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My 2nd booklet on race-related essays is out

Posted on 23 October 2012 by Barbara Beckwith (262)

My 2nd booklet of personal essays, What Was I Thinking? Digging Deeper into Everyday Racism is just out and available from my distributor. The racial justice publisher Crandall, Dostie and Douglass Books sells it for $8.95 at In them, I re-examine my high school textbook; view (and misjudge) my mother’s racial views, and learn how to show cultural respect. I also struggle to “see” institutional racism, rebel against the current “bloodlines” craze, and reconcile myself to anti-racist jargon. A final chapter gives capsule reviews of 18 new books that I recommend to anyone concerned about racial justice. And if you missed my first booklet, What Was I Thinking? Reflecting on Everyday Racism (2010), it’s also available at

Table of Contents

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.

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.

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.

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.

Keeping My Integrity AND an Open Mind

As I learn to listen intensely to others’ experiences, how do I stay honest to my own, although possibly flawed, understanding of reality?

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.

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.

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 non-fiction and memoir, to novels, poetry, and personal testimony.

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