We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-10-17 01:52Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
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Multiracial Identity for the Year 2000 Census

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2014-07-05 20:40Z by Steven

Multiracial Identity for the Year 2000 Census

C-SPAN
1998-05-30

Panelists discussed the federal government’s recent decision to allow individuals to define their race by more than one category on the 2000 census. They discussed the implications of this decision and its effect on areas such as social program funding and political representation. Panelists also answered media questions.

Hosted by:

National MultiCultural Institute

People in this video:

Susan Graham, President
Project RACE

Stuart Ishimaru, Counsel
United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Clarence Page, Columnist
Tribune Media Services

Jeffrey Passel, Director
Urban Institute, Immigration Policy Program

Elizabeth Salett, President
National MultiCultural Institute

Watch the video here.

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How to update census’ race question

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-05-06 21:51Z by Steven

How to update census’ race question

The Chicago Tribune
2013-05-05

Clarence Page

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page prefers an America where diversity and unique ethnicities are celebrated, not homogenized.

A notable example of how Americans fall through the cracks in census data-gathering caught my eye recently. It appeared on the black-oriented TheRoot.com website under this intriguing headline: “I found one drop; can I be black now?”

The “one drop” is a reference to the old oddly American racial rule that one drop of “black blood” in your veins makes you black. As a full-fledged black American, I wondered who is so eager to join the club?

The answer turned out to be a white woman who had written to The Root’s “Race Manners” advice column. Through genealogical records she uncovered an African-American ancestor who long ago had passed for white. Now faced with census forms, among other documents that ask us Americans for our race, she was wondering which box to check.

“Do I check both, and come across as a liar to those who don’t know my history?” she asked. “Or do I check just white, and feel like a self-loathing racist?”

I sympathize with the woman’s confusion. In changing times, government forms are often the last to catch up.

It has only been since 2000, for example, that mixed-race people are allowed to check more than one racial box on the U.S. census. And that’s just one area of government forms not keeping up with America’s changing demographics…

…More extensive questions of ethnicity and ancestry have been asked since 2000 by another set of longer forms, the American Community Survey. Unlike the 10-year census, the survey is conducted among a sample of 250,000 people every month.

That’s a good model, some experts, say, for how the 10-year census could give a more complete and realistic picture of America’s changing demographic landscape.

“We shouldn’t be governing in the 21st century by a race classification given us by a German doctor in 1776,” former Census Director Kenneth Prewitt wrote to me in an email…

Read the entire article here.

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