Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2019-02-17 00:23Z by Steven

Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

New York University Press
May 2019
320 pages
16 black and white illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 9781479878611
Paper ISBN: 9781479831456

Chinyere K. Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

How interracial couples in Brazil and the US navigate racial boundaries

How do people understand and navigate being married to a person of a different race? Based on individual interviews with forty-seven black-white couples in two large, multicultural cities—Los Angeles and Rio de JaneiroBoundaries of Love explores how partners in these relationships ultimately reproduce, negotiate, and challenge the “us” versus “them” mentality of ethno-racial boundaries.

By centering marriage, Chinyere Osuji reveals the family as a primary site for understanding the social construction of race. She challenges the naive but widespread belief that interracial couples and their children provide an antidote to racism in the twenty-first century, instead highlighting the complexities and contradictions of these relationships. Featuring black husbands with white wives as well as black wives with white husbands, Boundaries of Love sheds light on the role of gender in navigating life married to a person of a different color.

Osuji compares black-white couples in Brazil and the United States, the two most populous post–slavery societies in the Western hemisphere. These settings, she argues, reveal the impact of contemporary race mixture on racial hierarchies and racial ideologies, both old and new.

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Andrea Levy, chronicler of the Windrush generation, dies aged 62

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-02-15 20:49Z by Steven

Andrea Levy, chronicler of the Windrush generation, dies aged 62

The Guardian
2019-02-15

Richard Lea


Andrea Levy, in Edinburgh in 2010: ‘My heritage is Britain’s story too.’ Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Award-winning author of Small Island and The Long Song had cancer

The writer Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novels over 20 years has died, aged 62, from cancer.

After starting to write as a hobby in her early 30s, Levy published three novels in the 1990s that brought her positive reviews and steady sales. But her fourth novel, Small Island, launched her into the literary big league, winning the 2004 Orange prize, the Whitbread book of the year and the Commonwealth Writers’ prize, selling more than 1m copies around the world and inspiring a 2009 BBC TV adaptation.

On Friday, authors including Candice Carty-Williams, Linda Grant and Malorie Blackman paid tribute, with Blackman remembering a “warm, funny and generous spirit.”…

…After studying textiles at Middlesex Polytechnic, Levy worked briefly as a designer, a dresser and a receptionist. But it was not until she was 26 that a racial awareness session with colleagues at an Islington sex education project gave her a “rude awakening”.

“We were asked to split into two groups, black and white.” Levy wrote. “I walked over to the white side of the room. It was, ironically, where I felt most at home – all my friends, my boyfriend, my flatmates, were white. But my fellow workers had other ideas and I found myself being beckoned over by people on the black side. With some hesitation I crossed the floor.”

As someone who was “scared” to call herself a black person, the experience was shocking enough to send her to bed for a week. But the writing course she had begun part-time came to her rescue, sending her back to explore the shame and denial that had marked her childhood and to rediscover her Jamaican roots…

Read the entire article here.

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Obituary: Andrea Levy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-02-15 16:29Z by Steven

Obituary: Andrea Levy

BBC News
2019-02-15

Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy, who has died of cancer at the age of 62, told the stories of the Windrush generation with humour and compassion.

As Britain struggled to revive its post-war economy, invitations were extended to citizens of the Empire. “Come and make your lives in the Mother Country,” the advertisements said.

Levy’s books chart the experiences – and disappointments – of the first Caribbean immigrants and their children.

Her Jamaican father, Winston, was aboard the Empire Windrush, the first ship to dock at Tilbury in 1948.

The open arms which the 492 men expected were not forthcoming. Racism and rejection, small rooms and chilly receptions awaited instead.

Her writing could have been angry and preachy, but it wasn’t. It was witty, humane and often moving, and full of richly drawn characters.

She brought ignored and forgotten stories back to public consciousness. And she drew on her own mixed-race, working class experience to enrich her themes of family and displacement…

Read the entire article here.

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A Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires, Córdoba and the Disappearance of the Black Population in Argentina

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2019-02-01 16:05Z by Steven

A Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires, Córdoba and the Disappearance of the Black Population in Argentina

The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association
2018-05-31

Erika Denise Edwards, Associate Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Charlotte


Façade of Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Córdoba, Argentina, no date, Archive of Hispanic Culture, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The recent explosion of black studies in Argentina has been a welcoming effort of various scholars and activists that have refused to accept the old and tired categorization that Argentina is a country of European descendants.1 For instance, most recently activists challenged Argentine president Mauricio Macri’s association between Mercosur and the European Union at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018. There the president stated, “I think the association between Mercosur and the European Union is natural because in South America we are all descendants of Europeans.”2 I can’t say I wasn’t proud to see and hear the strong backlash that challenged this outdated and very tiresome notion that Argentina has always been a white nation. But is that all that is left for us? What I mean more specifically is we can and will continue to dispel that Argentina is a white country of only “European descendants,” but as the field of black studies in Argentina develops it is also time that we take a hard look at the scholarship and ask ourselves what comes next.

