This edition: Moiya McTier, Mekita Rivas and Tanya Hernandez

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2019-01-19 05:29Z by Steven

This edition: Moiya McTier, Mekita Rivas and Tanya Hernandez

Shades of U.S.
CUNY TV
The City University of New York
Original tape date: 2018-10-19
First aired: 2019-01-17

From a cabin in the woods without running water to astronomy Ph.D. candidate, Moiya McTier uses her platform to advocate for women of color in the sciences. Then, growing up Filipina and Mexican in Nebraska could be confusing, but Mekita Rivas finds her style as a fashion journalist. And last, Hell’s Kitchen-bred Tanya Hernández knows discrimination first hand, so she builds a legal career fighting it.

Guest List

Watch the entire episode (00:26:46) here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2019-01-19 05:12Z by Steven

More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways

USA TODAY
2019-01-13

Chris Woodyard, Los Angeles Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESBarack Obama hasn’t been the president for nearly two years, but his fame is still spreading – at least when it comes to naming things after him.

The nation’s first African-American president need not go far around the country these days to find something that carries his name. There’s Barack Obama Way in New Albany Township, Indiana, and Barack Obama Boulevard in Pahokee, Florida. There’s a long list of schools now named for him, like Barack Obama Academy for Academic & Civic Development in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia.

Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why do so many others want to claim Blackness if it means oppression?

Posted in Articles, Passing, Social Justice, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-01-19 03:57Z by Steven

Why do so many others want to claim Blackness if it means oppression?

The Black Youth Project
2018-12-27

Inigo Laguda


Anthony Lennon via Facebook | Rachel Dolezal via Wikimedia Commons

It is the most enthralling and excruciating time to be Black. Recently, it seems, some have managed access to glide through avenues that were previously concealed from us—to break down walls that were once erected to ostracize us. We are in the belly of a Black artistic renaissance and some of these shifting tides are joyous to watch. We are flooding onto magazine covers. The silver screen has a vivid range of our stories being told. The littler screen is forming and fleshing out more of our narratives than ever before. Slowly, we are being more and more seen.

But just as the draping trees and tranquil swamp-waters of the southern Bayou once served as an eerily mesmerizing backdrop for the unrelenting violence that enslaved peoples faced as they toiled tirelessly nearby—the painful reality of being Black is one of a dual existence. Victory is juxtaposed with defeat, and joy is never further than a stones throw from pain.

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Cookeville Vietnam veteran meets Vietnamese-American son after 50 years, hosts family reunion

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-19 03:24Z by Steven

Cookeville Vietnam veteran meets Vietnamese-American son after 50 years, hosts family reunion

The Nashville Tennessean
2019-01-14

Yihyun Jeong, Veterans and Military Affairs Reporter


Hugh Nguyen as a boy in Vietnam, teased for being “Amerasian,” a child born during wartime from an Asian mother and an American solider. (Photo: Family handout)

His life was hell because he looked different than the other boys that played in the streets of Saigon.

His light skin, light hair and light eyes.The father he never knew.

These were all reasons that made Hugh Nguyen the target of bullies who mocked him for being an “Amerasian,” — though they used more deragatory terms — a child conceived in wartime by a Vietnamese mother and an American military father fighting abroad.

Not fully belonging to America or Vietnam, these kids were commonly dismissed as “children of the dust,” leftovers of an unpopular war. They were left discarded by both governments and left to be taunted by schoolmates who teased them for their features that resembled the face of the enemy.

Most never knew their fathers.


Roy Patterson, as an 18-year-old American soldier stationed at the base in Nha Trang during the Vietnam War. (Photo: Family handout)

“They disliked us tremendously,” Nguyen said in an interview with USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. “We were treated like garbage. We were talked down to and looked down on.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mixed Race, Half Enough?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-19 00:08Z by Steven

Mixed Race, Half Enough?

Medium
2019-01-15

Kristen Simmons


Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash

Hi.

I’m Kristen. I’m a mixed-race author who writes books with mixed-race characters. Yes, I know my last name is Simmons and doesn’t sound very Japanese. Yes, I know Kristen doesn’t either. Yes, I even know that while many people have called me everything from “tan” to “exotic,” I don’t look “very Japanese.”

But guess what? I am.

