Afro-Latin America and the Black Pacific: An Interview with Sherwin K. Bryant

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery on 2017-04-25 02:39Z by Steven

Afro-Latin America and the Black Pacific: An Interview with Sherwin K. Bryant

Black Perspectives

Yesenia Barragan, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

This month I interviewed Sherwin K. Bryant about his work on the Black Pacific and Afro-Andes. Bryant is Associate Professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University and serves as the Director of the Center for African American History. As an historian of colonial Afro-Latin America and the Atlantic/Pacific Worlds, Bryant works at the intersections of cultural, legal, social history and political economy, with an emphasis upon Black life in the Kingdoms of New Granada and Quito (what is now modern Colombia and Ecuador). Dr. Bryant’s book, Rivers of Gold, Lives of Bondage: Governing through Slavery in Colonial Quito offers the first serious treatment in English of slavery and slave life in colonial Quito and challenges the narrower conceptualization of slavery as primarily an economic demand. He is currently working on two new book-length projects. The first charts the history of Black subjectivities along Colombia and Ecuador’s Pacific littoral while the second develops a history of slave life within the contraband slave routes that ran through Panama and New Granada before the era of free trade. Follow him on Twitter @sherwinkbryant.

Yesenia Barragan: As you explain in Rivers of Gold, the Kingdom of Quito had a relatively small enslaved population in comparison to the more familiar cases in the Atlantic world and has thus been overlooked in the historiography of slavery in the Americas. What insights can we gain by examining the history of colonial Afro-Quito?

Sherwin K. Bryant: Until the last two decades, the African diaspora to Spanish America received scant attention compared to the US, Brazil, and the British and French Caribbean. This was due in part to a scholarly reading of slavery through labor, the plantation complex, and an emphasis on numbers. These approaches caused previous scholars to underestimate the socio-political impact of slavery and Black life throughout much of Latin America.

Another enduring challenge to the study of Blackness in Latin America is found in the national myths and master narratives that diminish the importance of Black life, and those that deny and devalue the scale of Black populations and the extent of their on-going persecution. Rather than account for the full scope of Black life, these nations have preferred narratives of mestizaje, or race mixture, marginalizing Blacks and their contributions to the nation. To some degree and for some time now, scholars colluded in this elision, privileging studies of slavery as an institution, or race mixture and social climbing. Consequently, the writing of Spanish America’s Black history was fraught, episodic, and belated relative to the flourishing studies on Indigenous populations and women since the advent of social history in the 1970s and 80s. Finally, a US-centric approach to African American history and the prominence of the Atlantic basin in diaspora studies contributed to these omissions…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-04-19 16:37Z by Steven

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black

The Stranger

Ijeoma Oluo

Rajah Bose

I’m sitting across from Rachel Dolezal, and she looks… white. Not a little white, not racially ambiguous. Dolezal looks really, really white. She looks like a white woman with a mild suntan, in box braids—like perhaps she’d just gotten back from a Caribbean vacation and decided to keep the hairstyle for a few days “for fun.”

She is also smaller than I expected, tiny even—even in her wedge heels and jeans. I’m six feet tall and fat. I wonder for a moment what this conversation might look like to bystanders if things were to get heated—a giant black woman interrogating a tiny white woman. Everything about Dolezal is smaller than expected—the tiny house she rents, the limited and very used furniture. Her 1-year-old son toddles in front of cartoons playing on a small television. The only thing of real size in the house seems to be a painting of her adopted brother, and now adopted son, Izaiah, from when he was a young child. The painting looms over Dolezal on the living-room wall as she begins to talk. I try to get my bearings and listen to what she’s trying to say, but for the first few moments, my mind keeps repeating: “How in the hell did I get here?”

I did not want to think about, talk about, or write about Rachel Dolezal ever again. While many people have been highly entertained by the story of a woman who passed herself off for almost a decade as a black woman, even rising to the head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, before being “outed” during a TV interview by KXLY reporter Jeff Humphrey as white, as later confirmed by her white parents, I found little amusement in her continued spotlight. When the story first broke in June 2015, I was approached by more editors in a week than I had heard from in two months. They were all looking for “fresh takes” on the Dolezal scandal from the very people whose identity had now been put up for debate—black women. I wrote two pieces on Dolezal for two different websites, mostly focused not on her, but on the lack of understanding of black women’s identity that was causing the conversation about Dolezal to become more and more painful for so many black women.

After a few weeks of media obsession, I—and most of the other black women I knew—was completely done with Rachel Dolezal.

Or, at least I hoped to be…

Read the entire interview here.

