Jessica Krug and the theft of Black Latina identity.

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-11 01:34Z by Steven

Jessica Krug and the theft of Black Latina identity.

Daily Kos
2020-09-05

Denise Oliver Velez


Professor Jessica A. Krug, a white woman from Kansas, who has been passing herself off as an Afro-Latina
Professor Jessica Krug, panelist, Diasporic Politics panel Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) 25th Anniversary Conference, Friday , Columbia University, April 26, 2019

We all know what identity theft is, in a world filled with cyber crimes. We’ve all watched horror films with body snatchers as the main villains. Things become far more complicated when we address the issue of humans who, for a host of warped reasons, assume a false racial or ethnic identity.

Such is the case of Professor Jessica A. Krug, who is currently an Associate Professor of African American history at George Washington University. Krug has for years portrayed herself as Black, and Afro-Latina, while publishing her academic work, receiving grant funding, teaching and also acting as a Afro-Latina political activist from the Bronx under the pseudonym “Jess La Bombalera,” all the while hiding her real self — a white woman from Kansas City.

Her exposure as a fraud, has unleashed a firestorm of pushback on social media and in academia, similar to the exposure of black-passing Rachel Dolezal in 2015…

Read the entire article here.

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‘My mum calls me the N-word’ – the reality of growing up mixed race with a racist parent

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-09-11 01:19Z by Steven

‘My mum calls me the N-word’ – the reality of growing up mixed race with a racist parent

gal-dem
2020-09-05

Emma

Being a person of colour with a white parent who holds racist views is more common than you might think. Emma explores the emotional trauma of being brought up in a racist home.

A few days after the tragic death of George Floyd, when Americans took to the streets in righteous anger, my dad condemned the protests, remarking that Black people should be less afraid of the police and more so of “blacks with guns in inner cities”. Unsurprisingly, this unsavoury conversation escalated. My dad, as you might guess, is white, but I am not. Not for the first time, I was left wondering how, as a mixed race Black woman with a socially conservative white father, I reconcile with the fact that my dad might be racist?

The current racial climate has led to many people having difficult conversations about race with their families, often for the first time. Social media has been awash with handy tips and tricks for instigating conversations with uninformed family members. Instagram swipe-through posts with titles like “How to tell someone you love that they’re being racist” and “Nine counter-arguments to use against your conservative parents” ad infinitum have proliferated.

This is all well and good for white people. But what happens when the white parent in question has a Black child? Mixed race families are sometimes heralded as the ultimate antidote to racism, and a signifier of racial progress – but the reality is often far more complex. Family setups like mine are often difficult to navigate and can produce emotionally challenging situations. While the sense of urgency and pressure to educate friends and family generated by the Black Lives Matter movement is incredibly important, it can put mixed race people in an uncomfortable position. How do you balance the obligation to educate a white parent who holds racist views while protecting your own mental health?…

Read the entire article here.

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Black, Native American and Fighting for Recognition in Indian Country

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2020-09-11 01:10Z by Steven

Black, Native American and Fighting for Recognition in Indian Country

The New York Times
2020-09-08

Jack Healy, Rocky Mountain correspondent


Ron Graham’s father, Theodore Graham, center, as a youth with his youngest sibling, Rowena, on his lap, in a photograph from around 1912. Mr. Graham spent decades assembling documentation showing that he is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. via Ron Graham

Enslaved people were also driven west along the Trail of Tears. After a historic Supreme Court ruling, their descendants are fighting to be counted as tribal members.

OKMULGEE, Okla. — Ron Graham never had to prove to anyone that he was Black. But he has spent more than 30 years haunting tribal offices and genealogical archives, fighting for recognition that he is also a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

“We’re African-American,” Mr. Graham, 55, said. “But we’re Native American also.”

His family history is part of a little-known saga of bondage, blood and belonging within tribal nations, one that stretches from the Trail of Tears to this summer of uprisings in America’s streets over racial injustice.

His ancestors are known as Creek Freedmen. They were among the thousands of African-Americans who were once enslaved by tribal members in the South and who migrated to Oklahoma when the tribes were forced off their homelands and marched west in the 1830s…

Read the entire article here.

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On Jessica Krug and Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-10 01:27Z by Steven

On Jessica Krug and Mixed Race Identity

Medium
2020-09-08

Josephine

The revelation in fall 2020 that Jessica Krug, a white American woman, just like Rachel Dolezal before her, spent years holding herself out as Black and Black Latina woman made us all cringe. Krug took pains to make her skin appear bronzed, she dressed in form-fitting clothing, and kept her hair dyed dark black, adding in curly or wavy texture for good measure. We all remember Dolezal’s kinky textured blonde hair and braids that gave her a distinctly ‘mixed race’ look. These women hogged the limelight and took employment and community outreach opportunities from Black women.

