Color Me In, A Novel

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Judaism, Novels, Passing, Religion, United States on 2019-05-12 17:47Z by Steven

Color Me In, A Novel

Delacorte Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2019-08-20
384 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525578239
eBook ISBN: 9780525578246
Audiobook ISBN: 9781984889140

Natasha Díaz

Color Me In

Debut YA author Natasha Díaz pulls from her personal experience to inform this powerful coming-of-age novel about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds.

Who is Nevaeh Levitz?

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.

Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?

Tags: , , , ,

How Fears of “Passing” Changed the 1930 United States Census

Posted in Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2019-05-12 01:57Z by Steven

How Fears of “Passing” Changed the 1930 United States Census

History with Gabby Womack
2019-05-02

Gabrielle C. Womack, Reference/Access Associate
McQuade Library
Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts

The presentation argues that mulattoes became negroes in the 1930 census because white Americans feared that black people were secretly among them, passing for white. Furthermore, it argues that the census change did not end the practice of racial passing or diminish white Americans fascination with it and fear of this act.

Watch the video here.

Tags: , , ,

Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2019-04-18 00:51Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

METRO.co.uk
2019-04-17

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

Siobhan Lawless
(Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Siobhan Lawless is a writer. She is Jamaican and Irish, with east and south Asian elements thrown in for good measure.

‘My mum is second generation Jamaican and my dad second generation Irish – although my great grandparents on my mum’s side are also part Indian and Chinese,’ Siobhan tells Metro.co.uk.

‘On dad’s side, nana is from Longford and grandpa was from County Galway in Ireland. On mum’s, grandma and grandad are from St Catherine’s and St Elizabeth, parish towns in Jamaica.

‘Both sides of my family came from large households and farming backgrounds. They came to England as immigrants in their teens and early twenties, hoping Britain would open up more opportunities for their children – even though this move came with its own challenges.’…

…For so many mixed-race people, where you fit in the world depends on how other people perceive you. For Siobhan, her lighter skin places her closer to whiteness, but there are complications alongside the privilege….

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Passing, Identity and Race

Posted in Audio, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-04-18 00:32Z by Steven

Passing, Identity and Race

WYNC
New York, New York

WNYC Newsroom

When Anita Florence Hemmings applied to attend Vassar College in upstate New York in 1893, she did not disclose her racial identity to the school. She passed as a white student for years before eventually being outed as a black woman shortly before graduation, after her white roommate’s family hired a private detective to investigate her background.

“Even though Vassar allows her to graduate after she’s been outed to the (college) president, she becomes the subject of a national scandal,” Vassar film professor Mia Mask told WNYC’s Jami Floyd. “And she’s worried that she will be unemployable after her time at Vassar.”

Now, Hemmings’s story is helping to launch a deeper conversation at the college. The conference, Quiet As It’s Kept; Passing Subjects, Contested Identities, runs from Friday Apr. 5 through Sunday Apr. 7.

For the professors coordinating the event, the topic spins off related discussions.

“Part of what happens when we start talking about passing and how we perform our identities is that we also get into a conversation about authenticity,” said English professor Hiram Perez. “It also brings us into this complex conversation about the different ways that we police one another.”

The conference is slated to include presentations about many forms of passing pertaining to race, sexuality, gender, ability, religion, and class.

Listen to the story (00:07:56) here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Passer

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-04-10 16:35Z by Steven

The Passer

Midwood/Tower
1962
189 pages
Catalog ID: F170

Sam Mervin Jr. (1910-1996)

Fred Williams had a secret—He was half negro passing as all white; but the many white women who vied for his arms made no secret of what they wanted.

Tags: , ,

Kingsblood Royal

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-04-01 21:43Z by Steven

Kingsblood Royal

Modern Library Classics (an imprint of Penguin Randomhouse)
2001-04-10 (originally published in 1947)
352 Pages
5-3/16 x 8
Paperback ISBN: 9780375756863

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

Introduction by:
Charles Johnson, Professor Emeritus
University of Washington

A neglected tour de force by the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature, Kingsblood Royal is a stirring and wickedly funny portrait of a man who resigns from the white race. When Neil Kingsblood a typical middle-American banker with a comfortable life makes the shocking discovery that he has African-American blood, the odyssey that ensues creates an unforgettable portrayal of two Americas, one black, one white.

