My First White Friend

My First White Friend

Confessions on Race, Love, and Forgiveness

Book - 1996
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Baker & Taylor
Tired of coping with her anger toward the white establishment, an African-American journalist examines the origins of her hate, her road to self-awareness, and the difficult path from hatred to forgiveness, trust, and love. 30,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.

Blackwell North Amer
"God help me. I stopped hating white people on purpose about a year ago." With that daring confession, African-American journalist Patricia Raybon begins My First White Friend, a piercing account of how she decided, in midlife, to stop hating white America. In a hypnotic narrative that is part journal, part memoir, part social analysis, Raybon discovers that racial forgiveness is a dangerous choice. But the risk isn't in learning to love white people, it's in learning to love herself. "That is the real matter. And it takes a harsh spotlight."
Raybon turns that spotlight first on her fifties childhood in eastern Colorado, where she learned "every race distortion ever performed by dark people: smiling when nothing is nice, laughing when nothing funny, agreeing when nothing is agreeable."
In that setting, Raybon mastered that polite "grin of powerlessness," urged on by the dogged upward mobility of her Mississippi-born father and the rigid rules of their middle-class life. But while she was soon acceptable to white people, she'd become an angry stranger to herself.
A quarter century later, Raybon realized her perplexed rage wouldn't be remedied by stoking her buried hate for whites, but by forgiving them, especially for the past. That "audacious idea ... a holy lunacy" meant first forgiving herself, but also forgiving her father for his seemingly excessive demands, her country for its caustic racial legacies, and even God for seeming to allow it all.
Along the way, Raybon unearths her family history to uncover the origins of her hate, then traces the significant chapters in her own life - among them her childhood confusion about race, her adolescent awe of "white" culture, her discovery of sex and its mythology in black life, marriage and motherhood, her rediscovery of her religious faith, and a friendship with her first white friend - to travel the hard road from hatred to forgiveness, trust, love, letting go, and moving on.

& Taylor

Tired of living with her anger toward the white establishment, an African American journalist examines the origins of her hate, her road to self-awareness, and the difficult path from hatred to forgiveness, trust, and love

Publisher: New York : Viking, 1996.
ISBN: 9780670859566
Branch Call Number: 301.451 AFRO-AMERICANS
Characteristics: xii, 236 p. ; 22 cm.


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