Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science on 2014-07-14 06:29Z by Steven

Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality

University of British Columbia Press
September 2014
288 pages
6 x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-7748-2772-0
Library E-Book: ISBN: 978-0-7748-2774-4

Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Racially mixed people in the global north are often portrayed as the embodiment of an optimistic, post-racial future. In Mixed Race Amnesia, Minelle Mahtani makes the case that this romanticized view of multiraciality governs both public perceptions and personal accounts of the mixed-race experience. Drawing on a series of interviews, she explores how, in order to adopt the view that being mixed race is progressive, a strategic forgetting takes place–one that obliterates complex diasporic histories. She argues that a new anti-colonial approach to multiraciality is needed, one that emphasizes how colonialism shapes the experiences of mixed-race people today.

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Researchers discuss origins of Melungeon heritage at annual event

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2014-07-14 05:41Z by Steven

Researchers discuss origins of Melungeon heritage at annual event

WCBY.com (News 5)
Brisol, Virginia
2014-06-28

Olivia Caridi

BIG STONE GAP, Va. - Wayne Winkler discovered he was a Melungeon at 12 years old. His grandmother is a Melungeon. His father is, too.

“I had never heard the word, so I asked my relatives what a Melungeon is. I asked what it was, and I’ve spent all this time since then trying to answer the question,” Winkler says.

For Winkler and others of mixed-ethnic groups, attending the 18th annual Melungeon Union on Saturday was a way to get some answers.

Melungeon’s were first documented in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee in the 19th century. “They are basically a mixed-ethnic group of a combination of Native American, European American and African American,” Winkler says.

Researchers have attempted to document the meaning of Melungeon identity for years. Lisa Alther, an author, wrote books exploring the history. “I always heard growing up that we were Anglo-Saxon and Celtic here in the mountains, so the most fascinating thing for me is realizing that we are here in the mountains really a melting pot of the entire world,” Alther says…

Read the article and watch the video here.

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Smoking Trajectories Among Monoracial and Biracial Black Adolescents and Young Adults

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2014-07-13 07:02Z by Steven

Smoking Trajectories Among Monoracial and Biracial Black Adolescents and Young Adults

Journal of Drug Issues
Published online before print: 2014-07-11
DOI: 10.1177/0022042614542511

Trenette T. Clark, Assistant Professor of Social Work
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Anh B. Nguyen, Cancer Prevention Fellow
Science of Research and Technology Branch (SRTB)
Behavioral Research Program (BRP)
National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland

Emanuel Coman
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Cigarette-smoking trajectories were assessed among monorace Blacks, Black–American Indians, Black–Asians, Black–Hispanics, and Black–Whites. We used a subsample of nationally representative data obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The sample consisted of adolescents who were in Grades 7 to 12 in 1994, and followed across four waves of data collection into adulthood. Wave 4 data were collected in 2007-2008 when most respondents were between 24 and 32 years old. Respondents could report more than one race/ethnicity. Poisson’s regression was used to analyze the data. We found distinct smoking trajectories among monorace and biracial/ethnic Blacks, with all groups eventually equaling or surpassing trajectories of Whites. The age of cross-over varied by gender for some subgroups, with Black–American Indian males catching up earlier than Black–American Indian females. Black–White females smoked on more days than monorace Black females until age 26 and also smoked more than Black–White males between ages 11 and 29 years. Black–Hispanic males smoked on more days than Black–Hispanic females from ages 11 to 14. The results of the interaction tests also indicated different smoking trajectories across socioeconomic status (SES) levels among White, Black, and Black–White respondents. Significant heterogeneity was observed regarding smoking trajectories between monorace and biracial/ethnic Blacks. Knowledge of cigarette-smoking patterns among monorace and biracial/ethnic Black youth and young adults extends our understanding of the etiology of tobacco use and may inform interventions.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Ghosts of Camptown

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive on 2014-07-13 06:41Z by Steven

Ghosts of Camptown

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic LIterature of the United States
Volume 39, Issue 3 (Fall 2014)
pages 49-67
DOI: 10.1093/melus/mlu025

Grace Kyungwon Hong, Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

This essay engages the deployment of form in Heinz Insu Fenkl’s Memories of My Ghost Brother (1996), focusing in particular on its strategy of embedding fantastical stories within its narrative structure and on the ways in which the mystical or magical tone of these stories pervades the narrative, establishing a frame seemingly incongruous with the memoir’s setting within a military camptown in South Korea. If a classically realist tone and linear narrative arc are the formal expressions of nationalist culture, the autobiographical novel’s departure from these formal strategies, I argue, is necessary to convey the complex juridical status of the camptown. Through a curious excess of state sovereignty, because they are simultaneously under both US and South Korean sovereignty, the camptown and its residents are subject to abandonment by both nation-states, producing a heightened vulnerability to death. Accordingly, such complex relationships to sovereignty demand a narrative form organized around a complex and divided subject unlike the possessive individual at the center of traditional autobiographies, a divided subject formed around an ethics in which no one is blameless and everyone is complicit.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. [Cannon]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-11 06:58Z by Steven

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. [Cannon]

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic LIterature of the United States
Volume 39, Issue 3 (Fall 2014)
pages 207-209
DOI: 10.1093/melus/mlu028

Sarita Cannon, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature
San Francisco State University

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. 248 pages. $84.95 cloth; $23.95 paper.

