Caucasia by Danzy Senna, is an intriguing novel of girl who explores race through performing as both white and black. Birdie Lee, also known as Jesse as the story goes on, is the protagonist in the novel. Over time and experience she continues to struggles with finding a common ground between her white and black heritage. Because she is biracial she struggles with changing from white to black all depending on what is going on and where she is. "My body would fill the blanks tell me who I should become, and I would let it speak for me."(Senna 1) The "blanks" Birdie is referring to is her individuality and identity. Birdie explains that in life, in order to survive you first must disappear. She then deliberates the question, “What was the point of surviving if you had to disappear?” (Senna 8). In this story we follow her as she sacrifices her identity in order to survive. In Caucasia, performing identity is only crucial because most of the difficulties for Birdies family were based on race.
Caucasia takes place in Boston Massachusetts in 1975, where violent protests disrupted the city and forced integration that was applied in public schools. As we know from historical recognition, America has a history of white supremacy and racial oppression. During this era, activists were fighting for the freedom and equality for those whose rights and voices were not being heard or taken seriously by those of color by white communities. Birdies parents were activists in this story.