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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How to replace Norfolk’s Confederate monument? One idea is to honor interracial marriage pioneers.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2020-09-12 21:57Z by Steven

How to replace Norfolk’s Confederate monument? One idea is to honor interracial marriage pioneers.

The Virginian-Pilot
Norfolk, Virginia
2020-07-07

Ryan Murphy


Sean and Silena Chapman, with their 6-week-old son Kevin, support erecting a statue honoring the Lovings, the couple who successfully challenged Virginia’s interracial marriage ban in the 1960s, where Norfolk’s Confederate monument stood. As seen Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot)

It’s June 12, 2020.

It’s been almost three weeks since Silena and Sean Chapman brought home their third baby, Kevin.

Silena, a doctor who specializes in caring for sick and premature infants, is full of energy and says she’s always getting into some idea or another.

Sean is reserved and gentle. He spends most of his days taking care of their two other young children. He’s getting ready to start a woodworking business out of the Chesapeake couple’s Great Bridge garage.

Early that morning in downtown Norfolk, a crane removes 16-foot-tall Johnny Reb, the bronze Confederate soldier who sat atop a city monument for 113 years.

Silena knows the statue well. She lived for years on College Place, just a few blocks from it…

Read the entire article here.

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Interracialism: Biracials Learning About African-American Culture (B.L.A.A.C.)

Posted in History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2020-09-12 00:51Z by Steven

Interracialism: Biracials Learning About African-American Culture (B.L.A.A.C.)

YouTube
2020-04-09

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky, Associate Professor of Professor of Africana Studies and History
State University of New York, Stony Brook

‘Interracialism: Biracials Learning About African American Culture (B.L.A.A.C.)’ with Dr. Zebulon Miletsky. February 19th 4:00PM-5:30PM Melville Library, Central Reading Room, Stony Brook University.

A discussion of #interracialism and #interracialmarriage, and the phenomenon of “#antiblackness”—identity and #mixedrace in the 21st century, and the possible stakes for those who identify as multiracial and biracial—in these politically divided times.

Watch the video (01:08:02) here.

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Suddenly a Person of Color [Plötzlich Person of Color]

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2020-08-26 00:50Z by Steven

Suddenly a Person of Color [Plötzlich Person of Color]

Die Zeit
Hamburg, Germany
2020-08-14

Von Fernanda Thome de Souza

Graciously translated from German into English for me by Gyavira Lasana and his wife Anne.


Ein Leben in Abhängigkeit von der Beurteilung der eigenen Hautfarbe: in Brasilien Subjekt, in Deutschland Objekt © . liane ./​unsplash.com

In Brazil, I was white and privileged, but in Germany I was not white enough. That told me a lot about racism and social participation.

Fernanda Thome de Souza, born in Sao Paulo, has lived in Berlin since 2008, working as a freelance writer, journalist and copywriter. She is a guest author of “10 to 8.” © private

In my first months in Berlin, when I was in the city, I was busy reading subway plans, translating social codes and discovering new landscapes. So I didn’t immediately notice that there was something particularly uncomfortable for me behind the differences and the new.

At some point, in the subway, in the supermarket, at work, I began to feel a disturbing look at my body, burdened with a reproach I had never experienced before. To this day, this gaze, which is determined in transmitting its message, accompanies me. He draws a clear line: that of the territory to which he belongs, where I am read as a stranger, the one that comes from outside.

My skin is dark, my eyebrows are thick, my hair is black and curled. Where I was born, in Brazil, I am white. A fact that is often difficult for Germans to understand. In Berlin I discovered myself as a Person of Color. This process did not happen overnight, but it definitely began with the perception of this depifting gaze.

While, as white people in Brazil, I have the legitimacy to occupy spaces – whether public, academic, professional, or cultural – as a matter of course, my presence here is called into question. While I live in Brazil the privilege of neutrality (I am the center, the “normal”, the subject), in Germany the equation has reversed. Because of my appearance, I was transformed into “the other”, an object of the edge, prone to the arbitrariness of the German white gaze.

I have been living with this ambiguity for twelve years. That, of course, changed me. Oscillating between different sides of social geographies, even from a safe place, has forced me to look beyond my horizons and question my own role. I have started to talk to other Brazilians living in a similar situation in Berlin. I wanted to know if it was just me. What is whiteness in Brazil? Why do we in Germany stop being white? How can the complex backgrounds be described? What have we learned and how has it changed our self-image and our relationship with the society to which we belong?

