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Our founding ideals promise liberty and equality for all. Our reality is an enduring racial hierarchy that has persisted for centuries. Photo illustration by Chris Burnett. By Isabel Wilkerson. We heard the man on the ground pleading with the man above him, saw the terror in his face, heard his gasps for air, heard the anguished cries of an unseen chorus, begging the lighter man to stop. The man on the ground went silent, drained of breath. A clear liquid crept down the pavement.
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Passing is a work of fiction, but it is a true story about the world in which its author, Nella Larsen, lived. To describe it simply as a novel about a black woman passing for white would be to ignore the multiple layers of its concerns. Passing is about the monumental cultural transformations that took place in American society after World War I. It is about changing definitions of concepts like race and gender, and the inextricable relationship between whiteness and blackness.
Many references to ravens exist in world lore and literature. Most depictions allude to the appearance and behavior of the wide-ranging common raven Corvus corax. Because of its black plumage, croaking call, and diet of carrion , the raven is often associated with loss and ill omen. Yet, its symbolism is complex.