Waking up white

Today I picked up a book Waking up White by Debby Irving. It seems to be the perfect companion to My First White Friend by Patricia Raybon. Patricia was the daughter of a government worker and a veteran fighting against segregation and racism. Debby Irving was born in 1960 the daughter of a privileged New England family who almost never was forced to think about race. Whereas Patricia is very dark and confronts the question of racism and color consciousness among African-Americans. To help lighten the load I also picked up some quick reading Walter Mosley novels. Mosley discusses race while his characters solve mysteries and try not to be killed.

It is impossible to imagine how white and isolated from reality Debby Irving was in her WASP world. She described it as being something out of 1960s television show, Father Knows Best where dad commuted to work, nothing controversial was ever discussed and they rarely if ever saw African Americans or other people of color. It wasn’t that they were overly racist, they just never saw us.

Her story is one of self discovery and coming to grips with the idea she  was unprepared for the real world. Perhaps some of white white readers have been in the position of Debby and can relate to her experience.girl with apple

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