Legacy of European Colonialism

Brazil is an extremely racist country – a legacy of centuries-old European colonialism. After the abolition of slavery, at the beginning of the 20th century, a group of Brazilian intellectuals was first engaged in formulating the self-image of the young Republic of Brazil. Based on ethnic mixing, the theory of a supposed harmony between the different groups was developed.

Notwithstanding the fact that this ethnic mix-up was caused by the rape of black and indigenous women by white men, the idea served as evidence that there was no racism in Brazil and that in this tropical paradise, everyone, regardless of color or origin, would have equal opportunities. The notorious myth of so-called racial democracy was thus born and disseminated. For decades, racism has been kept out of debate and public policy, and has increasingly become established in all areas of social structure.

Today, the statistics show the brutal ethnic inequality in the country. While the indigenous population has been almost wiped out and now accounts for only 0.4 percent of total society, blacks – just over half of the total population – are systematically oppressed. Seventy-five percent of those killed by the police, 64 percent of the prison inmates and 75 percent of the poorest are black. Every 23 minutes, a young black man is killed in Brazil. Their biographies and struggles are not in the history books, and their religions are still subject to constant persecution.

“Whiteness” in Brazil

Germans, Italians, Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, Japanese and all the other groups that were part of the various waves of migration that have arrived in Brazil since the 19th century were accepted and treated as free people. This immediately gave them advantages and privileges. While the newly liberated black population was let down by the system, immigrants were given subsidized travel tickets and a job guarantee. Europeans were often given additional land for the establishment of colonies, driven by an effort to “wash” the Brazilian population whiter. In Brazil, color is inextricably linked to the class.

“Being white in Brazil means not suffering from racism,” says Berlin-based writer Fred Di Giacomo Rocha. It is said that they are not constantly being watched in the supermarket, that they are not afraid of the police and that they have access to lawyers. It is the knowledge that one’s own rights are respected by the institutions.

The choreographer and stage artist Rodrigo Garcia Alves explains the inequality in the state of schools. “Sending your own children to the best private school in the city is a mark of being white. These are only white environments. Because Brazil is not only a racist country, but also a classicist country.” In fact, enough teachers, hot meals, and school safety are a right reserved for whites, who are already entering the brutal competition for the best university places with a head start. In this context, privilege softens with reward for achievement – social inequality is entrenched.

In the 21st century, being white in Brazil still means coming through the front door and having domestic workers, who are mostly black and underpaid. “It’s impossible not to talk about who is serving and who is being served,” says school social worker D. Wiltshire Soares. “These relationships, which on the one hand are very emotional, on the other hand are also full of violence,” adds Lia Ishida, a Doctoral student in German studies. “It’s about integrating these people into the family without making them equal. A situation very similar to slavery.”

Fall into the European colonial fantasy

We white Brazilians come to Germany with European passports, higher education, fluent English, university places, money in our pockets and all the security, self-respect and arrogance that has been granted to us throughout our lives through historical privileges. Our bodies do not carry the traumas of racism. And yet we have definitely lost the “white status” we were used to here. And what does that mean?

As the Portuguese interdisciplinary artist and author Grada Kilomba put it in her book Plantation Memories, although there are Germans of all skin colors, the colonial fantasy prevails that being German means being white. It is a racism in which prejudice and discrimination arise not from an idea of the superiority of individual “races”, but on the basis of ideas of nation, ethnicity and cultural differences, incompatibilities and hierarchies.

What racism does to all of us

Since being German in the hegemonic imagination means first of all being white, I am automatically marked as someone who does not belong here.

This is the first “transition” of a Brazilian who ceases to be white: the loss of neutrality and the position of the subject. We will immediately become objects that are observed and questioned. Kilomba explains this by referring in her text to the Afro-German experience. While the white subject is preoccupied with the question “What do I see?”, the subject of color is forced to deal with the question “What do they see?” And what they see is not born of a mere interest in the story we have to tell, but from the projection of white fantasies about what we should be.

