Paul Meyer, Chicago, IL. I am a bigot toward bigots. My so-called best friend in third grade gives me, a Jew, a Nazi ring saying, “my father wants you to have this.” My fiancé when I’m 33 hurls slurs toward hispanics. Others throughout my life condemn my race or other peoples’ races. I just disown […]
Alison Bailey, Bloomington, IL. Yes. I’ve been able to find out who my 3d greatgrandmother is until recently. She was the bastard child of Joseph C. Van Mater, or “Big Joe,” as he was called. The Van Mater family were early settlers in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Big Joe was the largest slave holder north […]
Jana French Chicago, IL Craving honest conversations about race in America. Must get over white baby boomer guilt and talk frankly about what unites and what separates us. I have faith in GenX.
Rahul Iyer, Mesa , AZ. I graduated high school from Dixon IL, a small town halfway between Rockford and Moline, in the Northwestern part of Illinois. Dixon IL is a small town, and boyhood home of former President Ronald “Dutch” Reagan. Cornfields surrounded the town. I am the son of two medical doctors who practiced […]
Azeem Raheem Chicago, IL Happened about a week after 9/11 as I was headed home from school on a Chicago train.
Rob Daniels, Bolingbrook, IL. I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago at a time when our community worked extra hard to be racially and ethnically diverse on purpose. Our small community was also nationally recognized for its racial diversity. I recall thinking that it was so incredible to be around so many different […]
Ava, Westchester, IL. Here is my Anatomy Class during spirit week!
Betty Lindsey, South Holland, IL. All of us humans know it…that there is little that’s different about us… but we let skin color, demographic, etc., get in the way of us really getting to know and love each other.
Brenda Ward, Schaumburg, IL. The color of our skin has nothing to do with who we are. It is where we live, who raises us, our family traditions, our geography. We try to peg the differences on color because it is easier to see and understand and our lack of interest in exploring and appreciating […]
Katriel Hampton-King, Chicago, IL.
Diana Martinez, Chicago, IL. I’m both Hispanic and Middle Eastern, but I guess my skin tone never did quite match up to people’s expectations.
Owen O’Riordan Chicago, IL Mom lived between Ireland and US growing up. She spoke like the Irish in Ireland and then changed to Midwestern in America. My parents moved to Chicago in the 80s and surrounded themselves with other Irish people and my mom now sounds American but my dad sounds like he just stepped […]
Peter M. Crowley, Martinez, USA. The son of a disabled, white American Anthropologist from Peoria, IL and a dark skinned Trinidadian East Indian Headmistress, I learned at an early age about race, ethnicity, and identity. It has always fascinated me that given the United States own identity as a melting pot, that so many Americans […]
Desiree Carlson, Elmhurst, IL. Both my mother and I grew up in white culture even though we are both from ‘Hispanic’ descent. But because we do not look white, we weren’t accepted into that culture even though we were raised in it. The same vice versa. We were born Latina, but we weren’t raised in […]
Francis Skony, Chicago, IL. Being an almost 40 year old man from Chicago, I’ve always grown up with a melting pot of friends, acquaintances, co-workers. I do not judge anyone by their race – I will have an opinion based on how some present themselves to the world. If you have no respect and no […]
Gwyn, Chicago, IL. My Dad was born in Japan to a Caucasian Father and a Japanese mother. He moved to America with his father and siblings and unfortunately had to leave his mother behind. He no longer speaks Japanese, but he still holds his heritage very dear to him, placing various objects from Japan around […]
Amer Husseini Oak Brook, IL After September 11, 2011. There was a lot of pressure to change my name during that time , Saddam Hussein, was the villain , and my name resemble his.
Anne Tobin, Normal, IL. Ever since I was thirteen, I’ve had to deal with the flack of my hair color. After South Park aired their “Ginger” episode, I hear ginger jokes every day at least once. When I enter a room or when I try and talk. “Shut up, Ginger.” “No one cares ’cause you’re […]
Seema, Chicago, IL. Women already have identity issues because of an extreme and over-sexed image of women in Hollywood. Additionally, women of color are marginalized because of their under-representation in TV, movies, magazines and advertising. As an Asian-American woman, I see very few Asian men and women and when I do see them, we are […]
Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.
Tarnaei Carter, Chicago, IL. I am light skinned and people may think I’m not only black because I’m light skinned so I identify as black.
Morgan Cannata St. Charles, IL I want to experience something different. I have never known what it feels like to be the minority for an extended period of time. It would be a learning experience.
