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Neo-PassingPerforming Identity after Jim Crow$
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Mollie Godfrey and Vershawn Ashanti Young

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041587

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041587.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Passing for Tan

Passing for Tan

Snooki and the Grotesque Reality of Ethnicity

(p.158) Chapter 7 Passing for Tan

Alisha Gaines

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers how Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the star of MTV’s reality television show Jersey Shore crafted a bankable celebrity persona by “passing for tan.” Emboldened by postracial discourse and a late-capital moment, Snooki’s neo-passing is an exaggerated performance of Italian American identity based on stereotypes about ethnicity and familial belonging, the generic demands of reality television, and the affect of ethnicity. Snooki’s story is a deeply American one staged against the unique physical and cultural geography of New Jersey.

Keywords:   Jersey Shore, Sopranos, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, postracial, most-racial, Italian American, guido, guidette, New Jersey, passing, tan, ethnicity, reality TV

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