News Local/State

What Being Black in Ukraine Taught Me About Racism in the United States

Terrell Starr in the Iviv region of Ukraine

Terrell Starr in the Iviv region of Ukraine (Photo: Terrell Star)

In 2009, Terrell Starr headed to Kiev on a Fulbright scholarship to study the experiences of biracial Ukrainians.

The lessons in racism began before he even arrived. His real estate agent told him no one would rent to him, because of the color of his skin.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post this month, Starr wrote, "racism in Ukraine was much more blunt – always in my face, unabashed and in plain view." And he says, he appreciated that honesty.

Terrell Starr is a former WILL news intern. He's now based in New York City and talked with Illinois Public Media’s Jeff Bossert about what his experiences in Ukraine – including this encounter with police in a Kiev train station -- taught him about racism in the United States.