through DNA testing I found out about my parents’ origins since the beginning of time. I am so fascinated by the wonderful faces in your article. Race doesn’t separate us– culture does. I say be who you are, that’s what makes you beautiful. No one is “pure” anything; we are all beautiful combinations. Revel in it.

  180. Thomas Osborne
    October 6, 2013

    Lots and lots and lots of misconceptions being spoken of here. First, the concept of white Europeans being “the” slavers and the oppressors. Enslaving people began BEFORE Europeans ever even thought of it, and you might ponder who is still doing it now? (Do you even know that it is still being done now?) Another misconception is about the so-called “Native” Americans being the first people to live in North America. The “Native” Americans ALL invaded North America from somewhere else, and decimated the people who were here before them. Also, these “Native” American tribes fought bitterly and phenomenally cruelly among themselves, just like so many African tribes continue to do today (and as did native Caribbean tribes and South Pacific tribes (and you can even think of the “Long Ears” versus the “Short Ears” of Easter Island). Somehow America has managed to remain unified whereas all across the world it has been bloodily demonstrated that even the smallest distinguishing differences can drive people apart. Think of categories like “Sunni”, Shiite”, and Kurd” or “Tutsi” and “Hutu” or the various peoples of Bosnia or “Palestinian” and “Israeli”…the list could actually go on and on. How much of the world is NOT Switzerland, but is, instead, India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, or “Czech/Slovakia”, or even “French-speaking Quebec” vs “English-speaking Canada” where there constantly seems to be a separatist movement? I think those people who are so offended at people asking “what” they are should be thankful that their answer might generate a fascinating conversation about cultural heritage, instead of leading to their head then being cut off and used as a soccer ball (Iraq) or having their arms and legs cut off (Liberia, which was peopled by Africans who were RETURNED to Africa from America). So many mixed race people choose “Black” as their category not because of a pride of heritage, but because they know it gets them all sorts Affirmative Action benefits and it is the government that continues pushing and tracking these categories, not individual people. None of what I said should diminish the concept that we should not discriminate against these various aspects, which discrimination really is quite insane and at its core is quite meaningless, but to indicate that those who think it is “America” or “the whites” that is obsessed by this and not “them” living wherever else they do is to truly be in denial. Just like it was America that ENDED its slavery, it is also America that is working very hard and making progress on this issue.

  181. Ginny Bengston
    October 6, 2013

    First of all, it is refreshing to not see some of the rabid comments here that I have seen in other places. This article is truly fascinating and inspiring in its frank portrayal of humans who have mixed ethnicity, although it might have been better to use the term “ethnicity” rather than “race.” Much has been written about race and ethnicity. Ethnicity, I think, has a basis in genetics and when different ethnicities are mixed, as is shown in the article and photographs, has produced some truly beautiful faces. Race, on the other hand, is in the realm of social identity and cultural affiliation. It is unfortunate that race is often used to promote bigotry. It has been the direct cause of things like “ethnic cleansing” and subjugation of entire cultural groups. Personally, I don’t like being asked my ethnicity on census or other forms, either. I do understand the need to gather information to determine which ethnic groups are in the minority. Unfortunately, racism, or rather bigotry, is alive and well in the United States, as pointed out in a previous comment by K. Black. The US government’s response to this is to use the ethnicity information to pass legislation that will help some minority ethnic groups gain a small advantage in finding employment, getting small business opportunities, and the like. And so the questions about ethnicity are asked during the Census every ten years.

  182. Joyce
    October 6, 2013

    ONLY in the USA, do we have all those little check-boxes for age group, sex, nationality, race, and sometimes still, religion. WHY??? I believe it is because the government wants to keep track of everything. There’s a control obsession, I think. We are the only country in the world that has those check-boxes on job applications, welfare applications, bank loan applications, et c. Why can’t we just see people AS people? I am what I have called myself for years: a fence-walker or a child of God, depending on whom I am speaking with, or who is asking that idiotic question, “what are you?”. I won’t elaborate here, as to WHAT I am, because it doesn’t really matter. I am a good human being, and that’s all I have to be. It is humiliating to have to check those boxes. Not because I am ashamed, but because I feel that no one has the RIGHT to box me in, or to classify me, if they don’t know ME. Period. But, if we want to get that job, we HAVE to pick one. On some questions, there is a choice not to state what the answer is. THAT is also boxing a person in, in that it shows that the applicant isn’t sure or “may possibly be hiding something”. Just take those little check-boxes off, and we’ll all be much better-off! I know some will say that it’s for the government’s “budgetary reasons”. Come on. We’re not that stupid. And, I am not anti-government. I jsut thin k the government should come up to the 21st Century, and practice what our Constitution was written for. Not for control, but for equality and freedom.

