Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2020-01-10 01:09Z by Steven

Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

University of Nebraska Press
January 2020
432 pages
8 photos, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0663-3
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1698-4
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1700-4

Edited by:

Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai, Curator of History
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California

Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, Professor of History
University of La Verne, Point Mugu, California

Paul Spickard, Distinguished Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Shape Shifters

Shape Shifters presents a wide-ranging array of essays that examine peoples of mixed racial identity. Moving beyond the static “either/or” categories of racial identification found within typical insular conversations about mixed-race peoples, Shape Shifters explores these mixed-race identities as fluid, ambiguous, contingent, multiple, and malleable. This volume expands our understandings of how individuals and ethnic groups identify themselves within their own sociohistorical contexts.

The essays in Shape Shifters explore different historical eras and reach across of the globe, from the Roman and Chinese borderlands of classical antiquity to Medieval Eurasian shape-shifters, the Native peoples of the missions of Spanish California, and racial shape-shifting among African Americans in the post–civil rights era. At different times in their lives or over generations in their families, racial shape-shifters have moved from one social context to another. And as new social contexts were imposed on them, identities have even changed from one group to another. This is not racial, ethnic, or religious imposture. It is simply the way that people’s lives unfold in fluid sociohistorical circumstances.

With contributions by Ryan Abrecht, George J. Sanchez, Laura Moore, and Margaret Hunter, among others, Shape Shifters explores the forces of migration, borderlands, trade, warfare, occupation, colonial imposition, and the creation and dissolution of states and empires to highlight the historically contingent basis of identification among mixed-race peoples across time and space.

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Autobiography of an Ex-Black Man

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2019-12-24 02:48Z by Steven

Autobiography of an Ex-Black Man

Harpers’s
December 2019

Emily Bernard

Thomas Chatterton Williams loses his race

Self-Portrait in Black and White, by Thomas Chatterton Williams. W. W. Norton. 192 pages. $25.95.

What a strange thing is “race,” and family, stranger still.
—Elizabeth Alexander, “Race”

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been!” declares Wanda Sykes in her 2016 Epix special, What Happened . . . Ms. Sykes? As one of her fans, I was glad to hear it. As a member of a racially and culturally mixed family, I was particularly charmed to learn the circumstances of Sykes’s joy. For ten years, Wanda Sykes has been a mother. Her wife, Alex Niedbalski, gave birth to twins Olivia and Lucas in 2009. “My kids are white white, you know? I mean blond hair, blue eyes. I’m talking Frozen,” says Sykes.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined myself in this situation.

“Here’s the thing. I’m a black woman from Virginia,” she continues. “I went to an H.B.C.U., historically black college—I went to Hampton University. I pledged the first black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. So I got a lot of black going on.” The audience roars. “And now I’m married to a white French woman, and I have two white kids. Fucked up my legacy.” She throws her arm up to the ceiling.

“Now, don’t get me wrong,” she says. “I love my family. I love my family dearly, you know, and I wish we could live in a color-blind society. Yeah. But I gotta admit, I see shit.”…

Self-Portrait is Williams’s attempt to liberate his mind from the shackles of conventional racial designations once he realizes that his children will never be seen by anyone—not even, most likely, by themselves—as black. Williams, the son of a white mother and a black father, whom he calls “Pappy” and who serves as an intellectual and ethical anchor in Self-Portrait and a previous memoir, marries a white French woman, and their firstborn child, a daughter named Marlow, emerges in the delivery room with blond hair and blue eyes. Because Marlow will not share his racial identity, Williams decides that that identity no longer suits him. Instead of black, by the end of the book, he calls himself “ex-black”—which may be a bit like threatening to run away from home but never making it past the front porch.

