Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mixed : My Life in Black and White by Angela Nissel

Reviews of Mixed: My Life in Black and White by Angela Nissel all contain the word "hilarious". I have to agree. I often find myself smiling or chuckling softly when I read, but I cannot remember a single instance that I stopped reading because I was laughing out loud . This book had me laughing several times.

Angela Nissel grew up in Philadelphia always searching for her place and her identity as the daughter of a black woman and white man. Her life moves from white private schools to inner city black public schools. She freely shares her observations of black life versus white life. She doesn't hold back as she relates the tragedy of her young life. The abandonment of her father, the constant barrage of racial insults from white and black kids alike, her bout with depression, and her constant insecurity could easily drag a person down. Because of her honesty and authenticity and incredible wit, Angela infuses her story with charm and wisdom. The tears are mixed with laughter.

Soon our family will be transracial and we will experience some of the staring and bigotry Angela has. Her mother did everything she could to empower her daughter and to fill her with confidence. Sometimes love just isn't enough. Our children still drift about trying to find their place in the world. Mixed sends a powerful message to all of us about the importance of communicating and being real about the injustices of this world, particularly the injustices of color. We need to help our children answer the question, "Where do I fit in?" For biracial children and children in transracial families, there may not be an easy answer.