Of the blood that feeds my heart, one drop in eight is black — bright red as the rest may be, that one drop poisons all the flood; those seven bright drops give me love like yours…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-03-02 02:10Z by Steven

Zoe: That — that is the ineffaceable curse of Cain. Of the blood that feeds my heart, one drop in eight is black — bright red as the rest may be, that one drop poisons all the flood; those seven bright drops give me love like yours — hope like yours — ambition like yours — life hung with passions like dewdrops on the morning flowers; but the one black drop gives me despair, for I’m an unclean thing — forbidden by the laws — I’m an Octoroon!

Dion Boucicault, The Octoroon: A Play, in Four Acts, (First Performed at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York, December, 1859), Act I. http://www2.latech.edu/~bmagee/louisiana_anthology/texts/boucicault/boucicault–octaroon.html.


Mr. Spock, Mixed-Race Pioneer

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-02 02:04Z by Steven

Mr. Spock, Mixed-Race Pioneer

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Steve Haruch

At a time when the mere sight of Petula Clark touching Harry Belafonte’s arm held the potential to upset delicate sensibilities, the half-human, half-Vulcan character Mr. Spock embodied an identity rarely acknowledged, much less seen, on television: a mixed-race person.

Sure, the mixing of races was allegorical in Spock’s case, as was the brilliantly subversive mode for social commentary on Star Trek. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t resonate.

In 1968 — the year Clark made contact with Belafonte, and the same year the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” caused much consternation for network executives who feared backlash against the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura — a young girl wrote a letter to Spock, care of FaVE magazine. In the letter, she makes the connection between Spock’s fictional identity and her own very real situation:

“I know that you are half Vulcan and half human and you have suffered because of this. My mother is Negro and my father is white and I am told this makes me a half-breed. In some ways I am persecuted even more than the Negro. The Negroes don’t like me because I don’t look like them. The white kids don’t like me because I don’t exactly look like one of them either.”

Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, wrote a long and thoughtful response that reads, in part:

“Spock learned he could save himself from letting prejudice get him down. He could do this by really understanding himself and knowing his own value as a person. He found he was equal to anyone who might try to put him down — equal in his own unique way.

You can do this too, if you realize the difference between popularity and true greatness.”

Spock certainly knew what “true greatness” was all about. You didn’t have to be mixed-race to feel this kind of connection to Spock, though…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band 2015 Conference

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-03-02 01:51Z by Steven

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band 2015 Conference

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band
Moore, Oklahoma

Rhonda Kay Grayson

For Immediate Release

Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band
P.O. Box 6366
Moore, OK, 73135

The Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band is thrilled to announce its 2015 conference. The conference theme is “Africans and Indians: Eating from the same pot, Generations of shared culture, traditions, language, food and music”. The conference will be held at Langston University, (OKC-Campus) 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, May 29-30, 2015. The two day conference will focus on the history and plight of the African Indian Freedmen from all Five Tribes of Oklahoma, Indian Territory (Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole). Activities and presentations will include genealogy workshops; a Mvskoke language workshop; a presentation by the renowned Storyteller, Wallace Moore; presentations by scholars, lecturers, and attorneys; a panel discussion; and a presentation by the Urban League ‘Young Professionals.’ In addition, a special viewing of the MCIFB’s documentary “Bloodlines” will be shown at the historic Paramount Theater, centrally located in downtown OKC, only minutes away from the historic Deep Deuce and Bricktown district.

Who should attend?

Scholars, History Buffs, Genealogy Societies, Genealogists, Family Historians, Beginner, intermediate, or experienced researchers, Hobbyists, Students, The descendants of Black Indians, the general public, and anyone interested in learning more about the unique history of the Black Indians…

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , ,

The mixed female figure was (unofficially) accepted as a body onto which white men could project and enact their sexual fantasies.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-03-02 01:35Z by Steven