  183. Tony
    October 6, 2013

    Portuguese, Italian, Jamaican, Jewish, Arabian, Persian….and it’s good to see us being “allowed” to represent all that God made us to be…FINALLY. At the end of the day though, we are One Blood….in Adam all die – in Messiah all live. One Love…

  184. rut
    October 6, 2013

    I am what I am and love it so. All those pictures I have seen are of beautiful people. Beauty belongs to the beholder. This is a beautiful world and so are all its creatures. Be yourself and be happy. Do not worry about what others think, those who discriminate are living in a dark world. And so are blind.

  185. Satya
    October 6, 2013

    Truly America! and The World!

  186. Jorge
    October 6, 2013

    OK all this discussion about race. I come from a multi-racial country so it’s not an issue for me. But don´t let diversity make you change those foundational values which made the US so great.

  187. Kent Salisbury
    October 6, 2013

    I was 50 years old before I learned I was a person of mixed race. It happened when I got my greatgrandfathers military records from National Archives and found out he was a buffalo soldier who was born in 1858 on a Tennessee plantation. He was called a ‘mulatto’ and it wasn’t until the 1910 census that he ‘passed over’ and changed his label to ‘white’. All of this information was denied to me by my ancestors, although I’m not sure they even knew, or were in denial. I honor the memory of my great grandfather and grieve because he felt he had to hide the facts of his past. My mission is to find as many of those facts as I can and to celebrate the diversity of my family.

  188. Allena
    October 6, 2013

    Race issues is one those things that I have maintained is relative to where you live. I am not of mixed race as far as I know. I am a Caribbean girl with parents from different islands and sometimes my red brown skin and the “latina shaped eyes” cause some to think I am. On my island being of mixed race is actually revered. I live on the island of Trinidad which is one of the most cosmopolitan of all the islands when it comes to race. Here mixed people are revered. Instead of edgewalkers as described in articles they kind of set the tone of raceless ness somewhat. They have carved out their own niche and in more ways than one represent everything that is glamorous and beautiful. In my 35 years I have never ever filled out a form where there was not multiple box options to check for race. No one asks what are you but people ask what you mixed with more out of fascination than judgement. And never ever has a child been teased or mistreated for being mixed race. That just does not happen in my country. Mixed race children, and many of my friends are, never feel the need to define themselves here too much. In fact they seem to revel in the ambiguity and enjoy the mystery of there exotic nature.

    So if could say one thing to a mixed race american I would say:
    Your frustrations with race and identity placed upon you by your environment is not the way life is, it is the way life is where you are. Embrace your difference. God is in the business of beauty and that is exactly what you are.

  189. Escocesrojo
    October 6, 2013

    Guy Murchie described human cousinhood accurately in his book “The Seven Mysteries of Life”:

    “And as cells metabolize and circulate in the body, so do bodies and their genes circulate throughout mankind, joining everyone to everyone at least once in fifty generations, so that not only does the ancestry of each of us include all fertile humanity of fifty generations ago, but our descendants fifty generations hence in turn will include every living being. If therefore your appetite disdains any kind of man, shake not your family tree. For its fruits appear in every color, in every stage of ripeness or rot, and its branches encompass the earth.”

  190. elaine
    October 6, 2013

    Red hair (Polish & Scot) green eyes (Welsh) Very White skin (Norway) and just had my DNA results that include Mongol. Very Cool. I think we should all as a people in one nation agree to check off the same box (I will check off any box the rest of the country decides) and let the census people live with the confusion. Serves our purposes for a change and not some government bean counter’s.

  191. R.J.
    October 6, 2013

    I think it is normal to be curious about where your ancestors are from, it is your story. Government keeps statistics. Different groups do different things with statistics. Every 10 years Houston publishes a map showing racial distributions. This can be compared to past maps to show how wonderfully multicultural Houston has become, or in the hands of evil those same stats can be used to redraw political districts. Similar stats prove that the poor live in toxic places and die younger. Stats are just tools, it is how they are used. They help us prove discrimination or bias. But stats can also be distorted and used for evil or simply wrong-headed reasons.

