Passing by Nella Larsen - Essay

Passing by Nella Larsen - Essay

  • Submitted By: tk109
  • Date Submitted: 08/15/2011 10:46 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 504
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 587

Nella Larsen


            Passing during the 1920’s was a symbol of a new life for many African Americans. The term “passing” refers to a light-skinned African-American acting as white in order to gain the social opportunities otherwise denied them. Passing in 1920’s society was a way of African Americans to delineate themselves from their own heritage and culture. Why African Americans did pass was simply because of their skin color. The problems these African Americans may run into are substantially different from African Americans who are a darker complexion. Those people of a light complexion are going to be able to do what other African Americans could not do. These African Americans are capable of having better jobs, clothes, houses, and relationships with new people they meet. I support African Americans who pass because I think it’s a good way for them to avoid the harsh racism that is happening to the African American race at this time.

“Passing” too many African Americans is a benefit but to others is a way of diminishing your black heritage. African Americans who are passed into the Caucasian race were the African Americans who are light-skinned. “Surprising to most people is the fact that “passing” often takes place accidentally. That is to say, a light-skinned Negro is surprised on occasion to find himself or herself accepted as a white person” (Juanita Ellsworth 109). Many of these African Americans who pass are ones who are despised by their own race and will probably lose their relationships with friends, relatives, and maybe family.
Another defect or flaw a light skinned African American may be concerned about could be being harmed by other African Americans that think that now that you pass as a white you are now vulnerable to being attacked. “A blonde dancing girl in a burlesque show was killed by her white husband a few weeks ago, when she refused to leave her job”...

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