By Isabel Adonis

I read William Faulkner's Light in August in my early teens and I scarcely understood it.  But I understood something and many years later a woman at a party mentioned that she had read the same novel at college.  For a while she talked about miscegenation and on my return home I decided that this was something that I wanted to look into.  I wandered down to the little second hand bookstore in Bethesda where I used to live and it was the first book that I found there, as if it had been waiting for me to claim it. I am mixed race, my mother was Welsh and my father was from the Caribbean.  Many people treat me as if I am black, an exotic, and a foreigner. But I have lived a life like the character in the book, lonely isolated and forever going round in circles searching for my authentic self. And just as in Faulkner's deep south I live in a society which is determined to make me bad, determined to make me take the role of scapegoat, to make me 'the other' of themselves.

Crowds of students stormed and occupied the office of a University of California, San Diego chancellor for six hours Friday after a noose was found hanging from a bookcase in the main library. The noose is only the latest in a string of incidents over the past few weeks. Protests were initially sparked by an off-campus party last month they called “Compton Cookout” that mocked Black History Month and denigrated African American women. UC San Diego has the smallest percentage of African American students in the nine-campus UC system. The Black Student Union at UC San Diego has declared the campus climate for racial minorities to be in a “state of emergency.”

The study was made possible when he allowed his genome - the map of all his genes - to be published on the internet in the interests of science. "This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African," said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis. "It was very surprising to get this result for Jim."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety — the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America. And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions — the good and the bad — of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

But the government remains opposed to demands from some Aboriginal leaders for financial reparations. Rudd has said his policies on health and education would attempt to lift living standards for Aborigines, and "we can do that in the absence of any compensation arrangement". Numbering about 450,000 in a population of 21 million, Aborigines are the poorest ethnic group in Australia and are most likely to be jailed, unemployed and illiterate. They have a far higher infant mortality rate and die, on average, 17 years younger than other Australians.

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