The DNA Industry and the Disappearing Indian

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-12-03 01:40Z by Steven

The DNA Industry and the Disappearing Indian

TomDispatch.com: A regular antidote to the mainstream media
2018-11-29

Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History; Coordinator of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies
Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts

DNA, Race, and Native Rights

Amid the barrage of racist, anti-immigrant, and other attacks launched by President Trump and his administration in recent months, a series of little noted steps have threatened Native American land rights and sovereignty. Such attacks have focused on tribal sovereignty, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and the voting rights of Native Americans, and they have come from Washington, the courts, and a state legislature. What they share is a single conceptual framework: the idea that the long history that has shaped U.S.-Native American relations has no relevance to today’s realities.

Meanwhile, in an apparently unrelated event, Senator Elizabeth Warren, egged on by Donald Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunts and his mocking of her claims to native ancestry, triumphantly touted her DNA results to “prove” her Native American heritage. In turning to the burgeoning, for-profit DNA industry, however, she implicitly lent her progressive weight to claims about race and identity that go hand in hand with moves to undermine Native sovereignty.

The DNA industry has, in fact, found a way to profit from reviving and modernizing antiquated ideas about the biological origins of race and repackaging them in a cheerful, Disneyfied wrapping. While it’s true that the it’s-a-small-world-after-all multiculturalism of the new racial science rejects nineteenth-century scientific racism and Social Darwinism, it is offering a twenty-first-century version of pseudoscience that once again reduces race to a matter of genetics and origins. In the process, the corporate-promoted ancestry fad conveniently manages to erase the histories of conquest, colonization, and exploitation that created not just racial inequality but race itself as a crucial category in the modern world.

Today’s policy attacks on Native rights reproduce the same misunderstandings of race that the DNA industry is now so assiduously promoting. If Native Americans are reduced to little more than another genetic variation, there is no need for laws that acknowledge their land rights, treaty rights, and sovereignty. Nor must any thought be given to how to compensate for past harms, not to speak of the present ones that still structure their realities. A genetic understanding of race distorts such policies into unfair “privileges” offered to a racially defined group and so “discrimination” against non-Natives. This is precisely the logic behind recent rulings that have denied Mashpee tribal land rights in Massachusetts, dismantled the Indian Child Welfare Act (a law aimed at preventing the removal of Native American children from their families or communities), and attempted to suppress Native voting rights in North Dakota

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In 2008, there was hope. In 2018, there is hurt. This is America’s state of hate.

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2018-11-27 03:05Z by Steven

In 2008, there was hope. In 2018, there is hurt. This is America’s state of hate.

Cable News Network (CNN)
2018-11-26

By Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner, CNN

(CNN) On Election Night in 2008, Americans gathered in Grant Park, Chicago. They cried tears of joy knowing Barack Obama would become the first black president.

For millions of Americans, Obama lifted the nation. For white supremacists, he lit a powder keg.

His election supercharged the divisions that have existed since the country’s birth.

The hate created two Americas. Two realities. Split-screen reactions to the same events, that continued and were exacerbated with President Trump’s victory and time in office…

Read the entire article here.

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What it took to finally confront my family about race and politics

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2018-11-21 21:18Z by Steven

What it took to finally confront my family about race and politics

The Guardian
2018-11-21

Sarah Menkedick

‘It is not about politics. It is about saying, ‘This is my life, and this is what I care about.’
‘It is not about politics. It is about saying, ‘This is my life, and this is what I care about.’ Illustration: Grace Helmer

As the mother of a mixed-race daughter, I was troubled by my white relatives’ views. Why was I terrified to speak up?

My four-year-old daughter has recently started to notice skin color. “Mommy,” she points out when we take a shower, “your skin is white, and my skin is brown, and Papi’s skin is brown!” With a four-year-old’s mania for classification, she lines up our arms in order of deepening darkness. She counts: “Two browns, and one white!”

