Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines

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White women are one of the most influential demographics in America—we are the largest voting bloc, with purchasing power that exceeds anybody else’s, and when we unify to demand change, we are a force to be reckoned with.

Yet, so many of us sit idly on the sidelines, opting out of raising our hands to do, learn, and engage in ways that could make a difference. Why?

White American women are no monolith. Yet, as Women’s March national organizer Jenna Arnold has learned over the past few years criss-crossing the US in conversations with white women about their identity and role in the country, we do possess common characteristics—ones that get in the way of us becoming more engaged as citizens. We’re so focused on checking off our to-do lists, or so afraid of getting it wrong, or so busy trying to avoid conflict, that we are actively avoiding the urgent conversations we need to have.

We are confused about how we got here and unsure how to do better.

Raising Our Hands is the reckoning cry for white women. It asks us to step up and join the new frontlines of the fight against complacency—in our homes, in our behaviors, and in our own minds.

Consider Raising Our Hands your starting place, your “Intro to Being a White Woman in Today’s World” freshman-year class. In these pages, Jenna peels back the history that’s been kept out of textbooks and the cultural norms that are holding us back, so we can finally start really listening to marginalized voices and doing our part to promote progress.

The American white woman is a powerful force—an essential participant—to mobilize alongside the rest of humanity on behalf of the world, and we can no longer make excuses for why we don’t have time or don’t know enough.

Specification: Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines

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16 reviews for Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines

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  1. patricia lutfy

    Jenna Arnold writes a book that for me comes at a time when we all need information about how to listen and understand our part in our racist society. She uses good research and humor to help the reader digest the tough facts. She gives practical information about the choices we need to take responsibility for and highlights how to focus our awareness in order to influence change. This is the book I will be telling all of my friends about this summer.

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  2. AK

    I received this book just two days ago and I have already consumed it! What a timely and thoughtful work it is. It should be mandatory reading for all human beings, regardless of race or gender! Thank you Jenna Arnold for trying to make the world a better place.

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  3. penny tannenbaum

    The suggestions Jenna succinctly laid out in Raising Our Hands, ring in my head constantly. Especially to stop and listen before reacting. Being willing to discuss ( not confront) systemic racism and/or bias of ourselves and others. An important read.

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  4. C2R

    If we want justice and equality, finally, in our country, then we each have an obligation to wake up, tune in, listen, and do our parts daily and unrelentingly towards that goal. Jenna’s book brings that awareness front and center, and will not leave you untouched. It’s long past time to act. Read the book and get going.

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  5. Shaun Shields

    This book couldn’t have come at a better time. So insightful and really opened my eyes to the world around me. It’s time to take action and do your part.

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  6. D Borsi

    Just as described

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  7. Linda Raford

    Impeccable timing for an impeccable book. Should be required reading!Thank you Jenna!

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  8. Nessa

    I’m privileged in more ways than one. I thought I was aware, recognized, and acknowledged the extent of that privilege. I was wrong, very very wrong.I’ve never read a book written by someone I know. Her honesty about who she was and her experiences as a kid, as a teen, as a woman, has me viewing her through lenses to which I never thought I’d have access and in a way I never thought to see. Each line, each word is causing intense self reflection. It’s as though I’m reading excerpts of her diary and it’s simultaneously inspiring and eye opening and maddening and challenging and my mind keeps racing and I keep thinking, “ok so this is real, we aren’t 12 anymore running around your house for the holiday party. We’re grown white women and you’re using your voice to educate and speak out to a demographic that doesn’t realize their power and ability to speak and impact change, especially for those who can’t speak for themselves. And holy crap woman, look at what you’re doing!”

