• Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

  • By: Debby Irving
  • Narrated by: Debby Irving
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,096 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For 25 years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. 

In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that listeners will be rooting for her - and ultimately for all of us. 

©2014 Debby Irving (P)2016 Audiobooks.com Publishing

What listeners say about Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

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White people learning from White people

As Black woman, I appreciate this author taking the time to educate herself about her privilege and HOW to use that privilege to create a more equitable society. It is difficult for some Black people to educate White people on how their innate racist behavior damages us as a whole when they may not be aware to begin with. It's not a "racist thing," rather an entire country built on keeping Black people down while elevating Whites at all times. This author does a wonderful job with examples and personal experiences with her daily commitment to grow and use her privilege for positive change for Blacks. I hope many other White people listen to this audio-book AND actively work to make a more equitable society for us all.

40 people found this helpful

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Exceptional book! Highly recommended!!

I would recommend this to all Americans regardless of ethnicity, racial background, sexual orientation, etc. It's a book to Caucasian Americans what biases are built in to our society not just now but in the past and give insights on the affects on African Americans. Many of those insights are things many people that are white don't think about or consider but affect all those around us.. The reason I recommend it to all Americans is that we all have biases and the group in power often times uses their power to impede and destroy diverse points of view. I have seen it in schools, in corporations, in politics, etc. It's time the United States sets an example of how to embrace diversity so as to build stronger unity and stop marginalizing African Americans, Hispanics, LBGT and others.

11 people found this helpful

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Waking up White

Very good book and the author did a great job narrating. I paused and re-listened to the majority of the chapters to write notes and do my own self reflection. This was a good exploration of white privilege and I'm looking forward to learning how I can be anti-racist.

7 people found this helpful

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A serious read for those who strive to improve

What made the experience of listening to Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race the most enjoyable?

It's a vivid walk through of what it means to be a part of the white race and how that privilege not only influences us as individuals, but the entire social construct of which we are a part.

What other book might you compare Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race to and why?

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson -- another personal story of how the white social construct impacts people of lower incomes and color.

Have you listened to any of Debby Irving’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes. Extreme in that I view it as a required reading for all white people who are serious about changing the current race issues of our nation.

21 people found this helpful

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Wonderful book. Compassionate, wise, and honest.

This book helped me understand racism better without triggering guilt and shame in me. It is one factor helping inspire me to overcome my racist programming and gives me hope and courage that I can.

6 people found this helpful

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  • kt
  • 06-30-20

Hoped for so much more

I hoped for so much more when this was recommended by a leader in a listening session. Unfortunately each time the author had a “revelation” my reaction was “well, duh! How did you not see that?” There were two or three pieces of history that were new to me and very interesting and the book definitely got me talking with friends and family but there was nothing particularly enlightening in it for me.

4 people found this helpful

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Worth the credit. An interesting insight to the minds of those who are trying.

The discussion of race is fraught with traps. The author gets much credit for sincerely describing her journey. As an AA everyone of her AHA moments I saw as ‘well of course,” and I guess that’s the point.

This book won’t change minds, but to those who working on progressing and are early in the stage of opening their minds, this will be a help.

4 people found this helpful

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A must read for white people

I listened to this book as part of our defeating white supremacy class in my mostly white, suburban UU church. As someone who has just recently woken up to my privilege in the last few years this book was a tremendous tool to push myself not only in this area but in all my relationships. I foresee myself adding this to my list of books I revisit and will share with my daughter ans family.

16 people found this helpful

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Remembering where I came from

Nearly the same age as the author, I grew up very poor on a farm and in the country in the Midwest on assistance. I could not relate to the author. Her story made me angry and frustrated. I grew up knowing I was white and it was a race and therefore I was not any better or special because of it. White did not change our poverty nor did it give me a college education or my parents jobs when farming was no longer possible. I saw racism and discrimination my whole life. my relatives that are native american and latino, my friends that are Muslim and Jews, my neighbors that are first generation Cambodian refugees from 1972, my superiors in jobs that were black. I've had more supervisors, managers, bosses that are of color than I have white. if you look, racism is everywhere. I was taught to see it, acknowledge it, build relationships, but crush it. see the person, see the humanity, love them,.I think it's great that the author awoke to being white. I'm glad she is making a difference. there are many stories of white people that grew up differently. I thank my father for raising me to see that white is not the best and only way, but that white is the absence of color. without color nothing is beautiful.

23 people found this helpful

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Not for the timid-minded; read if you dare to be challenged.

Honest and gut-wrenching, this book is for any person who thinks he/she is making a difference, or even better, who desires to really make a difference in the areas of peace, justice, and equality in America. Guaranteed to change the way you think for the betterment of all! Should be required reading in schools and colleges!

10 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Issa Robson
  • Issa Robson
  • 04-29-20

Strong recommend for white allies

This would be a strong recommend for white allies and POC trying to understand white fragility.