Of Many Colors: Portraits of Multiracial Families

Of Many Colors: Portraits of Multiracial Families

University of Massachusetts Press
160 pages
0.5 x 8 x 10.5 inches
ISBN (paper): 978-1-55849-101-4
ISBN (cloth): 978-1-55849-100-7 (out of print)

Gigi Kaeser, Co-director
Family Diversity Projects, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts

Peggy Gillespie, Co-director
Family Diversity Projects, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts

Photographs by Gigi Kaeser. Interviews by Peggy Gillespie.

Based on an award-winning photo exhibit, this book documents the feelings and experiences of Americans who live in multiracial families. Of Many Colors tells the stories of thirty-nine families who have bridged the racial divide through interracial marriage or adoption. In these pages, parents and children speak candidly about their lives, their relationships, and the ways in which they have dealt with issues of race.

Although the number of mixed-race families in America is steadily rising, this trend remains controversial. For centuries, America has depended on distinct racial categories for its social, political, and economic organization. The current debate over the inclusion of a “multiracial” category on census forms illustrates the extent to which the deeply embedded construct of race continues to divide our society.

Transracial adoption has also generated fierce controversy and debate. As in the case of racial categories, the discussion of transracial adoption reflects ever-changing social standards. As recently as 1987, thirty-five states had laws prohibiting the adoption of black children by white families. In 1996, however, President Clinton signed a bill making it illegal to prohibit adoptions based on race.

The interviews in this book provide the reader with a clear understanding of how mixed-race families contradict stereotypes, challenge racism, and demonstrate that people of different races can indeed live together in harmony. Family members also have much to say about the most intimate form of integration, familial love, and this love is made visible in the superb photographs by Gigi Kaeser.

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