Waking up White

Waking up White

And Finding Myself in the Story of Race

Book - 2014 | 1st edition
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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.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Elephant Room Press, [2014]
Edition: 1st edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780991331307
Call Number: 305.800973 I723w 2014
Characteristics: xiv, 273 pages ; 23 cm


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Mar 06, 2021

Although the author mentions that this book is written for everyone, I (a white person) found it especially educational and thought-provoking. The documentaries she mentioned in the back of the book are available in the library, as well. I am continuing my self-education with all that is available through our wonderful library.

Mar 02, 2021

A much more honest take on racism than some other books (like White Fragility) based on the life experience of one person. However, the author’s experience is that of a white upper class person with accompanying wealth and privilege in a country that has not recovered from the institution of slavery. Not very relatable for a poor white person in a country with a different history and virtually no black people.

Jan 19, 2021

Very good discussion about how racism is taught to chikdren, from the author's personal experience growing up in a well-to-do White family and what can be done to combat the false narratives we may have picked up and unthinkingly passed along. Soul-churning self-examination and an invitation to all of us to engage in this in our own lives.

Jan 17, 2021

Discussion with Rev. Tracy Springberry
Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:15, February 3, 2021 to March 24, 2021

This book is a gentle, eye-opening introduction to systemic racism, white culture, and how to be an ally in the work for an anti-racist, anti oppressive Beloved Community. The book chronicles author Debby Irving’s journey from a well-meaning, upper middle class white woman with an interest in diversity work to a racial justice ally and educator.

The book is divided into eight sections and each week we'll discuss how race and white culture impact our lives and our quest for the Beloved Community. The conversation should be lively, meaningful, and hopefully eye- and heart-opening.

Oct 26, 2020

Read for bookgroup

Jun 27, 2020

"Waking Up White" was an eye opener for me. And especially relevant today with the massive BLM protests taking place around the world in June 2020. I learned a lot about my white invisible privilege, about how it came to be embedded in my culture, and ways to face it.
However, I am Canadian, I grew up on the prairies where there were virtually no black folks, and I’ve lived most of my adult life in a small city where, again, there are very few “people of colour”. BUT – I could completely relate to the issues Debby Irving raises when it comes to our First Nations people. It was not an easy read for me because I recognized myself and how I came to white privilege off the backs of our indigenous people. On the world stage, I now understand how I benefitted from generations of white colonialism and imperialism.
I appreciated Irving’s sincere and tenacious journey to explore her unconscious condition of being white, and to expose ways that racism is built into our systems … not necessarily a personal failing. This book enlightened me to the necessity of developing self-awareness through self-education.
A favourite quote: "I felt overcome with a sense of participation and responsibility. I understood that a tragedy had been staged in which I played the part of a deluded and unknowing beneficiary."

Mar 11, 2020

No one should apologize for their skin color, not even if you're white. Nothing against this lady, but this pap is just Liberal Apologetics aimed at white people. Race hustling is a multi-billion $$ industry, careers and fortunes built on it, hence their constant need to reinfect old wounds. They don't want them to heal. THAT's real racism. This book is just another hustle to make a few buck$ and to signal one's Liberal virtues.
Recommended: 'White Cargo;The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America'.

Aug 15, 2019

Chapter 8, only 38 pages into this book I will have to force myself to finish it. On this page alone the author states, “I grew up believing that all black people were great athletes and had a gift for rhythm.” A belief she held onto, even in 2009, “....each race having its own special assortment of talents and handicaps—except for the white race, of course, which seemed to be free of built-in handicaps.”
The author born in 1960, 10 years after I was, led a wealthy, life of privilege, I did not. I still was aware, as most people were, that things were not “on a level playing field” for all Americans as the author believed even in 2009. Who didn’t know that back in the 60’s?!
At this point it is no longer about being sheltered by her parents but living a life with blinders on and her head in the ground like an ostrich. With access to books, newspapers, tv, computers and in general dealing with people, how could anyone believe that nonsense?
Every page leaves me screaming WTF!
If I finish the book I will post an update. IF.....

Dec 22, 2018

With recent racial tensions on the rise in this country, I decided to try to find some logical reasoning on the matter. Race in America is a complex issue and any attempt to understand the plethora of layers it is composed of requires intellect. Debby Irving's book takes an intelligent and insightful approach to the heart of the issue. After reading the first few pages I knew this was a brave woman to discuss the problematic issue of race and to be transparent in her journey of understanding how and why systematic racism exits. The book is a must read for every American if we want to change the direction we are heading into.

Jul 03, 2017

I found this book extremely helpful - the author is thoughtful, responsible, vulnerable, and inspiring in sharing her journey in learning about race and her role in dismantling racial injustice. As a white woman who grew up with very modest means in a small-town rural community (with very few people of color), the message is very applicable and helpful. For white people afraid to venture into such a topic, you may find her approach heart-warming and gentle as the author shares her own steps and missteps as she embraced the issue of racial injustice and found more of her true self in the process.

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