By Gayle Wald
Wald starts off her interpreting of twentieth-century passing narratives via studying works by way of African American writers James Weldon Johnson, Jessie Fauset, and Nella Larsen, exhibiting how they use the “passing plot” to discover the negotiation of identification, business enterprise, and freedom in the context in their protagonists' limited offerings. She then examines the 1946 autobiography Really the Blues, which info the transformation of Milton Mesirow, middle-class son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, into Mezz Mezzrow, jazz musician and self-described “voluntary Negro.” Turning to the 1949 motion pictures Pinky and
Lost Boundaries, which think African American citizenship inside of class-specific protocols of race and gender, she interrogates the advanced illustration of racial passing in a visible medium. Her research of “post-passing” testimonials in postwar African American magazines, which strove to foster black consumerism whereas developing “positive” photographs of black success and affluence within the postwar years, specializes in ignored texts in the files of black pop culture. ultimately, after a glance at liberal contradictions of John Howard Griffin’s 1961 auto-ethnography Black Like Me, Wald concludes with an epilogue that considers the belief of passing within the context of the hot discourse of “color blindness.”
Wald’s research of the ethical, political, and theoretical dimensions of racial passing makes Crossing the Line very important studying as we strategy the twenty-first century. Her attractive and dynamic e-book should be of specific curiosity to students of yank stories, African American experiences, cultural reviews, and literary criticism.
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