Symposium S-H09: Understanding the Dynamics of Beliefs in Genetic and Racial Essences

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-26 20:34Z by Steven

Symposium S-H09: Understanding the Dynamics of Beliefs in Genetic and Racial Essences

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology
16th Annual Convention
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
Long Beach, California
2015-02-26 through 2015-02-28

Saturday, 2015-02-28, 15:30-16:45 PST (Local Time)
Room 202ABC

Franki Kung
University of Waterloo


Melody Chao
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

The symposium presents research that transcends the static, and often negative, conceptualization of essentialism. Four papers present a dynamic view of essentialist beliefs and show that beliefs in genetic or racial essences could lead to both positive and negative social psychological outcomes in interpersonal, intergroup and clinical contexts.

The Implications of Cultural Essentialism on Interpersonal Conflicts in Inter- vs. Intracultural Contexts

Franki Yk Hei Kung
University of Waterloo

Melody M. Chao
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Donna Yao
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Ho-ying Fu
City University of Hong Kong

Although psychological essentialism has been shown to influence a wide range of psychological processes in intergroup contexts, little is known about its impact on managing interpersonal conflicts in intracultural and intercultural settings. The current research aims to address this question. Findings across three studies (N=387) revealed that individuals who endorse essentialist beliefs less were more likely to trust their interaction partner in intercultural than intracultural conflict situations. This increased trusting relationship, in turn, could lead to more integration of ideas and both better individual and joint outcomes in face-to-face dyadic intercultural negotiations. The current study unveils when and how essentialist beliefs influence individuals’ ability to function effectively in intercultural and intercultural contexts. Implications of the findings in advancing our understanding of intercultural competence will be discussed.

To be Essentialist or Not: The Positive and Negative Ramifications of Race Essentialism for Multiracial Individuals

Kristin Pauker
University of Hawaii

Chanel Meyers
University of Hawaii

Jon Freeman
New York University

Research documents the many negative implications of race essentialism for intergroup relations, ranging from increased stereotyping to less motivation to cross racial boundaries. This research has primarily examined such negative implications from the perspective of White perceivers. Two studies (N=138) explored positive and negative ramifications of adopting essentialist beliefs about race for racial minorities, specifically multiracial individuals. We hypothesized that adopting less essentialist beliefs may aid multiracial individuals in flexibly adopting the framework of multiple identities with positive consequences for their face memory, but may result in negative consequences for their racial identity. Results indicated that multiracial individuals with less essentialist views could readily adopt the lens of primed monoracial identities and exhibited preferential memory for identity-prime relevant faces. However, when it came to their own racial identification, more essentialist views appeared to be beneficial—as it was associated with higher identity integration and greater pride in a multiracial identity.

Folk Beliefs about Genetic Variation Predict Avoidance of Biracial Individuals

Jason E. Plaks
University of Toronto

Sonia K. Kang
University of Toronto

Alison L. Chasteen
University of Toronto

Jessica D. Remedios
Tufts University

Laypeople’s estimates of the amount of genetic overlap between vs. within racial groups vary widely. While some believe that different races are genetically similar, others believe that different races share little genetic material. These studies examine how beliefs about genetic overlap affect neural and behavioral reactions to racially-ambiguous and biracial targets. In Study 1, we found that the low overlap perspective predicts a stronger neural avoidance response to biracial compared to Black or White targets. In Study 2, we manipulated genetic overlap beliefs and found that participants in the low overlap condition explicitly rated biracial targets more negatively than Black targets. In Study 3, this difference extended to distancing behavior: Low overlap perceivers sat further away when expecting to meet a biracial person than when expecting to meet a Black person. These data suggest that a priori assumptions about human genetic variation guide perceivers’ reactions to racially-ambiguous individuals.

Genetic Attributions Underlie People’s Attitudes Towards Criminal Responsibility and Eugenics

Steven J. Heine
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia

Benjamin Y. Cheung
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia

People are essentialist thinkers – they are attracted to the idea that hidden essences make things as they are. When most people encounter genetic concepts they think of these as essences, and they then think about related phenomena as immutable, determined, homogenous and discrete, and natural. I will discuss experimental research that demonstrates how encounters with information about genetic causes leads people to view two highly politicized topics in quite different terms. Specifically, in contrast to those who were exposed to arguments about experiential causes, people who encountered genetic attributions of violent behavior were more open to defenses appealing to mitigated criminal responsibility, and genetic attributions of intelligence lead people to be more supportive of eugenic policies.

