After Years of Searching, I Finally Found My Black Indian Community

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-08-20 19:36Z by Steven

After Years of Searching, I Finally Found My Black Indian Community

Zora
2019-08-19

Shonda Buchanan, Literary Editor
Harriet Tubman Press

The blood of two peoples runs in us, and we want everyone to know we are still here

Dropping off a book at the Hampton Public Library, I glance at the counter and see a licorice-red flyer that says, “Come Join the Weyanoke Association: African Americans Honoring Our American Indian Heritage.” I look around. Is someone playing a joke on me?

In August 2004, my daughter and I moved to Hampton, Virginia, for my job at a Historically Black College. Our first year was hard and lonely, and we desperately missed our communities back in Los Angeles and in the Los Padres National Forest.

“I hate it here,” Afiya said at least once a week as she tried to make friends in the ninth grade. I tried to placate her with the proverbial “give it time” talks, but I had moved her away from her friends at 14, just as she was about to start high school. We had many “I hate it here” fights, but the truth was I was having a hard time finding my people, too. I missed the African American, African-centered communities, and the American Indian groups that had become my family over the years. This flyer seemed to be a sign: Little did I know I was about to find a space where both sides of my heritage combined…

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Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2019-08-18 22:12Z by Steven

Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

Contexts
Volume: 18 issue: 3
pages 36-41
DOI: 10.1177/1536504219864957

Chinyere Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

In the United States, people often discuss how the burgeoning multi-racial population and immigrants from Asia and Latin America are forcing us to call into question what we know about racial and ethnic categories. This argument, however, takes for granted that being Black or White, categories at the poles, are unproblematic distinctions. This perspective essentializes Blackness and Whiteness as commonsense phenomena. They are anything but. The meanings of who is White and who is Black in the United States have shifted over centuries, and who gets slotted into what category changes across societies.

A couple of years ago, the media became fascinated with Rachel Dolezal, a woman born naturally to White parents, who identified as a Black woman. At a time when transgender issues were becoming salient, news media posed what seemed to them an obvious question: is it possible to be born White and become Black the same way it was possible to be born with male sex organs and become female? Although Dolezal never used the term “transracial” to identify herself, she reminded us that race is a social construction, something many people understand as fake and baseless. On these grounds, Dolezal decided that she would wear Black hairstyles, spend time in Black communities, date and marry Black men, lead a chapter of a historically Black organization, and supposedly leave Whiteness behind. This infuriated many people, especially African Americans.

When Rachel Dolezal made international news, my friends in Brazil did not understand the commotion. “What’s going on? Who is this woman?” they asked.

I understood some of their confusion…

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Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Europe, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-08-15 20:15Z by Steven

Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
2018-05-08
342 pages
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-946160-19-5

Elista Istre
Lafayette, Louisiana

Creoles established themselves in South Louisiana long before Acadian exiles reached the shores of the Bayou State. Boasting a mélange of African, European, and North American roots, Creoles converged on Louisiana’s prairies and created their own distinct cuisine, language, and musical style.

In Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong, Dr. Elista Istre invites her readers to enter the Creole world—a place where cooks tempt taste buds with gumbo and crawfish, storytellers mesmerize young and old with tales tied to three continents, and musicians and dancers pulsate to the rhythms of accordions and rubboards.

Despite inside pressure to isolate and outside pressure to assimilate, Creoles from all walks of life continue to forge new identities while preserving and celebrating traditional elements of their rich heritage. They are adaptable. They are resilient. They are strong.

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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania on 2019-08-15 18:12Z by Steven

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege

The Pin
2018-02-11

Elodie Silberstein, Artist & Scholar
Brooklyn, New York

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All? Colourism and light skinned privilege
Image Credit: Elodie Silberstein

Footscray station. Fifteen minutes by train from the city centre and here I am, in the multicultural melting pot of Melbourne. I feel thrilled. I want to sense the buzzing atmosphere of the market, and to replenish the stock of hair products that I use to enhance my natural curls. Some friends advised me to look for the requisite articles in the numerous shops of the East African community. Being new to Australia, I struggle to find products in mainstream stores that are suitable for my textured hair inherited from my Cameroonian father and French mother. The first beauty salon I encounter sets the scene. The flagship products in the window display immediately grab my attention: skin-lightening body lotions, whitening soaps… you name it, they have it. Smiley models display their charms all over the packaging promising to women of colour a lighter skin tone. A few applications, et voilà! Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Faced with this extravaganza of skin-whitening products I am suddenly brought back to my childhood in Cameroon, and I cannot help but feel my heart sinking.

