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Nishta J. Mehra: Brown White Black - An American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion

Brown, White, Black is a portrait of Nishta J. Mehra's family: her wife, who is white; her adopted son, who is black; and their experiences dealing with America's rigid ideas of race, gender, and sexuality.

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Her clear-eyed and incisive writing on her family's daily struggle to make space for themselves amid racial intolerance and stereotypes personalizes some of America's most fraught issues. Mehra writes candidly about her efforts to protect and shelter her young son from racial slurs on the playground and from intrusive questions by strangers while educating him on the realities and dangers of being a black male in America. In other essays, she discusses her childhood living in the racially polarized city of Memphis; coming out as queer; being an adoptive mother who is brown; and what it's like to be constantly confronted by people's confusion, concern, and expectations about her child and her family. Above all, Mehra argues passionately for a more nuanced and compassionate understanding of identity and family.