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Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race (Paperback)
Debby Irving brings to racial justice the perspective of
working as a community organizer and classroom teacher for 25 years without
understanding racism as a systemic issue or her own whiteness as an obstacle to
grappling with it. As general manager of Boston’s
Dance Umbrella and First Night, and later as a classroom teacher in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, she struggled to make sense of tensions she could feel but not
explain in racially mixed settings. In 2009, a graduate school
course, Racial and Cultural Identity, gave her the answers she’d been looking
for and launched her on a journey of discovery. Debby now devotes herself to
working with white people exploring the impact white skin can have on
perception, problem solving, and engaging in racial justice work.
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.
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