Famous Passers

Buy this book at!A kinté email from the noted writer Gary Phillips, responding to our long-anticipated interview with Dr. Gerald Horne, opens up the subject of famous passers. A ‘passer’ is a person who takes great effort to hide their ethnic origin for the sake of social climbing (and/or psyche-illness) in an Imperial society. To quickly show you the tip of the iceberg, one world-famous passer, the inspiration of Ian Fleming’s 007 series, the English spy Sidney Reilly, was actually named Salomon (Shlomo) Rosenblum. He was of Jewish relations and pretended to be an Irish man for tactical reasons (because only the English discriminated against the Irish).

Buy this DVD at!It was Reilly, by the way, during the Russo-Japanese war, who innovated in the concept that warfare was a time to make vast amounts of money on the stock market. It was Reilly who was at the center of the origin of oil wealth for the powers of Europe—namely Britain. You will understand the origins of the mentality ruling the Bush family, Chaney and all those other impoverished rubes by watching the BBC series Reilly—Ace of Spies starring Sam Neil. You will probably never see this series broadcast on public television ever again—without the hippies being back in power.

In his email, Gary Phillips revived the name Anatole Broyard. This revived the book Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writes:

Broyard was born black and became white, and his story is compounded of equal parts pragmatism and principle. He knew that the world was filled with such snippets and scraps of paper, all conspiring to reduce him to an identity that other people had invented and he had no say in. Broyard responded with X-Acto knives and evasions, with distance and denials and half-denials and cunning half-truths. Over the years, he became a virtuoso of ambiguity and equivocation. Some of his acquaintances knew the truth; many more had heard rumors about “distant” black ancestry (wasn’t there a grandfather who was black? a great-grandfather?). But most were entirely unaware, and that was as he preferred it. He kept the truth even from his own children. Society had decreed race to be a matter of natural law, but he wanted race to be an elective affinity, and it was never going to be a fair fight. A penalty was exacted. He shed a past and an identity to become a writer—a writer who wrote endlessly about the act of shedding a past and an identity.

It would not surprise me at all that Broyard helped to make popular the American romantic notion that defining “your own identity” is a part of being free and with liberty. But Broyard, his motives, are less than patriotic and more of raw survival. The effort to conceal these animal instincts is what makes little children believe in the tooth fairy and every little thing broadcast by mass, corporate media.

However, Gerald Horne’s groundbreaking presentation of Lawrence Dennis in our interview reveals a character that reigns supreme over Broyard. Broyard compared to Lawrence Dennis seems quite passive in his passing.