Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self

Front Cover
Riverhead Books, 2001 - Social Science - 320 pages
73 Reviews
In a memoir about the power of race to share one's personal identity, the daughter of Jewish father and African-American mother recalls her confusing but ultimately rewarding life lived between two conflicting ethnic identities. When Mel Leventhal married Alice Walker during the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, his mother declared him dead and did not reconcile until after the birth of her first grandchild. After Mel and Alice divorced, their daughter, Rebecca, alternated homes every two years, spending time in Mississippi, Brooklyn, San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, Washington, D.C., the Bronx, and suburban Westchester. With each new place came a new identity and desperate attempts to fit in: as white or black, as Puerto Rican or Jewish, as a party girl, a fighter, or a lover. Confused, and mostly alone, she turned to sex, drugs, books, and a cast of dangerous and thrilling characters. Black, White, and Jewish is the story of a child's unique struggle for identity and home when nothing in her world told her who she was or where she belonged. Poetic reflections on memory, time, and identity punctuate this gritty exploration of race and sexuality. Rebecca Walker has taken up the lineage of her mother, Alice, whose last name she chose to carry, and has written a lucid and inventive memoir that marks the launch of a major new literary talent.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

I loved her prose in this. - Goodreads
Rebecca is a charismatic writer. - Goodreads
Walker is very direct and honest in her writing. - Goodreads
Walker's prose is honest, raw, and simply delicious! - Goodreads
Walker's writing is prose and flows like water. - Goodreads
The writing is lovely and reads well. - Goodreads

Review: Black White & Jewish

User Review  - Rachel - Goodreads

An interesting auto-biography of a young woman coming to terms with her mixed identity during a period when she was rejected by all of "her" groups for being an "other". Reading about the poor parenting that she had to endure during such a difficult childhood was heart-breaking Read full review

Review: Black White & Jewish

User Review  - Alia Eisele - Goodreads

I am so glad to be done with this book. I do not recommend it. Read full review

All 2 reviews »



16 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Rebecca Walker has received numerous awards and accolades for her writing and activism. Her memoir, "Black White and Jewish," is an international bestseller and her work has appeared in many anthologies and publications. Walker lectures extensively across the United States and Canada.

Bibliographic information