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Teach Dani McClain's We Live for the We

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Here's why I recommend bringing Dani McClain's We Live for the We into your classroom.

book cover for We Live for the We by Dani McClain

Dani McClain, We Live For the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood (Bold Type Books, 2019)

Depending on which course level you’re teaching at the high school or college level, you can assign this entire book or specific chapters. The author, a journalist who covers race, reproductive health, and community activism, writes inviting prose and skillfully balances a variety of personal vignettes with interviews and reportage on political issues that concern her and other Black mothers of young children. In the Introduction, McClain distinguishes her book from the current trend of motherhood writing that largely depict this social role and practice as a loss (of professional jobs, earning potential, individualism, etc.). She notes, “I can relate to funny anecdotes about sleep deprivation, toddlers’ antics, and ruined sex lives, but these articles and books rarely address the politics of mothering--namely, issues of power, position, and protection” (3). With chapters spanning life stages and spaces--”Birth”; “Family”; “Play”; “Belonging”; “Power”--she shares how “one black American mother is reimagining what it means to parent during a time of conservative backlash, growing authoritarian tendencies, and a rise in white supremacist and patriarchal violence and rhetoric” (5). Her honest, trenchant views may be eye-opening to some students and highly relatable to others, but she models an up-to-the-moment rendering of “the personal is political.”


Buy it from an independent, Black-owned bookstore here


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