Passing for Racial Democracy

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-01-19 03:00Z by Steven

Passing for Racial Democracy

The Baffler
2021-12-06

Stephanie Reist

Detail from A Redenção de Cam (Redemption of Ham), Modesto Brocos, 1895. | Museu Nacional de Belas Artes

The complexities of the color line in the U.S. and Brazil

A CENTRAL POINT OF TENSION between Irene Redfield (played by Tessa Thompson) and her husband Dr. Brian Redfield (André Holland) in Rebecca Hall’s Passing, based on the Nella Larsen novel of the same name, is whether their family should remain in the United States. While Irene can pass for white out of convenience, the same is not true of her darker sons and her husband, who routinely informs his children about lynchings and white violence. Irene disapproves of this talk, despite her work for the Negro Welfare League. In one pivotal scene, she drives her tired husband home after a long day of visiting patients, and the couple discuss going to South America, specifically mentioning Brazil. The issue returns when the couple fights over the consuming role that Clare (Ruth Negga)—who has chosen to pass as white to the point of marrying a bigoted white husband and having a daughter with him—exerts in their lives and marriage.

In Larsen’s novel, Brian’s longing for Brazil, which becomes conflated with what Irene perceives as his desire for the effervescent, delightfully dangerous Clare, is even more pronounced: Brazil is the one that got away, Brian’s lost hope for a society where he and other black members of the talented tenth could be judged by their merits, not lynched because they failed to stay in their place. Irene even implicitly sanctions an affair between her husband and Clare to assuage her guilt for denying her family the chance to be truly “happy, or free, or safe”—a state she laments as impossible when speaking to Clare about her choice not to pass…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Americans Color Outside the Lines

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-19 02:36Z by Steven

Americans Color Outside the Lines

The Dispatch
2021-04-26

Chris Stirewalt, Contributing Editor

Photograph By Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Even today, bigots and the progressive proponents of race science hold fast to the idea of fixed race and ethnicity. Thankfully, Americans largely ignore them.

In his autobiography, Life on the Color Line, Gregory Williams tells the story of discovering at the age of 10 that he was black—or at least that the world saw him that way.

Williams, who would go on to serve as president of both City College of New York and the University of Cincinnati, was raised as a white boy when and where it really mattered: rural, central Virginia in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But when his parents’ marriage broke up and his mom ran off, his no-account, alcoholic father could not manage to care for his two sons. So, Williams’ dad moved them to his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. It was on the bus trip there that Williams’ dad told his boys that he was not the Italian-American called “Tony” who ran a roadhouse west of Richmond but a light-skinned black man from the wrong side of tracks in the industrial Midwest. “Miss Sallie,” the black woman who had worked at the family bar for a time, was really the boys’ grandmother.

Ultimately abandoned by both of his parents, Williams found himself brutally rejected by both cultures. And what a time to live on that line. In 1954, the year after he arrived in Muncie, the Supreme Court struck down school segregation laws. Segregationists had warned after Harry Truman integrated the military six years earlier that the federal government was intent on the mixing of the races—and ultimately making intermarriage appear to be normal, leading to the dilution of the white race. The blending of children in classrooms was to them just the next step in the demise of America’s dominant white culture by miscegenation. Williams remembered a Klansman on television saying the court was trying to encourage race mixing and the rise of the “bestial mongrel mulatto, the dreg of human society.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Arise Africa, Roar China: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-01-19 02:15Z by Steven

Arise Africa, Roar China: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century

University of North Carolina Press
December 2021
408 pages
49 halftones, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6460-6
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6461-3

Yunxiang Gao, Professor of history
Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This book explores the close relationships between three of the most famous twentieth-century African Americans, W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Langston Hughes, and their little-known Chinese allies during World War II and the Cold War—journalist, musician, and Christian activist Liu Liangmo, and Sino-Caribbean dancer-choreographer Sylvia Si-lan Chen. Charting a new path in the study of Sino-American relations, Gao Yunxiang foregrounds African Americans, combining the study of Black internationalism and the experiences of Chinese Americans with a transpacific narrative and an understanding of the global remaking of China’s modern popular culture and politics. Gao reveals earlier and more widespread interactions between Chinese and African American leftists than accounts of the familiar alliance between the Black radicals and the Maoist Chinese would have us believe. The book’s multilingual approach draws from massive yet rarely used archival streams in China and in Chinatowns and elsewhere in the United States. These materials allow Gao to retell the well-known stories of Du Bois, Robeson, and Hughes alongside the sagas of Liu and Chen in a work that will transform and redefine Afro-Asia studies.

