Afro-German Women are Still Upholding the Legacy of May Ayim

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2020-09-13 01:55Z by Steven

Afro-German Women are Still Upholding the Legacy of May Ayim

Catapult
2020-09-10

Tari Ngangura


May Ayim with Audre Lorde/Photograph via audrelordeberlin.com

There have always been people suffering from anti-Blackness. And May Ayim highlights the continuity of the Black experience—not only her own, but those before her as well.

In 1986, Afro-German author and poet May Opitz—better known as May Ayim—co-edited the anthology, Showing Our Colours: Afro-German Women Speak Out. The book carries the stories of Afro-German women and their volatile, often violent experiences with anti-Blackness, belonging, and sexism in the European nation. Showing Our Colours remains a seminal offering in works that claim the existence and legitimacy of Black history within Europe, and also examines Germany’s specific role in the nineteenth century colonization of Africa—including the genocide in Namibia, which saw over one hundred thousand of the Herero, Nama, and San people killed by the German regime from 1904 until 1908.

Those who survived the genocide were locked in concentration camps, a precursor to those that would be utilized in the Holocaust. Showing Our Colours is as much about claiming space as it is about holding Germany accountable to its imperial history and its effects on the contemporary realities of Black immigrants living in the country. The book also outlines political shifts through the ages that saw terms like Moor, Negro, and African morph into racial epithets that would later be used by pseudoscientists to justify anti-Black racism, fascism, and medical bias.

Ayim died by suicide in 1996, and in her life and death, I see a testament to the resilience of Black women, and an indictment of insidious white supremacy that makes Black life a fragile negotiation between visibility and erasure. Since her death, Ayim’s work has been revisited most often by young Afro-Germans searching for the language and tools to explore their Blackness and womanhood alongside a European history that interrupted their ancestry and systematically destabilizes their present. For Afro-Germans, and especially the youth who have lived through global Black Lives Matter conversations, who witnessed police brutality on both a national and global scale, it is not enough to be simply German. It’s in this space that Ayim’s work is finding new eyes…

I spoke with Marny Garcia Mommertz, a Black-German researcher born in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, about how the late author’s work has been something of a map, detailing similar experiences of othering, and a reminder that her contemporary reality is not simply of her own making, but part of a larger structural legacy of oppression…

Read the entire interview here.

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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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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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Jessica Krug and the theft of Black Latina identity.

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-11 01:34Z by Steven

Jessica Krug and the theft of Black Latina identity.

Daily Kos
2020-09-05

Denise Oliver Velez


Professor Jessica A. Krug, a white woman from Kansas, who has been passing herself off as an Afro-Latina
Professor Jessica Krug, panelist, Diasporic Politics panel Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) 25th Anniversary Conference, Friday , Columbia University, April 26, 2019

We all know what identity theft is, in a world filled with cyber crimes. We’ve all watched horror films with body snatchers as the main villains. Things become far more complicated when we address the issue of humans who, for a host of warped reasons, assume a false racial or ethnic identity.

Such is the case of Professor Jessica A. Krug, who is currently an Associate Professor of African American history at George Washington University. Krug has for years portrayed herself as Black, and Afro-Latina, while publishing her academic work, receiving grant funding, teaching and also acting as a Afro-Latina political activist from the Bronx under the pseudonym “Jess La Bombalera,” all the while hiding her real self — a white woman from Kansas City.

Her exposure as a fraud, has unleashed a firestorm of pushback on social media and in academia, similar to the exposure of black-passing Rachel Dolezal in 2015…

Read the entire article here.

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How do we prevent another Jessica Krug or Rachel Dolezal? Here are some solutions!

Posted in Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos, Women on 2020-09-10 01:40Z by Steven

How do we prevent another Jessica Krug or Rachel Dolezal? Here are some solutions!

YouTube
2020-09-05

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

What the video (00:15:11) here.

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On Jessica Krug and Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-10 01:27Z by Steven

On Jessica Krug and Mixed Race Identity

Medium
2020-09-08

Josephine

The revelation in fall 2020 that Jessica Krug, a white American woman, just like Rachel Dolezal before her, spent years holding herself out as Black and Black Latina woman made us all cringe. Krug took pains to make her skin appear bronzed, she dressed in form-fitting clothing, and kept her hair dyed dark black, adding in curly or wavy texture for good measure. We all remember Dolezal’s kinky textured blonde hair and braids that gave her a distinctly ‘mixed race’ look. These women hogged the limelight and took employment and community outreach opportunities from Black women.

