Raising strong children in a still-racial world is a 250-page parenting book about rearing children and adolescents of color, written for over 20% of today's families. Educated parents of minority children in the Obama era have a growing, and not a diminishing, need for intelligent guides about child-rearing. Rightly so, they want scientific judgments about What Works to be supported by stories from people of color who have Been There.
Against the grain of cautionary advice books, and the deficit model so ill-defining of the minority family, the messages to parents in Preparing the Way, are illustrated by success stories. These are offered by over 100 college students of color who felt their parents helped them sustain healthy racial identities and cope well with discrimination and prejudice. Their stories, and the author's story, are combined with the wisdom from sound psychological and social psychology research.
For parents with children ages 3-23, the book offers practical, psychologically grounded suggestions, not just the lessons drawn from one author's personal experience. While other books have focused more narrowly on mixed-race kids, transnational adoptive families, or certain ethnicities, this book is a sourcebook of ideas for all parents who are raising kids of color.
Celebrate yourself. If your child is a young member of a minority 'race,' together you have crossed over a critical threshold. You join President Obama and his family to stand on the cutting edge of change. As Americans with African, Caribbean, Asian, near-Asian, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Native, Pacific Islander, or multiracial backgrounds --- your family IS the future everyone is predicting and hoping for: a world where what we call 'race' will matter less and less , and ethnic heritage will be more and more important to self and society.
Whether through biology, re-marriage, or adoption, or whether your family is one race, or several, you contribute to a profound transformation:
- Before the year 2042, European-Americans will be the new minority in America. Since 1980, the Asian American population has almost tripled, Hispanic Americans more than doubled, numbers of Native American have increased 62%, and those self-identified as African Americans grew by 31%. The white Caucasian population has remained almost the same.
- More than 1 in 6 adopted children are differently raced from their parents.
- 1 in 15 marriages in America is interracial.
Clearly, the face of America-and the populations of other white majority nations - is changing.
In 2006-2007 I spent seven weeks in Rwanda as a writer, consultant, and world citizen. Meeting government leaders and hearing their stories galvanized me to tell-not a story of despair-but one of recovery against all odds. The book is now in proposal form. This is the topic:
- In 1994, a horrific genocide swept Rwanda for 100 days. By its end, over one million people had been murdered, and another three million displaced.
- Two weeks thereafter, a provisional government was in place, led by the Rwanda Patriotic Front and its militia, which ended the killing.
- Within five years, stability in all sectors was accomplished, and by the 2003 elections, Rwanda was being hailed at one of the most progressive nations on earth.
The Origins of Leadership tells the story of that remarkable recovery, and the stories of the men and women who made it happen.
The story out of Rwanda is no longer about the horrific, harrowing genocide in 1994. Ongoing accounts of 21st century human cruelty in Darfur, Sudan, and Iraq have nearly eclipsed Rwanda in the 'man's inhumanity to man' category. A most compelling, and heretofore untold story in Rwanda is how a small group of men and women re-built an entire nation, leaning on both traditional African practices and Western social justice principles
How - as one of the poorest, most traumatized, and smallest nations on earth-did Rwanda accomplish gender equality, non-violence, reconciliation and unity, land sharing, and decentralization? How exactly did only a handful of people make it work, and make it happen so quickly? Alongside the success, what were the policy disasters, and failures?
The Origins of Leadership will answer those questions through a 250-page collective biography of the men and women who inserted themselves into the thick of extraordinary times. What were the roots of their leadership capacities? What was it like to be a leader during a time when Rwanda was teetering on the edge of chaos, even while your own murdered relatives might lay in mass graves?
As we read these individual accounts of becoming leaders, we also follow a narration of the breathtaking, hair-raising events and challenges in Rwanda from approximately 1990 to the present.
Summary:Changing Faces is a creative non-fiction book which integrates a series of personal recounts with historical research about mixed-race Filipino-American families, from the turn of the century to the present. Not only do ethnic Filipinos form the majority among Asian immigrates to the US, their marriages constitute the earliest interracial unions in the nation. Moreover, for each individual, the Philippine Islands' symbiotic relationship with America has been difficult to reconcile. These stories make for good drama.
The book draws from ten years of scholarly work, and a personal journey culminating in a search for my Filipino roots, in two provinces in the Philippine Islands.
The first person to ask me about my racial makeup was a girl named Evelyn. She was a relative newcomer to our grade class, from Boston, and I'm guessing that had already been teased for talking funny, so her radar for differences was already activated. I remember her hair and skin were very, very blond, and she wore plaid skirts and cardigan sweaters.
"What ARE you?" she said, passing my desk one day.I remember snapping open my blue cloth looseleaf binder after she asked her question. I knew what she was getting at. I got busy reorganizing the binder-and my identity-into sections, one for each subject.
Without stopping to look up, I said, "One-fourth Filipino."
I liked saying it this way because it conferred a certain specialness and difference. There was neither pride, nor shame, just a statement of mathematical proportion and accuracy.
"Oh" Evelyn said, as if I'd said something mildly newsworthy, like 'We're going to have gym, and not art, today.' She walked back to her seat.
From a very early age, even before I knew what the words, 'mestiza,' 'half-breed,' or 'quatroon' meant, I knew my blood was racially mixed. My grandfather Pio's Filipino blood mixed with a stream of Norwegian-German heritage that gave my father his height and contributed to a strong gene for alcoholism; two other came from my mother's people in Tennessee. Those went with chewing tobacco, washtubs, country ham, and homemade biscuits.
By deduction, I knew my father was half-Filipino. His skin was slightly darker, his eyes were nearly black, and he had a flat nose beneath almond shaped eyes. My girlfriends thought he was good-looking, and so did I. In fact, his brooding handsomeness overrode his Asian features. He was 'exotic.' When we lived in a New York City suburb, and until we moved to the Midwest, I have no recall of ever being worried that my father would attract quizzical, racist looks from my peers or neighbors, or that anyone would ask that soon-to-be-dreaded question, 'What are you?'