The impact of racism on African-Americans is an issue that has been publicly examined for some time now –– but the impact of that same racism on whites has rarely been explored, and never, to my knowledge, at book length. Now comes COMBINED DESTINIES: Whites Sharing Grief About Racism.
“By beginning a conversation that encourages self-examination and compassion,” writes publisher Potomac Books, “Combined Destinies invites its readers to look at how white Americans have been hurt by the very ideology that their ancestors created.”
Edited by psychotherapists Ann Todd Jealous, an African-American, and Caroline T. Haskell, who is white, the book is built on the personal stories of a diverse group of contributors. The issues of guilt, silence, shame, resistance and freedom, among others, are broken into chapters. The stories are compelling, intimate and persuasive.
Among them is one of the landmark civil rights cases, the 1960 court-ordered integration of New Orleans public schools. Two elementary schools were selected to be the first mixed-race schools. White parents angrily boycotted the schools, and blacks were afraid to send their children. On the first day of integration, only one black girl, Ruby Bridges, attended. Only two white children, escorted by police past shouting mobs, joined Ruby at the Wiilliam J. Frantz Schoo.
My fiancé Yolanda was one of those two white girls, and in an interview in Combined Destinies, she explains its impact on her –– and the courageous decision by her mother, Daisy, a Costa Rican by birth, to challenge the vitriol and racism.
A review of the book, which I recommend, is here: