Times Fluid, Mobile and Ambivalent: Constructing Racial & Personal Identity in James McBride’s The Color of Water

Yuan-Chin Chang

Abstract


James McBride’s memoir The Color of Water provides a rich and nuanced history of the author – a Black American man – and his white mother. Using the theories of Bhabha regarding hybridity, ambivalence and a Third Space between different cultures or individuals, it is demonstrated that racial and personal identities are constructed, and historically reconstructed, as flexible and mobile entities in this memoir. The linking of narratives and voices across different decades demonstrates the Third Space in the relationship between McBride and his mother, and each individual’s relationship to and understanding of themselves in a broader multiracial culture. Lacan’s theories regarding rhetoric and signification are also used to underpin an exploration of the ways in which McBride portrays his own changing understanding of biracial identity in America.

 


Keywords


identity, The Color of Water, multiraciality, Third Space, biraciality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.5p.63

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