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But when qualifies as “back then”? It is 2016 and Great Uncle Bob is no longer called a mulatto, my mother no longer called a quadroon; I am not an octoroon, my children will not be called mustifees and my grandchildren will not be called mustifinos. We are not in the French Southern States of the 1800s and my great-grandchildren and Therese’s great-great- grandchildren will never be called quarterons, and their children sang-meles. And Great Uncle Bob is possibly on his deathbed and my mother says that “all the black relatives are crawling out of the woodwork” to visit him and Therese is having a hard time introducing people as friends when they introduce themselves as her father’s nieces and nephews. There are different levels of racial passing. Great Uncle Bob passes by not correcting the nurses in the hospital when they say, “Robert Galvin! You must be one of the South Side Irish Galvins!” because he is one of the South Side Irish Galvins. But he is also one of the South Side African Americans who grew up in the Ida B. Wells Homes – Chicago’s first, segregated, housing projects built in 1940 for African Americans. I grew up in a white neighborhood with a white father. It’s strange, now, when people assume I am white; I don’t feel all white. It’s strange that color can vary so much over siblings; it’s strange when people ask my sister or I, with great hesitation, what our ethnicity is, as if worried about offending us; it’s stranger still that my brother is dark enough that people are visibly stunned when we correct them that yes, we do all have the same mother and father. And no, it is not funny to ask if we are sure our mother wasn’t sneaking around our father’s back. It’s strange that I feel that I am passing unless I visibly and audibly declare my heritage. I’m not all white. Yet my mother’s skin tone

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Profile for cusoa

2017 Word for Work Workshop ebook  

2017 Word for Work Workshop ebook  

Profile for cusoa