“Passing For Black” Discussion – Chapters 17-24

SPOILER ALERT:  As usual, if don’t want to find out the happenings in this book, kindly click a link to the right.

Well ladies, it looks like these chapters were truly the lightning round of the book both in terms of chapter length and plot.  Chapter 17 finds Angela a week later splitting her time between her parents house in Mount Vernon and Mae’s Manhattan studio apartment.  She finally tells Mae about Cait and she’s nothing but supportive, encouraging her to fix things with Cait which she does.

After a week of euphoric make up sex, Cait springs the “I’m trying to get pregnant” bomb on Angela and she takes it fairly well, to the point that she and Mae are  picking out the sperm donor for Cait.

Apparently, while this is all going on, Keith has been moving along quite well with Tatiana Braithewait.  This fact is made plain when Angela returns to Keith’s apartment to get her clothes and finds them getting down to Barry White.  Tatiana has also been chosen to be on the cover of Desire magazine which adds salt to the wound.

Since it was bound to happen sometime, the two couples finally have an icy meeting at a holiday party at which Angela is trying to hook Mae up with the host, Rufus.  Though the main thing going on there is Angela’s discomfort of dancing with Cait in front of everyone.  They soon leave along with their box of sperm and ride the train home.  Spurred on by another lesbian couple “passing” yet making out, Angela kisses Cait before realizing that Nona, her mother’s “Too Black, Too Strong” friend, has just seen her.


I know lesbian relationships tend to move quickly but this has to set the couple to baby speed record.  Then to try and frame it as if she is just the girlfriend and won’t have to have an attachment to the baby.  What couple works that way?  If that’s the case, why are you picking out donors?  Why are you worrying if people would think you were the baby’s nanny?

This also brings up a lot of questions regarding interracial lesbian couples and children anyway.  Both in this book and in “The L Word” it was really important that the baby have a black donor.  If you had a white partner, how important is it to you that your children reflect your race?  Also, would you continue a serious relationship with a woman if she told you after a week that she was trying to get pregnant?

Now on a lighter, more positive side.  Did anyone else think it hit home when they started listing all those sterotypical movie plots.  I’ve heard them called the “Magic Nego” plots when the wise and worldly black person shows the confused white person the right path to take.


  1. Oh I almost forgot that I’m supposed to announce the new book today. Here’s the thing. I can’t decide between “Erzulie’s Skirt” and “The Other Side of Paradise”. Which one would you guys prefer? I promise to make a decision before the end the day tomorrow.

  2. Ok. I’m going with “The Other Side of Paradise”. I’ll have the discussion schedule up on August 1st.

    1. Nona J. · · Reply

      Is my frustration with Angela at this point justified, or am I being insensitive to her state of oblivion? I do apologize but this is where my frustration with Angela started peaking. I think she only wants these things, i.e. baby and relationship because Cait wants them. Why does she want these things with Cait? Cait comes off as selfish to me.

      If I had a white partner and we where conceiving a child together, it would be very important that we use a donor to reflect both of us. If I was the one carrying, I would use a white donor to reflect her race and I would want her to use a black donor.

      A relationship is considered serious after only one week of dating? I know for some it does, but I don’t. If she told me that she was trying to get pregnant, that would put an end to our dating.

      I agree – I don’t understand the “magical negro” plot movies. I always find myself asking why don’t they use those powers to help their own people or at least themselves.

      1. I believe your frustration to be perfectly justified. At this point, all empathy is lost for both Angela and Cait. I find myself wishing, like television, that there was a spinoff for Mae. The tone of the book kept implying that once Angela began to be honest with herself about her sexuality, it would spark some sort of personal growth in other areas of her life. I don’t see any growth.

  3. Lunakiss · · Reply

    I don’t understand womyn like Cait who want to get a partner shortly after dating and throw this bomb on Angela. No, I wouldn’t continue to date a womyn who was trying to get pregnant. I have to be dating a straight honest female.

    Angela is a paranoid womyn period still seeking for other people’s approval.

    If I had a white partner, I wouldn’t care what race the male donor is. I will not be carrying the child. So it wouldn’t matter. I plan to adopt my children.

    I agree the “magic negro” plot is a racist assumption that A-A people are helpers and servants of all kinds of issues.

  4. Being honest, I cannot read anymore of this book a second time. I am giving up. I’ll read the comments you all post and I may give my opinion to an issue/topic discussed, though.
    My opinion: for the question of interracial couple and the child, I would like both skin tones to be present so the child will be both, to reflect each parent. My answer to the other question about being with someone who states she wants a child right away, I say no. I could not be with her. For me that is too quick of a decision plus I do not want children. Now unless my significant other and me discuss and plan to raise a child together. Teamwork; make sure both of us are ready for that decision.

    1. Plus like Lunakiss, I would like to adopt as well (if I ever want children). So that is why I would have to have a serious discussion with my significant other. (I am explaining about my future significant other)

    2. Bear with us Tara. Just one more discussion to go and we can get down to discussion the pros, cons and overall feel of the book.

  5. Lunakiss · · Reply

    To add more to the discussion, Cait appeared to be looking for a wifey. The approach she took towards Angela was like an entrapment. A set-up in the beginning. That part of the book turn me off.

    1. I don’t think that either of them meant for this to be “marriage” from the get go. It was just an intense sexual attraction. But to wait one week into this living situation when she knew it was more than a sex thing, to bring up the fact that she was trying to get pregnant is a little grimy.

  6. Lunakiss · · Reply

    You’re right swandiver. It was grimy.

  7. When will we have another discussion?

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