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Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  419 ratings  ·  80 reviews
With a foreword by Tim Wise, Raising White Kids is for families, churches, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able participants in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions. For white people who are committed to equity and justice, living in a nation that ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Abingdon Press (first published January 2018)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Mindi Welton-Mitchell
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
(also posted on my blog:

I grew up in Alaska, and after a short time living in Anchorage in a diverse neighborhood, we moved to a rural area. I attended a school that was predominantly white, with a handful of Native Alaskan students and fewer than five black students. While I knew that racism was wrong, I didn’t understand that racism was still prevalent or that I had privilege. I learned in school that segregation was something that happened a long time
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was so well instructed by this book—realizing my need to ask questions of and listen to the kids in my life, rather than commenting dogmatically. I also realized I’m avoiding talking about race and therefore communicating something about it. There are lots of good tips as well as theoretical discussions. Vital reading.
Emily Dia
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a compelling and practical look at talking about racial identity and social consciousness with all children. It pairs nicely with Seen on Radio’s “Seeing White” podcast series.
Adam Shields
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Short Review: This is a very helpful book full of practical examples of real kids and real situations that come up as parents. This is a challenging book as a parent because no only do you need to help your own children learn how to be White in a racially unjust world, you can't really do that unless you also deal with your own issues around race. And there is a level of difficulty in helping someone else process something, even if you have come to a basic understanding of racial issues ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
Dr. Harvey left me with a love/hate relationship to her book.

She has a brilliant, insightful and wonderful analysis of many of the problems related to white parents and children negotiating a racist and yet multi-cultural landscape. Her thoughtful explanations of how most white parents approach racial issues is spot on - attempting to teach children to treat all persons equally assumes equality is the normative experience of all children. Rather than trying to be "color blind" and instead being
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
In her book, Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America (Abingdon), Jennifer Harvey offers practical parenting advice designed to help parents of white kids enter bravely into conversation with their children about systemic, structural, and individual racism. Harvey is a professor at Drake University and the author ofDear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation(Wm. B. Eerdmans).

When I was growing up in 1960s and '70s Virginia, my
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: justice, parenting
All of the parenting books I've read are emphatic on this point: I need to have a plan. I need to be prepared with the right gear and the right attitude. It is all up to me as the parent.

Harvey quickly challenges this assumption and invites parents to partner with their kids. She puts it simply with the claim that challenging the forces of white supremacy can be as simple as "listen[ing] carefully and follow[ing] our children's lead." She encourages exploration and asking questions together
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was helpful. There were a few sections I found really powerful, and they gave me a lot of food for thought. Especially the how-to sections, like what do you do when your six year old white daughter comes home from a class room discussion of civil rights and says "I'm so glad I'm white!" /headdesk. Like what is the right time to dig into these issues? Also her discussion of how black/white friendships fall apart by middle school and why. And then the problems that white kids experience in ...more
Tawnee Walling
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical, inspiring, compassionate and written in an engaging and accessible manner. Jennifer Harvey gives examples and suggestions from her own life that provide space for parents to explore their own fears/questions/confusion so they can get to a place of action. She provides tools and strategies to engage with our children about race and racism in age appropriate ways. This is a must read for parents of white children who are willing to have hard conversations and want to live out ...more
Steph Scholl
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for anyone who works with white children, is raising white children or thinking of becoming a parent to a white child.

“It’s deeply necessary we let our children’s hearts get broken a bit if they are going to remain able to recognize the humanity of their fellow humans whose lives are at stake in the system we live in. It’s necessary if they are going to grow any rooted sense of themselves as part of a larger, multiracial community of people to whom they are committed, and with
John Mehrman
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
The message the author captures regarding lingering racial inequalities, the harm is does to our country, and how to raise kids to equip them with the tools to address the problems is great. I just felt is was too long and preachy at times. You could read the first chapter, the takeaways at the end of the other chapters, and the conclusion and get almost all of her arguments. Some books would be better articles/papers.
Rachel Bush
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This past year I have been reading a bunch of books, both non-fiction and fiction, on the topic of race, race relations, and racism. I really enjoyed this book as it helped walk me through a lot of the information that I have been processing and converted it into how I can help my own kids navigate their awakening to their whiteness, how the fit in the racial landscape, and how to become anti-racists. I highly recommend this book.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I so appreciated Harvey's perspective and her use of specific examples in her own life and the lives of her friends and family. It helped me push past the idea that I need to always know the right thing and to engage in these conversations with my kids even as I am learning and growing too. Highly recommend.
Katy L.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This needs to be required reading for all white parents of white children, as well as white teachers. We can work together to change the systems and attitudes in place, and we must! I’m finishing this book with hope, but also aware of how much more I still have to learn.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A MUST-READ for all those that are parenting the next generation of white citizens! This book explains the importance of not only acknowledging race and culture but the absolute need for our white children to fully know and understand their place in standing up against racism and unfair treatment of marginalized groups in this country and world. It is an excellent, thought-provoking read!
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sampled
In depth context for each idea makes for slow reading. Will go back to it as my child ages and interacts with the world more. Certainly helped frame the issues for me. Worthwhile reading for any white parent.
Smooth Via
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent resource for those who desire to raise their kids as allies.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every white parent, and heck, every white person who was a child needs to read this book if you are committed to being an anti-racist. There are so many great explanations and actionable ways to help give our children and ourselves agency and to work responsibly as allies for POC.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this incredibly inspiring. I hope I meet the challenges laid out in this book. I'm planning to buy a copy for future reference.
Adam Blons
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Helpful guide to race conscious parenting.
Cathy Sweeney
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: social-justice, dnf
I wasn't enthralled with the book, and that could be for one of many reasons: I am not a parent of young children; I read many books on diversity and racism; or maybe I just thought it was too long.

