Since European settlers brought enslaved Africans to the United States, there has been passing. In terms of race, passing means presenting as a race you don’t identify as, such as when an escaped enslaved person pretended to be white to avoid being sold back into slavery. More recently, former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal made headlines when it came out that she was a white woman passing as black for many years.
Not all passing is intentional, however. Sam Manas, for example, is white and Panamanian, although because he is much lighter-skinned than most people from Panama, people tend to think he’s only white.
Sam Manas is a reporter from Baltimore, Maryland, currently studying investigative journalism at the University of Missouri. He writes about local politics and his interests include technology and society. At the time of this interview, he was an intern at The Conversation.
This episode was produced by Julián Esteban Torres López, Aïcha Martine Thiam, and Nicole Zelniker.
Please follow The Nasiona on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for regular updates: @TheNasiona