Joni and Rebecca Schwartz in their collaborative autoethnography, Learning to Disclose: A Journey of Transracial Adoption, are doing soul work. This adult white mother and black daughter reflect and dialogue around the places and histories that shaped their relationship. Through three voices: the voice of critical history, the daughter and the mother, the co-authors excavate the past to see if and how it lives in their present. In an intriguing mix of critical history of places like Port-au-Prince and Gulu, Uganda as well as lesser-known narratives of W.E.B. Dubois, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and Shirley Chisholm, the co-authors tell their own personal and moving stories of becoming mother and daughter engaging such topics as racial identity, disclosure, racial appropriation, colonialism, and the complex history of transracial adoption.
For anyone interested in racial identity in the complex world of blended families and adult mother and daughter relationships, this is a must read. This book is ideal for all humanities courses across disciplines from sociology, education, qualitative research, and social work to race and communication studies. In this era of strained and confusing racial dialogue, this book is refreshing in its honesty, moving it its personal narratives, and instructive in its engagement in how the historical lives in the social imagination of our present lives and relationships.