There’s this literary theory called the “mulatto canary in the coal mine.”
It holds that the treatment and depictions of mixed-race people in art and culture is a reflection of the broader state of race relations in America at that moment. The theory has been applied to works throughout American history, from Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, “Passing,” to Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia” in 1999.
These multiracial characters, their very bodies providing evidence of racial lines crossed, are marked by confusion and betrayal, jealousy and cowardice, and most frequently, a tragic ending.
Well, it’s 2017 — 50 years since the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision invalidated anti-miscegenation laws across the country. It’s been legal to cross these racial lines for five decades now, almost two full generations. What does it mean to be mixed race in America today?
I suppose I should tell you a little about myself and why I’m so…