Ralina L. Joseph’s timely book about representations of multiracial black women in popular culture makes a significant contribution to the growing field of critical mixed-race studies. Drawing on research in various fields, Joseph closely reads four texts produced between 1998 and 2008: Showtime’s television series The L Word (2004-09), Danzy Senna’s coming-of-age novel Caucasia (1998), Alison Swan’s independent film Mixing Nia (1998), and the reality competition show America’s Next Top Model (2003-present). Joseph examines representations of black mixed-race subjectivity in these texts through two tropes: the new millennium mulatta and the exceptional multiracial. These two very different archetypes of multiracial identity are nonetheless linked by a common desire to transcend blackness, a proposition that Joseph argues is deeply troubling in twenty-first-century America, where, although many proclaim that affirmative action is no longer necessary, structural inequalities between blacks and whites remain entrenched.

One of Joseph’s central claims in Transcending Blackness is that popular representations of black mixed-race women fall into one of two categories. The new millennium mulatta is, in many ways, a revision of the tragic mulatta figure, made popular in films such as The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Imitation of Life (1959). According to Joseph, the new…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-07-11 06:53Z by Steven

Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union

University Press of Mississippi
2014-07-17
432 pages (approx.)
6 X 9 inches
3 B&W photographs
Hardcover ISBN: 9781628460216

Edited by:

G. Reginald Daniel, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Hettie V. Williams, Lecturer of African American History
Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Essays that explore how the first black president connects to the past and reimagines national racial and political horizons

The concept of a more perfect union remains a constant theme in the political rhetoric of Barack Obama. From his now historic race speech to his second victory speech delivered on November 7, 2012, that striving is evident. “Tonight, more than two hundred years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward,” stated the forty-fourth president of the United States upon securing a second term in office after a hard fought political contest. Obama borrows this rhetoric from the founding documents of the United States set forth in the U.S. Constitution and in Abraham Lincoln’sGettysburg Address.”

How naive or realistic is Obama’s vision of a more perfect American union that brings together people across racial, class, and political lines? How can this vision of a more inclusive America be realized in a society that remains racist at its core? These essays seek answers to these complicated questions by examining the 2008 and 2012 elections as well as the events of President Obama’s first term. Written by preeminent race scholars from multiple disciplines, the volume brings together competing perspectives on race, gender, and the historic significance of Obama’s election and reelection. The president heralded in his November, 2012, acceptance speech, “The idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like . . . . whether you’re black or white, Hispanic or Asian or Native American.” These essayists argue the truth of that statement and assess whether America has made any progress toward that vision.

Contributions by Lisa Anderson-Levy, Heidi Ardizzone, Karanja Keita Carroll, Greg Carter, Frank Rudy Cooper, Marhsa J. Tyson Darling, Tessa Ditonto, David Frank, Amy L. Heyse, David A. Hollinger, George Lipsitz, Mark McPhail, Tavia Nyong’o, David Roediger, Paul Spickard, Janet Mendoza Stickman, Paul Street, Ebony Utley, Ronald Waters