All my life, this has been something I’ve encountered. People would ask my father when I was alone with him in public if I was really his daughter because we didn’t look alike. (For the record, he’s Caucasian.) Then, when I first started telling people I was Japanese, the questions turned to, “But not completely Japanese, right?” Because to them, I wasn’t…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Born to Protest: Legal Trailblazer Pauli Murray Takes Her Rightful Place in History

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2019-01-18 23:29Z by Steven

Born to Protest: Legal Trailblazer Pauli Murray Takes Her Rightful Place in History

Bitch Media
2018-12-20

Marisa Bate


Dr. Pauli Murray is finally reentering our public consciousness. (Associated Press)

In On the Basis of Sex, the forthcoming movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s journey into law, RBG (played by Felicity Jones) holds a moot court in her apartment to prepare for Moritz v. Commissioner, her first big case and the beginning of her lifelong fight against sex discrimination. One of the moot court judges is Dr. Pauli Murray (Sharon Washington), an African American lawyer, activist, poet, and priest, who’s wearing a truly terrific pink pantsuit. “Pauli would have been upset about that pink suit,” Rosalind Rosenberg, Professor of History Emerita at Barnard College, and Murray’s biographer tells me. In fact, “Pauli never visited Ginsberg’s apartment and certainly did not serve on a moot court as a judge, but it’s a biopic, and I think it’s a visually defensible way into the picture. But [as] a historian, if this was a documentary, I would’ve protested because this never happened.”

I was thrilled to see Murray in On the Basis of Sex, even if the film rewrote some of history’s details. (The movie’s screenwriter is RBG’s nephew, Daniel Stiepleman, and a generous defense would suggest the inclusion is a tribute to those his aunt admired most.) I have been fascinated by Murray’s life, career, and why she’s been so overlooked and underknown since I stumbled across an article about her a few years ago. Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray was born into a mixed-race family in Baltimore in 1910, orphaned at the age of 3, adopted by her aunt, and raised in the Episcopal church in Durham, North Carolina, before becoming an influential civil-rights lawyer. Despite her accomplishments, when I visited the movie’s IMDb.com page, I found neither Sharon Washington nor Murray’s names listed. “Guy #1” and “Guy #2,” however, are…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Tuscaloosa author writes children’s book about biracial daughter

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-12 02:16Z by Steven

Tuscaloosa author writes children’s book about biracial daughter

The Tuscaloosa News
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
2019-01-09

Kelcey Sexton, Staff Writer


Monique Fields, a children’s author from Tuscaloosa, stands with her first published book Saturday, July 21, 2018. [Staff file photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Monique Fields remembers when she got inspiration for “Honeysmoke.”

It was when her eldest daughter began asking questions about herself, namely about the color of her skin. They were questions that took her by surprise because Simone was only 3 years old.

“She started asking questions about who she is, and I didn’t really have any good answers for her,” Fields said.

It seemed early for her to be paying such close attention to things like that.

“Basically, she pointed to my face one day, and she said, ‘Mommy’s a black girl.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, Mommy’s a black girl,’ ” she said. ”(Then Simone) said, ‘Simone is a white girl.’ ”

Fields, 48, admitted she really didn’t know the best way to respond to that and told Simone, no, she was a black girl like Mommy.

“Which is not true and was not the thing to do,” she said. “Then (Simone’s dad) Ken said, ‘You have a little bit of both worlds. You’re a little bit of Mommy and a little bit of Daddy.’…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

BLACK FOR A DAY

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-09 22:38Z by Steven

BLACK FOR A DAY

Books, Beats, & Beyond
2019-01-06

Taj Salaam, Host

Black for a Day_ Cover Canva

Today I’m talking with Alisha Gaines, about her book titled, “Black for A Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy”.

Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people participating in blackface and minstrelsy. At the end of their experiments in so-called “blackness,” Alisha Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness.

By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, Alisha 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.

Alisha Gaines is assistant professor of English at Florida State University.

Listen to the interview (01:08:53) here.

Tags: , ,

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy by Alisha Gaines (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-09 22:27Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy by Alisha Gaines (review)

Journal of Southern History
The Southern Historical Association
Volume 84, Number 3, August 2018
pages 787-789
DOI: 10.1353/soh.2018.0230

Martha J. Cutter, Professor of English and Africana Studies
University of Connecticut

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. By Alisha Gaines. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017. Pp. xvi, 213. Paper, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-4696-3283-4; cloth, $80.00, 978-1-4696-3282-7.)

