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Amherst author to speak on forging a positive white identity

  • “Too White: A Journey into the Racial Divide”

  • NORRIS


For the Recorder
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Kelly Norris, author of the recently published memoir, “Too White: A Journey into the Racial Divide,” will speak on her process of white identity development through her experiences growing up in an isolated suburb, living in West Africa and joining a community of anti-racist educators.

Norris’ talk will be held at the Leverett Public Library on Nov. 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“Too White” is a memoir of a white woman’s journey to explore the racial divide. It wasn’t until Norris, a single mother of a biracial child, was teaching in a suburban school where she’d been called a “n***** lover,” that she began seriously considering white identity development. She had long been struggling with identity and race in America, haunted by the question “What does it mean to be white?” Her early attempts to answer this, however, focused primarily on what it meant to be black.

In her early 20s, when she began to read about and explore whiteness and white privilege, she couldn’t find many personal stories and memoirs about the subject. Inspired by Toni Morrison’s advice that “if there’s a book that you want to read and it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” Norris began working on her memoir about 15 years ago, leading to the publication of “Too White” in August. In this sometimes embarrassing, sometimes painful, but often exhilarating narrative, Norris confronts racism head-on, ultimately forging a positive white, anti-racist identity.

Norris is a teacher, mother, writer and activist living in Amherst. Several of her essays dealing with anti-racism in the classroom have appeared in anthologies and online journals. Norris holds an master’s degree in creative nonfiction from Lesley University.

In the upcoming talk, Norris will speak for 15 minutes, read from her memoir and then open the floor to questions. To find out more about Norris’ work, visit: kellynorrisbooks.com.