DIVerse Families
 
When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race

Title

When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race

Authors

Judith Stone

Publisher

Miramax Books/Hyperion

Pages

324 pages

Publication Year

2007

ISBN

9780786868988

Genre

biography

Topic

Family Relationships; Racial Diversity; Poverty; Race discrimination; impoverished community; racism; apartheid; segregation; prejudice

Annotation

During the worst years of official racism in South Africa, the story of one young girl came to symbolize the injustice, corruption, and arbitrary nature of apartheid. Born in 1955 to a pro-apartheid white couple, Sandra Laing was officially registered and raised as a white child. But at a school for whites, she was mercilessly persecuted because of her dark skin and frizzy hair. Her parents attributed her appearance to an interracial union far back in family history. Their neighbors, however, thought Mrs. Laing had committed adultery with a black man. The family was shunned. When Sandra was ten, she was reclassified as "coloured." As a teenager, she eloped with a black man, her parents disowned her, and having known only the privileged world of the whites, she chose to begin again in a poor, all-black township, where life was a desperate struggle against a legal system designed to enslave.

Grade Level

6-8

Family Formation

mother and father

Main Character

girl

Diversity Impact

direct

Race/Ethnicities

White

Keywords

colored people; South Africa; women; families; family relationships; family history; apartheid

Item Type

Nonfiction

Format

full length

When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race

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