Just a little background for you.
While we singlehandedly cause the line to stretch about a mile, we lounge around with our elbows on the counter, trying to keep the kids from wrestling, letting YaYa know that fifteen kisses is probably enough for Kid A to handle (she always gets very affectionate when we are out together- early signs of PDAs), joking with the post lady about how much money this is costing us. "My favorite thing!" I say. "I love spending hundreds of dollars on paper!"
Then I notice the stamps for February poster. "Hey Chin," I ask in a lowered voice. "Is that guy black?" He looks where I'm looking, at the Black Heritage stamp.
"Well, remember, back in those days it was all about 'passing'. He looks like he's passing."
I'm not so sure. "Yes, but... I don't know." This man seems to be doing a lot more than passing to me. He looks white down to his large mustache and the part in his hair.
"Well, I don't have my glasses on," Chinua tells me.
"Here, use mine." He takes them.
"Oh no. That dude is not black." The (black) post lady overhears him and laughs. "I know," she says. "I've had other customers asking me about that."
"Do you know who he is?" I ask. She shakes her head.
"I have no idea."
Chinua and I finish up and walk away with our miniature entourage. And got sillier and sillier.
"For Black History Month, we've decide to feature white people!"
"Due to the unnecessary controversy surrounding black people, we've decided to have white people featured for Black History Month!"
"In the spirit of non-discrimination, we're going stop honoring Black People for Black History month! Now all races will be represented!"
"It will be National Everybody Month!"
After doing a little, you know, what's that called... RESEARCH, I realized that Charles W. Chesnutt is indeed PASSING. Go and read his biography, it's really interesting, and reveals more again about how strange and complex the racial undertones of the day were. And I really mean no disrespect to this man, who seems to have spent his life bringing awareness to black issues and decided not to live as a white man, passing or no passing.