SAS Researchers Probe Racial Passing, Identity Based on Two Novels

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-05-11 01:18Z by Steven

SAS Researchers Probe Racial Passing, Identity Based on Two Novels

American University of Nigeria
2017-05-01

Nelly Ating

The modern-day issues of “racial passing” and “identity,” dominated the April 20 SAS research seminar presented by Dr. Agatha Ukata and Dr. Brian Reed of the English & Literature department.

The duo’s research probes the phenomenon in “Being and Not Being:  How Society Negotiates Humanity.”  This is a study based on Nella Larsen, and Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, and on Isidore Okpewho’s Call Me by My Rightful Name.

This work will be presented at the African Literature Association conference at Yale University in June.

Leading the discussion, Dr Ukata said that despite disparity in the years of publication of the novels, it is astonishing to see the recurrence of “racial passing” in this era…

Read the entire article here.

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Playing in the Light: A Novel

Posted in Africa, Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, South Africa on 2017-05-05 16:04Z by Steven

Playing in the Light: A Novel

The New Press
November 2007
224 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59558-221-8

Zoë Wicomb, Emeritus Professor
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Set in a beautifully rendered 1990s Cape Town, Zoë Wicomb’s celebrated novel revolves around Marion Campbell, who runs a travel agency but hates traveling, and who, in post-apartheid society, must negotiate the complexities of a knotty relationship with Brenda, her first black employee. As Alison McCulloch noted in the New York Times, “Wicomb deftly explores the ghastly soup of racism in all its unglory—denial, tradition, habit, stupidity, fear—and manages to do so without moralizing or becoming formulaic.”

Caught in the narrow world of private interests and self-advancement, Marion eschews national politics until the Truth and Reconciliation Commission throws up information that brings into question not only her family’s past but her identity and her rightful place in contemporary South African society. “Stylistically nuanced and psychologically astute” (Kirkus), Playing in the Light is as powerful in its depiction of Marion’s personal journey as it is in its depiction of South Africa’s bizarre, brutal history.

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Rachel Dolezal: why ignoring the painful past of “passing” is indefensible

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Passing, South Africa, United States on 2017-05-05 13:05Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal: why ignoring the painful past of “passing” is indefensible

The Conversation
2017-05-04

Londiwe H. Gamedze, Tutor, MA student
University of Cape Town


Civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American. Stephanie Keith/Reuters

In 2015, American Rachel Dolezal captured the public imagination when the media discovered that she was white and had been passing as black for nearly a decade.

Dolezal, who has had white ancestors for over three centuries, checked boxes like “black” and “African-American” on application forms, darkened her skin, and began to wear her hair in African-American styles. She lied about her past and family, and attempted to sue her alma mater, historically black Howard University for reverse racism.

“Black” Dolezal was a lecturer in Africana studies and president of her local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP.

She recently visited South Africa to discuss non-racialism, but received resistance against her self-identification as “trans-black” and her claim to an authentic, internal black identity. This isn’t surprising given the brutality of the country’s racial past.

Read the entire article here.

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Belgian church apologizes for role in mistreating mixed-race people

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Religion on 2017-04-29 01:38Z by Steven

Belgian church apologizes for role in mistreating mixed-race people

National Catholic Reporter
2017-04-28

Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service

Oxford, EnglandBelgium’s Catholic Church has apologized for its role in mistreating mixed-race people, who were born in colonial times to European fathers and African mothers and later taken away for adoption.

“The history of many metis, born of a Congolese, Rwandan or Burundian mother and a white father (serving) in one of these countries, is an obscure episode of Belgian colonization,” the bishops’ conference said in an April 26 statement.

“These children were long designated pejoratively as ‘mulattoes,’ while the colonial authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, considered them a real problem. … We express regret for the part played in this by the Catholic Church.”

The statement was published after an official church apology was delivered by Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp during an April 25 symposium in the Belgian Senate

Read the entire article here.

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China has an irrational fear of a “black invasion” bringing drugs, crime, and interracial marriage

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive on 2017-03-31 01:15Z by Steven

China has an irrational fear of a “black invasion” bringing drugs, crime, and interracial marriage

Quartz
2017-03-30

Joanna Chiu


Feeling it in Guangzhou. (Reuters/James Pomfret)

Beijing—Earlier this month in Beijing, amid the pomp of China’s annual rubber-stamp parliament meetings, a politician proudly shared with reporters his proposal on how to “solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong.” The latter province is widely known in China to have many African migrants.

“Africans bring many security risks,” Pan Qinglin told local media (link in Chinese). As a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s top political advisory body, he urged the government to “strictly control the African people living in Guangdong and other places.”

