Passing for Racial Democracy

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-01-19 03:00Z by Steven

Passing for Racial Democracy

The Baffler
2021-12-06

Stephanie Reist

Detail from A Redenção de Cam (Redemption of Ham), Modesto Brocos, 1895. | Museu Nacional de Belas Artes

The complexities of the color line in the U.S. and Brazil

A CENTRAL POINT OF TENSION between Irene Redfield (played by Tessa Thompson) and her husband Dr. Brian Redfield (André Holland) in Rebecca Hall’s Passing, based on the Nella Larsen novel of the same name, is whether their family should remain in the United States. While Irene can pass for white out of convenience, the same is not true of her darker sons and her husband, who routinely informs his children about lynchings and white violence. Irene disapproves of this talk, despite her work for the Negro Welfare League. In one pivotal scene, she drives her tired husband home after a long day of visiting patients, and the couple discuss going to South America, specifically mentioning Brazil. The issue returns when the couple fights over the consuming role that Clare (Ruth Negga)—who has chosen to pass as white to the point of marrying a bigoted white husband and having a daughter with him—exerts in their lives and marriage.

In Larsen’s novel, Brian’s longing for Brazil, which becomes conflated with what Irene perceives as his desire for the effervescent, delightfully dangerous Clare, is even more pronounced: Brazil is the one that got away, Brian’s lost hope for a society where he and other black members of the talented tenth could be judged by their merits, not lynched because they failed to stay in their place. Irene even implicitly sanctions an affair between her husband and Clare to assuage her guilt for denying her family the chance to be truly “happy, or free, or safe”—a state she laments as impossible when speaking to Clare about her choice not to pass…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Americans Color Outside the Lines

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-19 02:36Z by Steven

Americans Color Outside the Lines

The Dispatch
2021-04-26

Chris Stirewalt, Contributing Editor

Photograph By Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Even today, bigots and the progressive proponents of race science hold fast to the idea of fixed race and ethnicity. Thankfully, Americans largely ignore them.

In his autobiography, Life on the Color Line, Gregory Williams tells the story of discovering at the age of 10 that he was black—or at least that the world saw him that way.

Williams, who would go on to serve as president of both City College of New York and the University of Cincinnati, was raised as a white boy when and where it really mattered: rural, central Virginia in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But when his parents’ marriage broke up and his mom ran off, his no-account, alcoholic father could not manage to care for his two sons. So, Williams’ dad moved them to his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. It was on the bus trip there that Williams’ dad told his boys that he was not the Italian-American called “Tony” who ran a roadhouse west of Richmond but a light-skinned black man from the wrong side of tracks in the industrial Midwest. “Miss Sallie,” the black woman who had worked at the family bar for a time, was really the boys’ grandmother.

Ultimately abandoned by both of his parents, Williams found himself brutally rejected by both cultures. And what a time to live on that line. In 1954, the year after he arrived in Muncie, the Supreme Court struck down school segregation laws. Segregationists had warned after Harry Truman integrated the military six years earlier that the federal government was intent on the mixing of the races—and ultimately making intermarriage appear to be normal, leading to the dilution of the white race. The blending of children in classrooms was to them just the next step in the demise of America’s dominant white culture by miscegenation. Williams remembered a Klansman on television saying the court was trying to encourage race mixing and the rise of the “bestial mongrel mulatto, the dreg of human society.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Black Americans on the Way to Sainthood: Henriette Delille

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States, Women on 2022-01-18 02:32Z by Steven

Black Americans on the Way to Sainthood: Henriette Delille

St. Charles Borromeo Church
Brooklyn, New York
2021-02-13

Josephine Dongbang

Henriette Delille, (1812-1862), founder of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“For the love of Jesus Christ, she had become the humble and devout servant of the slaves.”

Henriette Delille was born in 1812 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a loving Catholic family. While Henriette was born a free woman, she was descended from an enslaved African woman and white slave owner. Thus, following the tradition of the females in her family, she was groomed to form a monogamous relationship with wealthy white men under the plaçage system. She was trained in French literature, music, and dance, and expected to attend balls to meet men who would enter into such civil unions. Most of these agreements often ended up with the men later marrying white women in “official” marriages and/or abandoning their promises of support for the women and their mixed-race children. As a devout Catholic, Henriette opposed such system, believing it went against the Catholic sacrament of marriage…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

And the 2022 Oscar Nominees Should Be…

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-18 02:18Z by Steven

And the 2022 Oscar Nominees Should Be…

The New York Times
2022-01-14

Illustrations by Ben Denzer

If our chief critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott had their way, these are the films and the people who would be up for Academy Awards.

  • Best Picture: Drive My Car, Passing, The Power of The Dog
  • Best Director: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog; Rebecca Hall, Passing
  • Best Actress: Kristen Stewart, Spencer; Tessa Thompson, Passing
  • Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story; Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard; Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth; Toko Miura, Drive My Car; Ruth Negga, Passing
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Drive My Car, Passing, The Power of The Dog

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Videos on 2022-01-13 14:53Z by Steven

Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

PBS Newshour
2022-01-12

Melissa Williams

Rebecca Hall has been on-screen since age 10, but in her new film “Passing” she steps into the director role for the first time. It is based on a novel that was written in 1929 by Nella Lawson Larsen at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. Hall shares her Brief But Spectacular take on “Passing” and on her own racial identity as part of our arts and culture series, CANVAS.

Read the full transcript here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Can You Be “White Passing” Even if You Aren’t Trying?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-12 15:59Z by Steven

Can You Be “White Passing” Even if You Aren’t Trying?

