Orginal Publication Date
Ethnic Studies Review
It is easy to envision the socio-cultural phenomenon of passing as a relic of a bygone era, yet passing is markedly more. From a historical perspective, "passing-as-white" is a strategy of representation through which light-skinned, white-looking, legally non-white Americans attempt(ed) to reconcile "two unreconciled ideals:" their limited opportunities as non-white people in a segregated society with their idealized life goals as full American citizens (DuBois, 1903; Candy, 1998). Recent scholarship on the phenomenon explains that passing is more than a masquerade. Passing can be accidental, incidental, or a committed lifestyle that is noted: when people effectively present themselves as other than who they understand themselves to be...[and] when other people actually see or experience the identity that the passer is projecting, whether the passer is telegraphing that identity by intention or by chance (Kroger, 2003, p. 7-8).
Copyright ©ESR, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 2005