What’s DNA Got to Do with It

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-17 18:09Z by Steven

What’s DNA Got to Do with It

The Progressive: A voice for peace, social justice, and the common good
2019-01-11

Starita Smith
Denton, Texas

genetic_dna.png

I see similarities between Elizabeth Warren’s situation and that of many black people.

As U. S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., campaigns for a possible 2020 presidential run, she reminds me of some long-standing issues about racial identification.

Warren, whom President Donald Trump has pejoratively labeledPocahontas” for claiming she has American Indian heritage, took a DNA test to prove it. When the results showed she has hardly any, she was criticized for falsely claiming native ancestry. Some speculate this may hurt her presidential aspirations.

Warren’s predicament points up the historical, legal and cultural arbitrariness of racial categories. For example, if Warren had proclaimed she had even one African ancestor, she would be defined as black legally and socially in most of the U.S. That’s because our nation uses the one-drop rule, or hypodescent, as the definition of who is black…

…The rule has been used in court repeatedly. One of the most famous cases involved Susie Guillory Phipps, a Louisiana woman, who presumed she and all her ancestors were white, yet when she tried to get a passport, she discovered that she was listed as black on her birth certificate. According to The New York Times, because she had a black ancestor – an enslaved woman, 222 years back in her family history – she was black…

Read the entire article here.

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Kamala Harris’s Blackness Isn’t Up for Debate

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-17 00:41Z by Steven

Kamala Harris’s Blackness Isn’t Up for Debate

The Atlantic
2019-02-16

Jemele Hill, Staff Writer

Kamala Harris
Leah Millis / Reuters

Her identity and motives are being unfairly challenged on all sides.

I would never have put Snoop and Tupac Shakur on the list of things that could potentially harm Senator Kamala Harris’s presidential bid. But this week, two of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time unwillingly played a part in the latest attack on Harris’s blackness, which came after the California Democrat’s appearance on the popular morning-radio show The Breakfast Club.

Harris engaged in a 40-minute-plus, wide-ranging conversation with the hosts Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy, detailing an agenda focused on issues disproportionately affecting African Americans: the staggering rate at which black women are dying in childbirth, mass incarceration, and poverty.

Unfortunately for Harris, her stances on these matters were drowned out by a dumb headline. Call it #AllEyezOnMeGate. Charlamagne asked Harris whether she’d ever smoked marijuana. She admitted that she’d smoked in college—and did indeed inhale. At some point, Envy asked Harris about her favorite music. But before she could respond, Charlamagne jokingly asked Harris about what she liked to listen to when she imbibed. Harris laughed off Charlamagne’s question and instead told Envy that some of her favorite artists were Snoop and ’Pac. She also mentioned her affinity for Cardi B.

Read the entire article here.

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Harris takes on questions about her ‘blackness’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-16 23:10Z by Steven

Harris takes on questions about her ‘blackness’

Cable News Network (CNN)
2019-02-11

Maeve Reston, CNN National Political Reporter

Harris' answer to critics who say she's not 'black enough'

(CNN)—Sen. Kamala Harris directly confronted critics Monday who have questioned her black heritage, her record incarcerating minorities as a prosecutor and her decision to marry a white man.

In an interview with The Breakfast Club hosts DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God that aired Monday, the show’s hosts asked the California Democrat to address a series of derogatory memes that have circulated on social media. One of the hosts cited a meme that said Harris is “not African-American” because her parents were immigrants born in India and Jamaica and she spent her high school years in Canada.

“So I was born in Oakland, and raised in the United States except for the years that I was in high school in Montreal, Canada,” Harris responded with a laugh. “And look, this is the same thing they did to Barack (Obama). This is not new to us and so I think that we know what they are trying to do.”

“They are trying to do what has been happening over the last two years, which is powerful voices trying to sow hate and division, and so we need to recognize when we’re being played,” Harris said.

One of the hosts followed up by asking Harris how she responds to people who question “the legitimacy of your blackness.”

“I think they don’t understand who black people are,” Harris replied. “I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are. Because right now, frankly, I’m focused on, for example, an initiative that I have that is called the ‘LIFT Act’ that is about lifting folks out of poverty,” she said, detailing her plan for a $6,000 tax credit for middle class Americans.

“I’m black, and I’m proud of being black,” she said at a later point in the interview. “I was born black. I will die black, and I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.”…

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Explains Her Race and Ethnicity

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-15 16:43Z by Steven

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Explains Her Race and Ethnicity

DiversityInc
2019-02-14

Keka Araujo


Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

“I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of Indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers,” explained Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an MSNBC interview.

Conversations around race and ethnicity have been prominent in the media because of the onslaught of diverse newly elected public officials. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is one of them. In an interview on MSNBC, she addressed her heritage with respect to her race.

