With a roster of acclaimed fiction writers, Mixed shatters expectations of what it means to be multiracial.
A foreword by the editor followed by an introduction by Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (Riverhead Books, 2001), begins this collection of eighteen short stories about being mixed-biracial and multiracial. There are questions directed at multiracial people that go beyond "What are you?" to "Whose are you?" "Where do multiracial/biracial people belong?" "Who do they identify with culturally?" "Racially?" and "Is race really important; does it matter?" These questions and others are raised and addressed in this anthology. Themes of coming-of-age, identity development, self-acceptance, and racial prejudice are explored insightfully. Two examples are Lucinda Roy's Effigies, about a professor who has spent his life's work studying black culture only to have his own identity as a black man (albeit half black) challenged by a black female professor, and Emily Raboteau's Mrs. Turner's Lawn Jockeys, a sad but slightly humorous story about a young man who paints the neighbor's black lawn jockeys white to ease his father's pain and bitterness. Although multiracial identity is a part of each story, the characters are concerned with other matters as well, such as a failed marriage in Mai Johnson's Gift Giving and a kidnapping in Prasad's Wayward. Few teens are at the center of these stories, and the teens who are included seem wise beyond their years. A short biography that includes select titles by each author, and in most cases their racial backgrounds, precedes each story, while information about how the story came to be concludes it. This collection is recommended, but mature language, themes, and situations might make it more appealing toadults and mature young adults.