  192. T.P.
    October 6, 2013

    I guess what I’m thinking as I read much about the so-called “new” racial identities in America (I’m in the United States) is that they’re not really new. Americans have been mixing for generations. As each new immigrant came to this country, some crossed over. As blacks and native Americans very slowly began to have more freedom to live and interact openly (for there was always a quieter interaction that went on at a more local level, depending on where one lived), more interracial marriage and child-rearing occurred. It happened all the time, and we’re lying to ourselves when we act as though this is something so completely and totally different from the past.

    However, this desire for a “new racial realization” is understandable. Part of the problem is that the story of racial intermingling is overshadowed by the miscegenation issues of our antebellum, slave history—and thus makes nearly all the narratives about racial “crossover” very difficult to disentangle from that history, even when the people involved have nothing to do with that history (including white and black Americans living today). Also, to those who don’t understand why Americans make “such a big deal” out of race don’t understand is that while race may be in reality merely “biological” (and that’s also being contested and sorted out, by the way), the world wen ahead and created all sorts of social boundaries, very often detrimental to certain groups, based on race, and those restrictions have affected the happiness, wealth and even health of many, many people today. Race, in other words, has cumulative affects, just like gender/sex, just like language/religion. In fact, the others I just mentioned were recast in racial terms during the 18th and 19th centuries, so that for example, women were marked as “different” (read inferior) to men on the basis of an analogy to their having biological (immutable) characteristics—just like racial groups. This history is not just confined to western European and American ideas, either, though we certainly think of “race” using their models generally speaking.

    To finish, what people as individuals really fear is change. It can make the most open person become illogical and dangerous if this fear festers and grows. It’s not easy balancing acceptance of difference (which implies a boundary, right?) without making value judgments (which implies preferences, likes and dislikes). That’s the problem at its most basic, as I see it. Point is, the world has always been in flux and the kinds of classifications humans have used to differentiate themselves from one another are not inherently wrong per se. It’s how those differences get used. So while many of us are “tired of race”, it’s a very real phenomenon simply because it’s interwoven into the histories of people’s encounters with each other the world over. So it’s how the concept gets redefined that matters. Can there ever be a time when people can celebrate the unique aspects of their culture(s), both familial and group, without having to denigrate and demoralize someone else’s? That’s the question.

    (sorry for the length, and thanks)

  193. MimiB
    October 6, 2013

    I agree with Veronica. Ethnicity is self identified and ought to be kept separate from any notions of biological race. For example, in the article, “Hispanic” is identified as a genetically separate “race”. No, it’s not, not any more than Scandinavian is a “race” designation.

    I’ve always been bothered that on census and other government forms, it’s deemed useful to classify people by race. I believe the excuses and reasons given for gathering this information are deeply wrong and the practice should be stopped, as it perpetuates racial profiling and targeting. We really need to stop trying to put people into skin color pigeonholes if we ever hope to move beyond our troublesome racist history.

  194. Veronica
    October 4, 2013

    I would like to point out that “race” is a political term not as John below pointed out. Ethnicity is a self declaration and more accurate way of describing onself i.e white/black/latin. Negroid Mongoloid and Caucasoid have been dis-proven and we know that no genetic differences occur – race is not biological. Phenotypical genes are the bulk of what has passed down making people believe race is biological. “Racial” differences occur due to environmental adaptations which yes can be biologically passed down, but again that is in the phenome. Having said that I would say that yes as a multiracial person in America I am angry at the ongoing “what are you, no-but really where were you born? No but like what nationality” because it creates a sense that I will never be American. To echo what was said earlier by Latin Americans they are actually more diverse than the US and race is not a box to check off. Hopefully as we stop obsessing as a society we can stop having to fill in a fictional category that was designed purely for political purposes to distinguish “lesser” people (may I add in fairly recent history). Just some thoughts from multi-ethnic person who lives it and studies it 🙂

  195. Jamie
    October 3, 2013

    We won’t truly be “color blind” until we stop asking “what color are you?”