Their masquerade has prompted a conversation within the Black and Latinx communities around colorism: the way that light-skinned, mixed race, and white-passing Black women seem to get opportunities that are not available to dark-skinned Black women.

As long as I can remember, American movies with a Black man as the protagonist invariably had him fall in love with a Black woman who appeared mixed race. As a mixed race woman, I noticed this, and I could see how unfair it was: the subtle message was that I would be accepted as beautiful in the black community. Looking back, I see how those same films and series made dark-skinned women question their worth.

Remember Dorothy Dandridge’s ‘exotic’ beauty? We wonder why black women feel pressure to straighten their hair and lighten their skin, but in popular culture, we have all been conditioned to see light-skinned women as the only presentable face of black womanhood. The use of mixed race women as the face of blackness has long left out the majority of Black women who have a beauty that is not contingent on detectable quantum of white blood…

Read the entire article here.

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Blue Beneath My Skin

Posted in Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos, Women on 2020-08-26 00:22Z by Steven

Blue Beneath My Skin

The Alchemist Theatre Company
London, United Kingdom
2020-06-22

Macadie Amoroso

“Clothes allow me to choose how people see me,
Clothes can speak louder than my skin…”

Through the eyes of a 17-year-old mixed race girl, Blue Beneath My Skin explores the nuances of identity and ethnicity, and how self-perception and the perceptions put upon us can push us onto a destructive path.

Blue beneath my skin was fist performed at The Bunker Theatre in 2019 as part of the ‘This is Black’ festival. In 2020 it was revived as part of East 15’s Debut Festival and won the King’s Head Theatre’s Stella Wilkie Award and was chosen for Pulse Festival.

Watch the entire play here.

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This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-08-26 00:08Z by Steven

This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker

The Up Coming
2019-08-10

Michael Higgs

Featuring four new plays by emerging black writers, Steven Kavuma’s This Is Black is a highly anticipated festival that promises to be a success. The first part of the festival, Double Bill I, presents highly passionate and thoughtful performances of two one-handers, which leave plenty of room for thought.

Written by and starring Macadie Amoroso, Blue Beneath My Skin features the life story of a 17-year-old mixed-race girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but who frequently encounters setbacks through an onslaught of sexism and racism. Amoroso’s acting is top-notch and full of soul, never failing to be convincing even for a single moment. The writing, too, is very strong for the most part – although the occasional irregular use of rhyme, probably a leftover from spoken-word-poetry, does mar the overall presentation somewhat. Plot-wise, the ending also feels rather forced and unlikely. But these minor hiccups are hardly detrimental to an otherwise outstanding performance, which takes a particularly fascinating point of view in exploring racial tensions and questions of identity when being of a mixed heritage…

Read the entire review here.

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Blue Beneath My Skin, Alchemist Theatre Co. (Streamed Broadcast)

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-08-25 23:56Z by Steven

Blue Beneath My Skin, Alchemist Theatre Co. (Streamed Broadcast)

Breaking The Fourth Wall: Michael Davis’ thoughts on theatre and the Arts.
2020-06-27

Michael Davis

The second entry in Alchemist Theatre’sWriters On Hold’ series, Blue Beneath My Skin continues to explore the themes of racial identity and feminimity. Written and performed by Macadie Amoroso, the monologue focuses on a 17-year-old mixed race girl, who after she was abandoned as a baby by a canal, was found and later raised by an all-white family.

While ‘Canal Baby’ (Amoroso’s character) has a ‘comfortable’ existence, domestic life does have its tensions. She’s still close to her ‘father’, but he and her ‘mother’ are no longer a couple. Living in an all-female household (with ‘mother’ and ‘sister’), far from having many things in common, even neutral interests such as fashion are a divisive subject, where they seldom see eye-to-eye. Regardless of this, it is the one avenue where Amoroso’s character feels she can express her individuality, irrespective of her family’s opinions and tastes.

Read the entire review here.

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