Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC

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"Passing" - Eddie S. Pierce Jr
Encyclopedia of Identity vol 2


     “Passing” is the act of deception in which individuals utilize their inherent appearance and or learned ability in the pretense of infiltrating a socioeconomic and/or an ethnic population to which they do not belong but are assumed to be a part. Historically the connotation is usually in reference to the fair-skinned African American individuals who purposely misrepresent themselves to the public as Caucasian. Although rare, there are cases where this definition does apply to other social and ethnic groups who also conceal or abandon their true identity in order to assume another.

     The infiltrator’s purpose usually is to achieve personal and material advantages and/or escape being persecuted because of racial discrimination. Many passers engaged in this practice as a means of gaining employment or advancing their careers. Others did so to gain access to racially exclusive retail and eating establishments. There were even individuals who passed to experience the euphoria of interacting with whites. Passing is the means by which individuals who are classified internally or externally as part of a discriminated group are able to penetrate socioeconomic barriers and interact with a more privileged social circle.

      In some cases the ‘passers,’ only partially African American (genetically speaking), are sometimes victims of their parents’ deception, causing the individuals to believe themselves to be Caucasian. Prior to learning the truth of their ethnic heritage, these persons were living under a mistaken identity of sorts. Those who were informed of their African and Caucasian mixed heritage but consciously continued the deception either through direct actions and /or the omission of their racial heritage were considered to be passing. This is the working definition for the purposes of this entry.

"Southern Comfort" - Eddie S. Pierce Jr.
95Notes Literary Magazine 

It begins, at the neck

An ivory spread from

here to Texas

Brewed, blended to perfection

with pleasant politeness

200 percent proof grain

fermented to sensuous satisfaction

The beauty of the

Carolinas personified

Southern hospitality

given liquid form

Chocolate ambrosia

fueling the heart’s fire

Dark nectar

soothing the soul with ease

Warm sunlight methodically

massaging tense hips

Rippling river waters

crashing against inner shores

Sheltered in the shadow

of a mighty Oak

Caressed in loving branches

Bathed by beautiful breezes

Lush clouds,

bringing summer rains

Cooling my lips


Eddie Pierce