A Chosen Exile

A Chosen Exile

A History of Racial Passing in American Life

Book - 2014
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t was a chosen exile, a separation from one racial identity and the leap into another. To pass as white in the antebellum South was to escape the shackles of slavery. When the initially hopeful period of Reconstruction proved short-lived, passing became an opportunity to defy Jim Crow and strike out on one's own. Hobbs explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. It is also a tale of grief, loneliness, and isolation that often accompanied the rewards.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9780674368101
Branch Call Number: 305.80097/HOBBS
Characteristics: 382 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Oct 21, 2015

Bliss Broyard's book One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life: A Story of Race and Family Secrets, does an excellent job of exploring why this country ensures racial oppression and why some choose to escape it. When I first her about her father Anatole Broyard's racial passing, I considered it an affront to his racial identity. By the end of the book, I didn't have any harsh feelings about him, my anger was directed at the society that made it necessary for him to have to pass to achieve equality and freedom. Yes, freedom to use all of his talents and creativity without his "one drop" of black blood restricting his opportunities through discrimination and segregation. It's a part of daily life still hidden by extending opportunities to those we feel comfortable with and denying opportunities to those we do not.

alexica Mar 12, 2015

The author is not really a writer and so there is much repetition and awkward phraseology making for a somewhat plodding read. I was looking forward to learning new things about this intriguing subject but much of the information was well known even 50 years ago. There should be new insight since then particularly since this has become a much more diverse and biracial country. Very disappointing.


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