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 […]
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 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 […]
Ava, Westchester, IL. Here is my Anatomy Class during spirit week!
Danielle Kray, Buffalo Grove, IL.
Katriel Hampton-King, Chicago, IL.
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. […]
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.
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 […]
Richard A. Cummings, Chicago, IL.
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Margaret Metobo, Chicago, IL. I feel that anywhere I go people look at my race first before I’m human and that’s the way I carry myself out of security.
Pursuit of social justice seems subsumed within an empty space of cliches. Can we transcend the superficial to create real equity in our world?
Jeremy Jones, Chicago, IL.
Jan Kappes, Arcola, IL. I have almost no personal experiences with non-whites, just by virture of where I was born & raised, so my ideas about people of color come from the media. Consciously, I know that my fears & suspicions are irrational, but subliminally, they are still there.
Ashley Kirkwood, Chicago, IL.
Tim McGovern, Chicago, IL. I live in a racially integrated neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. You go to the playgrounds and there are kids of all races playing together, parents talking over coffee and bonding over the crazy things that four-year-olds do. The public school kindergartens, first grades, second grades, third and fourth, […]
Lynne Shotola, Waukegan, IL. I’m a white woman. It was a Sunday night right after Ferguson. I had spent a host, sticky day doing chores. When I went to take the used cat litter out to the dumpster, I very obviously swerved out of the path of a black man. All I could think was […]
James Ducey, Loves Park, IL. When I watched #AfterFergusonPBS I couldn’t help but come to your project. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your efforts.
Kari Pennington, Chicago, IL. I never have to worry that my brothers, my husband, or my white friends will be violently harassed, assaulted, or killed by the police, the court system, neighborhood watch vigilanties, or any other person or institutions. It happens so rarely to white men that those fears for their safety never keep […]
Mike Padden, Chicago, IL. The conversation would be much if improved if the inflammatory and innacurate term “racism” were substituted with the much more accurate and potentially productive term “prejudice”.
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 […]
Damola Adebayo, Chicago, IL. It’s unfortunate how frequently the term “ghetto” is used so flippantly to describe undesirable, often “characteristically” African-American, aspects of culture. Makes me cringe every time I hear it.
Lindsay Svendsen, DeKalb, IL. This project is amazing, but I wish things like this did not have to exist in order for so many to open their eyes and their hearts. How we appear on the outside does not define who we are nor should it be the basis for any judgements.
Tojo, Chicago, IL. Even the really Japanese people in my family don’t appear shockingly Asian so I can see where this comes form, but I am Japanese-American. That means I’m American too.
Kassie Rockford, IL White people bashing other white people for being white? I see, mostly on facebook, these extreme left wing people publicly displaying how white people are the reason for racism, only white people can be racist, all PoC are entirely exempt from any and all forms of racism! Yes, let’s blame whitey. You […]
David Murray Springfield, IL Racism is real – all around. Frankly, I am tired of being considered a racist just because I am a white male. I have a family history that had some slave ownership, but also those that worked (worked very hard – and died) to end slavery. Levi Coffin is ancestral First […]
Amandilo Cuzan Chicago, IL Knowledge is power. Beyond the emotion we all benefit from studying the real history of race in America and the world. Too often we shy away from the realities of the European slave economy, Reconstruction, Eugenics, Jim Crow, and the current Prison-Industrial-Complex. Blind is blind no matter how you look at […]
William Josephs Chicago, IL
Michelle K. Chicago, IL Racist men who are interested in me solely for their “yellow fever”: my skin is not your accessory. Racist people who want to befriend me solely because they “loooove” my culture: my skin is not your accessory. Racist people who think being Asian is all about KPop and “kawaii”: my skin […]
Angela Clark Walker Chicago, IL
Roy Kutz Chicago, IL An innocent child pays a horrible price for presuming he can interact equally with white people a rich, famous man who interacts mostly with white people receives an undeserved dividend. Redemption is often unjust.
Nick Rabkin Chicago, IL So much of who I am is comes from my sense that the fight for civil rights is really the fight for the real American dream. I was active in the campaign to elect Harold Washington mayor of Chicago, and I worked in his administration. Harold!
