Passing for White to Escape Slavery

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2020-09-19 20:07Z by Steven

Passing for White to Escape Slavery

JSTOR Daily: where news meets its scholarly match
2020-09-17

Matthew Wills


Ellen and William Craft via Flickr/ Flickr

Passing for white was an intentional strategy that enslaved people used to free themselves from bondage

Racial passing is in the news with the case of Jessica Krug, a white academic who claimed several Black identities throughout her professional career. The phenomenon of white people putting on different backgrounds is widespread—for example, as shown in well-documented cases of white people claiming Native American ancestry. But passing for Black seems, well, different.

One reason for that may be that the idea of passing has historically been linked to Black people passing for white. Scholar Martha J. Cutter, digging into “the early history of racial passing,” argues that it originated in advertisements offering rewards for captured runaway slaves starting in the mid-eighteenth century, decades before the American Revolution.

“The archive suggests that while laws from state to state and in different time periods varied, the idea of an enslaved individual from a black family heritage deliberately passing for white was frequently configured as duplicitous and even incendiary,” she writes…

Read the entire article here.

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Dash Harris is doing the work to end anti-Blackness in LatinX culture

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-19 01:50Z by Steven

Dash Harris is doing the work to end anti-Blackness in LatinX culture

theGrio
2020-06-16

DeMicia Inman

Through her work in creating ‘NEGRO: A DOCU-SERIES ABOUT LATINX IDENTITY,’ Harris hopes to dismantle anti-Blackness in the LatinX community.

The African diaspora gave much of the world a very layered identity. For centuries, the slave trade resulted in African natives being sold or stolen as slaves and transported across the globe. Now, Black people reside in countries from the United States and Brazil to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Dash Harris, an Afro-LatinX woman, understands not only her multi-cultural heritage but also the implications and societal structure surrounding her identity. Through her work in creating NEGRO: A DOCU-SERIES ABOUT LATINX IDENTITY and more, she hopes to highlight LatinX existence and dismantle anti-Blackness in the LatinX community…

Read the entire interview here.

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GUEST ROOM | Create a Mixed-Race Studies Department at Cornell

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-18 20:47Z by Steven

GUEST ROOM | Create a Mixed-Race Studies Department at Cornell

The Cornell Daily Sun
Ithaca, New York
2020-09-18

Katherine Luong, Junior
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University, Ithaca New York

We shouldn’t continue to exclude the fastest-growing population in the United States from higher education. Many mixed-race people grapple with defining their experiences and identities which can leak into their academic and professional lives.

The importance of ethnic and racial identity cannot be more relevant than it is now. The recent resurgence of racial tensions in the U.S. has highlighted the distinct experiences of historically oppressed racial minorities, especially those who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Black Lives Matter has gained incredible traction within mainstream political conversation, yet its issues (such as police brutality and system racism) do not affect only monoracial people. Understanding that the mixed experience includes many of the same racial prejudices as monoracial POC is crucial for the inclusivity of mixed people in spaces generally reserved for people of a singular race. Especially with the push Cornell is taking to create an anti-racist campus, this is the perfect time and place to create a mixed-race studies department that would give legitimacy to mixed people on campus and beyond.

There is a lack of ethnic-racial typicality associated with being mixed-race, but this does not negate the already-existing shared experiences of mixed people of all backgrounds. Such experiences include the feeling of being “in-between” and “not enough,” having to choose between displaying loyalty to one aspect of their identity instead of embracing both, language barriers between family members (especially between immigrant families residing in the U.S.) and other mix-specific experiences…

Read the entire article here.

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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 Illusion of Inclusion — The “All of Us” Research Program and Indigenous Peoples’ DNA

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-09-13 02:16Z by Steven

The Illusion of Inclusion — The “All of Us” Research Program and Indigenous Peoples’ DNA

The New England Journal of Medicine
Issue 383 (2020-07-30)
pages 411-413
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1915987

Keolu Fox, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego

Raw data, including digital sequence information derived from human genomes, have in recent years emerged as a top global commodity. This shift is so new that experts are still evaluating what such information is worth in a global market. In 2018, the direct-to-consumer genetic-testing company 23andMe sold access to its database containing digital sequence information from approximately 5 million people to GlaxoSmithKline for $300 million. Earlier this year, 23andMe partnered with Almirall, a Spanish drug company that is using the information to develop a new antiinflammatory drug for autoimmune disorders. This move marks the first time that 23andMe has signed a deal to license a drug for development.

