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Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Life on the Color Line never siezes to baffle, astonish, and motivate its readers

Greg William's Life on the Color Line deserves five stars. His masterpiece begins with his rich white family in Virginia enjoying the luxuries of life. However, when his parents divorce and his father's business goes under, he, his younger brother, and his father are fo...
Greg William's Life on the Color Line deserves five stars. His masterpiece begins with his rich white family in Virginia enjoying the luxuries of life. However, when his parents divorce and his father's business goes under, he, his younger brother, and his father are forced to move in with family in prejudice Muncie, Indiana. When the boys arrive, they are greeted by African-American grandparents, aunts, and cousins. Instantly the boys discover the truth of their heritage: they are both a quarter black. The stunning novel describes the great hardships the boys face while in Muncie. Deserted by their mother and practically their father too, the boys struggle to survive. They are forced to work countless hours at a young age in order to eat and be clothed. William's also goes into great detail about how he and his brother were the "scum" of society in Muncie. Whites rejected them completely, while blacks claimed that they weren't black enough. Life on the Color Line is unique in that it displays both sides of the racial struggle in the United States. It is a moving novel that will make you feel not one or two, but a variety of emotions while reading it.

posted by KHinMrs.McIntyres2nd on January 20, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Endorses the myth of white racial 'purity'

The disturbing thing about Williams' book is that he seems to accept the racist idea that a true 'white' person is totally 'free'of nonwhite ancestry - or at least black ancestry. Williams' tries to ignore the fact that his younger brother and sister identify as white. ...
The disturbing thing about Williams' book is that he seems to accept the racist idea that a true 'white' person is totally 'free'of nonwhite ancestry - or at least black ancestry. Williams' tries to ignore the fact that his younger brother and sister identify as white. He tries to paint his mother as a racist who rejected him because of his 'tainted' blood, but he has no answer for the fact that his mother reared his younger brother and sister even though their paternity was the same as his. My sympathy goes to a struggling single mother who was forced to leave a battering husband, find a job and rear children on her own. Williams paints his light mulatto father, Tony (I will not use the racist term 'light-skinned black man' because it endorses the myth of hypodescent and implies that Tony wasn't good enough for his white ancestry) as a victim of 'racism' but I don't buy it. Tony was a 'white' man (Who the hell has the authority to say who is or isn't white?) who lost his business and his wife (He was alcoholic and a wife-beater) through his own incompetence and stupidity. Those are individual faults, not 'racial' ones. Williams wants us to think that Tony's incompetence came about as a result of 'denying' his 'black blood.' Are we to assume that every 'white' alcoholic or wife-batterer is hiding a 'black blood' stigma? Please!! Tony was guilty of child abuse - a fact Williams doesn't want to recognize. The worthless bum takes his innocent older sons away from their mother, dumbs them in Muncie, Indiana with an alcoholic old black woman in the poorest slum in town, tells them they are now 'colored' and obliged to take the 'Negro' side in the racial cold war that was the reality in Muncie. That was like calling yourself a Communist during the 1950s. Also, I have no sympathy for Tony's inability to get a decent job. Any 'white' man in the 1950s could get a good job if he tried. Tony Williams just decided to self-destruct. He should have been thrown into prison for abusing his sons the way he did. Williams, who is Law School Dean at Ohio State University, knows that many people (especially those of Hispanic or Arabic origin) freely identify as 'white' or otherwise nonblack when their phenotypes clearly show Negroid ancestry. Society has not forced Williams to pretend to be 'black.' The inferiority complex instilled in him by his father did that. The worst thing about this book is that Williams is proclaiming his devotion to a racist myth of white 'purity' while pretending to fight 'racism.'

posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Traped between two color lines.

    If you like emotional books that have good endings you will love this non-fictional auto-biography book. It is crazy how Billy a young boy who was born white and for a short period of time was raised white. But Billys life made a dramatic change when at the age of eight was told he was also black. Billy and his younger brother Mikes life in Virginia when they were white and life in Indiana when they were black was totally opposite. With a mother that ran out on them and a father who was an alcholic they had quite a struggle surviving. It is amazing how Billy and his younger brother Mike grow up and overcome all the opstacles of being traped between two color lines.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    An inspiring story of overcoming hardships of all kinds.

    Life on the Color Line introduces the reader to many tragedies which should not be dealt by anyone let alone a young boy.These include situations of racial diversity, poverty, and alcoholism. This story does a good job of putting ones self in the situation and taking a 360 degree look around at what is happening. Well told and delivered in a way that many can understand, this book brings together a wide audience to look at problems in society which can be overcome.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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