The first time someone told me I was white, I was seven years old. Three of my friends, all of them light-skinned black kids like me, taunted me in the schoolyard after my father dropped me off.

“That’s not your real dad,” they said. “He can’t be because you’re white.”

I was devastated. But I remember my father reassuring me that they were wrong; not only was he my father, but also, I was black, even if I was lighter than the other black kids.

My parents raised me to be secure, as racially mixed and Jewish. These were non-negotiable parts of my identity.

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