Most people, including myself, who identify as White, rarely come to appreciate how much we've learned about American history has been tainted and "white washed." In this insightful and vulnerable book, Watson explores the connection between the recovery process (12 steps) and the long-overdue reckoning - and recovery - our nation needs to ensure that the democracy promised by our founding fathers is actually true for all Americans, not just the privileged few benefitting from "rigged advantage." Watson was courageous enough to write it. You should be courageous enough to read it.
Ron A. Carucci, Co-Founder, Navalent
Author, To Be Honest, Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice and Purpose
William Watson’s Twelve Steps for White America left me speechless. Never have I read a more engaging book where the author has entwined his personal history, life and struggles with a powerful and practical guide to overcoming “rigged advantage”. I always knew that the odds were stacked towards the white, wealthy and powerful but never knew what to call it, how it really worked and what an enormous impact it has had on our country, especially those of color. For those of you who haven't picked up a copy (or read someone else's copy ;-) of Twelve Steps for White America: for a United States of America... today's the day to get it ordered! This is one of the most thought-provoking books you will read this year. Opens up all sorts of conversations.
Jean Petty, Higher Education Strategist
“If the recovery community can thrive sober, imagine how their transferable and scalable practices and principles could heal America’s most pronounced and traumatic dysfunction: racism. In Twelve Steps For White America, a southern born white man with a laser-focused aptitude for social justice delivers a treatment plan for national redemption and renewal. This book needs to be in every hotel room nightstand in the USA.”
Anne E. Palmer, Ed.D., Stanford University Graduate School of Education.
Applying the 12 step model to unlearning racism is a powerful and innovative approach especially given Watson's honest sharing of his experience and challenges. His exploration of the different ways we get stuck, the patterns that are hard and necessary to face and overcome, is really helpful in thinking about ourselves, the people we love, and the people who we find most difficult. The book will likely feel most powerful and useful for readers who are ready to make some changes or are already working toward dismantling racism as individuals and in the systems that keep racism in place.
Rebecca Toporek, Ph.D.
Professor & Department Chair, Counseling
San Francisco State University
“You will never look at the word “bamboozled” the same way after reading this book! Watson's 12 Steps for White America is a manifesto guide to regain our soul and reclaim our democratic principles. It is also a deeply personal account of his family's activism in the Mississippi Civil Rights movement and his hard-fought struggle to recover from alcoholism as a young adult. Here, Watson presents a 12-step program of fundamental problem-solving principles to turn away from “rigged white advantage” so that true liberty can be consecrated for all. A “must” companion workbook invites readers to reflect on a series questions for each of the 12 steps to embark on an inner journey toward healing and liberation. “
Pat Krakov, Lighthouse Philanthropy Advisors
Watson presents a timely and relevant treatment plan that addresses structural racism using a critical lens. Leading White Americans to dismantle white supremacy as inside agents of change, this is a powerful, engaging, and personal journey of authentic self-reflection. Dr. Watson shares his incredible life stories, from growing up as a child in the Great State of Mississippi during the height of the civil rights movement to his present-day experiences in the Golden State of California. At scale, these simple steps, if applied would strengthen our democracy and collective understanding of living UNITED in our STATES as an inclusive AMERICA.
Lauren Sneed, M.S. MFCC., PPS.
Department of Counseling, Faculty Lecturer,
San Francisco State University
"The United States of America has always been an experiment in democracy. To reach its aspirations, America needs the treatment plan presented in Watson's memoir-manifesto."
Eric Narveson, Professor of History,
Evergreen Valley College &
Lecturer of History, San Jose State University.
Clear, compelling, and hopeful … 12SWA maps a release from the hold white supremacy has on our country's institutions and culture. I cannot think of a more important and useful book for our time.
Heather Bettini, Director,
Economic Justice, Community Action Marin
Watson delivers a twelve-step redemptive literary arpeggio to help detox the soul of America's historically privileged.
Higher Ed CEO, Consultant