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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? Creates a Stir in the Literary and Academic Communities

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? is a collection that asks just that. While the literature on “whiteness” has long been dominated by an academic point of view, editors Gabrielle David and Sean Frederick Forbes came to the realization that there was an unmet need for an anthology of personal narratives about white race and culture from the perspective of white Americans. In this conception process, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA, was born.

The first of its kind, this collection of 83 personal narratives reflects a vibrant range of stories from white Americans who speak frankly and openly about race, not only as it applies to people of color, but as it applies to themselves. The stories cover a wide gamut of American history from contributors around the United States; from reminiscing about segregation and Jim Crow, to today’s headlines of police brutality, politics and #BlackLivesMatters. The variety in style and subject is enormous that is from people of different class and employment backgrounds, but all of these stories have one point in common–they create an absorbing and thought-provoking collection that explores race from a very personal perspective. In the telling, not only do they discuss their discomfort in talking about race, they also share big and small moments in their lives that have shaped what it means to be white in America, and how it affects the way they see themselves and others. In answering the question, some may offer viewpoints one may not necessarily agree with, but nevertheless, it is clear that each contributor is committed to answering it as honestly as possible. In WHITE IN AMERICA, these enduring narratives manage to grab hold of readers, and surprise them with transformative stories they can relate to, regardless of skin color.

With an Introduction by racial justice educator, Debby Irving, and an afterword by African American scholar and poet, Tara Betts, the purpose of WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? is to, as Irving points out in her introduction, “break the code of silence” so that we can engage in frank conversations about race. This book is highly recommended for students and teachers, and anyone else interested in seeking an understanding of race from a white perspective. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA is a valuable starting point with numerous references and further readings for a deeper, richer, understanding of race in America.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA:
Breaking the White Code of Silence,
A Collection of Personal Narratives
Edited by Gabrielle David and
Sean Frederick Forbes
Introduction by Debby Irving
with an afterword by Tara Betts
Apr. 2016 | 630 pp. | 6” x 9” | $29.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-48-3 (pbk.)
LCCN: 2015913482
Apr. 2016 | EBOOK | $15.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-49-0 (ebook)

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