Review: Identity in Passing: RACE-ING and E-RACE-ING in American and African American History

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-11-18 01:19Z by Steven

Review: Identity in Passing: RACE-ING and E-RACE-ING in American and African American History

The Journal of African American History
Volume 101, No. 3, Summer 2016
pages 344-355
DOI: 10.5323/jafriamerhist.101.3.0344

Thomas J. Davis, Professor of History
Arizona State University, Tempe

Passing is a long-standing theme in American and African American history.1 Indeed, because identity has been an ever-present element in history, passing has been an ever-present element in history generally. Distinguishing between and among groups and categorizing individual members has again and again prompted questions about who is who, about what exactly distinguishes one from another, and about who belongs where. But passing is about more than contested and oft-disputed categories. When it reaches to lived-experience, passing is about self and society, about individual image and imagining, about self-image and self-imagining, about social image and social change. Passing is about the scope, source, substance, and control of individual identity.

Despite its centrality, identity appears in historical narratives typically as a given, or at least as taken for granted. Except for persons cast as “others,” group labels conveniently cover flawed lines of distinction. Our focus concentrates on identity only when it becomes contested, when uncertainty or ambiguity raise doubts; when identity becomes an issue of power, when such questions as “who…

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We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family’s Search for Home Across the Atlantic World

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-11-18 00:56Z by Steven

We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family’s Search for Home Across the Atlantic World

Oxford University Press
2014-12-01
224 Pages
32 illustrations
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780199978335

Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania

This colored Creole story offers a unique historical lens through which to understand the issues of migration, immigration, passing, identity, and color-forces that still shape American society today. We Are Who We Say We Are provides a detailed, nuanced account of shifting forms of racial identification within an extended familial network and constrained by law and social reality.

Author Mary Frances Berry, a well-known expert in the field, focuses on the complexity and malleability of racial meanings within the US over generations. Colored Creoles, similar to other immigrants and refugees, passed back and forth in the Atlantic world. Color was the cause and consequence for migration and identity, splitting the community between dark and light. Color could also split families. Louis Antoine Snaer, a free man of color and an officer in the Union Army who passed back and forth across the color line, had several brothers and sisters. Some chose to “pass” and some decided to remain “colored,” even though they too, could have passed. This rich global history, beginning in Europe–with episodes in Haiti, Cuba, Louisiana, and California–emphasizes the diversity of the Atlantic World experience.

Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter I: Becoming Colored Creole
  • Chapter II: Becoming Americans
  • Chapter III: Family Troubles
  • Chapter IV: Fighting for Democracy
  • Chapter V: Becoming “Negroes”
  • Chapter VI: Opportunity and Tragedy in Iberia Parish
  • Chapter VII: Mulattoes and Colored Creoles
  • Chapter VIII: Just Americans
  • Chapter IX: At Home or Away: We Are Who We Say We Are
  • Epilogue: Becoming “Black”
  • Notes
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“Race, Identity, and the Boundaries of Blackness”

Posted in Articles, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2017-11-16 22:55Z by Steven

“Race, Identity, and the Boundaries of Blackness”

U.S. Embassy & Consulates In Germany
2017-11-07

Thomas Chatterton Williams, fellow at the American Academy Berlin, read from his thought-provoking essay “Black and Blue and Blond” published in the Virginia Quarterly Review and anthologized in The Best American Essays 2016 which is now the basis of a book project. With journalist Rose-Anne Clermont he pursued the question where race fits in the construction of modern identity. Both reflected upon their own biographies and what it means living in Germany, France and the U.S. as a mixed-race family. The mainly young high-school age audience engaged in a lively, well informed discussion on defining and questioning identity, challenging stereotypes and expanding our notions of family and community.

Read the entire article here.

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Dr. Patton to speak in Germany

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2017-11-16 21:47Z by Steven

Dr. Patton to speak in Germany

Branding Iron: The UW Student Newspaper Online
2017-11-15

Courtney Kudera


(Photo courtesy of Dr. Tracey Patton) A picture of Dr. Tracey Patton standing on the UW campus.

