All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Social Science, United States on 2016-08-25 14:48Z by Steven

All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

Code Switch: Race And Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2016-08-25

Leah Donnella


In a country where the share of multiracial children has multiplied tenfold in the past 50 years, it’s a good time to take stock of our shared vocabulary when it comes to describing Americans like me.
Jeannie Phan for NPR

It’s the summer of 1998 and I’m at the mall with my mom and my sister Anna, who has just turned 5. I’m 7. Anna and I are cranky from being too hot, then too cold, then too bored. We keep touching things we are not supposed to touch, and by the time Mom drags us to the register, the cashier seems a little on edge.

“They’re mixed, aren’t they?” she says. “I can tell by the hair.”

Mom doesn’t smile, and Mom always smiles. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about,” she says.

Later, in the kitchen, there is a conversation…

‘Multiracial’ or ‘mixed’?

In light of Hall’s paper, “multiracial” was adopted by several advocacy groups springing up around the country, some of which felt the term neutralized the uncomfortable connotations of a competing term in use at that point: “mixed.”

In English, people have been using the word “mixed” to describe racial identity for at least 200 years, like this 1864 British study claiming that “no mixed races can subsist in humanity,” or this 1812 “Monthly Retrospect of Politics” that tallies the number of slaves — “either Africans or of a mixed race” — in a particular neighborhood.

Steven Riley, the curator of a multiracial research website, cites the year 1661 as the first “mixed-race milestone” in North America, when the Maryland colony forbade “racial admixture” between English women and Negro slaves.

But while “mixed” had an established pedigree by the mid-20th century, it wasn’t uncontroversial. To many, “mixed” invited associations like “mixed up,” “mixed company” and “mixed signals,” all of which reinforced existing stereotypes of “mixed” people as confused, untrustworthy or defective. It also had ties to animal breeding — “mixed” dogs and horses were the foil to pure-breeds and thoroughbreds.

Mixed “evokes identity crisis” to some, says Teresa Willams-León, author of The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed Heritage Asian Americans and a professor of Asian American Studies at California State University. “It becomes the antithesis to pure.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-08-26 00:56Z by Steven

Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

University of Oklahoma Press
2016-10-20
304 pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w illus., 2 maps, 18 tables
6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806154879

Robert C. Schwaller, Assistant Professor of History
University of Kansas, Lawrence

On December 19, 1554, the members of Tenochtitlan’s indigenous cabildo, or city council, petitioned Emperor Charles V of Spain for administrative changes “to save us from any Spaniard, mestizo, black, or mulato afflicting us in the marketplace, on the roads, in the canal, or in our homes.” Within thirty years of the conquest, the presence of these groups in New Spain was large enough to threaten the social, economic, and cultural order of the indigenous elite. In Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico, an ambitious rereading of colonial history, Robert C. Schwaller proposes using the Spanish term géneros de gente (types or categories of people) as part of a more nuanced perspective on what these categories of difference meant and how they evolved. His work revises our understanding of racial hierarchy in Mexico, the repercussions of which reach into the present.

Schwaller traces the connections between medieval Iberian ideas of difference and the unique societies forged in the Americas. He analyzes the ideological and legal development of géneros de gente into a system that began to resemble modern notions of race. He then examines the lives of early colonial mestizos and mulatos to show how individuals of mixed ancestry experienced the colonial order. By pairing an analysis of legal codes with a social history of mixed-race individuals, his work reveals the disjunction between the establishment of a common colonial language of what would become race and the ability of the colonial Spanish state to enforce such distinctions. Even as the colonial order established a system of governance that entrenched racial differences, colonial subjects continued to mediate their racial identities through social networks, cultural affinities, occupation, and residence.

Presenting a more complex picture of the ways difference came to be defined in colonial Mexico, this book exposes important tensions within Spanish colonialism and the developing social order. It affords a significant new view of the development and social experience of race—in early colonial Mexico and afterward.

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MTV Decoded Answers The Question ‘Are Hispanic People White?’

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-08-26 00:00Z by Steven

MTV Decoded Answers The Question ‘Are Hispanic People White?’

Latino Voices
The Huffington Post
2016-08-25

Carolina Moreno, Editor

It’s complicated.

When it comes to matters of race and ethnicity, things can get very complicated. Thankfully, Franchesa Ramsey is always ready to decode everything.

In a new episode of MTV News, the host of “Decoded” tackled the question “Are Hispanics white?” The answer is, unsurprisingly, complex.

