Color Guard

Richard Rodriguez, a literary bête brune of liberals
photo: Jesse James
Richard Rodriguez, a literary bête brune of liberals

Details

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
By Frank H. Wu
Basic Books, 288 pp., $26
Buy this book

Brown: The Last Discovery of America
By Richard Rodriguez
Viking, 232 pp., $24.95
Buy this book

And the great secret is that the browning (or the yellowing) of America happened a long time ago, except we've always called it "black"—the name of the most diverse people on earth, and the most American. Rodriguez writes that "what I want for black America is white freedom," or "freedom from color." But is that what white Americans have? Consider that in the last quarter-century, as whites have increasingly promoted the idea of color blindness, they have hurriedly relocated en masse to white places, away from black (and brown and yellow). Not exactly a picture of unfettered freedom. Yellow and Brown are letting the secret out. We can't work through race till we take responsibility for our own. What we need are more books called White.

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