Revisiting Middlebury’s Racial History

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2014-10-23 19:55Z by Steven

Revisiting Middlebury’s Racial History

The Middlebury Campus
Middlebury College
Middlebury, Vermont

Conor Grant, Managing Editor

Alexander Twilight Hall, a building named in honor of Alexander Twilight of the class of 1823, is just one part of the complicated legacy of America’s first black college graduate. (Courtesy/Middlebury)

Alexander Twilight Hall — the austere brick building separating the town from Middlebury College — is named for Alexander Twilight, the 1823 Middlebury College graduate who is known today as the first American black college graduate.

Today, Twilight is widely touted as an example of Middlebury’s rich legacy of inclusivity and racial diversity.

But who exactly was Alexander Twilight? Was he really the first black man at Middlebury?

The answer to that question is more complicated than it might first appear…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Skin tone, biracial stratification and tri-racial stratification among sperm donors

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-23 18:41Z by Steven

Skin tone, biracial stratification and tri-racial stratification among sperm donors

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37,  Issue 3, 2014 (Special Issue: Race, Migration and Identity: Shifting Boundaries in the USA)
pages 517-536
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.696666

Carol S. Walther, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Northern Illinois University

Conception through donor insemination is an attractive option for many couples and single women in the USA, being a relatively simple and inexpensive way of having a baby by a biological birth. Sperm banks provide online catalogues in which sperm donors can be selected according to their physical and social characteristics. One sperm bank’s catalogue was analysed based on the pregnancy of selected donors. Three hypotheses were tested related to colourism, biracial stratification and tri-racialism. Specifically, the selection of donors did not reflect: (1) any general preference for a lighter skin tone; (2) a black–white polarity; or (3) any trend towards tri-racialism. Donors who could be identified as Jewish or Muslim were more likely to be selected. Donors whose major was law were less likely to be selected.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , ,

Whiteness as Property

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-10-23 15:36Z by Steven

Whiteness as Property

Harvard Law Review
Volume 106, Number 8 (June 1993)
pages 1707-1791

Cheryl I. Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
School of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Issues regarding race and racial identity as well as questions pertaining to property rights and ownership have been prominent in much public discourse in the United States. In this article, Professor Harris contributes to this discussion by positing that racial identity and property are deeply interrelated concepts. Professor Harris examines how whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, evolved into a form of property, historically and presently acknowledged and protected in American law. Professor Harris traces the origins of whiteness as property in the parallel systems of domination of Black and Native American peoples out of which were created racially contingent forms of property and property rights. Following the period of slavery and conquest, whiteness became the basis of racialized privilege—a type of status in which white racial identity provided the basis for allocating societal benefits both private and public in character. These arrangements were ratified and legitimated in law as a type of status property. Even as legal segregation was overturned, whiteness as property continued to serve as a barrier to effective change as the system of racial classification operated to protect entrenched power.

Next, Professor Harris examines how the concept of whiteness as property persists in current perceptions of racial identity, in the law’s misperception of group identity and in the Court’s reasoning and decisions in the arena of affirmative action. Professor Harris concludes by arguing that distortions in affirmative action doctrine can only be addressed by confronting and exposing the property interest in whiteness and by acknowledging the distributive justification and function of affirmative action as central to that task.


    • A. Forms of Racialized Property: Relationships Between Slavery, Race, and Property
      • 1. The Convergence of Racial and Legal Status
      • 2. Implications for Property
    • B. Forms of Racialized Property: Relationships Between Native American Land Seizure, Race, and Property
    • C. Critical Characteristics of Property and Whiteness
      • 1. Whiteness as a Traditional Form of Property
      • 2. Modern Views of Property as Defining Social Relations
      • 3. Property and Expectations
      • 4. The Property Functions of Whiteness
        • (a) Rights of Disposition
        • (b) Right to Use and Enjoyment
        • (c) Reputation and Status Property
        • (d) The Absolute Right to Exclude
    • D. White Legal Identity: The Law’s Acceptance and Legitimation of Whiteness as Property
      • 1. Whiteness as Racialized Privilege
      • 2. Whiteness, Rights, and National Identity
    • A. Plessy
    • B. Brown I
    • C. Brown II
    • D. Brown’s Mixed Legacy
    • A. The Persistence of Whiteness as Valued Social Identity
    • B. Subordination Through Denial of Group Identity
    • C. Subjugation Through Affirmative Action Doctrine
      • 1. Bakke
      • 2. Croson
      • 3. Wygant
    • A. Corrective Justice, Sin, and Whiteness as Property
    • B. Affirmative Action: A New Form of Status Property?
    • C. What Affirmative Action Has Been; What Affirmative Action Might Become

