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“The best book written on the subject, an exhaustive source of deep, rich scholarship and surefooted brilliant analysis.” —Seattle Times
“We urgently need Kennedy, his courage and his convictions. . . . For some time [he] has been a member of that small coterie of our most lucid big thinkers about race.” —Washington Post
“[A] vibrant, weighty examination. . . . Kennedy writes eloquently about the violence, sadness, and warped legacy of the past, but then goes looking for intimacy anyway—instances in which some mutual feeling may have arisen across the racial divide.” —Los Angeles Times
“As definitive as it is defiant. . . . One of the most important books on race in recent memory.” –Columbus Dispatch
From the author of Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word and Race, Crime, and the Law—a tour de force about the controversial issue of personal interracial intimacy as it exists within ever-changing American social mores and within the rule of law.
Fears of transgressive interracial relationships, informed over the centuries by ugly racial biases and fantasies, still linger in American society today. This brilliant study—ranging from plantation days to the present—explores the historical, sociological, legal, and moral issues that continue to feed and complicate that fear.
In chapters filled with provocative and cleanly stated logic and enhanced by intriguing historical anecdotes, Randall Kennedy tackles such subjects as the presence of sex in racial politics and of race in sexual politics, the prominence of legal institutions in defining racial distinction and policing racial boundaries, the imagined and real pleasures that have attended interracial intimacy, and the competing arguments around interracial romance, sex, and family life throughout American history.
Table of Contents
One In the Age of Slavery
Two From Reconstruction to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Three From Black-Power Backlash to the New Amalgamationism
Four Race, Racism, and Sexual Coercion
Five The Enforcement of Antimiscegenation Laws
Six Fighting Antimiscegenation Laws
Seven Racial Passing
Eight Passing the the Schuyler Family
Nine Racial Conflict and the Parenting of Children: A Survey of Competing Approaches
Ten The Tragedy of Race Marching in Black and White
Eleven White Parents and the Black Children in Adoptive Families
Twelve Race, Children, and Custody Battles: The Special Status of Native Americans