Still, Self-Portrait is a fluent, captivating, if often disquieting story. Thomas Chatterton Williams and Wanda Sykes have many of the same questions about the way race will affect how they relate to their children, and how their children will see themselves. “In all of these white rooms that she is being brought up in, what will she learn to think of herself?” Williams writes about Marlow. But there is not much to laugh about in Self-Portrait, which begins with a lot of hand-wringing over Marlow’s fate. “Will she develop my ancestral GPS,” Williams writes, “or will that signal fade—would it even be right for me to transmit my habits of orientation, some of which are riddled with guilt and steeped in illusion, to her untroubled head?”…

Read the entire review here.

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Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-12-02 01:20Z by Steven

Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future

Emerald Publishing Limited
2019-11-23
193 pages
152 x 229mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781787695542
Ebook ISBN: 9781787695559

Jennifer Patrice Sims, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Alabama, Huntsville

Chinelo L. Njaka, Independent Social Researcher
Peckham Rights! United Kingdom

Jacket Image

Contributing to an emerging literature on mixed-race people in the United States and United Kingdom, this book draws on racial formation theory and the performativity (i.e. “doing”) of race to explore the social construction of mixedness on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to macro- and micro-level theoretical frameworks, the authors use comparative and relational analytical approaches to reveal similarities and differences between the two nations, explaining them in terms of both common historical roots as well as ongoing contemporary interrelationships.

Focusing on the census, racial identity, civil society, and everyday experiences at the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality, Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future offers academics and students an intriguing look into how mixed-race is constructed and experienced within these two nations. A final in-depth discussion on the authors’ research methodologies makes the book a useful resource on the processes, challenges, and benefits of conducting qualitative research in two nations.

Contents

  • List of Tables and Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: The Past, Present, and Future of Mixed-Race People in the United States and United Kingdom
  • Chapter 2. Creating Mixed-Race: The Census in the US and the UK
  • Chapter 3. Black, British Asian, Mixed-Race, or Jedi: Mixed-Race Identity in the US and UK
  • Chapter 4. Mixed-Race Civil Society: Racial Paradigms and Mixed-Race (Re)production in the US and UK
  • Chapter 5. “Sometimes it’s the first thing people ask:” Daily Experiences of Mixedness in the US and UK
  • Chapter 6. “Yes, girl, yes. I want to have babies:” Mixed-Race Families Generation after Generation
  • Chapter 7. Queering Critical Mixed Race Studies
  • Chapter 8. Conclusion: Creating and Comparing a Mixed-Race Future
  • Methodological Appendix: Conducting Qualitative Research on Both Sides of the Atlantic
  • References
  • Index
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Raising Multiracial Children: Tools for Nurturing Identity in a Racialized World

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Teaching Resources on 2019-12-02 01:15Z by Steven

Raising Multiracial Children: Tools for Nurturing Identity in a Racialized World

Penguin Random House Canada
2020-04-07
224 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781623174491
Ebook ISBN: 9781623174507

Farzana Nayani

The essential guide to parenting multiracial and multiethnic children of all ages—and learning to nourish, support, and celebrate their multiracial identity.

While the fastest growing demographic in the US is comprised of people who identify as two or more races, parents of muliethnic kids still lack practical, concrete resources written just for them. In a world where people are more likely to proclaim colorblindness than talk openly about race, how can we truly value, support, and celebrate our kids’ identity? How can we assess our own sense of racial readiness, and develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing multiracial children today?

Raising Multiracial Children gives parents the tools for exploring race with their children, offering practical guidance on how to initiate conversations; consciously foster multicultural identity development; discuss issues like microaggressions, intersectionality, and privilege; and intentionally cultivate a sense of belonging. It provides an overview of key issues and current topics relevant to raising multiracial children and offers strategies that can be implemented in the classroom and at home, with developmentally appropriate milestones from infancy through adulthood. The book ends with resources and references for further learning and exploration.

