The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays on Mixed Race Belonging

Regular price $ 24.95

by Samira K. Mehta

Beacon Press

1/10/2023, hardcover

SKU: 9780807026366


An unflinching look at the challenges and misunderstandings mixed-race people face in family spaces and intimate relationships across their varying cultural backgrounds

In this emotionally powerful and intellectually provocative blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and theory, scholar and essayist Samira Mehta reflects on many facets of being multiracial.

Born to a white American and a South Asian immigrant, Mehta grew up feeling more comfortable with her mother's family than her father's--they never carried on conversations in languages she couldn't understand or blamed her for finding the food was too spicy. In adulthood, she realized that some of her Indian family's assumptions about the world had become an indelible part of her--and that her well-intentioned parents had not known how to prepare her for a world that would see her as a person of color.

Popular belief assumes that mixedness gives you the ability to feel at home in more than one culture, but the flipside shows you can feel just as alienated in those spaces. In 7 essays that dissect her own experiences with a frankness tempered by generosity, Mehta confronts questions about:

  • authenticity and belonging;
  • conscious and unconscious cultural inheritance;
  • appropriate mentorship;
  • the racism of people who love you.

The Racism of People Who Love You invites people of mixed race into the conversation on race in America and the melding of found and inherited cultures of hybrid identity.


"Samira Mehta interweaves laugh-out-loud personal vignettes with piercing reflections on life as a biracial person. Drawing also on her multireligious upbringing, she conveys moments of joy and pain in ways that let us all in on the experience. The Racism of People Who Love You is relatable for all kinds of readers, with especially important insights for all of us who have people of mixed racial and religious backgrounds in our families and social circles." --Khyati Y. Joshi, author of White Christian Privilege

"Samira Mehta's The Racism of People Who Love You has the qualities of my favorite writing: insightful, provocative, and revealing. Her unique story provides a window into the common yet underrepresented experience of mixed belonging, and she displays the unique ability to share these stories in ways that welcome the reader to see the world afresh." --Simran Jeet Singh, author of The Light We Give

About the Author:

Samira K. Mehta is an associate professor of women and gender studies and of Jewish studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Blended Family in America, was a National Jewish book award finalist. Mehta's current academic book project, God Bless the Pill: Sexuality and Contraception in Tri-Faith America is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.