The experiences of the Brazilians I have spoken to coincide with mine. Deprived of our human complexity, we are reduced to stereotypes that in no way reflect our identity. If you read a Brazilian with a beard as a “terrorist Arab,” he becomes a “harmless Iberian” without a beard. The clothes we wear tell us whether we are read as Syrians or Italians, which means being considered suspicious or not.

Subordination and condescension

Because of this colonial dialectic, as Grada Kilomba defines it, the white subject deserves a position of authority, while the racist is forced to subordination. This hierarchy in relations is repeated from one area to another and represents a loss of status for Brazilians, who until then saw themselves as whites. Actually accustomed to hegemony, our mobility is suddenly monitored, our environment is reduced, our habits and behaviors are questioned and corrected, and finally our experiences and points of view are simplified and disqualified.

When Di Giacomo Rocha presented his latest book at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019, he criticized the German condescension. The universal voice is a white domain. In his opinion, Latin American literature only gains space when it talks about its regionality, its exotic peripheral reality.

Theories like Kilomba’s have helped me not only to process my experiences in Germany, but above all to understand the extent of my privileges, their structures and the origins of violence. There is an urgent need to break with the white idea of universality. The systematic small-termization of marginal voices is not only used to secure the status quo. It allows the privileged classes to be ignorant of realities of which they prefer not to know. If there is a moral and legitimate obligation to combat racism, there is an urgent need for stolen spaces to be returned to their actual owners. It is necessary to read these voices, to listen to them and to get to know them. Until we irrevocably understand what racism does to us as a society and as a human being.

Read the article in German here.

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An RNC Speaker Said Cops Would Be ‘Smart’ to Racially Profile Her Own Son

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-08-25 23:41Z by Steven

An RNC Speaker Said Cops Would Be ‘Smart’ to Racially Profile Her Own Son

VICE
2020-08-25

Carter Sherman

“Statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons,” anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson said in a YouTube video earlier this year.

One of the Republican National Convention’s top speakers said in a recent video that it would be “smart” for a police officer to racially profile her biracial son, because “statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”

“I recognize that I’m gonna have to have a different conversation with Jude than I do with my brown-haired little Irish, very, very pale-skinned, white sons, as they grow up,” Abby Johnson, a prominent anti-abortion activist, said in a 15-plus-minutes video posted to YouTube in late June, after weeks of nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd.

“Right now, Jude is an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy,” said Johnson, whose husband blogged, in 2015, about adopting their biracial son at his birth. Johnson is white. “But one day, he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking-maybe brown man. And my other boys are probably gonna look like nerdy white guys.”

Read the entire article here.

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Harris’ dual identities challenge America’s race labels

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-08-21 17:43Z by Steven

Harris’ dual identities challenge America’s race labels

Associated Press
2020-08-21

Sally Ho


Benjamin Beltran, 26, on Aug. 18, 2020, in Washington. For most of his childhood, Beltran identified with his dad’s roots as a Filipino growing up. At times, that made his white mother worry he was forgetting her ancestry, which traces to Scotland and Ireland. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Kamala Harris’ historic nomination for vice president on the Democratic ticket is challenging multicultural, race-obsessed America’s emphasis on labels.

It was just 20 years ago that the U.S. census began to allow Americans to identify as more than one race. And now, the country is on the threshold of seeing the name of Kamala Harris — proud daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother — on the national ballot.

Harris’ historic nomination for vice president on the Democratic ticket is challenging America’s emphasis on identity and labels.

While her dual heritage represents several slices of the multicultural and multiracial experience, many have puzzled over how to define her — an issue people of diverse backgrounds have long had to navigate.

Harris has long incorporated both sides of her parentage in her public persona, but also has been steadfast in claiming her Black identity, saying her mother — the biggest influence on her life — raised her and her sister as Black because that’s the way the world would view them.

“My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives,” Harris said in a Wednesday night speech at the Democratic National Convention to accept her party’s nomination. “She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 00:29Z by Steven

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Penguin Press
2019-01-08
336 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525560715
Paperback ISBN: 9780525560739
eBook ISBN: 9780525560722

Kamala D. Harris

A New York Times bestseller

From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country.

