BLACK FOR A DAY

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-09 22:38Z by Steven

BLACK FOR A DAY

Books, Beats, & Beyond
2019-01-06

Taj Salaam, Host

Black for a Day_ Cover Canva

Today I’m talking with Alisha Gaines, about her book titled, “Black for A Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy”.

Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people participating in blackface and minstrelsy. At the end of their experiments in so-called “blackness,” Alisha Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness.

By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, Alisha Gaines shows that there was, and still is, a faulty cultural logic that places enormous faith in the idea that empathy is all that white Americans need to make a significant difference in how to racially navigate our society.

Alisha Gaines is assistant professor of English at Florida State University.

Listen to the interview (01:08:53) here.

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Danzy Senna’s darkly comic take on racial identity

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-12-31 04:21Z by Steven

Danzy Senna’s darkly comic take on racial identity

Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel
CBC Radio
2018-06-15

Eleanor Wachtel, Host


Danzy Senna’s novel New People follows graduate student Maria through bohemian Brooklyn in the 1990s as she wrestles with her identity and her future. (Mara Casey)

American novelist Danzy Senna draws on her experience growing up in an interracial family in her edgy, prize-winning fiction. In her latest novel, New People, she writes with insight and subversive humour about what it means to be half-black and half-white.

Senna was born in Boston in 1970 to parents from very different worlds, who wed a year after interracial marriage became legal. Her mother, the poet and novelist Fanny Howe, came from a privileged background, with English/Irish family roots going back to the Mayflower. Her father, the African-American editor and academic Carl Senna, grew up in poverty in the South, the son of an orphaned black mother and absent Mexican father. In her 2009 memoir, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? A Personal History, Senna traces her father’s family story and her own complicated upbringing following her parents’ breakup when she was five years old. Raised with an acute black consciousness, during a time when, as Senna describes it, “‘mixed’ wasn’t an option; you were either black or white,” she brings to all her writing an awareness — and astute analysis — of class, race and identity…

Read the entire story here. Listen to the full episode (00:54:47) here.

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White Lies: Ijeoma Oluo On Privilege, Power, And Race

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-12-18 01:56Z by Steven

White Lies: Ijeoma Oluo On Privilege, Power, And Race

The Sun Interview
The Sun
December 2018

Mark Leviton
Nevada City, California

516 - Ijeoma Oluo - Leviton

“Race has always been a prominent part of my life,” Ijeoma Oluo writes in her new book So You Want to Talk about Race. “I have never been able to escape the fact that I am a black woman in a white-supremacist country.”

Oluo was born in 1980 in Denton, Texas. Her father, a Nigerian college professor and politician, returned to his native country when she was three and never came back to the U.S. She and her brother, Ahamefule (often called Aham), had no contact with him growing up. Their mother, a white woman from the Midwest, raised them by herself in Seattle

..Oluo is an editor-at-large for the online magazine The Establishment. In her blog on Medium.com she often covers serious subject matter — white supremacy, representations of race in the media, the U.S. crisis of mass incarceration and police violence — but her approach is personal and down-to-earth; she’s rarely without a rueful joke or a post about what her two sons said at breakfast. In 2015 she self-published The Badass Feminist Coloring Book, a project that developed from her habit of sketching famous feminists to relieve stress. She hit the New York Times best-seller list earlier this year with So You Want to Talk about Race. Though she realizes that most of her readers will be white, she says she wrote the book to help people of color make themselves heard. Her website is ijeomaoluo.com.

I met with Oluo at her favorite independent Seattle coffeehouse, which also serves as an informal community center and work space. We sat at a small table and struggled to talk over the sound of the coffee grinder and the not-so-quiet background music before moving to a bench across the street. It was a beautiful spring day, and despite her sometimes dire message, Oluo’s energy and humor never flagged.

Leviton: You believe that if you’re white in America, you’re racist, and if you’re a male in America, you’re sexist. Are you saying I can’t transcend my received culture no matter what kind of a person I am?

Oluo: I don’t think you can escape it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight racism or patriarchy. You can fight the racism in society even while you fight the racism inside you. It’s like fighting a cancer inside you: you’re not “pro-cancer” because you have it.

