I’ll be adding more to this page. Here’s a start.
- “Your Brain is Racist,” The American Prospect, Dec. 15, 2011.
- “Will Blackness Be the Thing that Gets You?” The American Prospect, October 20, 2011. Danroy Henry’s needless death shows just how much race matters—even if you do everything right.
- “Being Black & White,” The American Prospect, Dec. 10, 2001.
When I was 18, I learned, quite belatedly, that my father’s brother had married a black woman. The wedding took place in 1958–the
year I was born, the year after my parents married. Instantly I knew that racism had kept me from knowing my uncle (by then dead of a heart attack), my aunt, my cousins. Instantly I knew I would have to find them. [When] I finally met my aunt and cousins, to my surprise, they treated me not just as a cousin but as a living symbol of racial reconciliation. Once we’d met, told stories, and compared features–we share a long jaw and sharp chin–I started to notice how arbitrarily I’d sorted the world around me into “black” or “white.” All around were black people who looked related to me. White friends had color in their families of blood or choice: a stepfather, a spouse, a sister-in-law, a dearest friend. I started to feel that every American whose family has been here more than a few
decades is from a mixed-race family, that somewhere out there–however near or far–we all have relatives of the “other” color. African Americans know this, of course, often down to the name of at least one plantation owner in the family tree. But for a white girl in a color-bound world, this was news.
As it happened, the insight that was striking me so personally–that the color line is drawn in shifting sand–would soon strike the culture.