“It is largely through the on-screen body of the mixed-race female that racial laws have been written and mixed-race issues have been explored.  The mixed female figure was (unofficially) accepted as a body onto which white men could project and enact their sexual fantasies.  Hence the popularity of mixed girls in chorus lines at all-white American clubs, known as ‘café-au-lait cuties’ in the 1930s (5), and as performers in otherwise white films (see the careers of Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Nina Mae McKinney, Dorothy Dandridge and Fredi Washington). As Suzanne Bost observes ‘throughout popular culture and literature, debates about the nature of mixed-race identity are mapped out on the body of a woman because thinking about racial mixing inevitably leads to questions of sex and reproduction’ (6). J. E. Smyth (7) confirms that in this way, women embody the past, present and future of race relations; mixed women are thus symbolic of the histories of racial mixing and possibilities of integration and equality.” —Zélie Asava

Beti Ellerson, “Zélie Asava: mixed-race identities and representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas,” African Women in Cinema Blog, (February 28, 2015). http://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2015/02/zelie-asava-mixed-raced-identities-and.html.

Tags: , ,

Review: ‘An Octoroon,’ a Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Comedy About Race

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-02 01:18Z by Steven

Review: ‘An Octoroon,’ a Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Comedy About Race

The New York Times

Ben Brantley, Chief Theater Critic

Walking on a stage covered with cotton balls is a tricky business. It’s all too easy to slip into a pratfall. And forget about running or dancing or hopping like a bunny, as the characters sometimes unwisely attempt in “An Octoroon,” Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s coruscating comedy of unresolved history, which opened on Thursday night at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn.

But it feels right that the people occupying this production, first seen last year at Soho Rep, should be required to move on what might be called terra infirma. For Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins has deliberately built his play on slippery foundations, the kind likely to trip up any dramatist, performer or theatergoer.

“An Octoroon,” you see, is all about race in these United States, as it was and is and unfortunately probably shall be for a considerable time. That’s race as a subject that no one can get a comfortable hold on.

Directed by Sarah Benson, in a style that perfectly matches its mutating content, “An Octoroon” is a shrewdly awkward riff on Dion Boucicault’sThe Octoroon” (notice the change in article), a 19th-century chestnut about illicit interracial love. Boucicault’s melodrama was a great hit in its day but is now almost never performed, except possibly as a camp diversion for private amusement.

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Joshua Generation

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-01 23:07Z by Steven

The Joshua Generation

The New Yorker

David Remnick, Editor

Race and the campaign of Barack Obama.

Barack Obama could not run his campaign for the Presidency based on political accomplishment or on the heroic service of his youth. His record was too slight. His Democratic and Republican opponents were right: he ran largely on language, on the expression of a country’s potential and the self-expression of a complicated man who could reflect and lead that country. And a powerful thematic undercurrent of his oratory and prose was race. Not race as invoked by his predecessors in electoral politics or in the civil-rights movement, not race as an insistence on tribe or on redress; rather, Obama made his biracial ancestry a metaphor for his ambition to create a broad coalition of support, to rally Americans behind a narrative of moral and political progress. He was not its hero, but he just might be its culmination.

In October, 2005, two months after Hurricane Katrina, Rosa Parks died, at the age of ninety-two, in Detroit. Her signal act of defiance on the evening of December 1, 1955, her refusal to vacate her seat near the front of the Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery, Alabama—what Martin Luther King, Jr., called the ultimate gesture of “I can take it no longer”—was the precipitating act of the city’s bus boycott and the civil-rights movement. For two days, her body lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda, in Washington—an honor accorded only twenty-nine times before. Then, on November 2nd, in Detroit, there was a funeral service at the Greater Grace Temple Church. Thousands lined the streets to wave farewell and sing the old anthems and hymns. Four thousand packed the sanctuary. The service lasted seven hours.

“That funeral was so long that I can hardly remember it!” Bishop T. D. Jakes, the pastor of the Potter’s House, a Dallas church of thirty thousand congregants, said. “Everyone was there!” Jesse Jackson, the Clintons, Al Sharpton, Aretha Franklin, and a phalanx of preachers all paid tribute to Parks. Bill Clinton reminisced about riding segregated buses in Jim Crow Arkansas—and then feeling the liberating effect of Parks’s act. On the street, a marine played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, and the congregants sang “She Would Not Be Moved.”

