The Black Supremacist

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-16 01:49Z by Steven

The Black Supremacist

The New York Times Magazine
2003-05-25

Paul Tough

Leo Felton walked out of prison on Jan. 28, 2001, looking like a man ready to take his place in American society. He had spent 11 years in the custody of the state, but now, at 30, he had served his time and seemed ready to settle down. He moved into the apartment that his wife, Lisa, had found for them in Ipswich, an old-fashioned New England town north of Boston. He got a decent job doing construction. It was a cold winter, but Lisa and Leo took walks in the woods together and rode their bicycles all over town.

Felton managed to stay free for only three months. He is back in prison now, beginning a 21-year sentence for crimes he committed after his release. The prosecutor in the case said in court that Felton was a racial terrorist, that he had been “plotting to use violent terrorist actions, like blowing up the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., in the hope and belief that such actions would spark and ignite a racial war, a racial holy war, that would bring about this new, all-white nation.” In a letter that Felton wrote to the judge, after he was found guilty, he confirmed that his ultimate goal was to establish “a politically and territorially autonomous White nation somewhere in North America.” He wrote that given the way things had looked to him at the time he got out of prison, he wasn’t able to see any path that seemed like “an honorable alternative to armed revolt.”…

I recently went to visit Felton in prison in Massachusetts (the only time we met face to face over the course of several months of conversation by phone), and we talked for half an hour through an inch-thick slice of Plexiglas, each of us with a phone held up to an ear. Felton is a lean, tall, imposing man with tattoos up and down each arm and the word “skinhead” inked into his shaved scalp in inch-high Gothic letters. His gaze was intent, and his vivid, expressive face shifted rapidly from humor to anger and back again; his voice was loud and deep, and his speech carried within it all the contradictions of the jailhouse autodidact. He swore frequently, turning venomous when talking about the “maggots” guarding the maximum-security wing of the prison where he was being held. But when our conversation shifted to politics or books or an article he had enjoyed in the latest New Yorker, his vocabulary blossomed with words like “aegis” and “Weltanschauung” and references to Dostoevsky.

If you know Leo Felton’s story, it is difficult, when you first meet him, to concentrate on anything other than his appearance. It’s not just the tattoos. He has spent many years devoted to the idea of racial separation, to the belief that Americans should be divided by the color of their skin. But his own appearance is hard to define. His skin is olive-colored. His features are angular. It’s not hard to believe what he wrote in a letter to a racist friend just before he got out of prison, that he is “¼ English and ¾ Italian.”

But, in fact, he is the product of a short-lived and idealistic late-60’s marriage between a white former nun named Corinne Vincelette and a black architect named Calvin Felton. That is Leo Felton’s biological reality, despite his elaborate attempt, over the last decade, to rebel against it. It is a reality that he blames for many of the wrong turns that his life has taken, a reality that he successfully shielded from his brothers in the movement for years, a reality that only now, back in prison, is he trying to understand in a new way…

Read the entire article here.

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Racism Comes Full Circle: America as the Harbinger of the Nazis’ Race Laws

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Virginia on 2017-08-15 19:00Z by Steven

Racism Comes Full Circle: America as the Harbinger of the Nazis’ Race Laws

Haaretz
2017-08-15

Oded Heilbronner, Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies
Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Shenkar College of Engineering and Design


Demonstrators carry confederate and Nazi flags during the Unite the Right free speech rally at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA on August 12, 2017. Emily Molli / NurPhoto

James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017)

Nazi sentiment was very much influenced by the American experience including the Jim Crow legislation in the South, Yale’s James Q. Whitman says in new book

A recent study has joined the constant flow of research on the Third Reich, an original work that sheds more light on a subject we thought we knew everything about: Nazi racism. It’s a subject all the more current after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

Countless books have been written on the sources of Nazi racism. Some reconstruct 500 years of German history, since the days of Martin Luther, and find the source of the Nazis’ murderous worldview. Others see Nazi ideology as a historical accident whose roots are to be found only in the few years before the rise of the Third Reich.

Others invoke European contexts: the Eastern European or French anti-Semitism on the eve of the 20th century, and the Communist revolution, whose shock waves included murderous anti-Semitism in Europe. We also must not ignore the biographical-psychological studies that focus on the pathological anti-Semitism developed by the Nazis, with Hitler at their head.

The unique work of Prof. James Q. Whitman of Yale Law School, whose previous book explored the growing divide between criminal law and punishment in America compared to Europe, belongs to a long series of research noting the global contexts in which decisions are made and events occurred both regionally and domestically…

…Based on a long series of modern studies, Whitman says the Nuremberg Laws were crafted so as to create citizenship laws based on racial categories. The main motive for the legislation was to prevent mixed marriages, which would lead to the birth of mixed-race children and “racial pollution.” At the center of the debate that preceded the Nuremberg Laws was the aspiration to construct a legal code that would prevent such situations. American precedents, which were meant to make African-Americans, Chinese and Filipinos second-class citizens, provided inspiration for the Nazis…

Read the entire article here.