Pan, who lives in Tianjin near Beijing—and nowhere near Guangdong—held his proposal aloft for reporters to see. It read in part (links in Chinese):

“Black brothers often travel in droves; they are out at night out on the streets, nightclubs, and remote areas. They engage in drug trafficking, harassment of women, and fighting, which seriously disturbs law and order in Guangzhou… Africans have a high rate of AIDS and the Ebola virus that can be transmitted via body fluids… If their population [keeps growing], China will change from a nation-state to an immigration country, from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country.”

On social media, the Chinese response has been overwhelmingly supportive, with many commenters echoing Pan’s fears. In a forum dedicated to discussions about black people in Guangdong on Baidu Tieba—an online community focused on internet search results—many participants agreed that China was facing a “black invasion.” One commenter called on Chinese people (link in Chinese) not to let “thousands of years of Chinese blood become polluted.”

The stream of racist vitriol online makes the infamous Chinese TV ad for Qiaobi laundry detergent, which went viral last year, seem mild in comparison. The ad featured a Asian woman stuffing a black man into a washing machine to turn him into a pale-skinned Asian man…

…Paolo Cesar, an African-Brazilian who has worked as a musician in Shanghai for 18 years and has a Chinese wife, said music has been a great way for him to connect with audiences and make local friends. However, his mixed-race son often comes home unhappy because of bullying at school. Despite speaking fluent Mandarin, his classmates do not accept him as Chinese. They like to shout out, “He’s so dark!”…

Read the entire article here.

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AIA Evening Lecture: An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-30 02:03Z by Steven

AIA Evening Lecture: An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins

Penn Museum
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Thursday, 2017-03-30, 18:00-19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Vanessa Davies, Visiting Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, speaks at this Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society lecture. Three prominent black writers of the early 20th century—W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pauline Hopkins—incorporated ancient Egyptian culture into their writings. Attacking a common theory of their day, DuBois and Garvey used ancient Egyptian culture to argue for the humanity of black people, marshaling evidence of Egypt’s glorious past to inspire black people in the Americas with feelings of hope and self-worth. They also engaged with the contemporary work of prominent archaeologists, a fact lost in most histories of Egyptology. Hopkins’ novel Of One Blood places the reality of the racial discrimination and the racial “passing” of her day against the backdrop of ancient Egypt. Like Du Bois, she advocates for the education of black Americans, and like Garvey, she constructs an African safe haven for her novel’s protagonist. Understanding these three writers’ treatments of ancient Egypt, Davies argues, provides a richer perspective on the history of the discipline of Egyptology. Reception with opportunity to meet the speaker follows.

For more information, click here.

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The Marxist Aspect in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, South Africa on 2017-03-14 17:03Z by Steven

The Marxist Aspect in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature
Volume 5, Number 7 (2016)
pages 101-109

Mohamed Fathi Helaly
College of Arts and Science
Prince Sattam Bin Abdul-Aziz University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

South Africa is one country where racial discrimination was widespread. Like the rest of the color-skinned people, colored writers in South Africa are marginalized and denied the right to express their experiences of living in a society riddled with racial inequality and oppression. Marxism is a school of thought that is concerned about the conflict between the dominant powerful classes and the oppressed ones in any given society. According to Marxism, literary texts are viewed as material that can be interpreted within historical contexts. South Africa is a country where the Apartheid System has been dominant. It is a country that has people of different ethnicity: the White, the Black and the Colored who are known as people of mixed race or hybrid. In South Africa colored people are doubly oppressed by their community, as they belong neither to the Black nor to the White. The colored people are marginalized and demeaned to a very degraded status by their society. Bessie Head is a South African female writer who is concerned about the clash between the different classes in her society. In this study the researcher wants to explore the class-struggle of women in general and the hybrid females in particular under the Apartheid System from a Marxist point of view. As a South-African female writer, Head is concerned about the struggle for power between the White and The Black, on the one hand, and between the hybrids on the other. A Question of Power can be seen as an indictment of the governing system in South Africa. It is a system that governs people not as ordinary human beings but according to the color of their skin. It is an autobiographical novel that tells the story of Elizabeth as a women living under the Apartheid System. Elizabeth, the fictional character of Bessie Head, has to suffer greatly as a woman but her suffering as a hybrid is even greater. On the one hand, she is socially marginalized as a female living in a patriarchal society. On the other hand, she is also culturally colonized as an individual living in a society where racial discrimination is prevailing. On account of what is mentioned so far Elizabeth is suffering from an identity crisis.

Read the entire article here.

