NPR

'Racial Impostor Syndrome': Here Are Your Stories

We got more than 100 letters from our listeners about how y'all feel like fakes. Here are some of our favorites.
"Racial impostor syndrome" is definitely a thing for many people. Shereen and Gene hear from biracial and multi-ethnic listeners who connect with feeling "fake" or inauthentic in some part of their racial or ethnic heritage. Source: Kristen Uroda for NPR

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

In this week's podcast, we go deep into what we're calling Racial Impostor Syndrome — the feeling, the science and a giant festival this weekend in Los Angeles that's, in some ways, all about this.

Here's how we got started down this track. A couple months ago, listener Kristina Ogilvie wrote in to tell us that "living at the intersection of different identities and cultures

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia claim Iran is behind the attack. Iran denies involvement. Here's what the physical evidence shows.
NPR6 min read
Constructing Jazz Inside Fine Art, And Vice-Versa
The jazz pianist has pulled the curtain off his polymathic abilities, bringing his fine art exhibition — which includes video, installations and performance — home to New York.
NPR5 min readSociety
Russian Lab Explosion Raises Question: Should Smallpox Virus Be Kept Or Destroyed?
The lab is one of two known places that store live samples of the virus that causes the disease. Scientists use them for research. But there is concern about accidental or intentional release.