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Jewish and Asian: Intermarriages that yield Jewish kids

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-04-14 01:57Z by Steven

Jewish and Asian: Intermarriages that yield Jewish kids

Religion News Service

Lauren Markoe, National Reporter

Helen Kim, Noah Leavitt, and their children Ari and Talia Kim-Leavitt, at home. Photo courtesy Kim-Leavitt family

(RNS) Noah Leavitt and Helen Kiyong Kim’s marriage is one of an increasing number of Jewish-Asian pairings in the U.S., a trend evident in many American synagogues. The two Whitman College professors have just released the first book-length study of Jewish-Asian couples and their offspring.

Though “JewAsian” is geared toward social scientists, the chapters in which they excerpt and analyze their interviews with 34 Jewish-Asian couples will interest any readers curious about intermarriage in general, and the evolving American-Jewish community in particular.

RNS asked Leavitt and Kim why Jews and Asians seem increasingly to fall for each other, why they so often opt for Judaism and how they are raising their own Jewish-Korean children…

Read the entire interview here.

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Lacey Schwartz

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-04-14 01:40Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz

Stone Fox Bride

Lacey Schwartz on Leaning In, Little White Lies And Imperfect Love

Who: Lacey Schwartz, Truth Teller, Filmmaker, Mama Of Two

Why She’s Foxy: After digging up a wild family secret at the age of eighteen, she discovered her roots, directed a PBS documentary and found her strength in storytelling

On Her Childhood: “I grew up an only child in the deep in the country in Accord, New York. You couldn’t see other houses from where I was, and it felt like a bubble. You would have to ask my parents, but I think I was pretty chill as a kid. I was a very rational child who could entertain myself. My favorite books were Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin and Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace.”…

On Little White Lies: “After law school, I had an offer on the table and started waiting tables in New York. I considered going into the mailroom at an agency. I ended up getting a job at a production company and then in the background started thinking about making Little White Lie, a personal documentary about dual identity and family secrets. My story is I grew up in a white Jewish family in upstate New York. I thought I was white, despite my dark features, until I found out at the age of eighteen that my biological father was black…

Read the entire interview here.

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Mexican Is Not a Race

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Interviews, Latino Studies, Texas, United States on 2017-04-10 02:09Z by Steven

Mexican Is Not a Race

The New Inquiry

Chris Chen and Wendy Trevino

Poet Wendy Trevino argues that a radical new Chicanx politics means forging an identity based on shared political struggle, not myths of racial homogeneity–an idea rooted in anarchist struggles along the Texas-Mexican border a century ago

WITH the recent publication of a chapbook of sonnets, Brazilian Is Not a Race, poet Wendy Trevino excavates a history of racial violence at the borders of the U.S. and beyond. The chapbook also describes a childhood spent in the Rio Grande Valley where the narrator is pressured to internalize the social hierarchies that organize daily life in Harlingen, Texas.

Blurring boundaries of polemic and historical description, the poems trace the roots of these social divisions through the legacy of murderous state and settler border violence. But Trevino balances this account with a less familiar counter-history of militant Tejano resistance, embodied in figures like anarcho-syndicalist Ricardo Flores Magón. By presenting both histories, the work shows how border-making congeals racist “commonsense” assumptions over time, and also interrogates fundamentally anti-black and anti-indigenous Latin American state programs to cultivate cultural unity through “race mixing.” Attentive to the emergence of racial hierarchies out of a history of enslavement and the Spanish and English colonization of the Americas, Trevino’s writing returns to an unsettled past where unity is not a precondition for political action, but a product of it…

CHRIS CHEN. I know Vasconcelos and Gloria Anzaldua have different understandings of the political implications of miscegenation. I’m reminded here of critic Jared Sexton’s account of how Vasconcelos’s version of mestizaje preserves an anti-black and anti-indigenous racial order as a “dream of unequivocally hierarchical global integration” whose “eugenicist impulses and implications are unavoidable, casting long shadows over whatever limited threats it presents to the ‘ethnic absolutism’ of Anglo-Saxon white supremacy.”

WENDY TREVINO. During “nation building” in both Mexico and Brazil, elites promoted strong mestizaje ideologies that imagined the prototypical citizens of each country to be mixed-race, although the imagined mix was different in each country. To say a country or place is racially homogenous because everyone’s a “mix” of the same peoples is to acknowledge existing racial divisions without acknowledging the racial hierarchies from which they stem, and as long as there are prisons, plantations, maquiladoras, favelas, etc., one can only ignore these hierarchies and their relation to the racialization of peoples. This conception of mestizaje can also erase whole groups of people, which became clear to me when I returned to Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands and the story of Malinche

Read the entire interview here.

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William Ellis: The Former Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Posted in Audio, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, United States on 2017-03-31 00:50Z by Steven

William Ellis: The Former Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Houston Matters
Houston, Texas

Guillermo Eliseo was a wealthy Mexican banker and broker who lived in New York City in the early 20th Century.

