What is the argument in Chapter 2 of The Color of Water?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The argument in chapter two occurs between James and his mother. He inquired why she neither resembled him nor the other children’s mothers. Even though Ruth firmly responded assuring James that she indeed resembled him, he was not convinced and actually noticed the similarity between his mother and his white teacher, Mrs. Alexander. This set the tone for the theme of racism and self identity which James struggled with during his subsequent years. He was torn between standing by his mother who was white and supporting the course of the Black Power movement. He chose to support his mother despite the pressures of the civil movement, helping her reconcile with her painful past. He too finally reconciled his inner conflicts by finally accepting that he was bi-racial and embracing the challenges and merits that accompanied his racial status.