Jewell Chicago, Il Someone asked me how I knew what endorphins are…my response was; I read books and graduated from college too. Someone else stated to me, “well you have really traveled haven’t you”. AMAZING, to think this kind of thinking is not more abated; in this day and age.
Nicholas Pencak, Chicago,, IL. From hailing a cab to asking for help from a stranger. The difference my presence makes when I’m with minority friends is inexcusable and wretched.
Becky White Feather Riney, Quincy, IL. I am Native American and Caucasian. I hate knowing that there are people out there that simply because of the color of a person’s skin means (to them) they think someone Black (African American) or any race OTHER THAN WHITE is less than or undeserving of their acceptance, love […]
Rob Moore, Oak Park, IL. I was raised in Southern California, born into a military family. I’ve lived most of my life in a white–or beige–bubble. Recently, because of an important and loving relationship, I’ve been thinking a lot more about race as it affects us today. Reading Claudia Rankine, Patricia Smith, many others who […]
Carl Williams, Chicago, IL. Though I love my city Chicago, racial issues persist. The “Blacklash” of President Obama’s election is real, palpable. At my age, 52, I’ve never felt like I must so vigorously defend myself for just being who I’ve always been, a Black man. I can no longer talk about race without being […]
Ann Sz Aurora, IL Check out the realities of race, in an article like http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v36/n11s/full/ng1454.html – it describes race as a “weak surrogate” for a variety of genetic and non-genetic factors, from the perspective of medicine and genetics. Or this from distinguished anthropologist Alan R. Templeton: http://www.realfuture.org/GIST/Readings/Templeton(1998).pdf – who finds no defensible biological evidence for […]
Mark Loup, Williams Bay, IL. This is one of the reasons I’m glad I left Chicago, one of the most segregated big cities in America. The tension just seems to overwhelm intentions. I live near the resort city of Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, and while I’m sure there’s plenty of racism here, there’s less tension. […]
Richard A. Cummings, Chicago, IL.
Tahani Tompkins, Chicago, IL. Black Dating in Chicago is foray in fuggary like no other. I’ve been cast down, used, and shamed for just being a brown woman that desired basic human respect from black men. Some friends and I decided to stop waiting, and hating,….. and crying and lying about this reality. We said […]
Zachary Trebellas, Batavia, IL. I think so much pain over race comes from the fact that it feels like we are being defined by others. The government pics the categories and we have to fill in the bubbles. Or other people look at us and decide what they think we are. It’s frustrating for me […]
Tony, Chicago, IL. I chose these six words because when it comes to race, it is like we are looking at each other through a semi-opaque window that shows an image without great detail. We use our own experiences and bias to fill out the missing detail.
Mansoor Qureshi, Waukegan, IL.
Leslie Williams Dundee, IL Being a baby boomer and a child of the 60s and 70s I wondered how I would ever explain racism to my children. Unfortunately, I didn’t have to.
Karl Maurer, New Lenox, IL. I love music. I particularly love American blues music, and am proud to serve on the board of The Blues Foundation, which is dedicatd to expanding the enjoyment and appreciation of blues music world-wide. What we love and enjoy is a big part of our identity. To the extent that […]
Francisco Jose’ Palomo Pratt, Oak Lawn, IL. I tried but failed to comment on a recacard. I’m a white Latino. I’m so white Mexicans won’t speak Spanish to me. My mother tans in the moonlight! But whenever I open my mouth to speak, all kinds of white people ask me where I’m from. I am […]
Tom Woodworth, Chicago, IL. I was never a bigot (I would like to claim), but a disturbing epiphany came when I realized my troubled personal relations were much my fault, due to my blaming it on “how those people are,” overgeneralizations I just had, just absorbed somehow, somewhere, and never been caused to question before.
Charles McCoy Owens, Chicago, IL. Throughout my life, both professional and private, white people who are friends have said to me that race doesn’t matter and that they see me as Charlie, a person just like everybody else. Interestingly though when I am the same age as their daughters or sisters and a friendship begins […]
Shagun Doshi, Naperville, IL. Coming from a predominately rich, white suburb, and not being rich and white has been an interesting experience. While there is a lot more diversity within my community compared to many others, there is still a lot of hostility. The divide between white and every other race is very prevalent; as […]
Rachel Settle, Gurnee, IL. I am a European American, but I have been shamed to think I’m not as good as everyone else because of my skin.
Anonymous, IL. Life is hard enough for everybody without guilting everybody for transgressions they had nothing to do with. My ancestors fought for the South, and they were poor white conscripts who starved to death in a prison camp. They didn’t care about race.