Isaac Chicago, IL Check out this video about a blind date gone wrong once a young lady realizes her date is exactly what she said she was looking for: Tall, dark, and handsome. Clicking on the link below will take you to youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDq_wEGwZNA
Judith Sevel Normal, IL Sometimes I say things that inadvertently that may be rude or seem insensitive. I need to always be mindful of my role in a relationship. If I say something that may sound racist. to acknowledge it and not to feel defensive.
Amanda N. Normal, IL I grew up in Texas. I always had people telling me that Caucasian people were better than any other race. Being told that always made me feel guilty. When we learned about the KKK in school I always felt uncomfortable like all of the African Americans were staring at and blaming […]
Alexis Beauford Normal, IL 2 years ago I decided to go natural. A lot of non-ethnic people don’t know what that means. When an African American woman gets a perm, it’s to make her hair straight and more manageable which is the opposite of when some other ethnicities get a perm. When someone decides to […]
Annie Chicago, IL I AM NOT AFRICAN, NEVER BEEN THERE AND DON’ CARE TO GO. I WAS BORN ON AMERICA SOIL. DON’T CALL/LABEL ME ONETHING SO ONE RACE CAN FEEL SUPERIOR OR LESS DOMINANT. I HAVE YET TO SEE A BLACK PERSON OR A WHITE PERSON. WHERE ARE THEY?
Mark Allen Kleiman Venice, CA As a student activist back in the day, I fought de facto segregation. It breaks my heart to see how quickly things slid back. A “kinder, gentler” end to a “kinder, gentler” Reconstruction. Only nationwide.
Chyealla C McBride Chicago, IL I’m an emotional person, but I wasn’t raised to properly express emotion. In learning and reading about other’s experiences, gave me language and comparisons to my own experience in the world. Starting with empathy for my people’s struggles, I grew to be able to express myself emotionally in ways I […]
Poppy Davis Chicago, IL Sometimes, even though affirmative action has done great things for minority races, I feel as a person of Asian descent, that it’s nothing more than a policy put into place by white leaders who think they know what’s best for minorities. Am I wrong or do my feelings have validity?
Patrick Battle Forest Park, IL I grew up in mixed environments and have had always had friends of different and mixed races. Still, I find that our culture encourages the notion that, no matter what your background is, if you live America – being Black is some sort of cause for unwarranted attention. Whether that […]
John Littleton Deerfield, IL Blacks in America today are too far removed from slavery that any and all complaints and entitlements are irrelevant. Blacks are the biggest racists in America. They’re so smart, so brilliant, so special? As even The Economist pointed out, affirmative action must be abolished. If we’re all equal, there should be […]
Bobby Chicago, IL Current iterations of affirmative action programs are a relic of the narrowminded thinking of the past century. They should be reformed to award assistance based on socio-economic status, not race/gender/religion/etc. To truly help all disadvantaged people we must break from the outmoded thinking of archaic legislation.
Dr. Sylvia Hood Washington Winfield, IL So many gifted black people identified as such before affirmative action was even a notion have been denied the “equal” opportunity to achieve or advance because they were perceived as either a threat or not needy enough. This is particularly true in institutions of higher education … where the […]
William Sanchez Peoria, IL People who EARN their admission, appointment, etc., are made suspect by the fact that others get it solely by what group they belong to. Abolish AA!
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 […]
Rob Breymaier Oak Park, IL We hear so much about how segregation harms people and communities. We don’t hear enough about how integration improves everyone’s life. We need more stories and documentation about how integration is good for everyone of every racial background. The appeal to our common interest that holds the key to a […]
David Gire Camargo, IL Life
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 […]
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.
Michelle Sweeten O’Fallon, IL I grew up in an average small American town in the Midwest. I remember the first black family to move to my town, and then the first Asian family. As a child, it didn’t mean much, though I think the town had a harder time accepting them than I and my […]
Lamont Walton Chicago, IL University of Michigan Law
Marc Dumas Chicago, IL Growing up going to integrated schools, I’ve always been told this. My response, as drilled into me by my parents, was “Of course I do. This is what black sounds like…from my mouth.”