Growing up mixed-race in Douala was a peculiar experience. Interracial unions were rare in the 1970s. My parents were a bit of a curiosity. I became used to being called chocolat au lait (milk chocolate) by my neighbours. It did not take me long to realise the obvious advantages that my lighter hue provided me over my dark chocolate counterparts in the white, but also in the black community…

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When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-07-31 20:28Z by Steven

When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?

Remezcla
2019-07-30

Janel Martinez

At the top of November 2018, an Instagram meme created by writer Alan Pelaez Lopez went viral. The Afro-Indigenous (Zapotec) activist placed the term Latinidad on a car making a sharp right turn at an exit. At the top of the image, the road sign that points ahead lists, “admitting racism & anti-Blackness exists & a commitment to build solidarity with Black and Indigenous people.” The arrow pointing right notes, “mestiza supremacy & your insistence that your great-great-great-great grandmother was Black.” The car, which moved in the latter direction, symbolizes the ideologies of Latinidad.

A few days later, Pelaez posted on their Instagram account that “Latinidad is canceled.”

With each repost or share, Latinxs, a large percentage identifying as Afro-Latinx and/or Indigenous, championed Pelaez Lopez’s meme and called for cancellation. Others, many who would be racialized as white or mixed-raced (mulatto or mestizo) Latinxs, contested the message.

Though positioned as an all-inclusive cultural identity, Latinidad has historically proven to be a term beneficial to a select few. Gauging one’s proximity to whiteness – gender, sexual preference and able-bodied privileges included – Latinidad incites the question, who is included and, ultimately, excluded from its definition?…

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Indian allies and white antagonists: toward an alternative mestizaje on Mexico’s Costa Chica Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation on 2019-07-18 20:36Z by Steven

Indian allies and white antagonists: toward an alternative mestizaje on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
Volume 11, 2016 – Issue 3: Mestizo Acts: The Politics and Performance of Mestizaje in Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia
pages 222-241
DOI: 10.1080/17442222.2015.1094873

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Anthropology in Modern Languages and Linguistics
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

San Nicolás Tolentino, Guerrero, Mexico, is a ‘mixed’ black-Indian agricultural community on the coastal belt of Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, the Costa Chica. This article examines local expressions of race in San Nicolás in relation to Mexico’s national ideology of mestizaje (race mixing), which excludes blackness but is foundational to Mexican racial identities. San Nicolás’s black-Indians are strongly nationalistic while expressing a collective or regional identity different from those of peoples they identify as Indians and as whites. Such collective expression produces an alternative model of mestizaje, here explored through local agrarian history and several village festivals. It is argued that this alternative model favors Indians and distances whites, thereby challenging dominant forms of Mexican mestizaje.

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That little Mexican part of me: race, place and transnationalism among U.S. African-descent Mexicans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-07-17 16:50Z by Steven

That little Mexican part of me: race, place and transnationalism among U.S. African-descent Mexicans

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online: 2019-06-05
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1626016

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Anthropology in Modern Languages and Linguistics
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

This article uses semi-structured interviews and participant observation to examine transnationalism and notions of race among first- and second-generation young adult Afro-descended Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States. I suggest that transnationally inflected understandings of race encourage both generations to privilege place-based over ancestry-based racial identities. For the first generation, which is mostly undocumented, place is part of their socialization as Mexicans and a way to forge a more secure sense of belonging in the United States. For members of the second generation, place resolves their position as an anomalous “race” not recognized in the United States.

