Occasionally, authors and publishers contact RevGalBlogPals and ask if anyone has interest in reading a soon-to-be published book and then reviewing it. Sometimes a few people jump at the chance & sometimes we clamor. This was certainly a title that got my attention right away. My own children are college-age now, but I am the Children’s minister in my church and I knew this could be a great resource for my families. I was completely right.
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by the Rev Dr Jennifer Harvey is a book I wish I had read 25 years ago before I had children. Intuitively, I believe our family navigated racial discussions in much the same method Dr Harvey recommends, but certainly not as intentionally.
Dr. Harvey advocates for Race Conscious Parenting: noticing and commenting on racial and cultural differences and similarities in everyday life and interactions. She advocates teaching white children their own stories of race and culture and history, so that they can have their own sense of racial identity which allows space for others to have their own sense of racial identity. This sort of parenting must be intentional about naming our own troubled histories as well. It requires the parents to educate themselves and bring themselves up to speed in the discussions about race and racially unjust structures.
The only criticism I have of the book is not even one I can articulate well, except to say that I did not feel as though Dr Harvey went far enough in explaining why we need to do this work within our own families. She is very careful to say that we are not doing it from a “white savior” standpoint, but she never defines the why beyond that. I really wanted to go deeper into that area beyond my own beliefs about how God calls us to value every human and peek into what she thinks from an academic viewpoint.
Among the enlightening discussions in the book: why Colorblindness is very dangerous, the stages of racial development, being an ally, having agency, all followed by very practical language on implementation. Also, Dr Harvey consistently points to others’ work in these areas and recommends other reading as follow-up or to go deeper. I appreciated those recommendations.
If you would like to read the introduction, and see what other’s are saying, click here.
I was given a second copy of the book to give away – would you like it? Comment below and then check the box to receive emails from other comments, OR comment on my Facebook thread. I will choose a winner by random drawing on March 10 and then mail out the book that week.