Black Achilles

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2019-06-01 23:57Z by Steven

Black Achilles

Aeon
2018-05-09

Tim Whitmarsh, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture
University of Cambridge


Achilles slaying Penthesilea. Detail from an amphora, 530-525 BCE. Photo courtesy the Trustees of the British Museum

The Greeks didn’t have modern ideas of race. Did they see themselves as white, black – or as something else altogether?

Few issues provoke such controversy as the skin-colour of the Ancient Greeks. Last year in an article published in Forbes, the Classics scholar Sarah Bond at the University of Iowa caused a storm by pointing out that many of the Greek statues that seem white to us now were in antiquity painted in colour. This is an uncontroversial position, and demonstrably correct, but Bond received a shower of online abuse for daring to suggest that the reason why some like to think of their Greek statues as marble-white might just have something to do with their politics. This year, it was the turn of BBC’s new television series Troy: Fall of a City (2018-) to attract ire, which cast black actors in the roles of Achilles, Patroclus, Zeus, Aeneas and others (as if using anglophone northern European actors were any less anachronistic).

The idea of the Greeks as paragons of whiteness is deeply rooted in Western society. As Donna Zuckerberg shows in her book Not All Dead White Men (2018), this agenda has been promoted with gusto by sections of the alt-Right who see themselves as heirs to (a supposed) European warrior masculinity. Racism is emotional, not rational; I don’t want to dignify online armies of anonymous trolls by responding in detail to their assertions. My aim in this essay, rather, is to consider how the Greeks themselves viewed differences in skin colour. The differences are instructive – and, indeed, clearly point up the oddity of the modern, western obsession with classification by pigmentation…

Read the entire article here.

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Culture, Identity, And Erasure

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2019-06-01 21:58Z by Steven

Culture, Identity, And Erasure

The Odyssey Online
2015-11-17

Lina Chaoui, Contributing Writer
Île-de-France, France

Do not put me in a box you are more comfortable with.

An open letter to anyone who has ever tried to define me by appearances. To those who are of a mixed background and have had their identities ruled by others. If you break it down, I am 1/4 swiss, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Moroccan, 1/8 Italian and 1/8 Lithuanian. I don’t really claim my Italian or Lithuanian side because it is relatively minuscule and the culture was never prevalent in my life.

I was born in Switzerland and have gone back many, many (ten plus) times so I do claim that. Even with the Irish side, I would be more likely to claim American as Irish culture is not prevalent and my family immigrated multiple generations ago. However, with the American, Swiss, and Moroccan parts of me all being prevalent in my life, I do not feel anyone is more important than the other. I consider myself interracial but passing for white; my father is clearly of color, while it is less obvious for me, especially to those not knowing Moroccan features. I do not claim the discrimination people of color face, but I am still interracial, no one can take that away from me.

I am tired of being put into a box where people are comfortable. You want me to be fully white because I pass for white? Because I don’t fit what your image of a Moroccan is?…

Read the entire article here.

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Mary Seacole, a Nurse and Heroine

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos, Women on 2019-05-22 00:46Z by Steven

Mary Seacole, a Nurse and Heroine

The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered
2017-05-10

Lance Geiger, Historian
O’Fallon, Illinois

The History Guy celebrates National Nurses week with the forgotten history of Mary Seacole, who was a British nurse during the Crimean War.

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Being black in Nazi Germany

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2019-05-22 00:29Z by Steven

Being black in Nazi Germany

BBC News
2019-05-21

Damian Zane

A slide used on lectures on genetics at the State Academy for Race and Health in Dresden, Germany, 1936. Original caption: "Mulatte child of a German woman and a Negro of the French Rhineland garrison troops, among her German classmates
This photo was used in genetics lectures at Germany’s State Academy for Race and Health Library of Congress

Film director Amma Asante came across an old photograph taken in Nazi Germany of a black schoolgirl by chance.

Standing among her white classmates, who stare straight into the camera, she enigmatically glances to the side.

Curiosity about the photograph – who the girl was and what she was doing in Germany – set the award-winning film-maker off on a path that led to Where Hands Touch, a new movie starring Amandla Stenberg and George MacKay.

It is an imagined account of a mixed-race teenager’s clandestine relationship with a Hitler Youth member, but it is based on historical record…

Racist caricatures

The derogatory term “Rhineland bastards” was coined in the 1920s to refer to the 600-800 mixed-race children who were the result of those relationships.

Newspaper cutting in the Frankfurter Volksblatt says "600 Bastards Accused, the legacy of black crimes against the Rhinelanders"
The 1936 headline in the Frankfurter Volksblatt says: “600 Bastards Accused, the legacy of black crimes against the Rhinelanders” Robbie Aitken

The term spoke to some people’s imagined fears of an impure race. Made-up stories and racist caricatures of sexually predatory African soldiers were circulated at the time, fuelling concern…

Read the entire article here.