The other day in the car when I said a curse word, she asked me why, and I said it was because Donald Trump was taking children away from their mothers at the border. “Why?” she asked. I tried to distill immigration down to a child’s logic: “Because where they live is not safe. So they come here to have a safer life. But some people get mad that they come here. They don’t want them here.”

“And he takes their kids away?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Her lip trembled. I once made the mistake of reading a library book about a hippo that lost its mother and she cried so hard I finally had to bust out a hidden stash of M&Ms.

I reiterated that some people don’t want these families here, and want to punish them. She did what she does with any situation that is incomprehensible: she just kept asking why, assuming there has to be an explanation that will make sense to her. Finally I said, “Because they have brown skin, like you and Papi. Donald Trump doesn’t like brown skin.”

“He doesn’t like brown skin?” she asked. I nodded.

“He doesn’t like me?” she asked…

Read the entire article here.

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Before Arguing About DNA Tests, Learn the Science Behind Them

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-10-25 00:51Z by Steven

Before Arguing About DNA Tests, Learn the Science Behind Them

The New York Times
2018-10-18

Carl Zimmer


Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test results indicated that she had a Native American ancestor several generations ago.
Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

Our genetic code cannot be treated as a matter of simple fractions.

People have always told stories about their ancestral origins. But now millions of people are looking at their DNA to see if those stories hold up. While genetic tests can indeed reveal some secrets about our family past, we can also jump to the wrong conclusions from their results.

The reception of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA results is a textbook case in this confusion…

…Slavery, too, led to an obsession with increasingly tiny fractions of ancestral blood, reaching the absurd extreme of the “one drop” rule. A single black ancestor — no matter how far back in the family tree, no matter how tiny the mythical drop of blood he or she contributed — was enough to make a person black…

…But DNA is not a liquid that can be divided down into microscopic drops. It’s a string-like molecule, arranged into 23 pairs of chromosomes, that gets passed down through the generations in a counterintuitive way.

Eggs and sperm randomly end up with one copy of each chromosome, coming either from a person’s mother or father. In the process, some DNA can shuffle from one chromosome to its partner. That means we inherit about a quarter of our DNA from each grandparent — but only on average. Any one person may inherit more DNA from one grandparent and less from another.

Over generations, this randomness can lead to something remarkable. Look back far enough in your family tree, and you’ll encounter ancestors from whom you inherit no DNA at all…

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Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Misogyny, Authoritarianism, and the Rise of Multiracial White Supremacy

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-22 23:12Z by Steven

Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Misogyny, Authoritarianism, and the Rise of Multiracial White Supremacy

The Takeaway
WNYC Studios, New York, New York
2018-10-16

Tanzina Vega, Host


Gavin McInnes is surrounded by supporters after speaking at a rally Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media and founder of the pro-TrumpProud Boys,”
( AP Photo )

Gavin McInnes, alt-right leader and founder of the far-right group the Proud Boys, was invited to speak at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this past weekend. In advance of his appearance, McInnes promised to reenact the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma, posing in photos depicting ugly Asian caricatures.

His presence drew crowds of both protesters and right-wing counter-protesters to the event, and violence erupted late Friday night. Several cell phone videos show groups of uniformed Proud Boys bragging about the assaults, and NYPD released footage of a protester throwing a bottle at McInnes’ supporters.

The Proud Boys fit into an American tradition of far-right hate groups, but the Internet has enabled disparate groups from all across the country to find support in their message of “western chauvinism.” Also interestingly, the Proud Boys seem to have an ability to attract men of color, which seems at odds with groups that borrow heavily from a white supremacist ideology.

Tanya Hernández, professor of law at Fordham University and the author of the forthcoming book Multiracials and Civil Rights[: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination], and David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, and correspondent for the Southern Poverty Law Center, join the program to help make sense of this current phenomenon.

Listen to the story here. Download the story (00:11:53) here.

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Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-21 15:07Z by Steven

Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

The Daily Beast
2018-09-04

Arun Gupta


Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Patriot Prayer’s leader is half-Japanese. Black and brown faces march with the Proud Boys. Is the future of hate multicultural?

