Category Archives: Essay

When the door closes: on race and having biracial children in America

I’m going to be posting monthly over at Specter+ (soon to be renamed).  My first essay is on race, Hank Williams, Jr., and my own biracial family.  It opens thusly:

Many years ago I was a waiter in a tiny Cajun/Creole restaurant in Omaha. Worked with a chef there, name of Jerry. He was an itinerant fellow. He’d left DC some years previously, working his way down South and out to the West Coast. Now he was slowly working his way back to DC.

After the place shut down the two of us sometimes sat up front helping ourselves to beers from the bar cooler, speaking truths. I was 20. I didn’t know any truths. Jerry was forty-something, a black man in America. He knew plenty.

“The thing about the South is,” he said, “you know where you stand.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Down there they’ll call you a nigger to your face.”

Head on over to Specter to read the rest.

Thanks to Mensah Demary, editor, for pushing me on this piece.