Bliss Broyard is the author of the collection of stories, My Father, Dancing, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the year. Her fiction and essays have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and The Art of the Essay, and have appeared in Grand Street, Ploughshares, The New York Times, Elle Magazine and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life--A Story of Race and Family Secretsby Bliss Broyard
Ever since renowned literary critic Anatole Broyard's own parents, New Orleans Creoles, had moved to Brooklyn and began to "pass" in order to get work, he had learned to conceal his racial identity. As he grew older and entered the ranks of the New York literary elite, he maintained the façade. Now his daughter Bliss tries to make sense of his choices and
Ever since renowned literary critic Anatole Broyard's own parents, New Orleans Creoles, had moved to Brooklyn and began to "pass" in order to get work, he had learned to conceal his racial identity. As he grew older and entered the ranks of the New York literary elite, he maintained the façade. Now his daughter Bliss tries to make sense of his choices and the impact of this revelation on her own life. She searches out the family she never knew in New York and New Orleans, and considers the profound consequences of racial identity. With unsparing candor and nuanced insight, Broyard chronicles her evolution from sheltered WASP to a woman of mixed race ancestry.
- Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)
Meet the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Oddly, contrary to many of the readers reviews that Creoles like the writer should basically feel not connection to their blackness as their family's have successfully passed as white, I feel like it is important that you embrace all of your ancestry. I am creole of the the Landry, Conti, Otis and Phillips line. We are black, white (French and later American by way of British and Irish) and Choctaw American Native. However once a person knows and discloses African ancestry many Americans view that person as black whether it is Obama, Alisha, Marian, Vanessa or me. The culture is dying mostly due to people passant blanc or the assimilation into the American black, White or Latin communities following the diaspora caused by Katrina. We were treated and have more of a history in common with African Americans, though culturally we are closer to Latinos. Additionally, since the Latino population is growing in the US many have decided that all Latinos are "white" regardless of phenotype just like they have with Arabs (due to their contributions to civilation, especially Western). Every Egptian I have met has had a problem with being forced to identify with white in America. I will ne Ed understand why it is a problem for people of mixed race to identify with the race that excepts them wholeheartedly vs. the race that will see them only as mixed regardless of their personally cultural affiliations. Creoles are any person born and cultured to New Orleans. Though there was formerly a 3 tier class system after the Louisiana purchase Creoles were treated as any other black person hence why many chose to leave and passe blanc. I have family in California blondes with blue and green eyes that only call once a year to say they are fine.Passant blanc means you have to hide/lie about your ancestry. FYI unlike what I have seen in Latinos Creoles black or otherwise don't see blackness as a negative but they do recognize being white affords one certain social and economic advantages. We actually see our blackness as the reason that we survive amongst the worst conditions and why we are so beautiful. It is just like Latinos the ones we as Americans think are so exotic and beautiful are of mixed race. Me personally could never passe blanc but I do look like an Indian, middle eastern, Latino or East African (Ethiopian, Eritrian or Somolian). Why would anyone think we are wrong for following the white American rules in America?
Delightful awakening- Ms Boyard put it out there for everyone, i've told evrrybody in my circle to buy this book i've enjoy the book look forward to moore books my Ms B
This is page-turning nonfiction. Broyard achieves an artful balance between sharing her personal journey and educating about the realities of life for light-skinned mixed-race Americans. She provides a wonderful history of the Creole population in New Orleans and the families that moved to other parts of America seeking new opportunities, often isolating themselves from their families and culture. She is honest and informative as she explores her own discoveries about race and family relationships. This is a very engaging book.
Very moving, fascinating account, and promotes profound reflection on the subject of race.
The book is very good if you ignore Bliss Broyard's editorial comments. Creoles are like Latinos, all of them are mixed-race but some are whiter and some are mulatto and some are blacker. We don't begrudge whiter Latinos the right to call themselves "white" without being accused of "passing for white." Creoles should be extended the same courtesy.
Ok I admit in parts this book is interesting, it is informative. However I cant finish it. It just doesnt grab you. Its more like wow really you can write on and on and on about oh I didnt know my father was black. I feel the book is a bit long!!! I got about a third of the way through it and now it sits. Maybe I will pick it back up but its been five solid months since I set it down so I'm not really thinking its gonna happen. But if you like long winded informative books with out a huge story line read it, you will be happy that you did.
The best part of Bliss Broyard's latest book is her description of the dying Louisiana Creole culture and ethnic identity. Even Bliss realizes that the Creoles are not 'black' or 'African American,' but she is not consistent in separating the two identities, often using the word 'black' when she should say 'Creole.' Of course, her miseducation in forced hypodescent and the 'one drop' theory by her newly discovered black-identified Broyard relatives had a lot to do with that. Creoles have been subjected to what one might a call a 'documentary genocide' 'to use the phrase coined by Brent Kennedy, author of The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People : An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America'. Since the Jim Crow period, both whites and blacks in Louisiana have worked to destroy the unique Creole ethnicity and forcibly assimilate them into the 'Negro/black/African American' fold by simply refusing to recognize Creoles as anything but 'Negroes.' The Creole relatives Bliss encounters are thus divided into those who identify with the 'white race' and those who believe all Creoles are part of the 'black race.' Bliss, as a liberal, sensitive white girl, tends to automatically give more credibility to the 'black' side of the family, even when common sense should tell her that have only internalized an inferiority complex that makes them think they are unworthy of being anything but 'black.' Some great books on this documentary genocide are: White by Definition: Social Classification in Creole Louisiana by Virginia R. Dominguez and Legal History of the Color Line: The Rise And Triumph of the One-drop Rule by Frank W. Sweet. Bliss disappointed me greatly by seeming to buy into the old canard that there is something immoral about a person with even a small amount of 'black' ancestry identifying himself as 'white.' Hello, Bliss. Have you heard of Latinos and Arabs? They are almost always partially of sub-Saharan African ancestry but don't call themselves 'black.' Most of them identify as 'white' on the census and other forms. You live in New York City, which has more 'mulattoes' than New Orleans. However, because they are also Puerto Ricans, their 'black blood' doesn't count? Why? Many reviewers in the media have painted Anatole Broyard as a villain who deprived his children of some kind of wonderful heritage. I side with Anatole. First, he was not 'black' and he would have been guilty of emotional abuse if he had taught his children to embrace a false racial identity invented as a stigma. A few say that he should have taught them about their wonderful Creole heritage. Why? It is a dying ethnicity and its people are being assimilated by force into the 'black' fold. Creoles either go as 'black' or 'white.' The few remaining Creoles who seek an in-between path are dying out and have no political power. I also noted, from reading the book, that Bliss is a very emotional, impressionable person. She was too full of liberal guilt and easily enamoured of anything 'black' as a grown woman. I shudder to think how she would have reacted as a teenager or child. Her brother Todd seems to be far more stable. There is no evidence that the great revelation that his father was 'tarbrushed' caused him to change his identity or indulge in racial angst. There is a scene in the book where Alexandra Broyard 'the supposedly 'pure white' Norwegian-American mother of Bliss and Todd' discovers that she has partial Native American ancestry. It is interesting to her, but she has no plans to change her identity or even check more 'race' boxes on those omnipresent forms. She is like most white Americans in that regard, since American Indian ancestry is not presented as a source og genetic inferiority that destroys forever one's European heritage or right to call oneself 'white.' Shouldn't 'black' ancestry in white people be decriminalized and treated like American Indian ancestry?