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Performing race, whether it be “acting black” or “being Mexican,” rests on the belief that certain actions are commonly or logically attributed to whiteness and a white racial identification. To act white, in the popular imagination, is equated with acts of affluence, decorum, success, and other forms of “goodness.” When juxtaposed to “acting black,” for example, the assumption is that there is a distinct and binary divide between the way black people behave and the way white people behave. Furthermore, value is ascribed to each racialized behavioral set, white acts being more positively connoted than black acts, and the subject’s “authentic” racial identity is thrown into question when the subject’s behavior is not in accordance with his or her racial identity. Consequently, racial behavior and ...

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