Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, History, Media Archive on 2017-06-13 18:35Z by Steven

Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

Scene on Radio
2017-03-01

John Biewen, Host and Audio Program Director/Instructor
Center for Documentary Studies
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Chenjerai Kumanyika, Assistant Professor of Popular Culture
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina


Photo: The Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal. The highlighted figure in the center is an effigy of Gomes Eanes de Zurara. The figure at the top right is Prince Henry the Navigator. Photo by Harvey Barrison.

For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Listen to the podcast (00:28:50) here. Download the podcast here.

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“We Are Not Used to People Thinking We Are Beautiful”

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico on 2017-06-08 00:49Z by Steven

“We Are Not Used to People Thinking We Are Beautiful”

The New Yorker
2017-06-02

Jonathan Blitzer


Photograph by Cécile Smetana Baudier

It was a toothache that brought the Franco-Danish photographer Cécile Smetana Baudier to Costa Chica, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. She was in Oaxaca at the time, for a project on women’s fashion, when she visited a dentist with a special reputation among cash-strapped local photographers. He accepted payment in the form of photographs. His waiting room, in Oaxaca City, was like a gallery, with framed images along the walls and piles of art books cascading over tables. There, just before getting a molar pulled, Baudier came across a series of photos of reedy men with fishing rods and nets, lolling in boats and along the banks of lagoons. She was surprised, given the fact that the men were black, to learn that the photographs had been taken in Mexico, in the remote southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. It was the first time she had ever seen images of Afro-Mexicans, and she decided to try to contribute some of her own. A few weeks later, she set out for El Azufre—a secluded coastal fishing village with a large Afro-Mexican population—where she spent five weeks living in a tent pitched on the front yard of an acquaintance’s house.

The African presence in Mexico dates back to the early sixteenth century, when Spanish conquistadors and colonialists arrived; with them came the slave trade. As many as two hundred and fifty thousand African slaves were transported Mexico, according to academic estimates*. At the turn of the nineteenth century, ten per cent of the population had African origins, but Mexican independence ignited a new national dialogue that downplayed race and elevated, instead, the idea of common citizenship. Even though some of the country’s most iconic freedom fighters and early politicians had African roots, their accomplishments fed a celebration of the broader mestizo culture. The history of Afro-Mexicans ever since has been one of erasure and marginalization. Today, there are 1.4 million citizens of African descent in Mexico, but the government did not recognize them officially until a 2015 census count…

Read the entire article here.

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Identity Politics of Difference: The Mixed-Race American Indian Experience

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Campus Life, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-05-30 20:52Z by Steven

Identity Politics of Difference: The Mixed-Race American Indian Experience

University Press of Colorado
2017-08-15
168 pages
1 table
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-543-7

Michelle R. Montgomery, Assistant Professor
School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, American Indian Studies, and Ethnic, Gender & Labor Studies
University of Washington, Tacoma

In Identity Politics of Difference, author Michelle R. Montgomery uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine questions of identity construction and multiracialism through the experiences of mixed-race Native American students at a tribal school in New Mexico. She explores the multiple ways in which these students navigate, experience, and understand their racial status and how this status affects their educational success and social interactions.

Montgomery contextualizes students’ representations of their racial identity choices through the compounded race politics of blood quantum and stereotypes of physical features, showing how varying degrees of “Indianness” are determined by peer groups. Based on in-depth interviews with nine students who identify as mixed-race (Native American–White, Native American–Black, and Native American–Hispanic), Montgomery challenges us to scrutinize how the category of “mixed-race” bears different meanings for those who fall under it based on their outward perceptions, including their ability to “pass” as one race or another.

Identity Politics of Difference includes an arsenal of policy implications for advancing equity and social justice in tribal colleges and beyond and actively engages readers to reflect on how they have experienced the identity politics of race throughout their own lives. The book will be a valuable resource to scholars, policy makers, teachers, and school administrators, as well as to students and their families.

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Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Oceania, Social Science on 2017-05-28 19:36Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

Routledge
2017-07-11
250 pages
1 B/W Illus.
Hardback ISBN: 9781138282674

Edited by:

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and the Asian Journal of Social Science

Farida Fozdar, Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology
University of Western Australia

Mixed racial and ethnic identities are topics of increasing interest around the world, yet studies of mixed race in Asia are rare, despite its particular salience for Asian societies.

Mixed Race in Asia seeks to reorient the field to focus on Asia, looking specifically at mixed race in China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India. Through these varied case studies, this collection presents an insightful exploration of race, ethnicity, mixedness and belonging, both in the past and present. The thematic range of the chapters is broad, covering the complexity of lived mixed race experiences, the structural forces of particular colonial and post-colonial environments and political regimes, and historical influences on contemporary identities and cultural expressions of mixedness.

