Toadstool Bookshops presents WHITE IN AMERICA
New England Contributors in Peterborough, NH
J. Kates, Meg J. Petersen, Deborah Mashibini-Prior, Barbara Beckwith
with a special appearance by
Debby Irving, racial justice educator, author of the acclaimed book,
Waking Up White (2014), and author of the introduction to
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA?
Saturday, November 5th at 11 AM.
Toadstool Bookshops, 12 Depot Sq., Peterborough, NH
For more information call: 603-924-3543
White people talking about what it means to be white in America today, is a conversation that some of avoid, others engage in with hesitation or at least slight restraint, while others wish they could figure out how to engage without setting themselves up for accusations of racism or the discomfort that oftentimes surrounds conversations among white people about race today. The personal narratives in WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? tackles this theme head-on by sharing a broad range of voices and perspectives in a collection of work by 82 contributors from around the country, all responding to the question: What does it mean to be white in America?
“For as much as I knew, the whiteness of my small New Hampshire town has just happened naturally,” writes Meg Peterson, a Peterborough native whose essay “The White Notebooks” is featured in this collection. “No black people or other people of color had ever lived there – this was because they would not want to. It was too cold, I assumed. There was nothing to be done about it… When I was a child I don’t think anyone thought much about it . . . White erased everything so completely and effectively that I did not see it . . . . Like snow blindness, like a blank wall. Not much to say about that.”
On Saturday, November 5th at 11 AM, Toadstool Bookshops in Peterborough, New Hampshire, will host a reading and discussion featuring contributors from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Joining Meg Peterson, currently director of the National Writing Project in New Hampshire and a professor of English at Plymouth State University, will be Barbara Beckwith, a journalist and essayist whose writing has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Columbia Journalism Review, Ms., and Essence; J. Kates of Fitzwilliam, a poet, literary translator and president of Zephyr Press, a non-profit press that focuses on contemporary works in translation from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia; and Deborah Mashibini-Prior, a poet and educator from Enfield who teaches with Southern New Hampshire University and River Valley Community College. Special appearance by racial justice educator and author of Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race,(2014), Debby Irving, who wrote the introduction of WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? and has been previously featured at Toadstool Bookshops.
“[W]hen I began telling white friends, family, and perfect strangers that I planned to deepen my understanding of racism, and shared with them the questions that filled my mind, something remarkable happened,” writes Irving, in the introduction to this collection. “Far from the silence and shunning I anticipated, most leaned closer, lowered their voices, and said something like, “Me too. I’ve wondered that too.” Often the comment would be followed by a story of an unresolved upset or confusion. Everyone, it seemed, had a story. Most also had questions.”
Join the New England Contributors of WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA? at Toadstool Bookshops in Peterborough, New Hampshire as they share their stories and perspectives; and participate in the Q&A that follows in what might be one of the most important conversations happening in our country today. Books available for sale; book signing to follow.