Black and white photo of a man standing behind a woman on an old fashion swing with his hand on her shoulder smiling while a toddler (Jacqueline Battalora) swings while looking at them infront of a brick building.

I thought I was born white.

I spent my childhood moving around a lot. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved five times before my family settled in Victoria, Texas where I completed middle school and High School. It was there that I experienced my most memorable racial formations and when I began to be aware of what it means to be white in America.

Since undergraduate studies, I have been interested in the social construction of reality. But it took a law degree and graduate studies at Northwestern University before I had the intellectual tools and conceptual framework to really explore race. While conducting research for my dissertation, I discovered there were no “white” people referenced in colonial law for nearly 100 years of English colonization in North America. It was during these studies that I began to see in a whole new way.

The exploration of when, where, how, and why “white” people were invented has been transformative both personally and professionally. There is little I enjoy more than sharing this history and exploring its implications for our present moment.

- Jacqueline Battalora, PH.D., J.D., M.T.S -the-body-factory-quote-signature

Jacqueline Battalora is one of the nation's best advocates for issues of equality and social justice. Her talks are challenging and engaging ... and leave people ready to move forward instead of feeling mired in frustration. Her work is essential to the field and her passion is contagious.  —Eddie Moore, JR., PH.D. Founder & President, The Privilege Institute


Jacqueline Battalora is the author of, Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge Press, 2021). She is an attorney and professor of sociology at Saint Xavier University, Chicago and a former Chicago Police Officer. Battalora is an editor for the Journal of Understanding and Dismantling Privilege.

She completed her law degree and came to Chicago to practice. Her interest in the role of law in creating human difference shaped her graduate work at Northwestern University where she received her Ph.D. She is listed with the National Speakers Association and is represented by SpeakOut.

Her work is featured on:  

  • the Documentary Film, The American L.O.W.S. by Darnley R. Hodge, Jr.
  • the Documentary Film, HAPI by Gerard Grant  
  • Boston Public Radio/Wisconsin Public Radio
  • dozens of podcasts including Guerilla Muse