Black on the Outside, White on the Inside: Peter Abelard’s Use of Race

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, Religion on 2018-08-14 02:39Z by Steven

Black on the Outside, White on the Inside: Peter Abelard’s Use of Race

Critical Philosophy of Race
Volume 6, Issue 2, 2018
pages 135-163
DOI: 10.5325/critphilrace.6.2.0135

Colleen Mccluskey, Professor of Philosophy
Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

In his reply to Heloise’s complaints in the fourth of the so-called personal letters, Peter Abelard (a twelfth-century theologian) draws upon the figure of the Ethiopian queen from the biblical Song of Songs, who proclaims that she is black on the outside but beautiful on the inside. While some scholars have interpreted his discussion as a commentary on the persona of a nun, this article considers what Abelard’s remarks might mean for understanding the development of the concept of race in Western thought. In particular, it considers whether Abelard’s discussion, both in the letter and in his metaphysical writings, challenges the common (although not universal) position that Europeans did not develop a concept of race until at least the early modern period. It examines these texts to determine the extent to which his remarks reveal congruities or differences with later more explicit conceptions of race.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Emma Dabiri: The Diaspora Diva on trolls, modelling and growing up black in Dublin

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-08-14 00:20Z by Steven

Emma Dabiri: The Diaspora Diva on trolls, modelling and growing up black in Dublin

Sunday Independent
2018-08-14

Donal Lynch

Emma Dabiri, author, TV presenter, model is very much at home in London but she's an Irish girl at heart. Photo: Jonathan Goldberg
Emma Dabiri, author, TV presenter, model is very much at home in London but she’s an Irish girl at heart. Photo: Jonathan Goldberg

With her BBC series about to air, academic and broadcaster Emma Dabiri spoke to Donal Lynch

It’s a sweltering afternoon and on a quiet London side street, outside an impossibly chic bakery (it’s where Meghan and Harry had their wedding cake made), academic, author and former-model Emma Dabiri is taking a well-earned break from working on the final manuscript for her forthcoming book: Don’t Touch My Hair.

Before we meet I half considered this a slightly redundant admonition for polite society – why would anyone, bar someone with latent Harvey Weinstein tendencies, touch a woman’s hair unbidden? – but, in person, you can see where the temptation might arise. In this most genteel of settings, Emma’s hair is an event, a happening, a lustrously-beautiful nimbus that frames her fine features. Curiosity and generations of cultural racism seem to spur the urge to pet it, stroke it. I heroically resist, but others are not so strong.

“A few weeks ago a woman reached out to touch my hair on the tube and as she put out her hand she said ‘wait… you don’t like that, do you?’ It was as though some dim memory of editorials she’d read somewhere, came bursting through; she remembered and held herself back a bit.”

Growing up in Dublin, it happened all the time. It was constant. Often kids would just say “oh my God, look at her hair, it’s mad” and come right over and have a feel and a chat”, she recalls. “It felt strange and objectifying. I found it strange because I wouldn’t even touch someone’s dog without asking them. I never questioned all of the treatments (that are used to ‘relax’ black hair) but they weren’t always available to me because it’s difficult to get those products in Ireland. My mum would work in Liverpool or Manchester, and there you could get a curly perm, which is sort of like defined curls, rather than afro hair…

…As for whether she feels ‘more’ Irish or Nigerian, “people often ask me that. To me, it’s not a relevant question. First of all, I was born and raised in Ireland, but really I don’t feel I have to choose. I identify as both black and Irish, it may be unusual – although happily increasingly less so – but the two are not mutually exclusive!…

Read the entire article here.

