The “Miscegenation” Troll

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2023-01-30 04:00Z by Steven

The “Miscegenation” Troll

JSTOR Daily
2019-02-20

Mark Sussman, Adjunct Professor of English
Hunter College, City University of New York

via Wikimedia Commons

The term “miscegenation” was coined in an 1864 pamphlet by an anonymous author.

In 1864, a pamphlet entitled “Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro” began to circulate on the streets of New York. The title certainly would have given New Yorkers pause. No one had ever seen the word “miscegenation” before. In fact, the pamphlet’s anonymous author invented it, giving the reason that “amalgamation”—then the most common term used to describe “race mixing”—was a “poor word, since it properly refers to the union of metals with quicksilver.” The term “miscegenation”—from the Latin miscere (to mix) and genus (race)—had only one definition.

Besides introducing a new word into the English language, the pamphleteer was also responsible for what appeared to be one of the most fearless documents in the archive of nineteenth century abolitionist writing. Among many other claims and political recommendations, the pamphlet notes that, “the miscegenetic or mixed races are much superior, mentally, physically, and morally, to those pure or unmixed;” that “a continuance of progress can only be obtained through a judicious crossing of diverse elements;” that “the Caucasian, or white race… has never yet developed a religious faith on its own;” that “the true ideal man can only be reached by blending the type man and woman of all the races of the earth;” that “the most beautiful girl in form, feature, and every attribute of feminine loveliness [the pamphleteer] ever saw, was a mulatto.” Most provocatively, the writer claimed that “the Southern beauty… proclaims by every massive ornament in her shining hair, and by every yellow shade in the wavy folds of her dress, ‘I love the black man.’”…

Read the entire article here.

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Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2023-01-30 03:18Z by Steven

Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom

Simon & Schuster
2023-01-17
416 pages
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781501191053

Ilyon Woo

The remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as “his” slave.

In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North.

Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles criss-crossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day—among them Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown.

But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as slave hunters came up from Georgia, forcing the Crafts to flee once again—this time from the United States, their lives and thousands more on the line and the stakes never higher.

With three epic journeys compressed into one monumental bid for freedom, Master Slave Husband Wife is an American love story—one that would challenge the nation’s core precepts of life, liberty, and justice for all—one that challenges us even now.

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This Other Eden, A Novel

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2023-01-30 03:05Z by Steven

This Other Eden, A Novel

W. W. Norton & Company
2023-01-24
224 pages
6.3 x 9.4 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-324-03629-6

Paul Harding, Director of the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature
State University of New York at Stony Brook

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers, a novel inspired by the true story of Malaga Island, an isolated island off the coast of Maine that became one of the first racially integrated towns in the Northeast.

In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discover an island where they can make a life together. Over a century later, the Honeys’ descendants and a diverse group of neighbors are desperately poor, isolated, and often hungry, but nevertheless protected from the hostility awaiting them on the mainland.

During the tumultuous summer of 1912, Matthew Diamond, a retired, idealistic but prejudiced schoolteacher-turned-missionary, disrupts the community’s fragile balance through his efforts to educate its children. His presence attracts the attention of authorities on the mainland who, under the influence of the eugenics-thinking popular among progressives of the day, decide to forcibly evacuate the island, institutionalize its residents, and develop the island as a vacation destination. Beginning with a hurricane flood reminiscent of the story of Noah’s Ark, the novel ends with yet another Ark.

In prose of breathtaking beauty and power, Paul Harding brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters: Iris and Violet McDermott, sisters raising three orphaned Penobscot children; Theophilus and Candace Larks and their brood of vagabond children; the prophetic Zachary Hand to God Proverbs, a Civil War veteran who lives in a hollow tree; and more. A spellbinding story of resistance and survival, This Other Eden is an enduring testament to the struggle to preserve human dignity in the face of intolerance and injustice.

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What Passes as Love: A Novel (Review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2023-01-27 19:49Z by Steven

What Passes as Love: A Novel (Review)

Washington Independent Review of Books
2021-08-31

Gisèle Lewis

Thomas, Trisha R., What Passes as Love: A Novel (Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2021)

An escaped slave navigates the white world in a suspenseful bid for freedom.

Trisha R. Thomas, best known for her successful Nappily Ever After series, offers now an historical novel about a Black woman passing as white in 1850s Virginia. In What Passes as Love, Dahlia is the light-skinned daughter of Lewis Holt, a wealthy white plantation owner. She is also his slave, one of nearly a dozen he has fathered with his Black laborers.

Thanks to her beauty, Dahlia is brought by Holt into the mansion to live and serve as a ladies’ maid for her spoiled white half-sisters. Caught between guilt over the preferential treatment she receives and petty jealousy from her masters, Dahlia yearns for a better existence. Suddenly, the chance for one appears.

