Lynette Linton: ‘Why are we not marching in the streets?’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2019-01-12 03:28Z by Steven

Lynette Linton: ‘Why are we not marching in the streets?’

The Guardian
2019-01-02

Bridget Minamore


Lynette Linton, incoming artistic director of the Bush Theatre in London, photographed during rehearsals for Sweat. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Fuelled by passion and outrage, the playwright and director is shaking up theatre with works about Windrush to an all-women-of-colour Richard II – and now she’s taking over the Bush in London

Lynette Linton is known for her deep love of Michael Jackson. The director and playwright has said that, in a parallel universe, her ideal job would be the King of Pop’s backup dancer. When I ask her why she loves him so much, she replies as though the answer is obvious. Jackson, she says, was a theatremaker. “If you watch his performances, that’s a show, it’s an experience. Everything from his toe to his eyebrow was activated, and you want your audiences to faint like they did when they saw him.” Does she want the audience for Sweat, her current production at the Donmar Warehouse in London, to faint in the aisles? Linton laughs, and points out that Sweat’s playwright, Lynn Nottage, has signed on to write the book for a forthcoming Broadway musical about Jackson. Everything, it seems, is connected.

To many in British theatre, Linton is one of the industry’s friendliest and most exciting figures. As an assistant director she has worked with Kwame Kwei-Armah and Michael Grandage; she has been an associate director of the Gate in Notting Hill, and she has written for both Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Arcola in east London, her plays exploring mixed-race identity (2017’s Hashtag Lightie), queerness (2013’s Step) and inner-city London’s chicken shops (2015’s Chicken Palace)…

…Much of Linton’s work has touched on who she is and where she comes from, with her forthcoming Windrush films a tribute to her mixed British Caribbean heritage. “My dad is from Guyana, and he sat me and my brother down [as children] and was like, ‘You are black, the world will see you as black.’” The Windrush scandal is something that has affected her deeply. “I spoke to theatre people, saying, ‘Why are we not responding to this? Why are we not in the streets marching?’ They’re sending families home. It makes me feel sick.” Linton’s voice shakes a little. “Even now, it chokes me. The people they’re targeting are elders, man. People are having heart attacks and have died because of this.” Still, her films – which are to be screened at the Royal Court in London – will have “a massive celebration at the core. It was really important to me that we took over a building and celebrated West Indian culture.”…

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Tuscaloosa author writes children’s book about biracial daughter

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-12 02:16Z by Steven

Tuscaloosa author writes children’s book about biracial daughter

The Tuscaloosa News
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
2019-01-09

Kelcey Sexton, Staff Writer


Monique Fields, a children’s author from Tuscaloosa, stands with her first published book Saturday, July 21, 2018. [Staff file photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Monique Fields remembers when she got inspiration for “Honeysmoke.”

It was when her eldest daughter began asking questions about herself, namely about the color of her skin. They were questions that took her by surprise because Simone was only 3 years old.

“She started asking questions about who she is, and I didn’t really have any good answers for her,” Fields said.

It seemed early for her to be paying such close attention to things like that.

“Basically, she pointed to my face one day, and she said, ‘Mommy’s a black girl.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, Mommy’s a black girl,’ ” she said. ”(Then Simone) said, ‘Simone is a white girl.’ ”

Fields, 48, admitted she really didn’t know the best way to respond to that and told Simone, no, she was a black girl like Mommy.

“Which is not true and was not the thing to do,” she said. “Then (Simone’s dad) Ken said, ‘You have a little bit of both worlds. You’re a little bit of Mommy and a little bit of Daddy.’…

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Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing in Latin America: Brazil and Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2019-01-12 01:55Z by Steven

Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing in Latin America: Brazil and Mexico

Sociologia & Antropologia
Volume 8, Number 2: (May/August 2018)
pages 427-456
DOI: 10.1590/2238-38752017v824

Graziella Moraes Silva, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
Geneva, Switzerland; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Emiko Saldivar, Continuing Lecturer
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Barbara

