Genealogy & Racial Passing; Author Mary Doria Russell

Posted in Audio, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-12 20:47Z by Steven

Genealogy & Racial Passing; Author Mary Doria Russell

The Sound of Ideas
ideastream
Cleveland, Ohio
2019-11-11

Rachel Rood, Producer


Credit: MeganBrady/shutterstock

Parma native and award winning author, Gail Lukasik discovered in 1995 that her mother had kept a deep family secret from her. Her mother was half-black, but was passing as a white woman, and begged Gail not to reveal her true identity. Lukasik will be speaking about her family’s story, which she turned into a book in 2017, this week in Lakewood, and we’ll discuss the complicated waters of genealogy and race, on The Sound of Ideas. Later, Lyndhurst author, Mary Doria Russell, talks about her new historical novel: The Women of the Copper Country.

Listen to the episode (00:49:56) here.

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She was being raised as a white child in Texas while her Haitian father was fighting racism in Montreal

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2019-11-12 19:54Z by Steven

She was being raised as a white child in Texas while her Haitian father was fighting racism in Montreal

The Doc Project
CBC Radio
2019-10-28

Shari Okeke, Producer


Rhonda Fils-Aimé and her father, Philippe, at a family gathering this year in Braunfels, Texas. (Submitted by Rhonda Fils-Aimé)

Rhonda Fils-Aimé was adopted by a white family as a baby, and her biological father, Philippe, had no idea

Until she was 49 years old, the only information Rhonda Lux had about her family background was that she was German, French and Indian. That’s what her adoptive mother had told her, and for most of her life, Rhonda didn’t question it.

Rhonda was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1968 and was left in a children’s shelter.

“I was adopted by a white family and raised in a white community,” she said.

Only recently, in 2017, did Rhonda discover the truth about her racial heritage and manage to find her father, Philippe — who she learned had been part of an historic protest against racism in Montreal

Read the article and listen to the story (00:28:31) here.

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How Mixed-ish opens up the conversation on mixed-race identity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-12 19:24Z by Steven

How Mixed-ish opens up the conversation on mixed-race identity

Digital Spy
2019-10-22

Hannah Lovejoy, Multimedia Journalist
London, United Kingdom

Mixed-ish

Mixed-ish is the second spin-off to come from the Black-ish franchise and it looks at the upbringing of the young Rainbow Johnson in the 1980s.

While a lot of progress has been made since then, the way that society perceives mixed-race people still needs to be explored. Mixed-ish goes back to basics and uses comedy as a tool to discuss it…

Read the entire article here.

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Noel Ignatiev, scholar who called for abolishing whiteness, dies at 78

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-11-12 16:35Z by Steven

Noel Ignatiev, scholar who called for abolishing whiteness, dies at 78

The Los Angeles Times
2019-11-11

Sewell Chan, Deputy Managing Editor, News

Noel Ignatiev
Noel Ignatiev’s 1995 book “How the Irish Became White” was influential and controversial, touching off a firestorm of debate.

Noel Ignatiev, a former steelworker who became a historian known for his work on race and class and his call to abolish “whiteness,” died at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson on Saturday. He was 78. The cause was an intestinal infarction, according to Kingsley Clarke, a longtime friend.

Ignatiev’s best-known book, “How the Irish Became White,” was immediately influential and controversial upon its publication in 1995. It touched off a firestorm of debate at the time at academic conferences and in the pages of newspapers. In time his view that whiteness is a social and political construction — and not a phenomenon with a biological basis — has become mainstream. The resurgence of white identity politics and white nationalism in recent years made Ignatiev’s arguments relevant to a new generation of readers who argued the notion that race is more about power and privilege rather than about ancestry, or even identity.

The book detailed how the Irish, who had first come to North America as indentured servants and were reviled by the more settled populations of English and Dutch Americans, became, by the mid-19th century, accepted as white. Sadly, Ignatiev argued, the Irish became incorporated into whiteness just before the Civil War, through support for slavery and violence against free African Americans. To become white, Ignatiev wrote, did not mean to be middle class, much less rich, but rather to be accepted as equal citizens and to have access to the same neighborhoods, schools and jobs as others…

Read the entire obituary here.

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‘When I Was White’: At 27, Sarah Valentine found out her biological father was black. A chat about her new memoir.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-11 21:27Z by Steven

‘When I Was White’: At 27, Sarah Valentine found out her biological father was black. A chat about her new memoir.