…Because the “presumption of freedom [arose] from color [white]” and the “black color of the race [raised] the presumption of slavery,” whiteness became a shield from slavery, a highly volatile and unstable form of property. In the form adopted in the United States, slavery made human beings market-alienable and in so doing, subjected human life and personhood—that which is most valuable—to the ultimate devaluation. Because whites could not be enslaved or held as slaves, the racial line between white and Black was extremely critical; it became a line of protection and demarcation from the potential threat of commodification, and it determined the allocation of the benefits and burdens of this form of property. White identity and whiteness were sources of privilege and protection; their absence meant being the object of property.

Slavery as a system of property facilitated the merger of white identity and property. Because the system of slavery was contingent on and conflated with racial identity, it became crucial to be “white,” to be identified as white, to have the property of being white. Whiteness was the characteristic, the attribute, the property of free human beings…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

‘The abuse we suffered due to our skin colour is being airbrushed from Irish history’

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Religion, Social Work on 2014-10-23 00:24Z by Steven

‘The abuse we suffered due to our skin colour is being airbrushed from Irish history’
Dublin, Ireland

Nicky Ryan, Staff Reporter

Members of Mixed Race Irish before the committee today. Source:

Mixed Race Irish is asking for the Government to recognise the abuse they suffered in State-run institutions.

IN A EMOTIONAL appearance before an Oireachtas committee, mixed race survivors of institutional abuse in Ireland have called on the Government to recognise the suffering they endured.

The group, Mixed Race Irish, believe the alleged racist abuse they experienced in these institutions is being “airbrushed from Irish history”. They say that few, if any, records exist of mixed race Irish in any State institutions.

“Our research suggests this racism was endemic throughout all the institutions attended by our community,” co-founder Rosemary Adaser told the Justice Committee.

“The nuns showed us films of missionaries going to tame the ‘savages’, and we were told, ‘look at that, they are savages, that’s what you are’,” she said.

Co-founder Carole Brennan said that parish priests “would single out mixed race children and abuse them.”

“We believe we were treated differently, resulting in inequality, in these systems due to one simple fact – the colour of our skin,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Appointment of new Chancellor

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-10-23 00:14Z by Steven

Appointment of new Chancellor

University of Salford, Manchester

The distinguished award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and plays, Jackie Kay MBE, has been appointed as our new Chancellor. Jackie, who takes up the position immediately, takes over from the University’s previous Chancellor, Dr Irene Khan who stepped down earlier this year after her five-year term.

As well as the honorary role of Chancellor, Jackie will, from the 1 January 2015, take up the position of University ‘Writer in Residence’. In this capacity, she will contribute major commissions that will enhance learning and teaching and the students’ broader experience at the University.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Martin Hall said: “We are thrilled to welcome Jackie to our University. She will inspire our staff, work with our students to help them imagine their future selves and strengthen our role as a civic institution in our wider community.”

Jackie Kay said:” It’s a huge honour to have been chosen to be Chancellor of Salford University, and I’m very much looking forward to taking up the role, and to being a hands-on Chancellor, as well as a shaking hands Chancellor. As Writer in Residence, the idea of getting to know each department thoroughly and of finding new and pioneering ways to work across disciplines excites me.”…

…Jackie, who lives in Manchester, was born to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father in Edinburgh and was adopted as a baby by Helen and John Kay, growing up in Glasgow

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Mixed Race Irish group seek redress amid claims of racist abuse in industrial schools

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Work on 2014-10-22 21:44Z by Steven

Mixed Race Irish group seek redress amid claims of racist abuse in industrial schools

The Irish Examiner
Dublin, Ireland

Noel Baker, Senior Reporter

Mixed Race Irish group seek redress amid claims of racist abuse in industrial schools

Mixed-race Irish who spent time in industrial schools will today claim they faced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse there because of the colour of their skin.

The Mixed-Race Irish group has 71 members, many of whom now live outside Ireland. Representatives of the group will appear before the Oireachtas Justice Committee today as part of a campaign aimed at official recognition of their experiences and access to redress.

Founder members Evon Brennan, Rosemary C Adaser, and Carole Brennan are set to address the committee and are expected to outline how there has been a failure to acknowledge the historical and ongoing suffering of mixed-race Irish children placed in State institutions throughout Ireland between the 1940s and the 1980s.