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Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2019-05-01 22:11Z by Steven

Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

Berghahn Books
April 2019
346 pages
15 illus., bibliog., index
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78920-113-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78920-114-7

Edited by:

Warwick Anderson, Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics
Department of History; Charles Perkins Centre
University of Sydney

Ricardo Roque, Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences
University of Lisbon

Ricardo Ventura Santos, Senior Researcher at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz; Professor
Department of Anthropology
National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

Modern perceptions of race across much of the Global South are indebted to the Brazilian social scientist Gilberto Freyre, who in works such as The Masters and the Slaves claimed that Portuguese colonialism produced exceptionally benign and tolerant race relations. This volume radically reinterprets Freyre’s Luso-tropicalist arguments and critically engages with the historical complexity of racial concepts and practices in the Portuguese-speaking world. Encompassing Brazil as well as Portuguese-speaking societies in Africa, Asia, and even Portugal itself, it places an interdisciplinary group of scholars in conversation to challenge the conventional understanding of twentieth-century racialization, proffering new insights into such controversial topics as human plasticity, racial amalgamation, and the tropes and proxies of whiteness.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Luso-tropicalism and Its Discontents / Warwick Anderson, Ricardo Roque and Ricardo Ventura Santos
  • PART I: PICTURING AND READING FREYRE
    • Chapter 1. Gilberto Freyre’s view of miscegenation and its circulation in the Portuguese Empire (1930s-1960s) / Cláudia Castelo
    • Chapter 2. Gilberto Freyre: Racial Populism and Ethnic Nationalism / Jerry Dávila
    • Chapter 3. Anthropology and Pan-Africanism at the Margins of the Portuguese Empire: Trajectories of Kamba Simango / Lorenzo Macagno
  • PART II: IMAGINING A MIXED-RACE NATION
    • Chapter 4. Eugenics, Genetics and Anthropology in Brazil: The Masters and the Slaves, Racial Miscegenation and its Discontents / Robert Wegner and Vanderlei Sebastião de Souza
    • Chapter 5. Gilberto Freyre and the UNESCO Research Project on Race Relations in Brazil / Marcos Chor Maio
    • Chapter 6. An Immense Mosaic”: Race-Mixing and the Creation of the Genetic Nation in 1960s Brazil / Rosanna Dent and Ricardo Ventura Santos
  • PART III: THE COLONIAL SCIENCES OF RACE
    • Chapter 7. The Racial Science of Patriotic Primitives: Mendes Correia in ‘Portuguese Timor’ / Ricardo Roque
    • Chapter 8. Re-Assessing Portuguese Exceptionalism: Racial Concepts and Colonial Policies toward the Bushmen in Southern Angola, 1880s-1970s / Samuël Coghe
    • Chapter 9. “Anthropo-Biology”, Racial Miscegenation and Body Normality: Comparing Bio-Typological Studies in Brazil and Portugal, 1930-1940 / Ana Carolina Vimieiro Gomes
  • PART IV: PORTUGUESENESS IN THE TROPICS
    • Chapter 10. Luso-Tropicalism Debunked, Again: Race, Racism, and Racialism in Three Portuguese-Speaking Societies / Cristiana Bastos
    • Chapter 11. Being (Goan) Modern in Zanzibar: Mobility, Relationality and the Stitching of Race / Pamila Gupta
  • Afterword I / Nélia Dias
  • Afterword II / Peter Wade
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New documentary ‘Being Both’ explores mixed-race identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, United Kingdom on 2019-04-29 16:24Z by Steven

New documentary ‘Being Both’ explores mixed-race identity

METRO.co.uk
2019-04-29

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

The UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group is comprised of anyone with parents who have two of more different ethnicities – and the varieties within that group are almost endless.

The realities of being mixed-race are unique and often overlooked in mainstream narratives, but documentary maker Ryan Cooper-Brown wants to change that. His new short documentary film Being Both tackles issues that directly relate to the mixed-race experience, from displacement and family conflict to racism and fetishisation.

But the film is also brimming with hope and shines a light on the many positives that come with having mixed heritage.

The eight-minute film condenses a series of compelling stories from the mixed-race community. It is an intimate and uplifting short that captures the shared challenges, emotions and histories of mixed-race people from the UK, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Germany and Japan

Read the entire article here.

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Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Work on 2019-04-18 00:03Z by Steven

Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

gal-dem
2019-04-11

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff


Image via Métis Association of Belgium / Facebook

The apology from Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, for the segregation, kidnapping and trafficking of as many as 20,000 mixed-race children in the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, is long overdue. Forcibly taken from Africa to Belgium between 1959 and 1962, métis children born in the 1940s and 50s were left stateless. If you’re not aware of the atrocities of colonialism (Belgium was responsible for the deaths of between 10 to 15 million Africans), this type of identity-destroying abuse might feel hard to comprehend – especially situated in such recent history. But in the UK, we have our own unresolved issues with the treatment of dual heritage children slightly closer to home: in Ireland.