  196. K. Black
    October 2, 2013

    I’ve seen so many people in the comments say that they don’t understand America’s fixation of race and color. Let me tell you, I’m American and I don’t understand America’s fixation on race and color. I know my own heritage is mixed. Pretty much anyone who lives in the U.S. is of mixed heritage and to even condense the vast amount of European heritage into a single category, white, is reprehensible to me. Typically if someone asks me what race I am, I tell them, “I’m American, so pretty much a mutt.” I say it jokingly, but it’s true. The whole idea of “pure-bred” human race is such an outdated concept and I view it with disdain because it reminds me too much of the Jewish and Japanese prosecution during WWII and enslavement of people simple based upon their skin color. There is still discrimination based on heritage and how some people look in our society today. Too many people who look Middle-Eastern are condemned for being Muslim or terrorists, even if they are not Muslim or even Middle-Eastern. In fact, Miss America, who was born and raised in New York and is of Indian heritage, was called a Muslim and a terrorist after she won the pageant. I don’t typically follow Miss America, but when people started tweeting idiotic, racist comments like that it got me up in arms about how ignorance is taking over our society. I’m still convinced that our president, Barack Obama, faces such opposition because of his perceived “race” and/or lack of whiteness, because he looks different than all our past presidents. I love my country, but I believe that how Americans portray themselves outwardly is embarrassing for those of us who do NOT feel that way. I apologize to all those who feel they have to hide their heritage because of stupid people in this country who can’t even remember what it was like to be persecuted. I know religion is quite different from race, but the discrimination races and religions which are not in the majority are quite similar. The fear is there, and like you said about those who have to harden themselves because of the questions they receive which should never have been asked in the first place, it makes you more prepared to deal with people who ask those questions. Sometimes they aren’t very polite about it either. It makes you more confident about yourself and proud of your background once you come to terms with it and stop fearing others reactions. I wish I had such confidence.

  197. Monica
    September 30, 2013

    Seems to me if we (as a culture and society – especially in the United States) STOP asking the question, “what race are you?” (in essence trying to fit people into neat little boxes like the census) and focus on everyone being HUMAN the issue of what complexion you happen to be becomes a non-issue. I am Black/White race & German and
    African by descent. At 48 years old I have seen LOTS of tides come and go, one however that remains is the confusion of color or race to nationality. I am curious to see if you have completed any research or stats regarding these same concepts or ideas in other regions of the world? Are the same issues of race mixture prevelant in Europe? Or does it simply become an issue of French vs German no matter what the color? The US is FIXATED on skin and skin color….someting for a nation to recognize and move on as there are more and more races mixing. Thanks

  198. Valerie
    September 29, 2013

    Gotta get this edition! Intriguing and finally maybe an honest conversation!

  199. Sue-Ann
    September 28, 2013

    Being mixed ROCKS 🙂 (momma’s portuguese, daddy’s half black half east indian)

  200. Tina
    September 27, 2013

    My maternal grandmother was Icelandic. My maternal grandparent was Native American. My paternal grandmother was Native American and grandfather was Dutch. My children’s father is black American. I will be sure that all three read this article and add their six words. I however, am just one really proud mom of an amazing little of kiddos that I was so fortunate to be blessed with. Great article!

  201. Ken
    September 27, 2013

    Since we are all the same specie of homonoid, we should join races and and end the evolutionary path. In a day and age where an Eskimo can meet a Sub-Saharain face to face, natural selection is thrown out the window with the modern human race.

  202. Minah
    September 26, 2013

    It’s funny on how this is exactly what my college essay is about. I am a Pakistani with Austrian and English roots living in an Asian dominant community in New Jersey. However, I cannot check off any boxes aside from “White” nowadays since Middle Eastern has been lumped into that crowd. We are all unique and diverse in our own ways, and a check in a box should not define who we are

  203. George
    September 26, 2013

    @John –comparing “races” to dog breeds.
    I think we should know our own human race as one living, unified species Homo sapiens, entirely intra-fertile. Plato (c400 BC) theorized science should “carve nature at its joints.” In our human race’s case though, people imagined “joints” which simply aren’t there, and they drew ill-fitting, arbitrary “color lines” that just happened to map the slavery and imperialism rackets that they had going on at the time. (Sure, they compared their neighbors to dog breeds.) There is no scientific reason to split our seamless, lovely skin-color shades beautifying our species on any arbitrary line and call it “different” from the rest –which is all that claiming “different race” (as “any black blood”) means. One human race is plenty for describing every one of our millions of human racial features or “alleles.” And Science simply cannot define two “different” human races –not in any scientifically justified, meaningful use of the adjective “different” in Plato’s “joints” sense –not for a lineage as we who are fully intra-fertile among ourselves. (Simply; any human, one man & woman couple, can marry and produce normal kids. Nothing tops that “nature at its joints”!)

