Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
Valerie I. Harrison is the Senior Advisor to the President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Temple University. Kathryn Peach D’Angelo is the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration at Temple University.
"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, author of How to Be an Antiracist
"Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D'Angelo 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."--Shelf Awareness