Into White by Randi Pink
IDENTITY ISN’T ALL BLACK AND WHITE.
Interests/Topics: identity, family, shame, teenage angst, religion, gender
Curriculum Connections: English, Equity Studies
Blurb: While in high school, I was convinced that blondes have more fun. So I became one. Now you have to understand that I lived in Los Angeles at the time, and everyone was blonde, skinny, and tan. I just wanted to blend in, and my dark tresses stood out amongst what my limited social circle deemed beautiful. It was an easy fix: a little Sun-In, a little peroxide, and voila!—I was as blonde as Barbie!
LaToya Williams, in Into White, desperately wants to fit in at her school. But for Toya, there is no easy fix. As a black girl in a mostly white high school, Toya feels like an outsider, and, after a particularly bad day, she prays that she wakes up “anything but black.”
Miraculously, Toya’s prayers are answered and she is suddenly a white girl with luxurious blonde hair and startling blue eyes. Transformed overnight into Katarina, she can’t wait to get to school to show off her new look. For the first time in her life she is confident in her looks, and her success with the popular crowd is immediate.
But what Toya didn’t count on was how she’d feel. She may be radically different on the outside, but on the inside she still feels the same…like a black girl trying to figure out who she is. Conflicted, Toya must face what matters to her most—and she’s not even sure what that is.
Identity isn’t all black and white.
Flavour: “I woke up that morning as white as a Bing Crosby Christmas.” (5)
“’What would you have me do? Be you? Confused and lost, running from myself? No. I’m black and you are too, whether you’re wearing a white suit of armor or not….’
….I wanted to slap him. I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell him he was wrong. But he was so right that it hurt. To be honest, I envied his resolve. He had in abundance what I lacked—perspective. Perspective that you are what you are. Perspective that no matter where you live or how phenomenal you are at anything, you will always be black. Perspective that you may as well accept it.” (137)
“Then I gave myself a few more moments to understand: understand that being a girl comes with much responsibility. Not just a white or black girl, or a hot or not-hot girl, but any type of girl. The responsibility to fiercely protect our bodies from monsters who think they can take what they want, and get away with it.” (168)