Harvey's examples and personal reflections are sound, and provide good advice for parents. I'd recommend it for a "read and discuss" book club, picking out certain examples or providing case studies with concrete examples
Susan Halvor
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book. I love the way Jennifer Harvey normalizes how HARD it is (and awkward, and confusing) to talk with kids openly about race. She talks about why "not seeing color" isn't a helpful response, and addresses the importance of giving kids tools to talk about and address race and injustice, including thinking about how white kids conceptualize what it means to be white -- noting that when white kids feel like they "don't have a race," they can "become ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race-and-racism
Not a lot of information that I hadn’t read elsewhere, but a GREAT primer for white parents and soon-to-be parents who have just started thinking about how to approach teaching their kids about race and racism. Lots of information re. What the research shows is and is not effective at teaching kids about equity and justice, and growing a generation of active anti-racists.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From my offspring's school assignment;

In the United States, there is constant and current evidence of racism as a profound challenge for the people who live it, and for the people who wish to improve racial equity; from systemic and structural racism, down to the individual prejudices that permeate our society. Activists of all colors agree that there need to be effective tools to help win this battle. Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, by Jennifer Harvey,
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kids spend a great deal of time in school; so raising them is the province, not just of parents, but of teachers as well. In my 20-plus years of teaching, I have seen so many of the truths that Jennifer Harvey communicates in Raising White Kids born out. Her examples and practical suggestions for engaging white kids on the subject of racial injustice make this work unique and help allay some of the helplessness felt by those who wish they could do something but don’t know what to do. I highly ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gave-me-pause
"Whether we explicitly pay attention to children's racial development or not, our children develop anyway. So for those of us who want to raise white children who are able, facile, and engaged as friends, peers, and citizens in a diverse society, paying intentional attention to racial development isn't optional. We can't just put our best foot forward, push off hard conversations about race for fear that we won't do a good enough job or generically to teach them the value of equality, and then ...more
Heidi Thorsen
I did not find this book particularly helpful. It is chock full of things *the author* did to raise race-awareness with her own daughter, but somehow very little of it resonated with me. I do agree with the premise that teaching race “color-blindness” and putting kids in diverse environments has not done much to eliminate systemic racism in the U. S. But I didn’t finish the book thinking, “OK, I know what needs to be done and I know what I need to do to solve the problem.” I think the author ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great. Written for parents and caregivers to children of all ages, with tips that apply to adults as well, and each chapter has a brief summary at the end to drive home the important stuff. Great examples of the problems that race discussions can present, how to respond to questions, and how to start young. There's a list of resources at the back, as well as a segment on talking with teachers.

This is written with love and respect for people who may have questioned movements like
Haley Moehlis
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I think the topic of race is an important one, and she certainly makes the clear case for talking with our children about it. I found her anecdotes and the research she drew upon to be interesting, thought-provoking, and surprising, urging us to confront topics with our children that may feel uncomfortable, but are important.

The one element with which I'm still grappling is my concern that my children, especially because of their developmental capacities, may become so fixated on identifying
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a parent yet, but I am an aunt. I wanted to know how to encourage the development of anti-racist thought and action, and how I could talk to my brother and sister-in-law about raising a white child in America. As a teacher, I also wanted more ideas and a more solid framework for addressing race in the classroom, especially now that I teach in a diverse school (as opposed to my previous experience teaching only black and brown students). This is a great starting point. Telling kids ...more
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