10.04.15: Waking Up White, White Lies, & What Makes a Baby

Oct 2, 2015

Police shootings and deaths of African-Americans in police custody have prompted calls for a national conversation about race. So, what do well-meaning white people have to add? We speak with the author of a new memoir urges white people to examine their privileged place in a stacked deck. Plus, the five words many parents dread: “where do babies come from?” A new book answers that question at a time where surrogacy, same sex couples, and fertility labs are challenging old norms and the standby response, “when a daddy really loves a mommy…” Today, we’re tackling the tough conversations. 

Listen to the full show. 

Waking Up White

Debby Irving grew up with the values and inherent privileges of her New England WASP class. She is now a racial justice advocate. Her memoir Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race follows her realization that believing that she’s a good person with the empathy and energy to help people of color actually perpetuated her clueless notions of race.

White Lies

What’s in a name? Depends who’s asking. In the literary realm, sounding “ethnic” is perceived as an advantage…at least it was by Michael Derrick Hudson, who submitted his poem “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve,” to the journal Prairie Schooner under the name Yi-Fen Chou. Virginia spoke with Jenny Schuessler, reporter on the Culture Desk for the New York Times and Jenny Zhang, who wrote the Buzzfeed essay “They Pretend to be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist.”


What Makes a Baby

Cory Silverberg is a sexuality educator, a founding member of the “Come as You Are Co-Operative,” and author of What Makes a Baby, the first book in a series that teaches readers about gender, sexuality, and sexual health.  

A Decades Long Conversation

Some conversations are tough to have with kids, especially when there’s a big generation gap – which is why so many grandchildren never really get to know their grandparents as people.  One adult woman became acquainted with her grandfather, years after his death. This story comes to us from producer Sarah Neal.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.