Racial Passing Of The Legal Negro For White

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Individuals in today’s society either suffer from being the minority’s and deal with the possibility of discrimination or they are of the dominant culture and receive many benefits. According to Burma (1946) states, “This passing of the legal Negro for white has been well known for over one hundred and fifty years” (p. 18). By participating in passing, one is able to get out of slavery, eat at better restaurants and better occupation opportunities. People are willing to give up their family and cultures in order to be a part of the dominant culture to have more privileges and lead a better life for them and their family. Racial passing is when African Americans and other minorities were historically discriminated against in the United States, so the fair-skinned offspring of whites and people of color often pretended to be white to take advantage of the opportunities that would’ve otherwise been denied to them (about news website, 2016, para. 1). Racial passing was also a vital point in our history; it either meant you could be a slave during the pre-Civil War era or you were able to slip virtually unnoticed into the dominant society (BlackPast.org website, 2015, para. 3). In the post-Reconstruction South politicians schemed to legally segregate the races which necessitated defining who was not white using a combination of percentage and the infamous “one drop rule,” condemning those with observable Negroid features to a life of greater hardship (BlackPast.org website, 2015, para. 3). By having the “one drop rule” the Southern whites were able to keep the white race as pure as possible so that it was powerful; anyone that had a drop of black blood was considered black (post-gazette.com website, 2003, para. 31). Individuals who u... ... middle of paper ... ...acial passing does have its benefits to those who wish to participate but it also has it downfalls in regards to what they are giving up in regards to their race. Racial passing has been going on for centuries and probably will continue for many more. It provides those that have been discriminated against the opportunities to better themselves but also may have affect them in negative ways also. Not only will they gain ‘white privilege’ but they are also giving up their culture, families and possibly even leaving their communities. One who chooses racial passing over their own culture and families must make sure that is what is best for them and their families. As social workers it is important to remain culturally competent so that we can provide them the help in dealing with not only what they have left behind but also opportunities they believe to be receiving.

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