During an outing to town on her 16th birthday, she is mistaken for white by a young man. When he abruptly proposes marriage that very afternoon, she embraces the opportunity to escape slavery without questioning his motives. But once installed as lady of the manor — under the name Lily Dove — at her new husband’s plantation, maintaining the lie about her parentage becomes a matter of life and death. Dahlia’s new mother-in-law analyzes her every move, her rogue brother-in-law wants her for himself, and the slaves who suspect her runaway status use her secret as blackmail…

Read the entire review here.

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Seeking Participants for High School Senior Project on Experiences of Mixed-Race Individuals

Posted in Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2023-01-26 02:29Z by Steven

Seeking Participants for High School Senior Project on Experiences of Mixed-Race Individuals

Valasone O’Neal, GSWLA Student
Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia

2023-01-25

My name is Valasone O’Neal and I am a senior in the Global Studies and World Language Academy at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

As a requirement for graduation, I have to complete a senior project consisting of a research paper and action. For this project, I intend to collect the experiences of mixed-race people in order to highlight societal treatment and attitudes towards multiracial people in America. I want to conduct a series of interviews and create a short film that will be shown to Virginia Beach City Public Schools administration and students. If you or someone you know is interested, over the age of eighteen, not associated with Virginia Beach Public Schools, and identify as mixed-race, please contact me as at your earliest convenience at madelynevaloneal@gmail.com.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.

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Plum Bum: A Novel Without a Moral

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States, Women on 2023-01-25 01:48Z by Steven

Plum Bum: A Novel Without a Moral

Beacon Press
2022-03-08 (originally published in 1929)
328 pages
5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Paperback ISBN: 978-080700660-3

Author: Jessie Redmon Fauset
Foreword by: Morgan Jerkins
Afterword: Deborah McDowell

For readers of The Vanishing Half, a hidden gem from the Harlem Renaissance about a young Black woman’s journey toward self-acceptance while passing as white in 1920s New York City.

Originally published in 1929 at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Plum Bun is the story of Angela Murray, a young Black woman of mixed heritage who uses the advantages of her lighter skin to escaper her own life. Beginning with a childhood in her Black middle class Philadelphia neighborhood, Angela dreams of being a renowned painter. She believes she will only achieve this through whiteness and being a part of white society. Bestowed with the light skin of her mother, while her sister Virginia’s darker complexion resembles that of their father’s, Angela refuses to accept a life dictated by the limitations that come with her race and gender.

Leaving behind her family and identity, Angela escapes to a roaring New York City where she befriends the art elites and presents herself as a white woman. Thrust into a world of seduction, betrayal, love, lust, and heartbreak, Angela soon discovers that to find true fulfillment within herself, she must accept and embrace her own identity—both her race and gender. Written with meticulous care and appreciation for the complicated nature of her characters, while also highlighting the beauty of every day Black life, Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun raises important questions to inspire new readers.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Morgan Jerkins
  • Home
  • Market
  • Plum Bun
  • Home Again
  • Market Is Done
  • Afterword by Deborah McDowell
  • Notes
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
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Ruth Ann Koesun, Versatile Ballet Theater Dancer, Dies at 89

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2023-01-23 15:35Z by Steven

Ruth Ann Koesun, Versatile Ballet Theater Dancer, Dies at 89

The New York Times
2018-02-14

Anna Kisselgoff

Ruth Ann Koesun with John Kriza in Michael Kidd’s “On Stage!” in 1947.

Ruth Ann Koesun, a principal dancer in American Ballet Theater who epitomized the company’s early eclectic profile by excelling in roles that ranged from Billy the Kid’s Mexican sweetheart to the “Bluebird” pas de deux from “The Sleeping Beauty,” died on Feb. 1 in Chicago. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by her goddaughter, Ellen Coghlan.

Because of her lyrical style in ballets like “Les Sylphides,” Ms. Koesun was often cast as a Romantic ballerina. But she could also show dramatic ferocity, as the evil antiheroine Ate in Antony Tudor’s “Undertow,” which depicts a young murderer’s development.

Contemporary ballet makers favored her. In 1950, Herbert Ross, a new choreographer and future film director, cast her in his “Caprichos,” based on Goya’s etchings. She portrayed a dead woman who is tossed around by her partner in choreographed movements that suggested she was inert…

…Ruth Ann Koesun was born on May 15, 1928, in Chicago to Dr. Paul Z. Koesun, a Chinese physician in Chicago’s Chinatown, and the former Mary Mondulick, who was of Russian descent…

Read the entire obituary here.

