Recently reminded of the racial divide that remains in this country, many Americans are struggling to find ways to respond constructively. Several are drawing upon their personal stories of racism, and struggle with the racial injustice that continues to affect us all. That is just what author Kaypri has done by sharing her mother’s story in the book, “I Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know: A Southern White Woman’s Story About Race.” The book is an autobiography detailing the life of the author’s mother Dorothy Hampton Marcus, a Southern white woman who came of age in North Carolina, during some of the darkest moments of the Twentieth Century.
As a biracial child of Southern parents, Kaypri grew up with a deep understanding of the racial divide in the United States. Recent events like black males dead in the street, law enforcement officers not being indicted, and the divergent views of black and white Americans regarding these events remind Kaypri of her mother’s experiences. The book serves as a timely guide that shows how white Americans can take positive steps to better understand the point of view of the black community, and in the process affect significant change.
The book follows Dorothy Hampton Marcus through her life and tells the stories from her perspective as a white woman from the south, who witnessed many injustices and made the conscious decision to try to understand the struggles African-Americans dealt with on a daily basis. One memorable story in the late 1950s, details Marcus’s first job in the field working, when she was paired with an older black woman. Decades after the fact, she eventually made the connection between events of that time and the lack of understanding she still observed between the races. Kaypri sees that same situation unfolding today and thinks that if people could just attempt to understand each other’s perspectives much of the turmoil would dissipate. As Kaypri puts it, “My Mom always said, ‘people just don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know where others different from themselves are coming from; they don’t try to find out.’ They just go about their lives in a cocoon isolating themselves from what’s happening to others. With this book I want to inspire others to change this pattern.”
The book can serve as a guide for people when they face situations like the recent events in Ferguson, New York City, and countless other locations across the country, are confused and have many questions, but very few answers. Those not immediately impacted by the events, or who don’t live with racial discrimination daily, don’t understand what is going on, and often tune out. Kaypri, through sharing her mother’s story, tells them that it’s ok not to know the answers, and offers a way to begin the journey of understanding to begin to find the solutions that will lead to lasting change. According to Kaypri, “This book is for everybody, but particularly those who don’t quite understand what has been going on, post-Ferguson.”
“I Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know: A Southern White Woman’s Story About Race” is currently available on Amazon.com. To learn more about Dorothy Hampton Marcus visit www.dorothystory.com.