There’s no way to avoid absorbing our American culture, which was designed to benefit white males. We absorb American racism in ways we’re not fully aware of. You can’t undo a lifetime of experience in a few years of work. While you are struggling against racism, the culture keeps reinforcing it, telling you who is “normal” and who isn’t, who deserves to be seen and who is made invisible. Racism is alive.

I want to move people away from thinking of racism as a feeling of hatred, because it’s rare to find someone who blatantly hates people of color. But the impact of racial bias isn’t lessened because it’s not blatant. If someone denies me a job because I’m “not the right fit,” without realizing that their idea of the right fit is almost always a white person, it doesn’t hurt me any less than if I’m told, “I won’t hire you because you’re black.” Racism is not necessarily an intention or a feeling. It is a system that produces predictable results.

In this country there are large racial divides in everything from infant mortality, to how much you earn, to your chances of being arrested or incarcerated. This is not because a bunch of white people wake up every day and decide to oppress people of color; it’s not just the actions of individuals with hate in their hearts. We cannot understand American racism unless we recognize it as a system that was built to run — and that still runs — on principles of oppression and domination. Four hundred years of history doesn’t go back into the toothpaste tube…

Leviton: You were always a high achiever in school. You didn’t have disciplinary problems.

Oluo: Yes, I was well suited for Western education. I scored high on standardized tests — which are very prejudiced in many ways. While I was growing up, my mom was going to college, and because she couldn’t afford day care, she would sneak my brother and me into her big auditorium classes. My father was a college professor; he didn’t raise us, but I was aware of that heritage. So education was always something I loved.

But there were costs. One was that my blackness was erased. People could accept that I was talented and smart only if they saw me as less black. I had teachers who would insist I was “mixed,” not black. Many people told me I didn’t “act black” — I guess because doing well in school and loving to read were not “black” behaviors to them. And in many ways that robbed me of my sense of community and identity. I was often used as an example to other black students: “Why can’t you be more like Ijeoma?” I became a reason to withhold sympathy from other black students: “She gets it. Why can’t you?”

I grew up in Seattle, and I talk like someone who grew up in Seattle. I was raised by a white single mom. I have a lighter skin tone than many black people. And I was treated as if I were fundamentally better than my black peers, because I looked and sounded whiter. I grew up feeling very isolated as a result. I was the only black kid in the advanced programs up to seventh grade. In high school there was one other black kid. Today my son is in an advanced school program, and there’s only one other black kid in there with him. So my son has to carry that burden of representing black students…

Read the entire interview here.

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Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths: ‘Mixed-race identity is not reflected in theatre, so I wanted to explore that’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2018-11-26 02:45Z by Steven

Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths: ‘Mixed-race identity is not reflected in theatre, so I wanted to explore that’

The Stage
London, United Kingdom
2018-11-22

Giverny Masso

Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths. Photo: Michael Wharley
Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths. Photo: Michael Wharley

Actor Indigo Griffiths started writing to address the lack of roles for mixed-race performers. She tells Giverny Masso about her first full-length play, Passing, which is to receive a rehearsed reading on a West End stage as part of the Masterclass Trust’s Pitch Your Play competition.

How did you get into theatre?

Theatre has always been something I’ve done. As a kid I was always in youth groups and I knew early on I wanted to be an actor. I studied drama and English literature at the University of East Anglia, which gave me an amazing grounding. I then did a postgraduate course at Drama Studio London, which I graduated from in 2016. Since then I’ve been working as an actor, before I started writing…

Tell me about Passing?

Passing is the first full-length play I’ve written. It’s part of a trilogy of mixed-race themed plays I have been working on. It’s set in 1940s Chicago and is about the lives of three mixed-race siblings. The play explores how lives change when you make the decision to pass as a white person. Passing as a concept is something that fascinates me…

Read the entire interview here.

