Being White

A Memoir

by Doug Power



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 6/28/2012

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 304
ISBN : 9781477217481
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 304
ISBN : 9781477216651
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 304
ISBN : 9781477217498

About the Book

When Doug’s father refuses to return to suburban New York from one of his lengthy business trips, his mother swallows a bottle of sleeping pills and Doug and sister Constance move in with their mother’s mother in Rochester, who takes them in temporarily. At the end of the school year, Constance goes on to college and Grandma unloads Doug, putting him on a plane to Chicago to live with Carleton, the father he barely knows, and his father’s young, beautiful, Native American wife.

Doug finds himself living two blocks from the infamous Cabrini-Green housing projects, in an area where whites had mostly fled and black gangs are taking control. Carleton moved in with Mary a year earlier, marrying her two weeks after his wife died, and they remain in her apartment in the changing neighborhood because he’d lost another job due to his drinking and because Mary didn’t like to be surrounded by white people anyway.

Doug is immediately thrust into a world of petty crime, violence, and racial hatred, some of which emanates from Mary, who loves his father but despises herself for living with a white man. And yet, on her good days, she becomes more of a mother to Doug than he’d ever had, teaching him how to treat a lady and how to find his way in the inner-city. On her bad days, she locks him out of their apartment.

So Doug comes of age in the streets, dates girls who live in the projects, and sees people beaten and killed. The people he comes to trust and learn from are people who are not white. They’re Indian, they’re Hispanic, and mostly they’re Black.

So who is he, he wonders, who thought of himself as White?

This is the story of how it turns out.

About the Author

Doug Power has been a paper boy, grocery clerk, camp counselor, union member, Congress of Racial Equality member, warehouse laborer, FBI-labeled revolutionary, steamfitter apprentice, University of Chicago dropout, bartender/bouncer at Seattle’s Blue Moon Tavern, improvisational actor, advertising copywriter, Assistant Chief of Staff for Mayor Harold Washington, Sunday School teacher, creator of Chicago CivicNet, creator of fiber networks for rural hospitals, and through it all, still, sometimes, a writer.

He has cut deals with the Chicago City Council, the Illinois General Assembly, the Mayor’s Office and the Governor’s Office. He’s knocked on doors for Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley, Congressman Rostenkowski, and Congressman (now Mayor) Rahm Emanuel.

He’s had stories published in the New Orleans Review, TriQuarterly, Witness, and Other Voices, and, as a proponent for community empowerment, has made presentations about broadband and economic development at conferences throughout the US and Canada.

He is passionate about politics and the evils caused by personal and corporate greed. He is frustrated by racists and aggravated by political correctness.

He loves the Seinfeld series and wishes Larry and Jerry would get back together, and while considered a lefty, is known also to be annoyed at slow traffic caused by pointy-headed intellectuals riding their bicycles (the only valid thing George Wallace ever said).

He loves his wife and children and is happiest when they’re together. And for his epitaph, an old friend suggested this: He was always good for a Rolaids.