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Color that Matters: A Comparative Approach to Mixed Race Identity and Nordic Exceptionalism

Posted in Books, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Science on 2018-08-04 01:36Z by Steven

Color that Matters: A Comparative Approach to Mixed Race Identity and Nordic Exceptionalism

Routledge
2018-09-30
240 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781138050143

Tony Sandset, Junior Research Fellow
University of Oslo, Norway

Color that Matters: A Comparative Approach to Mixed Race Identity and Nordic Exceptionalism (Hardback) book cover

This book examines the ways in which mixed ethnic identities in Scandinavia are formed along both cultural and embodied lines, arguing that while the official discourses in the region refer to a ‘post-racial’ or ‘color blind’ era, color still matters in the lives of people of mixed ethnic descent. Drawing on research amongst people of mixed ethnic backgrounds, the author offers insights into how color matters and is made to matter, and in the ways in which terms such as ‘ethnic’ and ‘ethnicity’ remain very much indebted to their older, racialized grammar.

Color that Matters moves beyond the conventional Anglo-American focus of scholarship in this field, showing that while similarities exist between the racial and ethnic discourses of the US and UK and those found in the Nordic region, Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, manifests important differences, in part owing to a tendency to viewed itself as exceptional or outside the colonial heritage of race and imperialism. Presenting both a contextualisation of racial discourses since World War II based on documentary analysis and new interview material with people of mixed ethnic backgrounds, the book acts as a corrective to the blind spot within Scandinavian research on ethnic minorities, offering a new reading of race for the Nordic region that engages with the idea that color has been emptied of legitimate cultural content.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Series Editor’s Preface
  • 1. Introduction
  • Part I: Methodology and Theory: Towards Grounding the Book
    • 2. Research Horizons: Inspirations and Tensions
    • 3. Theoretical Inspirations and Methodological Tools
  • Part II: Epistemic Documents, Racialized Knowledge and Mundane Language
    • 4. From Race to Ethnicity: The Purification of a Discourse; UNESCO and Norway’s Western Others
  • Part III: In Living Colour; The Lived Life of Mixed Colours
    • 5. Discourses of Race And Ethnicity: A Difficult Deployment Of Colour
    • 6. Performing Mixed Ethnic Identities: Colours That Matter
  • Part IV
    • 7. No Guarantees, Just Paradoxes to Offer: In Lieu Of The Typical Conclusion
  • Appendix: List of Peopled Interviewed
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Two Berlin Filmmakers Reflect on Germany’s Racial Dynamics

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism on 2018-08-03 18:34Z by Steven

Two Berlin Filmmakers Reflect on Germany’s Racial Dynamics

Hyperallergic
2018-08-03

Adela Yawitz
Berlin, Germany


Natasha A. Kelly, Millis Erwachen/Milli’s Awakening (2018), video, b/w, sound, 45′, video still (courtesy Natasha A. Kelly)

In their films at the Berlin Biennial, Natasha A. Kelly and Mario Pfeifer address the growing divide in Germany between the politics of liberal inclusion and on-the-ground ignorance, racism, and suppression.

BERLIN — The 10th edition of the Berlin Biennale opened in June. Ambitious yet unpretentious, the exhibition features 46 artists across 5 venues. The Biennale’s curator, Gabi Ngcobo, and her team create a setting for perceiving and relating to the artworks on view with little layering of textual analysis and without tying them explicitly to the artists’ biographies. In fact, the Biennale omits general information regarding artists’ nationalities and dates of birth. This is refreshing, not because it implies that the artworks should stand on their own, but as a political signal against the convention of touting artists’ diversity as a symbol of the institution’s progressive politics or post-colonial criticality. At this Biennale, artists — and curators — of color are the majority, yet this alone is not its primary subject nor its intention…

…In Milli’s Awakening (2018), artist and academic activist Natasha A. Kelly weaves together portraits of eight Afro-German women of different generations. Their lives have all been touched by art, in one way or another, and many of them tell stories of structural barriers and marginalization in and out of the art world. Maciré, an activist from Bremen recounts how she understood in retrospect that her film, shown at the local museum, had been used to legitimate the exhibition as a whole by providing a non-white, critical perspective. She has since decided to invest in working for her own community, not for the white audiences of the Kunsthalle. Diana from Bavaria, who identifies as intersex, recalls taking refuge in photography to overcome her discomfort with her own body as a teenager. And the artist Maseho reads from her tongue-in-cheek guide for Black POCs traveling in Germany; she advises saving time by telling Germans you are from “USA” or “Afrika,” since other answers would devastate their view of the world…

Read the entire article here.

