The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #199: How Will They Know I’m Black?

Myra Jones-Taylor is the child of a white mother and black father. Growing up in the 80s, it took a while for her to make sense of her biracial identity and to understand her place in the black community.

Myra Jones-Taylor, frowning in red, with her parents and siblings

When Myra met her future husband on a dark dance floor in Chicago, she thought he looked Puerto Rican. But as they got to know each other, she learned he was a just white guy from Springfield, Illinois… with a fresh tan.

When they decided to start a family, Myra assumed her kids would look like she does — biracial. But instead, when her son August was born, she realized they were facing a completely different phenomenon: passing.

Myra and baby August

August, now a teenager in his BLM shirt

Tune in to hear what it’s like for Myra to raise a black child who passes for white, and how she’s helped him assert his blackness and create a sense of belonging

After Myra’s story was published, August wrote her this handwritten note. (Cue crying-face emoji.)

Myra Jones-Taylor is a Chief Policy Officer for an organization called Zero to Three. Her story for The Atlantic is called “Helping My Fair-Skinned Son Embrace His Blackness.