My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal review – a touching, thought-provoking debut

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-07-30 02:19Z by Steven

My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal review – a touching, thought-provoking debut

The Guardian
2016-06-03

Bernardine Evaristo


Insight and authenticity … Kit de Waal. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

A young vulnerable boy is taken into care after his mother is no longer able to cope

Kit de Waal has already garnered praise and attention for her short fiction. She worked in family and criminal law for many years, and wrote training manuals on fostering and adoption; she also grew up with a mother who fostered children. This helps explain the level of insight and authenticity evident in My Name Is Leon, her moving and thought-provoking debut novel.

It is set in the early 1980s and, like What Maisie Knew and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is told through the perspective of a child who is keenly observant, although we understand more of what is happening around him than he does. In this case, the narrator is eight-year-old Leon, who becomes a foster child. The novel begins with the birth of his baby brother, Jake. Immediately we realise that there is something wrong with their mother, Carol. Rather than cradle the child she has just given birth to, she leaves the hospital room to have a cigarette. The nurse leaves too and tells Leon, “If he starts crying, you come and fetch me. OK?” Leon is left on his own with Jake. The novel is full of quietly shocking moments like this, which reveal how much child protection has moved on from 30 years ago.

The brothers have different, and absent, fathers. While Carol and Jake are white, Leon is mixed race. His father, Byron, is in prison, while Jake’s father, Tony, has rejected Carol and their child. Home is on an estate near a dual carriageway. Carol often leaves her boys alone in the flat when she goes out…

Read the entire review here.

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One Drop of Love is Headed to Broadway!

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, United States on 2016-07-30 01:49Z by Steven

One Drop of Love is Headed to Broadway!

Theater Row
410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
New York, New York 10036
Thursday, 2016-10-13, 19:30 EDT (Local Time)

How does our belief in ‘race’ affect our most intimate relationships? One Drop of Love travels near and far, in the past and present to explore family, race, love and pain – and a path towards reconciliation. It is produced by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

One Drop of Love is headed to Broadway as part of the 7th Annual United Solo Theatre Festival on Thursday, October 13th. Show starts promptly at 7:30 pm. No late seating. General admission $23.25.

When purchasing tickets from the Telecharge website, be certain you’ve chosen Thursday, October 13th at 7:30PM. See you there – bring friends!

Ticketholders are invited to a celebration and discussion with Fanshen at nearby Chez Josephine following the performance.

Purchase tickets here.

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My Name is Leon

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Novels, United Kingdom on 2016-07-30 01:24Z by Steven

My Name is Leon

Viking (an imprint of Penguin Press)
2016-05-31
272 pages
153mm x 234mm x 19mm
359g
Hardback ISBN: 9780241207086
Paperback ISBN: 9780241207093
eBook ISBN: 9780241973394
Audio ISBN: 9780241976203 (Read by Lenny Henry / 07:51:00)

Kit de Waal

A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we manage to find our way home.

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‘We Are All the Same, We All Are Mestizos’: Imagined Populations and Nations in Genetics Research in Colombia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-07-29 20:16Z by Steven

‘We Are All the Same, We All Are Mestizos’: Imagined Populations and Nations in Genetics Research in Colombia

Science as Culture
Volume 23, Issue 2, 2014
pages 226-252
DOI: 10.1080/09505431.2013.838214

María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Assistant Professor
Department of Design
University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Adriana Díaz Del Castillo Hernández, Independent Researcher
Consultoría en Estudios Sociales Sobre Educación, Salud, Ciencia y Tecnología, Bogotá, Colombia

In Colombia, as in other Latin American countries, current population genetics research is based on the understanding that Colombians constitute a mestizo nation, given the admixture process that took place between Africans, Amerindians, and Europeans during colonial times. The mestizo is a pervasive category used by geneticists to conduct, organise, and publish research studies that deal with the continent’s peopling process and the genetic makeup of its contemporary population(s). It is also the dominant imaginary for the Colombian population and a key nation-building ideology. By tracing how this category moves and is used across four Colombian genetics laboratories, it is possible to discern that despite its apparently clear-cut boundaries, the mestizo is contingent, contested, and flexible, allowing for multiple understandings and usages. This flexibility and multiplicity are visible in the quantification of genetic ancestry, the divisions of geographical location, and the understanding of gender. Such understandings allow one to think about a homogeneous nation (inclusive) that is simultaneously heterogeneous (exclusive); they provide multiple but not necessarily contradictory possibilities of being mestizo, allowing the coexistence of images of the nation that could otherwise seem contradictory; and they permit navigation around contested terms such as race, while simultaneously thinking of mixed races or racialised individuals. Finally, these flexible and multiple constructions of the mestizo (re)produce various subjects as ‘other’, whether they are women, the Indigenous, the black/dark, or the poor.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Nation and the Absent Presence of Race in Latin American Genomics