  204. A.C.
    September 26, 2013

    Renee– Many of us who identify as multiracial are not trying to be “anything but Black”. I have done more research on and am probably more educated about the Black experience in America than people who identify monoracially as Black. (And no, it is NOT my field of study– it is a part of who I am, so I want to know as much as I can about it.) I am just as proud of my African heritage as I am the rest, and when forced to choose, I am “Black”.

    But the point is, why should I have to? Is my Scottish great-grandfather any less important in making me who I am than his wife, my African American great-grandmother? No, nor is she any less important in making me who I am than he was. I choose to acknowledge and honor them (as well as my Shawnee, Cherokee, Irish, British, Portuguese, and yes, African from parts unknown) with equal reverence.

  205. A.C.
    September 26, 2013

    Left out in conversations such as these are people like me who are the result of generations of interracial relationships. We are the truly multiracial, yet we are expected to identify only one way and face scrutiny above and beyond the immediately biracial when we embrace all of our heritages.

    I am the face of America, too, and my legacy is just as legitimate as (and perhaps even more “American” than) those who are monoracial and immediately biracial.

  206. D.S.
    September 26, 2013

    I am happy to see this article! I have light skin and green eyes of my majority Scottish ancestors, but my grandfather is Native American. My husband is from India, pure Dravidian people who have lived there since the beginning of time. My children have quite a heritage. My youngest has an Indian name that means “has deep roots.”

  207. Alessandra
    September 25, 2013

    I find the obsession and volubility of Americans toward identifying theirs and others races and descendant incredibly sad.
    I was born, raised and all the rest in Italy and I know live in the US and the amount of people walking up to me claiming to be “Italian” is surreal. The same people who also happen to be Irish or Native or whatever, at times it changes like the seasons and fashion.
    Rather than fret and sweat to find even more ways to categorize and therefore divide ourselves, can’t we all just take a big breath and check the census box *none of the above*, *none of your business* or simply *human*?

  208. Nora
    September 24, 2013

    I can see why Erica Shindler Fuller Briggs is frustrated by being asked “what are you?” and I agree that the phrasing of the question is insensitive, and she has the right to respond however she wants. But I think she’s missing an opportunity to share her story and educate people. I think most people find it interesting to learn about other people’s backgrounds, and I think that curiosity can be viewed positively instead of negatively. If people are open to learning about something, why not take the opportunity to teach?

  209. Joyce
    September 24, 2013

    I am “full chinese”. I would say this is a common problem with “ABC”s (American Born Chinese) that in the US, I’d have to identify with Chinese, but totally not like those stereotypical Tiger Mom raised kid… and in China, I am still a sore thumb in a mass of people who
    “look like me”.

  210. Anne
    September 24, 2013

    There’s only one box that needs to be checked….”beautiful.” Every person featured in this article is incredibly gorgeous, inside and out. I’m thankful to be able to live in a time when such beautiful combinations grace the world.

  211. Eduardo
    September 23, 2013

    Thank you, Willow! You are on point.

  212. Patricia
    September 23, 2013

    Since when has this country been black and white?

    I’m Anishinaabe (Native American) and white. I’ve lived my whole life straddling two cultures with light brown skin. I’m not alone

    You are making distinctions to separate. Who is white, black, multi-racial

    In my culture we are all related, its a simple concept. One that I have learned to live by.

    I don’t judge people, I’ve learned to accept them where ever they are in their lives.

    and live my life with intention

  213. viviana
    September 23, 2013

    six words: “there’s NO WAY you’re Puerto Rican”

  214. Peter Roberts
    September 23, 2013

    I am a Scot, sharing daily life with foreigners (they, and me, all are) in the Basque Country in Spain.
    It’s nice to see we are all becoming people.

