Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons
Jane Lazarre is the author of many books, including the memoirs Wet Earth and Dreams: A Narrative of Grief and Recovery and The Mother Knot, both also published by Duke University Press, and the novels Inheritance and Some Place Quite Unknown. She founded and directed the undergraduate writing program at Eugene Lang College at the New School for ten years and taught creative writing and literature there for twenty years. She has also taught at the City College of New York and Yale University.
A Color with No Precise Name
Chapter 5 is an autobiographical meditation describing the writer, her husband, and sons as they celebrate Christmas, welcoming the younger son back from a semester of study at University of West Indies in Jamaica. The writer contemplates her identity as a mother, writer, a Jewish woman in a black family, daughter of her father—an immigrant and radical activist, a volunteer in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the American battalion that fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. As the writer meditates on her history as it has formed and reformed over the years, she comes to understand the layers, sometimes conflicting, always enriching of her own biological, ethnic, and chosen cultural identities: “some color with no precise name.”