It’s no secret that throughout the Latino community there are three major racial influences: African, European, and Indigenous.

And depending on a person’s country of origin, it has been well-established that one of these influences can be dominant or they can be equal.

Ocasio-Cortez is Nuyorican (a person of Puerto Rican-descent, born and raised in New York). In the interview, she talked about her heritage citing: “My identity is the descendant of many different identities. I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of Indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers… I am a descendant of all sorts of folks. That doesn’t mean I’m Black, that doesn’t mean I’m Native, but I can tell the story of my ancestors.”…

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Bristol school drops Colston name and replaces it with African-American, female mathematician’s

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2019-02-10 23:35Z by Steven

Bristol school drops Colston name and replaces it with African-American, female mathematician’s

The Bristol Post
Bristol, United Kingdom
2019-02-10

Tristan Cork, Senior Reporter


An 18th century engraving of Edward Colston

All the other house names have been dropped in favour of more diverse role models

One of Bristol’s oldest state schools has decided to ditch the names of its houses – including one named after Edward Colston – in favour of more inspiring names who are better role models.

St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School has a house system with five houses, all named after historic figures from the school’s, and Bristol’s, past.

That system has operated for decades, but from the start of the next academic year in September, they will be replaced.

The school, which is the only Church of England secondary school in the Diocese of Bristol, has come under pressure for its links to the controversial slave trader Edward Colston in recent years, and that included calls to rename one of the five school ‘houses’ which is named after him.

The school groups students into five houses, from when they start in Year 7 to Year 11.

Pupils start in James House in Year 7, before being split into four different houses until they take their GCSEs

Colston House will become Johnson House


Katherine Johnson

Edward Colston is one of the most prominent and divisive figures in Bristol’s history. A Bristol-born merchant, he effectively ran the Royal Africa Company in London, before helping to open it up for Bristol.

As well as a statue of him in The Centre, there are roads, buildings, schools and homes named after him, with the use of his name across Bristol increasingly controversial.

Katherine Johnson was an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of America’s first manned spaceflights.

She effectively worked out how man could land on the moon during the Apollo missions, and her calculations also were essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle programme. She was portrayed in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.

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Inside the US Government Agency where Identity Politics Was Born

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-07 02:06Z by Steven

Inside the US Government Agency where Identity Politics Was Born

Quillette
2018-10-23

Michael Gonzalez, Senior Fellow
The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy
The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.

The phrase “grievance studies” recently has entered public discourse thanks to a scandal by three liberal academics who set out to expose the vacuous nature of critical theory, post-colonial studies, queer theory and other sub-disciplines within the social sciences. Mathematician James Lindsay, writer Helen Pluckrose, and Portland State philosophy professor Peter Boghossian spent a year writing fake papers, which they then pitched to journals specializing in these fields. Seven passed peer review and were accepted for publication. As various commentators (including several here at Quillette) have noted, the hoax has shown what many have long suspected—that ivory-tower academics who study in fashionable fields inhabit ideological domains far removed from those of ordinary people.

But while observers have correctly focused on the lessons that may be inferred about high academic culture in the United States, it should be noted that the drifts of the liberal arts into postmodern gibberish has not been an isolated phenomenon. The trend also has its cheerleaders in government, even in Donald Trump’s very own Washington D.C. backyard.

Few Americans have heard of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations (NAC). But when it comes to policymaking, the NAC effectively acts as a support network for grievance studies. Along with bureaucrats in other agencies, and various non-governmental “stakeholder” groups on the left, the NAC has for decades controlled the policy by which demographic data—the seedbed of identity politics—is collected and interpreted.

One ongoing dispute helps explain what the NAC does and why that work is important. In Jan., the Census Bureau (whose director is a presidential appointee) rejected two important changes to the 2020 census that had been proposed by the NAC. The first would have created yet another identity group, this one for Americans whose ancestors originate in the land between Morocco and the Iran-Afghan border, which were to be designated as MENA (for Middle East, North Africa). The second would have elevated another pan-ethnic group, Hispanics, to the status of a category on par with biological races. The NAC has bitterly opposed the Trump Administration’s decision not to go along with these initiatives, but that dispute was largely ignored by the media in the shadow of the much more high-profile issue of whether the census should ask residents whether they are U.S. citizens…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and the Obama Administration: Substance, symbols, and hope

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-04 01:37Z by Steven

Race and the Obama Administration: Substance, symbols, and hope

Manchester University Press
2019-03-01
256 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5261-0501-1
eBook ISBN: 978-1-5261-0503-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5261-0502-8

Andra Gillespie, Associate Professor of Political Science
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Timely publication in the aftermath of the Obama leaving The White House. Obama’s handling of race and equality is expected to determine his legacy as President.
  • Compares the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations to determine if Obama’s performance on racial issues differed significantly from his immediate predecessors
  • Analyses Barack Obama’s performance on substantive and symbolic issues of importance to African Americans
  • Uses opinion polls of black voters to probe attitudes toward President Obama and explanations for his performance on racial issues
  • Encourages readers to consider the ways that institutional constraints on the presidency and candidates’ campaign choices limit the role of the president to address racial issues

The election of Barack Obama marked a critical point in American political and social history. Did the historic election of a black president actually change the status of blacks in the United States? Did these changes (or lack thereof) inform blacks’ perceptions of the President?

