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Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identityby Marcia Alesan Dawkins
Synopses & Reviews
PASSING (def): usually understood as an abbrevia¬tion for "racial passing." Describes the fact of being accepted, or representing oneself successfully as, a member of a different group.
Everybody passes. Not just racial minorities. As Marcia Dawkins explains, passing has been occurring for millennia, since intercultural and interracial contact began. And with this profound new study, she explores its old limits and new possibilities: from women passing as men and able-bodied persons passing as disabled to black classics professors passing as Jewish and white supremacists passing as white.
Clearly Invisible journeys to sometimes uncomfortable but unfailingly enlightening places as Dawkins retells the contemporary expressions and historical experiences of individuals called passers. Along the way these passers become people--people whose stories sound familiar but take subtle turns to reveal racial and other tensions lurking beneath the surface, people who ultimately expose as much about our culture and society as they conceal about themselves.
Both an updated take on the history of passing and a practical account of passing's effects on the rhetoric of multiracial identities, Clearly Invisible traces passing's legal, political, and literary manifestations, questioning whether passing can be a form of empowerment (even while implying secrecy) and suggesting that passing could be one of the first expressions of multiracial identity in the U.S. as it seeks its own social standing.
Certain to be hailed as a pioneering work in the study of race and culture, Clearly Invisible offers powerful testimony to the fact that individual identities are never fully self-determined--and that race is far more a matter of sociology than of biology.
About the Author
Marcia Alesan Dawkins is a Visiting Scholar at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. An award-winning writer and educator, Dawkins writes frequently on race, diversity, media, religion, and politics for several outlets, including The Huffington Post, Truthdig, The Root, and Cultural Weekly.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Passing as Passé?
1. Passing as Persuasion
2. Passing as Power
3. Passing as Property
4. Passing as Principle
5. Passing as Pastime
6. Passing as Paradox
Conclusion: Passing as Progress?
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology