Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self
In a memoir about the power of race to share one's personal identity, the daughter of Jewish father and African-American mother recalls her confusing but ultimately rewarding life lived between two conflicting ethnic identities. When Mel Leventhal married Alice Walker during the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, his mother declared him dead and did not reconcile until after the birth of her first grandchild. After Mel and Alice divorced, their daughter, Rebecca, alternated homes every two years, spending time in Mississippi, Brooklyn, San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, Washington, D.C., the Bronx, and suburban Westchester. With each new place came a new identity and desperate attempts to fit in: as white or black, as Puerto Rican or Jewish, as a party girl, a fighter, or a lover. Confused, and mostly alone, she turned to sex, drugs, books, and a cast of dangerous and thrilling characters. Black, White, and Jewish is the story of a child's unique struggle for identity and home when nothing in her world told her who she was or where she belonged. Poetic reflections on memory, time, and identity punctuate this gritty exploration of race and sexuality. Rebecca Walker has taken up the lineage of her mother, Alice, whose last name she chose to carry, and has written a lucid and inventive memoir that marks the launch of a major new literary talent.
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I will play the Wicked Witch of the West. I don't tell my mother too much about the
play, and she doesn't ask. It isn't a big deal, I say, hoping she won't see through
my mask of nonchalance; I don't want to hurt her. I don't want to lie, either, but ...
I play Mommy. I want to be the one who is touched more, the one who is done to,
the one who is told what to do. Some nights we play with one of my father's old
leather belts. I like the sound of it slapping my skin, the warm heat I feel when ...
This year, in this school, the play is Grease, and I want more than anything to be
in it. I want to sit after school in the empty auditorium with the other students
singing along to the words of all my favorite Grease songs and wearing the black
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Calavari - LibraryThing
Never before has a book so completely spoken to my heart. I originally found this last year when I was looking around for around for women's memoirs to be put into my Diverse Books Tag focused on that ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - purlewe - LibraryThing
I read this as part of the Free Library's immigrant stories collections. I enjoyed this.. even if it isnt your typical immigrant story. It is more of how she felt likea stranger no matter where she ... Read full review