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What Was I Thinking?:

Reflections on everyday racism

Barbara Beckwith

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

A collection of 10 insightful essays by the author describing her journey as a white anti-racist trainer and activist.


What Was I Thinking?

"Beckwith peels back her own layers to reveal what it looks like to not simply reflect on everyday racism, but also to do something about it. Sometimes humorous, always frank and clear, these essays are a perfectly timed 'how-to' guide for white people serious about challenging racism." -- Bernestine Singley, editor of When Race Becomes Real: Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories

Here's what's inside What Was I Thinking? Reflecting on Everyday Racism

1) On Taking and Teaching White People Challenging Racism
How I moved from skepticism toward understanding the reality of white privilege.

2) Growing Up Oblivious - Inventory of a White Life
For the first time I examined my life from the perspective of being white.

3) "Aha" Moments
Those times in which we see clearly our racist thoughts or actions.

4) Words Matter
Is sensitivity toward words just a matter of political correctness?

5) Did You Hear the One About The ?
Can racist jokes be both racist AND funny, or not?

6) Truth in a Stack of Letters
Exploring the origins of anti-Semitism discovered in my college-age letters home.

7) Nosy Questions
What we considered inquisitiveness, others may see as downright rude and racist.

8) The Joy of Stereotyping
Admitting how pleasant labeling "other" people can be and letting go of that pleasure.

9) Reading to Understand and as a Spur to Anti-Racist Action
The books I turn to for understanding; how these vary over time.

10) On Being an Ally
Why I, a white, heterosexual, currently-abled person, have chosen to be an ally.