Whiteness Is Not an Ancestor:
Essays on Life and Lineage by white Women
edited and foreword written by Lisa Iversen, MSW, LCSW
For over two decades, family constellations facilitator and therapist Lisa Iversen has been working with groups, including descendants of ancestors who have perpetrated harm or been victimized in circumstances of injustice. Here she brings together a collection of twelve essays written by white women who are cultivating consciousness regarding the role of whiteness in collective movements of immigration, colonialism, slavery, and war. Their stories disentangle themes of innocence, grief, race, privilege, boundaries, and belonging in their families and ancestries.
Essays written by Sonya Lea, Karin Konstantynowicz, Anne Hayden, Summer Starr, Kate Regan, June BlueSpruce, Sabine Olsen, Carole Harmon, Christina Greené, Sharon Halfnight, Una Suseli O'Connell, and Pam Emerson.
Edited and foreword written by Lisa Iversen. Edited by Lisa Whipple. Cover and interior design by Olivia Croom Hammerman (Indigo: Editing, Design, and More).
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Lisa Iversen, MSW, LCSW, lives in the Pacific Northwest where she directs the Center for Ancestral Blueprints. She is the author of the book, Ancestral Blueprints: Revealing Invisible Truths in America’s Soul.
" ...The essays that this group of soulful women have written provide a glimmer of possibility that we can re-humanize ourselves...I saw new pathways I could travel. People of color need us to find our way back home. So do we." — Katrina Browne, producer/director, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
"Healing from trauma requires the whole trauma story and that requires the voice of the perpetrator which has largely been missing. These essays are a wonderful primer in how to grapple with the truth...[and] demonstrate how to search your heart for the truths within your family and history, and how to hold these painful truths so that you and others might heal and work toward justice." — Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD Author of Journey Through Trauma
“Collectively, these essays are not just well written, but also poignant and often raw in their acknowledgment of the ways in which their authors have personally benefited from both White privilege and the myth of innocence surrounding White women…this book takes the important first step in acknowledging how the past continues to benefit White women in the present…A timely and thoughtful discussion about the intersection of gender and White privilege.” — Kirkus Reviews
"To even consider looking into the mirror of history without looking away from the face of the perpetrator takes tremendous courage. Each and every woman in this book started the painful process of looking at themselves and their family’s history. This book is a rare and necessary document, for which each voice, including author Lisa Iversen, deserves the deepest respect.” — Daan van Kampenhout, author of The Tears of the Ancestors: Victims and Perpetrators in the Tribal Soul
"A daring and willing look into identity and the structure of whiteness in family, communities, and history. When we ask what the stories are underneath what we carry, sometimes we have to change our lives.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, national bestselling author of Verge and The Chronology of Water
"Lisa Iversen reminds us often that 'Whiteness was created in groups. It will take groups to transmute it.'...[Their] emotional work pays beautiful dividends for us and for the potential of antiracist policy change. The work of our history connects us to real people rather than the mirage of whiteness...[and] helps us reclaim the parts of our humanity we sacrifice on the altar of whiteness...the work of transmuting our whiteness, together, results in a grounded joy and freedom. I urge you to accept these gifts from Whiteness Is Not An Ancestor." — Betsy Hodges, Former Mayor of Minneapolis, MN (2014-2018) & author of NYT op-ed "As Mayor of Minneapolis, I Saw How White Liberals Block Change" (7/9/20)
"It is my hope that we are on the way to greater change, to respect the dignity and worth of every human being...You cannot stop the call of history. We are ready to continue to move forward. We are one people...all a part of one human family...We must do it...create a society at peace with itself...the way of love is a better way."
Congressman John Lewis
We all have ancestors, all are descendants & future ancestors. Sounds like we have a lot in common.
Copyright © 2020 CAB Publishing. All Rights Reserved. With gratitude for Petr Kratochvil's photo Book Tunnel taken in Prague's library.
Yes, mirrors are used to create this effect. Public Domain license.
Congressman John Lewis quote from interview with Gayle King, CBS This Morning, 6/4/20.
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