For many years, we have been told that passing is passé. Yet the recent media frenzy surrounding Rachel Dolezal proves that U.S. culture is still vehemently invested in defining the boundaries of whiteness and blackness. When I flashed a PowerPoint slide of Dolezal last spring in my African American literature class, students broke into a cacophony of groans, shouts, and exclamations of “she’s not black!” I was surprised that all but one of my students instantly recognized Dolezal’s image and that virtually everyone had an opinion about her. The plethora of recent books on racial passing—both on African Americans who pass as white and Anglo Americans who pass as black—further demonstrates this topic’s great fascination. Despite postmodern views that race is a construct, scholars often want to pin a racial passer into one category, usually as either a seeker of freedom from racial codes or a betrayer of his or her “true” race. Yet few have considered what passing tells us about our own investments in racial binaries.

I therefore turned with pleasure to Alisha Gaines’s thoughtful book, Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy, which joins a slim list of studies of “‘passing, in reverse'”: the phenomenon of white people who pass for and sometimes claim to become black (p. 17). Other books on this subject include Baz Dreisinger’s Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture (Amherst, Mass., 2008) and some chapters in Julie Cary Nerad’s edited collection, Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010 (Albany, N.Y., 2014). Gaines mentions only one of these works, although I trust that she has consulted both of them.

Gaines’s book is well written and compelling. Her argument that white people’s attempts at “cross-racial empathy” and identification often fail because of their refusal to consider the larger structural and institutional causes of racism is certainly sound (p. 8). Moreover, her use of archival sources is exemplary. I have written about white-to-black passing, yet I still learned much factual information about the passers she studies, including Ray Sprigle, a journalist who published In the Land of Jim Crow (1949); John Howard Griffin, whose book Black Like Me (1961) eclipsed the accounts of all other would-be white passers; Grace Halsell, a white woman and a journalist who took on Griffin’s mantle and published Soul Sister (1969); and finally, the families who switched races in the six-episode television series Black. White. (2006). The book concludes with a short examination of Rachel Dolezal, whom Gaines refuses to consider as “transracial” because the theorization of this term “falls apart” (p. 170). She explains that “blackness becomes the space of racial play, performance, and affect, whereas whiteness does not” (p. 170). This ignores that some light-skinned African Americans did play with whiteness (Jean Toomer, for example) and that some white people crossed over into blackness never to come back (Clarence King and Mezz Mezzrow, for instance). Gaines focuses on creating a genealogy of “temporary black individuals operating under the alibi of racial empathy” in order to illustrate the frequent failure of cross-racial empathy and intimacy (p. 8). Still, I found myself wondering what conclusions Gaines might have reached had she looked at less famous individuals who passed permanently into blackness.

As I have argued elsewhere, passing is a slippery term with roots in deceit and disguise, magic and transformation. The examples Gaines has chosen to include support her argument that temporary assumptions of blackness cannot lead to structural or institutional change. The book might have benefited from a deeper excavation of previous scholarship on white-to-black passing and empathy, but even so, Gaines offers a valuable assessment of how white people problematically inhabit the…

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-07 02:13Z by Steven

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past

UCI News
Irvine, California
2019-01-02

Lilibeth Garcia, Social Media Manager

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past
“This has become a collaboration on a worldwide level that now involves anthropologists, linguists, geneticists and musicologists,” says Armin Schwegler, UCI professor of Spanish & Portuguese, of the Palenque project. “It’s become much broader, and we’re learning all kinds of things that were not known just 25 years ago.” Steve Zylius / UCI

UCI professor uses linguistics, DNA to help long-isolated Colombian community descended from escaped slaves find its roots

Thirty years ago, Armin Schwegler traveled to Colombia to visit the Palenque people, an ethnic group dating to the 18th century that speaks a unique, Spanish-based Creole language, Palenquero. The original members were runaway slaves who succeeded in becoming the first officially freed black slaves anywhere in the Americas. Living in virtual isolation for more than 300 years, the Palenqueros have managed to retain their native ancestral culture, much of which originated in sub-Saharan Africa.

“To this day, they are phenotypically the darkest, most ‘African’ community in Latin America,” says Schwegler, a UCI professor of Spanish & Portuguese.

A common misconception is that the slave trade was essentially a North American phenomenon. Actually, Latin America received 96 percent of all African slaves. In the 17th century, Cartagena de Indias – in Colombia – was the region’s main slave market, and it was from this port city that the Palenqueros escaped to become maroons. Their official history was never written down, and until recently, their African origins were completely unknown…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,