Table of Contents

  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Africa, Arise! Face the Rising Sun! W. E. B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois
  • 2. Arise! Ye Who Refuse to Be Bond Slaves! Paul Robeson, “the Black King of Songs”
  • 3. Transpacific Mass Singing, Journalism, and Christian Activism: Liu Liangmo
  • 4. Choreographing Ethnicity, War, and Revolution around the Globe: Sylvia Si-lan Chen Leyda
  • 5. Roar, China! Langston Hughes, Poet Laureate of the Negro Race
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marginal Citizens: Interracial intimacies and the incarceration of Japanese Canadians, 1942–1949

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2022-01-11 21:22Z by Steven

Marginal Citizens: Interracial intimacies and the incarceration of Japanese Canadians, 1942–1949

Canadian Journal of Law and Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société
Published online 2021-09-08
DOI: 10.1017/cls.2021.18

Mary Anne Vallianatos, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Victoria School of Law, British Columbia

Following Japan’s 1941 attacks on Hawai’i and Hong Kong, Canada relocated, detained, and exiled citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry. Many interracial families, however, were exempted from this racial project called the internment. The form of the exemption was an administrative permit granted to its holder on the basis of their marital or patrilineal proximity to whiteness. This article analyzes these permits relying on archival research and applying a critical race feminist lens to explore how law was constitutive of race at this moment in Canadian history. I argue that the permits recategorized interracial intimacies towards two racial ends: to differentiate the citizen from the “enemy alien”; and to regulate the interracial family according to patriarchal common law principles. This article nuances received narratives of law as an instrument of racial exclusion by documenting the way in which a new inclusive state measure sustained old exclusions.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,

Lani Guinier drew on her Black and Jewish roots in a life of outspoken activism

Posted in Articles, Biography, Judaism, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:30Z by Steven

Lani Guinier drew on her Black and Jewish roots in a life of outspoken activism

Forward
2022-01-07

TaRessa Stovall

This undated file photo shows Lani Guinier(C), President Clinton’s nominee to head the U.S. Civil Rights office of the U.S.
LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images

Lani Guinier, the daughter of a white Jewish mother and Black Panamanian father whose nomination by President Clinton to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was opposed by mainstream Jewish organizations, died on Friday.

Guinier, who went on to become the first Black woman on the Harvard Law School faculty as well as its first woman of color given a tenured post, succumbed to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to The Boston Globe.

Carrie Johnson, who covers the Justice Department for National Public Radio, tweeted a message from Harvard Law School Dean John Manning confirming Guinier’s death and praising her.

“Her scholarship changed our understanding of democracy – of why and how the voices of the historically underrepresented must be heard and what it takes to have a meaningful right to vote,” Manning’s message said. The dean’s letter to the school community said she died surrounded by friends and family…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Who’s Afraid of Lani Guinier?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2022-01-11 15:17Z by Steven

Who’s Afraid of Lani Guinier?

The New York Times Magazine
1994-02-27

Lani Guinier

For a late April day in Washington, the air was remarkably soft. The sun-splashed courtyard of the Department of Justice seemed a reflection of the glow surrounding Attorney General Janet Reno. She had just returned from a successful venture to Capitol Hill, where she faced down a committee upset about the recent confrontation with the Branch Davidians. I stood with six other Justice Department nominees to be presented to the public. In what we were told was a last-minute decision, the President himself was to make the presentations. We gathered in the hallway next to the courtyard stage and were lined up in the order we would be introduced. We were given our instructions, and then the President arrived.

The President had a regal bearing. I remember he was wearing a beautifully tailored blue suit. As he strode down the row of nervous nominees he greeted each of us in his typically physical style. He grasped my hand, congratulated me and kissed me lightly on the cheek. As he moved to the others I remember overhearing one of the nominees pass on a greeting from an old friend from Arkansas. The President stepped back and said, with a wistful look in his eye: “I remember Steve. That was when I had a real life.” And I remember the nominee’s response: “Mr. President, this is real life.”