Their masquerade has prompted a conversation within the Black and Latinx communities around colorism: the way that light-skinned, mixed race, and white-passing Black women seem to get opportunities that are not available to dark-skinned Black women.

As long as I can remember, American movies with a Black man as the protagonist invariably had him fall in love with a Black woman who appeared mixed race. As a mixed race woman, I noticed this, and I could see how unfair it was: the subtle message was that I would be accepted as beautiful in the black community. Looking back, I see how those same films and series made dark-skinned women question their worth.

Remember Dorothy Dandridge’s ‘exotic’ beauty? We wonder why black women feel pressure to straighten their hair and lighten their skin, but in popular culture, we have all been conditioned to see light-skinned women as the only presentable face of black womanhood. The use of mixed race women as the face of blackness has long left out the majority of Black women who have a beauty that is not contingent on detectable quantum of white blood…

Read the entire article here.

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White GWU professor admits she falsely claimed Black identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-09-03 19:45Z by Steven

White GWU professor admits she falsely claimed Black identity

The Washington Post
2020-09-03

Lauren Lumpkin and Susan Svrluga


A George Washington University history professor falsely claimed a Black identity throughout her life, she admitted Thursday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

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Jessica A. Krug, an associate professor at George Washington University, said she’s claimed a Black identity throughout her career.

A history professor at George Washington University admitted in a blog post to claiming a Black identity, despite being White.

Jessica A. Krug said she has deceived friends and colleagues by falsely claiming several identities, including “North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she wrote in a blog post on Medium. Krug, whose areas of expertise include African American history, Africa and Latin America, is White and Jewish, she admitted.

“I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” Krug wrote. “I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.”

Neither Krug nor the university immediately returned a request for comment.

Krug, in the blog post, said she has been battling “unaddressed mental health demons” for her entire life. She said she started to assume a false identity as a child.

Read the entire article here.

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The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-09-03 19:17Z by Steven

The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies

Medium
2020-09-03

Jessica A. Krug, Associate Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

For the better part of my adult life, every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.

Not just any lies.

To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness. I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love…

Read the entire essay here.

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Journalist Quits Kenosha Paper in Protest of Its Jacob Blake Rally Coverage

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-09-03 18:29Z by Steven

Journalist Quits Kenosha Paper in Protest of Its Jacob Blake Rally Coverage

The New York Times
2020-08-31

Marc Tracy


The journalist Daniel J. Thompson resigned in protest from his job at The Kenosha News after objecting to its coverage of a rally in support of Jacob Blake. Daniel J. Thompson

Daniel Thompson, an editor at The Kenosha News, resigned over a headline that highlighted a speaker who made a threat during a peaceful protest.

A journalist resigned on Saturday from his job at The Kenosha News after objecting to the headline of an article that chronicled a rally in support of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in the back by a white Kenosha police officer.

The journalist, Daniel J. Thompson, a digital editor who said he was the only full-time Black staff member at the paper, which covers southeastern Wisconsin, said the headline did not accurately sum up the article and gave a false impression of the rally itself, which he attended. The rally for Mr. Blake, who was left paralyzed by the shooting on Aug. 23, included calls for unity from his father, Jacob Blake Sr., and Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, the article said.

The headline, which appeared on the Kenosha News website on Saturday, highlighted a remark from one rally participant: “Kenosha speaker: ‘If you kill one of us, it’s time for us to kill one of yours.’” The online version of the article included a 59-second video showing the person who spoke those words, a Black man who was not identified by name.

Mr. Thompson, who joined the paper’s newsroom three years ago, said he found the headline off-base. “The story is about the entire reaction of all the speakers and people in attendance, and that quote is one outlier falling within a flood of positive ones,” he said in an interview…

Read the entire article here.

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BLM resources: Nella Larson’s ‘Passing’

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-08-28 23:54Z by Steven

BLM resources: Nella Larson’s ‘Passing’

Palatinate: Durham’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1948
Durham, United Kingdom
2020-07-28

Anna De Vivo


Image: Thomas E. Askew via U.S. Library of Congress

‘She was caught between two allegiances, different, yet the same. Herself. Her race. Race! The thing that bound and suffocated her.’ Written in 1929 but still pertinent to this day, Nella Larsen’s Passing centres around two biracial women, and explores racial identity, racism, and white privilege –significant concerns which have been propelled after the surge of global support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Racial passing is when one member of a racial group is accepted or passes as another member of a different racial category, which both protagonists of this novella undergo. The idea of racial passing gained prominence in post-Civil War America, where previously enslaved African Americans could construct a new identity and thereby evade legal and cultural oppression based on race. In essence, passing could become a tool to create a new white identity.

