Motherhood So White: Book summary and reviews of Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin

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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About this book

Book Summary

What's it like to be a Black mother in a world where the face of motherhood is overwhelmingly white?

That's the question Nefertiti, a single African American woman, faced when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system.

Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby" or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on her own. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build.

Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti's fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America.

Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along―that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love.


About the Author
Author and memoirist, Nefertiti Austin writes about the erasure of diverse voices in motherhood. Her work around this topic has been short-listed for literary awards and appeared in the "Huffington Post", MUTHA, "The Establishment", matermea.com, Essence.com, "Adoptive Families" magazine, PBS SoCal's "To Foster Change" and PBS Parents. She was the subject of an article on race and adoption in "The Atlantic" and appeared on "HuffPost Live" and "One Bad Mother", where she shared her journey to adoption as a single Black woman. Nefertiti's expertise stems from firsthand experience and degrees in U.S. History and African-American Studies. Nefertiti is a former Certified PS-MAPP Trainer, where she co-led classes for participants wanting to attain a license to foster and/or adopt children from foster care system. An alumna of Breadloaf Writers' Conference and VONA, her first two novels, Eternity and Abandon, helped usher in the Black Romance genre in the mid-1990s.

Follow her on Twitter: @nefertitiaustin
Follow her on Instagram: @iamnefertitiaustin

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Describe Nefertiti's relationship with her parents, Diane and Harold, and her grandparents, Ann and Henry. How do you think these relationships formed Nefertiti's first views of parenthood and what it means to be a parent?
  2. How did your own upbringing influence your take on what it means to be a parent? What are some of the lessons you've learned through your childhood experiences that influenced how you do or would parent today?
  3. What was Nefertiti's experience with "Black adoption," and how did it impact her choices later in life?
  4. Nefertiti describes how, suddenly, the stirrings of motherhood turned into an overwhelming desire to pursue becoming a parent. If you are a parent, what moved you to make that decision? Which path to parenthood did you choose?
  5. Put yourself in Nefertiti's shoes— if you were telling your family and friends that you've decided to adopt a Black son from the foster care system, how do you think they would react? Were you surprised by the stereotypes and prejudices Nefertiti faced both from within and outside her own community? Speak on what you imagine that experience was like for her.
  6. Describe the different hurdles Nefertiti had to jump to formally adopt her son, August, and later her daughter, Cherish. What are some of the challenges she faced during the foster/adoption process?
  7. What were some of the stereotypes and fears Nefertiti had to confront while raising August in today's racially charged America? What about with Cherish? What were some of the biases Nefertiti personally faced as a single black mother?
  8. As a single parent household, how did Nefertiti provide male role models and positive examples of masculinity for August, and later Cherish? How did she confront the assertion that being raised without a father figure would affect August's masculinity or "make him soft?" What do those questions say about the way Black men are perceived in America, both from within the Black community and by society at large?
  9. Motherhood So White showcases many of the conversations and experiences parents of Black children face— from teaching their children about unconscious bias to explaining the traps embedded in our current cultural landscape. Speak about those conversations. Were there any that surprised you? Any that you, in your own experiences of parenthood, have or haven't had with your own children?
  10. Throughout Nefertiti's story, she is often confronting the idea that, in America, motherhood equals white. How does she fight against that bias? How can we erase this stereotype and expand the view of motherhood to allow everyone to have a place at the table?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Motherhood So White blew me away. Nefertiti's honest account of her unique journey to parenthood serves as a sharp reminder that in our society, parenting is not a colorblind experience. This is an important book for anyone committed to creating a more equal playing field for all our children." - KJ Dell'Antonia, author of How to Be a Happier Parent

"Austin's frank voice and determined spirit speak truth to the media powers that present #MotherhoodSoWhite, while relaying her history and thoughtful parenting decisions... a needed and important contribution." - Meg Lemke, Editor-in-Chief of MUTHA

The information about Motherhood So White shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Stephanie Groves

Motherhood so White
I am a mother of 3 grown children that now raising a 13 year old granddaughter. I thought the book was so heartfelt. I shared it with this parenting class and two of the young mothers of children from other ethnicities love it. The family dysfunction was so real I was pulled into the story and felt her pain and joy. I helped several of my friends become foster parents and adoptive parents. can currently guided my co-worker a single mom of a 7 year old navigate the system to get custody of her niece 5. She was severely underweight and behind in daycare. I would love to here Ms. Austen speak.

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More Information

What's it like to be a Black mother in a world where the face of motherhood is overwhelmingly white?

That's the question Nefertiti, a single African American woman, faced when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
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