Ewa Konopka, Romeoville, IL. Look at this stunning couple. They see no color. THEY NEVER WILL. They see love, respect, honor, kindness, and goodness of each person. I wish the world would see through these kids eyes. The human race would be so much better of.
Bea Melnarowicz, Chicago, IL My daughter is bi-racial: her father is Spanish-French-Mexican, and I am Eastern European Caucasian. I am often told she looks ‘nothing’ like me, even jokingly by some of my friends. I am surprised each time I hear this considering the age and time we live in. The tone is rarely friendly, […]
Charles C. Chatman, Hanover Park, IL. As a black man, I feel that when I enter a room, I must explain my reason for being there. When I go to work, I have to explain every decision I make. When I show interest in things that are obscure or not typical of the preconceived black […]
Dulce Montes, Countryside, IL.
Sonyca Bermundo, Chicago, IL. I am an Asian born with really big eyes. It always frustrate me when people say, “All Asians have small eyes,” “You have big eyes for an Asian!” or “ Why are your eyes so big?” To be honest, I don’t understand why it’s a big shock to most people that […]
Alexis, Minooka, IL. I hate when not just other races say this about black girls, but African Americans alone say this to individuals. I think it’s a insult honestly because what are black girls supposed to look like? Not pretty? Others may see it as a compliment but in reality it’s not. Beauty comes in […]
Tom Lau, Chicago, IL. This is a Polaroid of the back of my mom and dad that I took few years ago.
Nayeli Lemus, Hodgkins, IL.
Simone, Chicago, IL. A lot of people say I look too white to be Native American. It’s tiring that my mom is full Cherokee while my dad was full blown Italian, all my other bothers came out darker than me and had brown eyes, I am the only girl int he family. As far as […]
Valeria Rios, Chicago, IL.
Julie McGovern, Elmhurst, IL.
Nayeli Villavicencio, Chicago, IL.
Karen Gephart Altschul, Vernon Hills, IL. I was five, the first time I can remember somebody asking me that question. “What are you? Chinese or something?” Huh? Um, what are you talking about? I’ve been asked this question, “what are you”, on the first day at a job. A girl from China asked me if […]
Linda Effinger Quinde, Chicago, IL.
Tracy Drake, Chicago, IL.
Kelli Watson, Chicago, IL. I grew up in a predominately white suburb in Chicago. We were the first black family to move to my block in 1987 and one of a handful in the school district. Around the age of 10 or so, I started to get this question over and over, “you talk white. […]
Lyonel LaGrone Jr, Urbana, IL. Over the last 17 years I have held a number of positions that have required me to give presentations on various topics across the United States. Often, when presenting to predominately White audiences someone will approach me after a presentation and offer up as a compliment, “You are very articulate.” […]
Gary Baldwin, Chicago, IL.
Austin Hackeloer, Antioch, IL. Just becasue I am white doesnt mean I owned slaves or that I hate people that are different.
Leah Lee (now Leah Durst-Lee), Chicago, IL. Keeping cultural heritage is very important to me, so when I married my husband, Sihyun Lee, I wanted our kids to have a Korean surname. Our first year and a half of marriage, I took my husband’s name and became ‘Leah Lee.’ It was awful! Almost everyone I […]
Danny Zapler, Mount Prospect, IL. In hindsight, it is clear she is black. I knew about black and white people, but I just never saw her in racial terms. She was just the girl I liked in 6th grade. I only realized I was dating a black girl when a teenage boy on my block […]
Brandi Green, Chicago, IL. I constantly am asked “what I am” or “are you mixed” Nope. I’m black and albino. 🙂 It’s a fascinating existence.
Mike McNamara Chicago, IL Especially in the non-winter months because he gets so dark. Growing up in Tucson, he was sometimes mistaken for Mexican, which makes sense when you look at him from afar. But only recently has he felt uncomfortable going home to visit his family based on that same mistake that people have […]
Laura Ann Lane, Chicago, IL. I was a paralegal at a large firm and the partners knew I was applying to law school. When a sicilian American partner found out that I was accepted to Northwestern University School of law he said, “The headlines will say, ‘Ghetto Girl Makes Good!” He meant that as a […]
Manny DeVera, Gurnee, IL. A couple of my friends and I (all Filipino) were in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge taking pictures when a white guy came up to us and said in HIS best impression of an Asian person ” You want me take picture” while making a camera motion with his […]
Jami Tatum, Carol Stream, IL. ‘Blexican’ became my new name when everyone found out I was mixed with black, Mexican AND white! Of course the people calling me blexican were my best friends but they didn’t understand how I felt because they are fully white. When they called me that it made me feel low […]
Enkhsolongo, Chicago, IL.