My response is that it is time to expand westward. Why? Because scholars of Argentina’s black history have tended to focus on Buenos Aires.3 So much so that the black experience in Buenos Aires has become the national narrative. In other words, Argentina’s black history and more specifically the process of black disappearance references the black experience of Buenos Aires during the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century. By the mid-nineteenth century intellectuals such as Juan Batista Alberdi and Domingo Sarmiento (president of Argentina 1868-1874) justified policies that encouraged European immigration using pseudoscientific theories that purported to prove the biological superiority of “whites” over “nonwhites.” In effect, Sarmiento, and similar intellectuals joined the larger Latin American process of blanqueamiento, or whitening. Blanqueamiento serves as an operative word to describe the late-nineteenth-century state-led modernization process. Like Argentina, many other Latin American countries looked to European immigrants as the way to bring civilization. Historians have argued that this ideological erasure is one of the main reasons for the disappearance of people who identified as black in Argentina.4

Read the entire article here.

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What it’s like to be Black and Argentine

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Justice, Videos on 2019-01-19 02:36Z by Steven

What it’s like to be Black and Argentine

BBC News
2018-12-31

Reporter: Celestina Olulode
Produced by Hannah Green and Hannah Gelbart for the BBC News at Ten.

Black people have had a huge influence on Argentina’s history, but now they make up only one percent of the population of Buenos Aires.

Afro-Argentines, whose families descended from the slave trade, often feel like they’ve been written out of history and are mistaken for foreigners in their own country.

Watch the story here.

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The Ice Migration

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels, United Kingdom on 2019-01-13 23:37Z by Steven

The Ice Migration

Peepal Press
2018-05-31
224 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781845233587

Jacqueline Crooks

The stories in this ambitious collection move around in time and place, linked by the experiences of the descendants of a Jamaican family of mixed Indian and African heritage.

The stories in this collection move around in time and place, linked by the experiences of the descendants of a Jamaican family of mixed Indian and African heritage.

From Roaring River in rural Jamaica in 1908 where the descendants of African slaves make connections with new arrivals from Calcutta to work in the sugar cane fields, to Southall in 2013, where the Millers live alongside newer migrants from India, The Ice Migration is a poetic exploration of movement as central to the human condition.

Crooks’ vision encompasses the ancestors of the vanished Tainos in Jamaica who crossed the Behring Straits 40,000 years ago, but who linger in spirit, and individuals like Tutus who is driven to separation from her family, to constantly moving on, but who ultimately makes a return to Roaring River.

The people of Jacqueline Crooks’ stories are deeply enmeshed in their African/Indian Jamaican world of dreams, visions, duppies and spiritual presences that connect them across time and place. What they discover beyond the strangeness of change of place and the hostilities they encounter is that life remains defined by its common crises – of birth, the complications of sexuality, sickness, old age, and death – and by the comforts of food, stories and memory.

Individual stories have been shortlisted in the Asham Award and Wasafiri New Writing competitions and have appeared in: Virago, Granta, Closure: Contemporary Black British short stories, the Woven Tale Press, and MsLexia. The Ice Migration is Jacqueline Crooks’ first book.

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Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing in Latin America: Brazil and Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2019-01-12 01:55Z by Steven

Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing in Latin America: Brazil and Mexico

Sociologia & Antropologia
Volume 8, Number 2: (May/August 2018)
pages 427-456
DOI: 10.1590/2238-38752017v824

Graziella Moraes Silva, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
Geneva, Switzerland; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Emiko Saldivar, Continuing Lecturer
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Barbara

By the end of the twentieth century, with the rise of multicultural discourses and identity politics, Latin American ideologies of racial mixture had become increasingly denounced as myths that conceal (and thus support) the reproduction of racial inequalities. These studies have largely been guided by comparisons between countries with widespread racial mixing (usually Brazil, Mexico or Colombia) and countries in which it was less encouraged and visible (most commonly, the USA). In this paper we move the focus to the diverse ways in which racial mixture currently impacts racial formations in the Latin America, looking initially at Brazil and Mexico, two of the largest countries in the region, and also those with the largest Afro-descendent and indigenous populations in the continent. For comparison, we analyze survey data from the PERLA project.

INTRODUCTION

Academic interpretations of racial mixing in Latin America, particularly in the North American literature, underwent a radical change during the second half of the twentieth century.1 After World War II, ‘Latin American miscegenation’ was seen as an alternative to ethnic and racial exclusions that had triggered the Jewish holocaust and had been a source of violent conflicts in the United States during the Jim Crow era and in South African apartheid during the 1950s and 1960s. But by the end of the twentieth century, with the rise of multicultural discourses and identity politics, Latin American ideologies of racial mixture became increasingly denounced as myths that conceal (and thus support) the reproduction of racial inequalities (e.g. De la Cadena, 2000; Hanchard, 1994).