By the end of the twentieth century, with the rise of multicultural discourses and identity politics, Latin American ideologies of racial mixture had become increasingly denounced as myths that conceal (and thus support) the reproduction of racial inequalities. These studies have largely been guided by comparisons between countries with widespread racial mixing (usually Brazil, Mexico or Colombia) and countries in which it was less encouraged and visible (most commonly, the USA). In this paper we move the focus to the diverse ways in which racial mixture currently impacts racial formations in the Latin America, looking initially at Brazil and Mexico, two of the largest countries in the region, and also those with the largest Afro-descendent and indigenous populations in the continent. For comparison, we analyze survey data from the PERLA project.

INTRODUCTION

Academic interpretations of racial mixing in Latin America, particularly in the North American literature, underwent a radical change during the second half of the twentieth century.1 After World War II, ‘Latin American miscegenation’ was seen as an alternative to ethnic and racial exclusions that had triggered the Jewish holocaust and had been a source of violent conflicts in the United States during the Jim Crow era and in South African apartheid during the 1950s and 1960s. But by the end of the twentieth century, with the rise of multicultural discourses and identity politics, Latin American ideologies of racial mixture became increasingly denounced as myths that conceal (and thus support) the reproduction of racial inequalities (e.g. De la Cadena, 2000; Hanchard, 1994).

These studies have largely been guided by comparisons between countries with widespread racial mixing (usually Brazil, Mexico or Colombia) and countries in which it was less encouraged and visible (most commonly, the USA). Such comparisons have largely contributed to a better understanding of miscegenation as an ideology that allowed racial inequalities to remain more invisible in the Latin American context throughout most of the twentieth century (e.g. Telles, 2003 and Knight, 1990). More recently, a number of authors have also stressed the influence of Latin American ideas of miscegenation in the transformation of racial inequalities in the United States, a phenomenon that has been labeled the Latin Americanization of American race relations (e.g. Bonilla-Silva, 2004). Exploring this comparison, these studies have usually treated racial mixture as a coherent ideology shared across the region.

In this paper we propose to shift the focus onto the diverse ways in which racial mixture currently impacts racial formations in the region. Empirically, we turn our gaze to Brazil and Mexico, two of the largest countries in Latin America, and also those with the largest Afro-descendant and indigenous populations in the continent. As in most countries in the region, ideologies of racial mixture were instrumental to the construction of their national identity: first as a strategy for whitening (Stepan, 1991) and later as tools for assimilation (e.g. Freyre, 1946, and Gamio, 2010). Today, ideas of racial mixing remain central in both Brazil and Mexico, but racial politics are significantly different. Brazil has increasingly seen black (pretos) and brown (pardos) people join forces to address racial inequalities, arguing that mixed pardos are in similar conditions to blacks. Mexico, by contrast, still advocates the benefits of racial mixture, avoiding the discussion of race and racial inequalities on the grounds that most of the population is mixed.

Our paper unfolds as follows: first we explore the role of racial mixing in the nation building processes in Brazil and Mexico. We emphasize the similarities in the ways in which this idea has been articulated in the two countries historically, but also the important differences, something often overlooked in the literature. Next, turning to PERLA data (presented in our methods section), we discuss how these differences have created distinct perceptions of racial identification in Brazil and Mexico, focusing on three dimensions: (1) the relationship between racial identification and skin color, (2) the relationship between racial mixture and cultural differences, and (3) the impact of racial mixture on ethnoracial inequalities.2 We conclude by stressing the need for more comparative studies between Latin American countries in order to better understand the diversity of mestizaje projects and their differential impacts in the region…

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Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy by Alisha Gaines (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-09 22:27Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy by Alisha Gaines (review)

Journal of Southern History
The Southern Historical Association
Volume 84, Number 3, August 2018
pages 787-789
DOI: 10.1353/soh.2018.0230

Martha J. Cutter, Professor of English and Africana Studies
University of Connecticut

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. By Alisha Gaines. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017. Pp. xvi, 213. Paper, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-4696-3283-4; cloth, $80.00, 978-1-4696-3282-7.)

