That Middle World: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Passing

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2020-10-11 02:38Z by Steven

That Middle World: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Passing

University of North Carolina Press
October 2020
242 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, 1 fig
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5957-2
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5956-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5958-9

Julia S. Charles, Assistant Professor of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

In this study of racial passing literature, Julia S. Charles highlights how mixed-race subjects invent cultural spaces for themselves—a place she terms that middle world—and how they, through various performance strategies, make meaning in the interstices between the Black and white worlds. Focusing on the construction and performance of racial identity in works by writers from the antebellum period through Reconstruction, Charles creates a new discourse around racial passing to analyze mixed-race characters’ social objectives when crossing into other racialized spaces. To illustrate how this middle world and its attendant performativity still resonates in the present day, Charles connects contemporary figures, television, and film—including Rachel Dolezal and her Black-passing controversy, the FX show Atlanta, and the musical Show Boat—to a range of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary texts. Charles’s work offers a nuanced approach to African American passing literature and examines how mixed-race performers articulated their sense of selfhood and communal belonging.

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Dutch Children of African American Liberators: Race, Military Policy and Identity in World War II and Beyond

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Monographs, United States on 2020-10-11 02:24Z by Steven

Dutch Children of African American Liberators: Race, Military Policy and Identity in World War II and Beyond

McFarland
October 2020
50 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
6×9
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-4766-7693-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4766-4114-0

Mieke Kirkels and Chris Dickon

In the Netherlands, a small group of biracial citizens has entered its eighth decade of lives that have been often puzzling and difficult, but which offer a unique insight into the history of race relations in America. Though their African American fathers had brought liberation from Nazi tyranny at the end of World War II, they had arrived in a segregated American military that derived from a racially divisive American society. Decades later, some of their children could finally know of a father’s identity and the life he had led after the war. Just one would be able to find an embrace in his arms, and just one to visit her father’s American grave after 73 years. But they could now understand their own Dutch lives in the context of their fathers’ lives in America. This book relates their experiences, offering fresh insight into the history of American race relations.

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Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes and Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-10-11 02:23Z by Steven

Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes and Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America

University of North Carolina Press
September 2020
336 pages
14 halftones, 3 maps, 4 graphs, 3 tables, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5899-5
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5898-8

A. B. Wilkinson, Associate Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The history of race in North America is still often conceived of in black and white terms. In this book, A. B. Wilkinson complicates that history by investigating how people of mixed African, European, and Native American heritage—commonly referred to as “Mulattoes,” “Mustees,” and “mixed bloods”—were integral to the construction of colonial racial ideologies. Thousands of mixed-heritage people appear in the records of English colonies, largely in the Chesapeake, Carolinas, and Caribbean, and this book provides a clear and compelling picture of their lives before the advent of the so-called one-drop rule. Wilkinson explores the ways mixed-heritage people viewed themselves and explains how they—along with their African and Indigenous American forebears—resisted the formation of a rigid racial order and fought for freedom in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century societies shaped by colonial labor and legal systems.

As contemporary U.S. society continues to grapple with institutional racism rooted in a settler colonial past, this book illuminates the earliest ideas of racial mixture in British America well before the founding of the United States.

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The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding American Mainstream

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2020-10-11 02:22Z by Steven

The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding American Mainstream

Princeton University Press
2020-09-01
336 pages
15 b/w illus. 7 tables.
6.13 x 9.25 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691201634
eBook ISBN: 9780691202112

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Graduate Center, City University of New York

Why the number of young Americans from mixed families is surging and what this means for the country’s future

Americans are under the spell of a distorted and polarizing story about their country’s future―the majority-minority narrative―which contends that inevitable demographic changes will create a society with a majority made up of minorities for the first time in the United States’s history. The Great Demographic Illusion reveals that this narrative obscures a more transformative development: the rising numbers of young Americans from ethno-racially mixed families, consisting of one white and one nonwhite parent. Examining the unprecedented significance of mixed parentage in the twenty-first-century United States, Richard Alba looks at how young Americans with this background will play pivotal roles in the country’s demographic future.

Assembling a vast body of evidence, Alba explores where individuals of mixed parentage fit in American society. Most participate in and reshape the mainstream, as seen in their high levels of integration into social milieus that were previously white dominated. Yet, racism is evident in the very different experiences of individuals with black-white heritage. Alba’s portrait squares in key ways with the history of immigrant-group assimilation, and indicates that, once again, mainstream American society is expanding and becoming more inclusive.

Nevertheless, there are also major limitations to mainstream expansion today, especially in its more modest magnitude and selective nature, which hinder the participation of black Americans and some other people of color. Alba calls for social policies to further open up the mainstream by correcting the restrictions imposed by intensifying economic inequality, shape-shifting racism, and the impaired legal status of many immigrant families.

Countering rigid demographic beliefs and predictions, The Great Demographic Illusion offers a new way of understanding American society and its coming transformation.

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Surviving the White Gaze, A Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Monographs, United States on 2020-09-29 00:48Z by Steven

Surviving the White Gaze, A Memoir

Simon & Schuster
2021-02-02
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781982116255
eBook ISBN-13: 9781982116323
Audio Book ISBN-13: 9781797119380

Rebecca Carroll, Host, Managing Editor and Cultural Critic
WNYC Radio, New York, New York

A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America.

Rebecca Carroll grew up the only black person in her rural New Hampshire town. Adopted at birth by artistic parents who believed in peace, love, and zero population growth, her early childhood was loving and idyllic—and yet she couldn’t articulate the deep sense of isolation she increasingly felt as she grew older.