In Passing, after a chance encounter in the segregated Drayton Hotel in Chicago, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, the two protagonists, reunite after twelve years. Both women grew up together. Both women are of African American and white heritage, yet both women pass as white. But there is one significant difference: whilst Irene embraces her racial identity and passes only when she feels necessary, Clare assimilates into a white identity and marries John Bellew, her rich but racist husband…

Read the entire article here.

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Suddenly a Person of Color [Plötzlich Person of Color]

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2020-08-26 00:50Z by Steven

Suddenly a Person of Color [Plötzlich Person of Color]

Die Zeit
Hamburg, Germany
2020-08-14

Von Fernanda Thome de Souza

Graciously translated from German into English for me by Gyavira Lasana and his wife Anne.


Ein Leben in Abhängigkeit von der Beurteilung der eigenen Hautfarbe: in Brasilien Subjekt, in Deutschland Objekt © . liane ./​unsplash.com

In Brazil, I was white and privileged, but in Germany I was not white enough. That told me a lot about racism and social participation.

Fernanda Thome de Souza, born in Sao Paulo, has lived in Berlin since 2008, working as a freelance writer, journalist and copywriter. She is a guest author of “10 to 8.” © private

In my first months in Berlin, when I was in the city, I was busy reading subway plans, translating social codes and discovering new landscapes. So I didn’t immediately notice that there was something particularly uncomfortable for me behind the differences and the new.

At some point, in the subway, in the supermarket, at work, I began to feel a disturbing look at my body, burdened with a reproach I had never experienced before. To this day, this gaze, which is determined in transmitting its message, accompanies me. He draws a clear line: that of the territory to which he belongs, where I am read as a stranger, the one that comes from outside.

My skin is dark, my eyebrows are thick, my hair is black and curled. Where I was born, in Brazil, I am white. A fact that is often difficult for Germans to understand. In Berlin I discovered myself as a Person of Color. This process did not happen overnight, but it definitely began with the perception of this depifting gaze.

While, as white people in Brazil, I have the legitimacy to occupy spaces – whether public, academic, professional, or cultural – as a matter of course, my presence here is called into question. While I live in Brazil the privilege of neutrality (I am the center, the “normal”, the subject), in Germany the equation has reversed. Because of my appearance, I was transformed into “the other”, an object of the edge, prone to the arbitrariness of the German white gaze.

I have been living with this ambiguity for twelve years. That, of course, changed me. Oscillating between different sides of social geographies, even from a safe place, has forced me to look beyond my horizons and question my own role. I have started to talk to other Brazilians living in a similar situation in Berlin. I wanted to know if it was just me. What is whiteness in Brazil? Why do we in Germany stop being white? How can the complex backgrounds be described? What have we learned and how has it changed our self-image and our relationship with the society to which we belong?

Legacy of European Colonialism

Brazil is an extremely racist country – a legacy of centuries-old European colonialism. After the abolition of slavery, at the beginning of the 20th century, a group of Brazilian intellectuals was first engaged in formulating the self-image of the young Republic of Brazil. Based on ethnic mixing, the theory of a supposed harmony between the different groups was developed.

Notwithstanding the fact that this ethnic mix-up was caused by the rape of black and indigenous women by white men, the idea served as evidence that there was no racism in Brazil and that in this tropical paradise, everyone, regardless of color or origin, would have equal opportunities. The notorious myth of so-called racial democracy was thus born and disseminated. For decades, racism has been kept out of debate and public policy, and has increasingly become established in all areas of social structure.

Today, the statistics show the brutal ethnic inequality in the country. While the indigenous population has been almost wiped out and now accounts for only 0.4 percent of total society, blacks – just over half of the total population – are systematically oppressed. Seventy-five percent of those killed by the police, 64 percent of the prison inmates and 75 percent of the poorest are black. Every 23 minutes, a young black man is killed in Brazil. Their biographies and struggles are not in the history books, and their religions are still subject to constant persecution.

“Whiteness” in Brazil

Germans, Italians, Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, Japanese and all the other groups that were part of the various waves of migration that have arrived in Brazil since the 19th century were accepted and treated as free people. This immediately gave them advantages and privileges. While the newly liberated black population was let down by the system, immigrants were given subsidized travel tickets and a job guarantee. Europeans were often given additional land for the establishment of colonies, driven by an effort to “wash” the Brazilian population whiter. In Brazil, color is inextricably linked to the class.

“Being white in Brazil means not suffering from racism,” says Berlin-based writer Fred Di Giacomo Rocha. It is said that they are not constantly being watched in the supermarket, that they are not afraid of the police and that they have access to lawyers. It is the knowledge that one’s own rights are respected by the institutions.

