Shades of Gray


Shades of Gray

Writing the New American Multiracialism

Molly Littlewood McKibbin

Borderlands and Transcultural Studies Series

348 pages


December 2018


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2018


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2018


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In Shades of Gray Molly Littlewood McKibbin offers a social and literary history of multiracialism in the twentieth-century United States. She examines the African American and white racial binary in contemporary multiracial literature to reveal the tensions and struggles of multiracialism in American life through individual consciousness, social perceptions, societal expectations, and subjective struggles with multiracial identity.

McKibbin weaves a rich sociohistorical tapestry around the critically acclaimed works of Danzy Senna, Caucasia (1998); Rebecca Walker, Black White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (2001); Emily Raboteau, The Professor’s Daughter (2005); Rachel M. Harper, Brass Ankle Blues (2006); and Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (2010). Taking into account the social history of racial classification and the literary history of depicting mixed race, she argues that these writers are producing new representations of multiracial identity.

Shades of Gray examines the current opportunity to define racial identity after the civil rights, black power, and multiracial movements of the late twentieth century changed the sociopolitical climate of the United States and helped revolutionize the racial consciousness of the nation. McKibbin makes the case that twenty-first-century literature is able to represent multiracial identities for the first time in ways that do not adhere to the dichotomous conceptions of race that have, until now, determined how racial identities could be expressed in the United States.

Author Bio

Molly Littlewood McKibbin is an assistant professor of instruction in the English literature program at Columbia College Chicago. 


"In this groundbreaking study of multiracialism, McKibbin . . . explores recent criticism and contemporary autobiography and fiction. . . . The author understands the political implications of her subject, and she explores President Obama's role in the reformation of concepts of mixed-race individuals. This provocative book is cautious in its claims, acknowledging that current awareness is still in its early stages and has not yet been fully incorporated into the nation's general consciousness."—T.P. Riggio, Choice

Shades of Gray deepens our understanding of how race and multiracial identities are evolving and enriches efforts to frame these evolving identities in theoretically sound and productive ways.”—Carlton D. Floyd, associate professor of English at the University of San Diego

Table of Contents

Introduction: Race and Mixed Race in the United States
1. “What Are You, Anyway?”: The Social Context of Racial Identity
2. Wonders of the Invisible Race: Negotiating Whiteness
3. “Black Like Me”: Negotiating Blackness
4. Mixed Ethnicity: Multiracialism as Multicultural Identity
Conclusion: The (Continuing) Work of Multiracial Literature


2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Also of Interest