Obama, the sole African-American member in the United States Senate, had also been invited to speak. As he sat in the pews awaiting his turn, he writes in his book “The Audacity of Hope,” his mind wandered back to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina: the news footage from New Orleans of a body laid near a wall, of shirtless young men, “their legs churning through dark waters, their arms draped with whatever goods they had managed to grab from nearby stores, the spark of chaos in their eyes.” A week after the hurricane, Obama had accompanied Bill and Hillary Clinton and George H. W. Bush to Houston, where they visited the thousands of refugees from New Orleans who were camped out at the Astrodome and the Reliant Center. One woman told Obama, “We didn’t have nothin’ before the storm. Now we got less than nothin’.” The remark was a rebuke, Obama felt, to Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush Administration officials who had given him and fellow-legislators a briefing on the federal response to the hurricane; their expressions, he recalled, “bristled with confidence—and displayed not the slightest bit of remorse.” In the church, Obama thought of how little had happened since. Cars were still stuck in trees and on rooftops; predatory construction firms were winning hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts, even as they skirted affirmative-action laws and hired illegal immigrants for their crews. Obama’s anger, which is rarely discernible in his voice or in his demeanor, ran deep. “The sense that the nation had reached a transformative moment—that it had had its conscience stirred out of a long slumber and would launch a renewed war on poverty—had quickly died away,” he wrote…

…Long before he ever had to think through the implications, racial and otherwise, of running for President, Barack Obama needed to make sense of himself—to himself. The memoir that he published when he was thirty-three, “Dreams from My Father,” explored his biracial heritage: his white Kansas-born mother, his black Kenyan father, almost completely absent from his life. The memoir is written with more freedom, with greater introspection and irony, than any other by a modern American politician. Obama introduces himself as an American whose childhood took him to Indonesia and Hawaii, whose grandfathers included Hussein Onyango Obama, “a prominent farmer, an elder of the tribe, a medicine man with healing powers.”

As a young man, Obama was consumed with self-doubt, trying always to reconcile the unsettling contradictions of his history. His parents married in 1960, when interracial marriage was still prohibited in almost half the states of the union. As Obama entered adolescence, in Hawaii, his father had returned to Africa and started a new family, but, at the same time, the boy was careful around his white friends not to mention his mother’s race; he began to think that by doing so he was ingratiating himself with whites. He learned to read unease in the faces of others, the “split second adjustments they have to make,” when they found out that he was the son of a mixed marriage.

“Privately, they guess at my troubled heart, I suppose—the mixed blood, the divided soul, the ghostly image of the tragic mulatto trapped between two worlds,” he writes, with the wry distance of the older self regarding the younger.

Obama’s mother was an earnest and high-minded idealist, “a lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for the New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism.” With Barack’s father gone, she emphasized, even sentimentalized, blackness to her son. She loved the film “Black Orpheus,” which her son later found so patronizing to the “childlike” characters that he wanted to walk out of the theatre. She’d bring home the records of Mahalia Jackson, the speeches of Martin Luther King. To her, “every black man was Thurgood Marshall or Sidney Poitier; every black woman Fannie Lou Hamer or Lena Horne. To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

The Ins and Outs of Diversity in the Dominican Republic

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive on 2015-03-01 22:22Z by Steven

The Ins and Outs of Diversity in the Dominican Republic


Cindy Rodriguez

In an attempt to debunk the stereotypes on what exactly a “Dominican looks like,” Twitter user UsDominicans809 posted a photo of a group of beautiful women (er, possibly models?) who are all super diverse in physical identity along with a sassy tweet.

“They’re all dominican; so next time somebody says “you don’t look dominican” tell that dumbass, we’re all unique,” as written by user UsDominicans809.

This comment accurately encompasses the identity struggle Latinos in the U.S. go through day in and day out which is why pieces like “Things You Shouldn’t Say To Latinos,” or Afro-Latinos and the often overlooked pale Latinas do so well. They reflect all the misconceptions that go with the Latino identity.

First, Latinos are not a race, it’s an ethnicity; but you knew that already. Latin America’s diverse racial demographics are the result of a mixed-race background from European, African and indigenous cultures.

But if you didn’t already know… race in the Dominican Republic is way more complicated than in the United States.

Here, you either fall under a handful of categories: Asian, Black, White, India, and so forth but, according to Public Radio International, Dominicans use an array of words to self-identify their degree of “blackness”, for lack of a better term, like: moreno, trigueno, and blanco-oscuro.