The Chicago Tribune
2019-10-29

Alexis Burling, Writer. Book Critic. Editor.

Sarah Valentine, author of "When I Was White," was unaware until she was 27 that her biological father was African American. She discusses how this affected her life.
Sarah Valentine, author of “When I Was White,” was unaware until she was 27 that her biological father was African American. She discusses how this affected her life. (Marcello Rostagni / HANDOUT)

When Sarah Valentine was growing up in the mostly white, middle-class suburbs of Pittsburgh during the 1980s, she assumed her experience was just like that of her peers. She embraced the traditions of her Irish and Italian heritage, did well in sports and school, and hung out with her white friends at the mall. “I didn’t know much about race,” she writes of a childhood friendship with a girl who looked like her, “but I knew it existed; I thought some people were black, but most people were normal.”

But as Valentine came of age and became more conscious of her place in the world, something seemed a little off. For one, her skin was a darker shade than that of her family members. Her classmates called her “Slash,” the nickname of the mixed-race Guns N’ Roses guitarist. Her high school guidance counselor suggested she consider minority scholarships when applying for college.

Finally, when she was 27, after years of grappling with deep-rooted insecurities about feeling like an “other,” Valentine confronted her mother about her suspicions. What she found out was disturbing. According to her mother, Valentine was the product of a rape by an unknown black man. The revelation, she writes, meant that her entire upbringing had been “an insidious lie.”…

Q: In the United States, we’re still learning how to talk about identities that fall outside of our traditional understandings of race. In your memoir, “When I Was White,” you describe yourself as mixed-race African American. Why that, specifically?

A: For me, mixed-race experience is part of black experience in this country. Race is often seen as binary, but mixed-race people fall between categories and can encompass multiple identities. Growing up, my family denied my being black and mixed race, so it’s important for me to reclaim those identities…

Read the entire interview here.

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Elevating Social Status by Racial Passing and White Assimilation: in George Schuyler’s Black No More

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-11 02:15Z by Steven

Elevating Social Status by Racial Passing and White Assimilation: in George Schuyler’s Black No More

Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies
Volume 3, Number 4, October 2019
pages 24-35
DOI: 10.24093/awejtls/vol3no4.3

Menia Mohammad Almenia
Department of English Language and Translation
College of Arabic Language and Social Sciences
Qassim University, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia

This paper examines the legacy of the 1932 novel Black No More by George Schuyler with its message promoting assimilation. Racial divisions within the United States have a complex history, either insisting on separation or promoting unity, but advocates of assimilation have traditionally been viewed negatively. This paper aims to reconcile the assimilationist views of Schuyler against his larger purpose of empowerment through change. Schuyler focuses on issues of education, economy, and social status to demonstrate his thesis: meaningful change is possible if action is taken. Numerous theorists such as Jane Kuenz (1997), Hee-Jung Serenity Joo (2008), Jason Haslam (2002), and Ann Rayson (1978) have considered that Schuyler as an assimilationist. Schuyler’s novel builds a case for assimilation of individuals into the dominant culture as the practical course for improvement on both a personal and social scale.

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Passing in America

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-10 03:59Z by Steven

Racial Passing in America

Yale University Press Blog
2019-11-04

Adele Logan Alexander, Emeritus Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Over the years, the practice of “passing” for white has variously been considered wicked, cowardly, deceptive, essential, all or none of the above by much of the African American community. Certainly, it was and is controversial.

In years, decades, and centuries past, a number of light-skinned African Americans “passed,” either briefly, permanently, or situationally. Their stories are legion. This certainly has been the case for several members of my own family…

…But there are alternative stories too. In the Jim Crow South, my light-skinned grandmother sometimes wore a raceless mask to attend “all-white” suffrage conferences in the pre-Nineteenth Amendment years. Then she brought the information she gleaned back to share with her African American friends and peers who hoped to acquire the vote for women. On occasion, she also manipulated the racial apartheid system to acquire the best possible medical care for herself and her children. Would anyone argue with her choices in those instances?…

Read the entire article here.

