Lang & Lit
The Color of Water Compare and Contrast Essay
When it comes to people who are biracial, they can be a bit confused, especially during childhood, about their identity. They experience two entirely different cultures, sometimes having trouble deciding which one has to identify with. People who are biracial are unique and have problems that others haven’t heard of, mostly linked to their identity because of their ethnicity. In James McBride’s Memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, James’ biracial identity and lack of knowledge on family history sparks an identity crisis, in which he searches for the truth about his mother’s past. In the newsletter article “Parent and child influences on the development of a Black-White biracial identity” by Dana J. Stone, PhD, and Megan L. Dolbin-MacNab, PhD, the authors describe through a census a psychological study on many of the things James and his mother experience in his memoir.
Firstly, the newsletter article talks about familial influences on the biracial identity development process, meaning how they address the interactions and communications the kids have about biracial identity. This compares heavily with James McBride’s childhood, as he was raised by his single mother whom he confided in constantly for advice and knowledge on race and identity. Although, due to his mother’s stubborn personality and past, she refuses to give clear answers and usually responds by throwing the topic of race under the rug. During James’ childhood, it’s clear that he already starts to develop a problem with his identity as he sees all of his other friends with mom’s unlike his. His mom was uncommunicative to him and avoided explaining the truth.
Secondly, the article also talks about “negotiating racial identity with the outside world” that of which addresses the ways cultural and social experiences influence the biracial identity of the individuals. Since James is growing up in a Jim crow era and the Civil Rights movement, he experiences racism throughout his whole life and is surrounded by