Passing; or, Sacrificing a <i>Parvenu</i>

Werner Sollors

in Neither Black Nor White Yet Both

Published in print October 1997 | ISBN: 9780195052824
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855155 | DOI:
Passing; or, Sacrificing a Parvenu

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Passing, an Americanism not cited in the first edition of the “Oxford English Dictionary,” may pertain to the crossing of any line that separated social groups. Everett Stonequist listed a great variety of cases, including Jews passing for Gentiles, Polish immigrants preferring to be German, Italians pretending to be Jewish, the Japanese Eta hiding their group identity to avoid discrimination, the Anglo-Indians passing as British, and the Cape Coloured as well as mixed bloods in the Caribbean. One could add many other cases, such as Chinese Americans passing as Japanese Americans—and vice versa. There was also some passing from white to black in the United States, for example, by musicians, by white partners in interracial marriages, white siblings and other persons related by kinship to Afro-Americans, or by white individuals who wanted to earn affirmative action benefits.

Keywords: passing; OED; Everett Stonequist; Gentiles; Polish; Jewish; Anglo-Indians

Chapter.  17792 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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