"I grew up in a white neighborhood in Peoria, IL, went to white schools, and had mostly white friends. I am white, and as a child, I had the luxury of living life oblivious to my race. Although it was considered impolite, and perhaps even racist, to even talk about the issue, it didn’t prevent me from hearing many ignorant things over the years. “Did you hear about the black mom who named her kids Lemonjello and Oranjello?” “If he can afford such nice shoes, then why is he on welfare?” “Why don’t people just forget about slavery already? It was 150 years ago!”
We can’t comprehend an issue as complicated as race through facts, theories, or statistics. It is only in listening to people’s stories that we can begin to understand history, recognize and challenge our own biases, and have empathy for others. In “Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession,” oral historian Studs Terkel has given us the opportunity to hear honest, painful, heartbreaking, unforgettable, powerful, true stories on the issue of race. Reading this book ten years ago completely changed my life. Now I see myself differently. I see others differently. I see the world differently. I am so grateful for my growing awareness."