As timely as when it was first published in 1947, one need only open today’s newspaper to see the same issues passionately being discussed between blacks and whites that we find in Kingsblood Royal, says Charles Johnson. Perhaps only now can we fully appreciate Sinclair Lewis’s astonishing achievement.

Tags: , , , ,

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy [Kuryla Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-03-29 01:39Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy [Kuryla Review]

Journal of American History
Volume 105, Issue 4, March 2019
pages 1073–1074
DOI: 10.1093/jahist/jaz127

Peter Kuryla, Associate Professor of History
Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. By Alisha Gaines. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017. xvi, 213 pp. Cloth, $80.00. Paper, $27.95.)

In Black for a Day Alisha Gaines shows the limitations of a specific kind of white liberal empathy. If liberalism requires that political space include others that are imagined as reasonable and therefore capable of persuasion, then empathy seems central to the project. How should people imagine these others? How should they enact their understanding of the others around them, and how does empathy work amid the tangled, complex history of race and racism in the United States? What happened when white liberals took too literally one of Gunnar Myrdal’s central conclusions in An American Dilemma (1944)—that racism was a white problem? Gaines…

Read or purchase the review here.

Tags: , ,

Quiet as its Kept: Passing Subjects, Contested Identities

Posted in History, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2019-03-25 14:18Z by Steven

Quiet as its Kept: Passing Subjects, Contested Identities

Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, New York
Friday, 2019-04-05 through Sunday, 2019-04-07

Passing Beyond Passing

The phrase “passing for white” first appears in advertisements for the return of runaway slaves. Abolitionist fiction later adopts the phenomenon of racial passing (together with the figure of the “white slave”) as a major literary theme. The term continued to enjoy currency in literature in the postbellum era and during the Harlem Renaissance. Today, “passing” has various manifestations and applications. Not limited to race, the term may indicate subversions of gender, sexuality, religion, ability and class, among other identity coordinates.

This conference responds to renewed interest in passing that derives from the popularity of genetic genealogy tests, sensational cases of racial fraud (i.e., Rachel Dolezal), the idea of “realness” appropriated from ball culture, racial ambiguity in a surveillance state, public fascination with celebrities like Meghan Markle, and the construction (and manipulation) of online identities (i.e., catfishing and blackfishing). Interdisciplinary perspectives on passing, miscegenation, authenticity, sexuality, kinship, and racial ambiguity in the arts, law, memory, popular culture, and the racial state are invited. Themes may include betrayal, secrecy, dissimulation, subjectivity, masquerade, visibility/invisibility, surveillance, fraud, and belonging.

At Vassar College, interest in this topic has reemerged since the publication of Karin Tanabe’s novel The Gilded Years (2016), about Anita Hemmings’ experience as the first black woman known to attend the College. In 1900, poet, novelist, lyricist Paul Laurence Dunbar modeled one of his musical characters (Parthenia Jenkins in Uncle Eph’s Christmas) after Anita Hemmings. By placing a character with Hemmings’ stature in a farce, Dunbar lampoons class / caste based distinctions. More importantly, he associates Hemmings – a racial performer celebrated for her respectability – with less-respected, equally assertive performers of race. Hemmings’s story is currently being adapted into a film, A White Lie, starring Zendaya and produced by Reese Witherspoon and Zendaya. This conference provides an opportunity to reflect on Hemmings’ experience – and those of other black women – who integrated women’s colleges.

