Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Philosophy on 2019-09-18 01:45Z by Steven

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

W. W. Norton
192 pages
5.5 × 8.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-60886-1

Thomas Chatterton Williams

A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics.

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations—but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

“It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,” Williams writes. “It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.” Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time.

Note from Steven F. Riley: See Chatterton Williams’ article “Black and Blue and Blond” in the Volume 91, Number 1 (Winter 2015) edition of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Multiracial Cultural Attunement

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Justice, Social Science, Social Work, Teaching Resources, United States on 2019-09-17 19:26Z by Steven

Multiracial Cultural Attunement

NASW Press
October 2019
2018 pages
Item #5440
ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-87101-544-0

Kelly Faye Jackson, Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Arizona State University

Gina Miranda Samuels, Associate Professor
School of Social Service Administration
The University of Chicago

“What are you?” “But you don’t sound black!” “Aw, mixed-race babies are so cute!” These microaggressions can deeply affect an individual’s basic development, identity, sense of security, and belonging. Rather than having “the best of both worlds,” research suggests that multiracial people and families experience similar or higher rates of racism, bullying, separation, suicide, and divorce than their single-race-identified peers. Multiracial people and families don’t face these challenges because they are multiracial, but because dominant constructions of race, rooted in white supremacy, privilege single-race identities. It is this foundation of monocentrism that perpetuates the continued pathologizing and exotifying of people and families of mixed-race heritage. Furthermore, pervasive but misguided claims of colorblindness often distort the salience of race and racism in our society for all people of color. This reinforces and enables the kind of racism and discrimination that many multiracial families and people experience, often leaving them to battle their oppression and discrimination alone.

In this book, Jackson and Samuels draw from their own research and direct practice with multiracial individuals and families, and also a rich interdisciplinary science and theory base, to share their model of multiracial cultural attunement. Core to this model are the four foundational principles of critical multiraciality, multidimensionality and intersectionality, social constructivism, and social justice. Throughout, the authors demonstrate how to collaboratively nurture clients’ emerging identities, identify struggles and opportunities, and deeply engage clients’ strengths and resiliencies. Readers are challenged to embrace this model as a guide to go beyond the comfort zone of their own racialized experiences to disrupt the stigma and systems of racism and monoracism that can inhibit the well-being of multiracial people and families.

With case studies, skill-building resources, tool kits, and interactive exercises, this book can help you leverage the strengths and resilience of multiracial people and families and pave the way to your own personal growth and professional responsibility to enact socially just practices.

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Three-Fifths, A Novel

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-09-11 01:18Z by Steven

Three-Fifths, A Novel

Agora (an imprint of Polis Books)
240 pages
5.5” x 8’5”
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-947993-67-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-947993-82-2

John Vercher

The very first title from Agora, the new Polis Books imprint dedicated to crime fiction from diverse and underrepresented voices. Available in hardcover and ebook September 10, 2019.

A compelling and timely debut novel from an assured new voice: Three-Fifths is about a biracial black man, passing for white, who is forced to confront the lies of his past while facing the truth of his present when his best friend, just released from prison, involves him in a hate crime.

Pittsburgh, 1995. The son of a black father he’s never known, and a white mother he sometimes wishes he didn’t, twenty-two-year-old Bobby Saraceno is passing for white. Raised by his bigoted maternal grandfather, Bobby has hidden his truth from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned home from prison a hardened racist. Bobby’s disparate worlds collide when his and Aaron’s reunion is interrupted by a confrontation where Bobby witnesses Aaron assault a young black man with a brick. Fearing for his safety and his freedom, Bobby must keep his secret from Aaron and conceal his unwitting involvement in the hate crime from the police. But Bobby’s delicate house of cards crumbles when his father enters his life after more than twenty years.

Three-Fifths is a story of secrets, identity, violence and obsession with a tragic conclusion that leave all involved questioning the measure of a man, and was inspired by the author’s own struggles with identity as a biracial man during his time as a student in Pittsburgh amidst the simmering racial tension produced by the L.A. Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-nineties.

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Anthony Ekundayo Lennon on being accused of ‘passing’ as a black man: ‘It felt like an assassination’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2019-09-09 00:36Z by Steven

Anthony Ekundayo Lennon on being accused of ‘passing’ as a black man: ‘It felt like an assassination’

The Guardian

Simon Hattenstone

Head shot of actor and director Anthony Ekundayo Lennon against turquoise background
Anthony Ekundayo Lennon: ‘I didn’t think I had anything to answer.’ Photograph: David Vintiner/The Guardian

All his life, people have assumed the theatre director is mixed race – and he was happy to embrace that identity. Then he was accused of faking it

Anthony Ekundayo Lennon remembers the moment his life spun out of control. It was late morning, Friday 2 November 2018. The actor and director was giving a talk about the performing arts to university students, and his phone kept flashing. It was so incessant that the students suggested he’d better take a look. He told them it wouldn’t be anything important, turned the phone over and got on with his lecture. When the class broke for lunch, he saw missed calls from Talawa theatre company, where he had been working for the past year, as well as several unknown numbers and messages.

