Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Posted in Africa, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2015-07-02 15:50Z by Steven

Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Ohio University Press
October 2015
364 pages
11 illus., 3 maps
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8214-2179-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8214-2180-2
Electronic ISBN: 978-0-8214-4539-6

Carina E. Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Interracial sex mattered to the British colonial state in West Africa. In Crossing the Color Line, Carina E. Ray goes beyond this fact to reveal how Gold Coasters—their social practices, interests, and anxieties—shaped and defined these powerfully charged relations across racial lines. The interplay between African and European perspectives and practices, argues Ray, transformed these relationships into key sites for consolidating colonial rule and for contesting its racial and gendered hierarchies of power.

With rigorous methodology and innovative analyses, Ray brings Ghana and Britain into a single analytic frame by examining cases in both locales. Intimate relations between black men and white women in Britain’s port cities emerge as an influential part of the history of interracial sex and empire in ways that are connected to rather than eclipsed by relations between European men and African women in the colony.

Based on rich archival evidence and original interviews, the book moves across different registers, shifting from the micropolitics of individual disciplinary cases against colonial officers who “kept” local women to transatlantic networks of family, empire, and anticolonial resistance. In this way, Ray cuts to the heart of how interracial sex became a source of colonial anxiety and nationalist agitation during the first half of the twentieth century.

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Historian Victoria Bynum, author of “The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War”

Posted in Audio, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, United States on 2015-07-02 15:13Z by Steven

Historian Victoria Bynum, author of “The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War”

Rag Radio: Driving in the Left Lane!
Cutting-edge alternative journalism, politics, and culture in the spirit of the Sixties underground press.
KOOP 91.7 FM, Austin Texas
Friday, 2015-07-03, 19:00-20:00Z (14:00-15:00 CDT)

Thorne Dreyer, Host

Victoria Bynum, Emeritus Professor of History
Texas State University, San Marcos

Thorne Dreyer and Dr. Bynum will discuss her book, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, and its connections to the current Confederate flag controversy.

Rag Radio is a syndicated weekly radio show that features hour-long in-depth interviews and discussion about issues of progressive politics, culture, and history. Our guests include newsmakers, artists, leading thinkers, and public figures.

For more information, click here.

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Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing on 2015-07-02 01:33Z by Steven

Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

University of Massachusetts Press
2015-06-26

The recent controversy concerning Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity steered many readers to a 2008 UMass Press book by Baz Dreisinger, Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture, which explores cases in which legally white individuals are imagined, by themselves or by others, as passing for black.

Many news venues—the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, The Atlantic, and others—found their way to Dreisinger to ask her thoughts. The controversy, Dreisinger told the New York Times, “taps into all of these issues around blackface and wearing blackness and that whole cultural legacy, which makes it that much more vile.”

In The Atlantic, Dreisinger said “I think it’s critical to recognize the ways in which American whites have a long legacy of fetishizing blackness, whether they’re literally passing or not, but the ways in which their notions of blackness are based upon caricatures, and not characters. They’re based on idealized or cartoonish notions of what blackness is.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama sharpens his message on race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-07-02 01:26Z by Steven

Obama sharpens his message on race

The Hill
Washington, D.C.
2015-07-01

Mike Lillis

President Obama is taking a more aggressive approach to the issue of race, repeatedly offering sharp commentary as he confronts America’s oldest, deepest divide.

Black lawmakers, Obama’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill, have cheered the president’s newfound willingness to address race head-on.

But they also see a nation that’s still plagued by inequality, discrimination and, in some cases, overt racism — first black president or none…

Read the entire article here.

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Misty Copeland is first black dancer to lead US ballet group

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-01 21:39Z by Steven

Misty Copeland is first black dancer to lead US ballet group

BBC News
2015-07-01


Misty Copeland has become a breakout star for ballet

The American Ballet Theatre has named Misty Copeland its principal dancer – the first time a black ballerina has held the prestigious role.

Ms Copeland, 32, made her debut this month, starring in Swan Lake in New York, one of the most coveted roles in ballet.

In recent years, Ms Copeland has found fame outside of the ballet world.

She has appeared in commercials and TV shows and wrote a best-selling memoir.

“We haven’t had a ballet dancer who has broken through to popular culture like this since Mikhail Baryshnikov,” said Wendy Perron, an author and former editor of Dance Magazine

Read the entire article here.

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One thing we often forget about that case is that Homer Plessy’s argument was that he was white!

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-07-01 21:19Z by Steven

One thing we often forget about that case is that Homer Plessy’s argument was that he was white! He got bounced from the white section because the conductor said he was black. The question wasn’t that all train passengers should be able to sit together, rather Plessy said, “No, I’m a white person, actually.” The court admitted that it was very important to be able to determine who was white and who was not, and that having the ability to be white is a form of property, that it’s valuable, extremely valuable, in 1896.

Brian Jones, “The Social Construction of Race,” Jacobin, June 25, 2015. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/06/racecraft-racism-social-origins-reparations/.

