Soniah Kamal


Passing for Something that You Are Not: Fifth Grade Style

My fifth grader’s favorite novel was Drama by  a graphic novel about unrequited love set in the world of drama in which there is much, yup, drama (all puns intended). Drama has been her absolute # 1 read for the past half year. Until this week. This weekend she read The Lions of Little Rock by  Kristin Levine. It’s set in middle school and is about friendship, segregation and passing. The concept of ‘passing’, where you pass for someone you are not in this case white for black, has led to some very interesting and hard conversations these last few days. How do you explain to a ten year old who lives in a different time than the 1952 shown in the book that, even today, we all try to ‘pass’ in our own little ways? That passing can refer to anything: richer, more learned, taller, dumber, just in order to fit in and be one of the gang. She get’s that– trying to be one of the gang. The Lions of Little Rock did make her sad, but she recommends it- sometimes sadness over what the world can make people do is part and parcel of growing up.

read my previous post on Bollywood, passing, ageism and being true to yourself here


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