As an ethnicity, there’s a limitless amount of racial identities that can live within the Latino community. That means Latinos can be asian, black, mixed race and, yes, even white.

“If you ever hear anyone say, ‘This is America and 77 percent of it is white.’ Whether they know it or not, they’re including a very large number of people who identify as Hispanic or Latino,” Ramsay says in the video as she breaks down “Hispanic” isn’t a racial category in the census.

Ramsey also enlisted the help of YouTube vlogger Kat Lazo to help further break down the difference between Hispanic and Latino (or the gender neutral term Latinx), plus explain the differences between race and ethnicity…

Read the entire article here.

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The Trouble with Post-Blackness

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-08-25 21:25Z by Steven

The Trouble with Post-Blackness

Columbia University Press
February 2015
288 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780231169356
Hardcover ISBN: 9780231169349
E-book ISBN: 9780231538503

Edited by:

Houston A. Baker, Distinguished University Professor
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

K. Merinda Simmons, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
University of Alabama

An America in which the color of one’s skin no longer matters would be unprecedented. With the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, that future suddenly seemed possible. Obama’s rise reflects a nation of fluid populations and fortunes, a society in which a biracial individual could be embraced as a leader by all. Yet complicating this vision are shifting demographics, rapid redefinitions of race, and the instant invention of brands, trends, and identities that determine how we think about ourselves and the place of others.

This collection of original essays confronts the premise, advanced by black intellectuals, that the Obama administration marked the start of a “post-racial” era in the United States. While the “transcendent” and post-racial black elite declare victory over America’s longstanding codes of racial exclusion and racist violence, their evidence relies largely on their own salaries and celebrity. These essays strike at the certainty of those who insist life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are now independent of skin color and race in America. They argue, signify, and testify that “post-blackness” is a problematic mythology masquerading as fact—a dangerous new “race science” motivated by black transcendentalist individualism. Through rigorous analysis, these essays expose the idea of a post-racial nation as a pleasurable entitlement for a black elite, enabling them to reject the ethics and urgency of improving the well-being of the black majority.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Dubious Stage of Post-Blackness—Performing Otherness, Conserving Dominance, by K. Merinda Simmons
  • 1. What Was Is: The Time and Space of Entanglement Erased by Post-Blackness, by Margo Natalie Crawford
  • 2. Black Literary Writers and Post-Blackness, by Stephanie Li
  • 3. African Diasporic Blackness Out of Line: Trouble for “Post-Black” African Americanism, by Greg Thomas
  • 4. Fear of a Performative Planet: Troubling the Concept of “Post-Blackness”, by Rone Shavers
  • 5. E-Raced: #Touré, Twitter, and Trayvon, by Riché Richardson
  • 6. Post-Blackness and All of the Black Americas, by Heather D. Russell
  • 7. Embodying Africa: Roots-Seekers and the Politics of Blackness, by Bayo Holsey
  • 8. “The world is a ghetto”: Post-Racial America(s) and the Apocalypse, by Patrice Rankine
  • 9. The Long Road Home, by Erin Aubry Kaplan
  • 10. Half as Good, by John L. Jackson Jr.
  • 11. “Whither Now and Why”: Content Mastery and Pedagogy—a Critique and a Challenge, by Dana A. Williams
  • 12. Fallacies of the Post-Race Presidency, by Ishmael Reed
  • 13. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Post-Blackness (after Wallace Stevens), by Emily Raboteau
  • Conclusion: Why the Lega Mask Has Many Mouths and Multiple Eyes, by Houston A. Baker Jr.
  • List of Contributors
  • Index
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Like Dalmia, I self-identify as belonging to more than one culture. I have fought for at least a decade with newspapers about how my national and ethnic origins should be described.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-08-25 16:06Z by Steven

Like [Shikha] Dalmia, I self-identify as belonging to more than one culture. I have fought for at least a decade with newspapers about how my national and ethnic origins should be described. I reject the hyphen (the term “hyphenated identity” was first struck by Horace Kallen in his 1915 essay “Democracy Versus the Melting Pot”), which looks far too much like a minus sign to me: black minus British, Irish minus American. Always, I ask to be described as British and Sierra Leonean. I did this after many years of being described in various ways: British-born Sierra Leonean, British of Sierra Leonean origin, or—erasing my Scots mother from the picture altogether—simply as Sierra Leonean. (Notably, never have I been described by British papers as Scottish.) But I am both. I belong to both worlds; not just culturally but physically, I move between them. I have family in both, own property in both, have paid taxes in both. I now live in the United States, where I also pay taxes. As a so-called transnational, I belong to a growing class of people.