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico on 2016-07-29 19:30Z by Steven

Nation and the Absent Presence of Race in Latin American Genomics

Current Anthropology
Volume 55, Number 5 (October 2014)
pages 497-522
DOI: 10.1086/677945

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Vivette García Deister, Associate Professor
Social Studies of Science Laboratory
National Autonomous University of Mexico

Michael Kent, Honorary Research Fellow in Social Anthropology
School of Social Sciences
University of Manchester

María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Assistant Professor
Department of Design
University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Adriana Díaz del Castillo Hernández, Independent Researcher
Consultoría en Estudios Sociales Sobre Educación, Salud, Ciencia y Tecnología, Bogotá, Colombia

Recent work on genomics and race makes the argument that concepts and categories of race are subtly reproduced in the practice of genomic science, despite the explicit rejection of race as meaningful biological reality by many geneticists. Our argument in this paper is that racialized meanings in genomics, rather than standing alone, are very often wrapped up in ideas about nation. This seems to us a rather neglected aspect in the literature about genomics and race. More specifically, we characterize race as an absent presence in Latin America and argue that genomics in the region finds a particular expression of race through concepts of nation, because this vehicle suits the deep-rooted ambiguity of race in the region. To make this argument we use data from an ethnographic project with genetics labs in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

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Towards a Biopolitics of Beauty: Eugenics, Aesthetic Hierarchies and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-07-29 19:05Z by Steven

Towards a Biopolitics of Beauty: Eugenics, Aesthetic Hierarchies and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia
Volume 24, Issue 4, 2015
Special Issue: Visual Culture and Violence in Contemporary Mexico
DOI: 10.1080/13569325.2015.1091296

Alvaro Jarrín, Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts

This article provides a historical and ethnographic perspective to explain the saliency of beauty within the reproduction of racial inequalities in Brazil. I argue that Brazil’s neo-Lamarckian eugenics movement was the first to craft beauty as an index of racial improvement within the nation, and this eugenic legacy undergirds many of the contemporary discourses of beautification. Plastic surgery, in particular, inherited the biopolitical aim to produce a homogeneous body politic through beautification, an aim that was easily adapted to the contemporary context of neoliberal self-improvement. Today, beauty is a technology of biopower, one which ranks the population within an aesthetic hierarchy that produces non-white facial characteristics as undesirable, and interpellates patients as responsible for their own surgical corrections, albeit with state support in the case of the poor. Thus, this article contributes to the literature that understands science and medicine as key within the history of racialization in Latin America, making explicit how biopolitics has fashioned race and beauty as inextricable and intertwined elements of social inclusion and exclusion.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Obama Returns to His Biography

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-29 01:09Z by Steven

Obama Returns to His Biography

The Atlantic
2016-07-27

Yoni Appelbaum, Senior Editor/Washington Bureau Chief


Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters

Twelve years after introducing himself to the American public as the son of an immigrant, the president recast himself as a bearer of Scotch-Irish values.

Twelve years ago, Barack Obama introduced himself to America as just a skinny kid with a funny name. He made his story into the American story—a tale of immigrant hopes, of opportunities, of success that could only come true in the United States. That speech launched him to the presidency.

In Philadelphia on Wednesday night, as he tried to anoint his successor and secure his legacy, he returned to his biography to close his appeal. But this time, he pulled out a different strand of the story. He spoke not just of his grandparents in Kansas, whose stories he has told many times before, but of their kin and communities, of their vision and values. They were, he said:

Scotch-Irish mostly, farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil-rig workers. Hardy, small-town folk. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them, maybe even most of them, were Republicans—Party of Lincoln. My grandparents explained that the folks in these parts, they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work. Kindness; courtesy; humility; responsibility; helping each other out. That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.

It’s a different kind of American story. Not the son of a Kenyan goatherd rising directly to the highest office in the land, but working families toiling for generation after generation with quiet pride, relying on each other…

Read the entire article here.