For more information click here and go to page 125.

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A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life [Live event at the National Archives Museum]

Posted in Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Passing, United States on 2015-02-26 02:37Z by Steven

A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life [Live event at the National Archives Museum]

The National Archives Museum
William G. McGowan Theater
Corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
2015-02-27, 12:00 EST (Local Time)

Between the 18th and mid-20th centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. Historian Allyson Hobbs explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions.

A book signing will follow the program. Purchase this book [A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life] on the day of the event from the myArchives Store and receive a 15% discount (members get 20% off).

For more information, click here.

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Roundtable: Global Mixed Race

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-26 02:30Z by Steven

Roundtable: Global Mixed Race

University of California, Santa Barbara
Department of Political Science
The Lane Room (Ellison 3824)
Monday, 2015-03-02, 16:00 PST (Local Time)

The authors of the new book Global Mixed Race (New York University Press) will participate in a Roundtable on the subject. The authors are:

Discussant: Ingrid Dineen Wimberly, University of La Verne

For more information, click here.

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Controversial ruling in Spence unlikely to apply to many other estates cases

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 23:31Z by Steven

Controversial ruling in Spence unlikely to apply to many other estates cases Canada’s Legal News

Lisa Laredo

The court decision in Spence v. BMO Trust Company, 2015 ONSC 615 (CanLII) has led to concerns about court interference and uncertainty in estate planning.

An Ontario court judge held a will to be invalid due to a perceived intolerance, based on witness testimony, that while the testator had in his will disinherited his daughter because they were “estranged” and had no relationship, he had actually disinherited her for having a mixed-race child.

It is recognized at law that provisions of a will that are discriminatory on protected human rights grounds (race, gender, etc.) have been deemed to be against public policy and can be found invalid…

Read the entire article here.

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In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 22:48Z by Steven

In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

The New York Times

Maïa de la Baume

GRASSE, France — When Sophie Serrano finally held her daughter, Manon, in her arms after the newborn, suffering from jaundice, had been placed under artificial light, she was taken aback by the baby’s thick tufts of hair.

“I hadn’t noticed it before and it surprised me,” Ms. Serrano said in an interview at her home here in southern France, not far from the Côte d’Azur.

Ms. Serrano, now 39, was baffled again a year later, when she noticed that her baby’s hair had grown frizzy and that her skin color was darker than hers or her partner’s.

But her love for the child trumped any doubts. Even as her relationship unraveled, in part, she said, over her partner’s suspicions, she painstakingly looked after the baby until a paternity test more than 10 years later showed that neither she nor her partner were Manon’s biological parents. Ms. Serrano later found out that a nurse had accidentally switched babies and given them to the wrong mothers…

…Ms. Serrano’s love for Manon, she said, grew stronger after she learned that the girl was not her biological daughter. She also said that, after meeting the girl she had given birth to, she felt no particular connection with her.

“It is not the blood that makes a family,” Ms. Serrano said. “What makes a family is what we build together, what we tell each other. And I have created a wonderful bond with my nonbiological daughter.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2015-02-24 21:59Z by Steven

Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South

University of North Carolina Press
February 2015
232 pages
6.125 x 9.25
11 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4696-2187-6

Barbara Krauthamer, Associate Professor of History
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

From the late eighteenth century through the end of the Civil War, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians bought, sold, and owned Africans and African Americans as slaves, a fact that persisted after the tribes’ removal from the Deep South to Indian Territory. The tribes formulated racial and gender ideologies that justified this practice and marginalized free black people in the Indian nations well after the Civil War and slavery had ended. Through the end of the nineteenth century, ongoing conflicts among Choctaw, Chickasaw, and U.S. lawmakers left untold numbers of former slaves and their descendants in the two Indian nations without citizenship in either the Indian nations or the United States. In this groundbreaking study, Barbara Krauthamer rewrites the history of southern slavery, emancipation, race, and citizenship to reveal the centrality of Native American slaveholders and the black people they enslaved.

Krauthamer’s examination of slavery and emancipation highlights the ways Indian women’s gender roles changed with the arrival of slavery and changed again after emancipation and reveals complex dynamics of race that shaped the lives of black people and Indians both before and after removal.