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Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Misogyny, Authoritarianism, and the Rise of Multiracial White Supremacy

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-22 23:12Z by Steven

Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Misogyny, Authoritarianism, and the Rise of Multiracial White Supremacy

The Takeaway
WNYC Studios, New York, New York
2018-10-16

Tanzina Vega, Host


Gavin McInnes is surrounded by supporters after speaking at a rally Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media and founder of the pro-TrumpProud Boys,”
( AP Photo )

Gavin McInnes, alt-right leader and founder of the far-right group the Proud Boys, was invited to speak at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this past weekend. In advance of his appearance, McInnes promised to reenact the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma, posing in photos depicting ugly Asian caricatures.

His presence drew crowds of both protesters and right-wing counter-protesters to the event, and violence erupted late Friday night. Several cell phone videos show groups of uniformed Proud Boys bragging about the assaults, and NYPD released footage of a protester throwing a bottle at McInnes’ supporters.

The Proud Boys fit into an American tradition of far-right hate groups, but the Internet has enabled disparate groups from all across the country to find support in their message of “western chauvinism.” Also interestingly, the Proud Boys seem to have an ability to attract men of color, which seems at odds with groups that borrow heavily from a white supremacist ideology.

Tanya Hernández, professor of law at Fordham University and the author of the forthcoming book Multiracials and Civil Rights[: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination], and David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, and correspondent for the Southern Poverty Law Center, join the program to help make sense of this current phenomenon.

Listen to the story here. Download the story (00:11:53) here.

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Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-12 14:16Z by Steven

Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

International Examiner
Seattle, Washington
2018-10-08

Anne Liu Kellor

Sharon H. Chang recently released a memoir called Hapa Tales and Other Lies: A Mixed Race Memoir about the Hawai’i I Never Knew. The book is an exploration of her Mixed Race Asian American identity through the lens of being a tourist in Hawai’i, a place with many Mixed Race Asians where Chang was indirectly told she could find a sense of racial belonging.

Different from the trips she took with her parents when she was a kid, Chang’s adult exploration of spaces like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center tell her a more complicated history of Hawai’i and the indigenous culture – colonization, marginalization of Native Hawaiians, exploitation and appropriation. She spends significant time challenging the use of the term “hapa,” a word that originally referred to mixed Hawaiian natives, but that many Mixed Race Asians now use without any awareness of the word’s origins.

Seattle-based writer Anne Liu Kellor interviewed Chang about this exploration as they shared similar perspectives of being Mixed Race, Asian American women and mothers.

International Examiner: In Hapa Tales and Other Lies, you write that this book is a “chapter of your identity story” and “part of a larger, necessary story about the loneliness and challenge of self-defining that Mixed Race people generally face.” When did you start becoming more reflective about your Mixed Race identity, and how has this process of “self-defining” changed for you over time?

SHC: I started becoming more reflective about being Mixed Race when I met my husband (who is also Mixed) at the turn of the century. My husband had been recently politicized and the 2000 Census had just taken place where people could self-select more than one race box for the first time. When we met, he was in the process of reflecting deeply on where to step into the race conversation as a now recognized biracial person. I had never heard anyone talk about being Mixed Race like that, ever, and I was completely drawn in.

When my husband and I grew up no one talked about being biracial, multiracial, or mixed-race. That language didn’t really exist on a large scale. People like us were “half” this, “quarter” that, or you were expected to just “pick a side.” I began to see such concepts as harmfully self-divisive and wondered how things could be different. But what spurred me to go even deeper and actually begin writing on Mixed Race was the birth of my son in 2009…

Read the entire interview here.

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Zazie Beetz on ‘Atlanta,’ Her Emmy Nomination and Impostor Syndrome

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-08-28 01:42Z by Steven

Zazie Beetz on ‘Atlanta,’ Her Emmy Nomination and Impostor Syndrome

The New York Times
2018-08-24

Aisha Harris, Assistant Television Editor, Culture Desk


Zazie Beetz received her first Emmy nomination, for her work in “Atlanta” on FX. Guy D’Alema/FX

Zazie Beetz has had quite the year. The burgeoning actor returned for Season 2 of FX’s critically acclaimed dramedy “Atlanta,” unpacking more layers of her character Van in some particularly memorable episodes. (One scene from the episode “Champagne Papi” took on new life thanks to Drake, who included one of her lines at the end of his No. 1 hit “In My Feelings.”) This summer, she reached an even wider audience with “Deadpool 2,” receiving accolades for her performance as Domino, a mutant whose superpower is luck.

