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Motherhood So White

A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America

by Nefertiti Austin

Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin X
Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Sep 24, 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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There are currently 17 member reviews
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  • Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)


    Adoption Hurdles
    The author goes into great detail of how difficult to adopt a black child and the stigma that comes with it. Very informative for anyone contemplating adoption.
  • Becky D. (Gloucester, VA)


    So glad I finished it!
    First of all, I'm like several reviewers who thought the title was a little misleading. (Maybe I skimmed the description a little too lightly!!) But I had imagined a more militant book with arm raising, slogans and righteous anger over the inequities of race. I was in high school when civil rights issues were looming everywhere, but was not actively involved other than watching from the sidelines.

    Regardless of what I expected, it is exactly what it was advertised as: A memoir. I feel she tied all of the different strands of her past and present life together, illuminating where she gets her strong feelings from and then putting them into action. I also think she lays a good groundwork for others who might be thinking about adopting.

    When I realized I was not going to be criticized for not contributing to past/current racial inequities, I settled into enjoying her writing and having my horizons broadened.
  • Valerie M. (Idlewild, MI)


    The Beautiful Art of Mothering While Black
    Two months after Barack Obama was inaugurated as president, Nefertiti Austin wrote a letter to her son. Her responsibility as a black mother was to not sugarcoat the world. One day August would be old enough to understand there was a black man in the White House. Then, he could read the letter and have appropriate information about the world, with all of its racial and gender biases and microaggressions.

    The letter is tenderly included in Nefertiti Austin's memoir, "Motherhood So White". It is a generous book because Austin is a generous writer who navigates her emotions, conflicts, fears and dreams. Black motherhood is no joke. Couple that with single motherhood and adoption, and challenges are everywhere.

    Racist narratives of "the good mother" shape Nefertiti Austin's journey through foster care and public adoption, a world that included nine social workers. Quickly she discovers love is important but so is advocacy. Raising a black son without a father, though scary, is met with a myriad of hopeful challenges.

    A perfect bedside read for the newly adoptive mother who is nervous about what to do next, Austin is humorous and real. But "Motherhood So White" is also for black women denied social support from a culture that puts emphasis on biological children. Chapter after chapter, Austin defends from a feminist perspective her choice to adopt and raise a black son (and eventually a black daughter). She reminds us it is the raising of children that matters, all those steps that usher babies into toddlers, toddlers into children, and children into graceful adults.
  • Darlene G. (Allegany, NY)


    Motherhood & Adoption: Learning the Ropes with a Savvy Single Black Mom
    I chose this book because I enjoy memoirs. I'm also a white woman who is interested in reading about the differences and similarities of a Black woman's experience of parenting, adoption and raising a Black boy. I'm glad I read it because it made me think about race, gender and parenting in new ways- just what I was hoping for! It celebrates the privilege of being a parent, the particular challenges that some resourceful single Black women face, and the joys and challenges of adoption. While Ms. Austin never sought to be seen as anything other than a dedicated parent, her fortitude and commitment to using her experience to benefit others comes shining through. I particularly loved that she included other women's experiences as a resource in the back of the book.
  • Judith S. (Binghamton, NY)


    Informative & Heartfelt
    Nefertiti Austin's memoir is excellent in many ways. It is extremely factual (with statistics and research I had no idea had been done), and therefore eye opening and at the same time heartfelt and humorous - also balanced in terms of criticism of our culture. The book taught me so much about race and parenting in America that I would not have known had I not read the book. Having known many single mothers but not one black adoptive mother her memoir educated me and changed my view of so many aspects of black parenting and society's myths about it. I highly recommend this thought providing, one of a kind book.
  • Joan V.


    From Foster Care to Adoption
    I'm sure we've all heard the expression "It takes a village." Ms. Austin did not have a village when she set out to adopt a Black boy as a single mom, so she created her own. There was very little research to be found and she did not have a lot of support from her family when she decided to adopt August, but she persevered.

    Deciding to adopt a Black boy had it own set of obstacles since people kept telling her girls were easier, but she rightly felt that Black boys needed the special attention and love that she could give a child.

    Her own childhood had its difficulties because her own parents were not capable of taking care of her or her brother. She was strong from a very early age and did not follow her parents down the path of drugs and selfishness. Her grandmother was a warrior for her and made sure she got a good education and set a strong example. I really enjoyed reading about her childhood and how being raised to be independent and strong gave her the courage to become single woman adopting a Black boy.

    As a white woman it was especially interesting to learn about her experiences. This book is very timely since we are undergoing a terrible racial divisiveness in this country. We need to have more people discussing our similarities rather than our differences. In the end, as mothers we want the best for ALL children. White people must learn not to judge Black boys and have erroneous assumptions about them. That is why I think this is an important book - it's readable yet very informative and I highly recommend it.
  • Ariel F. (Madison, WI)


    Want children? Consider adoption.
    I found this book very interesting and felt fortunate to have been able to read it. I liked the way that the author combined her personal story about all she went through to adopt her son, and the with historical events that had gone on.

    I especially appreciated her comments and thoughts about the stereotypes about adoption in the black community.
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