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Critical Mixed Race in Global Perspective

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania, Religion, Social Science, South Africa on 2018-08-03 01:27Z by Steven

 

Critical Mixed Race in Global Perspective

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 38 (2018)
2018-08-01

Publication Cover

  • Introduction
    • Critical Mixed Race in Global Perspective: An Introduction / Erica Chito Childs
  • Hierarchies of Mixing: Navigations and Negotiations
    • An Unwanted Weed: Children of Cross-region Unions Confront Intergenerational Stigma of Caste, Ethnicity and Religion / Reena Kukreja
    • Mixed Race Families in South Africa: Naming and Claiming a Location / Heather M. Dalmage
    • Negotiating the (Non)Negotiable: Connecting ‘Mixed-Race’ Identities to ‘Mixed-Race’ Families / Mengxi Pang
    • Linguistic Cultural Capital among Descendants of Mixed Couples in Catalonia, Spain: Realities and Inequalities / Dan Rodríguez-García, Miguel Solana-Solana, Anna Ortiz-Guitart & Joanna L. Freedman
    • ‘There is Nothing Wrong with Being a Mulatto’: Structural Discrimination and Racialised Belonging in Denmark / Mira C. Skadegård & Iben Jensen
    • Exceptionalism with Non-Validation: The Social Inconsistencies of Being Mixed Race in Australia / Stephanie B. Guy
  • Mixed Matters Through a Wider Lens
    • Recognising Selves in Others: Situating Dougla Manoeuvrability as Shared Mixed-Race Ontology / Sue Ann Barratt & Aleah Ranjitsingh
    • What’s Love Got To Do With It? Emotional Authority and State Regulation of Interracial/national Couples in Ireland / Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain
    • Re-viewing Race and Mixedness: Mixed Race in Asia and the Pacific / Zarine L. Rocha

Read or purchase this special issue here.

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“Blood is Thicker than Water”: The Materialization of the Racial Body in Fascist East Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive on 2018-06-21 16:20Z by Steven

“Blood is Thicker than Water”: The Materialization of the Racial Body in Fascist East Africa

Zapruder World: An International Journal for the History of Social Conflict
“Performing Race,” Volume 4 (2017)

Angelica Pesarini, Social and Cultural Analysis, Faculty Member
New York University

Introduction

One of the major issues with the perception of “race” in modern Italy refers to what Alessandro Portelli defines as Italians’ “self-reflexive colour blindness.”1 What occurs in Italy is not simply a denial of race. Rather than seeing themselves as “White,” according to Portelli, Italians see themselves as “normal.” As a result, because colour is unspoken and not openly mentioned, it is believed that Italians are immune from racism. Such a structural colour-blindness, however, is problematic because it associates Whiteness with normality and, consequently, with Italianness.2 Simply put, to be Italian is to be White. Within this discourse, those who do not fit the alleged (White) Italian type are deemed outside the Nation on a number of levels.3

In order to understand and unpack such dynamics it is necessary to consider the category of “race” and the influence this had on the construction of Italian national identity. If “race” is a social construct devoid of scientific validity, it still retains enormous power in the modern world. In the case of Italy, the racial construction of national identity shows a complex ambivalence embedded in discursive practices revolving around an ambiguous production of both Whiteness and Blackness. Such an ambiguity, as highlighted by Tatiana Petrovich Njegosh stems from Italians’ liminal double racial status as racialisers (of Jews, southerner Italians and Africans) and racialised subjects in the U.S. and Australia.4 As a result, “race” in Italy today seems to be located within the interstices of a polarised discourse based on notions of “unspoken Whiteness”5 able to visually recognise “Italians” from “Others,” namely those called stranieri (foreigners), extracomunitari (a term used to define migrants coming from outside the EU) and the new “migranti” category (broadly used to address African migrants crossing the Mediterranean). Although colour is not openly named, meaningful biological connotations based on phenotypic features located on the body are at the core of Italian national identity. It is important to notice that such a disjunction does not work merely at a visual level. The racialisation of national identity, in fact, transversally affects Italian society and the everyday life of racialised subjects extending from education to housing, labour rights, work opportunities, political participation, health, personal safety, and legal discourse too, as discussed in this paper.

