The Color of Water

James McBride’s stepfather and Ruth’s second husband. Hunter was half black and half Native American. He lead a rich life before marrying Ruth, living in Virginia, Chicago, and Detroit, and running an illegal distillery out of his Brooklyn apartment. He treated Ruth’s eight children by Andrew McBride as his own, and was looked up to as “Daddy” by the youngest. He was an old-school man, always well dressed, and uninterested in small talk or discussing issues of race.

Hunter Jordan Sr. Quotes in The Color of Water

The The Color of Water quotes below are all either spoken by Hunter Jordan Sr. or refer to Hunter Jordan Sr. . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Race and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of The Color of Water published in 2006.
Chapter 10 Quotes

…I myself had no idea who I was. I loved my mother yet looked nothing like her. Neither did I look like the role models in my life—my stepfather, my godparents, other relatives—all of whom were black. And they looked nothing like the other heroes I saw, the guys in the movies, white men like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman who beat the bad guys and in the end got the pretty girl—who, incidentally, was always white.

Related Characters: James McBride (speaker), Ruth McBride-Jordan , Hunter Jordan Sr.
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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Hunter Jordan Sr. Character Timeline in The Color of Water

The timeline below shows where the character Hunter Jordan Sr. appears in The Color of Water. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Bicycle
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
James narrates this chapter. When he is fourteen his stepfather Hunter Jordan dies, and his mother (Ruth), unable to drive, starts bicycling around the neighborhood. James... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...his mother is strange— she’s light skinned, doesn’t have any family, and speaks Yiddish. Because Hunter lives in Brooklyn and only visits on the weekends, Ruth is the “commander in chief”... (full context)
Chapter 12: Daddy
Family Theme Icon
Hunter Jordan and Ruth met when he was a fireman for the NYC Housing Authority and... (full context)
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Hunter Jordan values neatness and order, and so doesn’t live with Ruth and her children. When... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...formal and well mannered, and less interested in discussing race. In the summer of 1969 Hunter is forced by the city to move out of his beloved Brownstone to make way... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
One night, when James is fourteen and Hunter is in his seventies, he complains of a headache. He goes to the hospital and... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Otherness and Belonging Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
A week later, Hunter returns from the hospital. He seems better, and begins to regain his speech, but is... (full context)
Chapter 16: Driving
Family Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...morning in 1973, when James is sixteen, Ruth decides she’s going to learn to drive Hunter Jordan’s car. James doesn’t think his mother has ever driven before, but she decides it’s... (full context)
Chapter 23: Dennis
Family Theme Icon
Luckily, not long after the death of Dennis, Ruth meets Hunter Jordan. She’s hesitant to marry him, but Aunt Candis tells her it’s the right thing... (full context)