While I can “pass” for white, I am far from it. You can’t tell by looking at me that my ethnicity is predominantly Mexican and Korean. The “whiteness” is assumed by merit of inheriting my mother’s ivory skin. I make jokes about it, but there’s a whole world of pain surrounding this. It’s surprising the terrible things people have said to my face before realizing I’m not white, or worse, after they knew. But what can a child say in the face of such ignorance? I’ve carried that pain over the years and tried to turn it into something beautiful: the characters I paint in my books are often deliberately ethnically ambiguous. Children search for representations of themselves in books, and I feel like I’ve been painting for my childhood self for years.