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New Hampshire: Beyond Black & White

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2019-11-10 03:40Z by Steven

New Hampshire: Beyond Black & White

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
2019-2020 Elinor Williams Hooker Expanded Tea Talk Series
Keene State College
Young Student Center
Mountain View Room
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435
Sunday, 2019-11-10, 14:00 EST

Contact information:
JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director
603-570-8469

Panelists: David Watters, Darrell Hucks, & (TBA)
Moderator: Dottie Morris

Moving beyond rigid racial identities, this talk will explore the contemporary as well as historic intersection between Black and Indigenous communities, the presence of “passing” mixed race individuals, and the most recent immigrant experience within a New England context. These complex interactions, connections conflicts, experiences, and resistant efforts of Black, white and multi-racial citizens will be explored through scholarly research and an analysis of the film Lost Boundaries.

For more information, click here.

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Interview 01: Charise Sowells

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2019-11-10 03:31Z by Steven

Interview 01: Charise Sowells

Caffeinated Cinema
2019-10-31

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 3.12.51 PM.png

Charise Sowells is a biracial singer-songwriter, scriptwriter, and filmmaker. As a New York University graduate, she has found acclaim in all her fields. Her work has led her to be praised by names such as NPR, San Francisco Weekly, and many more. Sowells’ scripts have been put up for the screen and the stage. Most currently, her newest play An Ocean In My Soul sold out the Santa Monica Playhouse, and she is raising funds to support an extended run. Additionally, her production company, #UNABASHT, enables her to find her place as an artist in her multitudes of creative pursuits. She kindly accepted to be interviewed on her experiences as an artist.

Q. You’re quite the jack of all trades–– from music to film. You’re an acclaimed songwriter, playwright, and you’ve worked in both film and television. Have you decided to continue in just one field or are you upholding them all and why?

A. There was definitely a period where you really needed to put yourself in a box or other people would do it for you. Since I’ve never been one to limit myself that way personally, I struggled with it career wise too. And that was the impetus behind me starting my company ten years ago, Unabashed Productions. Our motto is, “Don’t just think outside the box. Live there.”

#UNABASHT functions as a record label, an online store, a production company, and a publisher which allows me to release all my projects independently and switch gears as the muse moves me, without any hiccups. As the years have gone on, more people seem to be open to the idea that things aren’t so inflexible. In fact, the more you do, the better in some circumstances. So I’ve been embracing all my passions and letting things flow freely.,,

…Q. What was the inspiration for An Ocean In My Soul?

A. It’s two fold – I’m mixed myself and after struggling with my identity throughout my youth, I joined a group in high school that traveled around the U.S. and Canada raising awareness about race as a social construct and the concepts of systemic racism and white privilege. When I decided to study playwriting at NYU, I had hopes of expanding people’s horizons about experiences and characters not typically seen onstage or screen through my work. To better inform myself, I took classes about the African Diaspora. One of those classes introduced me to the idea of the Black Atlantic, a graveyard of African souls who died while crossing over to the Americas against their will and in horrendously inhumane conditions. That was the seed for this play…

Read the entire interview here.

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Meaning, Without the White Gaze

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2019-11-10 02:31Z by Steven

Meaning, Without the White Gaze

The Atlantic
2019-08-07

Rebecca Carroll, Host
WNYC Radio, New York, New York


Kate Martin / The Atlantic

I’m writing my memoir for the late, great Toni Morrison.

I had been writing it for her. For her, and for Pecola Breedlove. Perhaps too ambitious or presumptuous or high-minded, I had, until the announcement of her death this week, been writing my memoir, Surviving the White Gaze, for Toni Morrison and Pecola Breedlove. Because I survived the white gaze for Pecola, and Morrison taught me how.

I knew Pecola first. I lived inside her skin, her ache; felt sickened, ashamed, and unseen by that baby doll’s dead blue eyes on one of the book’s early covers. Page after page of The Bluest Eye, I felt Pecola’s mind curl into anguish and succumb to a delusion better than reality. Pecola lost her mind because she wanted the blue eyes set inside the ceaseless standard of white beauty—a gaze so narcotic that it ravaged her body from flesh to bone—and I almost did, too.

I say that I knew Pecola first because Morrison’s writing of her was so thorough and fully realized that in my initial reading of The Bluest Eye, the character loomed larger than the author. This is what will happen to me, I remember thinking. If I keep internalizing the white gaze and contorting my own reflection in response to it, I will spiral into madness and still be seen as ugly

Read the entire article here.

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