They claim mixed-race children who spent time in the industrial school system have had their lives blighted as a result, from poor adoption and educational opportunities, reduced job opportunities due to institutional racism, and memories of neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse because of their skin colour.

The group say records relating to their care are not readily available as the Irish Census did not begin to record ethnicity until 1996.

In all, the group believes as many as 150 mixed-race children were placed in State industrial schools between 1940 and 1980, including in St Patrick’s in Kilkenny, on the Navan Road in Dublin, and in Letterfrack in Galway

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Award-winning author and poet Jackie Kay appointed as University of Salford’s new chancellor

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-10-22 21:22Z by Steven

Award-winning author and poet Jackie Kay appointed as University of Salford’s new chancellor

Manchester Evening News
Manchester, England

Dean Kirby

Jackie Kay MBE succeeds Dr Irene Khan at the University of Salford, who stepped down earlier this year after her five-year term came to an end

An award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and plays has been appointed as the University of Salford’s new chancellor.

Jackie Kay MBE succeeds Dr Irene Khan, who stepped down earlier this year after her five-year term came to an end.

As well as the honorary role of chancellor, Jackie will become the university’s writer in residence…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

One Drop of Love: A Guide for Educators

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2014-10-22 21:03Z by Steven

One Drop of Love: A Guide for Educators

One Drop of Love: A Daughter’s Search for her Father’s Racial Approval

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Playwright, Peformer and Producer

One Drop of Love is an hour-long one woman show exploring history, family, race, class, justice and love. It is produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and the writer/performer Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni.

The overarching themes in One Drop are: racial construction and identity, reconciling family relationships, and overcoming racial and economic oppression.

Other themes include: immigration, the lengths to which people go to find community, exploring how race was constructed historically in the U.S. – including the influence of the one-drop rule, and using historical context to better understand our present lives.

Read the one-sheet guide for educators here. Read the full guide here.

Tags: , ,

Snap! Space presents Zun Lee

Posted in Arts, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2014-10-22 19:10Z by Steven

Snap! Space presents Zun Lee

Snap! Orlando
1013 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida 32803
Saturday, October 25, 2014 14:00-16:00 EDT (Local Time)

Join us for an afternoon artist talk and book signing with photographer Zun Lee.

Zun will be joining us from Toronto and discuss his series ‘Father Figure’ and sign copies of his newly released book Father Figure – Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood (September 19, 2014.) Zun’s book release party at the Bronx Documentary Center was so highly anticipated that crowds lined the street surrounding the building around the block to get in. This afternoon at Snap! Space is not to be missed.

Over the course of three years photographer Zun Lee has masterfully attempted to change the perception of the African American father through the lens of his camera. This collection of photographs in the new book is an immersive approach to his remarkable photo documentary project. “Scenes that can stand on their own and humanize the black experience without demanding perfection or respectability,” says Lee were filmed with so much care—vivid images of loving parental relationships that are able to engross any spectator into a family story that is tough to believe. An added revelation: the photographer himself grew up feeling a sense of loss due to his own father’s choice to abandon his family.

Lee, a Toronto-based physician and now self-described street photographer, was born in Germany to what he thought was both a Korean mother and father. As a boy he learned the truth: his black father left his mother upon learning she was pregnant. Lee’s search for compassion led him to families in urban areas of Chicago, New York City, and home to Toronto. Says Lee: “There’s been considerable backlash and confusion regarding why black fatherhood stereotypes are a problem at all, why the special focus on only black fathers, and people who simply refuse to believe that black men can be capable, affectionate loving fathers, period. I appreciate both sides of the collective commentary, because it exemplifies why these images and a broader conversation are needed.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , ,

Season 2, Episode 6: Stanford Prof. Allyson Hobbs Talks about A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-10-22 18:23Z by Steven

Season 2, Episode 6: Stanford Prof. Allyson Hobbs Talks about A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life

The Mixed Experience

Heidi Durrow, Host

Allyson Hobbs, Assistant Professor of History
Stanford University

I was lucky enough to get an advance reading copy of A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, a most excellent book by Stanford Professor Allyson Hobbs. She recently did a TED Talk about the role of grief in these narratives of racial crossing. The book very aptly and eloquently “examines how passing became both a strategy for survival and an avenue to loss.” You will love this interview with Allyson Hobbs as she explains the inspiration for this book, a brief discussion on the idea of “passing as black” and much much more.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

Tags: , ,