Designing Modern Families: International Perspectives of Intercountry and Transracial Adoptions; this is the conference UW professor, Dr. Tracey Patton, has been asked to speak at in Germany beginning Friday, Nov. 17.

Patton is the co-author, in coordination with Sally Schedlock, of the work “Gender, Whiteness & Power in Rodeo: Breaking Away from the Ties of Sexism & Racism.” Patton is also a professor of communication here at UW.

…Patton commented on her own history in relation to the conferences’ topic. She has familial experience on the topic at hand.

As a first generation American on her mother’s side, Patton described her German heritage and the involvement in interracial and international adoptions, which affected up to 5,000 German children born during or after WWII.

From here, her research has had a national and transnational focus, working on the particular topic of interracial coupling and mixed-race children after WWII…

Read the entire article here.

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The Afro-Turks: Turkey’s Little-known Black Minority Reclaims Its Past

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2017-11-13 02:33Z by Steven

The Afro-Turks: Turkey’s Little-known Black Minority Reclaims Its Past

Haaretz
2017-10-26

Davide Lerner and Esra Whitehouse


An Afro-Turk farmer, Gungor Delibas, whose family is originally from Sudan, with a picture of her and her Turkish husband, in Haskoy, Turkey, October 2017. Davide Lerner

IZMIR, Turkey – Dotted along Turkey’s Aegean coastline are a smattering of villages that the country’s Afro-Turks call home.

“The first generation suffers, the second generation denies and the third generation questions,” reads the opening line of Mustafa Olpak’s book, the first and the last autobiographical and introspective study of Turkey’s dwindling black minority. Olpak coined the term Afro-Turk and founded the movement to help resurrect their identity, but the history of the estimated 1.3 million people who were forced into slavery and shipped from Africa to the territories controlled by the Ottoman Empire remains little more than a footnote of Turkish history.

While “the library of the Congress of the United States of America has over 600 personal accounts of African-American slaves, none could be found in Ottoman archives,” notes Turkish historian Hakan Erdem in his commentary to Olpak’s book. Before his death last year, Olpak had dreamed of delivering a copy of his book to former U.S. President Barack Obama, and had even traveled to Istanbul’s airport in a hopeless attempt to meet him as he landed for a state visit.

Today the number of Afro-Turks is estimated at only a few tens of thousands. Many still live in the villages of Haskoy, Yenicifler and Yenikoy, near Izmir, while some reside in rural areas around Ayvalik, Antalya and Adana, as well as in Istanbul. Most were first brought to Turkey to work as domestic servants or in the tobacco and cotton fields along the Aegean Sea; they settled near Izmir once they were freed. Although the slave trade was officially made illegal in 1857 following pressure from Britain and other European powers, it took until the beginning of the 20th century to eliminate the practice altogether and to liberate those who were owned by Ottoman families since before the slave trade was outlawed.

In Izmir, the state provided safe houses for former slaves as well as assistance to integrate them into the labor market; whole villages and neighborhoods inhabited by the Afro-Turks were dubbed “Arap” areas – the Turkish word for Arab, which is still used as slang to refer to black people…

Read the entire article here.

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Provenance: A Novel

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2017-09-21 19:28Z by Steven

Provenance: A Novel

Creative Cache
2015-09-16
334 pages
5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
ISBN-13: 978-0991614325

Donna Drew Sawyer

  • Winner of the 2017 Maryland Writers’ Association Annual Book Award for Historical Fiction
  • Selected for the 2017 “Go On Girl Book Club” reading list
  • Finalist for 2016 “Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction.”

Southern civility turns savage when Hank Whitaker’s dying words reveal the unimaginable. No one—not his socialite wife, Maggie, or young son, Lance—ever suspected the successful businessman, husband, and father they knew and loved was a black man passing for white. In 1931, in the segregated South, marriage between whites and blacks is illegal. Maggie is now a criminal facing jail. When Lance receives death threats to atone for his father’s betrayal, the family flees the U.S. for the racial freedom of Paris.