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A history of Black people in Germany

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2017-03-11 21:13Z by Steven

A history of Black people in Germany

The African Courier
2016-07-20

Gyavira Lasana


Portrait of the family of Mandenga Diek, Berlin, about 1920 – with his wife Emilie Diek (nee Wiedelinski) and daughters Erika and Doris. Many in today’s Black community have roots dating to more than 100 years ago │©SWF

The journey has been an arduous one. The historian Paulette Reed-Anderson informs us that in 1682, a ship bearing slaves from Africa docked in Hamburg. Twenty-five years later (1707), African musicians are employed in Prussian military units and Mohrenstrasse is christened in Berlin. By 1877, however, the first of the dreadful Völkerschauen (‘ethnographic exhibitions’) were staged in Hamburg and Berlin.  Seven years later, 1884, Germany was in full colonial mode, annexing Cameroon, Togo, South-West Africa and the so-called German East Africa. But by 1904, the colonies would revolt and Germany would respond with massacres against hundreds of thousands of Herero, Nama and other Africans…

Read the entire article here.

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The film “A United Kingdom” reminds us of the progress made with interracial marriage

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2017-03-02 01:25Z by Steven

The film “A United Kingdom” reminds us of the progress made with interracial marriage

The State Press
Tempe, Arizona
2017-02-23

Guillermo Mijares, Political Reporter


Photo by Karen Ta | The State Press
“People shouldn’t be uncomfortable seeing an interracial couple.” Illustration published on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

I believe we are undoubtedly the most progressive generation so far. This past weekend I went to see a film that reminded me of that.

A United Kingdom” reminds us that it wasn’t too long ago that skin color was a barrier to overcome for some couples. In fact, it wasn’t until the year 2000 when the state of Alabama finally changed its decision and lifted the ban on the right to an interracial marriage in the state.

Just 55 years ago, Arizona repealed its ban on interracial marriages. Many of our parents lived to witness this repeal, yet we tend to forget this unfortunate part of history.

This film reminds us that a visual image today of an interracial couple is almost entirely a non-issue, certainly among millennials. As a college student at ASU, I witness many interracial couples daily, which is something past generations could not witness.

Despite the flaws our world has when it comes to race relations, I believe people, especially younger people and students, are leading the way to a more accepting society…

…Though the film addressed a racial issue, it wouldn’t address why people were so uncomfortable seeing an interracial couple.

Author and Time magazine contributor Arica L. Coleman Ph.D, said that this has been an on-going problem with the film industry.

She said she gives credit to the industry for highlighting important and progressive moments in historical films, but she also finds a problem in those same films for not presenting the full picture to the public when it comes down to race.

“They are problematic — they sell an illusion — and a problem I have with the topic of interracial marriage is the whole notion of using interracial marriage as a sign of progress with race, but it also can be used as an eraser,” she said. “Also, just like most of the time with Hollywood, it’s almost always the black man with the exotic white woman, which continues to show that the lack for black women is still present.”…

Read the entire article here.

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My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism

Posted in Africa, Books, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-02-27 21:58Z by Steven

My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism

Skyhorse Publishing
2014-11-18
432 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in.
Hardback ISBN: 9781629144870
eBook ISBN: 9781629149578

Dick Russell

What a father will do to fight the mental illness that has destroyed his son.

What does a father do when hope is gone that his only son can ever lead anything close to a “normal” life? That’s the question that haunted Dick Russell in the fall of 2011, when his son, Franklin, was thirty-two. At the age of seventeen, Franklin had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. For years he spent time in and out of various hospitals, and even went through periods of adamantly denying that Dick was actually his father.

A mixed-race child, Franklin was handsome, intelligent, and sensitive until his mental illness suddenly took control. After spending the ensuing years trying to build some semblance of a normal father-son relationship, Dick was invited with his son, out of the blue, to witness the annual wildlife migration on Africa’s Serengeti Plain. Seizing this potential opportunity to repair the damage that both had struggled with, after going through two perilous nights together in Tanzania, ultimately the two-week trip changed both of their lives.

Desperately seeking an alternative to the medical model’s medication regimen, the author introduces Franklin to a West African shaman in Jamaica. Dick discovers Franklin’s psychic capabilities behind the seemingly delusional thought patterns, as well as his artistic talents. Theirs becomes an ancestral quest, the journey finally taking them to the sacred lands of New Mexico and an indigenous healer. For those who understand the pain of mental illness as well the bond between a parent and a child, My Mysterious Son shares the intimate and beautiful story of a father who will do everything in his power to repair his relationship with a young man damaged by mental illness.

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