The fact that she gives up on the name that recalls her Jewish origins is considered to be a proof of her own anti-Semitism. It is very obvious that it is right from within the family that she receives the greatest pressure. This is the only clear act which she makes in order to better define her identity. She declares that she does not feel Jewish and this is how she motivates her act. This was also the easiest if not the only choice that she could do. Otherwise the colour of her skin remained what it was, constantly reminding her and everyone else about her mixed origins.
The idea of constant passage is a central theme to the book under analysis. The fact that the character detaches herself from her body has a very deep significance. It is generally declared that no type of social construct can deeply impact the construction of an individuals self. walker on the other hand demonstrates that society not only build identity (as perceived identity), but identity in a physical form. She can change one o her names, but she can not change her body, which is an incarnation of two races, two colours fighting for the hegemony upon her mind. Not being able to abandon this situation which she perceives as a fatal trap, she chooses to detach herself from her own body. The fact that her sensations and emotions are very sensual and lived through physical manifestations is another proof in this regard: “Beyond these qualifications, I do not have to define this body. I do not have to belong to one camp, school, or race, one fixed set of qualifiers; adjectives based on someone elses experience.
I am transitional space, form-shifting space, place of a thousand hellos and a million good-byes.” (Walker, 2000)
All in all it can be stated that Rebecca Walker makes a very strong point about the manner in which social dynamic tie race and gender in order to construct an identity for people, regardless of their deep self. she present the individual as being powerful in front of these dynamics and through this she makes a harsh critique to the contemporary society. The colour of the skin is such a strong factor that not only does it determine the perceived identity of a person, but the very identity of the inner self (touching all types of levels, including the sexual one).
Michels, T.J. “Black, white and Jewish: writer fits pieces together.” Jewish news of Greater Phoenix, February 16, 2001/Shevet 23, 5761, vol. 53, no. 20, Retrieved May 15, 2010 from http://www.jewishaz.com/jewishnews/010216/black.shtml
Rosser, C. White and Jewish: autobiography of a shifting self, Review. Retrieved May 15, 2010 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PBX/is_2_36/ai_107124231/
Saint Loius, C. White and Jewish: autobiography of a shifting self, Review. Retrieved May 15, 2010 from http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/01/21/bib/010121.rv111112.html
Siciliano, J. Black, White and Jewish: autobiography of a shifting self, Review. Retrieved May 12, 2010 from http://www.teenreads.com/reviews/1573221694.asp
Walker, R. Black, White and Jewish: how memory works. Riverhead hardcover. 2000
Walker, R. Black, White and Jewish: autobiography of a shifting self, Review. The Black Scholar. Retrieved May 13, 2010 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Review+essay:+performing+the+twenty-first+century+tragic+mulatto:…-a0215717105.