Up Front: Brent Staples

Up Front: Brent Staples

Sunday Book Review
The New York Times

The Editors

Brent Staples, who reviews Randall Kennedy’s “Persist­ence of the Color Line” in this issue, is working on a history of mixed-race identity in the United States. “One of the things that interested me in the last campaign,” Staples wrote in an e-mail, “was the byplay having to do with Obama’s racial origins. It struck me that the press and the public generally reserve the ‘mixed race’ label for the offspring of racially mixed marriages. But there is a paradox here. Obama, half black and half white, is, genetically speaking, not much whiter than I am, even though my nearest white forebears were Virginia slave owners who lived and died in the 19th century. Similarly, there are people who think of themselves as black who are, genetically speaking, 70 percent white or more.”…

Read the entire article here.

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