But, Eliseo had a secret. He was actually born into slavery on a cotton plantation in southern Texas, and his real name was William Ellis.

Maggie Martin talks with historian and author Karl Jacoby, who wrote a book about Ellis. It’s called The Strange Career of William Ellis: the Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire.

Jacoby talks about why Ellis made the move to Mexico, the ways his secret life cut him off from his family and the lessons from his life.

Listen to the interview here (00:09:05).

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Jordan Peele Scares America

Posted in Arts, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-30 23:53Z by Steven

Jordan Peele Scares America

The Ringer

Sean Fennessey, Editor-in-Chief

(Jaya Nicely)

After the amazing success of his directorial debut, ‘Get Out,’ the ‘Key and Peele’ star sits down for a conversation about how he pulled off his daring horror-satire, the lie of a post-racial society, and what comes next

Get Out broke out. One year ago, if someone had told you that a movie about a black guy visiting the home of his white girlfriend’s parents for a summer weekend — starring an unknown lead and Marnie from Girls — would become the unmitigated Hollywood success story of the young year, you might tell that person to, well, get out. But that is exactly what Jordan Peele, the 38-year-old sketch star best known for Comedy Central’s Key and Peele, has accomplished with his directorial debut.

After just two weeks of release, the movie has already earned more than 18 times its reported $4.5 million budget and ignited a new kind of conversation about race, the pitfalls of white liberalism, and what it really means to make a horror movie in 2017. Peele, who also wrote the movie, sat down for a podcast conversation about how he did it and what comes next. This is a condensed and edited version of that conversation…

Listen to the interview (00:38:05) here. Download the interview here.

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How do people with multiracial (or multicultural) backgrounds navigate their social identity?

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-30 16:48Z by Steven

How do people with multiracial (or multicultural) backgrounds navigate their social identity?

who cares? what’s the point?
Season 2, Episode 6

Sarb Johal, Host

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Sarah Gaither, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University in the USA. In this conversation, we focus on Sarah’s work on understanding multiracial identities and the costs and benefits of navigating that social terrain.

The paper we talk about in this week’s show is, ““Mixed” Results: Multiracial Research and Identity Explorations”.

Here is the abstract for some context:

Multiracial individuals report that the social pressure of having to “choose” one of their racial groups is a primary source of psychological conflict. Yet because of their ability to maneuver among their multiple identities, multiracials also adopt flexible cognitive strategies in dealing with their social environments—demonstrating a benefit to having multiple racial identities. The current article reviews recent research involving multiracial participants to examine the behavioral and cognitive outcomes linked to being multiracial and pinpoints possible moderators that may affect these outcomes. Limitations in applying monoracial identity frameworks to multiracial populations are also discussed…

If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

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Race, Place and Community

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-30 12:51Z by Steven

Race, Place and Community

Duke University
Trent Semans Center
Great Hall
Duke University Medical Center Greenspace
Durham, North Carolina 27710
Thursday, 2017-03-30, 08:00-10:00 EDT (Local Time)

Emily Raboteau, Professor of English
City College of New York

Mark Anthony Neal, Host and Professor of African and African American Studies
Duke University

A conversation with award-winning author Emily Raboteau. A Q&A and book (Searching for Zion) signing will follow.

The event, “Race, Place and Community,” is free and open to the public. Light breakfast will be served. Those unable to attend can watch a live webcast of the event at

Organized by the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the event co-sponsors include the Duke School of Medicine, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Center on Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship, and Left of Black.

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Race, Place and Community: A Conversation with Author Emily Raboteau

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-29 20:06Z by Steven

Race, Place and Community: A Conversation with Author Emily Raboteau

DCORE: Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Micah English, T ’17

Emily Raboteau

Award-winning author Emily Raboteau will visit Duke and Durham this week as part of the Duke School of Medicine’s ongoing series, A Conversation about Race.

She will be interviewed by Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of black popular culture in the Department of African and African American studies. Neal, is also the co-director of the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity and the host of the weekly webcast, Left of Black. A portion of the event will be recorded live for a future episode of Left of Black.

The event, “Race, Place and Community,” is free and open to the public and will be held at 8 a.m., Thursday, March 30 in the Great Hall at Trent Semans Center. Light breakfast will be served. Those unable to attend can watch a live webcast of the event at

Raboteau, an English professor at the City College of New York, will sign copies of her latest book, Searching for Zion, following the talk.

Organized by the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the event co-sponsors include the Duke School of Medicine, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Center on Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship, and Left of Black.

Searching for Zion is a work of creative nonfiction that chronicles Raboteau’s search for a place to call “home,” as a biracial woman who never felt at home in America. Recently DCORE was able to speak with Raboteau about being of mixed race, blackness and the racial color line…

Read the entire interview here.

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