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by: Toni Morrison

Golden Gray

The interracial son of Vera Louise Gray and Henry LesTroy, Golden Gray is the result of a forbidden love between a white woman and black man. With his golden curls and light skin, Golden looks completely white and he is raised to believe that he is so. His mother does not claim him as her own but says that he was adopted. When his nurse, True Belle, tells him the truth of his parentage, Golden's sense of his own identity is destroyed. He sets out to hunt down and kill his father, because he assumes that the black man violated his mother. He holds a racial stereotype of black deviance that is deeply set in white male consciousness. Once in Virginia, Golden's plans change when he witnesses Wild give birth to Joe Trace. Rather than strike out the part of his identity that does not correspond with his own sense of self, Golden seeks refuge in Wild's blackness and escapes from society with her, roaming free in the woods. Golden abandons the white upbringing that his mother offered him and also knows that the black community will never fully accept him. He straddles the two worlds but belongs to neither so he reverts to a natural existence that lies beyond the community. With Wild, Golden reverses the racial scheme of his parents' sexual and romantic relationship, continuing a legacy of interracial companionship and passing it down to the next generation. Both of the interracial couples, that of Vera and Henry and of Golden and Wild, disprove the common association of biracial babies with the physical assaults of slave owners on black, female slaves.