The act of passing, and its many permutations, is the subject of 15 superb essays in this collection edited by Skyhorse (English, Indiana Univ.; Take This Man: A Memoir) and Page (English, George Washington Univ.). Beginning with Skyhorse's description of his experiences passing as Native American at the insistence of his mother, contributors explore the circumstances—some intentional, others accidental—that led them to pass as a member of another race, religion, sexuality, or class. The authors come to various conclusions about the nature of the act of passing, as well as its impact upon the individual and society as a whole. Contributor Marc Fitten discusses the decontextualization inherent to passing, while Clarence Page recognizes class passing as something akin to an American tradition. There is value to be found in each essay, but particular highlights include author Rafia Zakaria's description of the acts of passing required to get through airport security as a Muslim American, while writer Gabrielle Bellot, in a beautiful essay about passing as a cisgender woman, emphasizes how transgender individuals use passing as a means to be recognized as their true, authentic selves. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers interested in American sociological issues and current events.—Sara Shreve, Newton, KS Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
In fifteen essays, various authors discuss their experiences of presenting themselves as another race, gender, or ethnic identity during their lives and the complications and personal conflicts they faced.Review by Publisher Summary 2
Why do people pass? Fifteen writers reveal their experiences with passing.For some, “passing” means opportunity, access, or safety. Others don’t willingly pass but are “passed” in specific situations by someone else. We Wear the Mask, edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, is an illuminating and timely anthology that examines the complex reality of passing in America.Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he learned who he really is. Page shares how her white mother didn’t tell friends about her black ex-husband or that her children were, in fact, biracial.The anthology includes writing from Gabrielle Bellot, who shares the disquieting truths of passing as a woman after coming out as trans, and MG Lord, who, after the murder of her female lover, embraced heterosexuality. Patrick Rosal writes of how he “accidentally” passes as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony, and Rafia Zakaria agonizes over her Muslim American identity while traveling through domestic and international airports. Other writers include Trey Ellis, Marc Fitten, Susan Golomb, Margo Jefferson, Achy Obejas, Clarence Page, Sergio Troncoso, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Teresa Wiltz.