This theme is like the elephant in the room of White Teeth. And this elephant is wearing a pink tutu and dancing an Irish jig. The novel isn't exactly about race and ethnicity, or what it means to belong to a certain racial or ethnic group, yet we won't deny that race and ethnicity come up again and again. That's because this book is actually about the modern condition—what it means to be part of the world today. And race and ethnicity play crucial roles in the state of the modern world, since globalization is bringing very different people together. As the narrator reminds us, this is the century for all kinds of people to gather in the same place.
White Teeth is not about race or ethnicity.
White Teeth would be an entirely different book without the racial and ethnic diversity Smith presents.