Still grieving Hank’s death and fearful of their uncertain future as Europe marches toward war, Lance and Maggie mourn the lives they loved but lost. As they struggle to create new lives and identities for themselves, they find a surprising community of artists and American expats that are on the same journey and show them a different way to live and to love. Provenance is a sweeping historical saga about love, betrayal, tragedy, triumph, passion, privilege and the universal desire for acceptance—regardless of who you are or where you’re from.

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Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-09-16 21:43Z by Steven

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Bloomsbury
2017-09-07
216 pages
10 bw illus
6″ x 9″
Hardback ISBN: 9781501312458
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781501312489
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781501312465

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Using critical race theory and film studies to explore the interconnectedness between cinema and society, Zélie Asava traces the history of mixed-race representations in American and French filmmaking from early and silent cinema to the present day. Mixed Race Cinemas covers over a hundred years of filmmaking to chart the development of (black/white) mixed representations onscreen. With the 21st century being labelled the Mulatto Millennium, mixed bodies are more prevalent than ever in the public sphere, yet all too often they continue to be positioned as exotic, strange and otherworldly, according to ‘tragic mulatto‘ tropes. This book evaluates the potential for moving beyond fixed racial binaries both onscreen and off by exploring actors and characters who embody the in-between. Through analyses of over 40 movies, and case studies of key films from the 1910s on, Mixed Race Cinemas illuminates landmark shifts in local and global cinema, exploring discourses of subjectivity, race, gender, sexuality and class. In doing so, it reveals the similarities and contrasts between American and French cinema in relation to recognising, visualising and constructing mixedness. Mixed Race Cinemas contextualizes and critiques raced and ‘post-race’ visual culture, using cinematic representations to illustrate changing definitions of mixed identity across different historical and geographical contexts.

Contents

  • Introduction
    • 1. Race and Ideology
    • 2. Mixed-Race Cinema Histories
    • 3. Interrogating Terminology
    • 4. Methodology and Frameworks
    • 5. Mixed-Race Spaces in French and American Cinema
    • 6. Franco-American Narratives and Beur Cinema
    • 7. Summary of Chapters
  • Chapter One: the Mixed Question
    • 1. Language, Representation and Casting
    • 2. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in America
    • 3. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in France
  • Chapter Two: Hollywood’s ‘Passing‘ Narratives
    • 1. ‘Passing’ Representations as Ideological Construct
    • 2. The Dichotomies of Post-War Mixed-Race Women Onscreen
    • 3. Gender, ‘Passing’ and Love
  • Chapter Three: The Limits of the Classic Hollywood ‘Tragic Mulatta’
    • 1. Imitation of Life (1934): Interrogating Mixed Identities
    • 2. Casting and Representation
    • 3. Shadows and the Interracial Family
    • 4. Imitation of Life, 1959: Gender, Difference and Voiced Rebellion
    • 5. Performative Identities: Sara Jane, Dandridge and Monroe
  • Chapter Four: Cultural Shifts: New Waves in Racial Representation
    • 1. Representing ‘Mixed-Race France’
    • 2. Reimagining the Nation: Mixed Families
    • 3. Questioning Mixed Masculinity: Les Trois frères
    • 4. Melodrama, Motherhood and Masks: Métisse
    • 5. Racial-Sexual Mythology and the Interracial Family
  • Chapter Five: Transnational Families in Drôle de Félix
    • 1. A Search for Identity on the Road
    • 2. Citizenship, Violence and Scopophilia
    • 3. Trauma and Redemption
    • 4. Destabilising the Primary Authority of the Father
    • 5. Reuniting Transnational Families
  • Conclusion
    • 1. ‘Post-Race’ Politics in America and France
    • 2. Enduring Stereotypes
    • 3. Mixed-Race Sci-Fi
    • 4. Mixed Representational Potentials
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Remembering Afro-German Intellectual May Ayim

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2017-09-08 15:10Z by Steven

Remembering Afro-German Intellectual May Ayim

Black Perspectives
2017-09-06

Tiffany Florvil, Assistant Professor of History
University of New Mexico


May Ayim (Photo: Orlanda Frauenverlag)

It has been almost twenty-one years since Black German activist, educator, writer, and public intellectual May Ayim died on August 9, 1996 at the age of 36. After facing some personal setbacks and a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Ayim committed suicide by jumping from her apartment building in Berlin-Kreuzberg. She also suffered from depression, which was often exacerbated by the psychological toil that everyday German racism had on her. Even though Ayim was born and raised by adoptive parents in Germany, some white Germans, including her adoptive parents, continued to harbor racist views that denied her humanity as a Black German citizen in a post-Holocaust society.

