The term “Backra” is an expression used to talk about white people, particularly those in power. In terms of this quote, Clare’s mom ad just died and her sister had came back to the states to be with her and her father. Clare’s sister is telling her why her mother thought she would prosper in America. Clare’s mom and sister, being a darker hue, were struggling to establish themselves in America because of the overt racism everywhere. Clare and her father, however, were able to blend in better because they were lighter. Even if people didn’t believe they were white, they were still more privileged because they were so light-skinned.