This book explores these questions by comparing Obama’s promotion of substantive and symbolic initiatives for blacks to efforts by the two previous presidential administrations. By employing a comparative analysis, the reader can judge whether Obama did more or less to promote black interests than his predecessors. Taking a more empirical approach to judging Barack Obama, this book hopes to contribute to current debates about the significance of the first African American presidency. It takes care to make distinctions between Obama’s substantive and symbolic accomplishments and to explore the significance of both.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: how’s he doing? And what does that say about black politics?
  • 1 The triple bind
  • Part I: Substance
    • 2 How he did: the racial successes, failures and impact of the Obama presidency
    • 3 Executive orders
    • 4 Winks, nods and day-to-day bureaucratic work: a case study of three cabinet departments
  • Part II: Symbols
    • 5 Race, appointments and descriptive diversity
    • 6 Rhetoric and racial eruptions
    • 7 Artistic representation and the presidency: an examination of PBS performances
    • 8 Michelle Obama
  • Part III: Hope
    • 9 Public opinion
    • 10 Race, Obama and the fourth quarter
    • Conclusion: was it worth it?
  • Index
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‘I am who I am’: Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, defines herself simply as ‘American’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2019-02-03 04:47Z by Steven

‘I am who I am’: Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, defines herself simply as ‘American’

The Washington Post
2019-02-02

Kevin Sullivan, Senior Correspondent


Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), center, sings the Alpha Kappa Alpha hymn at the sorority’s annual “Pink Ice Gala” on Jan. 25 in Columbia, S.C. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg News)

SAN FRANCISCO — In early 2010, an Indian American couple hosted a fundraiser in their elegant Pacific Heights home for Kamala Harris, then a Democratic candidate for California attorney general.

Harris had been San Francisco’s high-profile district attorney for more than six years, but Deepak Puri and Shareen Punian had only recently learned that Harris was, as Punian said, “one of our peeps,” a woman whose mother was an Indian immigrant.

They had always assumed Harris was African American, and so did most of the 60 or 70 Indian American community leaders at the event, many of whom asked Puri and Punian why they had been invited.

“At least half of them didn’t know she was Indian,” said Punian, a business executive and political activist.

Harris, 54, now a U.S. senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, would be several firsts in the White House: the first woman, the first African American woman, the first Indian American and the first Asian American. The daughter of two immigrants — her father came from Jamaica — she would also be the second biracial president, after Barack Obama.

Obama’s soul-searching quest to explore his identity, as the son of a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father who was largely absent from his life, was well-documented in his autobiography.

But when asked, in an interview, if she had wrestled with similar introspection about race, ethnicity and identity, Harris didn’t hesitate:

“No,” she said flatly…

Read the entire article here.

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Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2019-02-02 04:51Z by Steven

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Polity
May 2019
172 pages
138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 9781509526390
Paperback ISBN: 9781509526406
Open eBook ISBN: 9781509526437

Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Princeton University

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce white supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Far from a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, Benjamin argues that automation has the potential to hide, speed, and even deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of tool – a technology designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice that is part of the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

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Inside Kamala Harris’s relationship with an Indian-American community eager to claim her

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2019-01-21 18:21Z by Steven

Inside Kamala Harris’s relationship with an Indian-American community eager to claim her

McClatchy: DC Bureau
2018-12-18

Katie Glueck, Senior Political Correspondent

Indian-American publications write about her regularly. Her first name means “lotus” in Sanskrit. She takes pride in grinding her own Indian spices. And she has been known to reference slogans that were used by Indian independence fighters like her grandfather.

If Kamala Devi Harris runs for president, the Democratic senator is poised to be championed by Indian-Americans, a constituency with significant representation in the donor community, growing numbers of political activists and candidates—and a sizable presence in states that will play key roles in the Democratic primary, from California to Texas.

“She will change the game if she runs for president,” said Anurag Varma, a Democratic donor who frequently supports Indian-American candidates and “absolutely” would back Harris. “She will create a new game if she becomes president.”…

Harris, of California, is the daughter of Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who was born in India, and Donald Harris, born in Jamaica. The senator identifies as both African-American and South Asian-American, according to her Senate website, which notes that she is the country’s first South Asian-American senator— a background that opens doors with a diverse set of voters….

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