Where does she belong among the nuances of both camps? Its 1975 in Boston Massachusetts and a revolution is brewing. The two fall in love, their marriage Sandy's ultimate rebellious act, Deck is black. Her parents, Carl Senna, an Afro-Mexican poet and author, and Fanny Howe, who is Irish-American writer, were also civil rights activists. The hand of a special somebody. Most people today realize that race is entirely a social construction, but belief in racial differences is ingrained into the consciousness of America which built this nation on the backs of slavery which to be acceptable had to be rationalized as the natural order of things with white European's belief in inherent superiority. As a result, politics, not emotions, are engaged.
When we first meet Birdie Lee, she is an 8-year-old whose whole world is her family: her beloved older sister Cole, her fiery and mercurial mother who has turned her back on her upper-class upbringing to do some unspecified underground activities, and her father, a professor at Boston U who writes about race. The truth is that we are all still quite tribal. Birdie, the main character, is a young mixed race girl growing up in Boston in the late seventies with her white mother, black father, and sister Cole, who is darker than her. Then their parents' marriage collapses. Desperate to find Cole, yet afraid of betraying her mother and herself to some unknown danger, Birdie must learn to navigate the white world—so that when she sets off in search of her sister, she is ready for what she will find.
Then their parents' marriage falls apart. This is especially true today as we deal with changing demographics and a heightened awareness of the gigantic gaps in racial justice and how 'race' is viewed. Our story is integral to the story of race relations in the country. Deck was philosophical about his views on race. When the parents split up, Birdie and Cole are separated from each other, with no clues to each other whereabouts.
Sandy's ability to raise her two Black daughters is questioned in the novel; the author criticizes Sandy's inability to attend to Cole's blackness by failing to appropriately style her hair and introduce her to lotion to treat her ashiness. Caucasia, a national bestseller, has been translated into ten languages. While playing spy, she realizes what some whites say and feel where comforted by anonymity, away from those they may offend. I definitely recommend it to everyone looking for a book on a topic they may not have read much about. Consequently, Birdie is able to pass as a Jewish after her mother forces both of them to runaway. Her second novel, Symptomatic, was also well received.
About the Author Danzy Senna's first novel, Caucasia, was the winner of the Book-of-the-Month Club's Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and an American Library Association Alex Award. Their father's new black girlfriend won't even look at Birdie, while their mother gives her life over to the Movement: at night the sisters watch mysterious men arrive with bundles shaped like rifles. From Queen, to Birdie, to me. James turned away, seeming embarrassed. Birdie is more fair skinned with straight hair and could pass. Then their parents' marriage falls apart. There, she received several creative writing awards.
My father grew up in a section of Philadelphia in an Irish neighborhood bounded by the Italians, Polish and Jewish neighborhoods, with the black neighborhood on the edges, where going to Northeast Catholic meant fighting your way through the Italian, Polish and black neighborhoods both on the way to and back from school. She goes through experiences with poverty, homelessness, her mother's deep paranoia, and her own sexuality as she tries to discover her place in the world. One night Birdie watches her father and his new girlfriend drive away with Cole. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can't be sisters: Birdie appears to be white, while Cole is dark enough to fit in with the other kids at the Afrocentric school they attend. Birdie, on the other hand, looks white. Deck Lee has discovered the Black Power movement and he wants his daughters to know that in racist America you are either black or you are white. Her mother was a white woman with a blue-blood Bostonian lineage.
However Language is not just words, but also can be customs, traditions, or acts. Caucasia, a national bestseller, has been translated into ten languages. Though there had been no previous development of this story line before, Birdie references this friend and situation often as she grapples with people and situations throughout the rest of the book. This book—utterly grave, and yet beautifully light-hearted—is a wonder. When Birdie and Cole learn about lotion, Birdie claims that she feels like she is a part of a secret club, aka black culture. I definitely recommend reading this: it's historical, geographical, to understand race, to identify with race, to ask yourself some heavy race questions, to note how parental actions shape or break young lives. Synopsis Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in 1970's Boston.
Birdie's constant struggle with her race is directly tied to her physical appearance, and therefore to the societal beauty standards held to women, specifically those that are separately tied to white women and black women. Let's never sleep with a married man. Add on top of these issues the adventure and it makes for very interesting reading. One longs for greater art or style in the narration, instead of reportage, something non-chronological, letting the full force of what had been lost contrast with scenes of the young girl's life of pretense. When Birdie and Sandy go undercover, Birdie herself is forced to deny her blackness in public.