These studies have largely been guided by comparisons between countries with widespread racial mixing (usually Brazil, Mexico or Colombia) and countries in which it was less encouraged and visible (most commonly, the USA). Such comparisons have largely contributed to a better understanding of miscegenation as an ideology that allowed racial inequalities to remain more invisible in the Latin American context throughout most of the twentieth century (e.g. Telles, 2003 and Knight, 1990). More recently, a number of authors have also stressed the influence of Latin American ideas of miscegenation in the transformation of racial inequalities in the United States, a phenomenon that has been labeled the Latin Americanization of American race relations (e.g. Bonilla-Silva, 2004). Exploring this comparison, these studies have usually treated racial mixture as a coherent ideology shared across the region.

In this paper we propose to shift the focus onto the diverse ways in which racial mixture currently impacts racial formations in the region. Empirically, we turn our gaze to Brazil and Mexico, two of the largest countries in Latin America, and also those with the largest Afro-descendant and indigenous populations in the continent. As in most countries in the region, ideologies of racial mixture were instrumental to the construction of their national identity: first as a strategy for whitening (Stepan, 1991) and later as tools for assimilation (e.g. Freyre, 1946, and Gamio, 2010). Today, ideas of racial mixing remain central in both Brazil and Mexico, but racial politics are significantly different. Brazil has increasingly seen black (pretos) and brown (pardos) people join forces to address racial inequalities, arguing that mixed pardos are in similar conditions to blacks. Mexico, by contrast, still advocates the benefits of racial mixture, avoiding the discussion of race and racial inequalities on the grounds that most of the population is mixed.

Our paper unfolds as follows: first we explore the role of racial mixing in the nation building processes in Brazil and Mexico. We emphasize the similarities in the ways in which this idea has been articulated in the two countries historically, but also the important differences, something often overlooked in the literature. Next, turning to PERLA data (presented in our methods section), we discuss how these differences have created distinct perceptions of racial identification in Brazil and Mexico, focusing on three dimensions: (1) the relationship between racial identification and skin color, (2) the relationship between racial mixture and cultural differences, and (3) the impact of racial mixture on ethnoracial inequalities.2 We conclude by stressing the need for more comparative studies between Latin American countries in order to better understand the diversity of mestizaje projects and their differential impacts in the region…

Read the entire article here.

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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.

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Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2018-12-30 01:09Z by Steven

Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Volume 22, Number 2 (56)
2018-07-01
pages 35-56
DOI: 10.1215/07990537-6985666

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor/ Faculty Fellow, Social and Cultural Analysis
New York University

Issue Cover

This essay focuses on artwork that centers family photographs and home movies as a point of departure to trouble the conventional family album in order to narrate a story about Caribbean Chinese kinship. In the art examined, personal visual archives are used to respond to the lacuna of Caribbean Chinese familial intimacies from the colonial archive. Engaging shared themes of migration and racialized ideas of reproduction, three contemporary diasporic visual artists—Albert Chong, Richard Fung, and Tomie Arai—mine oral histories and family archives to blend aural and visual narratives. These artists rupture the surface of family images to trouble the bourgeois, heteronormative, and colorist scripts that often police the formation of family. The family album is rearranged and marked up; thus it becomes rendered as flesh inscribed with silent narratives. Through different forms of remixing, they engage with the affect and entanglements of family photography to form a visual vocabulary of diasporic kinship. In doing so, the artwork—collages, documentaries, installations—interrogates the afterlife of the nineteenth-century European colonial experiment of Chinese indenture, designed to install a discreet “buffer race” between the white minority and the black majority in the Caribbean after abolition. The experiment, which depended on the capacity for the Chinese to develop bourgeois domesticity in the Caribbean after abolition, failed because of sexual intimacies between people of African descent and people of Asian descent, beyond the imperial order’s imagining. Another future of familial intimacies in the diaspora is present in the artists’ aesthetic of fragmentation and collage.

Read or purchase the article here.

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I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-27 02:48Z by Steven

I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

The Conversation
2018-12-04

Jane Landers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


An archivist works with a document from Paraiba, Brazil. David Lafevor, CC BY-SA

Many years ago, as a graduate student searching in the archives of Spanish Florida, I discovered the first “underground railroad” of enslaved Africans escaping from Protestant Carolina to find religious sanctuary in Catholic Florida. In 1738, these runaways formed Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first free black settlement in what became the U.S.

The excitement of that discovery encouraged me to keep digging. After doing additional research in Spain, I followed the trail of the Mose villagers to Cuba, where they had emigrated when Great Britain acquired Florida. I found many of them in 18th-century church records in Havana, Matanzas, Regla, Guanabacoa and San Miguel del Padrón.

Today, those records and others live on in the Slave Societies Digital Archive. This archive, which I launched in 2003, now holds approximately 600,000 images dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Since its creation, the archive has led to new insights into African populations in the Americas

…Previously unknown church records for Havana’s black Brotherhood of St. Joseph the Carpenter document the membership of Jose Antonio Aponte, executed by Spanish officials in 1812 for leading an alleged slave conspiracy. Our records similarly document the marriage and death of another famed “conspirator” – the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes, better known as Placido

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