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.
The Nasiona Podcast shares stories that explore the spectrum of human experience and glimpse into foreign worlds. We focus on stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.
Julián Esteban Torres López is a Colombian-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, and editor. Before founding the nonfiction storytelling organization The Nasiona, he ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee and has written two books on social justice. Torres López holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.
Aïcha Martine Thiam is a trilingual writer, musician, and artist who goes where the waves take her, and an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press. She will quote obscure film facts at you, unprovoked. Her collection of poems, “AT SEA” was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize. Some words found or forthcoming in: Berfrois, The Rumpus, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Metaphorosis, South Broadway Ghost Society, RIC Journal, Lamplight, TERSE. Journal, Gone Lawn, Truancy Mag, Crack the Spine, Confessionalist Zine, Ghost City Review, Rogue Agent, Boston Accent Lit, Déraciné.
NICOLE ZELNIKER is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and an editorial researcher with The Conversation US. Her work has appeared on The Pulitzer Prizes website and in USAToday and Yes! Weekly, among other places. A creative writer as well as a journalist, Nicole has had several pieces of poetry published including “Cracks in the Sidewalk” (Quail Bell Magazine) and “Surge” (The Greenleaf Review), as well as three short stories, “Last Dance” (The Hungry Chimera), “Dress Rehearsal” (littledeathlit), and “Lucky” (Fixional). Zelniker’s book, Mixed, is a work of non-fiction about race and mixed-race families.
Sam Manas is a reporter from Baltimore, Maryland, currently studying investigative journalism at the University of Missouri. He writes about local politics and likes to read about technology and society.