Born Along the Racial Fault Line

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2012-01-01 02:22Z by Steven

Born Along the Racial Fault Line

The New York Times

Janet Maslin

My Long Trip Home: A Family Memoir By Mark Whitaker. Illustrated. 357 pages. Simon & Schuster.

As a social studies major in his junior year at Harvard, Mark Whitaker attended a debate on the subject of ethnicity. One participant was the chairman of the department. Mr. Whitaker stood up to raise some questions.

“What would you tell someone who didn’t have a clear ethnic identity?” he asked. “For example, what would you tell someone who had one parent who was black and another who was white? Who had one parent who was American and another who was European? Who had moved dozens of times as a child and didn’t have a specific place to call home?” Everyone in the room knew that Mr. Whitaker was talking about himself.

“I guess I would say that that’s too bad,” the professor answered. “In the future I hope we don’t have too many more people like you.”

Mr. Whitaker recounts this story in “My Long Trip Home,” a book filled with as much family tumult as Jeannette Walls described in “The Glass Castle” and a racial factor to boot. It’s a story that registers not only for its shock value but also for the perspective and wisdom with which it can now be told…

Read the entire review here.

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