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Not There Yet

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-08-10 01:21Z by Steven

Not There Yet

Fordham Law News: From New York City To You
2017-05-24

A conversation with six Fordham Law professors about civil rights.

While it has been more than 50 years since the last Civil Rights Act was passed, the United States still has work to do to fully realize the equality of all persons. To plot where we are on the long road of civil rights, Fordham Lawyer spoke with six professors: Elizabeth Cooper, Tanya Hernández, Leah Hill, Joseph Landau, Robin Lenhardt, and Kimani Paul-Emile.

How does the United States measure up against Latin American countries with our same history of slavery and racial inequality?

Hernández: It’s somewhat of a mixed bag in Latin America. There are examples of very impoverished understandings of race—a sort of denial that there is any problem with racism because of the extant mythology across the region that perpetuates the idea that racial mixture equals racial harmony. At the same time, there’s a lot of social justice activism on the part of Afro-Latinos; in fact, they have garnered significant traction with political administrations that have been amenable to them. For example, in 2012 Brazil had a significant Supreme Federal Court ruling that held that race-based affirmative action was constitutional. Notably, the opinion was rooted in the idea that neutrality was not enough—that it was not enough for law to be neutral if they wanted to achieve equality. That’s pretty remarkable. It contrasts with what has been happening with the U.S. Supreme Court in this area. Since the Reagan years, there has been this shift to a jurisprudence that is all about color blindness: Equality is viewed as simply being neutral. The Court doesn’t look at the material effects of people having different starting points and, consequently, different needs. That particular comparison shows a kind of enlightenment in the Latin American sphere that we have not seen in a while in the United States.

About a year or so after this Federal Supreme Court decision, new legislation called the Law of Social Quotas was passed in Brazil. What this did was mandate that there be race-based affirmative action within all the public federal universities. What’s significant about this is that there are actual quotas—numbers that can be measured and monitored. Institutions can be held accountable. There’s none of this discomfort with the idea that having accountability means that you’re demeaning someone by only viewing them as being a race. Instead, it’s a notion that the numbers matter because the numbers inform the direct way to integrate an institution.

This type of attention to race stands in marked contrast to the United States, where the use of affirmative action is sometimes misdescribed as being the most radical. But what is often misunderstood is that the United States has forbidden quotas since 1978 with the Bakke case [Regents of the University of California v. Bakke]. Thus, we don’t have authorization to use direct numerical set-asides. We can have targets and wish lists, but there can be no hard number. Without a hard number, how do you hold the institution accountable?…

Read the entire article here.

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The limits of affirmative action in Brazil

Posted in Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Videos on 2017-08-07 20:13Z by Steven

The limits of affirmative action in Brazil

Focus
France 24
2017-07-26

Brazil has the highest proportion of so-called “mixed race” people in the world. Yet only 13% of people aged 18 to 24 in that category are enrolled at university. Back in 2012, the government decided to introduce quotas for universities. But recently, the system appears to have stalled. Black student groups have denounced students they say are “too white” to benefit from this affirmative action policy, while universities have set up committees to examine skin color and ethnic background.

A programme prepared by Patrick Lovett and Aline Schmidt.

Watch the entire program here.

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Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2017-08-05 21:30Z by Steven

Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833

University of North Carolina Press
January 2018
Approx. 448 pages
24 halftones, notes, index
6.125 x 9.25
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3443-2

Daniel Livesay, Assistant Professor of History
Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California

Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia

By tracing the largely forgotten eighteenth-century migration of elite mixed-race individuals from Jamaica to Great Britain, Children of Uncertain Fortune reinterprets the evolution of British racial ideologies as a matter of negotiating family membership. Using wills, legal petitions, family correspondences, and inheritance lawsuits, Daniel Livesay is the first scholar to follow the hundreds of children born to white planters and Caribbean women of color who crossed the ocean for educational opportunities, professional apprenticeships, marriage prospects, or refuge from colonial prejudices.

The presence of these elite children of color in Britain pushed popular opinion in the British Atlantic world toward narrower conceptions of race and kinship. Members of Parliament, colonial assemblymen, merchant kings, and cultural arbiters–the very people who decided Britain’s colonial policies, debated abolition, passed marital laws, and arbitrated inheritance disputes–rubbed shoulders with these mixed-race Caribbean migrants in parlors and sitting rooms. Upper-class Britons also resented colonial transplants and coveted their inheritances; family intimacy gave way to racial exclusion. By the early nineteenth century, relatives had become strangers.