Everything changed when she met her birth mother, a young white woman, who consistently undermined Carroll’s sense of her blackness and self-esteem. Carroll’s childhood became harrowing, and her memoir explores the tension between the aching desire for her birth mother’s acceptance, the loyalty she feels toward her adoptive parents, and the search for her racial identity. As an adult, Carroll forged a path from city to city, struggling along the way with difficult boyfriends, depression, eating disorders, and excessive drinking. Ultimately, through the support of her chosen black family, she was able to heal.

Intimate and illuminating, Surviving the White Gaze is a timely examination of racism and racial identity in America today, and an extraordinarily moving portrait of resilience.

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A Promised Land

Posted in Autobiography, Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-09-17 18:26Z by Steven

A Promised Land

Crown (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2020-11-17
768 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9781524763169
Ebook ISBN: 9781524763183
Audio Book ISBN: ISBN 9780525633716

Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

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The In-Betweens: A Lyrical Narrative

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2020-09-12 21:22Z by Steven

The In-Betweens: A Lyrical Narrative

Everytime Press
2018-12-10
202 pages

Davon Loeb

Beginning with the challenges of how his White father and Black mother met, with their desire “to run away and start fresh and new”—resulting in a sometimes “pretend family”—to a near-archetypal description of his grandfather having just cut the grass as the author watches with a swollen lip and a black eye, to incessant moments in which different expressions of masculinity get inculcated, in The In-Betweens: A Lyrical Narrative Davon Loeb frequently captures the disturbing poesy of life growing up. With painstaking detail, Loeb revisits family tales of slavery, Alabama, domestic labor, church, cornrows, and the significance of studying one’s history, specters that continue to haunt him. This work is in the vein of James McBride’s The Color of Water, Justin Torres’s We the Animals, and Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, that is, work in which we learn about hardship from the perspective of the child. Confession, manifesto, bildungsroman, and prayer, The In-Betweens is a meditation on bruise and healing. Loeb’s struggles become snapshots of how transformation occurs even where shards have been piled, where one waits “for something to happen, like flashes of red and blue sirens pulsing.” A truly extraordinary new voice!

~ Roy G. Guzmán, author of Restored Mural for Orlando

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Are We Home Yet?

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2020-09-12 01:23Z by Steven

Are We Home Yet?

Jacaranda Books
2020-09-10
Paperback ISBN13: 9781913090197

Katy Massey

One of Jacaranda’s #TwentyIn2020, Are We Home Yet? is a moving memoir of a mixed-race woman from a working class community in Leeds and her outspoken French-Canadian mother. Exploring issues of shame, immigration and class, the pair share their stories but struggle to understand each other’s choices in a fast-changing world.

Spanning the years from 1935 to 2010, Are We Home Yet? is the moving and funny story of a girl and her mother.

As a girl, Katy accidentally discovers her mother is earning money as a sex worker at the family home, rupturing their bond. As an adult, Katy contends with grief and mental health challenges before she and her mother attempt to heal their relationship. From Canada, to Leeds and Jamaica, and exploring shame, immigration and class, the pair share their stories but struggle to understand each other’s choices in a fast-changing world.

By revealing their truths, can these two strong women call a truce on their hostilities and overcome the oppressive ghosts of the past?

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North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-09-10 01:16Z by Steven

North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885

Louisiana State University Press
July 2020
304 pages
6.00 x 9.00 inches
17 halftones, 1 map
Hardcover ISBN: 9780807171769

Warren Eugene Milteer Jr., Assistant Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

In North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885, Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. examines the lives of free persons categorized by their communities as “negroes,” “mulattoes,” “mustees,” “Indians,” “mixed-­bloods,” or simply “free people of color.” From the colonial period through Reconstruction, lawmakers passed legislation that curbed the rights and privileges of these non-enslaved residents, from prohibiting their testimony against whites to barring them from the ballot box. While such laws suggest that most white North Carolinians desired to limit the freedoms and civil liberties enjoyed by free people of color, Milteer reveals that the two groups often interacted—praying together, working the same land, and occasionally sharing households and starting families. Some free people of color also rose to prominence in their communities, becoming successful businesspeople and winning the respect of their white neighbors.

Milteer’s innovative study moves beyond depictions of the American South as a region controlled by a strict racial hierarchy. He contends that although North Carolinians frequently sorted themselves into races imbued with legal and social entitlements—with whites placing themselves above persons of color—those efforts regularly clashed with their concurrent recognition of class, gender, kinship, and occupational distinctions. Whites often determined the position of free nonwhites by designating them as either valuable or expendable members of society. In early North Carolina, free people of color of certain statuses enjoyed access to institutions unavailable even to some whites. Prior to 1835, for instance, some free men of color possessed the right to vote while the law disenfranchised all women, white and nonwhite included.

North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885 demonstrates that conceptions of race were complex and fluid, defying easy characterization. Despite the reductive labels often assigned to them by whites, free people of color in the state emerged from an array of backgrounds, lived widely varied lives, and created distinct cultures—all of which, Milteer suggests, allowed them to adjust to and counter ever­-evolving forms of racial discrimination.

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 01:11Z by Steven

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2020-07-28
224 pages
6x8in
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062248572
Large Print ISBN: 9780063076709
E-book ISBN: 9780062248596
Digital Audio, MP3 ISBN: 9780063005860

Natasha Trethewey, Board of Trustees Professor of English
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

An Instant New York Times Bestseller

A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy

At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

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