For many years, we have been told that passing is passé. Yet the recent media frenzy surrounding Rachel Dolezal proves that U.S. culture is still vehemently invested in defining the boundaries of whiteness and blackness. When I flashed a PowerPoint slide of Dolezal last spring in my African American literature class, students broke into a cacophony of groans, shouts, and exclamations of “she’s not black!” I was surprised that all but one of my students instantly recognized Dolezal’s image and that virtually everyone had an opinion about her. The plethora of recent books on racial passing—both on African Americans who pass as white and Anglo Americans who pass as black—further demonstrates this topic’s great fascination. Despite postmodern views that race is a construct, scholars often want to pin a racial passer into one category, usually as either a seeker of freedom from racial codes or a betrayer of his or her “true” race. Yet few have considered what passing tells us about our own investments in racial binaries.

I therefore turned with pleasure to Alisha Gaines’s thoughtful book, Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy, which joins a slim list of studies of “‘passing, in reverse'”: the phenomenon of white people who pass for and sometimes claim to become black (p. 17). Other books on this subject include Baz Dreisinger’s Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture (Amherst, Mass., 2008) and some chapters in Julie Cary Nerad’s edited collection, Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010 (Albany, N.Y., 2014). Gaines mentions only one of these works, although I trust that she has consulted both of them.

Gaines’s book is well written and compelling. Her argument that white people’s attempts at “cross-racial empathy” and identification often fail because of their refusal to consider the larger structural and institutional causes of racism is certainly sound (p. 8). Moreover, her use of archival sources is exemplary. I have written about white-to-black passing, yet I still learned much factual information about the passers she studies, including Ray Sprigle, a journalist who published In the Land of Jim Crow (1949); John Howard Griffin, whose book Black Like Me (1961) eclipsed the accounts of all other would-be white passers; Grace Halsell, a white woman and a journalist who took on Griffin’s mantle and published Soul Sister (1969); and finally, the families who switched races in the six-episode television series Black. White. (2006). The book concludes with a short examination of Rachel Dolezal, whom Gaines refuses to consider as “transracial” because the theorization of this term “falls apart” (p. 170). She explains that “blackness becomes the space of racial play, performance, and affect, whereas whiteness does not” (p. 170). This ignores that some light-skinned African Americans did play with whiteness (Jean Toomer, for example) and that some white people crossed over into blackness never to come back (Clarence King and Mezz Mezzrow, for instance). Gaines focuses on creating a genealogy of “temporary black individuals operating under the alibi of racial empathy” in order to illustrate the frequent failure of cross-racial empathy and intimacy (p. 8). Still, I found myself wondering what conclusions Gaines might have reached had she looked at less famous individuals who passed permanently into blackness.

As I have argued elsewhere, passing is a slippery term with roots in deceit and disguise, magic and transformation. The examples Gaines has chosen to include support her argument that temporary assumptions of blackness cannot lead to structural or institutional change. The book might have benefited from a deeper excavation of previous scholarship on white-to-black passing and empathy, but even so, Gaines offers a valuable assessment of how white people problematically inhabit the…

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Introducing Lynette Linton as our new Artistic Director

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-01-09 21:32Z by Steven

Introducing Lynette Linton as our new Artistic Director

Bush Green: Conversations, dispatches and ideas from the Bush Theatre
Bush Theater
Shepherd’s Bush, London, United Kingdom
2018-11-14

We are thrilled to announce that Lynette Linton will become our new Artistic Director in January 2019.

