Now, there are more options than ever for racial identity. Identities such as Black, White, Native, Asian, and Latino have put into contention how past racial boundaries and definitions interact with newer racial color lines. Racial passing is one concept that captures both older and newer forms of identity maintenance. Racial passing refers to when a person classified as a member of a racial group is accepted or perceived as a member of another. In this thesis, I review the literature on racial passing to understand its history and theoretical explanations. Based on the review, I examine a convenience sample of research participants to examine their views on racial passing, if they believe claims of white-passing black people claiming blackness, and their opinions on the consequences or benefits of white-passing black people choosing to claim blackness or whiteness. I utilize qualitative methods to understand the participant's perceptions of racial passing. The analyses yielded several themes, including results of white passers' claims of blackness being believed if people believed they were claiming blackness for the right reasons and that people generally understood material reasons for white passers claiming whiteness. The themes support previous racial passing literature findings and provide insights into how racial identity continues to be fluid and ever-changing.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Mucka, Edi, "Reflections on White-Passing Black Identity" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1619.