Senator Kamala Harris’s commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, California community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents–an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India–met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley. Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California as a whole. Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, she took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis, winning a historic settlement for California’s working families. Her hallmarks were applying a holistic, data-driven approach to many of California’s thorniest issues, always eschewing stale “tough on crime” rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither “tough” nor “soft” but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might. That has been the pole star that guided Harris to a transformational career as the top law enforcement official in California, and it is guiding her now as a transformational United States Senator, grappling with an array of complex issues that affect her state, our country, and the world, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality.

By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.

PRH Audio · The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris, read by Kamala Harris
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Biden’s VP pick: Why Kamala Harris embraces her biracial roots

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-08-11 21:33Z by Steven

Biden’s VP pick: Why Kamala Harris embraces her biracial roots

BBC News
2020-08-11

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent


Getty Images

US Senator Kamala Harris – chosen by Joe Biden as his Democratic vice-presidential candidate – is known as a prominent black politician. But she has also embraced her Indian roots.

“My name is pronounced “Comma-la”, like the punctuation mark,” Kamala Harris writes in her 2018 autobiography, The Truths We Hold.

The California senator, daughter of an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father, then explains the meaning of her Indian name.

“It means ‘lotus flower’, which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flowers rising above the surface while the roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.”

Early in life, young Kamala and her sister Maya grew up in a house filled with music by black American artists. Her mother would sing along to Aretha Franklin’s early gospel, and her jazz-loving father, who taught economics at Stanford University, would play Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane on the turntable.

Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris separated when Ms Harris was five. Raised primarily by her Hindu single mother, a cancer researcher and a civil rights activist, Kamala, Maya and Shyamala were known as “Shyamala and the girls”.

Her mother made sure her two daughters were aware of their background.

“My mother understood very well she was raising two black daughters. She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident black women,” she wrote…

Read the entire article here.

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Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate, making her the first black woman on a major ticket

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-08-11 21:17Z by Steven

Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate, making her the first black woman on a major ticket

CNBC
2020-08-11

Christina Wilkie, White House Reporter

  • Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate.
  • Widely considered at moderate Democrat, Harris will be the first Black woman to join a major party ticket.
  • The announcement caps off a monthslong process that saw nearly a dozen prospective running mates vetted by the Biden campaign.

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Joe Biden has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris of California to join him on the Democratic ticket, fulfilling his pledge to select a female running mate and making Harris the first Black person ever tapped as the vice presidential nominee of a major party.

His campaign announced the pick Tuesday afternoon through his webpage.

Biden’s selection of Harris, 55, lends racial diversity, gender parity and generational breadth to his campaign. It also represents a strategic decision by the 77-year-old former vice president to keep his ticket firmly within the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

“Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau,” tweeted Biden, referring to his late son, Beau Biden. “I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Joe Biden Just Made History and Picked Kamala Harris as His VP Candidate

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-08-11 20:38Z by Steven

Joe Biden Just Made History and Picked Kamala Harris as His VP Candidate

Mother Jones
2020-08-11

Jamilah King, Reporter


Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden has officially selected Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, and in doing so has made history, as Harris will be the first Black woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. Harris was long rumored to be a top choice for the slot, and now she’s tasked with energizing a Democratic electorate that’s torn between a moderate forebearer at the top and an increasingly large proportion of voters who want to see dramatic change during a summer marked by a broad uprising over deep-seated racial injustice and a pandemic that’s killed more than 160,000 Americans.

In Harris, Biden has chosen a Democratic favorite who toiled long and hard in California politics before breaking through on the national stage in the Senate and in running for president last year. She’s also a plainly strategic pick for the moment; Biden clearly thinks that choosing a Black woman—and this Black woman specifically—will help him overcome the lukewarm response he’s gotten from more liberal voters and criminal justice activists who still cite his baggage, like the 1994 crime bill and his praise of segregationist senators. Just this summer, prison abolitionist and academic Angela Davis said she was voting for Biden but admitted, “Biden is very problematic in many ways, not only in terms of his past and the role that he played in pushing toward mass incarceration, but he has indicated that he is opposed to disbanding the police, and this is definitely what we need.” She added later on Democracy Now, “The election will not so much be about who gets to lead the country to a better future, but rather how we can support ourselves and our own ability to continue to organize and place pressure on those in power. And I don’t think there’s a question about which candidate would allow that process to unfold.”…

Read the entire article here.

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