Clayton Kobilca, Chicago, IL.
Lynette Neal, Chicago, IL. Many times as a brown girl, it’s hard accepting that this skin we are in is no less than the fair skin someone else may posses. As a young darker complected woman it is important to see other brown women wearing their skin with confidence and a head held high not […]
Jenn M. Jackson, Chicago, IL. Every single day I am accused of “making things about race.” I’m told that I’m “looking for racism” in everything. I’m told I must lead a sad, angsty life since I can’t stop pulling the “race card.” I often get this feedback from Whites who feel uncomfortable when I note […]
Kelly Wickham, Springfield, IL. When I was born the white nurse told my mom that “mixed” wasn’t a category and she put “white” on my birth certificate, but my mother knew she’d be raising a child that the world would identify as black and she raised me as such.
Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.
Amelia Ketzle, Carbondale, IL. I was at a Halloween party no more than two years ago, hosted by a girl I had lost touch with recently, when some new arrivals showed up. Everyone had been having a harmless, normal, good time, when this (white) couple came in carrying axes and machetes and covered in fake […]
Marie Henehan, Sidney, IL. I’m European American Vietnam generation female grandchild of immigrants. I have not ever been an activist. If all white people were like me, blacks would not have such serious problems. So with a pat on my back, I have been complacent and uninvolved, safe in my well-off white bubble. _I’m_ not […]
Danielle Kray, Buffalo Grove, IL.
Renee Yates, Evanston, IL. Being black in America means that every time you feel slighted or unfairly treated in the larger society you have to wonder “Is it because I am black?” It’s demoralizing and exhausting.
Renee Yates, Evanston, IL.
Isabella Fioretto, Park Ridge, IL. Many people assume since I am 100 percent Sicilian that I have relatives in the mafia. None of my relatives or people from our small town in Sicily are involved with the mafia.
Sean, Chicago, IL. We try not to see color but color fills our life. Embrace it.
Anthony Charles Bradburn, Crystal Lake, IL. As a Dominican, it’s easy to get lost in nationality. The truth is I have a rich, beautiful Black line of people before me. I am honored to stand with them and cull their strength. The truth is I have white, Spanish Imperialistic blood in me. The truth is […]
Katrina Varga, Schaumburg, IL.
Teena Lorie Harris, Chicago, IL Third generation native Chicagoan, product of public school and public housing. Purchased home in the Bucktwon / Wicker Park / Logan Square (West Town) neighborhood in 1997. Raising the fourth generation daughter in this mostly white community. My neighborhood was voted 4th, America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods by Forbes.
Hadsim, Chicago, IL. Grew up in Detroit. 1970s. Did time in the Nation of Islam for 2 years. Father was discriminated against at work (thus the NOI). My mother just didn’t like white people. I’m was raised to hate them. And 40-plus years on, my parents’ anger left a residue that difficult to watch off. […]
Dee Abbate, Oakwood Hills, IL. Although I was raised in Chicago and my parents “were not racists” they fed our colored handiman leftovers for supper out on the porch behind our kitchen. That was in the 1950’s. The memory sticks in my throat today.
Eric N. Harris, Chicago, IL. At age 40, I’ve come to realize that Life is the Classroom of Knowledge and I still have a lot to learn. May both my Race Card + accompanying photo show it.
Sierra Moore, Springfield, IL. The picture is one of me as a baby. Since my early childhood until now I’ve been encouraged by people close to me as well as acquaintances to identify myself as one race. I’ve also heard people guess what my ethnic background is (which no one has fully guessed correctly). They […]
Terri, Chicago, IL. Um…neither – Really. That is the first question asked by someone who had just met me. Really? That’s the first question you ask me? We really need to stop defining each other by one or two word descriptions and take a few moments to get to know each other beyond the generalizations […]
Sally Miller, New Douglas, IL. My doctor of 10 years is on the 9200 block of Ferguson. He is black, I am white. I go to the area 1-2 times per month and am always treated with respect. I always bought gas at the QT that burned down and was treated like an old lady, […]
Joe Fricke Greenwood, IN My mother’s Great-Grandfather fought for the 121st Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War, was shot and killed in action against the Confederates near Resaca, Georgia. He is buried in an unmarked battlefield grave. I guess he gave his all for the cause too.