PORTLAND, Oregon—Outfitted in a flak jacket and fighting gloves, Enrique Tarrio was one of dozens of black, Latino, and Asian men who marched alongside white supremacists in Portland on Aug. 4.

Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, is president of the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys, who call themselves “Western chauvinists,” and “regularly spout white-nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last month, prior to the Patriot Prayer rally he attended in Portland, Tarrio was pictured with other far-right activists making a hand sign that started as a hoax but has become an in-joke. Last year, Tarrio said traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Unite the Right rally that ended with a neo-Nazi allegedly killing an anti-fascist protester. (The Proud Boys said any members who went to the event were kicked out.)

Tarrio and other people of color at the far-right rallies claim institutional racism no longer exists in America. In their view, blacks are to blame for any lingering inequality because they are dependent on welfare, lack strong leadership, and believe Democrats who tell them “You’re always going to be broke. You’re not going to make it in society because of institutional racism,” as one mixed-race man put it…

Read the entire article here.

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Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-10-17 18:00Z by Steven

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Routledge
2018-09-04
358 pages
31 B/W Illus.
Paperback: 9781138485303
Hardback: 9781138727021
eBook (VitalSource): 9781315191065

Edited by:

Kwame Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ollie A. Johnson III, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Latin America has a rich and complex social history marked by slavery, colonialism, dictatorships, rebellions, social movements and revolutions. Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America explores the dynamic interplay between racial politics and hegemonic power in the region. It investigates the fluid intersection of social power and racial politics and their impact on the region’s histories, politics, identities and cultures.

Organized thematically with in-depth country case studies and a historical overview of Afro-Latin politics, the volume provides a range of perspectives on Black politics and cutting-edge analyses of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Regional coverage includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and more. Topics discussed include Afro-Civil Society; antidiscrimination criminal law; legal sanctions; racial identity; racial inequality and labor markets; recent Black electoral participation; Black feminism thought and praxis; comparative Afro-women social movements; the intersection of gender, race and class, immigration and migration; and citizenship and the struggle for human rights. Recognized experts in different disciplinary fields address the depth and complexity of these issues.

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America contributes to and builds on the study of Black politics in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America – Black Politics Matter [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
  • Part 1: History
    • 1. Beyond Representation: Rethinking Rights, Alliances and Migrations: Three Historical Themes in Afro-Latin American Political Engagement [Darién J. Davis]
    • 2. Recognition, Reparations, and Political Autonomy of Black and Native Communities in the Americas [Bernd Reiter]
    • 3. Pan-Africanism and Latin America [Elisa Larkin Nascimento]
  • Part 2: The Caribbean
    • 4. Black Activism and the State in Cuba [Danielle Pilar Clealand]
    • 5. Correcting Intellectual Malpractice: Haiti and Latin America [Jean-Germain Gros]
    • 6. Black Feminist Formations in the Dominican Republic since La Sentencia [April J. Mayes]
  • Part 3: South America
    • 7. Afro-Ecuadorian Politics [Carlos de la Torre and Jhon Antón Sánchez]
    • 8. In The Branch of Paradise: Geographies of Privilege and Black Social Suffering in Cali, Colombia [Jaime Amparo Alves and Aurora Vergara-Figueroa]
    • 9. The Impossible Black Argentine Political Subject [Judith M. Anderson]
    • 10. Current Representations of “Black” Citizens: Contentious Visibility within the Multicultural Nation [Laura de la Rosa Solano]
  • Part 4: Comparative Perspectives
    • 11. The Contours and Contexts of Afro-Latin American Women’s Activism [Kia Lilly Caldwell]
    • 12. Race and the Law in Latin America [Tanya Katerí Hernández]
    • 13. The Labyrinth of Ethnic-Racial Inequality: a Picture of Latin America according to the recent Census Rounds [Marcelo Paixão and Irene Rossetto]
    • 14. The Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals and Afro-descendants in the Americas: An (Un)intended Trap [Paula Lezama]
  • Conclusion [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
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When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2018-10-15 00:31Z by Steven

When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry

The Atlantic
2017-08-17

Sarah Zhang, Staff Writer

An analysis of Stormfront forums shows a sometimes sophisticated understanding of the limits of ancestry tests.