  215. AD Powell
    September 22, 2013

    I’m really sick of professional alleged anti-racists who claim that all whites are “pure” and everyone else should be forced into non-white identities. “White” is far more multiracial than “black.” Let’s celebrate multiracial whiteness.



  216. Tuline Malecki
    September 22, 2013

    With a Polish father born and raised in England, and an Indian mother born and raised in Malawi, I am quite mixed up. I was born in Egypt, given a Turkish first name and raised in Saudi Arabia, Malawi and England. I am currently living in Dubai, and I am constantly asked where I come from. This has to be the most annoying question for me. Ever. I get so bored of it that now I just make stuff up. Why do people even care?

  217. Simone
    September 22, 2013

    Thank you for this. The whole concept of race, ethnicity, culture, identity, and the ‘other’ is fascinating to me. I’ve only scratched the surface.

    It plays such a huge part of how we interact, how we relate to each other, how we treat each other, and why we fear each other.

    I apologize for insulting mixed-race people by asking “What are you?” It shouldn’t matter; I don’t know why we always need to know.

  218. Jani
    September 21, 2013

    It has always bothered me to have to identify Race on an application, as I thought this was the United States. As long as we have to identify ourselves as separate, so shall we remain. We are one children under God, where he saw fit to create many colors, shapes and sizes. It is a human flaw in some to not see what is beautiful in us all. When asked I say I’m a rainbow 🙂

  219. Ferdinand van Dieten
    September 21, 2013

    The US “melting pot” seems to have failed to found a 21-century concept of identity. The Us still lingers in the 19th century Phrenology and race ideas, even confused with geographical descent. Unfortunataly it is worse than ideas, segregation is stil going strong as I experienced in New York City.

  220. Nancy McCann
    September 20, 2013

    I tell people I am the result of the melting pot of America. I am German, Scottish, Irish, English and Dutch. In otherwords, I’m American.

  221. Wayne Jones
    September 20, 2013

    Thank you, National Geographic, for showing just how beautiful the complexity of “multiracial” identity can be. By bridging categories, we show that the categories themselves make no sense. I am English, Irish, Welsh, French, and Spanish, among other things. Half of my family grew up speaking Acadian French, the other half was “Anglo.” I don’t have a French “side” and an Anglo “side,” nor do my children (whose mother is black) have a black “side” and a white “side.”
    We are all a unified whole made up from a disparate multitude.

  222. Edna
    September 20, 2013

    Thank you for these Image’s.

  223. Edna
    September 20, 2013

    When you see the faces of your not born children, all the what if’s presented as one. Heartbreak unravels. Tears roll down my face as my imagination wanders into this empty womb.

  224. jorge ravassi
    September 20, 2013

    American obsession with race or origins of people simply means RACISM. Yes, even you like or not you are a racist country

  225. Lauren
    September 20, 2013

    To me it’s not about race, it’s about culture. I am 1/4 Japanese, and don’t look the least bit Asian (though my brother does). I grew up in America, but with my mom growing up in Japan, she passed down the culture. I was raised practicing Japanese traditions, eating the foods, watching the movies, learning the language. I feel more Japanese than American in some ways. I used to wish I looked at least a tiny bit Asian so I could have some visual hint of the race I so identified with. I’m also a mixture of other backgrounds including Irish, German and English. My 6 words about race? “In my blood, not my face.” It’s about how we identify ourselves inside, not how we look that identifies us.

  226. Suzumiya
    September 19, 2013

    My mother is Nicaraguan and my father is white. However, I don’t really look much like a “hybrid” because my father is Dutch. The Dutch can either have a light complextion, or a dark one, and my father has a dark one. (I know I spelled complextion wrong). And so do I. I belong to many nationalities, but the majority of them are on my father’s side. (By the way, my name is a pseudonym.)

  227. C. Baines
    September 19, 2013

    That Julie Weiss is pretty cute 😉

  228. Damian Rinaldi
    September 19, 2013

    I always answer “human” when asked what my race is. It’s infuriating when the people on the other end of the question refuse to accept it. Keeps the survey phone calls short though…

  229. Willow
    September 19, 2013

    In regards to John’s comment:

    Race is NOT biological and is best described as a social construct for a multitude of reasons. You are basing your notions of race on very outdated and harmful modes of thinking. How we in American view race is based on ideas rooted in eurocentrism and the scientific revolution/enlightenment era. The ideas and concepts surrounding race have changed greatly just since the 17th century and do not follow a trajectory consistent with scientific and biological understanding. Races of people are not at all like dog breeds for a whole slew of reasons, one being that breeds of dogs are much more biologically and genetically variant than humans. Notions of what is white and black change over time. Before the industrial revolution and mass migration to the US, Irish people were not seen as white in most of europe. As was mentioned earlier, the OMB, which is over teh census, even says that the categories are for determining socio-political groups, not biological or physical anthropoligical.

