ONE NIGHT SOME years ago, I tried to explain to my husband why it was that our future kids would be black kids. No matter how light or dark their skin turned out, no matter how coarse or cooperative their hair, chances were they would be black in the eyes of this racialized world, and I needed him to be prepared for that. So that they could be prepared for it.

He looked at me like I was crazy. Then he shot back, “They’re going to be half-white too, you know.” And as occasionally happens in our mixed-race marriage, I saw the canyon of America’s race divide open up between us, right there on the sofa. “There is no such thing as half-white,” I said, and I suddenly felt exhausted.

I am black; my husband is white. We live in a small town where llamas easily outnumber black people.

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