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Chinyere K. Osuji

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-07-12 12:09Z by Steven

Chinyere K. Osuji

New Books Network
2019-07-11

Reighan Gillam, Host and Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Southern California

Chinyere K. Osuji, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (New York: New York University Press, 2019)

The increasing presence of interracial relationships is often read as an antidote to racism or as an indicator of the decreasing significance of race. In her book, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (NYU Press, 2019), Chinyere K. Osuji examines how interracial couples push against, navigate, and often maintain racial boundaries. In-depth interviews with black-white couples in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Los Angeles demonstrate how couples negotiate racial difference with their spouses, within their families, and during public encounters. This comparative study of interracial couples in Brazil and in the United States shows just how race can be constructed differently, while racial hierarchies persist. This book would be of interest to those in fields such as racial and ethnic studies, family and kinship studies, gender studies, and Latin American studies.

Listen to the interview (00:52:56) here. Download the interview here.

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Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2019-07-11 20:44Z by Steven

Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World

Boydell & Brewer
July 2010
260 pages
12 black and white illustrations
9×6 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781580464734
Hardback ISBN: 9781580463263
eBook for Handhelds ISBN: 9781580468190
eBook ISBN: 9781580467056

Solimar Otero, Professor of Folklore
Indiana University, Bloomington

A study of the interchange between Cuba and Africa of Yoruban people and culture during the nineteenth century, with special emphasis on the Aguda community.

Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World explores how Yoruba and Afro-Cuban communities moved across the Atlantic between the Americas and Africa in successive waves in the nineteenth century. In Havana, Yoruba slaves from Lagos banded together to buy their freedom and sail home to Nigeria. Once in Lagos, this Cuban repatriate community became known as the Aguda. This community built their own neighborhood that celebrated their Afrolatino heritage. For these Yoruba and Afro-Cuban diasporic populations, nostalgic constructions of family and community play the role of narrating and locating a longed-for home. By providing a link between the workings of nostalgia and the construction of home, this volume re-theorizes cultural imaginaries as a source for diasporic community reinvention. Through ethnographic fieldwork and research in folkloristics, Otero reveals that the Aguda identify strongly with their Afro-Cuban roots in contemporary times. Their fluid identity moves from Yoruba to Cuban, and back again, in a manner that illustrates the truly cyclical nature of transnational Atlantic community affiliation.

Table of Contents

  • Grassroots Africans: Havana’s “Lagosians”
  • Returning to Lagos: Making the Oja Home
  • “Second Diasporas”: Reception in the Bight of Benin
  • Situating Lagosian, Caribbean, and Latin American Diasporas
  • Creating Afrocubanos: Public Cultures in a Circum-Atlantic Perspective
  • Conclusion: Flow, Community, and Diaspora
  • Appendix: Case Studies of Returnees to Lagos from Havana, Cuba
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Is race mixture an antidote to racism?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Social Science on 2019-06-19 14:49Z by Steven

Is race mixture an antidote to racism?

Monitor: Global Intelligence on Racism
2018-12-03

Monica Moreno-Figueroa, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cambridge; Fellow in Social Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

There is a tendency for commentators situated towards the political right to claim that we are living in a “post-racial” age. They point to the fact that since the Second World War, the institutional racism of the US South and of South African apartheid has been dismantled, that scientists now agree that all humans are genetically almost identical, that many societies have officially adopted multiculturalist policies, recognising and respecting the cultural differences that characterise racially diverse societies, and that rates of inter-racial marriage are rising fast as societies become more integrated.

Within this “post-racial” view, the presence of racism is not necessarily denied, but it is minimised and seen in a certain way. Overtly racist people are deplored as far-right fanatics who are not representative of the main trends in society. Those who protest against racism are accused of being over-sensitive “snow-flakes” who “can’t take a joke”, of unfairly demanding special treatment, or creating counter-productive divisiveness and discord in society.

In this scenario, post-raciality and racism are seen as being in an either/or relationship, a zero-sum game in which the more post-racial a society is, the less racism it must have. However, Latin American societies can teach us, both in historical and contemporary experiences, that this scenario is misleading. The region shows us that post-raciality and racism can co-exist, with both aspects forming simultaneous dimensions of the same context. What is more, it is not that post-raciality is a mask behind which the workings of racism lurk: they are both deeply-rooted aspects of society…

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