Thursday, January 2, 2020

James Weldon Johnson s The Autobiography Of An Former...

The Theme of Passing, Racial Prejudice and Internalized Racism in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Nella Larsen’s Passing The concept of racial passing refers to the occurrence in which an individual is able to transcend racial boundaries. During the Harlem Renaissance, the term â€Å"passing† meant to signify mixed race individuals who were light skinned enough to pass as white and mingle freely within white society, almost completely undetected. This was significant considering the time period – the one-drop rule was still in effect, meaning to be part black was to be considered entirely black and segregation had only been more solidified by the Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine of â€Å"separate but equal.† (Hutchinson 56) It was during this time that many Harlem Renaissance writers produced a number of texts circling around the topic of racial passing. In 1912, James Weldon Johnson anonymously released the controversial An Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; the story of an unnamed biracial protagonist who after years of struggling with his own racial identity makes a conscious decision to pass as a white man. In 1929, Nella Larsen published Passing, a novel depicting the lives of two light-skinned African American women, Irene and Clare. In Larsen’s novel, Clare has chosen to pass into white society while Irene has chosen not to purposefully cover up her racial background. This thesis explores the racial prejudice that

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