One text stood out. It was from a journalist at the Sunday Times, asking for a comment on a story the paper was preparing to run about Lennon’s place on a prestigious scheme – the artistic director leadership programme (ADLP) for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) theatre practitioners. Lennon had been awarded an 18-month residency with Talawa, Britain’s best-known black-led theatre company. He scrolled down the text…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, power and intimacy in the intersubjective field: the intersection of racialised cultural complexes and personal complexes

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-09-06 20:13Z by Steven

Race, power and intimacy in the intersubjective field: the intersection of racialised cultural complexes and personal complexes

The Journal of Analytical Psychology
Volume 64, Issue3 (June 2019)
pages 367-385
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12503

Ruth Calland, Jungian Psychotherapist
London, United Kingdom

Journal of Analytical Psychology banner

This paper presents work with a biracial young woman, in the context of a predominantly white Jungian training organisation. The patient’s relational difficulties and her struggle to integrate different aspects of her personality are understood in terms of the overlapping influences of developmental trauma, transgenerational trauma relating to the legacy of slavery in the Caribbean, conflictual racial identities, internalised racism, and the British black/white racial cultural complex. The author presents her understanding of an unfolding dynamic in the analytic relationship in which the black slave/white master schema was apparently reversed between them, with the white analyst becoming subservient to the black patient. The paper tracks the process through which trust was built alongside the development of this joint defence against intimacy ‐ which eventually had to be relinquished by both partners in the dyad. A white on black ‘rescue fantasy’, identified by the patient as a self‐serving part of her father’s personality, is explored in relation to the analytic relationship and the training context.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Mixed-race Matters: the Growing Multiracial Population and its Implications for Libraries

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Work, Teaching Resources, United States on 2019-09-04 21:53Z by Steven

Mixed-race Matters: the Growing Multiracial Population and its Implications for Libraries

PIPEline: Addressing the intersections between Power, Identity, Privilege, and Equity within our library work
University of Michigan Library
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Marna Clowney-Robinson, Access & Information Services Librarian

Karen Downing, Education Librarian

Darlene Nichols, Social Work Librarian

Helen Look, Collection Analyst

The expression of social and cultural identities matter to people in a myriad of ways—seeing one’s self-reflected on campuses, in schools and communities matters (Gaetano, 2015; Laffer, 2017; P., Mindy, 2019). This fact is important to libraries of all types as we think about library collections, services and staff. We know from research and from phenomena all around us that when people see themselves positively reflected in film, books, social media, news, music, theater, that those cultural memory institutions grow in their perceived relevance and significance to their communities (Downing, 2009; Tillson, 2011).

Take as an example, Marley Dias’ #1000blackgirlbooks movement. Marley was only ten years old when she launched her movement to donate books to girls of African descent that featured African American female protagonists because not one of her required school readings featured Black girls as main characters (Grassroots Community Foundation, 2019). The We Need More Diverse Books movement has raised awareness and in recent years the number of published diverse books has increased substantially. 28% of the children’s books published in 2018 had main characters who were Asian American, Black, Latinx, and American Indian/First Nation yet only 50% of the children’s books about African Americans are written by people of that background (Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 2019). The numbers for mixed race identities in children’s books are not tracked but they are presumably an even smaller percentage…

Read the entire article here.

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Blackness and Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-29 01:01Z by Steven

Blackness and Whiteness

Our Human Family: Conversations on achieving equality

Emily Cashour
Oakland, California

The author and her mother

Growing up as mixed-race alongside my white mother

Growing up, I was unaccustomed to discussions about race. For most of my life, the color of my skin was something simple, a fact that became more or less apparent alongside the changing seasons. When it started to become impossible to ignore, as a young child, I pushed to downplay my color difference. I sat in the shade with my white cousins at the beach to prevent the sun from reaching me, complained with a gentle fierceness each time my mother took me to get my hair braided, said quiet “thank-yous” with no further explanation to people who gleefully oohed and ahhed at my beautiful tan.

As a teenager, I embraced wholeheartedly the idea of tan equaling beautiful, at least so far as in the context of tan being simply a new shade of whiteness, rather than brownness. I was a tan white person. At least, that is what everyone in my town assumed me to be, and rather than fight the simplicity of that label, I allowed it to begin defining me.