Celina Chatman Nelson Chicago, IL We are constantly trying to essentialize race when in fact it is not a biological reality–there is no gene for race, nor even any particular constellation of genes that identifies a race. We made race up to categorize people like we categorize things. That said, because these categories are so […]
Sandra Pfeifer, Simpson, IL. This is East Saint Louis, Illinois, an all Black city, where the American Dream took a wrong turn, leaving an entire city without resources for over 30 years. For Black American’s, in a country that profiles their failures with staggering statistics, effecting positive change on the local level is a daunting […]
Kathleen Cole Chicago, IL
Casi Scheidt Carbondale, IL It’s come to my attention that, throughout my life, others sometimes assume that my racial identity as white means that I can’t or shouldn’t have input into racial issues. More than once, I’ve been confronted by individuals claiming that my whiteness means I’m inherently racist, and that I’m treating “their people” […]
Madison Haines Oswego, IL
Sarah Coffey Carbondale, IL
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.
John Q. Kontos Chicago, IL Sometimes, I wish that there were alien cultures that were a potential threat to our existence on earth, then and perhaps only then, would we view ourselves as one people instead of our current hateful and racist thinking. We all need a reminder from time to time that we are […]
Shani Blackwell Chicago, IL Who decides when people who have experienced inequality should get over those experiences?
T.J. Chicago, IL Yes, I’m the Great White Devil himself. I came here to the U.S., killed ALL the injuns I could find (actually, my great-great grandmother was a 16 year old Cherokee half breed when she gave birth to my great grandmother, whom I had the pleasure of knowing.) I whipped and beat n*****s […]
Chris Hamby Bethalto, IL On my exterior, I look like a average Caucasian man, yet there is a little more to me than what people may think. First off, let me paint this picture for you. I am a large,(athletic built now)bald man, for all purposes white. I went into a Wal-Mart in Vandalia, IL […]
Anonymous Chicago, IL I am female and white. Often I am told by my POC friends that my life is easier than theirs and I am privileged because I am white. We discuss race and culture because we are comfortable and open with one another. I hear their points of view on a predominately white […]
Ali Hill Chicago, IL People have always boasted the importance of a first impression, but I don’t understand why. The very first impression, in almost every case, is superficial. We see someone and judge them, we hear someone and judge them. Have a conversation. Discover all the ways you can relate to someone, despite how […]
Phyllis Batson Chicago, IL It’s tiresome for folks who are, even in this day and age, ‘first’ or ‘only’. I would so much rather be the ‘go to’ person for legitimate dialog than that friend, colleague, neighbor who is somehow OK, the proverbial exception to the rule. It negates who I am and who we […]
Chanel Tate South Holland, IL This is something my African-American mom would say to me all the time when I was a kid and I called her out on saying something derogatory or stereotypical about other races. She’s dead now and it’s harder and harder for me to remember the sound of her voice, much […]
Joan Maxwell Chicago, IL This happened to me in college in 1971. I was an education major, and a black student spoke to our Philosophy of Education class. He asked the students to raise their hands if they felt they were not racist. I raised my hand. I was the only one who raised my […]
Harry Bulkeley Galesburg, IL We don’t pick our race or our ancestors. Mine began coming to this country in 1635. They founded Concord, MA and one was the master mason on Old North Church. Some left the colonies because they were persecuted for being loyal to the king. Some were canal boat captains. One sold […]
Emily Oak Park, IL When describing myself and thinking about race, I wouldn’t put normally put caucasian or white as a trait unless it was a multiple choice answer on a census bubble form. To describe myself, I would first say: runner, coffee lover, Event Manager, sometimes Knitter, person who accumulates ridiculous and random stories […]
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 […]
Meghan Normal, IL I never really thought about race until my mother remarried my stepfather. He constantly talks down about other races that are not white, and he throws around ethnic slurs like they are common, everyday words. He does not seem to care about who he offends, but he should care. Even back when […]
Danielle Amodeo Chicago, IL Only being 18, I have come into contact with a spew of racism and judgment. Being labeled before even saying anything, because of the way I look is not the way I expected it to be today. People would be surprised to know that I am just as human as they […]
James Washington Chicago, IL It’s much easier to cling to race than force myself to go to college. It’s about time it become about my attitude and willingness too, not just “their” attitude.