Contents

  • Preface / Hettie V. Williams and G. Reginald Daniel
  • Foreword: Race Will Survive the Obama Phenomenon / David Roediger
  • Introduction: Understanding Obama and Ourselves / George Lipsitz
  • Part I: Race, Obama, and Multiraciality
    • 1. Race and Multiraciality: From Barack Obama to Trayvon Martin / G. Reginald Daniel
    • 2. By Casta, Color Wheel, and Computer Graphics: Visual Representations of Racially Mixed People / Greg Carter
    • 3. Barack Obama: Embracing Multiplicity—Being a Catalyst for Change / Janet Mendoza Stickmon
    • 4. In Pursuit of Self: The Identity of an American President and Cosmopolitanism / Hettie V. Williams
  • Part II: Obama, Blackness, and the “Post-Racial Idea”
    • 5. Barack Hussein Obama, or, the Name of the Father / Tavia Nyong’o
    • 6. The End(s) of Difference? Towards an Understanding of the “Post” in Post-Racial / Lisa Anderson-Levy
    • 7. On the Impossibilities of a Post-Racist America in the Obama Era / Karanja Keita Carroll
    • 8. Obama, the Instability of Color Lines, and the Promise of a Postethnic Future / David A. Hollinger
  • Part III: Race, Gender, and the Obama Phenomenon
    • 9. From Chattel to First Lady: Black Women Moving from the Margins / Marsha J. Tyson Darling
    • 10. The “Outsider” and the Presidency: Mediated Representations of Race and Gender in the 2008 Presidential Primaries / Tessa Ditonto
    • 11. Obama’s “Unisex” Campaign: Critical Race Theory Meets Masculinities Studies / Frank Rudy Cooper
    • 12. “Everything His Father Was Not”: Fatherhood and Father Figures in Barack Obama’s First Term / Heidi Ardizzone
  • Part IV: Race, Politics, and the Obama Phenomenon
    • 13. Barack Obama’s Address to the 2004 Democratic Convention: Trauma, Compromise, Consilience and the (Im)Possibility of Racial Reconciliation / David Frank and Mark Lawrence McPhail
    • 14. Barack Obama and the Politics of Blackness / Ronald W. Walters
    • 15. Barack Obama’s White Appeal and the Perverse Racial Politics of the Post-Civil Rights Era / Paul Street
    • 16. Barack Obama’s (Im)Perfect Union: An Analysis of the Strategic Successes and Failures in His Speech on Race / Ebony Utley and Amy L. Heyse
  • Epilogue: Obama, Race, and the 2012 Presidential Election / Paul Spickard
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Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference by Anne Pollock (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2014-07-11 06:52Z by Steven

Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference by Anne Pollock (review)

Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Volume 88, Number 2, Summer 2014
pages 393-395
DOI: 10.1353/bhm.2014.0025

Lundy Braun, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Africana Studies
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Anne Pollock, Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012).

Science and technology studies (STS) scholar Anne Pollock’s Medicating Race uses the lens of “durable preoccupations” to explore the racialization of different categories of heart disease from the early twentieth century when cardiology emerged as a medical specialty. The book is a useful reminder that the intense and sometimes vitriolic debate over BiDil, a medication for heart failure and the first race-based drug, is but one moment—though a very public one—in a long history of the mobilization of race in cardiology. Drawing on rich and varied sources, including archival materials, scientific articles, interviews, and professional conferences, Pollock extends prior analyses of BiDil to examine the intersection of race with the numerous epistemological debates that characterize the history of heart disease. Why, Pollock asks, has race proved so resilient in the history of heart disease, despite relentless critique?

This deeply theorized account tracks “epistemologically eclectical” racial preoccupations as they travel among the social worlds of science, the clinic, and the pharmaceutical industry. Weaving together three main themes—the role of heart disease research in constituting Americanness, the persistence of racial categorization throughout this history, and the social and political dimensions of health disparities activism—Pollock argues that the durability of race in theories of heart disease is a dynamic biosocial process enmeshed in ambiguous and changing classifications of both disease and race and the persistence of unequal access to power, resources, and treatment. As Pollock writes, “Preoccupations with racial differences always exceed the data itself” (p. 19).

Beginning with early twentieth-century beliefs about infectious etiologies of heart disease, racial discourses shaped the emergence and professionalization of cardiology in complex ways. So deeply entrenched were ideas of syphilitic heart disease in blacks, for example, that Booker T. Washington’s death from arteriosclerosis in 1915 remained a matter of dispute until the 2000s. For African American physicians committed to providing medical care to their neglected communities, engagement with black heart disease also provided them with access to the modern technologies of scientific medicine, albeit limited. As others have shown with diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer, discourses of modernity, stress, and civilization were central to the whitening of coronary heart disease by midcentury.

Particularly fascinating is Pollock’s detailed examination of the complicated relationship between the famed Framingham Heart Study organized in 1948 and the Jackson Heart Study organized in 2000. Framingham researchers constructed their population as both white and normal through changing coding practices, categorizations, computerization, and data analysis, all of which cohered to produce hypertension as a distinct disease category. Modeled on Framingham, the Jackson Heart Study recruited only self-identified blacks, constructing a population that was simultaneously representative and different. Unlike the Framingham investigators, the Jackson investigators incorporated the social dimensions of health disparities, in addition to lifestyle and genetics, into the study design. In chapter 3, Pollock traces the complexity of social processes that produced African American hypertension as a distinctive disease category—and the consequent emergence of the category of African American itself as a risk factor for heart disease. Moving to “durable preoccupations” in contemporary race science in later chapters, Medicating Race analyzes the debates about the salt-slavery hypothesis of hypertension, thiazide diuretics, and BiDil.

