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Books  >>  Sociology

Brando Skyhorse

We Wear the Mask

Brando Skyhorse We Wear The Mask 15 True Stories Of Passing In America
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Why do people pass? Fifteen writers reveal their experiences with passing--including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic forms of passing.

For some, "passing" means opportunity, access, or safety. Others don't willfully pass but are "passed" in specific situations by someone else. We Wear the Mask, edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, is an illuminating and timely anthology of original essays that examines the complex reality of passing in America.

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 shares how her white mother didn't tell friends about her black ex-husband or that her children were, in fact, biracial. 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, after the murder of her female lover, embraced heterosexuality; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, "passes" as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Mexican-American 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 on college campuses 
- Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her great-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 shares the disquieting truths of passing as a woman after coming out as trans 
- Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of "economic passing" in the context of race 
- Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman, reflects on the anti-Semitism she's privy to when mistaken for Irish Catholic 
- Rafia Zakaria, a woman who agonizes over her Muslim American identity while traveling through domestic and international airports


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