BLACK, WHITE, OTHER by Lise Funderburg


Biracial Americans Talk About Race
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 A revealing collection of 46 oral accounts of growing up biracial in America. ``But what about the children?'' is the question often posed to adults contemplating an interracial marriage. A wide range of adult children of black/white unions, from late teens to adults in their late 40s, candidly discuss what it is like to grow up in our racially polarized society. Journalist Funderburg, is biracial herself, and while many of the interviewees are successful professionals (book editors, filmmakers, educators), they have struggled with identity problems and prejudice along the way. Heidi Durrow, a 22-year-old journalism student in New York City, says, ``My parents had this idea they could live in this world and their children could live in this world and everything would be okay. But we haven't been okay... we are confused and we are conflicted, and we don't belong.'' Many of the interviewees have been cruelly taunted by members of both races. And while an exceptional few refuse to be categorized, most see themselves as African-Americans. According to 26-year-old Jacqueline Djanikan, ``You can identify with both races, but you are one or the other. You are not both.'' And since society perceives anyone who looks somewhat black as African-American, that is the identity most often thrust upon biracials. Funderburg gives us a full picture of these complex lives, including relationships with extended family, high school and college experiences, and the race-charged dynamics in the workplace and between lovers and spouses. We even encounter several white wannabes who act blacker than their black or biracial partners. An important, often perturbing look at racism in our country and at people who often experience it from both sides. (42 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-18824-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1994


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