Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong

Harper Perennial. Feb. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780063009486. pap. $17.99. SOC SCI
A Black woman raised in a white family, Lawton embarks on a journey to discover her identity, and in doing so confronts centuries-old systems of global white supremacy and oppression. Lawton writes about the exhaustion she experienced growing up, balancing the intersections of being loved, yet not understood, seen yet also unseen, and of constant code-switching. After her father dies and she has a series of DNA tests, Lawton tries, not for the first time, to have this difficult conversation with her mother. Failing that, she starts traveling for freelance journalism assignments, along the way meeting several others struggling with being misidentified like her, on a similar search of their own. Lawton finds that racism is prevalent everywhere, expressed differently according to the local culture. After she returns to her native London, she begins therapy to try and mend her relationship with her mother, knitting all the pieces of herself together at last. Grateful for her discovery, Lawton also discusses the history of modern DNA testing, including its negative uses.
VERDICT A frank examination of one woman’s search for identity that will satisfy readers of personal narratives and Black history alike.
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