Her death shocked her colleagues and friends near and far. From South Africa to the United States, people sent their tributes, in which they recognized how much she inspired them through her writing and spoken word performances. Much like her mentor Caribbean-American poet Audre Lorde, Ayim, too, believed in the “subversive power of lyrical language.”1 As a talented and well-known writer at home and abroad, her poetry and prose served as a form of intellectual activism and as a medium to incite socio-political change. In fact, Ayim derived a key source of political and emotional energy from her writing, which was a constitutive element of her activism.

May Ayim was not unlike other Black diasporic women such as Claudia Jones or the Nardal sisters, producing materials that shaped diasporic culture and politics and that promoted Black intellectualism and internationalism. She integrated diverse styles, such as the Blues, that reflected her wide-ranging interests in and ties to the transnational Black diaspora. Ayim even incorporated West African Adinkra symbols in her first poetry volume blues in schwarz weiss (Blues in Black White) – representing her Ghanaian roots. In the volume, poems such as “afro-deutsch I,” “afro-deutsch II,” “autumn in germany,” “community,” and “soul sister” tackled the themes of identity, difference, community, and marginalization, reflecting her (and other Black Germans’) experiences in Germany.2 She also used her writing to negotiate her Black Germanness and to write herself into German society and the Black diaspora…

Read the entire article here.

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Racism Comes Full Circle: America as the Harbinger of the Nazis’ Race Laws

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Virginia on 2017-08-15 19:00Z by Steven

Racism Comes Full Circle: America as the Harbinger of the Nazis’ Race Laws

Haaretz
2017-08-15

Oded Heilbronner, Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies
Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Shenkar College of Engineering and Design


Demonstrators carry confederate and Nazi flags during the Unite the Right free speech rally at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA on August 12, 2017. Emily Molli / NurPhoto

James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017)

Nazi sentiment was very much influenced by the American experience including the Jim Crow legislation in the South, Yale’s James Q. Whitman says in new book

A recent study has joined the constant flow of research on the Third Reich, an original work that sheds more light on a subject we thought we knew everything about: Nazi racism. It’s a subject all the more current after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

Countless books have been written on the sources of Nazi racism. Some reconstruct 500 years of German history, since the days of Martin Luther, and find the source of the Nazis’ murderous worldview. Others see Nazi ideology as a historical accident whose roots are to be found only in the few years before the rise of the Third Reich.

Others invoke European contexts: the Eastern European or French anti-Semitism on the eve of the 20th century, and the Communist revolution, whose shock waves included murderous anti-Semitism in Europe. We also must not ignore the biographical-psychological studies that focus on the pathological anti-Semitism developed by the Nazis, with Hitler at their head.

The unique work of Prof. James Q. Whitman of Yale Law School, whose previous book explored the growing divide between criminal law and punishment in America compared to Europe, belongs to a long series of research noting the global contexts in which decisions are made and events occurred both regionally and domestically…

…Based on a long series of modern studies, Whitman says the Nuremberg Laws were crafted so as to create citizenship laws based on racial categories. The main motive for the legislation was to prevent mixed marriages, which would lead to the birth of mixed-race children and “racial pollution.” At the center of the debate that preceded the Nuremberg Laws was the aspiration to construct a legal code that would prevent such situations. American precedents, which were meant to make African-Americans, Chinese and Filipinos second-class citizens, provided inspiration for the Nazis…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Yes, I’m Irish’

Posted in Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Videos on 2017-08-09 14:59Z by Steven

‘Yes, I’m Irish’

YouTube
The Journal.ie
2017-08-06

‘Yes, I’m Irish’ is a video series focusing on the experiences of mixed-race Irish people. They told us how the Ireland of today compares with the one they grew up in.

Watch the entire series here.

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