Adding significant richness and depth to existing theoretical frameworks, this enlightening volume develops markedly different understandings of, and recognizes nuances around, what it means to be mixed, practically, theoretically, linguistically and historically. It will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral and other researchers interested in fields such as Race and Ethnicity, Sociology and Asian Studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Mixed Race in Asia / Zarine L. Rocha and Farida Fozdar
  • Section One: China and Vietnam
    • Chapter One: “A Class by Themselves”: Battles over Eurasian Schooling in Late-19th-Century Shanghai / Emma J. Teng
    • Chapter Two: Mixing Blood and Race: Representing Hunxue in Contemporary China / Cathryn Clayton
    • Chapter Three: Métis of Vietnam: An Historical Perspective on Mixed-Race Children from the French Colonial Period / Christina Firpo
  • Section Two: South Korea and Japan
    • Chapter Four: Developing bilingualism in a largely monolingual society: Southeast Asian marriage migrants and multicultural families in South Korea / Mi Yung Park
    • Chapter Five: Haafu Identity in Japan: half, mixed or double? / Alexandra Shaitan and Lisa J. McEntee-Atalianis
    • Chapter Six: Claiming Japaneseness: recognition, privilege and status in Japanese-Filipino ‘mixed’ ethnic identity constructions / Fiona-Katharina Seiger
  • Section Three: Malaysia and Singapore
    • Chapter Seven: Being “Mixed” in Malaysia: Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity / Caryn Lim
    • Chapter Eight: Chinese, Indians and the Grey Space in between: Acceptance of Malaysian Chindians in a plural society / Rona Chandran
    • Chapter Nine: ‘Our Chinese’: The Mixedness of Peranakan Chinese Identities in Kelantan, Malaysia / Pue Giok Hun
    • Chapter Ten: Eurasian as Multiracial: mixed race, gendered categories and identity in Singapore / Zarine L. Rocha
  • Section Four: India and Indonesia
    • Chapter Eleven: Is the Anglo-Indian ‘Identity Crisis’ a Myth? / Robyn Andrews
    • Chapter Twelve: When Hybridity Encounters Hindu Purity Fetish: Anglo-Indian Lived Experiences in an Indian Railway Town / Anjali Gera Roy
    • Chapter Thirteen: Sometimes white, sometimes Asian: Boundary-making among transnational mixed descent youth at an international school in Indonesia / Danau Tanu
    • Chapter Fourteen: Class, Race and Being Indo (Eurasian) in Colonial and Postcolonial Indonesia / Ros Hewett
  • Afterword / Paul Spickard
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Too pretty to play? Stephen Curry and the light-skinned black athlete

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-17 02:16Z by Steven

Too pretty to play? Stephen Curry and the light-skinned black athlete

The Conversation
2017-04-30

Ronald Hall, Professor of Social Work
Michigan State University


Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry walks off the court after a game against the Denver Nuggets in February. USA Today Sports/Reuters

During a recent interview, Golden State Warriors Draymond Green discussed why players around the league have long doubted or dismissed the talents of his superstar teammate, Stephen Curry. But it was Green’s last point, mentioned almost as an aside – “And of course, Steph is light-skinned so [players] want to make him out to be soft” – that got the most attention.

To white Americans, the relationship between skin color and toughness or masculinity might not be obvious. They might associate skin color with race or with attractiveness. But toughness? Not so much.

My first book, published in 1992, referred to skin color as “The Last Taboo Among African Americans.” It explored how African-Americans, within their community, grapple with prejudices that stem from their various shades of skin colors. If you’re black, depending on the shade of your skin, other black people might think of you as “high yella” or “red-boned,” a “white wanna-be” or just not “black enough.”…

..After the first African slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, a population of mixed-race blacks emerged. Their masters and fellow slaves celebrated their exotic features – not quite African, but not exactly white. The women were called “fancy girls” and paraded at quadroon balls, events for wealthy white men to meet and mingle with them. Lighter-skinned black men, meanwhile, were dubbed “run ‘round men” because, with their fairer skin, they could supposedly have their pick of any woman in the black community…

Read the entire article here.

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Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-05-15 00:05Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

University of North Carolina Press
May 2017
230 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3283-4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3282-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3284-1

Alisha Gaines, Assistant Professor of English
Florida State University

In 1948, journalist Ray Sprigle traded his whiteness to live as a black man for four weeks. A little over a decade later, John Howard Griffin famously “became” black as well, traveling the American South in search of a certain kind of racial understanding. Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people passing as black, and here Alisha Gaines constructs a unique genealogy of “empathetic racial impersonation”–white liberals walking in the fantasy of black skin under the alibi of cross-racial empathy. At the end of their experiments in “blackness,” Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness.

Complicating the histories of black-to-white passing and blackface minstrelsy, Gaines uses an interdisciplinary approach rooted in literary studies, race theory, and cultural studies to reveal these sometimes maddening, and often absurd, experiments of racial impersonation. By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, 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.