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Genetic Options: The Impact of Genetic Ancestry Testing on Consumers’ Racial and Ethnic Identities

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-12-01 00:52Z by Steven

Genetic Options: The Impact of Genetic Ancestry Testing on Consumers’ Racial and Ethnic Identities

American Journal of Sociology
Volume 124, Number 1 (July 2018)
pages 150-184
DOI: 10.1086/697487

Wendy D. Roth, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania

Biorn Ivemark, Postdoctoral Researcher
School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden

Publication Cover

The rapid growth of genetic ancestry testing has brought concerns that these tests will transform consumers’ racial and ethnic identities, producing “geneticized” identities determined by genetic knowledge. Drawing on 100 qualitative interviews with white, black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and Native Americans, the authors develop the genetic options theory to account for how genetic ancestry tests influence consumers’ ethnic and racial identities. The theory maintains that consumers do not accept the tests’ results as given but choose selectively from the estimates according to two mechanisms: their identity aspirations and social appraisals. Yet consumers’ prior racialization also influences their identity aspirations; white respondents aspired to new identities more readily and in substantively different ways. The authors’ findings suggest that genetic ancestry testing can reinforce race privilege among those who already experience it.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Whites can be black if they wish, says lecturers’ union

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-22 21:00Z by Steven

Whites can be black if they wish, says lecturers’ union

The Telegraph
2019-11-18

Mike Wright, Social Media Correspondent

Anthony Lennon 
Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director who describes himself as an ‘African born again’ Credit: Twitter

People should be allowed to identify as black no matter what colour they are born, a lecturers’ union has said.

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 100,000 university lecturers and staff, set out its position on whether people should be able to self-identify as different races or genders.

In the paper “UCU Position on Trans Inclusion”, it stated: “The UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify, whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT or women.”…

…The debate over racial self-identification has become heated in recent years. Last November, Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director who describes himself as an “African born again”, drew criticism for securing public funding intended to help ethnic minorities develop their stage careers.

Mr Lennon, 53, who was born in London and whose parents are Irish, won a place on a two-year Arts Council-funded scheme, after a leading black theatre company accepted his claim to be of “mixed heritage”

Read the entire article here.

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UAH professor publishes new book on mixed-race at home and abroad

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-11-22 03:24Z by Steven

UAH professor publishes new book on mixed-race at home and abroad

University of Alabama in Huntsville
2019-11-21

jennifer sims
Dr. Jennifer Patrice Sims, Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) recently published her second book
Photo Credit Michael Mercier

Dr. Jennifer Patrice Sims, Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) recently published her second book, Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future coauthored with UK-based scholar Dr. Chinelo L. Njaka. The book is the second in the Critical Mixed Race Studies book series by Emerald Publishing

Read the entire press release here.

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‘Please don’t get a tan’: passing as white in Hong Kong is a reward for hard work you didn’t do

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing on 2019-11-21 15:36Z by Steven

‘Please don’t get a tan’: passing as white in Hong Kong is a reward for hard work you didn’t do

Hong Kong Free Press
2018-11-04

Sarah Denise Moran

Sarah Denise Moran
Photo: Sarah Denise Moran.

Twenty-six years ago, my Filipino mother left behind everything familiar to work abroad as a domestic helper. Around the same time, my British father also left his home country in search of better opportunities.

Then in 1995, I won the lottery of birth by being born in Hong Kong to a British father and a Filipino Mum. That day, I gained a British passport, white skin, and a lifetime of privilege.

I grew up in local schools in Hong Kong. I can speak, read, and write Chinese fluently and half of my friends are Chinese. Which is why despite not being Chinese in Hong Kong, I never felt like I was different or didn’t fit in.

Until this one time, when I was seven years old, my teacher started explaining to the class how the Chinese term gwai mui (literally ghost girl in Cantonese, used to describe western females) came about. Apparently, when Westerners arrived in China for the first time, Chinese people thought they were so white, they could almost be ghosts.

