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Little White Lie

Race relations are at the heart of many problems in the United States but, growing up, Lacey Schwartz did not think that it was part of her world. Raised in a New York Jewish family, she lived as a white girl in a very white community. “It never occurred to me that I was passing,” she said in her independent film, Little White Lie.

But Schwartz was never completely comfortable in her skin. Darker than anyone else in her family, darker than all her girlfriends, she lamented the color of her skin and longed for straight hair. When she questioned why she looked different, she was told she looked like Sicilian grandfather, who did, indeed, have a swarthy skin and crisp, kinky hair.

It was only when she entered Georgetown University, which assumed she was black, that she began an earnest quest to determine her parentage. It was then she learned she was the daughter of her mother’s lover, a black man.

Afraid of losing her relationship with her parents, Schwartz delayed openly acknowledging her newly discovered black identity with her white family for more than a decade. When her biological father died shortly before Lacey’s 30th birthday, the family secret was finally revealed.

The Little White Lie that was the basis for her youthful identity, and the effect such carefully tended secrets can have on families, is explored in her movie.

Little White Lie will be screened Sunday at 1PM at the Moviehouse, 48 Main Street in Millerton. After the film, Schwartz will conduct a Q&A with the audience. Tickets are $14 for general admission and $12 for members.