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Racial passing occurs when a person classified as a member of a racial group is accepted or perceived "passes" as a member of another. Historically, the term has been used primarily in the United States to describe a person of color or of multiracial ancestry who assimilated into the white majority to escape the legal and social conventions of racial segregation and discrimination.

Although anti-miscegenation laws outlawing racial intermarriage existed in America as early as[1] there were no laws preventing the rape of enslaved women. For generations, enslaved black mothers bore mixed-race children who were deemed " mulattos ", " quadroons ", "octoroons" or even "hexadecaroons" based on their percentage of "black blood".

Mixed-race African Americans sometimes used their racially ambiguous appearance and often majority European ancestry in order to pass as white and evade the restrictions against them to seek better lives.

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For some people, passing as white and using their whiteness to uplift other black people was the best way to undermine the system that relegated black people to a lower position in society. Although reasons behind passing are deeply individual, the history of African Americans passing as white can be categorized by the following time periods: the antebellum era, post-emancipation, Reconstruction through Jim Crowand present day.

During the antebellum periodpassing as white was a means of escaping slavery. Once they left the plantation, escaped slaves who could pass as white found safety in their perceived whiteness.

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To pass as white was to pass as free. If an escaped slave was able to pass as white, they were less likely to be caught and returned to their plantation. If they were caught, white-passing slaves such as Jane Morrison [6] could sue for their freedom, using their white appearance as justification for emancipation. Post-emancipation, passing as white was no longer a means to obtain freedom. As passing shifted from a necessity to an option, it fell out of favor in the black community. Author Charles W.

Chestnutt, who was born free in Ohio as a mixed-race African American, explored circumstances for persons of color in the South after emancipation, for instance, for a formerly enslaved woman who marries a white-passing man shortly after the conclusion of Civil War. Some fictional exploration coalesced around the figure of the "tragic mulatta", a woman whose future is compromised by her being mixed race and able to pass for white.

During the Reconstruction erablack people slowly gained some of the constitutional rights of which they were deprived during slavery. Although they would not secure "full" constitutional equality for another century until after passage of the Civil Rights Act of and Voting Rights Act ofreconstruction promised African Americans legal equality for the first time.

Abolishing slavery did not abolish racism. During Reconstruction whites tried to enforce white supremacy, in part through the rise of Ku Klux Klan chapters, rifle clubs and later paramilitary insurgent groups such as the Red Shirts. Passing was used by some African Americans to evade segregation.

Those who were able to pass as white often engaged in tactical passing or passing as white in order to get a job, go to school, or to travel. This idea of crossing the color line at different points in one's life is explored in James Weldon Johnson 's Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. The idea that passing as white was a rejection of blackness was common at the time and remains so to the present time.

People also chose to pass for white during Jim Crow and beyond. The US civil rights leader Walter Francis White who was blond-haired, blue-eyed, and very fair was of mixed-raceBetter Adult Dating free porn with El paso chicks European ancestry: 27 of his 32 great-great-great-grandparents were white; the other five were classified as black and had been slaves.

He grew up with his parents and family in Atlanta in the black community and identified with it. In the earlier stages of his career, he conducted investigations in the South, during which he sometimes passed as white in order to gather information more freely on lynchings and hate crimesand to protect himself in socially hostile environments. In the 20th century, Krazy Kat comics creator George Herriman was a Louisiana Creole cartoonist born to mulatto parents, who claimed Greek heritage throughout his adult life.

The 20th-century writer and critic Anatole Broyard was a Louisiana Creole who chose to pass for white in his adult life in New York City and Connecticut. He wanted to create an independent writing life and rejected being classified as a black writer. In addition, he did not identify with northern urban black people, whose experiences had been much different from his as in New Orleans' Creole community.

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He married an American woman of European descent. His wife and many of his friends knew he was partly black in ancestry. His daughter Bliss Broyard did not find out until after her father's death. The rise of the civil rights movement and the enforcement of voting rights for African Americans, particularly in the South, meant that political leaders called on all African Americans to unify in order to maximize their power.

