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The Social Politics of “Passing”

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Many people have had the experience of being informally tested for fitness for membership in a peer group. However, for members of an oppressed group who can pass as a member of the dominant group, such as members of a racial minority who look like members of the dominant group, “passing” takes on a special significance. One study (Stuckert, 1958) estimates that over 150,000 Americans with some degree of African American blood passed for white between 1861and 1950. For these individuals, it was a complex decision that had a profound impact on them as well as American history. Understanding the significance of passing and its impact on your work is important for your future as a social worker.


  1. ·      Submit a 2-page paper using APA formatting.
  2. ·      Also provide historical references and references from the resources.
  3. ·      In the paper, analyze the relationship between passing and privilege in North American society, identify at least two incidents where passing may lead to greater privilege, and explain the implications of passing on social work practice.


References (use at least 2)


Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

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