The white-nationalist forum Stormfront hosts discussions on a wide range of topics, from politics to guns to The Lord of the Rings. And of particular and enduring interest: genetic ancestry tests. For white nationalists, DNA tests are a way to prove their racial purity. Of course, their results don’t always come back that way. And how white nationalists try to explain away non-European ancestry is rather illuminating of their beliefs.

Two years ago—before Donald Trump was elected president, before white nationalism had become central to the political conversation—Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, sociologists then at the University of California, Los Angeles, set out to study Stormfront forum posts about genetic ancestry tests. They presented their study at the American Sociological Association meeting this Monday. (A preprint of the paper is now online.) After the events in Charlottesville this week, their research struck a particular chord with the audience.

“For academics, there was some uneasiness around hearing that science is being used in this way and that some of the critiques that white nationalists are making of genetics are the same critiques social scientists make of genetics,” says Donovan, who recently took up a position at the Data and Society Research Institute. On Stormfront, the researchers did encounter conspiracy theories and racist rants, but some white-nationalist interpretations of genetic ancestry tests were in fact quite sophisticated—and their views cannot all be easily dismissed as ignorance.

“If we believe their politics comes from lack of sophistication because they’re unintelligent or uneducated,” says Panofsky, “I think we’re liable to make a lot of mistakes in how we cope with them.”…

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The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-14 01:26Z by Steven

The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics

Verso Books
September 2018
368 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781784783198
eBook ISBN: 9781784783204

Ed Morales, Adjunct Professor
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University, New York, New York

Latinx-1050

Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is the gender-neutral term that covers one of the largest and fastest growing minorities in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the country. Over 58 million Americans belong to the category, including a sizable part of the country’s working class, both foreign and native-born. Their political empowerment is altering the balance of forces in a growing number of states. And yet Latinx barely figure in America’s ongoing conversation about race and ethnicity. Remarkably, the US census does not even have a racial category for “Latino.”

In this groundbreaking discussion, Ed Morales explains how Latinx political identities are tied to a long Latin American history of mestizaje—“mixedness” or “hybridity”—and that this border thinking is both a key to understanding bilingual, bicultural Latin cultures and politics and a challenge to America’s infamously black–white racial regime. This searching and long-overdue exploration of the meaning of race in American life reimagines Cornel West’s bestselling Race Matters with a unique Latinx inflection.

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Shifting Racial Subjectivities and Ideologies in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2018-10-08 05:24Z by Steven

Shifting Racial Subjectivities and Ideologies in Brazil

Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World
First Published 2018-09-20
12 pages
DOI: 10.1177/2378023118797550

Stanley R. Bailey, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Fabrício M. Fialho, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre de Recherches Internationales, Sciences Po Paris, France

Census ethnoracial categories often reflect national ideologies and attendant subjectivities. Nonetheless, Brazilians frequently prefer the non-census terms moreno (brown) and negro (black), and both are core to antithetical ideologies: racial ambiguity versus racial affirmation. Their use may be in flux as Brazil recently adopted unprecedented race-targeted public policy. We examine propensities to self-classify as moreno and negro before and after the policy shift. Using regression modeling on national survey data from 1995 and 2008 that captured self-classification in open and closed formats, we find moreno is highly salient but increasingly constricted, while negro is restricted in use, though increasingly popular. Negro’s growth is mostly confined to the darker pole of Brazil’s color continuum. Education correlates in opposing directions: negative with moreno and positive with negro. Our findings proxy broad ideological shift from racial ambiguity to negro racial affirmation. They suggest race-targeted policy is transforming racial subjectivities and ideologies in Brazil.

Read the entire article here.

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