These narratives of racial passing have risen from the dead": redefining racial passing in the twentieth and twenty-first century literary imagination (2024)

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Pakistan Social Sciences Review (PSSR)

Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man: Reflection of 'Lynching' and 'Passing' as Strategies

2022 •

Rajendra P Bhatt

This paper explores the strategic use of 'lynching' and 'passing' in African American society through the examination of James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. It argues that 'lynching' is a strategy applied by Whites to keep Blacks under control and similarly, 'passing' is a strategy used by light skinned Blacks to attain social and economic benefits, which are generally available to white people. To show the fact that people of color in the US are trapped between two cultures, identities, and lives, this paper highlights the unnamed narrator's decision to pass for White by relinquishing his black identity for the conveniences and supremacy that the white identity entails. Applying the approach of textual analysis, the present paper aims at investigating how the issues of 'lynching' and 'passing' are portrayed in literary writing. It demonstrates that, due to unfavorable socio-cultural circ*mstances and the threat of being lynched, the unnamed protagonist of the novel passes for white as early as his childhood years. Although the unnamed narrator desires to liberate himself from the decisiveness of preestablished categories like race, the experience of passing is heterogeneous and differently constructed and operated in the narrative. The narrator takes the least troubled path and declares his passing for white at the end of the novel.

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Review : Passing and the Fictions of Identity

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Julie C Conger (formerly Nerad)

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lawrence aje

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Not Passing Strange: Negotiating the White Gaze in Black Literature

nico rosario

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Book Review: Passing and the Fictions of Identity . Edited by Elaine K. Ginsberg. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996

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Julie C Conger (formerly Nerad)

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Exploitation and Misrule in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa

Identity, the “Passing” Novel, and the Phenomenology of “Race”

2018 •

Kossi Logan

The physical and psychological dismemberment of the African continent and its Diaspora, occasioned by the transatlantic slave trade and colonization, cannot be wished away or repaired by negating the self (past), and therefore remains one of the primary concerns of writers of the Black Atlantic. In spite of their efforts at agency—the deconstruction of racial essentialism—the “passing” characters in the novels discussed in this chapter not only fail to transcend “race” in order to attain freedom, they also deny their selves and historical relevance, thus paradoxically reinforcing that which they intend to challenge. The chapter contends that the phenomenology of “blackness” is historical and that the black body and its traumatic experiences have to be acknowledged and “re-membered” for wholeness to ensue.

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The Review of Black Political Economy

Passing and the Costs and Benefits of Appropriating Blackness

2018 •

Sandy Darity

The socioeconomic position of Blacks in America cannot be fully contextualized without considering the marginalization of their racialized social identities as minorities who have historically combated subjugation and oppression with respect to income, employment, homeownership, education, and political representation. It is not difficult to understand why the historical reference to “passing” primarily has been associated with Blacks who were able to—and many who did—claim to be White to secure the social, educational, political, and economic benefits that were reserved for Whites. Therefore, the majority of passing narratives have focused on Black to White passing. This article departs from the tradition in the literature by considering appropriation of various aspects of Black culture and White to Black passing. We evaluate the socioeconomic costs and benefits of being Black and inequalities in citizenship status between Blacks and Whites. Furthermore, we examine the socioeconomi...

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Journal article by C. Richard King; American Studies …

Pamela Perry, Shades of White: White Kids and Racial Identities in High School

2004 •

C. Richard King

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Detecting the South in Fiction, Film, and Television

"Whiteness Undercover: Racial Passing and/as Detection in Black Like Me (1964)"

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Jacqueline Pinkowitz

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Race Ethnicity and Education

Becoming white: reinterpreting a family story by putting race back into the picture

2011 •

Christine Sleeter

Many teacher educators attempt to prompt teacher candidates, who are usually majority white, to examine themselves as culturally and historically located beings in order to prepare for multicultural and anti‐racist teaching. But with white teacher candidates in colonialist societies, this work is difficult. Family history stories that white teacher candidates tell tend to disassociate individuals from the context of race and class relations in which they lived. Using insights from Critical Race Theory, critical whiteness studies, and post‐positivist realist identity theory, I probe below the surface of a ‘heroic individual’ story I grew up hearing about one of my immigrant great‐great‐grandmothers. This paper reports detailed historical research that situates her life in a social and cultural context, thereby making racism visible. Using a research methodology I am calling ‘critical family history,’ I uncover the story’s silences related to her claiming of a white identity in the context of racism and competition for economic resources. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for how teacher educators work with family history and racism in order to move from uncovering how racism was constructed and how it works, to how white people today might act differently.

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These narratives of racial passing have risen from the dead": redefining racial passing in the twentieth and twenty-first century literary imagination (2024)


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