Lythcott-Haims, who first came to the attention of many moms and dads as the author of the 2015 anti-helicopter parenting book How to Raise an Adult, joins us on The Modern Dad Podcast to discuss her well-received new memoir, Real American. She talks about the steps people can take to support and understand the perspectives of “the other,” and offers advice for parents raising children of color.
Lythcott-Haims, who spent part of her childhood in nearby Palisades, N.Y., is the daughter of an African-American father and white British mother. Her book examines her life in a combination of prose and poetry to create “a bold, impassioned memoir” that is “riveting and deeply felt” and “sheds fresh light on race and discrimination in American society,” raves Publisher’s Weekly.
“The author also poignantly describes the assorted indignities she has endured, from attending an event at a child’s school where she saw characters in blackface to resisting a Stanford colleague, a woman who fondled her hair in a meeting. She also writes affectionately about her white husband of many years — though she wonders at times what it would have been like to be married to a black man,” wrote Kirkus Review. The book contains “many potent and painful reminders that we have a long, long way to go regarding race and identity.”
Lythcott-Haims is a graduate of Stanford University, Harvard Law School, and California College of the Arts. She lives in Silicon Valley with her partner of more than 25 years, their two teenagers, and her mother. She spent 14 years as an administrator at Stanford, working as associate dean for student affairs in the Law School, assistant to the president, and dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising at various times.
This episode of the podcast concludes with The Parents’ Phrase Book author and Los Angeles Dads Group member Whit Honea, a white male raising two white males, sharing the conversation he is having with his boys about race.