Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity by Baylor University Press

Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity by Baylor University Press
Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity by Baylor University Press (click images to enlarge)

Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity by Baylor University Press

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Manufacturer Description

"Passing is a strange thing. It has a large circumference. It is a way for us to see and not see, a way for us to be seen and not be seen. It looks at us and turns away from us at the same time. Passing shifts our social positions amidst social limitations. Constant movement is what makes passing so easy for us to wonder about and so difficult to understand. Translation: passing demands that we think hard about issues of identity and rhetoric, of the public and the private, in ways that most of us are privileged enough to ignore if we so choose. But if we pay attention, passing can reveal our collective blind spots as well as our individual similarities and differences. Passing forces us to think and rethink what exactly makes a person black, white, or "other," and why we care. It helps us create worlds we can actually live in. And it makes us think about the ties and binds of pleasure, language, and action. It makes us consider the hazards of silence and the hope of communication. Passing is profound."

?from the Preface

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.

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