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"Passing" for Who You Really Are: Essays in Support of Multiracial Whiteness Paperback – May 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I am glad someone is publishing [Powell], because there is so much crap published by university presses about [multiracialism]. -- Francis Wardle, author of the textbook, _Introduction to Early Childhood Education_

She reminds you of H.L. Menken, driving intellectual midgets into frenzies of outrage, a spectacle that entertains her fans. -- Frank W. Sweet, author of the series _Paths Not Taken_

Should be required reading for "blacks," academicians, "white" liberals and especially Latinos. -- William Javier Nelson, author of _The Racial Definition Handbook_

From the Publisher

No spokesperson of the movement to abolish government sponsorship of the "race" notion has been more eloquent than A.D. Powell. And none has been more harshly criticized. It is not that she in error or that she does not describe reality. To the contrary, she writes with crystalline precision and merciless accuracy. But she writes of Things Best Left Unsaid in America.

Powell aims her barbs at liberals of all complexions who preach the one-drop rule. She is the nemesis of those who advocate the uniquely American notion that there is no such thing as a White person with African ancestry—-that such a person is, at best, a "light-skinned Black." Powell believes that the one-drop rule ignores science, crushes tolerance, and mocks the American Dream. And yet it is preached by liberals, and its enforcement is demanded by most Black leaders. She argues that coercing someone’s ethnic choice is tyranny.

This collection of essays on multiracialism originally appeared in _Interracial Voice_ magazine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Backintyme (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939479222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939479221
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,087,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

http://melungeon.ning.com/forum/topics/5th-union-presentation-by-a-d-powell

http://web.archive.org/web/20020309192407/http://www.interracialvoice.com/powell8.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20020309191205/http://www.interracialvoice.com/powell13.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20010901121243/interracialvoice.com/powell11.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20030604171659/http://interracialvoice.com/powell14.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20030606003650/http://interracialvoice.com/powell4.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20030606004005/http://interracialvoice.com/powell9.html

http://multiracial.com/site/content/view/38/54/

http://open.salon.com/blog/mischling

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a fascinating treatise on race and ethnicity, or more accurately our perceptions on race and ethnicity. A.D. Powell takes a stand that, in essence, argues for each human being's innate right to identify with the ethnic culture and heritage, or heritages, that he or she chooses. While this may ruffle the feathers of some, it is a common sense approach to the outdated and oftentimes harmful American tradition of assigning all people to strict racial categories (that may or may not coincide with their own view of themselves). As Wayne Winkler points out, whether you agree with her or not, A.D. Powell's "Passing for Who You Really Are" will make you think long and hard about our long held disjointed notions of race.

Brent Kennedy
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Format: Paperback
I am a big fan of A.D. Powell and have read everything I can find that she has written. Although not true of all African or mixed cultures, I do know that the topics Ms. Powell writes about can be very true. I have experienced them myself having a mixed-race ancestry, although it was never my direct family who imposed racial identity on me one way or the other. I would have never realized to what extent Ms. Powell's essays are true if it weren't for, in the last several years, being involved with several private, mixed-race family sites where the self-identity of white is treated, by some, as vulgar or obscene; a down right sin. To claim your dreaded white ancestors, or to state the fact that your ancestors who were labeled mulatto, colored or black, but who looked white, were done an injustice is a big taboo. The inner-conflicts, prejudices and pretenses I have since experienced are sad. It was very disillusioning to find that what Ms. Powell writes about, is often times true.

A.D. Powell stands up for the racial self-identification of your choice, even it that means self-identifying as white. She tends toward the right to identify by the way you look without using contradictory oxymorons, such as "light skinned black", as some still tend to do. I am a white-identified person, simply because I appear that way, my genetics are majority European, and I have been raised that way.

Everyone has the right to freedom of choice. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech, and opinion, hopefully in, at least, an intelligent way. I think Ms. Powell's book accomplishes this. Some would find her accounts and comparisons harsh, but I believe that in telling the truth we sometimes have to be harsh.
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Format: Paperback
A. D. Powell's book of essays on the odious "one drop rule" is one of those rare works that will make you examine America's--and your own--assumptions and attitudes about race. Whether you agree with these thoughtful pieces or not, they will make you think about some things you may have never considered before. _Passing For Who You Really Are_ presents ideas that will stay in your mind for a long time to come. - Wayne Winkler, author of _Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia_.
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A.D. Powell makes good points by exposing the non-sense of the American race culture. Hypo-descendent is wrong, and individuals should be allowed to self identify how they please.

I am a multiracial person, and very aware of Miss Powell's views, because I have read her opinions on multiracial websites and message boards for years. I have spoken with other multiracial people about her, and we do respect her passion and sympathize with her, but her flaw is she's too un-objective.

Some of her comments are too myopic, being based on her own, and some people's personal experience with some African Americans. She is wrong to say most or all African Americans are pro-hypodescendent, because she has no current statistics to prove this.

There are African Americans as she speaks of, like the activist and politicians against the multiracial option, but that's not the whole population. For example, Rep. John Lewis helped activist Susan Graham legalize the multiracial category in Georgia. Also, plenty African Americans are part of the Multiracial Movement.
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A D Powell's “`Passing' For Who You Really Are” is a controversial book about American race relations. Most of the material has previously been published in the webzine Interracial Voice (which is apparently defunct). While Powell is anti-racist, she directs most of her attacks at Black-identified elites and their White liberal allies, claiming that they artificially perpetuate the racist “one drop rule” and thereby give back-handed support to notions of Black inferiority. Powell strongly opposes the practice of “outing” Blacks who try to “pass for White”, arguing that most such “Blacks” really are White and that “passing” has nothing to do with it. Her examples include the prominent Irish-American Healy family, whose members have been posthumously claimed by Blacks, since they had a mulatto mother. Yet, the Healys looked White, were raised as Catholics and identified as Irish-Americans. In Powell's opinion, they were Whites who happened to have some Black ancestry, not “Blacks”. Judging by photos of A D Powell herself, she is a “multiracial White” herself.

I admit that I found this book difficult relating to. On the one hand, Powell is (of course) right that “race” is an artificial concept, and that the very definitions of “White” and “Black” have changed over time in the United States. The “one drop rule” didn't become law in the South until the early 20th century. This explains seeming anomalies, such as the existence of “Black” slave-owners in the antebellum South (they were Mulattoes, and at the time Mulattoes were not considered Black) or the existence of “White” slaves (since slavery was inherited on the maternal side, and many slaves had White fathers, even very light-skinned Mulattoes could be slaves).
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