We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood (Hardcover)

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Description


A warm, wise, and urgent guide to parenting in uncertain times, from a longtime reporter on race, reproductive health, and politics

In We Live for the We, first-time mother Dani McClain sets out to understand how to raise her daughter in what she, as a black woman, knows to be an unjust--even hostile--society. Black women are more likely to die during pregnancy or birth than any other race; black mothers must stand before television cameras telling the world that their slain children were human beings. What, then, is the best way to keep fear at bay and raise a child so she lives with dignity and joy?

McClain spoke with mothers on the frontlines of movements for social, political, and cultural change who are grappling with the same questions. Following a child's development from infancy to the teenage years, We Live for the We touches on everything from the importance of creativity to building a mutually supportive community to navigating one's relationship with power and authority. It is an essential handbook to help us imagine the society we build for the next generation.

About the Author


Dani McClain reports on race and reproductive health. She is a contributing writer at The Nation and a fellow with Type Media Center (formerly the Nation Institute). McClain's writing has appeared in outlets including Slate, Talking Points Memo, Colorlines, EBONY.com, and The Rumpus. She was a staff reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and has worked as a strategist with organizations including Color of Change and the Drug Policy Alliance. McClain lives with her family in Cincinnati.

Praise For…


"Dani McClain reminds us why Black women, specifically Black mothers, are the backbones of every single society. While we are often neglected and disenfranchised our labor is what has built democracies around the globe. This is a must read for all Black mamas and our allies. Thank you Dani and thank you Dani's daughter for showing us the way forward."—Patrisse Khan-Cullors, author of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

"Dani McClain charts the rich territory of black
motherhood, an element of American life that is overlooked and undervalued even
as our society benefits from its tenacity and love. We Live for the We is
deeply researched, compassionately reported, and soars with the beauty and
urgency of McClain's truest expertise: her own life as a black woman raising a
young daughter. Parenting is political and we all have much to learn from the
work McClain chronicles in these pages. This book is a gift, and it is for
everyone."—Angela Garbes, author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

"Dani McClain's We
Live for the We
is more than a reimagining of motherhood. It's an equally
soulful and skillful immersion into the questions of how we go beyond survival
in a nation intent on the suffering of Black mothers and their children. The
book refuses to let us run, every paragraph seeking the contour of who we
really are in the dark and how our children will be protected, loved, and
tenderly allowed to fail and grow by parents willing to revise what we've all
been taught. This is the rare book that will change lives and public policy."—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

"Motherhood is one of the most contested and policed categories that black women occupy in American society. With her intellectual gravitas, gifted storytelling, and feminist insights, Dani McClain's We Live for We brilliantly chronicles how African-American women confront these contradictions as deeply political and personal acts. This book is a timely, compassionate, and eye-opening contribution to our most pressing debates about race and gender."—Salamishah Tillet, Henry Rutgers Professor of African American and African Studies and Creative Writing

"We Live for the We is a crucial chapter in the history of Black motherhood as a political
act. Enslaved mothers taught their babies to read without being discovered, now
Black mothers must teach our children to stay safe from police, from sexual
predators, from racist teachers. McClain shows that we must be strategic with
our rage and still vulnerable with our love -- our political work requires this
range. This text showcases the harsh realities of Black motherhood and the best
solutions currently available, while pointing to the ways we must still change
everything for the sake of our children."—dream hampton, writer, filmmaker, and organizer, and producer of Surviving R. Kelly

"Many mothers of my generation lacked safe and
effective birth control, survived childhood sexual abuse, or were prematurely
sterilized. These experiences shaped our understandings of pregnancy and
motherhood. Dani McClain both acknowledges and departs from these painful
realities with her portrait of motherhood as an act of liberation. She offers a
window into the granularity of the challenges millennials face when parenting.
This book describes parenting choices as empowering and bewildering at the same
time and, in doing so, portrays the heart of Black mothering."—Loretta Ross, coauthor of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction and cofounder of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

"Dani McClain has written that rarest and most satisfying of books -- one that illuminates a fraught political and cultural landscape through the pinhole aperture of her own mothering and the questions it surfaces. It is both intimate and epic, sweet and fierce. As a white mother, it read as inspiration and provocation for the kind of parallel questions I need and want to be asking. I'll be a better parent and citizen for having looked through McClain's dynamic lens."—Courtney E. Martin, author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream

"Dani McClain is one of the most lucid, insightful, and gifted critics working today: her work sings with eloquence and is driven by analytical fury. This is the book we parents need right now!"—Michael Eric Dyson

"In this generous, well-researched book, Dani McClain
bridges realism with idealism, and critique with our shared craving for the
better world all of our children deserve. Generations of parents and
community members will use this book to make decisions, to revive our hope, and
to teach each other about the implications of difference in a stratified
society. Most importantly, for me, this book engages and continues the
brave multi-generational tradition of Black mothers sharing their own
experiences and their revolutionary visions for the benefit of all people. Thank
you, Dani McClain, for bringing your hardest questions, your rigorous
observations, your priceless relationship with your daughter, and your open
heart to this necessary work."—Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD, coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

"I read this book shouting 'YES!', throwing up praise hands, pacing the
floor, overcome with gratitude! We Live
for the We
is a glorious exploration of how we outgrow the isolating terror
of oppression and lean into the interdependent wisdom of love. McClain asks
questions that require readers to change -- change how we think of single
parents, of discipline, good births, freedom, education, autonomy, community,
safety, and ultimately, power. Conversational and precise, McClain uncovers
roots of white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism in the ground beneath our
children's feet. Parents and caregivers of all backgrounds can learn from
McClain's deft reporting and storytelling, but Black mothers (and grandis,
grammis, grandmas, aunties, sisters, godmothers, midwives, doulas and friends)
will learn while also feeling celebrated and loved for how we have lived a
legacy of village building, how we have survived the impossible together, and
how we are responsible for a thriving Black future."—adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good and co-editor of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

"Dani McClain has produced an important work that will
show the world just how powerful and transformative radical Black motherhood is
and always has been. This path can be very isolating at times but it's
refreshing to see that I'm not alone in this process and now other moms, dads,
and allies will have the tools to join the fight to make the next generation
more self-possessed and feminist than those before them."—Jamilah Lemieux, writer and cultural critic
Product Details
ISBN: 9781568588544
ISBN-10: 1568588542
Publisher: Bold Type Books
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Pages: 272
Language: English