Eighty-eight percent of people included in large-scale studies of human genetic variation are of European ancestry, as are the majority of participants in clinical trials.1 Corporations such as Geisinger Health System, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe have already mined genomic databases for the strongest genotype–phenotype associations. For the field to advance, a new approach is needed. There are many potential ways to improve existing databases, including “deep phenotyping,” which involves collecting precise measurements from blood panels, questionnaires, cognitive surveys, and other tests administered to research participants. But this approach is costly and physiologically and mentally burdensome for participants. Another approach is to expand existing biobanks by adding genetic information from populations whose genomes have not yet been sequenced — information that may offer opportunities for discovering globally rare but locally common population-specific variants, which could be useful for identifying new potential drug targets.

Many Indigenous populations have been geographically isolated for tens of thousands of years. Over time, these populations have developed adaptations to their environments that have left specific variant signatures in their genomes. As a result, the genomes of Indigenous peoples are a treasure trove of unexplored variation. Some of this variation will inevitably be identified by programs like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “All of Us” research program. NIH leaders have committed to the idea that at least 50% of this program’s participants should be members of underrepresented minority populations, including U.S. Indigenous communities (Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians), a decision that explicitly connects diversity with the program’s goal of promoting equal enjoyment of the future benefits of precision medicine.

But there are reasons to believe that this promise may be an illusion. Previous government-funded, large-scale human genome sequencing efforts, such as the Human Genome Diversity Project, the International HapMap Project, and the 1000 Genomes Project, provide examples of the ways in which open-source data have been commodified in the past. These initiatives, which promised unrestricted, open access to data on population-specific biomarkers, ultimately enabled the generation of nearly a billion dollars’ worth of profits by pharmaceutical and ancestry-testing companies. If the All of Us program uses the same unrestricted data-access and sharing protocols, there will be no built-in mechanisms to protect against the commodification of Indigenous peoples’ DNA…

Read the entire article in PDF or HTML format.

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Because She Can: The Unbearable Whiteness of Jessie

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-13 01:25Z by Steven

Because She Can: The Unbearable Whiteness of Jessie

The Crisis
2020-09-09

TaRessa Stovall

I’m a mixed (Black, Jewish, Native American) boomer, very light-skinned and so racially ambiguous looking that most people question, assume and try to challenge my racial identity.

My copper-toned Black father hated that I wouldn’t exploit my appearance to “be anything.” My Russian Jewish mother wondered about my lifelong allegiance to Blackness and my stubborn insistence on conveying the messy totality of my DNA even when it wasn’t comfortable, advantageous or convenient.

Still, I never lied about my identity. Even when doing so might have made my life easier.

We’re familiar with the reasons that many Black people passed for white, especially in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras — as a way to lessen oppression and “level up” to better opportunities. But why would a white person discard their privilege to pretend to be Black?

Read the entire article here.

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As 2020 census winds up, multiracial Hoosiers reflect on 20 years of being counted

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-13 01:11Z by Steven

As 2020 census winds up, multiracial Hoosiers reflect on 20 years of being counted

The Herald Bulletin
Anderson, Indiana
2020-09-12

Rebecca R. Bibbs


Brooke Watson plays catch with her daughters, Heaven, 11, and Angel, 14, in the front yard, above, and holds up a plant for her daughter, Heaven, 11, to water, below, at their north Anderson home. Parents of mixed-race people approach the subject of race in different ways. Some raise their children to ignore race as their personal effort to guide the nation toward a post-racial society; others cultivate their children’s multiracial identities, telling them they are the bridge between the races. Watson said her parents did the former.
Photos by John P. Cleary | The Herald Bulletin

INDIANAPOLISGerry Lanosga, whose mother is Dutch/German and father is Filipino and Nicaraguan, doesn’t quite remember which box he checked when he completed the 1990 census.

