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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

The Pass of Least Resistance

The Pass of Least Resistance

Sexual Orientation and Race in ZZ Packer’s “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere”

(p.175) Chapter 8 The Pass of Least Resistance

Derek Adams

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines ZZ Packer’s deconstruction of race as a force that shapes the reader’s perception of sexuality. It proposes a new understanding of unconventional racial passing that occurs within a singular category (i.e., blackness), where the passer embodies its socially determined stereotype. This particular passing lens explains her protagonist’s attempts to accentuate her blackness as a means of masking her ambiguous sexual orientation. Her desire to avoid being labeled as LGBT+ situates her in a position that challenges the idea that passing is a form of liberation from the assumptions of a heteronormative society. The chapter treats the tension of this intersection within Packer’s protagonist as a metaphor illustrating the divide between civil rights activists and gay rights activists near the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   blackness, civil rights, gay rights, LGBT+, heteronormative, ZZ Packer, passing, orientation, race, sexuality

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