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

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,345 ratings  ·  199 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 remain ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Abingdon Press (first published January 2018)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  1,345 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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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
Melinda 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
✨ Livia ✨
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: enjoyed-it, 4-stars
My Rating: 4 stars

Raising White Kids is exactly what the title says it is. It's a book full of guidance, tips, must-knows and must-dos when raising a white child in a world like today, where the world is corrupted everywhere by racism. This book tells one how to raise white children to be antiracists and stand up for justice every time they see injustice occurring.

My Breakdown:

- This was a really good book. Granted, I don't have kids, but I figured that I could learn a lot from this book
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 yourself ...more
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 of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Wm. B. Eerdmans).

When I was growing up in 1960s and '70s Virginia, my moderate-
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very straightforward book- making it clear that you need to talk authentically with your children about race early and often. One aspect I hadn’t really thought about is helping our kids interpret the meaning of racial differences in order that they do not absorb the negative messages about race and people of color that pervade our society.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, justice
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 rath
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 di ...more
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.
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. ...more
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, att
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I read this book and met with two other parents, who are also raising white kids in the same urban city as me, to discuss the ideas presented and brainstorm how we can apply the ideas to our own parenting. With books like this one, there is a call to action and I highly recommended finding someone to keep you accountable to those actions moving through and forward from reading this book. The author repeatedly states that this is not the definitive answer to raising our kids in an unj ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
There are many great discussion points, conversation starters (and probing questions for continuing the dialogue with your kids) packed into this readable book. I especially appreciated some of the examples Dr. Harvey uses in detailing how to go about anti-racist/racial awareness parenting - i.e. comparing to moments of sexism and connecting various forms of oppression and inequities. She digs in on bringing kids to protests and having them truly FEEL the power and energy of race in their bodies ...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 anti-racis ...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
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.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, race
Full disclaimer: I don't have kids. But I still found this book useful in introducing tools I can use to better equip myself for discussing race and racism publicly, as well as how to be an ally. Jennifer Harvey is an immensely talented writer and it's clear that racial and social justice is her life's passion. ...more
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!
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group
Learning how to speak openly about race is hard, and learning how to do so with our kids is even harder, so in terms of content, this book was/is important and helpful. Unfortunately, it’s not very well written, too preachy, and, like most books of this type, twice as long as it needed to be. Still, it provides good guidance if you stick with it. It has already changed our conversations and understanding for the better.
It does assume that the reader is already convinced that racial injustice is
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.
Jessica Ferronetti
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really good read, helped me to further think about my own practices in my classroom.
Alanna Schwartz
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a relevant read that has me thinking lots about my future white kids, my childhood, and how I parent myself. Being an ally means being uncomfortable and learning how to show up in that discomfort.
Some portions of this book felt a bit repetitive, but it was all so important to read!
Sep 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
Note to self: This nonsense is what is wrong with this country. See this article: ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

Anyone that is going to be playing a role in raising white children should read this book! So many practical discussions with how to best approach racism with our kids—truly very helpful!
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. ...more
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73 likes · 21 comments
“Children can’t learn antiracism if they don’t have the practice of observing, naming, and discussing race in their tool kit.” 1 likes
“is difficult for many white adults to begin to speak about race openly and explicitly. We only learn to do it and get better at it through practice. There’s no way around those awkward, challenging feelings. ​There’s no special age at which point kids are ready to hear and understand the difficult truths about race and racism. They begin to work out their racial concepts and ideas long before they can articulate them. ​We start with our children’s deepest assumptions about the world: a notion of race as visible and normal, an awareness of racial injustice, and a working presumption that people can and do take actions against racism. ​ Young children should be engaged with lots of talk about difference: skin tone and bodies, and the ways different communities of color identify. Making a commitment to normalize talk about difference preempts the pressures kids experience to treat difference as a taboo. ​Be aware that using the language of race—especially with young children—always runs the risk of reducing people to labels or implying everyone who shares that identity label is the same in some significant way (stereotyping). Be specific and nuanced. ​Race-conscious parenting for a healthy white identity development must include teaching about racial injustice and inequity as much as it does racial difference. Consider experiential learning, such as protests, for this.” 0 likes
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