The ones who fall in the middle…

When do I use “we”? In a room full of people I do not know, I always search out the ones who fall in the middle, like me, out of some irrational ideal that we belong together.  I worry that this is the wrong thing for the child of a mixed marriage to feel.  My parents conquered difference, and we would all like to think that sort of accomplishment is something that could be passed down from generation to generation.  That’s why we’re all, in theory, so excited by the idea of miscegenation—because if we mix the races, presumably, we create a new generation of people for whom existing racial categories do not exist.  I don’t think it’s that easy, though.  If you mix black and white, you don’t obliterate those categories; you merely create a third category, a category that demands, for its very existence, an even greater commitment to nuances of racial taxonomy.

Malcolm Gladwell, “Lost in the Middle,” in Half and Half: Writers on Growing Up Biracial and Bicultural, ed. Claudine Chiawei O’Hearn. (New York: Pantheon, 1998), 112.