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These experiences led me to suspect that the breathless “post­racial” commentary that attached itself to our current president had as much to do with the fact that he is biracial as with the fact that he is black.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-07-01 21:05Z by Steven

My choice, if you can call it that, to identify as black is much different from that of, say, my father or even my own sister, whose skin is at least three shades darker than mine. The eagerness with which people gravitate toward me is not shown to many of the other black people I know. These experiences led me to suspect that the breathless “post­racial” commentary that attached itself to our current president had as much to do with the fact that he is biracial as with the fact that he is black. His blood relationship to whiteness and its attendant privileges serve as a chaser to the difficult-­to-­swallow prospect that a black man might achieve ownership of the Oval Office.

Anna Holmes, “America’s ‘Postracial’ Fantasy,” The New York Times Magazine, June 30, 2015. page MM13. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/05/magazine/americas-postracial-fantasy.html.

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The Social Construction of Race

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:55Z by Steven

The Social Construction of Race

Jacobin
2015-06-25

Brian Jones

Race is a social fiction imposed by the powerful on those they wish to control.

The first friend I ever had was a little boy named Matt. We were maybe four or five years old. Matt came to me one day with a very serious look on his face and gave me a little talking-to. He explained to me: “Brian, you’re brown. And I’m peach.”

I don’t remember saying anything back, but I think in my mind I was like “Okay. . . ? Well these Legos aren’t going to build themselves.”

Matt was trying to do me a favor. He was trying to introduce me to the very bizarre and peculiar rules that we all know as grownups — very important things to understand. If you didn’t understand them, you’d find American life and society very strange. You’d do things you shouldn’t do, go places you shouldn’t go. You’d mess up if you didn’t understand the particular rules that govern the ideology of race in the United States.

Sometimes when you go outside of the American context you begin to appreciate how particular and unique these rules are. I remember reading about a (probably apocryphal) interview with the former dictator of Haiti, Papa Doc Duvalier, who referred to the “white majority population” of Haiti. The American journalist interviewing him didn’t understand, so they had to define to each other what makes somebody white or black. The American journalist explained that in the US, one metaphorical drop of black blood designates someone as black. And Duvalier replied, “Well, that’s our definition of white.”

The whole idea of this talk — if you take away nothing else — is this: the whole thing is made up. That’s it. And you can make it up different ways; and people have and do. And it changes. And it has nothing to do with biology or genetics. There’s a study of several decades of census records that found that twice as many people who call themselves white have recent African ancestry as people who call themselves black.

This is not just a matter of folksy beliefs, or prejudice, or wrong ideas, though those things are all in the mix. This is a matter of law…

Read the entire article here.

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Race in Rhode Island: Is race just an invention?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:34Z by Steven

Race in Rhode Island: Is race just an invention?

The Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island
2015-06-27

Paul Edward Parker

Classifications were created to divide people, say educator, historian.

When you ask “What is race?” don’t expect a simple answer.

And, when you consider Latinos — Are they a race or an ethnicity? — plus America’s ever growing multiracial identity, that complicated answer grows even more complex.

The apparently simple concept of race eludes easy definition, even though we have been counting people by race in Rhode Island as far back as 1774.

The federal government took up the practice in 1790, the year that Rhode Island became the 13th and final original state to ratify the Constitution.

Despite that long history of sorting people into racial categories, experts say it has little basis in science. It’s more about sociology and politics.

“Race is not a biological construct. It’s a social construct,” said Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, a retired Rhode Island College professor who, for nearly 40 years, taught classes on the anthropology of racism. “There’s a belief that it’s scientific,” she added. “It’s impossible to classify humans scientifically into race.”…

What about Latino?

Along with “What is race?” those who count Americans by categories have to ask: “Is Hispanic or Latino a race?”

The Census Bureau has said no, Hispanic origin is in addition to race. Someone who identifies as Hispanic or Latino also will belong to one or more of the five racial groups.

But two-thirds of American Latinos disagree, Lopez said. They have told Pew that Latino is part of their racial identity.

“I’m not white, and I’m not black,” said Anna Cano Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University in Providence. “I choose to be Latina.”

But Morales concedes racial and ethnic identity is not simple. “This is an incredibly complex set of questions,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-01 19:32Z by Steven

Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Pew Research Center
2015-06-17

Jens Manuel Krogstad, Writer/Editor, Hispanic Trends Project

The number of multiracial Americans is growing nationwide, but in Hawaii, it’s nothing new. The Rainbow State – with its history of attracting immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world to work as farm laborers – stands far above the rest, with nearly one-in-four residents (24%) identifying as multiracial, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. The next most-multiracial states are far behind: Alaska (8%) and Oklahoma (7%).

Here’s another way to look at how much Hawaii stands out: In terms of total population, Hawaii is one of the smallest (1.4 million people), ranking 40th out of 50 states. But when ranking states with the highest total multiracial population, the state ranks sixth, with more than 330,000.

A new Pew Research survey found that the number of multiracial Americans may be higher than the estimates from Census, which has estimated that 3% of the overall U.S. population – and 2.1% of the adult population – is multiracial. But taking into account how adults describe their own race as well as the racial backgrounds of their parents and grandparents – which the census does not do – Pew Research estimates that 6.9% of the U.S. adult population could be considered multiracial…

Read the entire article here.

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