Vincent, thanks so much for writing this. I've learned a lot from reading it and the responses you've received. When my husband and I were dating in college 30+ years ago, people would ask me "what he was" or "where he was from." I never hesitated to provide details about his family back then, but through the years I slowly began to learn about such coded questions and their implications. I agree with one of your readers that one of the biggest dangers lies in the discriminatory assumptions people may feel justified in making based on the information they glean about another person's background--and based on the ingrained, racially charged understandings they've acquired throughout their lifetime. Thanks again for providing your important perspective and inviting others to do the same.

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Bylines in Publishers Weekly, the Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, others. One Sister’s Song (novel). Not Nearly Everything You Need to Know About Writing (ebook).

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