My mom, a white woman and single mother, was quiet during these years. If I had questions, she would answer them willingly, but quite honestly, I rarely ever asked her anything. Sometimes, when she took me to Baltimore, we drove home the long way, observing dilapidated neighborhoods and houses with wooden boards with holes in them where windows should’ve been. The sidewalks and the weeds in the place of gardens made these communities look tired, winded. It was clear that places like this were worlds away from where my mom and I lived; yet we were both keen outsiders, desperate for a deeper understanding. There’s something funny about an obviously white woman and an obviously brown child alone together, trying to find a community. On those trips to Baltimore, my mother and I had not quite identified our community yet…

Read the entire article here.

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What Does It Mean to Be “Black Enough”?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-28 21:21Z by Steven

What Does It Mean to Be “Black Enough”?

Electric Lit

Brian Gresko

Chris L. Terry’sBlack Card” grapples with biracial identity

Chris L. Terry’s Black Card is a fascinating meditation on race, with a head-nodding soundtrack that moves from funk LPs to punk CDs, Guns N’ Roses to Outkast. The novel follows an unnamed protagonist, a college drop-out who works as a barista in Richmond, Virginia, and plays bass in a punk band. His bandmates are white, along with the majority of the punks he encounters at house parties and shows, but he’s mixed-race, with a white mother and Black father.

All his life he’s been unsure of his Black identity due to his light skin tone and red hair, attributes that read to white people as “racially ambiguous.” His father tells him not to doubt his Blackness, yet this confirmation comes off more as a warning not to get too comfortable around white people, and, like most kids when receiving advice from a parent, he doesn’t really take it to heart…

Read the entire interview here.

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Black Card: A Novel

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Novels, United States, Virginia on 2019-08-27 01:53Z by Steven

Black Card: A Novel

272 pages
5.8 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781948226264

Chris L. Terry

Black Card: A Novel by Chris L. Terry

Chris L. Terry’s Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. In an effort to be “black enough,” a mixed-race punk rock musician indulges his own stereotypical views of African American life by doing what his white bandmates call “black stuff.” After remaining silent during a racist incident, the unnamed narrator has his Black Card revoked by Lucius, his guide through Richmond, Virginia, where Confederate flags and memorials are a part of everyday life.

Determined to win back his Black Card, the narrator sings rap songs at an all-white country music karaoke night, absorbs black pop culture, and attempts to date his black coworker Mona, who is attacked one night. The narrator becomes the prime suspect and earns the attention of John Donahue, a local police officer with a grudge dating back to high school. Forced to face his past, his relationships with his black father and white mother, and the real consequences and dangers of being black in America, the narrator must choose who he is before the world decides for him.

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Assessing Multiracial Ethnic Identity Status and Mental Health in Hawaiʻi

Posted in Dissertations, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-27 00:17Z by Steven

Assessing Multiracial Ethnic Identity Status and Mental Health in Hawaiʻi

University of Hawai’i at Manoa
April 2019
104 pages

David A. Stupplebeen


The multiracial population, or people who identify as two or more races, is one of the fastest growing segments of the population nationally, and about one-quarter of people in Hawai‘i are multiracial. How multiracial people identify racially or ethnically has been explored by researchers for nearly 100 years. Many theories developed during this time suggest that multiracial people develop an identity in a linear fashion, though others contend that ethnic and racial identity is situational and in reaction to a number different factors, ranging from individual-level factors like skin color to policy-level factors related to data collection. In addition, ethnic and racial identity have a demonstrated relationship with self-esteem and mental health outcomes. However, much of this research has been conducted on the continental United States. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the relationship between ethnic and racial identity and mental health across the lifespan in Hawaiʻi.

Study 1: In the first study, the psychometric properties of the Multiracial-Heritage Awareness and Personal Affiliation scale (M-HAPA), which measures identity status, was tested with a cohort of multiracial Hawaiʻi-based adolescents. After iterative exploratory factor analyses and confirmatory factor analysis, this study found that the cohort endorsed five different identity statuses.

Study 2: The second study examined the relationship between identity status, self-esteem, and depression via structural equation modeling. This study found a highly significant relationship between identity status, self-esteem and depression, and that identity status and self-esteem mediated one another.

Study 3: A qualitative study that employed a timeline method examined the relationship between ecological factors that affect identity status and mental health across time in a sample of multi-racial adults in Hawai‘i. Thematic results from this study reflected the racism and health model and common factors across the lifespan that affect identity and mental health. Taken together, these three studies demonstrate the relationship between ethnic identity and mental health for multiracial individuals across the life course in Hawaiʻi. Implications for public health practice, educators, and mental health practitioners include considerations for multiracial identity status in culturally grounded interventions, shifting practice to include cultural humility, and supporting multiracial individuals in their identity development through increased practitioner awareness of multiracial identity issues.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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