‘See No Color’ by Shannon Gibney follows mixed-race adoptee Alex Kitiridge. Like many teenagers, 16-year-old Alex is finding herself—as a girl of color adopted into a White family.
Alex’s biggest cheerleader in life has been her adoptive father (whose career backfired after an injury) who dedicates his time to helping her thrive in baseball. Being the baseball star she is, (often called ‘Little Kitiridge’) Alex’s adoptive father sees a reflection of himself. However, Alex sees a significant difference between her and her adopted father—they don’t have the same skin color. As a girl on an all-boys baseball team, Alex’s body grows into a woman’s which affects her performance on the field, and makes her think more and more about her identity and what people said about her race.
While her family sees colorblindness as a good thing, Alex realizes how this disregards her experience as a young woman of color. At dinner, Alex’s little sister, Kit, called out her parents’ colorblindness, only to be reprimanded. Later, Kit gives Alex old letters from her biological father, who is Black, — which her adoptive parents have hidden from her for her whole life. While dating a Black teenager, Reggie on another baseball team and meeting his family, Alex realizes how much she has assimilated into whiteness. Will this change the way she identifies?
The moment Alex discovered letters from her biological father, was an unforgettable part in this book. While it reminded me of a scene from The Color Purple, it reflects discovery, as Alex connected the dots of her identity. Another memorable part of this story is when Alex goes to a Black hair salon for the very first time which was a defining moment for her family to recognize that blackness plays a role in her life.
As a mixed-race Black teenager, I can relate to Alex. I have had other people attempt to police how I identify. I have had times where I have not felt ‘Black enough’. I love that the author, brought this needed conversation, of the intersections of the coming of age, transracial adoption, and Black/Biracial female identity to the table.