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What Does Identifying as Afro-Latina Really Mean?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-05 18:56Z by Steven

What Does Identifying as Afro-Latina Really Mean?

Hip Latina
2017-05-04

Johanna Ferreira
Brooklyn, New York


Pic of author. Photo Credit: Karina Munoz

Racial identity for a lot of U.S. born Latinos, is a very complex, multi-dimensional, and multi-faceted thing. As a Dominican-American woman born and raised in Queens, New York, I can attest to that. All I have to do is take a good look in the mirror to know that aside from being a Latina, I am also mixed race. I see it in my tan complexion, my light hazel eyes, my dark curly hair (that’s neither tight nor loose), my plump lips, my small nose, and my bottom-heavy figure I inherited from my Dominican mother. I am a beautiful blend of European and African ancestry and yet there still seems to be so much confusion around me identifying as Afro-Latina. Why is that?

The term Afro-Latino is a term some Latinos use as a way to identify their racial background but it’s one that still triggers a lot of confusion, pain, and shame for many. This is due in large to the complex and varied nature of racial identity in the Latino community.

According to a 2016 Pew Research study, one quarter of all U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America. Mind you, this is only taking into consideration the amount of Afro-Latinos who actually identify that way. The study shows that a lot of Afro-Latinos in the states don’t identify as Afro-Latino.

So much of our Latin American culture and history involves strong African influence. We see it in our varied skin tones, facial features, and hair textures and we experience it in our food and music. According to Pew Research, in Brazil, half of the population is of African descent (Black or mixed-race Black). In Cuba, Blacks and mixed-race Blacks make up more than a third of the country’s population. And according to the Central Intelligence Agency, 11 percent of the population in the Dominican Republic is Black while 73 percent of the population is mixed-race Black. That’s huge!

So why are there still so many Latinos out there hesitant to call themselves Afro-Latinos? Well for starters, not everyone understands the actual definition of Afro-Latino…

Read the entire article here.

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Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2017-05-03 02:22Z by Steven

Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Duke University Press
2017-05-05
328 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6358-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6373-6
12 illustrations

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Race mixture, or mestizaje, has played a critical role in the history, culture, and politics of Latin America. In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. He shows how Latin American elites and outside observers have emphasized mixture’s democratizing potential, depicting it as a useful resource for addressing problems of racism (claiming that race mixture undoes racial difference and hierarchy), while Latin American scientists participate in this narrative with claims that genetic studies of mestizos can help isolate genetic contributors to diabetes and obesity and improve health for all. Wade argues that, in the process, genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region, but a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics. Wade examines the tensions between mixture and purity, and between equality and hierarchy in liberal political orders, exploring how ideas and scientific data about genetic mixture are produced and circulate through complex networks.

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Greek, black and proud: the village in Greece with African roots: The African origins of a rural community in Thrace

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2017-04-19 17:27Z by Steven

Greek, black and proud: the village in Greece with African roots: The African origins of a rural community in Thrace

EnetEnglish: Greek Independent Press
2014-02-19

Alexandra Tzavella


Ogun Sabri and Merve Sabri, two residents of the Thracian village of Avato (Photos: Ilhan Efendi; Montage: Eleftherotypia)

The village of Avato, in the northeastern prefecture of Xanthi, is home to a unique community whose ancestors are believed to have come to Greece from Sudan during Ottoman rule

“What are you looking for, young woman? the village shepherd asks. He’s got African looks but speaks in the local accent, a combination that would surprise anyone who accidentally wandered into Avato, a village 26km south of Xanthi, a city in northeastern Greece.

There, away from the eyes of the world, live the black Greeks of Thrace, whose ancestors came to the country during Ottoman rule as slaves of local beys (or governors).

Now Greek citizens, they are confused about their origins. Some believe that their ancestors came to the country as British mercenaries during the first world war. The roots of an entire village is a small detail in the sum of world history…

‘Only in Avato’

“Wherever else you go, you won’t find black people. No where else in Thrace will you find us; only in Avato. In the past, there were some in the surrounding villages. Now there are four families left. The village was was the seat of the bey, so that’s why the blacks are here. I heard from the old people, from my late father, that our village was once a marsh. So that’s why it’s called Avato [meaning “inviolate” or “untrodden”]. My dad was black. Very black!” says the owner of the cafe, Rasim Raim (55), whose countenance and blue eyes suggests he’s of a mixed background.

“My mother was from the Caucasus, my grandfather from Sudan. That’s all I know,” he says. “I asked my father – he said that during the first world war, they brought in mercenaries to fight. And some stayed. I should have recorded it on tape, so I’d have the story. Because all that will be forgotten soon.”…

Read the entire article 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
2017-04-06

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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