Joe Christmas is like a litmus test for racial attitudes in Light in August. Some characters, like Joanna Burden, find themselves attracted to his difference, going so far as to turn it into a kinky sex thing. Others, like Percy Grimm, are motivated by their desire to extinguish community diversity in some attempt to keep America "pure." Christmas himself has to deal with ideas of the Other as well, because while he successfully passes as white he finds himself wandering to black neighborhoods and invading black churches. In these moments Christmas shows himself to be drawn to the other inside of himself.
As a biracial man in 1920s Jefferson, Christmas will always be an outsider.