Aminatta Forna, “Your Nationalism Can’t Contain Me,” The Nation, August 25, 2015. https://www.thenation.com/article/your-nationalism-cant-contain-me.

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Your Nationalism Can’t Contain Me

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-08-25 15:53Z by Steven

Your Nationalism Can’t Contain Me

The Nation
2016-08-25

Aminatta Forna


Aminatta Forna. Photo and Illustration by Jonathan Ring.

I’ve held three passports and claimed many identities, all at once. I am the future of citizenship.

Those of us who call ourselves British and were of age in 1990 will remember the Conservative politician Norman Tebbit and his so-called “cricket test.” Immigrants from India, Pakistan, and the West Indies, said Tebbit, should support teams from Britain and not from their countries of origin or ancestry. Anyone who didn’t shouldn’t consider themselves British. “Which side do they cheer for?” Tebbit asked. “It’s an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are?”

I was reminded of Tebbit’s test on a recent visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hotel bartender, hearing my accent, told me his favorite soccer team was Manchester United. I know little about soccer, but enough to know that Manchester United is a Premier League club, possibly the Premier League club, and attracts a global following—659 million fans, according to data provided by a market-research company hired by the team. The company reckoned there were 108 million Man U fans in China, 35 million in India, 33 million in Nigeria. Many treated the overall figure with skepticism, but nobody doubted that a soccer club based in a northern English city had achieved a massive international fan base. The young bartender was from Mexico, an immigrant to the United States, and had never been to Britain. I asked him why he supported the team, and he said he was a big fan of Wayne Rooney. He admitted, though, that a friend had recently been talking to him about another British team, Aston Villa, and he was thinking that he might switch allegiance…

…Way back, tribes were key to survival. Humans joined into groups, pooled labor, shared care of their offspring, protected each other from wild animals and from rival tribes. Tribes were about resources—maximizing, protecting, sharing. You were a member of your tribe by birthright, typically by being born to other members of the tribe and in the tribal lands. But when it was beneficial, the tribe welcomed more people in; at other times, it might decide that limiting membership was in its best interests. The Jim Crow “one drop” rule, by which a person’s race (in this case, read “tribe”) was determined according to whether they possessed a single drop of African blood, is a case in point…

…Anxieties about shared loyalties continue to vex, even concerning those not suspected of international terrorism. Writing in The Week in January 2015, the columnist and Reason Foundation researcher Shikha Dalmia said: “Today, a new twist on this old worry has emerged. It concerns so-called transnational immigrants like me who like to maintain what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, whose parents are Indian émigrés, last week derisively called ‘hyphenated identities.’ If you want to be Indian, stay in India, advised Jindal, who himself gave up Hinduism, the religion of his birth, and embraced Christianity.”

Like Dalmia, I self-identify as belonging to more than one culture. I have fought for at least a decade with newspapers about how my national and ethnic origins should be described. I reject the hyphen (the term “hyphenated identity” was first struck by Horace Kallen in his 1915 essay “Democracy Versus the Melting Pot”), which looks far too much like a minus sign to me: black minus British, Irish minus American. Always, I ask to be described as British and Sierra Leonean. I did this after many years of being described in various ways: British-born Sierra Leonean, British of Sierra Leonean origin, or—erasing my Scots mother from the picture altogether—simply as Sierra Leonean. (Notably, never have I been described by British papers as Scottish.) But I am both. I belong to both worlds; not just culturally but physically, I move between them. I have family in both, own property in both, have paid taxes in both. I now live in the United States, where I also pay taxes. As a so-called transnational, I belong to a growing class of people…

Read the entire article here.

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Town founded by freed slaves celebrates 200 years

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-08-25 15:24Z by Steven

Town founded by freed slaves celebrates 200 years

USA Today
2016-07-09

Joey Garrison, Metro and Political Reporter
The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee

FREE HILL, Tenn. — Tucked away in the wooded hallows and ridges north of Celina, Tenn., in the Upper Cumberland region, freed slaves and later their descendants have lived here for two centuries.

The community is called Free Hill, or often Free Hills, and this unincorporated enclave in tiny, poor and otherwise mostly white Clay County is one of Tennessee’s last remaining black settlements that freed slaves established.