Drawing on ideas of performativity as applied to race, this essay illustrates some of the reasons why in contemporary Italy the idea of Blackness associated with Italianness still appears, to some, an impossible semantic match, an irreconcilable paradox. Owing to the interdependence of colonialism, ideas of “race” and “mixed race,” and the normative construction of Whiteness in relation to national identity, it seems necessary to investigate the nexus of race, gender and citizenship, through a performative lens. In order to do so, I focus on a series of laws and decrees passed during the Liberal and Fascist periods. These include the Codice Civile per la Colonia Eritrea (Colonial Civil Code for the Colony of Eritrea) of 1909, Law 999 of 1933, introduced to regulate the legal identity of “mixed race” children born in the former Italian colonies in East-Africa, and the racial laws enacted between 1937 and 1940. The investigation of these pieces of legislation is useful to highlight not only the influence that Liberal norms had on the promulgations of Fascist racial laws, but also how Italian citizenship, today, is still rooted in the idea of an alleged “racial citizen.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Hungary’s first black MP aims to ‘destroy prejudice’

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-06-11 15:18Z by Steven

Hungary’s first black MP aims to ‘destroy prejudice’

BBC News
2018-06-11

Tom Mulligan

Olivio Kocsis-Cake
Orsolya Kovacs
Olivio Kocsis-Cake: Fidesz always finds an enemy who must be hated

Hungary has a reputation for anti-immigration politics, but a young black liberal MP wants to revamp the country’s image.

Olivio Kocsis-Cake, of the opposition Parbeszed (Dialogue) party, is being sworn in as an MP on Monday, taking a seat vacated by a colleague who is stepping down.

Mr Kocsis-Cake (pronounced “kochish-tsocker”) has become a talking point in Hungary because of the strong anti-migrant rhetoric – particularly against non-whites – ratcheted up by members of the governing Fidesz party, its loyal national media and far-right groups like Jobbik.

“In the 1990s I was physically in danger a number of times when confronted by skinheads on the street. But now this is very unusual. Mostly I just get suspicious looks,” Mr Kocsis-Cake told independent news website Index.hu.

Parbeszed won just five seats in the 2018 election, in which the right-wing Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orban secured a super-majority of 133 seats and the ultra-nationalist Jobbik came second with 26 seats…

Two different generations

Olivio Kocsis-Cake was born in 1980. His mother is Hungarian and his father, from Guinea-Bissau, came to Hungary via Senegal in 1976, aged 18.

Like many students invited to communist Eastern Europe from developing countries, Marcelo Cake-Baly studied and graduated at the Karl Marx Economics University. He settled and found work as a Budapest tram-driver and was even a one-time film actor…

Read the entire article here.

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Nature Knows No Color-Line: Research into the Negro Ancestry in the White Race

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2018-04-30 01:49Z by Steven

Nature Knows No Color-Line: Research into the Negro Ancestry in the White Race

Wesleyan University Press
2014 (originally published in 1952)
248 pages
ISBN: 9780960229451