  230. Fred Bruno
    September 19, 2013


  231. Charlie Young
    September 19, 2013

    I am Native Amercian,German,Scot,Irish,and God knows what else,,Ny simple take if you are born here you are Amercian,if you were born some where else and have citizenship here you are Amercian,I dont give race much of a thought, people are the same what ever blood runs in them it’s all red.

  232. Cecilia
    September 19, 2013

    I have no idea how I will be classified in this census if I lived in USA…

  233. Nicole
    September 19, 2013

    I am from Trinidad and I am Chinese, Indian and African with a little bit of Spanish in there as well. In my country there are a lot of people mixed up like me but it’s not a big deal. I’m not saying that race is not an issue here, but mixed people are so very common, that most don’t bother trying to fit into a category.

  234. J Mcewen
    September 19, 2013

    My wife who is half Hungarian and half English ancestry has had Italians angry because they thouhjt she should speak Italian and Black ladies calling her sister talking about those white folks. shows what a tan can do for racial profiling.

  235. Ian
    September 19, 2013

    What’s really confusing is our ignoring the particular attributes of each culture because we’re afraid of stepping out of bounds racially. Granted this is based upon the unfortunate past in that everyone is now generalized together as one big whole (everybody is one) to avoid being racially sensitive. But the fact is, we ARE different. Beautifully so. We just haven’t distanced ourselves from our discriminative past to publicly acknowledge this.

  236. Kate Ryan
    September 19, 2013

    Can I say I wish I were more exotic? Ultimately, we are all related, all human beings. Appearances are interesting but what is happening at the soul level is what is important. Either we feel connected or separate. Humanity and humane behaviour is going to ensure the entire planet survives as we would like it to. Otherwise we feed a culture based on death – of division, hatred, apathy and superiority over species and the ecological processes of Earth. The planet will survive without us. Let’s get it right and start with acceptance and reverence of each other and the natural environment.
    Today doesn’t look too good; what is tomorrow’s price?

    September 19, 2013

    Nice photography

  238. Diamond Clement
    September 19, 2013

    im half black and half phlipino. my fathers mother was philipino and my fathers father was black which made my dad half black and half philipino. he met my mom who is black. i guess that makes me 25% phlipino. but in school as a small child in in 2nd or 4th grade i used to get asked if i was white or half white by the kids in the same class as me because i was so light. i used to get a little angry but as i got older i asked my grandmother what am i really and she said a nigga, negro black and in my mind i wanted to ask my grandmother why shouldnt i say im mixed since my dad was mixed with philipino and black wich makes me half philipino and black. but i didnt ask i just was cunfused. but know that im older i just call my self black but if someone came up to me and asked me what i was i would tell them that i was black and philipino but on the out side i kida look like a hispanic i got strait asain hair when its cut. when my hair starts to grow out it gets wavey. when it gets wet it gets curly. i have brown eyes instead of dark brow eyes like the rest of my family

  239. Dale
    September 19, 2013

    I agree with John. Only close minded people try to put a color or race name to a person out of fear of the unknown. When people stop living in fear and start looking at a persons character maybe then the race-naming will cease. Oh, by the way I am Indian/Black and my kids are Black, Mexican/Indian. Just in case!

  240. Tom G.
    September 18, 2013

    your ancestors decided it was a good move to exterminate an animal species to exterminate an entire race… and people only talk about how awful the Holocaust was.
    to me that says it all.
    or the fact that the mexicans who are descendents of tribes from Central America are now being called illegal aliens… it’s just sad.

