Dear White Woman, Please Come Home is Kimberlee Yolanda Williams’ invitation to white women longing for authentic friendship with Black and brown women, the kind of friendship with no place for secrets, the kind of relationship where truth-telling is welcome, even when it hurts.
The idea for the book was born after attending a workshop that left her shaken and angry. In it, Kimberlee listened as white woman after white woman expressed shock, saying, I didn’t know, meaning they didn’t understand how this or that comment, custom, behavior, or norm so negatively impacted women of color. How could they not know? she wondered skeptically. Were they lying? Eventually, she had an epiphany: How could white women know what we (Black and brown women) go through if we don’t tell them? We’ve been trained not to tell them. In an attempt to break that cycle, Kimberlee began writing letters about her experiences.
In the resulting book – 40 letters to a fictional “missing” white sister – she explores with vulnerability, sorrow, rage, and humor how white women, often despite best intentions, signal to her and other women of color to proceed with caution when in their presence. Based on real events, each letter serves as testimony to the daily insults and avoidances that otherize, invisiblize, and undermine Black and brown women. The letters’ story arc, combined with end-of-chapter questions for deep reflection, offer white women insight to the damage done as well as to what it takes to “come home,” to be trusted. The question throughout the book lingers until the very last letter: Will Kimberlee find her long lost “sister”? Will she want to “come home”? Be ready to “come home”?
The book, Kimberlee’s prescription for the historical ailment that continues to divide white women and women of color, also serves as an affirmation for Black and brown women. Historically, women of color’s role has been to serve, comfort, protect, coddle, nourish, and elevate white women. Kimberlee’s raw storytelling boldly disrupts that pattern, hopefully offering an opening for other women of color to air their own painful truths.
Ideal for study groups, Dear White Women, Please Come Home offers a tool for white women and women of color courageous enough to take on a relationship we were designed not to pursue.
Foreword by Debby Irving, racial justice educator, and writer, author of New York Times best-seller, Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race.