Passing as white in the 21st-century is more controversial: it is often seen as a rejection of blackness, family and culture. Other persons have passed as Native American or First Nations people. In the New Age and Hippie movements, non-Native people sometimes have attempted to pass as Native American or other Indigenous medicine people.

The pejorative term for such people is " plastic shaman ". The author and environmentalist Grey Owl was born in United Kingdom as a white man named Archibald Belaney; he made a life in Canada and claimed to be a First Nations person. When asked to explain his White appearance, he lied and claimed he was half Scottish and half Apache.

Initially playing Indians only in movies and television, eventually he wore his film costumes full-time and insisted he was of Cherokee and Cree descent. In the visual arts and literature, other White-Americans have also attempted to pass as being indigenous. Jay Marksa man of Eastern-European Jewish ancestry, adopted the pen name of Jamake Highwater aboutclaiming to be Cherokee - Blackfeetand published numerous books under that name.

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He won awards and NEA grants. He presented himself as Red Thunder Cloudthe last fluent speaker of the Catawba language. He helped anthropologists to collect information from several Native Americans. American-born sculptor Jimmie Durham was exposed as a non-Native man posing as a Cherokee. It requires any visual artist claiming to be a Native American artist to be either an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribeor for a recognized tribe to deate the artist as a tribal artisan. In academia, due to non-tribal colleges' and universities' reliance on self-identification of tribal identitynon-Native people have sometimes passed as Native Americans.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer discovered that he was neither, and reported his deception. If we believe in Indigenous self-determination as a value and goal, then questions of identity and integrity in its expression cannot be treated as merely a distraction from supposedly more important issues. Civil rights activist Rachel Dolezalthen president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACPclaimed in a February profile to have been born in a "Montana tepee" and have hunted for food with her family as "with bows and arrows".

In Dolezal's mother disputed her daughter's s, saying that the family's ancestry was Czech, Swedish, and German, with "faint traces" of Native American heritage. She also denied various claims made by her daughter about her life, including having lived in Africa when young, although the parents did live there for a time after Dolezal had left home. InVijay Chokalingam, the brother of Indian-American entertainer Mindy Kalingtold CNN that he had pretended to be black years before in order to take advantage of affirmative action to be admitted into medical school.

In the s he assumed a new identity, claiming to be an Indian named Korla Pandit and fabricating a history of birth in New DelhiIndia to a Brahmin priest and a French opera singer. He established a career in this exotic persona, described as an "Indian Liberace ". Inthree years after his death, his true ethnic identity was revealed in an article by Los Angeles magazine editor R.

As an activist, Krug had also been using the alias "Jessica La Bombalera". For Jews in Nazi Germanypassing as "Aryan" or white and non-Jewish was a means of escaping persecution.

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There were three ways to avoid being shipped off to the death camps : run, hide or pass. No option was perfect, and all carried the risk of getting caught. People who could not run away but wanted to maintain a life without hiding attempted to pass as "aryan.

In these attempts to pass as "aryan", Jewish people altered their appearance by dying their hair blonde and even attempting to reverse circumcisions. Examples of racial passing have been used by people to assimilate into groups other than European. She moved to Vancouver's Chinatownmarried a Chinese man, and raised her four children as Chinese. One day she told her daughter Rhonda Larrabee about her heritage: "I will tell you once, but you must never ask me again.

In Latin America, generational acculturation and assimilation took place via intermarriage. Medium-brown offspring of even dark parents were no longer "black", but were labeled with any of a half-dozen terms denoting class as much as skin tone. Descendants who were white-looking were accepted as white.

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When a person classified as one race is accepted as another. Main article: Passing sociology. See also: Race and ethnicity in Latin America.

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Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective. Archived from the original on December 6, Retrieved November 12, Psychological Science. PMID S2CID

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