In 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted the author's worldview and upended her life plan.

Product Code: 6763
ISBN: 9780991331307
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Elephant Room Press
Pages: 288
Published Date: 01/09/2014
Availability:In stock
Price: $19.99

For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing.

Then, in 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us.

From the author:

Waking Up White is the book I wish someone had handed me decades ago. My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As I unpack my own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, I reveal how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated my ill-conceived ideas about race. I also explain why and how I’ve changed the way I talk about racism, work in racially mixed groups, and understand the racial justice movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White's personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.

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Childhood in White
1 What Wasn’t Said
2 Family Values
3 Race Versus Class
4 Optimism
5 Within the Walls

Midlife Wake-Up Calls
6 From Confusion to Shock
7 The GI Bill
8 Racial Categories
9 White Superiority
10 The Melting Pot
11 Headwinds and Tailwinds

Why Didn’t I Wake Up Sooner?
12 Icebergs
13 Invisibility
14 ZAP!
15 The Whole Story
16 Logos and Stereotypes

Rethinking Key Concepts
17 My Good People
18 Color-Blind
19 My Good Luck
20 Robin Hood Syndrome

Twenty-Five Years of Tossing and Turning
21 Straddling Two Worlds
22 Why Do I Always End Up With White People
23 Diversity Training
24 Everyone is Different
25 Belonging
26 Surviving Versus Thriving
27 Living Into Expectations
28 I Am The Elephant
Leaving My Comfort Zone
29 Intent And Impact
30 Feelings And The Culture of Niceness
31 Courageous Conversations
32 Getting Over Myself
33 Perception and Fear

Inner Work
34 Becoming Multicultural
35 If Only You’d Be More Like Me
36 The Dominant White Culture
37 Boxes and Ladders
38 The Rugged Individual
39 Equality Starts with Equity
Outer Work

41 From Bystander to Ally
42 Solidarity and Accountability
43 From Tolerance to Engagement
44 Listening
45 Normalizing Race Talk

Reclaiming My Humanity
46 Whole Again

Tell Me What To Do!
Notes on Sources

"Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving's focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving's window fascinating, and telling." – Van Jones, author, Rebuild The Dream, The Green Collar Economy:How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems; President, Rebuild The Dream; Co-host, CNN Crossfire

"I read Waking Up White in one sitting. To say I loved it is an understatement. It's such a raw, honest portrait …. Irving's experience on display – warts and all – will help white people, who haven't noticed the role systemic privilege has played in their lives, start to see the world in a new way." – Jodi Picoult, author, The Storyteller, My Sister's Keeper, The Pact

"Deborah Irving bravely describes her jolting and continuing journey from white oblivion to white awareness in an honest way that may inspire others to do such transformational work on themselves. She has courage in tracing many cultural and class assumptions that kept her for decades in a fog of racial denial and white dominance. This empathetic book can help white readers to dissipate the imprisoning white ignorance that we did not ask for but that has damaged our world and ourselves." – Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., Associate Director, Wellesley Centers for Women; Founder and Senior Associate, National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)

"Waking up White is a brutally honest, unflinching exploration of race and personal identity, told with heart by a truly gifted storyteller. Much as Irving's family sought to shield her from the contours of the nation's racial drama, so too do far too many white Americans continue to do the same. For their sakes, and ours, let's hope Irving's words spark even more truth-telling. They certainly have the power to do so." – Tim Wise, author, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

"Irving's personal and moving tale takes us on an adventure to a world utterly new to her as she wakes up to the reality of how, without her knowledge or active pursuit, she lives in a society which is set up to reward her at the expense of people of color. I cannot imagine a more understandable and compelling invitation to learn about how racism lives on in our homes, communities, and nation." – Bishop Gene Robinson, Retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Washington, DC

"A beautiful, powerful, achingly honest book … even just reading the foreword, I was touched and had an aha moment of realizing my own inbred racism. This is a very brave book to have written. I hope and believe that it will be a meaningful step forward in healing race relations. Thank you for stepping out so bravely and compassionately." – Rivvy Neshama, author, Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles

"Deborah Irving’s Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race is a courageous, insightful, and critical contribution to awareness of race in the United States. A virtual one-woman Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Deborah’s journey from an 'ah-ha' instant to consciousness is a journey for all Americans." – Thomas Shapiro, author, The Hidden Cost of Being African American; Director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy

Waking Up White is a wake-up call for white people who want to consciously contribute to racial justice rather than unconsciously perpetuate patterns of racism. With honesty and humility, Debby Irving shares her own story of transformation—a journey of opening herself to learning about the realities of racism and the unintended impacts of white privilege. By confronting her own fears and mistakes, she gleans many useful lessons and tips that can help move others from confusion and avoidance to constructive engagement, authentic connection and courageous action.” – Terry Keleher, Thought Leadership and Practice Specialist, Race Forward

"Waking Up White is engaging, challenging, and action-oriented! It's a must read for anyone exploring issues of racism, power, privilege, and leadership." – Eddie Moore, Jr., PhD, Founder, White Privilege Conference

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