Lynette has made her name as a groundbreaking director and writer. She was previously Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse and Associate Director at the Gate Theatre from 2016 to 2017 where she set up the Young Associate company. She is currently directing the UK premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer prize winning play Sweat (Donmar Warehouse) and will then co-direct Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe) in early 2019. The production will mark the first ever company of women of colour in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage. She is co-founder of theatre and film production company Black Apron Entertainment who are producing Passages: A Windrush Celebration with the Royal Court, a project she also curated. As a writer her credits include Hashtag Lightie (Arcola Theatre), Chicken Palace and Step (Theatre Royal Stratford East)…

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Reconstructing Latin America’s African past

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-07 02:13Z by Steven

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past

UCI News
Irvine, California
2019-01-02

Lilibeth Garcia, Social Media Manager

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past
“This has become a collaboration on a worldwide level that now involves anthropologists, linguists, geneticists and musicologists,” says Armin Schwegler, UCI professor of Spanish & Portuguese, of the Palenque project. “It’s become much broader, and we’re learning all kinds of things that were not known just 25 years ago.” Steve Zylius / UCI

UCI professor uses linguistics, DNA to help long-isolated Colombian community descended from escaped slaves find its roots

Thirty years ago, Armin Schwegler traveled to Colombia to visit the Palenque people, an ethnic group dating to the 18th century that speaks a unique, Spanish-based Creole language, Palenquero. The original members were runaway slaves who succeeded in becoming the first officially freed black slaves anywhere in the Americas. Living in virtual isolation for more than 300 years, the Palenqueros have managed to retain their native ancestral culture, much of which originated in sub-Saharan Africa.

“To this day, they are phenotypically the darkest, most ‘African’ community in Latin America,” says Schwegler, a UCI professor of Spanish & Portuguese.

A common misconception is that the slave trade was essentially a North American phenomenon. Actually, Latin America received 96 percent of all African slaves. In the 17th century, Cartagena de Indias – in Colombia – was the region’s main slave market, and it was from this port city that the Palenqueros escaped to become maroons. Their official history was never written down, and until recently, their African origins were completely unknown…

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White Women’s Role in School Segregation

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2019-01-07 01:45Z by Steven

White Women’s Role in School Segregation

JSTOR Daily
2019-01-04

Livia Gershon
Nashua, New Hampshire

A classroom of white students in the 19th century
via Flickr

White American women have long played significant roles in maintaining racist practices. One sociologist calls the phenomenon “social mothering.”

In recent years, many public conversations about American racism have focused on white women—their votes for Trump, their opposition to school desegregation, their calls to the police about black people doing innocuous things. As sociologist Joseph O. Jewell points out, however, this is nothing new. White women have long played a role in maintaining institutional racism in this country.

Jewell focuses on two nineteenth-century incidents involving school segregation. The post-Civil War era was a time of changing racial and gender ideologies. White Anglo-Protestant families in U.S. cities viewed the growing visibility of upwardly mobile racial outsiders as a threat. Meanwhile, public schools and other institutions serving children were growing, creating new roles for middle-class white women—what Jewell calls “social mothering.”

In 1868, a white New Orleans engineer and Confederate army veteran learned there were nonwhite students attending his daughter’s school. When questioned, the school’s principal, the ironically-named Stephanie Bigot, provided a list of twenty-eight students “known, or generally reputed to be colored”—presumably girls whose appearances were passably “white.” Bigot claimed that she had no knowledge of their racial backgrounds but that there were rumors among the student body that they were not white.

Jewell writes that the enrollment of racially ambiguous girls posed a particular threat to white New Orleans families. “Allegations of racial passing compromised the entire student body’s ability to secure either marriage into a ‘good’ family or ‘respectable’ employment,” he writes…

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Will it be a black woman who turfs Trump out of the White House?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2019-01-07 01:20Z by Steven

Will it be a black woman who turfs Trump out of the White House?

The Guardian
2019-01-06

Richard Wolfe


Harris in California, 2018. ‘The key primary test for all candidates will be who can best take the fight to Trump while still talking to voters beyond the reach of his tweets.’ Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Democrat Kamala Harris embodies the driving force behind the party’s electoral surge. She may be their best bet for 2020

Life, as Donald Trump has known it for the last two years, has just changed forever. Quagmired in a government shutdown of his own making, Trump’s ability to manipulate his world is already severely constrained in this very new year. The more he struggles against his new surroundings, the more he sinks.