The choreographer and stage artist Rodrigo Garcia Alves explains the inequality in the state of schools. “Sending your own children to the best private school in the city is a mark of being white. These are only white environments. Because Brazil is not only a racist country, but also a classicist country.” In fact, enough teachers, hot meals, and school safety are a right reserved for whites, who are already entering the brutal competition for the best university places with a head start. In this context, privilege softens with reward for achievement – social inequality is entrenched.

In the 21st century, being white in Brazil still means coming through the front door and having domestic workers, who are mostly black and underpaid. “It’s impossible not to talk about who is serving and who is being served,” says school social worker D. Wiltshire Soares. “These relationships, which on the one hand are very emotional, on the other hand are also full of violence,” adds Lia Ishida, a Doctoral student in German studies. “It’s about integrating these people into the family without making them equal. A situation very similar to slavery.”

Fall into the European colonial fantasy

We white Brazilians come to Germany with European passports, higher education, fluent English, university places, money in our pockets and all the security, self-respect and arrogance that has been granted to us throughout our lives through historical privileges. Our bodies do not carry the traumas of racism. And yet we have definitely lost the “white status” we were used to here. And what does that mean?

As the Portuguese interdisciplinary artist and author Grada Kilomba put it in her book Plantation Memories, although there are Germans of all skin colors, the colonial fantasy prevails that being German means being white. It is a racism in which prejudice and discrimination arise not from an idea of the superiority of individual “races”, but on the basis of ideas of nation, ethnicity and cultural differences, incompatibilities and hierarchies.

What racism does to all of us

Since being German in the hegemonic imagination means first of all being white, I am automatically marked as someone who does not belong here.

This is the first “transition” of a Brazilian who ceases to be white: the loss of neutrality and the position of the subject. We will immediately become objects that are observed and questioned. Kilomba explains this by referring in her text to the Afro-German experience. While the white subject is preoccupied with the question “What do I see?”, the subject of color is forced to deal with the question “What do they see?” And what they see is not born of a mere interest in the story we have to tell, but from the projection of white fantasies about what we should be.

The experiences of the Brazilians I have spoken to coincide with mine. Deprived of our human complexity, we are reduced to stereotypes that in no way reflect our identity. If you read a Brazilian with a beard as a “terrorist Arab,” he becomes a “harmless Iberian” without a beard. The clothes we wear tell us whether we are read as Syrians or Italians, which means being considered suspicious or not.

Subordination and condescension

Because of this colonial dialectic, as Grada Kilomba defines it, the white subject deserves a position of authority, while the racist is forced to subordination. This hierarchy in relations is repeated from one area to another and represents a loss of status for Brazilians, who until then saw themselves as whites. Actually accustomed to hegemony, our mobility is suddenly monitored, our environment is reduced, our habits and behaviors are questioned and corrected, and finally our experiences and points of view are simplified and disqualified.

When Di Giacomo Rocha presented his latest book at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019, he criticized the German condescension. The universal voice is a white domain. In his opinion, Latin American literature only gains space when it talks about its regionality, its exotic peripheral reality.

Theories like Kilomba’s have helped me not only to process my experiences in Germany, but above all to understand the extent of my privileges, their structures and the origins of violence. There is an urgent need to break with the white idea of universality. The systematic small-termization of marginal voices is not only used to secure the status quo. It allows the privileged classes to be ignorant of realities of which they prefer not to know. If there is a moral and legitimate obligation to combat racism, there is an urgent need for stolen spaces to be returned to their actual owners. It is necessary to read these voices, to listen to them and to get to know them. Until we irrevocably understand what racism does to us as a society and as a human being.

Read the article in German here.

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This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-08-26 00:08Z by Steven

This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker

The Up Coming
2019-08-10

Michael Higgs

Featuring four new plays by emerging black writers, Steven Kavuma’s This Is Black is a highly anticipated festival that promises to be a success. The first part of the festival, Double Bill I, presents highly passionate and thoughtful performances of two one-handers, which leave plenty of room for thought.

Written by and starring Macadie Amoroso, Blue Beneath My Skin features the life story of a 17-year-old mixed-race girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but who frequently encounters setbacks through an onslaught of sexism and racism. Amoroso’s acting is top-notch and full of soul, never failing to be convincing even for a single moment. The writing, too, is very strong for the most part – although the occasional irregular use of rhyme, probably a leftover from spoken-word-poetry, does mar the overall presentation somewhat. Plot-wise, the ending also feels rather forced and unlikely. But these minor hiccups are hardly detrimental to an otherwise outstanding performance, which takes a particularly fascinating point of view in exploring racial tensions and questions of identity when being of a mixed heritage…

Read the entire review here.

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