Who we are
Founded in 2017, Exploring Race is an online magazine that is run by undergraduates at the University of Chicago.
What we do
We publish stories written by students at UChicago, about their day-to-day experiences with race on campus.
Why are we doing this?
UChicago must become more equitable and accessible for underrepresented students.
The university has been historically unwelcoming to minority groups. It was founded using money from a slave plantation, and has supported racially divisive initiatives on South Side Chicago. (Click here to read about UChicago’s history)
A recent survey showed that substantial numbers of minority students see UChicago’s campus as racist. These students experience discrimination in ways that make it harder to fulfill coursework, to learn, and to be a student.
We want to uplift the voices of BIPoC students at UChicago. By publishing their stories about race on campus, we hope to bring greater transparency to these experiences. Presenting these stories as a collection highlights their commonalities- and shows that they can be the result of racist institutionalised university practices that need to be dealt with.
We also want to create a framework for widespread communication that allows for the participation of white students, and allows for a critical analysis of whiteness that is in line with the current literature and research on critical race theory.
We firmly believe that identity is not a prop for politics -- meaning that students from all backgrounds need to engage in this type of conversation. This widespread communication is what we hope to facilitate.
Our Identity Politics
Our identity politics are our collective values as a magazine, and dictate how we make our decisions, ranging from what to publish to who is part of our team.
We do not reinforce any kind of racial stereotypes, or racist structures. We see this aim to be not-racist as a basic and fundamental move-- as we will elaborate further down in our Identity Politics, we strive to go much further than this and to show that simply being non-racist is not enough. We aim to be explicitly anti-racist, and we hope to be so partly by amplifying the voices of BIPoC on campus.
We aim to create a new framework for the discussion of race, that is deliberately critical, radical, and anti-racist. This means that we have limited capacity for ambiguous and undefined opinions. While we understand that uncertainty is natural, the typical narrative against BIPoCs is that by being anti-racist in our politics, we automatically go against values such as freedom of speech and diversity of opinion. These are reductive and weaponized notions of liberalism, and we challenge them. By no means are we an organization with a monolithic voice, but we recognize that in order to allow for true diversity of opinion, we must uplift BIPoC voices on campus.
We are not an educational resource. The BIPoC stories on our website are published for the sake of uplifting BIPoC students by providing a platform for their experiences, not for the sake of educating ignorance. We see this as exploitative, and as replicating the emotional, mental, and intellectual labor placed upon BIPoC’s on campus to educate their peers on “diversity.”
We acknowledge that people should have autonomy over their own beliefs, and we therefore encourage individuals to reflect on and come to terms with their own identity politics in their own time. For this purpose, we have created a resource page in the hopes of directing readers to other sources of information about race.
We are intersectional; we treat race as an issue that intersects with a myriad of other aspects of one’s identity. We therefore do not curtail our judgement of an issue based solely on race, and we do not accept or condone “-ism’s” (including but not limited to sexism, classism, ableism).
We are not a reflection of the only experience regarding race. In addition, we aim to not be reductive about race and ethnicity on campus. We aim to show that racial experiences are nuanced, and include both positive and negative experiences.