This conference is also an occasion to rethink identity categories that have long been naturalized or taken for granted. From critical race theorists, sociologists, and social psychologists like Cheryl I. Harris, George Lipsitz, and Claude Steele to labor historians and feminist scholars such as David Roediger and Ruth Frankenberg, many intellectuals have examined whiteness as a social formation to which disparate ethnic groups (i.e., Jewish, Italian, and Irish) have assimilated. This conference (and concomitant art show at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center) can facilitate careful rethinking of assumptions about identity formations and affiliations. All are welcome.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-03-25 13:36Z by Steven

The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life

Dover Publications
2013-11-21 (Originally published in 1931)
352 pages
5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
ISBN: 978-0486493220

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Adultery, incest, and questions of racial identity simmer beneath the tranquil surface of suburban life in this novel, set in a small New Jersey town of the early 1900s. Lovely young Laurentine is obsessed with her “bad blood,” inherited from a common-law interracial union. Proud and independent, she longs for the respectability of a conventional marriage. Laurentine’s vivacious and self-confident cousin, Melissa, also aspires to “marry up.” But a family secret shadows Melissa’s dreams and ambitions as she approaches an explosive revelation.

African-American editor, poet, essayist, and novelist Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882–1961) was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. An editor of the NAACP magazine The Crisis, she was also an editor and co-author of the African-American children’s magazine, The Brownies’ Book. Her third novel, The Chinaberry Tree, draws upon elements of Greek tragedy in its powerful depiction of interracial love and marriage. The tale also offers a modern perspective on the struggle of its African-American heroines toward self-knowledge.

Reprinted from the Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1931 edition.

Tags: , , , ,

The (Dis)Ability of Color; or, That Middle World: Toward A New Understanding of 19th and 20th Century Passing Narratives

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-03-25 13:16Z by Steven

The (Dis)Ability of Color; or, That Middle World: Toward A New Understanding of 19th and 20th Century Passing Narratives

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
2015

Julia S. Charles, Assistant Professor of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

This dissertation mines the intersection of racial performance and the history of the so-called “tragic mulatto” figure in American fiction. I propose that while many white writers depicted the “mulatto” character as inherently flawed because of some tainted “black blood,” many black writers’ depictions of mixed-race characters imagine solutions to the race problem. Many black writers critiqued some of America’s most egregious sins by demonstrating linkages between major shifts in American history and the mixed-race figure. Landmark legislation such as, Fugitive Slave Act 1850 and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) are often plotlines in African American passing literature, thus demonstrating the failure of America to acknowledge its wrongdoings against people of color. While this project surveys passing narratives collectively, it pays careful consideration to those novelists whose presentations of the mixed-race figure challenge previously conceived notions of the “tragic mulatto” figure. I investigate how the writers each illuminate elements of the history of slavery and its aftermath in order to remark on black disenfranchisement at the turn of the century. Ultimately, however, I argue for the importance of the mixed-race figure as a potent symbol for imagined resolution between the larger narrative of American freedom and enslavement of blacks in the United States.

I examine several works of African American racial passing literature: William Wells Brown’s The Escape; Or, A Leap for Freedom (1858), the first published play by an African American writer. It explores the complexities of American culture at a time when tensions between North and South were about to explode into the Civil War. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860), tells the true story of the mixed-race Ellen Craft and her husband who escaped to freedom through various racial performances. Nella Larsen sets her novella Passing (1929) in Harlem in the 1920s. The story centers on two childhood friends reunited, but each dealing with their mixed-race ancestry in different ways. Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral (1928) and The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life (1931) and Charles W. Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth” and “A Matter of Principle” (1900). endeavors to depict a better class of blacks through her examination of the fair-skinned bourgeois-striver Angela Murray. Each of these stories address American legacies of racism and representation beginning with the Civil War.

I investigate how these authors use the mixed-race figure (mostly) following the Civil War to mark the continuing impact that its legacy has had on black Americans through the New Negro Harlem Renaissance, but also to gesture to the mythic moment of freedom symbolized by successfully crossing the so-called color line. In addition to cataloguing an era of migration, the African American passing narrative represents the moment in which we shift from only seeing characters in terms of monoracial identities. These writers suggest that new performative modes of racial affiliation are necessary to achieve freedom. Reminding us that characters of mixed status practiced race in ways that enabled them to build shared identity despite an often disparate cultural heritage, these works suggest that identities like blackness are always constituted through performance. I argue that racial passing facilitated the “performance” of whiteness together with, an acknowledgment of what is accepted as blackness.

Login to read the dissertation here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,