She was his
She would take his children
Black and white
Right to her own breast
There were times
When he could mix
With ordinary white company
And if the subject never came up
No one would notice
He had what they call passing complexion
He had what they call passing complexion
He had what they call passing complexion
He had what they call passing complexion
He'd been white, he'd been black
They asked him, black like that?
Yeah!


Lyrics submitted by infotainment_lad

Passing Complexion song meanings
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    General CommentWhen I was in high school and 'Atomizer' lived in the cassette deck in my car, I thought that this was a piece of speculative fiction about somebody whose complexion was not stable—whose racial identity was "passing," i.e., shifting back and forth between black and white in such a way that he could be said to be neither. That kind of abject experience of race—not white, not black, fleetingly both, but ultimately neither—felt very Big Black to me. Of course, I later learned what passing really meant, but I still kind of like my youthful misapprehension of the lyrics.
    scooperon February 17, 2014   Link

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