Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity

Everybody passes. Not just racial minorities. Passing has been occurring for millennia, since intercultural and interracial contact began. And with this profound new study, Dr. Dawkins explores its old limits and new possibilities. Already hailed as a pioneering work in the study of race and culture, Clearly Invisible offers powerful testimony to the fact that individual identities are never fully self-determined—and that race is far more a matter of sociology than of biology.

Eminem: The Real Slim Shady

More than a decade after Eminem "The Monster" (aka Marshall Mathers, aka Slim Shady) disrupted mainstream hip-hop culture, he is even more hated, contested, and celebrated. His albums, autobiographies, and motion picture catapulted him into the upper echelon of American cultural icons. In Eminem: The Real Slim Shady, Dr. Marcia Alesan Dawkins, award-winning author of Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, offers a fresh way of looking at Eminem that will excite those who already love the artist and inform those who want to understand him.

Dances With Aliens?: A Look At Multiracialism in "Avatar"

This article is based on my 2011 American Studies Association Conference presentation, which explored depictions of multiracialism in the 2009 film Avatar and its reviews.

What Scattered Ashes Leave Behind: Expressions of Nuyorican Identity in Miguel Piñero’s A Lower East Side Poem

This essay takes Miguel Piñero’s A Lower East Side Poem as a rhetorical starting point for understanding Nuyorican identity. Close textual analysis reveals that the poem functions personally (as Piñero’s last will and testament) and politically (as a description of how the urban landscape of The Lower East side shaped Nuyorican identity).

Passing as a Woman(ist)?

As the 2011 NAACP Image Awards demonstrate, Tyler Perry has become a major force in media and popular culture. He has also become a playwright and media icon known for his potent and vivid representations of Black women's experiences. But is the "Madea-maven" passing as a womanist?

Book Review: Digitizing Race

Lisa Nakamura’s Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet, explores the culture wars of Web 2.0 as they are now emerging—from AIM icons, to pregnancy and ethnic quiz sites, to iPod ads and Trek Kelley’s “iPod Ghraib” remixes, to Jennifer Lopez’s music videos, to Six Feet Under, the Matrix Trilogy, Gattaca, and Minority Report.

Book Review: Burying Don Imus

In Burying Don Imus, Awkward argues persuasively that Imus forgot “that big business and media corporations can tolerate association with virtually anyone who can increase their earnings or cultural capital . . . except a person widely recognized as a racist” (p. 135). But that is only part of Awkward’s story.

Book Review: Everything But the Burden

If the great problem of the twentieth century has been the problem of the color line, then a century later, the only color that seems to matter is green. In Everything But the Burden, Greg Tate and his team of writers take on various aspects of American popular culture, from Muhammad Ali to Pablo Picasso and imperialism, interracial sex, cornrows, pimpology, thugging, capitalistic exploitation, and racial transvestitism. As the title suggests, the underpinning thread of the text is that the only aspect of black culture that whites cannot appropriate is the burden of being black.

Race in the News Coverage of Religion

...a chapter written for The Oxford Handbook of Religion & News

Narratives of race and religion have been intertwined in headlines and the ideals of “a chosen people” and “a chosen nation.” These ideals, of various social groups and countries believing themselves to be selected uniquely by God to prosper, proselytize and lead, generate important questions for news media. Some of these questions are philosophical: How is religion practiced along racial and ethnic lines? Is religion used to justify racism and/or racial privilege? Does religion inherently resist racism? Others are practical: Is it the case that the more devout the religious practitioner, the more extreme the racial pride and/or racism?

Mixed Race in the Age of Mrs. O

...written with Ulli K. Ryder, Ph.D. borrowed from Mrs.O and New York Times websites

This study is designed to examine how mixed race identity is formulated and discussed by young adults in the United States. An intensely interdisciplinary project, we begin by discussing racial mixedness and identity “with a twist” as they pertain, not to President Obama but, to First Lady Michelle Obama. Self-identified as and accepted as “Black,” her mixed race ancestry is the subject of recent scrutiny.