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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 (Hardcover)
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.
About the Author
Jenna Arnold is listed as one of Oprah's "100 Super Soul Influencers" because she doesn't have much patience for the status quo. She has been called a "disruptor" in every industry in which she has dabbled from elementary school classrooms to halls of the United Nations, MTV and the White House. For her recent work as one of the organizers of the Women's March, Jenna was recognized with a Glamour Women of the Year award. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, and Fast Company, just to name a few, have recognized Jenna's work as "shaking up long standing assumptions" and being one of "the biggest ideas in social change" for the work of ORGANIZE, a non-profit she co-founded focused on ending the waitlist for organ transplants in America, for which she was also named one of Inc magazine's "35 Under 35" list.
"Jenna has uplifted marginalized voices embodying a crucial sentiment of Malcolm X's: It is white people's responsibility to bring other well-intended white people to the social justice work of our time. Raising Our Hands is the urgent answer to our request."
—Angela Rye, political analyst and commentator
"The world doesn't have time to wait for you to decide that you're brave enough to do the work laid out in Raising Our Hands—you can't read this fast enough."
—Reshma Saujani, bestselling author of Brave Not Perfect and founder of Girls Who Code
"The wisdom in these pages will help you see the world, and your role in it, through a powerful new lens. If you want to raise your hand and step up to the frontline, this book will firmly point you in the direction of how."
—Sophia Bush, actress and activist
"Jenna is a bold and brilliant writer who cleverly holds herself, her sisters, and the reader accountable to a higher standard . . . As a non-binary person of color, I was surprised to see my own privilege reflected in these pages. Raising Our Hands is a helpful tool for confronting privilege and bias regardless of race or gender identity."
—Dr. Tiffany Jana, author of Overcoming Bias, Erasing Institutional Bias and Subtle Acts of Exclusion and founder of TMI Consulting
"Jenna tackles this topic with care and simplicity through an intersectional lens. I'm excited for people to engage with this much needed conversation."
—Geena Roccero, supermodel and first trans Asian Pacific Islander Playboy Playmate
"So many of the ‘well intended' white women who have enthusiastically been marching over the past few years have been missing the urgent context of the foundational work that's needed today which Raising Our Hands provides. This is the book that willing white women have needed for so long: directions for how to engage in the collective work of liberation for all."
—Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, director of community engagement for the Women's March
"At a time of division and uncertainty, we need true allies to hold their communities accountable and this book does just that."
—Jamira Burley, social justice activist and White House Champion of Change
"Arnold provides a useful and compassionate resource to guide readers seeking to transform themselves and their communities through self examination, deep listening, and accountability."
—Jamia Wilson, author, activist, and publisher at The Feminist Press
"We have a great responsibility to the future. The time has come to address our past, our origin, and the ways it continues to dictate our choices. This book is an amazing starting point."
"Jenna Arnold's Raising Our Hands is a daring call-out that bravely tells white women with supremacist sensibilities that the jig is up . . . This is the book I want all of my white friends to read—they will be forced to own their collective ability to challenge injustice in profound ways."
—Avis Wanda McClinton, Quaker anti-racist activist and preservationist
"This book and books like this bring us to a space of collective healing so we can see how deeply dependent and connected we truly are. I applaud Jenna's delivery of a work whose time has come."
—Erica Ford, social justice activist and cofounder of the National Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium
"It is time for action and young people are wondering where you are. Raising Our Hands is a user guide to how to be a great ally. Girls, especially black and brown girls, need your help and Jenna Arnold tells you how you can be your most effective selves!"
—Naomi Wadler, youth activist
"Funny, profound and engaging, Raising Our Hands is a catalytic treatise for the future of ourselves and country. Through searing truisms, it challenges us all to think and behave deeply and to be . . . more. Every chapter takes us collectively one step closer to a reimagined us."
—Denise Hamilton, author of When Sleeping Women Wake, social justice facilitator, and CEO of WatchHerWork
"Raising Our Hands is bright as it is straightforward. This is exactly the type of content, matched with motivating instruction, that so many of us white women are eager to dive into—it answers so many questions we didn't even know we had."
—Reverend Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Baptist Minister
"This book is a call to action to raise our hands to say, ‘That's me—I don't know what I don't know but I want to do better. I'm that white woman. I'm ready to do the work now' . . . Whether we like it or not, we white people are implicated at birth and it's gonna take all of us digging deep, decolonizing our minds and dismantling the systems we are a part of to bring about the change we wish to see in the world." —Kerri Kelly, co-founder of Race & Resilience, author of American Detox (May 2021), and host of CTZN Podcast
"Gripping. Urgent. Unflinching. A must-read."
—Marie Forleo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything is Figureoutable
"Impressive in scope and effective in its simplicity, Raising Our Hands is the tool many willing Americans have needed for too long. There are so many willing women eager to do something besides march but they don't know where to start—I suggest right here."
—Rachel O'Leary Carmona, COO of the Women's March and social-justice activist
"Jenna takes white women on a journey through self-discovery by pushing them to see the world through a more equitable lens. She demands they listen, they learn and they hold themselves accountable no matter how upside down it might turn their worlds."
—Paola Mendoza, artist, activist, and author of Sanctuary
"This book is a welcomed invitation to remind us all that we have learning to do and homage to pay to those who fought before us. Raising Our Hands does a great service in this education and provides an excellent road map on the work to do within ourselves and in the world around us."
—Sarah Sophie Flicker, activist, artist, and contributor to the New York Times bestseller Together We Rise
"Racial justice is something that Black and Brown folks cannot achieve alone. We need white people to do the courageous work to confront problematic behaviors within their own communities and families. Jenna has raised her hand to do just that with Raising Our Hands, clearly outlining the mental and societal roadblocks for white women while emphasizing the potential tectonic shifts that could happen if they were removed."
—Carmen Perez, civil rights and racial justice activist, 2017 National Women's March co-chair, and CEO of The Gathering for Justice
"This is the book I give those interested in being part of the solution but don't know where to start on wrapping their arms around the complex social fabric of the US. Presented through Jenna's engaging and simplistic lens, readers will draw complicated truths much closer."
—Tiphani Montgomery, founder of Millions Conference and faith-based motivational speaker
"Raising Our Hands is a firm, compassionate reminder to bind back to what is already so familiar to us humans if we consciously seek it out: compassion for each other and ourselves as we navigate what feels like the daunting complexity of life."
—Zoe Buckman, visual artist and activist
"Think you're too busy to make a difference? Think again. In this insightful, inspiring book, Jenna Arnold shows how to raise your hand and your voice to create a ‘rising tide raising all people' conversation, community and country. Read it and reap."
—Sam Horn, author of Someday is Not a Day in the Week: 10 Hacks to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life