Being White Today: A Roadmap for a Positive Antiracist Life

Race is a complicated topic. Messages from the far-right as well as those from antiracists offer competing and contradictory suggestions for how White people should think, act, and feel about themselves, leaving many confused. This book offers clarity while arguing that White people can feel good about themselves and be antiracist at the same time. For people who care about living in an inclusive, multiracial democracy, this book provides a roadmap to navigate the various positions White people negotiate on the way toward becoming positive, healthy, antiracist people. It is also a guide for those who want to help more White people act effectively in service of racial justice.


"Being White Today should be required reading for every white person who identifies as antiracist. Further, it would serve parents and caregivers of white youth to take in the insightful lessons learned and shared by the book’s authors. If we hope to create and sustain a truly inclusive, multiracial democracy, white people must know who they are racially, and more importantly, who they can be in the fight for liberation."   - Lecia Brooks, Chief of Staff & Culture, Southern Poverty Law Center

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From the moment we conceived of this book, we understood there would be questions, concerns, and critiques related to Being White Today and our positions as authors writing about antiracism. Please click here for answers to anticipated questions.


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A message from the authors: When white nationalists dropped flyers on college campuses that read, “It’s okay to be white,” explanations about how the flyers were aligned with hate speech left many confused. In the years that followed, Christine Saxman and I produced resources to support teachers and parents to recognize hate groups’ tactics, reasons for their success, and warning signs of indoctrination. Combining our study of white racial identity with an analysis of the competing messaging offered by bigots and antiracists led us to write Being White Today: A Roadmap for a Positive Antiracist Life.

You may also be interested in the articles, speeches, and podcasts that led up to the book and explain:

  • how a failure to understand racial identity leaves white people susceptible to white nationalists’ messaging
  • the importance of taking the racial identity development process into account when trying to influence people toward antiracism

Initial insights into the role played by white identity development:

Interrupting recruitment into organized hate:

A personal experience and reflection:

Watch this video of the August 14, 2022 workshop presented by Shelly to a SURJ group that introduces ideas from Being White Today. For a breakdown of timing related to concepts presented in the video, check out the Creating Focused Anti-racist Conversations event page.

Watch this workshop with Shelly, featuring reactions from David Campt and Ryan O’Leary, to learn more about how a positive antiracist white identity can disrupt dangerous dynamics playing out across the US. For more about the video and the concepts it introduces check out Shelly's blog post here.