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Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir
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Published:
Simon & Schuster 2021
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Description
A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America.Rebecca Carroll grew up the only black person in her rural New Hampshire town. Adopted at birth by artistic parents who believed in peace, love, and zero population growth, her early childhood was loving and idyllic—and yet she couldn't articulate the deep sense of isolation she increasingly felt as she grew older. Everything changed when she met her birth mother, a young white woman, who consistently undermined Carroll's sense of her blackness and self-esteem. Carroll's childhood became harrowing, and her memoir explores the tension between the aching desire for her birth mother's acceptance, the loyalty she feels toward her adoptive parents, and the search for her racial identity. As an adult, Carroll forged a path from city to city, struggling along the way with difficult boyfriends, depression, eating disorders, and excessive drinking. Ultimately, through the support of her chosen black family, she was able to heal. Intimate and illuminating, Surviving the White Gaze is a timely examination of racism and racial identity in America today, and an extraordinarily moving portrait of resilience.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/02/2021
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781982116323
ASIN:
B08BZXL5MZ
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Carroll. (2021). Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Carroll. 2021. Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Carroll, Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir. Simon & Schuster, 2021.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Carroll. Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir. Simon & Schuster, 2021. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jan 29, 2021 16:12:32
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Rebecca Carroll is host of the podcast Come Through with Rebecca Carroll, and a cultural critic at WNYC where she also develops and produces a broad array of multi-platform content, and hosts live event series in The Greene Space. Rebecca is a former critic at large for the Los Angeles Times, and her personal essays, cultural commentary, profiles and opinion pieces have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Guardian, Essence, New York magazine, Ebony, and Esquire, among other publications. She is the author of several interview-based books about race and blackness in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
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shortDescription
A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America.
Rebecca Carroll grew up the only black person in her rural New Hampshire town. Adopted at birth by artistic parents who believed in peace, love, and zero population growth, her early childhood was loving and idyllic—and yet she couldn't articulate the deep sense of isolation she increasingly felt as she grew older.

Everything changed when she met her birth mother, a young white woman, who consistently undermined Carroll's sense of her blackness and self-esteem. Carroll's childhood became harrowing, and her memoir explores the tension between the aching desire for her birth mother's acceptance, the loyalty she feels toward her adoptive parents, and the search for her racial identity. As an adult, Carroll forged a path from city to city, struggling along...
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title
Surviving the White Gaze
fullDescription
A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America.
Rebecca Carroll grew up the only black person in her rural New Hampshire town. Adopted at birth by artistic parents who believed in peace, love, and zero population growth, her early childhood was loving and idyllic—and yet she couldn't articulate the deep sense of isolation she increasingly felt as she grew older.

Everything changed when she met her birth mother, a young white woman, who consistently undermined Carroll's sense of her blackness and self-esteem. Carroll's childhood became harrowing, and her memoir explores the tension between the aching desire for her birth mother's acceptance, the loyalty she feels toward her adoptive parents, and the search for her racial identity. As an adult, Carroll forged a path from city to city, struggling along the way with difficult boyfriends, depression, eating disorders, and excessive drinking. Ultimately, through the support of her chosen black family, she was able to heal.

Intimate and illuminating, Surviving the White Gaze is a timely examination of racism and racial identity in America today, and an extraordinarily moving portrait of resilience.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2020

        Journalist and author Carroll (Sugar in the Raw) was born to a white teen mother and a young Black father, and adopted shortly thereafter. Raised in a small town in rural New Hampshire, Carroll experienced racism from a young age. Her family of well-meaning white artists didn't anticipate any potential problems with adopting a Black child, and neglected to adequately care for her hair or to discuss issues around race. At age 11, Carroll reconnected with her birth mother and quickly fell into a manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship with her that lasted for decades. Early chapters of this memoir demonstrate Carroll's ability to write evocatively, as she elegantly interweaves the love and support that she received from her friends, parents, and other adults in their community with the casual white supremacy she experienced every day. As the memoir progresses, however, Carroll speeds through the years, focusing on her romantic relationships and ongoing drama with her birth mother. Ultimately, readers may grow weary of Carroll's search for external validation and lack of reflection on her role in her problematic relationships. VERDICT Though sometimes uneven, this personal account may engage fans of memoirs or readers interested in personal stories of adoptees.--Monica Howell, Northwestern Health Sciences Univ. Lib., Bloomington, MN

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2021
        A probing, wise investigation of racial identity. Throughout the memoir, Carroll, a podcast host and cultural critic who develops a wide variety of content at WNYC, demonstrates the most indelible qualities of the genre: an ability to inhabit a version of one's self that no longer exists; an instinct for what's important and what isn't; and a voice that implies personal growth gained through missteps and ultimately self-knowledge. Born to a White mother and Black father, the author was adopted by a White New Hampshire couple with a laissez-faire approach to parenting and very little concept of race. Growing up with a fierce desire to fit in with the popular White kids at school, she entered into a toxic relationship with her birth mother, Tess, a narcissist who took every opportunity to tear down and interrogate her daughter's Blackness and self-esteem. The narrative, which reflects the author's "decades-long, self-initiated rite of passage," is a blunt, urgent study of racial identity and an attempt to chronicle "my ultimate arrival at the complicated depths of my own blackness." Along the way, she encountered a variety of racists, passive and aggressive, and a series of White boys who served as goals to be attained. Carroll also underwent a series of hairstyles, which become symbols for stages of self-actualization. But the heart of the book lies in her back and forth with Tess, who cast a spell on her daughter even as she spewed racist venom and situated herself more as a jealous peer than a dutiful parent. Carroll's quest for authenticity fuels the text, but there's also a quietly tragic subtext of failed parenting, of the many ways one generation can put its own needs before those of the next. The author deftly untangles these pitfalls, creating a specific and personal story that is also compelling for general readers. A deeply resonant memoir of hard-won authenticity.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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