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  9. Jordan Gatenby

    As a man, I am probably not the intended audience for this book however, I decided to give it a shot to see what I could learn. I am so glad I did. This book is not just for women!Racism and the quest for equality and equity is a conversation that is not always comfortable and rarely one that white folks like me choose to engage in. With recent events I, like so many, have felt compelled to get involved and become comfortable with being uncomfortable. The author does a masterful job of getting the reader comfy and acknowledging the points where many might historically choose to disengage. Through her appeals to our shared humanity, she provides the imperative (and tools) to continue and manage through the discomfort.Clearly,the primary audience is women but, she includes a chapter with a male perspective. I found it to be some of the most compelling content I have ever read on toxic masculinity and the consequences for men and the world. Our rates of suicide, drug abuse and other diseases of despair are on the rise and this book address the underlying causes that gave me new clarity around the challenges we face.This book is also a joy to read and is perfectly structured from the chapter sequencing to the sentences. Topics are seamlessly connected creating a narrative that kept me turning the pages and leaves the reader with profound lessons.There are many books on racial equality and I have read stacks. This book has a unique voice with unique content. It is a must read for anyone, from any background who is interested in the United States living up to its ideals and/or making our communities a little better for the next generation. Ms. Arnold is a fresh and welcomed voice into the conversation and I urge everyone to read this book. It will make you a better person.

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  10. J. Clark

    Very relevant and every reader is bound to learn something from this book. I ended up gifting several to friends after reading it.

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  11. Monica Rodgers

    Once I started reading past the initial chapters that bring us into our current reality – I couldn’t put it down.As a privileged white woman and coach for powerful women + a host for The Revelation Project podcast, I have had the honor of knowing a high volume of incredibly conscious and compassionate women, and yet if we are so awakened and aware of what we do not want, why do we keep voting to keep the systems of oppression in place that also continue to marginalize and abuse us and countless others? Dive deep into the mind bending psychology of this phenomenon but also explore facts that oppose what’s actually being taught about our history and all the ways we’ve given over our power to raise our hands and be counted on the very side of history we keep saying we want to be on the right side of. Time is of the essence- and Jenna’s book gets right to the heart of the issues as well as casts a map out of the hell hole we currently find ourselves in. Read it! Give it to as many friends as you can. Highly recommend.

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  12. Pamela J. Jackson

    Strong, compassionate writing that wakes us all up!Well researched, lots of listening that is captured objectively and informatively.Thoughtful and inspiring.Thank you, Jenna, for your courage, authenticity, and grace.

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  13. VSheff

    Jenna Arnold’s book is timely, enlightening and hopeful. Looking at one’s personal responsibility to understand and change perceptions about racism and feminism is crucial. Arnold’s approach is direct but gentle, sophisticated yet humble. She holds herself accountable by spotlighting misguided examples in her own life. In fact, it was a beautiful way to get to know the author as well. Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines is superbly written and impressively researched. As a college-educated, career-focused white woman, I learned so much. It helped untangle myths not only about the stormy topic but also about the ways I fall into the trap of perfectionism and societal pressure to conform. I highly recommend the book. I’m grateful to Arnold for writing it. I savored every thought-provoking word.

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  14. Amanda

    Seriously, all [of us] white women need to read this book, even if it is only to increase your self-awareness. I cannot speak for everyone, but I know that I want to be a better ally to those who need it. To do this, I am committed to ongoing education and personal growth on the topics of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc…which leads to reading as many books as I can on these topics. I have had a lot of really uncomfortable conversations with myself (& others) in doing this, examining biases and googling things I am/was admittedly ignorant about. This book is hands down one of the most powerful resources I have come across to date.I need to say it again: This book is powerful. The author breaks down a range of topics in simple and very thoughtful terms. She carefully points out that we do not have time to wait – we need to stand up now, confront our privilege and biases to transform ourselves into the allies we need to be. This is a battle of the species and we should all be on the same team: the one committed to dismantling oppressive systems.While the organization of the book seems slightly scatterbrained at times, I do like that it is written as more of a personal conversation than an academic lecture. As someone who works on a rural campus where these issues come up regularly, I have witnessed how difficult it is for people to examine themselves; impossible if you are lecturing at them. If you need proof, read any comment section on social media right now. Maybe this approach won’t cause them to slam the book closed and throw it before even reaching Chapter 2.I guess it is worth noting that this is the perspective I am looking at it from: using it on a college campus. So in that regard, whether you are just starting your self-work in these areas or you have been speaking up/out for years, this book can provide useful background/insight and tips for pushing forward.Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Despite having this digital copy, I heading to B&N to order my own physical copy today. I look forward to re-reading, underlining, highlighting, and post-it-noting the crap out of it.

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  15. Christopher

    Whilst reading Jenna’s book I found myself wondering if there has ever been a time where America needed its women more…

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  16. connie vick

    Very timely subject and important reading for all of us.

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    Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines
    Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines

    $10.18

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