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DO RIGHT BY ME by Valerie I. Harrison Kirkus Star


Learning To Raise Black Children In White Spaces

by Valerie I. Harrison & Kathryn Peach D'Angelo

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4399-1995-8
Publisher: Temple Univ. Press

A timely and in-depth parenting guide for White parents of Black children.

The authors, longtime friends and colleagues, aim to “orient parents and other community members to the ways race and racism will affect a Black child’s life, and despite that, how to raise and nurture healthy and happy children.” Harrison is Black, and D’Angelo and her husband are the White adoptive parents of a child whose biological mother is White and whose biological father is Black. The book grew out of the authors’ ongoing conversations about race and D’Angelo’s efforts to equip her son with the perspectives he needs to thrive. White parents, write the authors, must understand systemic racism, culture, identity, privilege, White supremacy and how their Black children will navigate the world in ways that they do not have to. To “protect, nurture, educate, affirm, encourage and advocate for every child,” love isn’t enough. Talking about racism can be tough, but the authors present hard truths with aplomb, taking a deep dive into a range of topics, including positive racial identity, foundational research on transracial adoption, how racism impacts Black people’s health, racial inequity in education, and the persistent threat of violence against Black people. Ultimately, the authors call on parents and others to make specific commitments to create change within their communities and “dramatically change the social, political, and cultural system.” Harrison and D'Angelo write with an urgency and hopefulness that make progress both a mandate and something within reach. Their voices alternate throughout the text in candid and intimate conversations with each other, the reader, and the larger culture. Alongside their personal stories and real-life challenges, they present statistics and contextual history, which makes for a highly informative and compelling narrative.

Essential reading for those who parent or nurture Black children or anyone who wants to better understand race in America.