The Weight of Whiteness is a memoir in poetry form of the author's awareness of her whiteness during the integration of Boston's public schools in the 1950s and during visits with her family in the segregated South. Deeply personal, the poems examine the author's thoughts and feelings as family and others react to her interracial marriage in 1966, the year before the US Supreme Court overturned as unconstitutional 16 states' laws prohibiting miscegenation.
Written with the sensibility of an anthropologist, the poems reveal the nuances of living in an interracial family in the 1960s and 1970s. They describe activities such as going to the beauty shop, driving, naming and nursing a baby, going to the park and church, and seeking health care. Written in a direct, spare style, The Weight of Whiteness illuminates the loneliness of the author's struggle for identity and dignity in a world lived between - and beyond - black and white.
Interspersed throughout the book are poems written in response to select paintings and sculptures by visual artists in other periods and cultures. These ekphrastic poems place the personal experiences of the author within broader historical contexts of loss, struggle, and hope.
Caroline Giles Banks was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Banks, a cultural anthropologist by training and profession, was on the faculties of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Her poetry, written in several genres, is often informed by her anthropological training and research. She is the author of Warm Under the Cat: Haiku and Senryu Poems, The Clock Chimes: Haiku and Senryu Poems, The Clay Jar: Haiku, Senryu and Haibun Poems, and Picture a Poem: Ekphrastic and Other Poems. Her award-winning poetry has been published in many anthologies, literary magazines, and journals. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.