Too white to be Native American

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 […]

White husband became Iranian September eleventh.

Maren Robinson Chicago, IL I watched how my American-born half-Iranian husband went from being perceived as white (Iranians are Caucasian) to being perceived as vaguely “middle eastern” (eliciting double takes on trains and extra searches at airports) after September 11th. He is an actor, so I have also watched him play characters who are Caucasian, […]

God’s colorblind. I’m trying to be.

Greg Kaldahl, Chicago, IL If I believe – really believe – that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, then how can I allow any room in my heart for discrimination against anyone who is not like me? I know for certain that if I manage to catch the “up” elevator […]

I’m as confused as you are.

Katie Doering, Chicago, IL p>Imagine being asked over and over again, “What are you?” Everyone from strangers on the subway to my childhood dentist has chimed in with a guess. They make me feel as though the answer should define me, as though it is the most important thing about me. The problem is that […]

We have to be color brave

Cori Huberty, Chicago, IL We have to be brave to go deeper, closer, further, and build the kinds of relationships that actually reveal the person and go against the stereotypes. we have to be willing to have proactive conversations about race with honesty and understanding, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because […]

It embodies America’s hope and tragedy

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!

“So, what are you?” they ask.

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 […]

I love my hair and skin.

Valerie Elverton Dixon, East St Louis, IL. As an African-American woman living in a society where the standard of beauty is light skin and straight hair, I am so grateful that I came of age during a time in this nation’s history when we started to celebrate and to affirm the beauty of various skin […]

My Black IS Beautiful

Rae Winfrey, Chicago, IL. It is so satisfying that black beauty is now viewed as a compliment and not an insult. Where we embrace our culture and not try to hide it or be something else. From the kinky coils in my hair from my tired feet from walking all day, my black is still […]

Singapore is a country? “Definitely America…”

Xanh Quang, Chicago, IL. The fact that this isn’t knowledge as basic and as practiced as a fact like the sky is blue or there are five great lakes is a tell-tale sign that you are American: western-centric, America (even though there are two, we always know they mean the one third of North-centric, and […]

Ni de aquí, ni de allá

Ana Rodríguez, Wayne State, Antioch, IL Selena’s dad explained it best in his monologue where he talks about how tough it is to be Mexican-American. He goes on to explain that, “Anglos jump all over you if you don’t speak English perfectly and Mexicans jump all over you if you don’t speak Spanish perfectly…We have […]

Blessed to grow up in diversity

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 […]

Maybe I’m Being Too Cynical

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?

Why is being Black a crime?

Mary Crawford, Galesburg, IL We will never have changed if every time we die at the hands of the police we can be reduced and negated by the word criminal. I exist with the constant fear that my life can be extinguished not because I break the law but because I am Black. When I […]

Latinos overlooked in conversation on race

Brenda Ramirez, Chicago, IL You would think that only White and Black people exist in this country. What about the rest of us? There is no outcry for Latinos who are shot, harassed, discriminated against, whose families are torn apart and whose children are locked up in detention centers. When will we matter in America? […]

White America Has Lost Too Many Jobs

David Johnson, Chicago, IL. As a Black man when I saw a lot of empty storefronts inside of the strip malls throughout Chicago’s suburbs, I began to understand why Whites are angry, bitter, and resentful. Poverty is spreading rampantly throughout White America more so now than has in a lifetime.

Be actively anti-racist, not passively non-racist

Landon Ghast, Charleston, IL An open letter to white people: Being passively or “personally not (a) racist” and being aware of one’s whiteness/privilege is necessary but not sufficient for a white person to enact anti-racist practices and politics, to make those acts what Bell Hooks calls “habits of being” (i.e., habits of both body and […]

Met your daughter now it matters

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 […]

White and some kind of Asian

Miles Foltynowicz, Edwardsville, IL. I’ve dealt with racial ambiguity most of life. It is not uncommon for someone to ask me, “What are you?” in reference to my race/ethnicity without explicitly saying so. Others play the Asian guessing game: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean et cetera. If you are hoping I will reveal my proud ethnic heritage […]

Racism cuts me out of solidarity.

Jayashree George, Edwardsville, IL I yearn to have solidarity with black sisters. But, as a South Asian female, there is a chasm I can’t seem to cross. I put it down as part of the divide and conquer strategy of white supremacy. Racism has divided people of color such that Black folk have an uphill […]

Boy From America’s Heartland, Indian American

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 […]

It’s worse than you probably think

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 […]

Southern Belle? No. Korean husband.

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 […]

We assumed their father was black!

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.

What nationality are you anyway?

