Signifying on Passing: (Post) Post-Racialism, (Post) Post-Modernism, and (Post) Post-Marxism

Sundquist, Christian B.

The social and legal relevance of racial passing appears to be fading as we ostensibly enter a color-blind, post-race era. During the "Age of Obama," the notion of passing in our multi-racial society seems to many to be antiquated and unnecessary. As the nation has moved beyond state-sanctioned racial discrimination, many believe that the country also has moved beyond the need for a legal dialogue on racial passing and ambiguity. This "retreat from race," exemplified in part by the apparent declining significance of racial passing, proclaims that the state no longer should consider race when interpreting the law or incorporating democratic values of equality and opportunity. This Essay, however, argues that the continued phenomenon of racial passing can be utilized as a conceptual vehicle to destabilize and de-legitimatize the post-racial agenda.


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Columbia Journal of Race and Law

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October 20, 2012