Being the only foreigner in a local Chinese school, I was naturally the “ghost girl” in class. What followed was a week of my classmates shying away from me, and occasional gwai mui remarks. That was the first time I realised skin colour meant something, and my only close-to-negative experience from being white-passing in Hong Kong…

Read the entire article here.

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The difficulty with asserting your beauty identity when you’re mixed race

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-11-19 02:55Z by Steven

The difficulty with asserting your beauty identity when you’re mixed race

Dazed Beauty
2019-11-05

Layla Haidrani
London, United Kingdom

Rachel Rumai
©Rachel Rumai

We explore the confusion of navigating your personal identity when you have multiple heritages with conflicting beauty standards

I’ve grappled with the complex relationship between mixed race identity and beauty for a long time. Both my location and my heritage – I’m half-Lebanese, half-Pakistani – upheld beauty ideals that were at odds with each other. Looking too overdone would court much derision growing up in North London, but this minimalist approach conflicted greatly with Beirut’s – a city I spent most summers a teenager where ‘more is more’ is the unofficial beauty mantra. Once the plastic surgery capital of the Middle East, appearing permanently preened and polished with a face full of make-up isn’t just encouraged, it’s expected – even if you’re simply loitering in a shopping mall.

I’d never seen myself reflected in advertisements in the Middle East, where heavily groomed women subscribe to traditionally narrow ideas of femininity – carefully sculpted arched eyebrows, immaculate nails, hairless body, paired with long, sleek black hair – but that didn’t stop me from trying. In the lead-up to visiting for my holiday, I’d spend hours in beauty salons having head-to-toe treatments including a manicure and pedicure, eyebrow shaping, and a full-body wax. It wasn’t unusual for me to have an entirely separate make-up bag bursting with products. It was trickier when I factored in my Pakistani roots and when I spent time with my Desi London-based friends, I’d deliberately kohl my eyes and straighten my hair so our differences wouldn’t be glaringly obvious.

The fluidity of my beauty regime, which shifted according to the spaces I inhabited and the people I was surrounded by, felt stifling, as if there was only one ‘right’ way to look. This would be further exacerbated by Instagram, where I’d be confronted with dozens of images of what a ‘normal’ Lebanese or Pakistani girl should look like.

The term ‘mixed race’ itself tends to lump people as a monolith, and just as their experiences and heritages can wildly differ, so can their beauty identities. Dr Sarah Gaither, an assistant professor at Duke University who studies racial identity and social interactions, says that mixed race people report higher rates of social exclusion than other racial and ethnic groups. “They’re constantly being questioned about their racial backgrounds and denied their identities and group memberships,” she explains. “These experiences are known to cause increased levels of stress and depression at times and can be associated with more difficulties in forming a true sense of self and a sense of being an ‘imposter’.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Internalization of Race Messages Among Mixed Race Individuals

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-19 02:37Z by Steven

Internalization of Race Messages Among Mixed Race Individuals

Loyola University, Chicago
December 2014
102 pages

Jennifer Moulton, Associate Psychologist
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

The present study used grounded theory qualitative methodology to explore mixed race individuals’ experiences within specific racial socialization contexts of family, friends, community, and society, to identify messages received within these contexts. How messages influence both their understandings of mixed race identity and how they racially identify themselves was also examined. Mixed race identity development was found to follow an ecological framework, in which racial socialization messages serve as a mechanism through which experiences within contexts may be interpreted, to then inform conceptions of racial identity and identification choices. Common themes of experiences emerged within contexts, including disownments/disapproval, sibling differences, race dialogues, seeking diversity and racial awareness, community racial dynamics, `What are you?’ questions, racial categorization, normativity, attractiveness, and the President Obama effect. Additionally, general message themes of belonging, racial physical features, racial teasing, and racism, emerged across these contexts. Messages influenced understandings of mixed race identity through the cultural consciousness, racial discourse, pride, and awareness of mixed race privilege. While personal racial identifications varied, messages influenced conscious decisions in identifying to others as mixed, rather than choose one race over the other.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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