Who Said Passing Is Cool?

ImagePhoto By Earnest Harries from a Article entitled “Bi-Racial People Passing When It Fits Their Needs”.  This photo is compiled by combining multiple pictures of different men and women to visually enact what Passing means.

In “Caucasia” Danzy Senna’s character Birdie struggles in the world passing as a white Jewish girl.  It is through Birdie that readers see what it truly meant to be passing in the 1970’s as well as the implications it had on one’s identity. Her struggles look very similar to the combination of pictures above.

Earnest Harris the creator of this image used a large number of different photos from different ethnic groups to comprise them into one face. The one image contains about thirteen different features from men and women.  Essentially, the picture reflects what many people who were passing wish they could have done. It would have been optimum if someone passing could pick their eyes or pick their nose to make themselves more acceptable. However, this was not the case, and people would go to extreme measures to change themselves.

In the above image, one can see the contrast between the right side of the face and the left side. The left eye would be much more appealing to society while the right eye is somewhat less attractive.  The left side of the face has darker hair while the right side has lighter hair.  Although these images are compelling, they are also a perfect reflection of what passing means.  Passing is leaving behind your own identity and taking the characteristics of others. In the end, your identity becomes deformed similar to the picture and Senna’s character “Birdie”.

In “Caucasia” Birdie struggled with her identity partly because her mother forced her to be someone else.  She found comfort in people who looked like her but took on the characteristics of others.  In the end, Birdie’s identity looked similar to this picture.  She was collage of other characteristics instead of true herself.

Image Source: Earnest Harries. Bi-Racial People Passing When It Fits Their Needs. Web. 2, May 2013

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