In, "The Color of Water," James McBride writes both his autobiography and a tribute to the life of his mother, Ruth. In the memoirs of the author's mother and of himself, they constantly face discrimination from their race in certain neighborhoods and of their religious beliefs. The trials and tribulations faced by these two characters have taught readers universally that everyone faces difficulties in life, but they can all be surmounted. For most of McBride's life, he was yearning for an identity to call his own. He was neither entirely black nor white; his mother told him to not associate with outsiders. He was at different times, a model student and a drop-out. In short, he did not have a group to call his own, outside of his immediate family. As a result, he began a search to understand himself and his own mother's life. .
After learning about Ruth's upbringing, he decides to visit her hometown of Suffolk in order to piece together her childhood. What gave McBride this sense of belonging was when he realized that he shared a history of pain and loneliness with his grandmother. In the passage, he explains that after thinking about his own unhappiness in Suffolk, he suddenly understood the, "loneliness and agony," that his grandmother felt in the exact same place. He understood that he is not alone in his isolation. During most of McBride's life, he did feel isolated since he could not easily identify with one race or another. Whenever Ruth or James McBride face any forms of racism, especially for being related to each other, having different skin colors, they can always look to religion to aid them through these tough times. It appears so in the book, that religion knows no race, and therefore is very accepting to anybody, no matter who it may be. In this case, in Chapter 6, the author tells about his past experiences going to Church with his family, and recalling his mother's true embrace of Christianity, her singing voice, the fact that she was the only white person there, and how odd and exaggerated Reverend Owen's sermons were whenever going to Whosoever Baptist Church.