Join us as we welcome Traci O’Neal Ellis for a reading, conversation, and book-signing for her new book, The Exceptional Negro: Racism, White Privilege and the Lie of Respectability Politics. For this event, Traci will be interviewed by Toya Randall, Senior Director of Strategic Engagement & Initiatives at Casey Family Programs.
Traci O’Neal was thrust into the national spotlight in 2017 when a GOP presidential candidate singled her out on social media. The widespread and deeply disturbing campaign of hatred, harassment, and racist attacks that followed underscored Traci’s understanding that there’s no room in white America for an Exceptional Negro. She comes to understand that the insulation that her education and solidly middle-class life seemed to give her from the worst effects of racism was all the lie of respectability politics, and at the end of day, she is still a negro in white America’s eyes, albeit an exceptional one. Traci issues a call to action for white folks to dismantle systemic racism, and more importantly, for black folks to discuss and consider the Pro-Black Reconstruction Strategy, to lessen dependence on America’s racist systems and reduce the impact of racism in their lives. America expects black people to assimilate, which by definition, fixes “whiteness” as the standard. But what would happen if black people challenge and resist that notion?
Traci O’Neal Ellis is a Chicago-area attorney and HR professional. She is also a frequent speaker on race, law, politics, and radically inclusive leadership and is a fierce advocate for social justice. She has won many prestigious awards, including the YWCA’s Beatrice Dorsey Award for Business and Professions and the Elgin, Illinois, Human Relations Commission’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award.