Kristina, Zion, IL. I’m multiracial, which caused an identity crisis in my teens. I was never enough of one race or the other to really fit in with anyone. So, I decided to just be myself. I can love all my ethnicities, and the people who were meant to love me understand that.

I’m actively black, you’re passively white

Demarcus Robinson Park Forest, IL I’ve been thinking about how, as an African-American, I and other minorities actively think about out race as opposed to our Caucasian counterparts. It’s not that I’m thinking “I”m black, I’m black, I’m black” every second of the day, but I know that certain situations force the thought upon me, […]

Just one never happened friendship story

Julie B., Itasca, IL. This story started on social network, I followed one blogger I have mutual friend with. She is black woman in her 30th, single. I was reading her timeline and it was pretty interesting meaning her style and subjects she chooses. We started exchanging comments and “likes” and everything was fine, I […]

I don’t see my color….sometimes

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 […]

Soul, compassion and intellect are color-blind.

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 […]

Si Senor, yo soy del Bario

Elizabeth Gonzalez, Hodgkins, IL. I am proud of living in my neighborhood. I did not choose to be born a Latina or living in this neighborhood but no matter how bad it is I still love it. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my life.

Italian Boyfriend Uncomfortable Visiting Arizona Home

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 […]

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

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.

Appearing strong. Mending daily. Race matters.

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 […]

Dating White Men Saved My Life

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 […]

White until someone tells me differently

Megan Forrest, Chicago, IL Living in suburban Chicago is always weird because I dress the same as the rest of my peers, talk the same, and I just almost blend in, but not quite. Even though a quarter of my school is Asian-American, just like me, I stick out like a sore thumb. Or rather, […]

“An Intelligent, Independent African American Women!”

Malikah Black, Urbana, IL. Based on stereotypes and neither are my sisters. The media instantly judge African American Women on their many failures, but what about their success? You’re most likely to hear about the statics of African American Women getting pregnant in 2015 on social media than those who graduated from college or trade […]

Our different skins hold one love.

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.

Like looking through a semi-opaque window.

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.

I Don’t Get To Be Colorblind

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 […]

Why not love one another daily?

Jim Schneider, Long Grove, IA Despite being a 58 yr old, white male raised in an all white, rural community in central Illinois, nothing will warm my heart more that seeing America making significant progress towards ensuring that ALL Americans (regardless of ethnicity, gender, identity, religion or any other means of sorting us out as […]

Still figuring out my six words.

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 […]

Assist based on need, not color.

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.

Grew Up Black. Now part Mexican.

Michelle Y. Bess, Chicago, IL. My mom is from California, my dad is from NYC. They raised my 4 siblings and me in Washington State. We grew up identifying as black. Recently, on a trip home, my mom learned that our family moved from Mexico to California on a covered wagon to begin a new […]

Education will free humanity from differences

Karolina Krajewska, Hardwood Heights, IL. I read your article in National Geographic about a month ago. The white people are mad about the demographic changes and they are responsible for that. Young white woman is on contraceptives and is told to go to work. I have 4 kids and often people ask me where do […]

Who are your ancestors. Be honest.

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 […]

I decide if I’m “black enough”.

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.

Multi-Racial means having a fluid Identity

Jesse Ponnambalam, Bolingbrook, IL. When I see most of the people I know; they all somewhat fit into a specific group. Some may identify as a “skater”, a “Anime Nerd”, a Brony, a “Jock” a “set specific identity here” kind of mold. Now I know that people have more than one Identity, But I never […]

My skin is not your accessory.

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 […]

We’re ALL racist in some form!

Dana Lee Sterbens, Chicago, IL. Discrimination in not only for people of color. We all discriminate against “other” or “the unknown”. I have experienced racism as a white female, in my lifetime. We need to accept that we all have bias and everyone needs to pay attention to it.

All Black City, America please wake-up.

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 […]

I am mixed-race gay man

Paul Avery, Chicago, IL. I am part Mexican and Black, live in Chicago, going to City Colleges, wish I could leave earth for a planet where gay men made up 80% of world population.

Let’s get over our white selves.

Christine Pado, Third Lake, IL. Yeah – so, I’m white and I live in a mostly white neighborhood. We moved out here for affordable housing. Before that I lived in area that seemed like a mini United Nations. It was a shock moving out here but now I guess I’m used to it. Now and […]

ALL colors should obey the laws.

Donna Corrigan, Bloomingdale, IL. People would not be so afraid of the changes happening with racial imbalance in our country if laws weren’t being broken, people weren’t coming illegally, committing crimes, selling drugs. Of course it’s not everyone! But there are make people afraid and that’s enough to cause prejudice. Fear promotes anger. Anger promotes […]

Muslim. Assumption I don’t speak English.

