HIGH YELLA

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A gay man, Black while derided by relatives as not being Black enough, Majors is a veteran news producer who has worked for some of the nation’s leading media outlets. That trajectory might have been unlikely given his background as the scion of a poor Black family on the edges of Batavia, New York. His father was alcoholic and abusive, quick to blame his troubles on “whitey,” and he and his family endured backward glances regarding his mother’s patience with an untenable situation. “The older man she must have thought was fun-loving and good-looking was just a jobless drunk,” writes Majors. “Worse than that, he was a serial cheater.” Fast-forward in time, and the author is affluent, living in a succession of “spectacular houses,” eventually in a committed relationship that would end in a hurried marriage when Trump came into office, long after he and his now-husband had adopted two Black daughters. “After the 2016 election,” he writes, “[we] feared some of the rights we’d taken for granted might be rolled back.” As one of his daughters rebelled, Majors found himself wrestling with anger and angst. “I was the white sheep in an all-black family,” he writes. “Now I had a child who would look different from me, and I prayed it would never make a difference to her.” It did, at least for a time, and the author undertook a period of self-examination and -recrimination that became only a little less fraught when a DNA test showed that the family’s past was rather different from how it was presented to him: “There was no doubt that this person who made half of me was white.” That realization did little to make the author’ sense of self less complicated, but it did provide a certain resolution that plays well in bringing the memoir to a close.

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