People in this county along the Tennessee-Kentucky border — about two hours northeast of Nashville — tell the story of a white slave owner named Virginia Hill of North Carolina who bought the property to free her slaves and give them a secluded place to live.

Historians aren’t certain about all the facts or years, and what might be part folklore, but documents prove that free blacks had settled at Free Hill before the Civil War

Establishing history

History is the lifeblood of Free Hill. Surnames like Page, Burris and Philpott on the gravestones of the Free Hill Cemetery are some of the same names that carry on today.

And the story of its founding explains the unlikely occurrence of an African-American community arising in an area that is officially in Appalachia.

Accounts of Free Hill residents vary. They almost all begin with a North Carolina slave owner named Virginia Hill, whom most say came to a forest near the Cumberland and Obey rivers sometime before 1840, purchased 2,000 acres and set her slaves free.

Some say the slaves took control of the land themselves. Others say the slaves that Virginia Hill brought were her four biracial children, and that she was seeking to avoid a scandal.

They took her surname Hill — a name that is documented as the earliest African-Americans in Free Hill — and named the community after her.

The story goes that Free Hill became known as a safe haven for runaway slaves leading up to the Civil War and for freed slaves after the war. The names Free Hill and Free Hills have interchangeable meanings: descendants of the Hill family or a hilly area where freed slaves lived…

Read the entire article here.

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Recognizing the Need to Support Multiracial College Students

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-25 13:22Z by Steven

Recognizing the Need to Support Multiracial College Students

Insight Into Diversity
September 2016

Allen Kenneth Schaidle

Roughly 2.4 percent of Americans identified as multiracial in the 2000 census. In 2010, that number increased to 2.9 percent, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that individuals identifying as multiracial will dramatically rise in the following decades. This increase can in part be attributed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalize interracial marriage in the case Loving v. Virginia, in 1967, sparking what many call the “multiracial baby boom.”

However, the U.S. census currently restricts individuals by allowing them to define themselves as being in only one of five racial categories; multiracial individuals often do not identify with these classifications because they adhere to multiple racial and cultural identities.

The rise in the number of young people who identify as multiracial presents higher education institutions with an opportunity to expand their racial categories to better serve this growing population and become more inclusive in the process…

Read the entire article here.

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Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-25 13:08Z by Steven

Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues

The Ithican
Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York
2016-08-24

Celisa Calacal, Opinion Editor


Sophomore Walt Martzen created the group IC Mixed, where students can discuss mixed-race issues, a topic Martzen believes is often missing from conversations on race and identity.
Jade Cardichon/The Ithacan

This semester, sophomore Walt Martzen plans to expand the conversation on mixed-race identities through a new student discussion group, IC Mixed. As a biracial student himself, Martzen created this group over the summer to bring students of mixed race together and educate other students about what it means to be biracial or multiracial.

Though the group is not an official student organization recognized by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, Martzen hopes the group will inspire an organic discussion about mixed-race identities beginning this semester.

Opinion Editor Celisa Calacal spoke with Martzen about his inspiration behind creating the group, why it’s important to talk about mixed-race identities and his personal experiences as a biracial student.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Celisa Calacal: What inspired you to start this group?

Walt Martzen: I think one of the things that really got me thinking about how mixed people define themselves is when I went to ECAASU [East Coast Asian-American Student Union] last year with Asian-American Alliance. … There was a lot of good discussion that happened around talking about what it means to be Asian in that context and also what it means to be mixed. … It’s something that I struggled with at first and I didn’t realize, but I would call myself half-Chinese or half-white and that kind of language, I didn’t realize how it kind of isolated me. And so, I think from those conversations I kind of realized how important it is that, even while as mixed people, we are allies for different people, especially when maybe you look more white and people can’t tell you’re Asian or you look more like a certain race, and it’s important that we also take care of ourselves and that we look after our own health, and I think that’s one of the things that we want to do…

Read the entire interview here.

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“Now, I have a black son in Baltimore,” the white police detective remembered thinking as he cradled his baby boy.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-08-25 01:21Z by Steven

“Now, I have a black son in Baltimore,” the white police detective remembered thinking as he cradled his baby boy.

Rachel L. Swarns, “‘I Have a Black Son in Baltimore’: Anxious New Parents and an Era of Unease,” The New York Times, August 23, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/24/us/i-have-a-black-son-in-baltimore-anxious-new-parents-and-an-era-of-unease.html.

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