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I could see that it was this deliberate effort she was making and she wasn't just play acting. She cared deeply about Africans, she cared about African-Americans, when my folks moved here in '69.
She had a consciousness around the diaspora and Pan-African issues that most white folks in America didn't then have.
But as I say in the book, it was 'a fleeting lover.' I think what I was really hungering for was simply to find a sense of belonging within the black community, and when I found it, it was probably one of the greatest embraces I've ever felt."On growing up black and biracial"The conventional wisdom at the time was mixed-race, biracial children need to be raised with a black identity because the world will see them as black, America will treat them as black and they need to know that and be black and proud. I didn't see people like me in my town, in my school.
So my parents did a lot of speaking to that, but they chose to raise me in white towns, which meant I didn't have peers. And so, there was a hollowness to the 'you are black' declaration my parents made, and I was a bit bewildered, particularly to hear my white mother say this.
Biracial was an important term for me when it first came out in the late '80s, because previously we hadn't known what to call people like me.
It finally was a way to stop ignoring my white mother.
And yet, even though she'd read all the studies about black children need black dolls to be healthy psychologically, she did that, but didn't go the much more necessary steps further, which would have included towns with a critical mass of black folk, schools with a critical mass.
So that aspect of my upbringing was really severely lacking."On the microaggressions and overt racism she experienced"When I was about 7 living in Rockland County, New York, I was in the above-ground swimming pool at a friend's house, and with a bunch of other kids, and apparently one kid's father got wind of the fact that I was in the pool polluting it with my blackness, and he came to the door and said he wanted to bring his child home.
The following summer I recall the hard work of weaving red, white, and blue streamers through the back and front wheels of my ten-speed bicycle in honor of our nation’s Bicentennial.' And I looked at her and I said, 'Not very well.' She nodded and smiled. "' What I learned as I began to notice the feelings as they were coming up, to be able to stop them and interrogate them, I began to realize they come when I'm feeling disregarded, disrespected, dissed, you know, and that for me is rooted in this fear that this comment this other person is making is like one, two, three, five steps away from them calling me the N-word. The contradiction of being “less than” in a nation whose forming documents speak of liberty and justice for all plagued me for much of my young adult life. Snedens is tucked into the western bank of the Hudson River across from Manhattan and farther north.