  241. Tom G.
    September 18, 2013

    Someone asked why US is so focused on racial issues. To me it’s quite simple, the true North Americans were persecuted and exterminated by the millions. The rest are people from all over the World who went to the US for the promise of opportunity if you worked hard enough.
    So far so good, the problem is that since the beggining Americans tried to control immigrant populations for fear of losing something to them (jobs, money, power, land, etc) and tried to control it’s population for personal gain. That’s what they did with mexicans and other natives from Central and South America, and blacks. On top of that, you always had national pride issues between Italians, Irish, Chinese, etc for the same reasons as i said above. (fear of losing money, power, jobs…)
    What is ironic is that you’re the only country who shouldn’t be racist since the only true native americans are not, which are the native american indians.
    Rest assured, racial problems are not confined to the US… unfortunately people haven’t realized we are citizens of the Earth and it shouldn’t matter where you’re from, only what in you is a reflex of where you’re from..

  242. Mixed Marrow
    September 18, 2013

    THANK YOU NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC for including a story about Multiracial/Mixed people and many thanks for including patient, Imani as one of your subjects.

    Imani is one of many searching patients in need of a bone marrow match. Her match will most likely come from someone genetically similar to her, but it is not impossible that someone of a different race can save her life so ALL people please consider being a donor and registering! Visit us online at MixedMarrow(dot)org or email us at donate(at)mixedmarrow(dot)org


  243. Janet Madison
    September 18, 2013

    Everybody is now brown. I am white, European/American

  244. Sandra Sively
    September 18, 2013

    I had my DNA tested. Results: Mediterranean, 36%; Northern European, 24%; Native American, 21%; Southwest Asian, 12%; Sub-Saharan African, 4%. Which box do I check?

  245. Ateviel
    September 18, 2013

    Interesting article. Indeed, we are all more or less distant cousins, one big family of Homo Sapiens. Respect to John and his excellent comment.

  246. Katherine
    September 18, 2013

    Finally I learned to accept myself.

  247. Pilar
    September 17, 2013

    I liked the comments and the article. But to address several people from other countries wondering why we are so concerned with race here or why that would be included on a census allow me to attempt a rational. In most countries around the world there is a seriously predominant race in that country. e.g. japan is japanese, china has chinese, etc. But in America we have everybody from everywhere. There are sooo many nationalities, not races, but nationalities here that we collect information on how many of each group we have and call it race on the census.

  248. Tonia
    September 17, 2013

    My eyes give it away. Otherwise, I am a classic Midwest mutt- English, Irish, German and Scottish. A Midwestern mutt with Asian eyes from ancestors that crossed the Bering straight thousands of years ago and became the first Americans. Maybe it’s because people see me as white, but I’ve always thought of all those different nationalities and the crazy characters that contributed to creating me as a blessing. It makes me more interesting. And when I meet another ethnic hybrid, I never ask them, “what they are,” but I have been known to ask where their grandparents were from. Not because I need to fit them into a check box, but because it’s interesting.

  249. John
    September 17, 2013

    I would just like to point out a few inaccuracies with the article, even while I do commend it. Firstly, race is purely physical distinctions among different groups of people brought about by significant isolation of their gene pool. As such, Hispanic is not at all remotely considerable as a race. They are either of single race origin or a combination of multiple races. There are only three “major races” in the world: Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid. Or White, Black, and Asian. There are a number of subgroups among these that can be determined as well. But race is a biological term, and much better used as such, rather than as a social concept. Think of what race is for people being what breed is for dogs. Simply arbitrary physical differences. Nothing more. Or at least it shouldn’t be. In essence, unless you are interested in scientific classification, don’t concern yourself with race any more than you would the differences between the breeds of dog.

  250. Eduardo
    September 17, 2013

    I’m from Mexico and I have always trouble understanding American obsession with race and ethnicity.

  251. teresa
    September 17, 2013

    I’m Argentine. Why race is so important in USA? Why there is a space in census for the race? Argentine is also a multiracial country and nobody even dare to ask you to put your race in any form. Besides, the word hispanic is used in USA to refer to Latin Americans, both Spanish descendants and aboriginal descendants enclosing them as the same race.

  252. Elizabeth in California
    September 17, 2013

    Census and employment forms offer political categorizations

  253. Siobhra DeWar
    September 17, 2013

    As a White of Irish-American descent I have always felt sorry for those who can’t point to one line from one race and one ancestry as theirs. I know the joy I have gotten as knowing I come from a long line of Irish. I think now I will have to think maybe they need to feel sorry for me that I am limited to just Irish and American.

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