Biracial, and also Black

My winter 2010 seminar began the way I start every class. I made introductory remarks about themes and requirements for my course on the history of race, law and marriage in the United States. “Now,” I prompted, “let’s go around. Tell us about yourself and why you chose this course.” This introduction was routine. But what I heard was anything but the norm: “My mother is black and my father is white.” “I’m in an interracial relationship.” Ordinarily, I am silent, listening and taking notes. But by the time I heard a third student say “I am mixed-race, from a mixed race family,” I had set down my notebook and was perched at the edge of my seat.

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