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My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love and Forgiveness
     

My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love and Forgiveness

4.0 1
by Patricia Raybon
 

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"In mid-life Afro-American journalist Raybon made a conscious decision to stop hating white people. Her journal/analysis provides discourse on hatred and forgiveness, the rise of her hatred, and her efforts to conquer her fears and forgive the past. An unusual account of conscious change."—Kirkus Reviews.

Overview

"In mid-life Afro-American journalist Raybon made a conscious decision to stop hating white people. Her journal/analysis provides discourse on hatred and forgiveness, the rise of her hatred, and her efforts to conquer her fears and forgive the past. An unusual account of conscious change."—Kirkus Reviews.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reared in suburban Denver, a black woman of middle age, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Colorado, Raybon decided to challenge her demons and "trace [her] journey from rage to racial reasoning." This diaristic mix of anecdote and meditation shows her embracing complexity, trying to treat people as individuals while recognizing how race still matters. She writes of her father, an auditor, born poor in Mississippi, who willed himself to be a success in the white world but could never relax. She explores the specter of interracial sex, laden with taboo, and suggests that love would mean a healing, quotidian remedy. She has learned from Gandhi and King, flawed men who found inner peace in larger struggle. Marrying a light-skinned black man had forced Raybon to confront her own color prejudice, while her classroom experience has prompted students and professor alike to challenge their stereotypical attitudes. Raybon's terrain here is not all new, but her confessional has the intimate voice of hard-won honesty. (June)
Library Journal
Recalling the history of her family and her childhood in largely white eastern Colorado, Raybon (journalism, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) traces the life journey that transformed her, a bitter African American angry at all whites, into a mature woman who decides to stop hating and start forgiving. As the reader learns of the struggle of her father and the dignity of her mother and grandmother, one can only be inspired by their courage and hope. Raybon tried hard to evoke hatred for whites from her family, but their response was one of love, of living the American dream, of doing the best an African American could do even during the worst inequities of segregation. In a poignant letter to her "first white friend," there is the constant reminder of how stunned Raybon was that a white girl could accept her as she is. This book conveys the message that individuals can overcome the highest hurdles, even race, with courage and love. Recommended for all libraries.-Kevin Whalen, Union P.L., N.J.
Kirkus Reviews
In these related essays, an African-American woman documents her passage from racial hatred to personal salvation and delivers an eloquent message of hope.

For most of her life Raybon saw that "white people, conveniently, played their timeless role . . . every day [they] did something hateful"—and she hated them in response. But in middle age, Raybon, a journalist and commentator on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, found that she had to "stop hating . . . to start living." Here she traces the origins of her racial hatred through several generations, focusing on how lessons of hate, not love, were taught in daily life (her own, her father's, his mother's). A combination of racism and self-doubt fed their desire for white approval, a condition that became more acute for Raybon when her family moved to a predominantly white Denver suburb. There she learned a self-negating art: "Smiling when nothing is nice. Laughing when nothing is funny. Agreeing when nothing is agreeable." These essays, while episodic, are packed with powerful moments: Raybon seeing her first anti-segregation picket, being terrorized by a pack of white boys at school, being approached on the playground by a kind girl who became her first white friend. In her quest for peace, the author looks mainly to God and to the writings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Through them, she says, she freed herself from the hatred for white people that had kept her a slave to her anger and her past. But forgiveness, she stresses, is a process, a matter of degrees. Unfortunately, Raybon leaves some holes in the narrative: The relationship between her own daughters—one dark-skinned, and one light—remains unexamined, and readers never learn what became of Kerry Monroe, her first white friend.

A tale of hard-won racial healing, and a universal testament to the power of reaching out and moving on.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140244366
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
344,404
Product dimensions:
4.99(w) x 7.69(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love and Forgiveness 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago