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A Conversation about Race, Identity and the Ties that Bind Us

Clockwise from lower left: My brother Jim, sister Denise, brother Michael, Mother, brother Rick and me in a photo dated 1968

For years, I have written about my struggle to find my identity and my place in a world that often sees things in black and white. I live somewhere in the in-between, born to a different father than my siblings and with different skin. That difference has led me on a lifelong journey where I walk a racial tightrope. I understand the pain my family feels living in a country where racism still exists. But because of my skin, I have white privilege they are denied.

But I am…


I’ve often wondered what a dirt-poor, white handyman would see in a poorly educated, black domestic worker.

Certainly, they saw love. But undoubtedly, they also glimpsed the future.

Decades before Richard and Mildred Loving defied interracial marriage laws and social mores, my grandmother and her common-law husband did the same. Quietly they, and many other Black and white couples, helped changed the attitudes and behaviors that paved the way for changes in the law.

The story of how my grandma and John got together in the 1940’s has been lost over time. …


For all the revelations in Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the most striking was Meghan’s claim that an unnamed member of the royal family raised concerns and questions about the skin color of her then-unborn son, Archie. Black Americans winced at that, recognizing, even in those royal and foreign circumstances, a version of the same anti-Black racism and colorism that we’ve long faced. …


In the national debate over reopening school buildings, the parents of more than 50 million American school children were forced to make decisions that could have long-term implications for their children’s health and education. Some families had plentiful, if imperfect, schooling options this fall: pods, private tutors, schools able to throw resources at the situation. Many more have fewer choices.

As a parent of two teenage daughters — one in public school and the other in private school — their differing experiences during the COVID-19 disruption have brought systemic inequities into stark relief.

Over generations, my own family has been…


It was the only thing capable of drawing them out of their rooms and away from their small screens. My two kids crouched on the edge of our sofa last week, with their eyes glued to the TV, allowing them to see the big picture of what is happening in our country.

At first, they were just looking for an excuse to abandon their half-hearted attempts to finish schoolwork. It was more interesting to see history in the making. But once they took in the images of the insurrection on Capitol Hill, their attitude and mood quickly changed. Instead of…


I walk a racial tightrope. It’s one I’ve struggled to balance on for my entire life — I see how that distorts America

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I walk a racial tightrope. It’s one I’ve struggled to balance on for my entire life. But over the past several weeks, I’ve felt myself teetering. I’m black and outraged that racism continues to kill black people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor while burdening the lives of so many others in our country. But I know that I am not one of those people. I know the freedom of moving through a world that magically removes many barriers from my life and shields me from harm — all because of my ability to pass as white.

My…


A decade ago, two gay dads and a lesbian couple raising two teens helped change the face of American families.

Bonnie Osborne / ABC

The fictional TV dads, Cam and Mitchell of “Modern Family” and the characters in the film “The Kids are Alright” pushed LGBTQ parents into the pop culture mainstream.

Their appearance on the small and the big screens spurred news reports, scholarly articles and blog posts about the growing phenomenon of gay parenting. More importantly, they sparked a cultural conversation about something many gay people had been trying to say for years — kids raised by LGBTQ parents are no different than the children of straight marriages.

Now as “Modern Family” prepares for its series finale Wednesday night, I’m concerned that…


Long before our doctor ordered my family to quarantine for 14 days, I knew something was wrong. I could feel my chest tighten and my breathing grow more labored. I obsessively took my temperature after breakfast and before bed. Still, my kids teased me.

They had seen me other times when I was convinced that a sudden side stitch, strange eye twitch, or unexplained lump on my head was deadly serious. When that happened, I didn’t bother with a walk-in clinic or my primary care doctor. I went straight to a specialist. While they ran tests, my kids rolled their…


The historic birth announcement required a worldwide Instagram post, a royal news conference, two footmen carrying a golden easel and one unofficial town crier: Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, had given birth to a boy, proclaimed as the first multiracial baby in the royal family’s modern history.

It’s a far cry from the reception I imagine my mother had the day I was born. I’ve often wondered if the nurses averted their eyes and the doctor shook his head as they wrapped me in a blanket and handed me over. Once my mother peeked inside, she would have understood their reactions…


My daughters and I defy easy labeling. It has taken me a lifetime to realize that we don’t have to declare a single racial identity.

Credit… Lucy Jones

I gaped at my daughter one morning a few years ago as she tried to creep, unnoticed, out the front door to her bus stop. She was 13 at the time. Her hair, normally gelled and pulled tightly into a top bun, now sprang loose in a frizzy, light brown Afro. Large gold hoop earrings hugged the sides of her copper-colored face, above her camo-patterned crop top.

“You look like …” I…

Steve Majors

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