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 […]
Jessie Nguyen, Chicago, IL Whether your eyes are small, big, brown, blue, can’t see, etc., don’t focus on your eyes. Focus on anything else than your eyes (i.e. homework, taxes, etc.)
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Mary Tell, North Chicago, IL
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 […]
Hugh T. McEein, River Forest, IL It’s simply a quote from the Bible.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Vernon schultz, Bolingbrook, IL The struggle for whites will only increase with more immigration!!
Charlie H., Winnetka, IL. Just because I’m white and I live in a white community, it shouldn’t limit me to talking about race. The more we address race, the easier it is to talk about!
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, […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Elisabeth Rogers, Belleville, IL
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Rick Weerts, Chicago, IL.
Katriel Hampton-King, Chicago, IL.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Steven Stawarz, Oak Brook, IL.
Richard A. Cummings, Chicago, IL.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Lianne Holloway, Joliet, IL.
Sabrina, Arlington Heights, IL.
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 […]
Allison Greenfield, Bloomington, IL.
Taylor Harris O’Fallon, IL
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.
Linda Effinger Quinde, Chicago, IL.
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.
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.
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.
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. […]
Bill Geraci Blue Island, IL Six? Who needs six? I can do it in five. Ask if you’re interested. (FYI: Mom and I were white and this was (fortunately) a long time ago.)
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 […]
Kevin Simpson, Chicago, IL. Powerful activity
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Ellie Bousson, Grayslake, IL.
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.
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 […]
Robert, Chicago, IL. When whites become a minority in the U.S., will we be given the perks of being a minority?
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.
Liza Boscow, Winnetka, IL.
Vanessa Garcia, Chicago, IL. We are all humans. Spread love.
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.
Jeremy Jones, Chicago, IL.
Caroline, Bloomington, IL.
Ava, Westchester, IL. Here is my Anatomy Class during spirit week!
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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.
Fernanda, Countryside, IL.
Montserrat, La Grange, IL.
Margaret Ann Watts, Elgin, IL. We all bleed the same color.
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 […]
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 […]
Clayton Kobilca, Chicago, IL.
Paul Hursey Bloomington, IL Being a Black man in America is like running through “An American wildfire wearing gasoline drawers”. It is difficult to let your guard down because someone is always chasing you.
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 […]
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 […]
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.