Lacey Schwartz didn’t know she was black, but her black friends did

Lacey Schwartz didn’t know she was black, but her black friends did


Collier Meyerson

With two white parents and no black family members (save for a dark Sicilian uncle a couple generations removed), Lacey Schwartz was raised thinking she was white. Growing up, Schwartz’s community was predominantly white: her friends, her classes, her summer camp.

But the few black people in Schwartz’s life struck a nerve—and poked holes in the story she told herself and in the story her family told her.

I worked on Schwartz’s documentary Little White Lie, which details her journey from white to black, of being the product of a family secret overloaded with an extramarital affair, love, and betrayal.

During that time, it wasn’t the salacious stuff I was interested in. I wanted to know about how Schwartz came into blackness and who ushered her in. When you don’t grow up with a black parent or in a black community, or even consciously knowing you are black, how do you become black?

I came to learn that the black people in her life made lasting impressions on her—from near and far—even before she had the language or knowledge of her blackness. They pushed her, listened to her, taught and accepted her.

It was black people who always knew Lacey Schwartz was black. No one had the wool over their eyes. So I asked her about it…

Read the entire interview here.

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