J. A. Rogers (1888-1966)

In Nature Knows No Color-Line, originally published in 1952, historian Joel Augustus Rogers examined the origins of racial hierarchy and the color problem. Rogers was a humanist who believed that there were no scientifically evident racial divisions—all humans belong to one “race.” He believed that color prejudice generally evolved from issues of domination and power between two physiologically different groups. According to Rogers, color prejudice was then used a rationale for domination, subjugation and warfare. Societies developed myths and prejudices in order to pursue their own interests at the expense of other groups. This book argues that many instances of the contributions of black people had been left out of the history books, and gives many examples.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • I. Where Did the Color Problem Originate? And Why
  • II. Color Prejudice Among Whites Themselves
  • III. Negroes in Ancient Europe—Greece
  • IV. Whites and Blacks in Ancient Rome
  • V. Racial Intermixture in Spain and Portugal
  • Vi. The Negro As “Moor.” Aristocratic European Families
  • VII. Whites and Blacks in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany
  • VIII. Negro Ancestry in the French
  • IX. Negro Ancestry in the Anglo-Saxon “Race”
  • X. Negro Ancestry in White America
  • XI. Recent Mixed Marriages
  • Appendix—Miscellany on Race Mixture
  • Appendix—General Miscellany
  • Index
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Emma: On What It Means to Be “Attracted to Black Girls”

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Work on 2018-04-25 22:22Z by Steven

Emma: On What It Means to Be “Attracted to Black Girls”

Ask Emma: Navigating race and identity in Ireland
Dublin InQuirer
Dublin, Ireland
2018-04-24

Emma Dabiri


Image by Rob Mirolo

In her regular column, Emma Dabiri fields your questions on race and identity in contemporary Ireland. Got something you’ve been pondering? You can send her your questions through this form.

Hi Emma,

I’m a white male Dubliner who is very attracted to black girls. I’ve never been with a black girl, and don’t actually know any black women at all to be honest, but whenever I see a pretty black girl on the street or in the office, I melt.

I’m trying not to sound too weird. I know it’s not good to exoticize. I do watch lots of black porn. I have had no chill on the few opportunities I’ve had to speak to black girls. I feel like flirting is hard enough, but with race, identity, etc. it all becomes overwhelming.

What should I do?

We deliberated quite a lot as to whether or not this was a serious question or the work of a troll. However, as a black woman who grew up on the receiving end of attitudes such as yours, I am pretty convinced of its veracity.

The ideas about what blackness is that inform your “preferences” are centuries old, and sadly are not going away anytime soon. What I write should help you, although I have to admit that in this instance helping you is not my main priority.

Rather, I want to take this opportunity to expose the mechanics behind this way of thinking, and the ways in which these attitudes are damaging and dehumanizing to black people.

What is it about black girls that you find so attractive? We come in all different shades and sizes. Amongst all of the women who could be identified as black, there exists such a huge diversity of features and appearances that it is hard to talk about what a “black woman” looks like in any meaningful way, yet you reduce us to a monolith?…

Read the entire article here.

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Portugal confronts its slave trade past

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery on 2018-04-23 23:05Z by Steven

Portugal confronts its slave trade past

Politico
2018-02-06

Paul Ames


Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Goree Island in April 2017 Moussa Sow/AFP via Getty Images

Planned monument in Lisbon sparks debate over race and history.

LISBON — Over five centuries after it launched the Atlantic slave trade, Portugal is preparing to build a memorial to the millions of Africans its ships carried into bondage.

Citizens of Lisbon voted in December for the monument to be built on a quayside where slave ships once unloaded. Yet although the memorial has broad support, a divisive debate has ignited over how Portugal faces up to its colonial past and multiracial present.

“Doing this will be really good for our city,” said Beatriz Gomes Dias, president of Djass, an association of Afro-Portuguese citizens that launched the memorial plan.

“People really got behind the project, there was a recognition that something like this is needed,” said Gomes Dias. “Many people told us this is important to bring justice to Portugal’s history here in Lisbon, which is a cosmopolitan and diverse capital with such a strong African presence.”…

Country of tolerance

Few Portuguese miss their imperial regime. Four decades on, no political force clings to colonial nostalgia. Yet a belief lingers that Portuguese colonialism was gentler than other European empires, marked by a tolerant interaction with other peoples and widespread racial mixing.

That tolerance, the narrative goes, is reflected in today’s Portugal.

Unlike just about everywhere else in Europe, there’s no significant far-right party spouting xenophobic populism; during Europe’s refugee crisis, a parliamentary consensus backed doubling the country’s refugee quota; in 2015, Portugal quietly voted in António Costa, whose father was Indian, as prime minister…

Read the entire article here.

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