“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving's focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life -- her own -- may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives -- and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving's window fascinating, and telling.”
"Waking up White is a brutally honest, unflinching exploration of race and personal identity, told with heart by a truly gifted storyteller. Much as Irving's family sought to shield her from the contours of the nation's racial drama, so too do far too many white Americans continue to do the same. For their sakes, and ours, let's hope Irving's words spark even more truth-telling. They certainly have the power to do so."
Debby Irving has worked since the 1980s to foster diversity, inclusiveness, and community-building. As general manager of Boston’s Dance Umbrella and later First Night, she developed both a passion for cross-cultural collaborations and an awareness of the complexities inherent in cross-cultural relationships. She has worked in public and private schools as a classroom teacher, board member, and parent. Her approach is to use authentic dialog to connect people through shared interests and divergent backgrounds. A graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, she holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. Waking Up White is her first book. Now a racial justice educator and writer, Debby works with other white people to transform confusion into curiosity and anxiety into action. As her husband, Bruce, likes to say, “It couldn’t have happened to a whiter person.” Debby lives in Cambridge where she and Bruce are raising two daughters and an assortment of pets.