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What's the Word? Passing

From: Modern Language Association
Length: 29:00

An exploration of writers and characters of mixed race

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In the United States, writers of mixed race, as well as the mixed-race characters they create, reveal what it means to live as a racially mixed person.   What challenges do they face? Where do they fit in? Why do some choose to pass—to live either permanently or temporarily as a member of another race?  Jennifer Devere Brody talks about Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing;  Diana Birchall talks about her half-English, half-Chinese grandmother, Winnifred Eaton,  who reinvented herself as a writer of Japanese romances;  and A. Lavonne Brown Ruoff explores the life of Sylvester Long, a mixed-blood Indian from the South who wrote and lectured as a full-blood Plains Indian.   

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Piece Description

 

In the United States, writers of mixed race, as well as the mixed-race characters they create, reveal what it means to live as a racially mixed person.   What challenges do they face? Where do they fit in? Why do some choose to pass—to live either permanently or temporarily as a member of another race?  Jennifer Devere Brody talks about Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing;  Diana Birchall talks about her half-English, half-Chinese grandmother, Winnifred Eaton,  who reinvented herself as a writer of Japanese romances;  and A. Lavonne Brown Ruoff explores the life of Sylvester Long, a mixed-blood Indian from the South who wrote and lectured as a full-blood Plains Indian.