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Death of ‘a devil’: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated.

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2017-08-03 18:23Z by Steven

Death of ‘a devil’: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated.

The Washington Post
2017-08-02

John Woodrow Cox, Reporter


Walter A. Plecker, an avowed white supremacist who ran Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics for 34 years, in Richmond. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

He built his career on the systematic oppression of blacks and Native Americans, becoming one of the country’s most influential white supremacists. For more than three decades, from 1912 until 1946, Walter Ashby Plecker used his position as head of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics to champion policies designed to protect what he considered a master white race.

He was the father of the state’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which designated every person in the state as either white or “colored” and criminalized interracial marriage. Plecker insisted that any person with a single drop of “Negro” blood couldn’t be classified as white, and he refused to even acknowledge that Native Americans existed in the commonwealth, effectively erasing their legal identities.

Then, on Aug. 2, 1947 — one year after his retirement — Plecker stepped into a road in the Confederacy’s former capital and was hit by a car. Blacks and Indians had good reason to celebrate…


A column on the death of Walter Plecker that appeared in the Richmond Afro-American on Aug. 23, 1947.

Read the entire article here.

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One Woman’s Fight to Claim Her ‘Blackness’ in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive on 2017-07-25 02:12Z by Steven

One Woman’s Fight to Claim Her ‘Blackness’ in Brazil

Foreign Policy
2017-07-24

Cleuci de Oliveira
Brasília, Brazil


Illustration by Sofía Bonati

The experience of a young lawyer raises difficult questions about race, belonging, and the bureaucracy of affirmative action in a country lauded for its egalitarian history.

When Maíra Mutti Araújo speaks, she draws out her vowels and pronounces them with a distinctively sharp tone. Her accent is immediately recognizable to Brazilians as typical of Salvador, a coastal city in the country’s northeast that is as famous for its beaches as its rich African heritage. Araújo grew up in Salvador, just like her mom. Her dad, who grew up in a rural town eight hours away, has lived there since college. She has her mom’s features — a broad nose, full lips — and her dad’s nut-brown complexion.

Araújo comes from a bookish family. Her parents met when they were both chemistry majors at a local university — they now work as middle school chemistry teachers. She got her law degree at the Federal University of Bahia, one of the country’s most prestigious. During her time in law school, Araújo began to consider a career in the civil service. She interned at the Federal Attorney General’s Office in Salvador while still a student and took a job as an analyst at the government accountability office in Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, after graduation. Her goal was to eventually become a prosecutor. “I love arguing cases,” Araújo says, “that whole process of taking a case and finding a solution for it.” As a prosecutor, she says, “you’re responsible for propelling the case forward. The outcome depends on your approach.”

In late 2015, Araújo set her sights on an attractive job opening for a prosecutor back in her hometown, in the Salvador municipal department. Everyone encouraged her to apply using a relatively new affirmative action option. “You of all people! You have to do it,” Araújo’s boss at the time told her. “If I had the chance to apply as a quotas candidate, I would totally go for it,” her friends said. “And you do! So apply!”…

…Even before slavery was abolished, the mixed-race Brazilians who resulted from these unions enjoyed freedoms not available to those with darker skin tones. Many thrived as small-scale farmers, for instance, and a few reached stratospheric heights: André Rebouças, whose grandmother had been a slave, rose to become one of Brazil’s most important engineers in the late 19th century. By the turn of the century, a complex hierarchy based on skin color, facial features, hair texture, education, and elocution, among other qualities, came to dominate the Brazilian social contract.

Unlike the United States, post-abolition Brazil did not enact “anti-miscegenation” or “separate but equal” laws, so race relations evolved with relative fluidity. The end result was that, contrary to America, where even a single black ancestor several generations removed marked a person as legally black, Brazilians came to define blackness as a matter of physical appearance. According to the late sociologist Oracy Nogueira — arguably the most influential scholar of Brazilian constructions of race — the American concept of “passing” as white is a moot one in Brazil, where simply looking white makes one so.

The quotas implemented in universities and government departments were born of attempts to push back against this pervasive colorism — the privileging of light skin over dark. Activists stress the importance of black representation in positions of power — particularly by those who, on account of having a darker complexion or markedly black features, do not benefit from a fluid racial identity that could otherwise see them classified as white. Which is why activists’ frustrations have grown over what they argue are light-skinned pardos taking advantage of hard-won affirmative action policies that were not fought for with them in mind…

Read the entire article here.