And last month Ms. Beetz received her first Emmy nomination, for best supporting actress in a comedy for “Atlanta.” As someone who suffers from severe anxiety, however, the awards recognition and the increased visibility that comes with it have not been easy to process. “I don’t even know if I should say this publicly, but I feel kind of like, ‘O.K., cool,’” she said.

“I’m glad that shows like ‘Atlanta’ and our other contemporaries are having an opportunity to be seen and to be appreciated,” she continued, “and I’m glad that I can contribute in that way. That’s really what I’m happy about.”

In a phone interview, Ms. Beetz discussed exploring new facets of Van, her own biracial identity and experiencing anxiety and impostor syndrome in Hollywood. These are edited excerpts from the conversation…

Read the entire interview here.

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Danzy Senna’s Life Isn’t Black and White

Posted in Autobiography, Interviews, United States, Videos on 2018-08-24 20:40Z by Steven

Danzy Senna’s Life Isn’t Black and White

Articulate
2018-04-24

Jim Cotter, Host & Managing Editor

Author Danzy Senna’s heritage gives her a unique perspective on race in America.

Watch the interview (00:06:40-00:16:40) and read the transcript here.

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Tanya Katerí Hernández

Posted in Africa, Articles, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2018-08-21 02:40Z by Steven

Tanya Katerí Hernández

Writers Read
2018-08-09

Marshal Zeringue

Tanya Katerí Hernández is the Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where she co-directs the Center on Race, Law & Justice as its Head of Global and Comparative Law Programs and Initiatives.

Her new book is Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination.

Recently I asked Hernández about what she was reading. Her reply:

I have been re-reading Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, in anticipation of the film version that Lupita Nyongo is slated to star in portraying Noah’s mother. The book has a special resonance for me as a comparative-race law scholar whose personal background as a black-identified mixed-race Afro-Latina traveling the globe informs her insights about the (in)significance of the growth of racial mixture to the pursuit of racial equality whether it be in the US, South Africa, or Latin America. Noah’s story of being mixed-race during and after apartheid ended in South Africa is both a poignant and humorous read (as you would expect from the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show)…

Read the entire interview here.

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Interview: ‘White people are so fragile, bless ’em’ … meet Rhiannon Giddens, banjo warrior

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-07-29 01:04Z by Steven

Interview: ‘White people are so fragile, bless ’em’ … meet Rhiannon Giddens, banjo warrior

The Guardian
2018-07-23

Emma John

‘I’m not here to be famous’ … Rhiannon Giddens, who is curating the Cambridge folk festival.
‘I’m not here to be famous’ … Rhiannon Giddens, who is curating the Cambridge folk festival. Photograph: Tanya Rosen-Jones

She pours fire and fury into powerful songs that target everything from police shootings to slavery. The musician reveals all about her mission to put the black back into bluegrass – and Shakespeare

‘We’re all racist to some degree,” says Rhiannon Giddens. “Just like we’re all privileged to some degree. I have privilege in my system because I’m light-skinned. I hear people say, ‘I didn’t have it easy growing up either.’ But when did it become a competition?”

As someone on a mission to bridge such divides, Giddens thinks about this stuff a lot. The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter was born to a white father and a black mother in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the late 1970s. Her parents married only three years after the landmark Loving v Virginia decision, which reversed the anti-miscegenation laws that had made interracial marriage illegal. Their union was still shocking enough that her father was disinherited.

While much has changed in the 40 years that Giddens has been alive, her latest album, Freedom Highway, is a powerful testament to the inequality and injustice that remain. It opens with At the Purchaser’s Option, a devastating track inspired by an 1830s advert for a female slave whose nine-month-old baby could also be included in the sale. “It was kind of a statement to put that one first,” says Giddens. “If you can get past that, you’ll probably survive the rest.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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