While arguing throughout the book for careful attention to biology in any constructivist analysis, for this reader Pollock underestimates the consequences of genetic essentialism and market imperatives in medicine. Yet, in making explicit the tensions in democracy embedded in the historical debates over black heart disease, this book provides fresh insight into a key aspect of the dilemma of difference: when and how to use race in contemporary research. Despite at least a decade of careful social and scientific scrutiny, the academic and public debate about race and race science is not, nor can it be, settled as long as race remains such a salient marker of inequality in U.S. society.

This theoretically sophisticated book does an excellent job of making many familiar STS concepts relevant to medical history. Placing current arguments over race and heart disease in a broad historical context, Pollock adds valuable nuance to the historiography of race and heart disease and their material-semiotic natures. For all its semiotic ambiguity, heart…

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The contemporary American fascination with “mixed race” and “biracial” identity is a reflection of changing demographics and globalization; it is also a surrender to and performance of a shallow type of faux cosmopolitanism.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2014-07-11 06:25Z by Steven

“The contemporary American fascination with “mixed race” and “biracial” identity is a reflection of changing demographics and globalization; it is also a surrender to and performance of a shallow type of faux cosmopolitanism.

Ironically, the race scientists of Nazi Germany and the United States, as well as the photographer Cyjo (whose work was featured in Slate’s essay) who fetishize and find something “stunning” or “interesting” about “mixed race” and/or “biracial” people (what are fictive identities, social constructs, as there is only one race, the human race) share some common assumptions.

One, that those types of “racial” identities are somehow new or novel. In fact, human history is a story of “miscegenation” and “interracial” intimacy. Two, that those types of bodies and individuals merit study and analysis because there is some connection, either implied or explicitly stated, between genes, color, culture, destiny, and personal, as well as national “character.””

Chauncey DeVega, “‘Stunning Portraits of Mixed Race Families’?: Slate’s Human Zoo of Race Mongrelization,” We Are Respectable Negroes: Happy Non-Threatening Coloured Folks, Even in the Age of Obama, June 25, 2014. http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2014/06/stunning-portraits-of-mixed-race.html.

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Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, South Africa on 2014-07-11 06:11Z by Steven

Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Media Culture & Society
Published online before print: 2014-07-08
DOI: 10.1177/0163443714536076

Tanja Estella Bosch
University of Cape Town, South Africa

In South Africa, listeners often believe that radio stations deliberately constitute their audiences in terms of race. This article further explores this notion using commercial music station Good Hope FM as a case study. Radio creates a textured soundscape that is experienced as part of the material culture of the home; it contributes to the creation of domestic environments and it can help maintain and establish identities. These assertions are explored further through interviews with listeners. Mediated experience has long influenced self-identity, and this study explores popular conceptualizations of GHFM as a ‘coloured’ or mixed-race radio station, through these listener interviews, conducted in the home. The article explores the possibility that the symbolic arrangement of broadcast music and talk elements in one ensemble, embody and expresses group self-consciousness; and that the cultural consumption of GHFM leads to the formulation of an imagined identity based on ethnicity. Consumption of radio station content becomes a dialectical identity-forming process played out through tuning in. While GHFM listeners re-articulate normative discourses of identity and old apartheid constructions in their reflections on their media consumption, the article shows the act of tuning in as a critical part of their dialectical identity-forming process.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Essentializing Ethnicity: Identification Constraint Reduces Diversity Interest

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-10 20:56Z by Steven

Essentializing Ethnicity: Identification Constraint Reduces Diversity Interest

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Available online: 2014-07-10
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2014.07.001

Tiane L. Lee
University of Maryland, College Park

Leigh S. Wilton
Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Virginia S.Y. Kwan, Associate Professor of Psychology
Arizona State University

Highlights

  • We primed essentialism with instruction to “Check One”, rather than “Check All”, ethnicities.
  • Minorities reduced diversity engagement, distancing from activities that express background.
  • Essentialist European-Americans showed less interest in intergroup friendship.
  • Interaction with chronic essentialist beliefs replicated in a non-race-related context.

The present research investigates the effects of a subtle essentialist cue: restricting individuals to identify with only one ethnicity. Although this constraint is mundane and commonly used in everyday life, it sends a message of essentialized group differences. Three studies illustrate the harmful impact of this essentialist cue on diversity. Studies 1a and 1b show that it decreases Asian-Americans’ desire to participate in ethnicity-related activities. Study 2 reveals that it reduces essentialist European-Americans’ desire for friendship with a minority target. Study 3 illustrates the mechanism through which an essentialist cue reduces intergroup contact, with perceivers’ chronic beliefs moderating this effect. Together, these findings demonstrate the powerful impact of the seemingly small act of how we ask people to identify with an ethnic group.

Read or purchase the article here.

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