Reviews from Combined Destinies Workshop Participants

March 10, 2014: “Things can get better” by Cindy Garmon

Last week I had the privilege to attend the workshop Combined Destinies “Whites Sharing Grief About Racism” and both Ann Todd Jealous & Caroline Haskell were there to lead the workshop. Spending three hours with both of these remarkable women/authors and discussing “White Privilege” along with sharing our personal stories of grief about racism and how it’s impacted our lives left me with a profound feeling of “things can get better”. I have intentionally waited until today to begin reading the book. I wanted time to digest the workshop and its impact on me before reading the stories of others. I can’t wait to dive into its pages this evening! Thank you so much, Ann and Caroline

December 22, 2013: “The workshop was … an immense gift” by Susan George

The workshop was a valuable experience for me on so many levels – truly life changing.  A safe place was provided for each one of us to look into our lives, our hearts, to reflect and to remember.  For me, personally, I recalled one incident in particular when I was very young.  Rather than listening to the natural openness of my childhood heart, I allowed the intolerance of others to shape my actions, actions that I now realize were unkind, even cruel.  Remembering this allowed me to grieve this profound loss of innocence and also to begin to re-discover it.  The workshop was for me an immense gift.

Reviews Submitted to Combined Destinies

December 7, 2015

“I just finished Combined Destinies. Wow! I can’t think of anything I’ve read that so well captures the loss and devastation—for whites—that is caused by racism. This was a courageous endeavor because it could have turned into a “pity party.” Oh, those poor white folks who’ve suffered…  But the depth of these stories is so real and honest and poignant that I’m left, not with pity, but sorrow. I was reminded of any number of incidents in my own life. For this reason, it’s not an easy book to read, which of course, is the point. Well done!” -Elie Axelroth, author

February 21, 2015

“I not only like it, I think it is one of the most important books of our generation, and was by far the best book I read last year. It generated so much reflection and introspection in me, that I ended up writing an essay in response: “Prejudice and it’s Discontents.” -Stu Schlegel

June 16, 2014

“I have been reading your book – it is so good!  So moving.  Well done.”  – Jay Kidd, poet

April 17, 2014

“This is a magnificent book that deserves to be read and discussed by everyone. There is another side to racism that the collective of contributors share and it serves to enlighten the reader greatly. I can’t praise this book enough.” – Kae Hammond

February 6, 2014

“Ann and Caroline,

Just wanted to let you know that my church completed our reading and discussion of your book, COMBINED DESTINIES, last November. It was a great experience for us! The book was a marvelous catalyst for our own story-telling and deepened our appreciation of the connections we share with all people. Thanks for the work you did on this book. I hope that more groups will take advantage of this valuable resource, and begin their own conversations on the effects of racism in our society.


Rev. Rick Yramategui
Carmel Valley Community Chapel” Reviews from Readers

January 10, 2014: Amazing Insight, by Tom Frank

We are not done with this important conversation. This book goes a long way to getting us to where we need to be.

June 11, 2013: This book should be in every classroom!, by V. Kack

This collection of experiences shared by whites about how their lives were impacted as we witnessed the separation created by racist attitudes and practices….some of us “carefully taught” by loved ones to hate or stand by when others oppress. This is a conversation that, while painful and uncomfortable to look at, must occur if we are to ever truly heal this terrible legacy in our culture. Racism is not over until every white person stands up and declares his own racial wound, and vows to include, advocate, and resist whenever we or another person is separated because of race.

May 26, 2013: Review, by lavakarl

Wonderful Book! The thoughtful and thought-provoking work is an engaging book and would work well for a teaching tool and great launch point for discussions. The interviews and personal stories illustrate how much pain and struggle about racism and oppression has been worked through, and makes it clear how much more there is to do. The writing is not dramatic, a helpful approach for the topic. The authors start gently and later reveal more severe incidents, with the intent being always to reveal, to create healing space for both the storytellers and audience. It is never to shock readers. Nonetheless, the reality is impacting. The wide variety of incidents and circumstances depicted here allowed me to revisit memories and think about my experiences better.

As a white boy growing up in agricultural southeast Pennsylvania, race discussion for me was minimized and pushed to the periphery, leaving me disconnected and a bit numb to it as a topic. The ‘problem’ was ‘over there’. Curiosity was not encouraged. This book invites rather than demands a fresh understanding, has compassion for all involved and invites readers to pay better attention to all sides of the stories. You can’t help but be moved.

May 22, 2013: Enlightening – a Must Read, by California Woman

I contributed my story to this book – and learned more about myself and my experiences in the reflection and writing of it. Reading the other stories broke my heart for the pain and suffering endured and expressed–and at a recent happy event, made me acutely aware of how racism is still entrenched in my world. I attended the wedding of my friend’s daughter at Monrovia Villa in Saratoga, a very upscale venue and event. My friend flew in two Latina women from out of state who had been her daughter’s first nannies. Over the next three days, I had the pleasure of escorting them to wedding events and family parties. Both were welcomed and treated as honored guests. In the privacy of our hotel, one woman confided that when she asked for time off to attend the wedding, her current employer of 18 years said,”(My friend) must not have very many people to invite if she’s doing this for you.” Or some such words. I grieved for everyone involved. This book has changed my perception / reality, and I know it will yours as well.

May 12, 2013: Review by gunilladoremus

A topic needed to be taken up for viewing Well done. I LOVED IT

May 7, 2013: Racism hard on White folks too, by Carole Mathison

I grew up in the deep South, hating racism, and I hated living in fear of the Clan, I am white, and I hated the way African Americans were treated, and it was so very hard to do anything to help. I lived every day with guilt, helplessness, and fear. The book tells that side of the story.

April 29, 2013: Good collection of First Person Experiences, by Penne Laubenthal

A dear friend of mine was a contributor to this collection. If you want to read first hand experience about growing up in the segregated south, I recommend this book.

April 24, 2013: A prescription for insight and healing, by user, Big boots

Jealous and Haskell masterfully blend a symphony of voices on a less explored topic. The personal experiences are poignant and authentic, evoking our own personal awareness. There are many moments for private tears, while the text is also an excellent vehicle for group discussions.

April 14, 2013: Important Memories To Share, by Betty Ann Fineman (Nevada)

This is a fine book relating to understanding the impact that racism has on children. It covers a wide variety of people relating their memories of how racism impacted their lives. These are personal and heartfelt stories written by white people feeling shame and guilt and being able to release at least a part of it by contributing stories to this excellent book. Kudos to the authors.

March 30, 2013: Racism, by Robert Niemeyer

If the reader is interested in this subject, He/she can’t do better.. Well organized and thought provoking.