The Theme Of Racism In Passing By Nella Larson

1954 Words 8 Pages
To pass is to disguise oneself as a difference race, or more specifically in this context for a black man or woman to pass as white. Some pass for a more advantageous position in society. Others pass out of pure fear for security. Some pass permanently, abandoning their heritage and living a life of hiding and others pass temporarily and sporadically. In the novel, “Passing” by Nella Larson, we are given an in-depth look into the racial struggles that existed in the early twentieth century and the relationship between two women who both pass, but in different ways and for different reasons. This raises more questions about how passing has developed over time and could even be prevalent in today’s society in a different context. To fully understand …show more content…
In a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to Francis C. Gray on March 4th, 1815, Jefferson uses mathematics to explain what fractions of African American blood constitute an individual being categorized as white, black, or mulatto. We see a very calculated and seriously thought out argument by Jefferson, who was a slave owner himself and the biological father of mulatto children. This letter clearly implies that being white is universally superior to being black, even though he avoids using the word ‘white’. Jefferson would go as far as implying that being black is almost like having a disease that can be traced through ones blood and lineage. This disease takes time to dilute, but even diluted, would still give the right for a master to keep his mulatto enslaved. This letter represents the objectification of an entire race by a former president of the United States and founding father …show more content…
Even if someone can’t afford the designer brands that they admire, sometimes they choose to sacrifice something else in order to pay for it, or take a short cut and buy something counterfeit. This could be described as a sort of passing. I think more than ever, or at least what I have taken away from history and seen primarily so far, people are more concerned with their social image. I think that the explosion of social media has created widened exposure to luxury items and the lives of celebrities. Even before social media, I think television has attributed to this phenomenon as well, but not as large in scale or accessibility as in modern times. It’s no secret or insightful observation that we as an American culture are glued to our phones, computers, and social media. We constantly feel the need to see what other people are doing, what they’re wearing, and what they’re eating. I myself am a victim of this activity and mindset, and I think that most of my peers would agree with me that they are as well. We are constantly pressured to pass as someone who we wouldn’t be without outside

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