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What Was I Thinking? No. 2:

Digging Deeper Into Everyday Racism

Barbara Beckwith

Paperback, 40 pgs., 5.5" x 8.5", stapled

A collection of 8 essays by the author describing her journey as a white anti-racist trainer and activist. Second in a series of 3.


What Was I Thinking? No. 2

Barbara Beckwith gives us another seven personal essays in this, the second booklet in her series, What Was I Thinking? Personable, insightful stories from her own life reveal the complexities and subtleties of race and racism through the eyes of a seasoned white activist and writer. She ends with an eighth and final chapter containing 18 mini reviews of books on race published between 2010 and 2012.

Here's what's inside What Was I Thinking? Digging Deeper Into Everyday Racism

1) Word Wealth: Messages From My Vocabulary Book
I looked back at my junior high school vocabulary book, Word Wealth, to see what words I learned back then, and what else I may have absorbed, unintentionally.

2) What IS This about Bloodlines?
I had looked down on people who pursue their family trees and DNA test results — until I discovered what I was missing.

3) Reading My Mother: Eugenics, Race and Foster Care
After reading my mother's 1920s college paper and 1930s orphanage report, I thought they showed her to be a bigot. When I read more closely, I saw something quite different.

4) My Circuitous Path toward Cultural Respect
I assumed that to be "culturally competent," I'd need to learn everything about "other" cultures. But I've found a simpler route; cultural humility.

5) Keeping My Integrity AND an Open Mind
As I learn to listen intensley to others' experiences, how do I stay honest to my own, although possibly flawed, understanding of reality?

6) Seeing Institutional Racism: Where IS It?
I seek to uncover hidden racism in health care, transportation, and sports, but seeing clearly is not always so easy.

7) Giving Jargon Its Due
I rebelled against the unfamiliar words used by my fellow racial justice activists, especially academics, until I realized that to change people's thinking, we may need to create such new words.

8) Books that Matter to Me
I recommend these 18 books published between 2010 and 2012, written by white authors and by authors of color, in genres ranging from nonfiction and memoir, to novels, poetry, and personal testimony.