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The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays on Mixed Race Belonging

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2023-01-22 18:12Z by Steven

The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays on Mixed Race Belonging

Beacon Press
2023-01-10
200 pages
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches
Cloth ISBN: 978-080702636-6
Audio ISBN: 978-080700776-1

Samira K. Mehta, Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Jewish Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder

An unflinching look at the challenges and misunderstandings mixed-race people face in family spaces and intimate relationships across their varying cultural backgrounds

In this emotionally powerful and intellectually provocative blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and theory, scholar and essayist Samira Mehta reflects on many facets of being multiracial.

Born to a white American and a South Asian immigrant, Mehta grew up feeling more comfortable with her mother’s family than her father’s—they never carried on conversations in languages she couldn’t understand or blamed her for finding the food was too spicy. In adulthood, she realized that some of her Indian family’s assumptions about the world had become an indelible part of her—and that her well-intentioned parents had not known how to prepare her for a world that would see her as a person of color.

Popular belief assumes that mixedness gives you the ability to feel at home in more than one culture, but the flipside shows you can feel just as alienated in those spaces. In 7 essays that dissect her own experiences with a frankness tempered by generosity, Mehta confronts questions about:

  • authenticity and belonging;
  • conscious and unconscious cultural inheritance;
  • appropriate mentorship;
  • the racism of people who love you.

The Racism of People Who Love You invites people of mixed race into the conversation on race in America and the melding of found and inherited cultures of hybrid identity.

Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Introduction
  • ONE: Where Are You Really From? A Triptych
  • TWO: Meat Is Murder
  • THREE: Failing the Authenticity Test
  • FOUR: American Racism
  • FIVE: Appropriation
  • SIX: Mentoring
  • SEVEN: The Racism of People Who Love You
  • Acknowledgments
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‘It chips away at you’: Misty Copeland on the whiteness of ballet

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2023-01-22 17:28Z by Steven

‘It chips away at you’: Misty Copeland on the whiteness of ballet

Fresh Air
National Public Radio
2022-11-14

Terry Gross, Host

Misty Copeland has been a principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre since 2015. She took a break from performing due to COVID-19 and the birth of her son in spring 2022, but she hopes to be back on stage in 2023.
Drew Gurian/MasterClass

At first, Misty Copeland thought the pain she was experiencing was shin splits. It was 2012, and, after 12 years with the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland, one of the few Black dancers in the company, had finally landed her first leading role in a classical work.

“I knew how critical this moment was for my career,” she says. “If I had gone to the artistic staff or the physical therapists and said, ‘I’m in a lot of pain,’ they would have removed me from the rehearsals. And I would not have been able to perform. And I knew that had that happened, I wouldn’t be given the opportunity again.”

So she pushed on, dancing the principal role in The Firebird, despite the fact that the pain was becoming increasingly severe. Finally, toward the end of the company’s season, Copeland was diagnosed with six stress fractures in her tibia — three of which were classified as “dreaded black line” fractures, meaning that there were almost full breaks through the bone.

When the first surgeon warned her that she might never dance again, Copeland was devastated. “It was just like my whole world came crashing down,” she says. “I felt mostly like I was letting down the Black community.”…

Read the entire story here. Download the story (00:42:00) here.

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Multiracial: The Kaleidoscope of Mixedness

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2023-01-16 19:09Z by Steven

Multiracial: The Kaleidoscope of Mixedness

Polity
2022-12-27
232 pages
152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 9781509534654
Paperback ISBN: 9781509534661
ebook ISBN: 9781509534678

Hephzibah V. Strmic-Pawl, Associate Professor of Sociology
Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York

The year 2000 was the first time the US Census permitted respondents to choose more than one race. Although the US has long recognized that a “mixed-race” population exists, the contemporary “multiracial population” presents different questions and implications for today’s diverse society.

This book is the first overview to bring a systematic critical race lens to the scholarship on mixedness. Avoiding the common pitfall of conflating “mixed” with “multiracial,” the book reveals how identity forms and fluctuates such that people with mixed heritage may identify as mixed, monoracial, and/or multiracial throughout their lives. It analyzes the dynamic and various manifestations of mixedness, including at the global level, to reveal its complex impact on both the structural and individual levels. Multiracial critically examines topics such as family dynamics and racial socialization, multiraciality in media and popular culture, and intersections of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

Integrating diverse theories, qualitative research, and national-level data, this accessible and engaging book is essential for students of race and those looking to understand the new field of multiraciality.

Table of Contents

  • Detailed Contents
  • List of Figures and Tables
  • CHAPTER 1: MULTIRACIAL AMERICA
  • CHAPTER 2: DEFINING MIXED-RACE & MULTIRACIAL
  • CHAPTER 3: RACE AND FAMILY
  • CHAPTER 4: INTERSECTIONAL IDENTITIES & GLOBAL MIXEDNESS
  • CHAPTER 5: MULTIRACIALISM IN THE MEDIA
  • CHAPTER 6: NEW, SHIFTING, OR REBOUNDING BOUNDARIES
  • References
  • Notes
  • Index
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