Just as the title of this memoir, Life on the Color Line The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black by Gregory Howard Williams brings up the question of what is ‘white enough’ or ‘black enough’ to distinguish who one is – I never fully understood what Williams was conveying in this book. I’m sure that speaks to my misunderstanding of the situation, of the particular situation of someone who is ‘in between’ – just what is Black and just what is White.
Mind you, I’m not wrestling with it, but I do want to understand it.
At one time, the portrayal of the American Indians was very negative [“Dirty Indians Not Welcome”] and of course, we know quite well the treatment and view of the Blacks/Negroes. There were American Indian and Negro descendants who ‘passed’ when this was possible. They ‘passed’ in order to have a better life. Isn’t this a sad commentary as to how we viewed race? Is this still – in the 21st century – the view?
I am – most certainly – veering off target – about this book which I recently read.
However, after reading it, I had some questions.
Identity. Discrimination. Who are we – really?
From the book jacket:
Gregory Howard Williams and his younger brother, Mike, grew up believing they were white and that their dark-skinned father was of Italian descent.