Signithia Fordham challenges the notion that we are living in a "postracial" society where race is no longer a major social category, as indicated by the rising incidence of interracial relationships and the popularity of biracial identities. On the contrary,she contends, a powerful fusion of historical memory and inclusive kinship compels Americans whose ancestors were enslaved to embrace a Black identity even when they have White as well as African ancestors. Fordham identifies this socially constructed racial identity as "passin' for Black." She argues that virtually every socially defined Black person connected to enslavement—regardless of skin color, hair texture, facial features, or paternity—must perform Blackness. Using narratives obtained from a recent ethnographic study of female competition and aggression in a racially "integrated"suburban high school, Fordham's essay documents how the complex, charged matter of racial identity—concurrently biological and social—inflames the lives of adolescents and impairs their ability to navigate the school environment.

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