Elizabeth Liechti Chicago, IL Because I also speak German and Arabic I am sometimes VERY tempted to have a bit of fun with the person or persons making the assumption. Usually I say nothing and simply walk out of earshot, but once in a while I find it necessary to say, in English, “I can […]

I feel powerless to intact change

Kate McFerrin, Oak Park, IL. I recognize we need to change; the US is, without question, systemically racist. However, as one individual, I don’t feel like I have great power to change much. It’s hard to feel hopeful.

Cautious eye-holding while saying hello.

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. […]

I’m not part of the solution.

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 […]

Not Racist, Not Privileged, Just White.

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 […]

Color blind…more than a dream?

Michael H Chicago, IL I grew up listening to Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy talk about their dream of a society that one day would be “color blind”. Forty years later, I feel like we’re as far as ever from that goal. In fact, I suspect most Americans would prefer to perpetuate the distinctions […]

I’m one of the rare ones.

Nabeste, Chicago, IL. I’m a Mexican-American. I hate white people. I have grown to hate them. They came to America to steal the land and kill the Native American Indians. They brought the slaves here. They brought with them diseases that are here now. They went and took Texas and all the states that belonged […]

Stop thinking the phrase “Those People.”

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.

No, Where Are You Actually From?

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 […]

Race generalization is not for everyone

Alex Campbell, Aurora, IL. People come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and with different histories. It is unreasonable to pack many millions of people into one single idea. Terms are made to have wide acceptance and understanding and that is fine. However, generalizations (especially race) should never go past the simple idea of convenience.

Colorblind is still blind! Open eyes.

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 […]

Science isn’t convinced race even exists.

Ann Sz, Aurora, IL. Check out the realities of race, in an article like – 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: – who finds no defensible biological evidence for human races. […]

I LOVE THE SKIN I’M IN

Athena White, Chicago, IL. Embrace the power of love for it has no color. Teach others that lack this purity and watch how well it blossoms. “Love” speak it, mean it, live it…nourish one another by erasing racism, hate and terrorism within our own country against one another and we shall unite as one.

Sometimes angry, sometimes hopeful. Always vigilant

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 […]

I am a bigot toward bigots

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 […]

The difference is culture, not color.

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 […]

Americans love my dad’s Irish accent.

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 […]

Irish, Alsatian-French, Trinidadian East-Indian

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 […]

Latina. Raised White. Unaccepted by all.

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 […]

Afraid of Not Being “Asian” Enough

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 […]

“It’s because you have no soul.”

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 […]

Hollywood reminds me everyday. I’m different.

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 […]

So shocked that I am literate

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.

I wish that Race meant EQUALITY.

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 […]

What do you identify as?

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 […]

Somewhere there is white like me

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 […]

I won’t apologize for my ancestors

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.

White Love Black, Black Love White :)

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.

My daughter is not like me.

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, […]

Why can’t I just be me?

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 […]

Big-eyed Asian? Yup, that’s possible.

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 […]

“You’re pretty for a black girl”

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 […]

You talk white. Where you from?

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. […]

You are very articulate…gee thanks..

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.” […]

I didn’t know my first girlfriend was black.

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 […]

He exclaimed, “Ghetto Girl Makes Good!”

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 […]

No thanks man, I speak English

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 […]

Blexican

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 […]

This brown skin is my crown.

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 […]

Is it because I am black?

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.

Searching for a way to feel

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. […]

Avery. Ate on the back porch.

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.

I’m not going to pick one.

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 […]

What are you? White? or Italian?

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 […]

Treat all people with respect, kindness.

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, […]

Ilinois Grandfather fought South, Still There.

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.

Black teen boys scare white people.

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, […]

I was stinky; I wasn’t afraid.

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 […]

Ghetto’s a place, not an adjective.

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.

I shouldn’t have to write this sentence.

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.

What’s with this white guilt?

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 […]

I didn’t own any slaves.

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 […]

Emmit Till died; OJ was acquitted

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.

Google “tall, dark, and handsome.” Bullshit.

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

Honesty is more than my lipservice

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.

The whites are still to blame.

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 […]

Is all that your real hair?

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 […]

I AM A BROWN SKIN AMERICAN

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?

I am so very, very ashamed.

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.

History taught me how to feel

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 […]

White People Remind Me I’m Black

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 […]

They make better slaves than citizens.

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 […]

Certified genius unqualified by affirmative action

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 […]