June 2021 Esalen Book Pick!
Using the lens of inherited trauma and family history, Whiteness Is Not an Ancestor offers a hopeful, humanizing path for dismantling whiteness.
For over two decades, family constellations facilitator and therapist Lisa Iversen has been working with groups, including descendants of ancestors who have perpetrated harm or been victimized in circumstances of injustice. In this collection of essays, she brings together twelve white women who explore the role of whiteness in collective movements of immigration, colonialism, slavery, and war. Through genealogical research, family documents, and deep reflection, these writers from the US, Canada, and the UK disentangle themes of innocence, grief, race, privilege, and belonging in their families and ancestries.
Each essayist shares moving stories and anecdotes from their life, adding historical and cultural context to current conversations about white women's role in creating and sustaining whiteness.
"This collection of 12 personal essays represents brave explorations of their relationships to whiteness via different aspects of their histories and heritages. The essays provide a fascinating look at whiteness through the lenses of American racism and Jewish Americans; the Swiss and Nazi collaborations; displacement by war; relationship to unceded tribal Native lands; and German ethnicity and reparations. This book is a good reminder for Americans that whiteness may be expressed differently depending on the country and culture, but has always been associated with privilege and oppression." -Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS, Medical Director, Office of Healthcare Equity, UW Medicine
Whiteness Is Not an Ancestor will appeal to those ready to engage with the difficult truths of history, those interested in healing collective historic trauma and dismantling racism, therapists and family counselors, and all concerned about the fate of democratic nations sourced in whiteness. Each essay includes sources and resources for more information.
Essays by Sonya Lea, Karin Konstantynowicz, Anne Hayden, Summer Starr, Kate Regan, June BlueSpruce, Sabine Olsen, Carole Harmon, Christina Greené, Sharon Halfnight, Una Suseli O'Connell, Pam Emerson. Edited and Foreword by Lisa Iversen.