As we were introduced there were cheers and signs saying “Atta girl, Janet!” and the like. I saw many old friends from the Civil Rights Division, where I had worked during the Carter Administration, giving the thumbs-up and smiling. I had not been back in the courtyard in 12 years, and now here I was accepting the nomination to head the Civil Rights Division…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Persistence of Racial Constructs in Spain: Bringing Race and Colorblindness into the Debate on Interculturalism

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2022-01-06 03:13Z by Steven

The Persistence of Racial Constructs in Spain: Bringing Race and Colorblindness into the Debate on Interculturalism

Social Sciences
Volume 11, Issue 1
Published 2022-01-02
DOI: 10.3390/socsci11010013 (Registration in process)

Dan Rodríguez-García, Serra Húnter Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

In this article, I argue that persisting racial constructs in Spain affect conceptions of national belonging and continue to shape and permeate contemporary discriminations. I begin by describing several recent political events that demonstrate the urgent need for a discussion about “race” and racialization in the country. Second, some conceptual foundations are provided concerning constructs of race and the corollary processes of racism and racialization. Third, I present data from various public surveys and also from ethnographic research conducted in Spain on mixedness and multiraciality to demonstrate that social constructs of race remain a significant boundary driving stigmatization and discrimination in Spain, where skin color and other perceived physical traits continue to be important markers for social interaction, perceived social belonging, and differential social treatment. Finally, I bring race into the debate on managing diversity, arguing that a post-racial approach—that is, race-neutral discourse and the adoption of colorblind public policies, both of which are characteristic of the interculturalist perspectives currently preferred by Spain as well as elsewhere in Europe—fails to confront the enduring effects of colonialism and the ongoing realities of structural racism. I conclude by emphasizing the importance of bringing race into national and regional policy discussions on how best to approach issues of diversity, equality, anti-discrimination, and social cohesion.

Read the entire article HTML or PDF format.

Tags: , ,

Who The Census Misses

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-01-04 18:27Z by Steven

Who The Census Misses

FiveThirtyEight
2021-12-13

Jasmine Mithani and Alex Samuels


Sibba Hartunian
Large groups of people have always fallen through the cracks of its racial categories — often by design.

For James Harmoush of Colorado, none of the census boxes quite fit.

In 2010 and 2020, when the census asked him to select a box regarding his race, he picked “white.” But there’s one major problem there: Harmoush doesn’t — and has never — seen himself that way.

“Nobody would ever look at me or talk to me and say, ‘You’re white,’” said the 30-year-old Arab American lawyer. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Harmoush sees himself as part of a minority group, but the U.S. Census Bureau legally classifies him as a white man.

Harmoush is not alone. Many Americans we spoke with felt the census classifications — both “white” specifically as well as the other available categories more generally — do not match the way they identify. In total, we heard from over 200 people with frustrations ranging from the naming of categories (like “Asian Indian” to represent people with ancestry from India) to confusion over why some racial groups, like Japanese or Samoan, were given their own boxes, while Middle Eastern, North African, Southwest Asian and others were lumped together under a catchall “white” racial group. We also heard from some Americans who were now completely rethinking how they personally identified due to the way they saw race and politics intermingle in society today…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Oral history interview with Lawrence Dennis, 1967

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-12-23 20:08Z by Steven

Oral history interview with Lawrence Dennis, 1967

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections
Columbia Center for Oral History
Columbia University, New York, New York
Digitized 2010 (Originally recorded in 1967)
DOI: 10.7916/d8-cpb1-1692

Lawrence Dennis (1893-1977) interviewed by William R. Keylor (1944-).

Listen to the interview here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How the mixed-race mestizo myth warped science in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2021-12-21 03:40Z by Steven

How the mixed-race mestizo myth warped science in Latin America

Nature
Number 600 (2021-12-13)
pages 374-378
DOI: 10.1038/d41586-021-03622-z

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Science Journalist
Mexico City, Mexico

Genetic studies have found a striking amount of diversity among people in Mexico. Credit: Stephania Corpi Arnaud for Nature

Researchers are trying to dismantle the flawed concept of homogeneous racial mixing that has fostered discrimination in Mexico, Brazil and other countries.

Nicéa Quintino Amauro always knew who she was.

She was born in Campinas, the last city in Brazil to prohibit slavery in 1888. She grew up in a Black neighbourhood, with a Black family. And a lot of her childhood was spent in endless meetings organized by the Unified Black Movement, the most notable Black civil-rights organization in Brazil, which her parents helped to found to fight against centuries-old racism in the country. She knew she was Black.

But in the late 1980s, when Amauro was around 13 years old, she was told at school that Brazilians were not Black. They were not white, either. Nor any other race. They were considered to be mestiços, or pardos, terms rooted in colonial caste distinctions that signify a tapestry of European, African and Indigenous backgrounds. And as one single mixed people, they were all equal to each other.

The idea felt odd. Wrong, even. “To me, it seemed quite strange,” says Amauro, now a chemist at the Federal University of Ubêrlandia in Minas Gerais and a member of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers. “How can everyone be equal if racism exists? It doesn’t make sense.”

Amauro’s concerns echo across Latin America, where generations of people have been taught that they are the result of a long history of mixture between different ancestors who all came, or were forced, to live in the region…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,