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Ambiguity In Little White Lie Essay

The individuals in this world are foolish to feel hate for each other, for one way or another, we are all connected. The reason for this connectivity is the fault of passing or racial ambiguity. Passing is where an individual from one race is accepted into another based off of their appearance. This notion of passing and how it caused the world to be connected is explained with examples from: the film titled Little White Lie, a guest speaker named Rebecca Campbell, and the novel by J. California Cooper titled Family. The first set of examples of passing come from Little White Lie.

This film was all about the life of a girl named Lacy, and lived most of her life believing she was passing. Lacy was a half white, half black Jew that grew up believing she was full on white, yet her appearance was telling a different story. To answer the question of how something like this could happen; her mother simply had an affair. She hid it very well by creating an excuse that the Lacy’s differences come from a family relative. In a way, Lacy’s mother and all of her family members were trying to push Lacy’s passing for white by overlooking how obvious it was for her to contain black blood.

As Lacy developed, she realized clues here and there of her true identity. For example, when she was only in elementary school a boy asked her “show me your gums. “(Little White Lie) This boy noticed her differences and was curious to find others that he could not see. Soon, Lacy attended Kingston High School where other students made her identity clear by just telling her what she was. Once Lacy figured it out more and more who she was and confronted her parents about it and discovered the truth about what she really was made of.

She could no longer attempt to pass for white and still could not completely pass for black because of her light skin; so she accepted both sides. In this way, she connects both sides because her blood is in both sides. (Little White Lie) The speaker we had in class, Rebecca Campbell, was very much like Lacy in the sense that she too did not know her true identity and unconsciously passed for white. Rebecca’s mother was a Genealogist and dug around in her ancestry. In her search, she had difficulty tracking their ancestry because of the concept of passing.

However, despite the difficulty, it became known that Rebeca does in fact contain Native American blood. his presentation of new news sort of changed her perspective about herself; she felt boundaries for the Native American side of her. Her thoughts were: “am I allowed to do this because | look and act and was born into a different way. “(Campbell) Despite her uncertainty and the fact that it was unknown most of her life she understood the concept of why her family, or anyone, would want to pass for white, “For me, it makes so much sense,” Rebecca explained.

She had made it clear that if you were a race other than white, at the time of her ancestors, you would obviously want the same life for yourself as most white folks had, just because they were born into it. Her family desired a better life for themselves, therefore, they began passing for white and in result connected Rebecca Campbell to a side of her she never knew. Like Rebecca’s ancestors, the characters in Family by J. California Cooper had the same reason to want to pass for white. The whole novel took place during the civil war and slavery times and most of the main characters were slaves themselves.

Just because they were born with into the life of a slave, they were treated worse than dogs; as if their own lives did not matter. The story was told by Clora, who was a little girl who grew up in the life of a slave and had many children. She tried to save her babies from that life by poisoning them and herself, however her children survived. She lingered around to watch over them; saw all the tragedies in their lives and witnessed their choices of passing, if they even were granted the choice that is.

Peach and Sun, two of her children, were able to pass because of their lighter skin and opportunities to leave the plantation. It seemed to be permanent passing how they left and never came back to get the rest of their siblings, however, in the end they did come back to see their sister, Always, after the war. Always was unable to pass, for her skin was too dark. However she made it so her youngest son, Doak Jr. , could pass by switching him with a “white-born” child that was the same age as him. Doak Jr. grew up unknowingly passing for white.

He, however wanted nothing to do with that side of him so he suppressed it and tried to pass permanently. Clora tried to explain throughout the novel how keeping track of her blood was so difficult because it was being so spread out. She says, “All my family, my blood, is mixed up now. They don’t even all know each other. I just hope they don’t never hate or fight each other, not knowin who they are. “(Cooper 231) She is right in the sense that her family was everywhere and all connected by blood. Passing for white or for black can lead to not knowing who or what you are made of.

It could make you feel like you do not belong somewhere or that you lost the identity you were once certain of. These concepts were all demonstrated in the examples from Little White Lie, the class speaker, Rebecca Campbell, and the novel, Family. The moral of this passing for white story is that you cannot hate someone when you do not know them,”cause all these people livin are brothers and sisters and cousins. All these beautiful different colors! We!… We the human Family. God said so! FAMILY! ” (Cooper 231)

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