As a white adoptive mother of a Black child and a psychologist, I am grateful for Drs. Harrison and D’Angelo’s thoughtful and nuanced work. This book is a valuable resource, offering insights both historical and personal. The friendship between the two authors and their candor regarding race, racism and raising children provides a model for the kinds of conversations and introspection each and every one of us should be engaged in as we strive to dismantle racism, be better ancestors and protect and nurture Black children.
Let's be clear I do not have adopted children and I'm a Black woman. This book covers all of the underlying conversations that we have that affect Black children in American society today. While showing how the relationship between the authors transforms both of their lives to raising Gabriel. This is a biography wrapped in data and research which makes it an engaging book to read. The point of view from both authors was seamless ...so the reader clearly knows who is speaking while also giving you a clear idea of their points of view. This book covers inequity in education, disparities in healthcare, the history of American racism, talking to our children about racism, and intentional parenting. With clear steps to raising a black child in white spaces. In my goal to provide my children with a quality education. I have placed them in white spaces but I never thought of some of the hazards that may occur beyond the ones that I have faced. These authors did a beautiful job of helping me reflect on how I can improve.
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. One cannot read this book and assume that raising a black child happens in a vacuum. Providing the child with an economic middle class lifestyle will not replace the cultural and historical talk; white parents of a black child must pay attention to the manifold pitfalls that might trip up both child and parents. In presenting the book as a socio-historical-economic- value narrative for contemporary times I am not suggesting that the book is for only the intellectual parents; it is profoundly a practical instrument for how to do right by a child being raised by parents who are of a different biological heritage. Many of the lessons taught in this book are observations that can be applied to parents of any cultural background raising children from a different background.
The way the book is structured, D’Angelo and Harrison make you feel as though you are with two friends having a down to earth discussion - part history lesson, reality check and real life guide. It is straight to the point(s) with heartfelt stories to clarify. The book details the importance of learning about and embracing diversity and the impact (and responsibility) we all have as a community in raising children - really powerful. I had lots of emotions and thoughts from reading. A question that stands out throughout the book and challenges the reader - is what will the reader commit to for change and growth? Something I will continue to think about. Well done!
I finished Do Right By Me in two days. I loved everything about it. From the individual yet complementary insights and your alternating view points, to the quotes beginning at each chapter, to the ability to break down the historical, institutional, multi-layers of racism. Yes, the book was born of Gabriel but also of a deep friendship of two people who did and do the work to understand one another and with an unwavering, mutual desire to treat everyone with the dignity they deserve. The book was pointed and poignant. It should be required reading for every person who impacts the life of a Black child -- parents, educators, law enforcers - everyone. It also gave me a richer understanding of our communal responsibility, the richness of Black pride and making people around you better.
Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces 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. The ethnically diverse authors were friends and colleagues at Temple University long before D'Angelo and her husband, a white couple, adopted Gabriel, a biracial baby. The profound joys of parenthood didn't prevent D'Angelo from grasping a devastating truth: "Our world does not give our son the privilege of acting like us, and moreover, it places on him the burden of managing how others feel about him."
Presented as an informative dialogue between friends, Do Right by Me confronts unreformed education, healthcare and judicial systems that prevent Black children from being judged solely on their merits, and offers bold strategies for overcoming the inherent disadvantages these systems perpetuate. In the context of education, "doing right" means that parents and caregivers must actively work to ensure each Black child receives the benefits expected by their white peers, and that schools affirmatively commit to fostering well-being for Black students. As Harrison says, "passive education environments equalize nothing for Black children." While tailored to parents and caregivers, Do Right by Me is an authentic, valuable resource for any reader prepared to serve as a critical ally to Black children and their families.
At heart, Do Right By Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces is about walking in someone else’s shoes...It’s like listening in on a thought-provoking, fearlessly honest conversation between good friends. Organized in alternating passages, thumbnail caricatures by Susan Jarvis Ragland provide a visual cue to who’s speaking at any point. Writing with passion and humor, D’Angelo and Harrison use recognizable milestones—choosing a pediatrician, evaluating a preschool, corresponding with the principal, attending a classmate’s birthday party—to open discussions incorporating psychology, history, culture, and racism.
Not many books can weave deep personal stories and complex scholarly concepts with power, confidence and smoothness. Do right by me: Learning to raise black children in white spaces is one of those books...In addition to a first chapter devoted to introducing the context of transracial adoption in the USA, each chapter covers one of the many aspects of the racial relations in that country: history (Chapter 2), friendships (Chapter 4), health care (Chapter 5), education (Chapter 6), and prejudice and violence (Chapter 7). Chapter 3 details how to develop a positive racial identity with black children in regard to spirituality, community, beauty, and arts and Chapter 8 appealingly wraps up the main topics covered throughout the book. The book introduces the reader to a range of historical events and scientific concepts, from the Atlantic slave trade to the Jim Crow laws, from intersectionality to the school-to-prison pipeline, which are crucial to understand the racial context of the USA... As many of academics’ extraordinary findings are still not accessible to everyone, they would especially benefit from learning how to write more engaging (social) science communication pieces to reach wider audiences, one of the strongest features of this book.