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Zebra Sisters

Chicago Sun-Times

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Zebra Sisters

Zebra Sisters

Chicago Sun-Times

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About Us

Two high-profile veteran journalists, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell and former reporter and teacher Leslie Baldacci — one black, one white — bring context and spice to the events of the day and the dilemmas of our lives. They tackle the complexities of race relations with candor and humor.

Latest Episodes

Roseanne and Responding to Racism

In the Season 1 finale of “Zebra Sisters,” a podcast about race relations hosted by Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci, the hostscall out Roseanne Barr's "bad joke" about Valerie Jarrett as "racist" and Samantha Bee's joke about First Lady Melania Trump. The hosts explore the current environment and news cycle in which racist comments and actions are downplayed as jokes, mistakes or inappropriate, but not "racism." They also applaud the rapid responses by ABC, Starbuck's and Water Tower Place against racist behaviors. Next, they discuss the alleged youth flash mobs occurring along Chicago's Magnificent Mile and options for how city officials should deal with them. The episode concludes with Leslie announcing her upcoming retirement and plans for fun.

31 MIN2018 JUN 10
Comments
Roseanne and Responding to Racism

Famous Interracial Relationships - Jack Johnson & the Royal Wedding

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci question whether attitudes about interracial relationships have changed in their discussions about President Trump's posthumous pardon of African American boxer Jack Johnson and the Royal Wedding of England's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They dive into the Chicago debate to name a street after African American journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, and offer up better options to memorialize her importance and impact. Then Mary reveals her transformative birthday - and plans for her new outlook on life this summer.

28 MIN2018 JUN 3
Comments
Famous Interracial Relationships - Jack Johnson & the Royal Wedding

Home Ownership Gap

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci discuss the disturbing gap between white and black home ownership. In Chicago, whites are twice as likely to own homes as African-Americans. The hosts turn to Courtney Jones, president of the oldest African-American real estate trade association, to find out what can be done to close the gap. They also discuss the unsettling rise of incidents in which whites have called the police on black people for just being in their vicinity.

33 MIN2018 MAY 25
Comments
Home Ownership Gap

Water Tower Place Apologizes to Teenagers

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci discuss how Water Tower Place officials apologized to the black teenagers they expelled right before a flash mob of teens disrupted tourists and shoppers on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. They discuss some angry fan mail that reinforces concerns for loitering policies and typecasting black youth under one negative banner. Struggling with their own perceptions linking appearance and behavior to racial stereotypes, they turn to diversity and inclusion expert Julie Heard about how to break away from stereotyping and racial profiling on the personal level. They also continue exploring the "100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating for People of Color" list and several "micro-aggression" acts.

34 MIN2018 MAY 20
Comments
Water Tower Place Apologizes to Teenagers

Camille Cosby, R. Kelly & Kanye West

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci call out Camille Cosby, R. Kelly and Kanye West for their twisted views of America’s racial history. This comes after Cosby and Kelly have both claimed to be victims of public lynchings, while West has called slavery a “choice.” Then, the hosts discuss their favorite and least favorite points in Kesiena Boom's "100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating for People of Color.”

27 MIN2018 MAY 13
Comments
Camille Cosby, R. Kelly & Kanye West

Overcoming Racial Bias in Chicago

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci explore how racial bias and stereotypes can be overcome through diverse neighbors and interracial friendships. Joining the hosts is Linda Gartz, author of "Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago," who shares what her white family learned while living on the West Side alongside black and Mexican families. Another guest, Deborah Hayter, explains what it was like to grow up in a black family on the North Side and attend an all-white Catholic school. Then, Leslie reflects on her story about the racial profiling of her daughter and friends, and apologizes for her "white privilege" point of view.

35 MIN2018 MAY 6
Comments
Overcoming Racial Bias in Chicago

Black Hockey Players and 50/50 Day

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci explore why so few blacks play hockey with Sun-Times Digital Content Producer Evan Moore. Moore is the author of a recent Chicago Reader story titled "Icing Racism," which explores the history of racism in hockey and how that's changing. Brad Erickson, founder of Inner City Education, an ice hockey and academic tutoring program for disadvantaged youth, also joins the hosts. Then, Leslie and Mary address 50/50 Day, and Mary explains why she and other black women feel bitterness toward the predominantly white women's movement. The episode concludes with the definition of the word "WYPIPO", its use, and tone.

34 MIN2018 APR 29
Comments
Black Hockey Players and 50/50 Day

Starbucks Arrests and Confronting Racial Bias

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci dive into the issues of implicit bias and racist behavior evident in the Starbucks' incident in which two black men were arrested for sitting at a table without buying anything. Anti-racism and diversity trainer Glenn Singleton joins the hosts, with insight on whether or not diversity training makes a difference in changing unconsciously biased and racist behavior. Singleton addresses concrete steps that can be taken to change individuals' consciousness about their own experiences and attitudes. Mary and Leslie wrap up reviewing additional racial clashes, including racist and anti-Semitic graffiti at DePauw University in Indiana, high school students displaying confederate flags on pickup trucks in Michigan, and counter protests planned for a Sons of Confederate Veterans memorial service at a South Side cemetery where famous African Americans are buried.

33 MIN2018 APR 22
Comments
Starbucks Arrests and Confronting Racial Bias

MLK's Legacy and Facing Mortality

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci reflect on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago, where they were at the time, and his impact on each of their lives. Leslie shares how she bought into the "dream" and made a commitment to raising her family in a racially integrated neighborhood. Mary discusses her mixed feelings about the "dream." Both lament the continuation of segregated housing and education, resurgence of hate groups and neighborhood gentrification. Next, the hosts tackle mortality, and Leslie discloses her pact with her friends, while Mary shares her recent epiphany about death. From death, they revisit aging and dealing with the loss of youthful beauty, and Leslie shares her anti-aging beauty secrets. The episode concludes with Leslie posing to Mary the BIG question to be answered in episode 11: "How do you pronounce the word WYPIPO?"

28 MIN2018 APR 14
Comments
MLK's Legacy and Facing Mortality

Standing Up to Racial Profiling

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci are joined by Dr. Carla Hightower and Kevin Berry as they discuss an incident of racial profiling at Chicago's Water Tower Place. Hightower was at the mall when she witnessed a group of black teenagers being groundlessly expelled from the mall before confronting management, and Berry is an executive at General Growth Properties, which owns the mall. After admitting wrongdoing, Berry shares steps the management company is taking to change policies and prevent racial profiling. Mary and Leslie pursue the issue further with personal stories of how racial profiling cuts across racial lines. Then Mary answers Leslie's question from Ep. 8 with a fond reminiscence of dating a white man. Ep. 9 concludes with Mary's BIG question to Leslie: Why do you continue to live in a neighborhood that has changed to being predominantly black?

37 MIN2018 APR 7
Comments
Standing Up to Racial Profiling

Latest Episodes

Roseanne and Responding to Racism

In the Season 1 finale of “Zebra Sisters,” a podcast about race relations hosted by Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci, the hostscall out Roseanne Barr's "bad joke" about Valerie Jarrett as "racist" and Samantha Bee's joke about First Lady Melania Trump. The hosts explore the current environment and news cycle in which racist comments and actions are downplayed as jokes, mistakes or inappropriate, but not "racism." They also applaud the rapid responses by ABC, Starbuck's and Water Tower Place against racist behaviors. Next, they discuss the alleged youth flash mobs occurring along Chicago's Magnificent Mile and options for how city officials should deal with them. The episode concludes with Leslie announcing her upcoming retirement and plans for fun.

31 MIN2018 JUN 10
Comments
Roseanne and Responding to Racism

Famous Interracial Relationships - Jack Johnson & the Royal Wedding

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci question whether attitudes about interracial relationships have changed in their discussions about President Trump's posthumous pardon of African American boxer Jack Johnson and the Royal Wedding of England's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They dive into the Chicago debate to name a street after African American journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, and offer up better options to memorialize her importance and impact. Then Mary reveals her transformative birthday - and plans for her new outlook on life this summer.

28 MIN2018 JUN 3
Comments
Famous Interracial Relationships - Jack Johnson & the Royal Wedding

Home Ownership Gap

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci discuss the disturbing gap between white and black home ownership. In Chicago, whites are twice as likely to own homes as African-Americans. The hosts turn to Courtney Jones, president of the oldest African-American real estate trade association, to find out what can be done to close the gap. They also discuss the unsettling rise of incidents in which whites have called the police on black people for just being in their vicinity.

33 MIN2018 MAY 25
Comments
Home Ownership Gap

Water Tower Place Apologizes to Teenagers

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci discuss how Water Tower Place officials apologized to the black teenagers they expelled right before a flash mob of teens disrupted tourists and shoppers on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. They discuss some angry fan mail that reinforces concerns for loitering policies and typecasting black youth under one negative banner. Struggling with their own perceptions linking appearance and behavior to racial stereotypes, they turn to diversity and inclusion expert Julie Heard about how to break away from stereotyping and racial profiling on the personal level. They also continue exploring the "100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating for People of Color" list and several "micro-aggression" acts.

34 MIN2018 MAY 20
Comments
Water Tower Place Apologizes to Teenagers

Camille Cosby, R. Kelly & Kanye West

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci call out Camille Cosby, R. Kelly and Kanye West for their twisted views of America’s racial history. This comes after Cosby and Kelly have both claimed to be victims of public lynchings, while West has called slavery a “choice.” Then, the hosts discuss their favorite and least favorite points in Kesiena Boom's "100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating for People of Color.”

27 MIN2018 MAY 13
Comments
Camille Cosby, R. Kelly & Kanye West

Overcoming Racial Bias in Chicago

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci explore how racial bias and stereotypes can be overcome through diverse neighbors and interracial friendships. Joining the hosts is Linda Gartz, author of "Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago," who shares what her white family learned while living on the West Side alongside black and Mexican families. Another guest, Deborah Hayter, explains what it was like to grow up in a black family on the North Side and attend an all-white Catholic school. Then, Leslie reflects on her story about the racial profiling of her daughter and friends, and apologizes for her "white privilege" point of view.

35 MIN2018 MAY 6
Comments
Overcoming Racial Bias in Chicago

Black Hockey Players and 50/50 Day

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci explore why so few blacks play hockey with Sun-Times Digital Content Producer Evan Moore. Moore is the author of a recent Chicago Reader story titled "Icing Racism," which explores the history of racism in hockey and how that's changing. Brad Erickson, founder of Inner City Education, an ice hockey and academic tutoring program for disadvantaged youth, also joins the hosts. Then, Leslie and Mary address 50/50 Day, and Mary explains why she and other black women feel bitterness toward the predominantly white women's movement. The episode concludes with the definition of the word "WYPIPO", its use, and tone.

34 MIN2018 APR 29
Comments
Black Hockey Players and 50/50 Day

Starbucks Arrests and Confronting Racial Bias

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci dive into the issues of implicit bias and racist behavior evident in the Starbucks' incident in which two black men were arrested for sitting at a table without buying anything. Anti-racism and diversity trainer Glenn Singleton joins the hosts, with insight on whether or not diversity training makes a difference in changing unconsciously biased and racist behavior. Singleton addresses concrete steps that can be taken to change individuals' consciousness about their own experiences and attitudes. Mary and Leslie wrap up reviewing additional racial clashes, including racist and anti-Semitic graffiti at DePauw University in Indiana, high school students displaying confederate flags on pickup trucks in Michigan, and counter protests planned for a Sons of Confederate Veterans memorial service at a South Side cemetery where famous African Americans are buried.

33 MIN2018 APR 22
Comments
Starbucks Arrests and Confronting Racial Bias

MLK's Legacy and Facing Mortality

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci reflect on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago, where they were at the time, and his impact on each of their lives. Leslie shares how she bought into the "dream" and made a commitment to raising her family in a racially integrated neighborhood. Mary discusses her mixed feelings about the "dream." Both lament the continuation of segregated housing and education, resurgence of hate groups and neighborhood gentrification. Next, the hosts tackle mortality, and Leslie discloses her pact with her friends, while Mary shares her recent epiphany about death. From death, they revisit aging and dealing with the loss of youthful beauty, and Leslie shares her anti-aging beauty secrets. The episode concludes with Leslie posing to Mary the BIG question to be answered in episode 11: "How do you pronounce the word WYPIPO?"

28 MIN2018 APR 14
Comments
MLK's Legacy and Facing Mortality

Standing Up to Racial Profiling

Hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci are joined by Dr. Carla Hightower and Kevin Berry as they discuss an incident of racial profiling at Chicago's Water Tower Place. Hightower was at the mall when she witnessed a group of black teenagers being groundlessly expelled from the mall before confronting management, and Berry is an executive at General Growth Properties, which owns the mall. After admitting wrongdoing, Berry shares steps the management company is taking to change policies and prevent racial profiling. Mary and Leslie pursue the issue further with personal stories of how racial profiling cuts across racial lines. Then Mary answers Leslie's question from Ep. 8 with a fond reminiscence of dating a white man. Ep. 9 concludes with Mary's BIG question to Leslie: Why do you continue to live in a neighborhood that has changed to being predominantly black?

37 MIN2018 APR 7
Comments
Standing Up to Racial Profiling
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