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Slavery and Freedom in Texas: Stories from the Courtroom, 1821–1871

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Monographs, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2017-07-19 03:22Z by Steven

Slavery and Freedom in Texas: Stories from the Courtroom, 1821–1871

University of Georgia Press
2017-11-01
258 pages
2 b&w photos, 8 maps
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-5133-9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-5163-6

Jason A. Gillmer, John J. Hemmingson Chair in Civil Liberties and Professor of Law
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Riveting trials that exposed conflicting attitudes toward race and liberty

In these absorbing accounts of five court cases, Jason A. Gillmer offers intimate glimpses into Texas society in the time of slavery. Each story unfolds along boundaries—between men and women, slave and free, black and white, rich and poor, old and young—as rigid social orders are upset in ways that drive people into the courtroom.

One case involves a settler in a rural county along the Colorado River, his thirty-year relationship with an enslaved woman, and the claims of their children as heirs. A case in East Texas arose after an owner refused to pay an overseer who had shot one of her slaves. Another case details how a free family of color carved out a life in the sparsely populated marshland of Southeast Texas, only to lose it all as waves of new settlers “civilized” the county. An enslaved woman in Galveston who was set free in her owner’s will—and who got an uncommon level of support from her attorneys—is the subject of another case. In a Central Texas community, as another case recounts, citizens forced a Choctaw native into court in an effort to gain freedom for his slave, a woman who easily “passed” as white.

The cases considered here include Gaines v. Thomas, Clark v. Honey, Brady v. Price, State v. Ashworth, and Webster v. Heard. All of them pitted communal attitudes and values against the exigencies of daily life in an often harsh place. Here are real people in their own words, as gathered from trial records, various legal documents, and many other sources. People of many colors, from diverse backgrounds, weave their way in and out of the narratives. We come to know what mattered most to them—and where those personal concerns stood before the law.

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NYU Guesses Racial, Ethnic Identity of Some Employees

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-13 20:50Z by Steven

NYU Guesses Racial, Ethnic Identity of Some Employees

Washington Square News
2017-04-17

Sayer Devlin, Deputy News Editor


Jessica Francis
Because NYU receives federal funding, the university’s office of human resources is required to guess the racial and ethnic identities of employees who do not self-report that information.

An NYU professor, who is a person of color, told WSN that he had a very brief meeting — less than five minutes — with the university’s human resources department, which he believes was used to guess his ethnicity.

The practice of determining the race and ethnicity of employees through post-employment records and visual observations is explicitly legal according to a directive by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. However, the practice of assigning an employee’s race based on their appearance raises ethical questions.

NYU is required to collect data on the race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status and disability status of all their employees — though employees are not required to disclose this information — because the university receives federal funding.

“Self-identification will remain the preferred method for compiling information about the sex, race or ethnicity of applicants and employees,” the directive reads. “A contractor’s invitation to self-identify race or ethnicity should state that the submission of such information is voluntary. However, contractors may use post-employment records or visual observation when an individual declines to self-identify his or her race or ethnicity.”

NYU Spokesperson John Beckman said in an email that he could not comment on this incident regarding the aforementioned professor…

…CAS Associate Professor of Sociology Ann Morning serves on one of the U.S. Census Bureau Committees, the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations, which advises the racial categories used in the census. Morning said that guessing the racial identities of faculty might be the best way to to collect that information…

Read the entire article here.

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What Percentage Indian Do You Have to Be in Order to Be a Member of a Tribe or Nation?

Posted in Articles, Law, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2017-07-12 19:53Z by Steven

What Percentage Indian Do You Have to Be in Order to Be a Member of a Tribe or Nation?

Indian Country Today
2017-07-08

Sonny Skyhawk


Woman dancing at the Kiowa Blackleggings Warrior Society Pow Wow 2015. iStock

50 or 25 percent blood quantum or lineal descent, every tribe has its own criteria for mandatory percentage Indian

Tribal Nations are the only recognized arbiter of belonging to or being a member of a tribe. No other agency or arm of any government has that responsibility, other than the particular tribe to which a person claims to belong. Thus the issue of what percentage Indian is any individual belonging to a tribe?

Every tribe has its own membership criteria; some go on blood quantum, others on descent, but whatever the criteria for “percentage Indian” it is the tribe’s enrollment office that has final say on whether a person may be a member. Anyone can claim Indian heritage, but only the tribe can grant official membership.

The first blood quantum law for legal percentage Indian was passed in 1705 in the colony of Virginia in which laws were introduced to restrict the civil rights of Native people.

In 1924 Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act, which required that every individual be classified as either white or black. Native Americans were erased from Virginia and U.S. history as their birth records were literally changed. The act has been lauded ‘pencil genocide.’

In 1934, due to the federal government’s Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and the associated awarded lands, many tribes were forced to adopt their own sets of blood quantum laws.

Here is a list of some tribes that claim blood quantum / percentage Indian requirements:…

Read the entire article here.

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