Which is odd because “more than 90 percent of Dominicans possess some degree of African descent — and that the very first rebellion of black slaves occurred here in 1522,” according to The Root. But, in the their federal census, most recently, 82 percent designated their race as “indio”, while only 4.13 percent designate themselves as black…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

A Student Traveling Through Costa Chica Picked Up A Camera to Let Afro-Mexicans Tell Their Story

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Mexico on 2015-03-01 22:03Z by Steven

A Student Traveling Through Costa Chica Picked Up A Camera to Let Afro-Mexicans Tell Their Story


Andrew S. Vargas

It’s Black History Month once again, and while it seems like every other day of the calendar year has been dedicated to some cause or another, the concept of Black history is particularly relevant to us as Latinos. With historically documented African populations from Buenos Aires up to Veracruz, including just about every country along the way, a new generation is starting to realize that our African heritage has been systematically erased from our national narratives over the centuries…

…One young filmmaker and anthropology student of Afro-Salvadoran descent, feeling sympathy for the plight of invisible Afro-Mexicans, took it upon himself to make a very independent documentary exploring Afro-Mexican identity in the coastal communities of La Costa Chica — a region spanning the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca that has the highest concentration of Afro-descendants in Mexico. Titled Así Somos: Afro Identities in the Coast, the short doc admittedly features an extremely raw and unpolished style, but director Andy Amaya does a fairly good job of letting his subjects speak for themselves as they reflect on experiences with discrimination, their Afro-linguistic heritage and labels like ‘negro’ vs. ‘afromexicano’…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Zélie Asava: mixed-race identities and representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-01 03:50Z by Steven

Zélie Asava: mixed-race identities and representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas

African Women in Cinema Blog

Beti Ellerson, Director
Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema

Interview with Zélie Asava by Beti Ellerson, February 2015.

Zélie Asava of Irish-Kenyan parentage with English citizenship, is a lecturer in film and media theory and national cinemas at Dundalk IT and University College Dublin. She explores mixed-raced identities and its representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas.

Zélie could you talk a bit about yourself?

I was born in Dublin to Irish and Kenyan parents. Having lived in London previously, they decided to raise me there. As an adult I moved back to Ireland, to go home and develop my career in academia. While, Dublin is a fascinating city with a great cultural scene, I found the experience much more troubling than anticipated due to the growth in racism during the economic boom of the late ‘90s/early 2000s (see my piece for The Evening Herald newspaper).

As an undergraduate, I became involved in student anti-racism movements at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, and worked with community groups. During my MA at the University of Sussex and PhD at University College Dublin I studied the representations of black and mixed-race characters in French and American cinema, while pursuing work as an actress and journalist. In my professional life I have also worked in politics and equal opportunities consultancy, and lived in Canada and France, before becoming a lecturer.

How has your identity influenced your interest in racial representations?

This personal and academic experience prompted me to explore what it meant to be black and Irish from a theoretical and social perspective. I studied the history of black and mixed-race people in Ireland and their representation onscreen, and began to develop research papers on the subject which finally became the book, The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Peter Lang, 2013).

Due to the cinematic context of my research, the mixed characters I analyse are mostly of African/European heritage, mostly female and mostly heterosexual (following dominant representations). By uncovering, deconstructing and critiquing these representations my work contributes to opening up spaces for new filmmakers, new screen visualizations of raced characters and new understandings of race and racism…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , ,

Census categories for mixed race and mixed ethnicity: impacts on data collection and analysis in the US, UK and NZ

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Oceania, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-03-01 03:23Z by Steven

Census categories for mixed race and mixed ethnicity: impacts on data collection and analysis in the US, UK and NZ

Public Health
Published online: 2015-02-25
DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2014.12.017

S. A. Valles, Assistant Professor
Lyman Briggs College and Department of Philosophy
Michigan State University

R. S. Bhopal, Bruce and John Usher Professor of Public Health;Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

P. J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Public Health
Centre for Health Services Studies (CHSS)
University of Kent, United Kingdom


  • The census mixed race/ethnicity classification systems in the US, UK and NZ are reviewed.
  • These systems have limited success for monitoring mixed populations’ health.
  • Obstacles to successful use are data input problems and data output problems.
  • Data input problems include recording practices and fluidity of self-identification.
  • Data output problems include data ‘prioritization’ and non-publication of data.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,