The correlations between the cases are striking. In Belgian colonies, many métis were brought up in Catholic institutions or orphanages, away from family and sometimes removed from where they were born. “These children posed a problem. To minimise the problem they kidnapped these children starting at the age of two… The Belgian government and the missionaries believed that these children would be subjected to major problems,” Francois Milliex, the director of the Métis Association of Belgium, told RFI.

Similarly, in Ireland, it has been documented that mixed-race children were left to rot in mother and baby homes and industrial schools in the 1940s to 60s. The Catholic Church was involved – nuns and priests would often run the homes and schools. “To be Irish was to be Roman Catholic. To be Roman Catholic was to be Irish,” says Rosemary Adaser, who co-founded the Mixed Race Irish campaign and support group for victims of the homes and schools. “It wasn’t uncommon for the Roman Catholic Church to send over its priests to the Irish community in London and give them lessons in morality.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-04-17 23:48Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’

METRO.co.uk
2019-03-27

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer


Kristian has never lived in any country for more than five years. (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Kristian Foged has never lived in one country for more than five consecutive years. With influences from Uganda, Denmark and The Seychelles, his cultural experience couldn’t be more varied.

‘“Where are you from?” has always been a complicated question for me,’ Kristian tells Metro.co.uk.

‘My mix is firstly one of ethnicity, with my mom being from The Seychelles and my dad from Denmark. But it is also a mixed heritage and cultural upbringing.

‘While my mom’s side of the family is fully Seychellois, my grandparents emigrated from The Seychelles to Uganda when they were young, which meant my mom was actually born in Uganda and has spent her whole life there.

‘On the other side of the world, my dad was born in Denmark, and became an engineer because he wanted a job he could do anywhere. Eventually, he ended up in Uganda and met my mom.

‘Since my first four or five years in Uganda, I have moved back and forth between Uganda, Denmark and Greenland, before finally moving to study at university in England in 2010.

‘My moving around as a kid has actually meant I have never lived in any country for more than five years in a row. In fact, if I make it past this summer, London will be my new record!’

Being mixed-race is important to Kristian. The transiency of his upbringing made fitting in a constant battle, but it also generated a strong desire to form a solid sense of identity. No matter where in the world he moved, that sense of self could come with him…

Read the entire article here.

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Belgium apology for mixed-race kidnappings in colonial era

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion on 2019-04-05 17:56Z by Steven

Belgium apology for mixed-race kidnappings in colonial era

BBC News
2019-04-04

Audience members watch Mr Michel speak in parliament
Many mixed-race people were in parliament to watch Mr Michel apologise

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has apologised for the kidnapping of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during colonial rule in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.

The “métis” children born to Belgian settlers and local women were forcibly taken to Belgium and fostered by Catholic orders and other institutions.

About 20,000 children are believed to have been affected.

Most fathers refused to acknowledge the paternity of their children.

The children were born in the 1940s and 1950s and taken to Belgium from 1959 until the independence of each of the three colonies.

Some of the children never received Belgian nationality and remained stateless.

Speaking in the Belgian parliament, Mr Michel said the country had breached the children’s basic human rights, seeing them as a threat to the colonial system.

It had, he said, stripped them of their identity, stigmatised them and split up siblings…

Read the entire article here.

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Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2019-03-25 13:59Z by Steven

Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain

University of Alabama Press
February 2019
312 pages
9 B&W figures / 3 maps / 23 tables
Trade Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8173-2007-2
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8173-9220-8

Norah L. A. Gharala, Colonial Latin Americanist and Assistant Professor of World History
Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey

A definitive analysis of the most successful tribute system in the Americas as applied to Afromexicans

During the eighteenth century, hundreds of thousands of free descendants of Africans in Mexico faced a highly specific obligation to the Spanish crown, a tax based on their genealogy and status. This royal tribute symbolized imperial loyalties and social hierarchies. As the number of free people of color soared, this tax became a reliable source of revenue for the crown as well as a signal that colonial officials and ordinary people referenced to define and debate the nature of blackness.

Taxing Blackness:Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain examines the experiences of Afromexicans and this tribute to explore the meanings of race, political loyalty, and legal privileges within the Spanish colonial regime. Norah L. A. Gharala focuses on both the mechanisms officials used to define the status of free people of African descent and the responses of free Afromexicans to these categories and strategies. This study spans the eighteenth century and focuses on a single institution to offer readers a closer look at the place of Afromexican individuals in Bourbon New Spain, which was the most profitable and populous colony of the Spanish Atlantic.

As taxable subjects, many Afromexicans were deeply connected to the colonial regime and ongoing debates about how taxpayers should be defined, whether in terms of reputation or physical appearance. Gharala shows the profound ambivalence, and often hostility, that free people of African descent faced as they navigated a regime that simultaneously labeled them sources of tax revenue and dangerous vagabonds. Some free Afromexicans paid tribute to affirm their belonging and community ties. Others contested what they saw as a shameful imposition that could harm their families for generations. The microhistory includes numerous anecdotes from specific cases and people, bringing their history alive, resulting in a wealth of rural and urban, gender, and family insight.

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