2Leaf Press is thrilled to announce the publication of its highly anticipated book, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA: BREAKING THE WHITE CODE OF SILENCE, A COLLECTION OF PERSONAL NARRATIVES, a collection that asks just that. Edited by 2Leaf Press editors, Gabrielle David and Sean Frederick Forbes, this groundbreaking collection of 82 personal narratives reflect a vibrant range of stories from white Americans who speak frankly and openly about race. This 680 page book is now available on sale and on April 15, 2016 in paperback and ebook format. Pre‐orders are available on Amazon.com, and information about the writers are at www.whiteinamerica.org.
While the literature on “whiteness” has long been dominated by an academic point of view, editors David and Forbes came to the realization that there was an unmet need for an anthology of personal narratives about white race and culture from the perspective of white Americans. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? was conceived at a time when racial tensions in the United States has escalated in a way that has not been seen in decades. “In reality, racism has never gone away,” says editor David and publisher of 2Leaf Press. “It’s been bubbling just beneath the surface for years. In fact, when the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964, certain forces in this country set upon deconstructing it for capitalistic purposes using race as a wedge, and what we are witnessing today is a direct result of that.”
The stories in WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? cover a wide gamut of American history from contributors around the United States; from reminiscing about segregation and Jim Crow, to today’s headlines of police brutality, politics and #BlackLivesMatters. The variety in style and subject is represented by people of different backgrounds who have created an absorbing and thought‐provoking collection that explores race from a very personal perspective. In the telling, not only do they discuss their discomfort in talking about race, they also share big and small moments in their lives that have shaped what it means to be white in America, and how it affects the way they see themselves and others. Some offer viewpoints one may not necessarily agree with, but nevertheless, it is clear that each contributor is committed to answering the question as honestly as possible. In WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA?, these enduring narratives manage to grab hold of readers with transformative stories they can relate to, regardless of skin color and race.
“In these personal narratives, one will see that there are many dialogues enacted on the page,” explains editor Forbes. “Many of the contributors freely admitted to having problems answering the title question, most notably in thinking that this was something that could be written in an hour or even in one sitting. Writing any type of personal narrative is challenging, uncomfortable, and often times painful, but it allows one to initiate an internal dialogue about aspects of one’s society and culture that are unsettling. The contributors in WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? took on a brave and monumental task by speaking candidly about race.”
With an Introduction by racial justice educator, Debby Irving, and an afterword by African American scholar and poet, Tara Betts, the purpose of WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? is to, as Irving points out in her introduction, “break the code of silence” so that we can engage in frank conversations about race. This book is highly recommended for students and teachers, and anyone else interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of race from a white perspective. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? provides an invaluable starting point that includes numerous references and further readings for those who seek a deeper, richer, understanding of race in America.