Though he thinks of himself as multiracial/multiethnic, the associate professor of journalism history and investigative reporting at The Media School at Indiana University in Bloomington does recall there really was no way at the time for him to reflect that.

So, against his real feelings regarding his racial and ethnic identity, Lanosga said, he likely reported to the U.S. government that he was white. It fit more closely with how he believes his family lived, but it was not a satisfying response to the question, he said.

“I do think given my particular mix of things, when people talk about whiteness, that’s me, but that’s also not me in some ways,” Lanosga explained.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the census, made things a little easier for people like Lanosga in late 1997 when it decided multiracial people would be allowed to check more than one race on the 2000 census…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing Revisited: Racial Passing and White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-13 00:34Z by Steven

Passing Revisited: Racial Passing and White Supremacy

Medium
2020-09-04

Jennifer Rittner

In the wake of the white supremacist marches in 2017, I wrote a short reflection on racial passing. In that essay I wrote about my Black mother, my white son, and the absurd mythologies of racial purity needed by white supremacists to support their beliefs. Those marchers surely counted among them many who had direct African American heritage as a result of near ancestors who had passed for white in the inhospitable environments of legal slavery and Jim Crow.

The White Supremacy of Masquerading as Black

White supremacy rears its head again in another form of passing, as men and women who have grown up as white children in white families have taken to masquerading as Black adults in order to achieve personal success as race warriors. Jessica Krug and Rachel Dolezal, two sisters-in-deceit, both manipulated their ways to success by passing as a Black woman, and in the process, denying actual women of color the opportunities they took for themselves. Their behavior should cause us to reflect on our United States of Racial Anxiety as we are all, in fact, oppressed by our nation’s historical, collective weaponization of race. While adamantly censuring both of these women, we can use their deceptions as opportunities to reflect on how the social conditions we construct and perpetuate demand certain forms of racial authenticity, often built on the anxieties we all feel about passing as something.

First, two resources for anyone interested in the history of passing:

Allyson Hobbs, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life is a well-researched and beautiful read on the topic. James Baldwin, Another Country was one of the first books in which I felt seen around the question of passing as a social act…

Read the entire article here.

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2020 US Open women’s final: Naomi Osaka wins third career Grand Slam, topping Victoria Azarenka

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-09-12 22:44Z by Steven

2020 US Open women’s final: Naomi Osaka wins third career Grand Slam, topping Victoria Azarenka

CBS Sports
2020-09-12

Gabriel Fernandez

Naomi Osaka is once again a champion in Flushing, New York. She defeated Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in three sets, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, to win her second US Open title in three years, and the third major of her young career…

Read the entire article here.

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INTERVIEW: Davon Loeb, Author of The In-Betweens

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-12 22:26Z by Steven

INTERVIEW: Davon Loeb, Author of The In-Betweens

Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction
2020-07-07

Interview by Amy Eaton


Davon Loeb

The Book: 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, Davon Loeb frequently captures the disturbing poesy of life growing up. With painstaking detail, 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’, ‘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

The author: Davon Loeb is the author of the lyrical memoir The In-Betweens, out now with Everytime Press. He earned an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Camden, and he is a poetry editor at Bending Genres. Davon writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net, and is forthcoming and featured in PANK Magazine, Barren Magazine, XRAY Magazine, Apiary Magazine, Split Lip Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere. Besides writing, Davon is a high school English teacher, husband, and father in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter

AE: Your mother is such a powerful figure in the book. You’ve got your father, who you don’t see for the first time until you’re seven? And then you start seeing him sort of consistently? It feels that your stepfather is the man you feel closest to, the man that you look up to, that you’re aspiring to be, but the women in your book: your mother, your grandmother are just solid rocks in there.

DL: That was intentional. In the chapter, But I’m Not Toby, I emphasize my mother trying to teach me about Black history and what it means to be a young Black man. She’s the strong maternal voice that I think is special in a lot of Black communities. For me, that was special—especially with the uncertainty of my fathers. I wanted to make her really the most consistent character throughout the book, and I do believe I succeeded at that…

Read the entire interview here.

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