Lecture 6.doc

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Women and Gender Studies
Dina Georgis

thWGS272Thursday February 16 2012Lecture 6PASSINGRacial Masquerade and Queer DesiresHarlem Renaissance Larson was of mixed race Larsen wrote Passing during the Harlem renaissance of the 1920s and 30sIt was a cultural movement of cultural expression theatre literature music jazzIt rejected the stereotypes of blackface and minstrel show traditionsA lot of black art was performed for white audience Renaissance was a part of an emerging culture of resistance race riots and challenging Jim Crowe equal but separateBlack people were equal but they were separate Passing is a comment on the Plessy vs Ferguson decision that maintained racial segregation based on biological trace of race This book is challenging racial segregation Racial Instability Race is imagined through biological difference fromWe have physiological differences Though race must be distinguished from culture they often collapseThere is a conflation between things that are actually cultural and the physical attributes you are born with Though you cannot alter your race you can identify with and adopt a culture which doesnot officially belong to your raceIf you figure out how to be white then you pass This is what Clare does in the novel So if neither cultural nor biological difference is identifiable what happens to raceThis is one of the questions that Larsen is askingHow is Clare racialized if at allShe floats undistinguishedthe defies race She resists being in her everyday worldshe wants to passWhy is Clare different from any other white womanShes consciously playing that white role she is conscious of race She has an experience of the cultural dimensions of race She has her childhood memories experiences etcRacial Masquerade If race is not essential or biological but also fluid does this mean that race is a performanceIf whiteness or skin is a commodity and identity expressible within social roles that can be learned what do we make of raceBiracial people or 2nd generation immigrants have an intimate knowledge of how race can be put on or off Theres a way you can put race on or off You might act differently with your extended family compared to with your friends
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