Learning to Raise Black Children in White SpacesValerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D'Angelo
For decades, Katie D’Angelo and Valerie Harrison engaged in conversations about race and racism. However, when Katie and her husband, who are white, adopted Gabriel, a biracial child, Katie’s conversations with Val, who is black, were no longer theoretical and academic. The stakes grew from the two friends trying to understand each other’s perspectives to a mother navigating, with input from her friend, how to equip a child with the tools that will best serve him as he grows up in a white family.
Through lively and intimate back-and-forth exchanges, the authors share information, research, and resources that orient parents and other community members to the ways race and racism will affect a black child’s life—and despite that, how to raise and nurture healthy and happy children. These friendly dialogues about guarding a child’s confidence and nurturing positive racial identity form the basis for Do Right by Me. Harrison and D’Angelo share information on transracial adoption, understanding racism, developing a child’s positive racial identity, racial disparities in healthcare and education, and the violence of racism.
Do Right by Me also is a story about friendship and kindness, and how both can be effective in the fight for a more just and equitable society.
"Talking about racism can be tough, but the authors present hard truths with aplomb.... Harrison and D'Angelo write with an urgency and hopefulness that make progress both a mandate and something within reach... (T)hey present statistics and contextual history, which makes for a highly informative and compelling narrative. Essential reading for those who parent or nurture Black children or anyone who wants to better understand race in America.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This timely examination of discrimination and privilege is packed with insight and should be a great resource for white parents raising children of color."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“ Part history lesson, part intimate narrative, and part practical guide, Do Right by Me is a well-drafted roadmap for raising healthy Black children.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, Founding Director, Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and author of How to Be an Antiracist
“ Learning how to do right by Black children is nonnegotiable for adults of any racial background who have Black children in their lives, not only parents; it is the work of teachers, coaches, family friends, Sunday school teachers, crossing guards, restaurant servers, flight attendants, and all others who spend time in the life of a Black child. Harrison and D’Angelo demonstrate—through their stories, their research, and their friendship—both the incredible power of cross-racial relationships and multiracial family, as well as the openness, humility, learning, and work required to access it. Their lives and relationship are proof that it’s possible and worth it.”
—Dr. Ali Michael, Codirector of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators, and coeditor of The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys
"Do Right by Me offers essential, authentic guidance to non-Black parents and caregivers raising Black children through transracial adoption or in multi-racial homes. Crucially, it emphasizes the importance of promoting a strong, positive identity based on a healthy understanding of African history, culture, art, body image and spirituality.... (A) valuable resource for any reader prepared to serve as a critical ally to Black children and their families."
— Shelf Awareness
"Not many books can weave deep personal stories and complex scholarly concepts with power, confidence and smoothness. Do Right by Me is one of those books.... By intertwining everyday experiences of racism and out-of-placeness faced by the (adopted) young Gabriel with background about the struggles of African Americans in the United States, this title is a compassionate and strong handbook that helps readers to develop a better understanding of the racial context of that country and to nurture black and mixed-race children to live a fulfilling life.... This title is a must-read for white audiences, who swiftly need to learn how to educate their children and each other against racism in its various shapes and forms."
— Ethnic and Racial Studies
"In this penetrating tandem narrative of relationships across barriers of race and transracial adoption Valerie Harrison and Kathryn D’Angelo reveal how understanding African American culture is the foundation for a white family raising black children.... The book takes on interesting and entertaining vignettes of parenting as plinths for entering into conversations about the history of African Americans, dysconscious racism, threats of violence, and community values.... Do Right by Me pulsates with literary energy, wit and comedic relief.... (T)his book is a good choice for all parents, not just white parents, who want to raise their black children in this society."
—Journal of Black Studies