Last week the president could only watch his beloved cable news channels as a bystander to the biggest tectonic shifts, as the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first candidate to officially emerge to run against him next year. And it won’t be long before the House launches several investigations into corruption and incompetence, while the Mueller investigation continues to tighten several nooses around all things Trumpian…

…But one likely candidate particularly intrigues. Kamala Harris embodies the driving force pushing Democrats to record turnouts in non-presidential contests over the last two years: women of colour. The California senator has served just two years in Congress – like the last freshman senator to win the Democratic nomination, in 2008. But unlike Barack Obama, Harris has a very significant record of public service in her pre-Senate career, serving as her state’s attorney general for six years and as San Francisco’s district attorney for seven years.

While all the Democratic candidates can appeal beyond their own demographics, personal perspectives can and do influence political character. There’s no mystery about why Trump performs so well with older white men. And there should be no surprise that Harris – the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants – has already won the overwhelming support and respect of influential women of colour who will help shape the Democratic primaries…

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A mixed-race woman’s long quest to prove her Native American ancestry

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-01-05 20:47Z by Steven

A mixed-race woman’s long quest to prove her Native American ancestry

The Washington Post
2019-01-04

Neely Tucker, Contributing reporter


Darnella Davis, center, with her siblings and their parents, John and Mary, in 1955. Mary was Muscogee Creek, and John said he had Cherokee blood; a grandfather received a land allotment for Native Americans. But Darnella’s Indian heritage was later disputed. (University of New Mexico Press; courtesy of Lafayette West)

When Darnella Davis was a shy, “sandy-colored and sandy-haired” teenager growing up in Detroit in the 1960s, she knew she was “part Indian.” It wasn’t entirely clear what that meant. In that era of Motown, the civil rights movement and the devastating 1967 riot/rebellion that wrecked that city, she knew that her Oklahoma-based family was not culturally kin to the black neighbors who’d fled sharecropping and the Deep South. As a standout arts student at the city’s premier (and racially mixed) high school, Cass Tech, she knew she wasn’t white, either.

Her dad talked of growing up as a Cherokee kid; people sometimes called her Muscogee Creek mom “Pocahontas,” and the family drove 19 hours to their ancestral spot in northeast Oklahoma every summer and school holiday. Her grandfather, Crugee Adams, had once grown rich there, drawing on the mineral rights of his land allotment for Native Americans dating back to the late 19th century.

So imagine her surprise when she applied for a post-graduate scholarship in Boston reserved for Native Americans and was told, both by the state of Massachusetts and the Cherokee Nation, that she wasn’t Indian, either. The resulting, decades-long experience of white and Native American bureaucrats telling her what percentage of Indian blood she must possess to qualify as a certified member of the tribe proved to be the background for “Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage: A Personal History of the Allotment Era.”…

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Other(ing) People’s Children: Social Mothering, Schooling, and Race in Late Nineteenth Century New Orleans and San Francisco

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Economics, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2019-01-05 20:01Z by Steven

Other(ing) People’s Children: Social Mothering, Schooling, and Race in Late Nineteenth Century New Orleans and San Francisco

Race, Gender & Class
Volume 21, No. 3/4, RGC Intersectionalilty, Race, Gender, Class, Health, Justice Issues (2014)
pages 138-155

Joseph O. Jewell, Associate Professor of Sociology
Texas A&M University

Social mothering—women’s carework in the public sphere—played an important role in whites’ responses to racial minorities’ claims to middle-class mobility and identity in the late nineteenth century. In New Orleans and San Francisco, two cities where racial minorities used public education to achieve and reproduce middle-class position, white women principals were central figures in struggles over schooling that contributed to the de jure segregation of black and Asian children. I analyze two historical cases to show how racialized constructions of social mothering helped to maintain links between race and class. In both incidents, public opinion held white professional women responsible for ensuring the racial purity of white children’s public spaces and social identities. I argue that analyses of the race-class intersection should more carefully consider how the economic domination of racial minorities is maintained through various gendered forms of reproductive labor.

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