Mother Jones
January-February 2022 Issue

Andrea Guzmán, Ben Bagdikian Editorial Fellow


Lisa Taniguchi

The phrase has become popular on social media. But there’s a lot left out of the conversation.

When pop star Olivia Rodrigo released her album Sour in May 2021, listeners took to TikTok to debate whether she was “white passing.” The question was not really about how Rodrigo perceives or publicly identifies herself. She is of both Filipino and white ancestry. Rather, it was about whether others see her as white. The Rodrigo discourse soon enflamed more general discussion about who deems one “white passing.” As one Iranian-born TikToker explained, she “did not grow up being white” when she came of age in post-9/11 America, but after others began to associate her appearance with whiteness—partially because of the rise of the Kardashians—she now recognizes the privilege of being “white passing.”

The conversation differed from how “passing” has traditionally been used in the United States. In the Jim Crow era—when “one drop” of Black ancestry subjected a person to segregation—“passing” was a deception to assume the privileges of whiteness. From 1880 to 1940, experts suspect about 20 percent of Black men passed for white at some point. It was commonly an attempt to “access things that wouldn’t have been available to them otherwise,” says Nikki Khanna, a sociology professor at the University of Vermont. But it was also a certain betrayal—leaving behind collective uplift for personal gain…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

62 Mixed-Race Celebrities Who Have Actually Talked About Their Multiracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-12 01:44Z by Steven

62 Mixed-Race Celebrities Who Have Actually Talked About Their Multiracial Identity

BuzzFeed
2021-12-23

Victoria Vouloumanos, Associate Editor

“I am who I am. I’m good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it.”

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Hannah Lowe

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-01-12 01:34Z by Steven

Hannah Lowe

Writers Mosaic
August 2020

Hannah Lowe was born in Essex in 1976 to a white English mother and Afro-Chinese Jamaican father. She studied American Literature at the University of Sussex, followed by an MA in Refugee Studies. She undertook her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2012.

Broadly, Lowe’s work is concerned with migration histories, multicultural London and the complex legacies of the British Empire. Her first poetry collection, Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013), blended these political concerns with a deeply personal and elegiac commemoration of her father, a member of the Windrush generation, who earnt a living in London through playing cards and dice. Her second collection, Chan (Bloodaxe, 2016), expanded these explorations of family in writing about the life and untimely death of her father’s cousin, the jazz saxophonist, Joe Harriott. In this book, Lowe developed a new poetic form – the ‘borderliner’ – which uses typography and double narration to explore ideas about multi-heritage experiences. Lowe’s work is often concerned with historical omissions, and in Ormonde, (Hercules Editions, 2014), she excavates the story of the SS Ormonde, on which her father migrated, and which arrived in Britain before the better known Empire Windrush. Most recently she has published the chapbook, The Neighbourhood, (Outspoken Press, 2019), which explores how communities respond to the pressures of austerity, gentrification and deportation. Her third full-length collection, The Kids, inspired by her work as an inner-city sixth form teacher, won the 2021 Costa Poetry Award…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

“The Bluest Eye” and “Imitation of Life” (1934): Variations on a Theme (Maggie Tarmey)

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 21:51Z by Steven

“The Bluest Eye” and “Imitation of Life” (1934): Variations on a Theme (Maggie Tarmey)

Toni Morrison: A Teaching and Learning Resource Collection
2021-06-08

Maggie Tarmey

The following essay is written by student Maggie Tarmey, with edits by Amardeep Singh.

While the two appear quite different from one another, Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye and the 1934 film adaptation of Imitation of Life (directed by John Stahl and adapted from Fannie Hurst’s 1933 novel of the same name) share many similarities. The Bluest Eye follows a young, dark-skinned Black girl in a small Ohio town in 1940. This girl, named Pecola Breedlove, wants to have blue eyes. It is her number one desire, and she believes that blue eyes, and only blue eyes, will make her beautiful.

In contrast, Imitation of Life follows the story of a white widow, Bea, and her Black domestic servant, Delilah, as they start a business selling Delilah’s famous pancakes. Delilah has a daughter named Peola who is so light skinned that she passes for white. Peola struggles throughout the film with her identity. While these sound like two entirely different stories, they are really not so different. I would argue that these two works similar stories from rather different perspectives. The Bluest Eye tells the story of young girls struggling with colorism and white supremacy from a Black cultural perspective with a Black audience in mind, while Imitation of Life puts forward a sanitized, far less nuanced version of a similar narrative, one that is authored by white creators (Hurst and Stahl) and targeted to predominantly white audiences…

Red the entire essay here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Marginal Citizens: Interracial intimacies and the incarceration of Japanese Canadians, 1942–1949

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2022-01-11 21:22Z by Steven

Marginal Citizens: Interracial intimacies and the incarceration of Japanese Canadians, 1942–1949

Canadian Journal of Law and Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société
Published online 2021-09-08
DOI: 10.1017/cls.2021.18

Mary Anne Vallianatos, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Victoria School of Law, British Columbia

Following Japan’s 1941 attacks on Hawai’i and Hong Kong, Canada relocated, detained, and exiled citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry. Many interracial families, however, were exempted from this racial project called the internment. The form of the exemption was an administrative permit granted to its holder on the basis of their marital or patrilineal proximity to whiteness. This article analyzes these permits relying on archival research and applying a critical race feminist lens to explore how law was constitutive of race at this moment in Canadian history. I argue that the permits recategorized interracial intimacies towards two racial ends: to differentiate the citizen from the “enemy alien”; and to regulate the interracial family according to patriarchal common law principles. This article nuances received narratives of law as an instrument of racial exclusion by documenting the way in which a new inclusive state measure sustained old exclusions.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,