Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity

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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.


  • "Clearly Invisible is a thought-provoking analysis... that challenges the way we view race and culture in our society."

    —Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

  • "Clearly Invisible is destined to become a classic. Dawkins's social analysis is astute, and she engages scholarly debates (the meaning of the Plessy decision) and current events (the newest iPad app) with depth and sophistication. After Clearly Invisible, readers will never see passing the same way again."

    —Margaret Hunter, author of Race, Gender, and the Politics of Skin Tone

  • "A lively work that connects the politics of passing with the most pressing contemporary issues of identity."

    —Michele Elam, author of Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millennium

  • "We are lucky to have rising public intellectual, Marcia Alesan Dawkins, bring critical conversations about the Mixed experience into broader scholarship. Her work confirms that an understanding of the Mixed experience is essential to understanding who we are as Americans."
    —Heidi W. Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky



Clearly Invisible

Not until this moment did I know the fullest import of a social media site. My purpose had been quite simple: my wife, Florence, and I have the grandest granddaughter, any two persons could hope to share. Our son, Greg and his wife, Dana, post good, valued images and reflections of their lives...Florence had to forward everything to me. All that remains of the very highest excellence...but, Clearly Invisible...which you yourself had become since our last encounter at Phillip's MLK, Jr. Keynote address tumbling back with all the power you exercised in your very breathing while maturing beyond all-our-years those so-few years ago.

I'm off to read now, with expectations of clarity and better-than-casual deepening of language I myself seek to speak with ever-aspiring fidelity to the human voice that knows-and-not-knows simultaneously...and all-too-fleeting to capture & assay the worthy / unworthy dimensions of humanity to be found therein.

Godspeed, Marcia; I trust conversations renewed may be among the 'benefits and burdens' of a medium spanning time and distance.

Warm regards--
--Ed (Colleague-in-process)