Fifty years after the Civil Rights movement, race has once again hit the first page in the form of riots and police violence. But this time the Wall Street Journal of August 25th,”In Ferguson, Multiracial Neighborhoods Defy Image of Strife.” stressed the multiracial peace that characterizes many neighborhoods in Ferguson Missouri. And today, multiracial people as well as neighborhoods are becoming a significant group in the US.
Our President, of course, drew attention to this group of citizens, but until 2010 our census gave no way of counting them. Now, according to the Latin Post, August 25th 2104, “Multiracial USA,” if you add this group to those who identify themselves as 100% non-Caucasian, our non-Caucasian percent comes out a whopping 49.9. One third of the grandparents in the US have a grandchild of a different race.
“American” is always in the process of coming to be. The term “multiracial” has replaced “melting pot” in descriptions of this process in order to stress that people preserve their home cultures rather than simply striving to adopt the mainstream. I applaud that distinction, but unfortunately, the word excludes nationality and religion. If you add nationality and religion to racial difference, the melding of groups has been going on since the birth of the country. That we no longer look on those other categories as “differences” may be due to that melding process itself. Many if not most of us, if we look at our own family history, see ourselves or our children as the product of such conflicts and their eventual resolution, the pain of becoming now forgotten. I was born and raised in Chicago, a city created by the successive floods of immigrants, and I believe that it is those of mixed nationality, race, or religion who carry this growth forward. If we look at today’s conflicts as a part of the process that created us we will the road to resolution and, as a result, re-see our own identity as “American”.
It is in this mode, I’d like to reintroduce THE INHERITORS the story of Alicia Baron, Chilean/Caucasian woman raised as Hispanic who discovers her heritage in an abandoned mansion in Chicago. Here are some excerpts from its reviews.
“Kirscht deftly tackles the sensitive issues of racism, cultural bias, and discrimination from, what may be considered by some, a new and different perspective. She shows through The Inheritors timeline the ever changing nature of ethnicity, culture, and belonging. Readers are instantly dropped into the changing culture of Chicago under the prism of the 1960s through the 1980s …”
Maria Beltran, Readers Favorite
“The Inheritors” by Judith Kirscht’s powerful novel centers on the conflict between races and nationalities in Chicago. It explores the character of a woman who is subjected to racial, class and family conflicts. Above all, “The Inheritors” is the story of love, the great love of a mother who is willing to sacrifice even her past to protect her unborn daughter as well as Alicia’s love for Ricardo.”
Home Fires has multiple reasons to be admired as a novel. It steps into the territory of the taboo and brings to light topics often easily and quietly swept under the rug by igniting them with a relatable plot and cast, a typical all-American family. Too often these crimes go ignored and unjustified due to the shame of coming forward and lack of proof. Whether this story encourages someone to speak out with their own, or feel less shame because they realized this can happen in even the most “normal” appearing situations, Judith Kirscht wrote a story worth sharing.