Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-9

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

One of my most vivid memories from elementary school occurred in some fourth grade festivities. Toward the end of the game “Red Rover,” instead of calling out individual students’ names, the teacher began calling students by various descriptors. As one of the last members of our team, I was excited when I heard...

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1. What’s Old Is New Again, or the Brand New Fetish: Black/White Bodies in American Racial Discourse

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pp. 1-25

Americans have long been fascinated with racial crossings, imagining multiple freedoms associated with blurring racial boundaries. In the fashion world, fashionistas call new styles, particularly new color trends, the “new black,” establishing black as vogue, at once classic and chic. In popular culture, especially since the 1990s, mixed race has...

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2. From Naxos to Copenhagen: Helga Crane’s Mixed-Race Aspirations in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand

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pp. 27-50

In a 2008 National Public Radio (NPR) News & Views segment called “In Character: Who Would You Talk to?” one internet post proposes Quicksand’s protagonist, Helga Crane, in response to the question posed by the program’s title. The post then asks, “Do Helga’s perceptions of racial identity presage our post-modern, anti-essentialist notions...

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3. Homeward Bound: Negotiating Borders in Lucinda Roy’s Lady Moses and Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

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pp. 51-76

Even when Quicksand’s Helga thinks she has found a home, she is profoundly aware of the fact that “[s]he, Helga Crane, . . . had no home” (Larsen 30). Helga’s feelings of non-belonging and unsettlement, largely because of her racial background, are also markers of the black experience in America. In...

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4. “This Is How Memory Works”: Boundary Crossing, Belonging, and Blackness in Mixed-Race Autobiographies

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pp. 77-103

“I am at once no one of the races and I am all of them. I belong to no one of them and I belong to all” (“The Crock of Problems” 58). Jean Toomer’s declaration intimates the difficulties of racial classification and allegiance for most Americans whose racial heritage is undeniably complicated and mixed. Toomer, who claimed many “racial and...

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5. B(l)ack to Last Drop? Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, and the Complexities of Racial Identity in Popular Culture

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pp. 105-120

In December 2009, comedian and talk-show host George Lopez posed the question “What color are you?” to Mariah Carey when she appeared on Lopez Tonight. Her response—“In this country, black”—connects Carey to another mixed-race star, Halle Berry, who has also identified herself by evoking the historical one-drop system of...

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Conclusion

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pp. 121-127

In 2008, Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, along with three coauthors, wrote a paper titled “The Plight of Mixed Race Adolescents.” In addition to finding mixed-race adolescents more attractive than their white or black peers, the study argued that “mixed-race kids manage to be as bad as whites on the white behaviors and as bad as blacks on...

Notes

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pp. 129-139

Bibliography

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pp. 141-159

Index

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pp. 161-171