Notes Of A White Black Woman
Race, Color, CommunityUnknown - 1995
While the "one-drop rule" in the United States dictates that people with any African ancestry are black, many black Americans have white skin. Notes of a White Black Woman is one woman's attempt to describe what it is like to be a "white" black woman and to live simultaneously inside and outside of both white and black communities.
Law professor Judy Scales-Trent begins by describing how our racial purity laws have operated over the past four hundred years. Then, in a series of autobiographical essays, she addresses how race and color interact in relationships between men and women, within families, and in the larger community. Scales-Trent ultimately explores the question of what we really mean by "race" in this country, once it is clear that race is not a tangible reality as reflected through color.
Scales-Trent uses autobiography both as a way to describe these issues and to develop a theory of the social construction of race. She explores how race and color intertwine through black and white families and across generations; how members of both black and white communities work to control group membership; and what happens to relations between black men and women when the layer of color is placed over the already difficult layer of race. She addresses how one can tell--and whether one can tell--who, indeed, is "black" or "white." Scales-Trent also celebrates the richness of her bicultural heritage and shows how she has revised her teaching methods to provide her law students with a multicultural education.