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President Obama and the Long March

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-29 00:59Z by Steven

President Obama and the Long March

The New York Times
2016-07-28

The Editorial Board

President Obama’s speech before the Democratic convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night was, of course, an occasion to celebrate the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and the first woman to receive the presidential nomination of a major political party.

His presence on the podium was also a valedictory for an exceptional man and president who will be remembered for eloquently defending the founding precepts of the country — even as he used those precepts to expand the mandate of inclusiveness and broaden the definition of what it means to be an American.

From that standpoint, the Obama presidency has been transformative — perhaps even miraculous. But the very idea of a black man in the White House was too much to bear for white supremacists, birthers and the antigovernment militia groups that have only grown more savage over time. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, traded openly on these impulses, amping up the racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry that have poisoned public discourse in this nation.

Wednesday night’s beautiful and emotional speech came 12 years after Mr. Obama, then a Senate candidate from Illinois, delivered the keynote address at the Democratic convention in Boston that brought him into the national spotlight. As he did then, Mr. Obama laid out his personal history, the son of a black Kenyan and a white American, and sounded the theme that has been common to his orations ever since: that the progress of American history is toward the creation of one people — “out of many, one.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Hundreds of Irish march in solidarity with US Black Lives Matter (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-29 00:48Z by Steven

Hundreds of Irish march in solidarity with US Black Lives Matter (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Irish Central
New York, New York
2016-07-13

IrishCentral Staff Writers


Demonstration in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US took place in Dublin on O’Connell Street. Photo by: RollingNews.ie

Hundreds of Irish marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Dublin, Cork, and Galway, following a week of violence in the United States.

Activists gathered at the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, with over 200 gathering at Daunt Square in Cork and Eyre Square in Galway. The protesters gathered in reaction to the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, earlier this month and the murder of five police officers during a protest in Dallas, Texas, during a Black Lives Matter rally.

Black Lives Matter is a movement, started in the US, that campaigns against the racism, violence and dehumanization of black people. The protest in Dublin was organized by the Anti-Racism Network Ireland and the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland. The Workers Solidarity Movement estimated that there were 1,300 people at the rally in Dublin…

…Cork man Tom spoke to the crowd about his “good fortune” in marrying his Nigerian wife and being “blessed with four mixed race boys.” However, he said he worried about the world they are growing up in and said he does not want to live in a society “where people of color are treated as less than equal.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Free State of Jones Capsizes Lost Cause Myths

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-07-29 00:30Z by Steven

Free State of Jones Capsizes Lost Cause Myths

Process: A Blog For American History
2016-07-12

Matthew E. Stanley, Assistant Professor of History
Albany State University, Albany, Georgia

Reconstruction is perhaps the least understood period in American history, a distinction that has been both perpetuated by and reflected in popular culture since the late nineteenth century. Films in particular have gone from presenting the era through the Dunning lens of rank white supremacy (The Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, Tennessee Johnson) to skipping straight to white reunion (Abraham Lincoln, Ken Burns’s The Civil War) to addressing its social achievements and betrayals through either subtle foreshadowing (Lincoln, Glory) or highbrowed metaphor (The Hateful Eight). Director Gary Ross’s Free State of Jones, however, which depicts the origins and aftermath of Newton Knight’s bigender and biracial anti-Confederate insurgency in Jones County, Mississippi, might be the first to properly and historically situate Reconstruction in full relation to the war itself, serving as a vigorous repudiation of Lost Cause mythology.

Consulted by and employing source material from historians including Eric Foner, David Blight, and Victoria Bynum, Free State of Jones presents a wartime regional counternarrrative that becomes a postwar national standard narrative. In other words, the events depicted both are and are not historically representative. Led by farmer-turned-renegade Knight, ably portrayed by a suitably angular Matthew McConaughey, white members of the “Knight Company” are deserters and poor farmers who have rejected the Confederate “Twenty Negro Law” and regressive property confiscation; its black constituents are self-emancipated slaves and intrepid spies with even greater interest in overthrowing the callous Southern plantocracy. Through a series of competently shot skirmishes and ambushes, this militant underclass slowly drives Confederate forces from a large swath of southeast Mississippi. Persecuted by the Confederacy and ignored by the Union, Knight’s militia declares a “Free State of Jones” committed to principles of social and economic egalitarianism. His white wife and child having absconded, Knight falls for a mixed race slave, Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and together they create a biracial community that still exists…

Read the entire article here.

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