Includes bibliographical references (pages 171-192) and index.
Prologue : Acting out the racial double bind -- Why act white? -- Talking white -- Acting like a black woman -- Acting like a (white) woman -- (Not) acting criminal -- Acting diverse -- Acting within the law -- Acting white to help other blacks -- Epilogue : Acting beyond black and white.
The authors argue that, in spite of decades of racial progress and the pervasiveness of multicultural rhetoric, racial judgments are often based not just on skin color, but on how a person conforms to behavior stereotypically associated with a certain race. Specifically, racial minorities are judged on how they "perform" their race: the clothes they wear, the way they style their hair, the institutions with which they affiliate, their racial politics, the people they befriend, date or marry, where they live, how they speak, and their outward mannerisms and demeanor.