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Box Marked Black + Futility of Nicknames

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 21:52Z by Steven

Box Marked Black + Futility of Nicknames

Stage and Studio with Dmae Roberts: The Best of Performing, Literary and Media Arts
Portland, Oregon
2015-02-24, 11:00-12:00 PST (Local Time)

Dmae Roberts, Host

Dmae spotlights two different writers: Damaris Webb who’s performing her autobiographical play The Box Marked Black about growing up mixed race and Matt Kolbet, a writer in Newberg who’s just published his debut novel The Futility of Nicknames which is inspired by some elements of his life but is an entirely fictional story. Two varied stories: one real, one imaginary on the next Stage & Studio.

Damaris Webb is a performer, director and teaching artist who recently (re) relocated to Portland, OR after 26 years making and producing work in New York City. Ms Webb holds her MFA from Naropa’s Contemporary Performance Program, and her BFA from NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. Her original work is often seen in non-traditional performance venues such as late night parties, warehouses and church basements, it is sometimes epic and may involve zombies, superheroes or sock puppets. Recent projects include directing Rich Rubin’s “Cottonwood in the Flood” staged reading for the 2015 Fertile Ground. In Portland, she offers Contemplative Dance Practice through Be Space and is a coach for PlayWrite, Inc. For more info:

The Box Marked Black is a tender solo performance piece, tracing the experience of growing up mulatto in the pre-Huxtable era. With only Jenny Willis from The Jeffersons as a guide, our multi-disciplinary storyteller creates narrative from the perspective of both sides of her interracial family, embodying multiple characters, childhood memories (including a Roots sock puppet re-enactment) and fantasy…

For more information, click here. Download the episode (00:32:01) here.

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I am your problem, Dad. You are the white father of a black daughter. You are accountable to a life that is squarely outside of the jurisdiction of the whiteness that swaddles you.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-02-24 03:09Z by Steven

“I am your problem, Dad. You are the white father of a black daughter. You are accountable to a life that is squarely outside of the jurisdiction of the whiteness that swaddles you. I should be the problem that won’t let you come home white and blissfully unaware, but somehow this is not the case. Somehow, you feel like a white man first and my dad second. You asymmetrically toggle between the two, coming into focus as one only to obscure the other.”

Kelsey Henry, “An Open Letter to the White Fathers of Black Daughters,” bluestockings magazine, (February 23, 2015).

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Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 02:39Z by Steven

Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

The New York Times

Andrew Pollack

The police in Columbia, S.C.,  released this sketch of a possible suspect based on DNA left at the crime scene. Parabon NanoLabs, which made the image, has begun offering DNA phenotyping services to law enforcement agencies.

There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going.

Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime.

It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to determine the physical characteristics of crime suspects from the DNA they leave behind, providing what could become a powerful new tool for law enforcement.

Already genetic sleuths can determine a suspect’s eye and hair color fairly accurately. It is also possible, or might soon be, to predict skin color, freckling, baldness, hair curliness, tooth shape and age.

Computers may eventually be able to match faces generated from DNA to those in a database of mug shots. Even if it does not immediately find the culprit, the genetic witness, so to speak, can be useful, researchers say…

…Law enforcement authorities say that information about physical traits derived from DNA is not permitted in court because the science is not well established. Still, the prospect of widespread DNA phenotyping has unnerved some experts.

Duana Fullwiley, an associate professor of anthropology at Stanford, said that she worried that use of such images could contribute to racial profiling. She noted that Dr. Shriver developed his system by analyzing the DNA and faces of people with mixed West African and European ancestry.

“This leads to a technology that is better able to make faces that are African-American,” she said. The image produced in the South Carolina case, Dr. Fullwiley added, “was of a generic young black man.”

Dr. Shriver said he initially studied people of mixed European and African ancestry, many of them from Brazil, because that made the analysis easier. His more recent research has involved people of many different ethnicities, he said…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling: The Fifth Minority

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2015-02-24 02:19Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling: The Fifth Minority

224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-13-802191-4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-13-802193-8

Sandra Winn Tutwiler, Professor of Education
Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas

This timely, in-depth examination of the educational experiences and needs of mixed-race children (“the fifth minority”) focuses on the four contexts that primarily influence learning and development: the family, school, community, and society-at-large.

The book provides foundational historical, social, political, and psychological information about mixed-race children and looks closely at their experiences in schools, their identity formation, and how schools can be made more supportive of their development and learning needs. Moving away from an essentialist discussion of mixed-race children, a wide variety of research is included. Life and schooling experiences of mixed-raced individuals are profiled throughout the text. Rather than pigeonholing children into a neat box of descriptions or providing ready made prescriptions for educators, Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling offers information and encourages teachers to critically reflect on how it is relevant to and helpful in their teaching/learning contexts.

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