The Autobiography Of An Ex-Colored Man By James Weldon Johnson

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Racial passing is an event that has occurred throughout history and is still occurring in modern day America. Racial Passing is defined as: “the experience of mixed raced individuals, particularly in America, who were accepted as a member of a different racial group, namely White” (Beck, 1). Throughout the Harlem Renaissance, many fair-skinned African Americans would pass through life as a White person. Passing was used as a why to gain power and an attempt to take control of one’s own life. Today in America passing is still transpiring throughout the Islamic community they like many before them are attempting to pass as White. Blacks’ passing as Whites is still occurring in American society today. James Weldon Johnson wrote The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man about his personal experience with passing and what his life was like before and after he decided to pass. In the novel Johnson writes: “I know that in writing the following pages I am divulging the great secret of my life, the secret which for some years I have guarded far more carefully than any of my earthly possessions; and it is a curious study to me to analyze the motives which prompt me to do it” (Johnson, 1). Johnson is using his novel as a form of confession about his biggest secret the fact that he was…show more content…
Some felt like it was the only way that they would be able to survive. They felt like their skin color would get in the way of them finding a job. Some never attempted to pass but are still perceived as white because they are very fair skinned. Passing is occurring in America today and throughout the world. In Israel where being White is not the norm, and personal shaming occurs. Much like the shame the narrator feels at the end of Johnson’s novel. Passing is not for everyone; it is a personal choice and a hard choice. When someone decides to pass they are giving up a piece of themselves for a fabricated

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