I am a mixed-race person who remembers stumbling across the word “mulatto” in my history textbook, clinging to the first historical representation of myself despite the fact that it was rooted in the rape of slave women by their masters.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-02-19 04:32Z by Steven

I am a mixed-race person who remembers stumbling across the word “mulatto” in my history textbook, clinging to the first historical representation of myself despite the fact that it was rooted in the rape of slave women by their masters. Throughout the Obama presidency, I wondered about his first encounter with that word. I wondered how he might have coped with that feeling of being an unnamed outsider among white folks. I wondered how he might have negotiated his simultaneous proximity to whiteness and blackness as someone who did experience racism.

Brianna Suslovic, “Mixed Like Obama,” Philadelphia Printworks, January 30, 2017. https://www.philadelphiaprintworks.com/blogs/news/mixed-like-obama.

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Miscegenation and passing provide the primal scenes of American racial anxiety.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-02-19 04:04Z by Steven

Miscegenation and passing provide the primal scenes of American racial anxiety. In Boy, Snow, Bird they become more than themes: miscegenation and passing also drive the novel’s fundamental imagination and its modes of narration. The novel is replete with sly passing metaphors. One character describes another as “seventy percent all right and thirty percent pain in the neck” as if the deep logic of hypodescent—the discriminatory assignment of racialized identities based on a pseudoscientific calculus of “blood percentages”—has been displaced onto a casual personality assessment. Passing appears in other forms as well: Bird, the sister who does not pass racially, nonetheless possesses a gift for vocal mimicry that allows her to pass sonically; a woman named Boy desperately tries to perform motherhood; and extraordinary violence, such as pulling the eyes out of captured animals for no apparent reason, or simply punching your child in the kidneys as you walk by, passes as quotidian practice.

Anne Anlin Cheng, “Passing Beauty,” Public Books, July 1, 2014. http://www.publicbooks.org/passing-beauty/.

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Our faces occupy visual markers in society. On-lookers file faces into categories in unconscious, routine assessment. In that instant they assign identities to people that can usher in a whole set of assumptions.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-02-11 21:15Z by Steven

Within the context of the panel, the paradox refers to the “in-between” space in which mixed-race people find themselves, neither here nor there. Our faces occupy visual markers in society. On-lookers file faces into categories in unconscious, routine assessment. In that instant they assign identities to people that can usher in a whole set of assumptions. Yet the way someone looks—at face value—isn’t necessarily who they may be. “Paradoxical space” was first coined by feminist geologist Gillian Rose nearly a quarter of a century ago. Today, in both Canada and the US, the first wave of self-identified mixed-race adults has come of age and with it, artists seeking to find a foothold. The hope for tomorrow is that this generation’s children will navigate ethnically mixed milieus effortlessly, and migrate the discourse to new horizons.

Heidi McKenzie, “Paradox: Identity and Belonging,” Ceramics Monthly, March 2017. http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramics-monthly/article/paradox-identity-belonging/.

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If we could fuck away white supremacy, wouldn’t it be gone by now?

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-02-11 20:59Z by Steven

But contrary to popular narratives, interracial heterosexual relationships and their result, multiracial children, are not the antithesis of white supremacy, but can be easily co-opted as the glittery mask behind which racism and antiblackness continue to thrive. To be clear, though, interracial relationships themselves are not under critique here. The danger, rather, is in how we value interracial couples as something radical and disruptive to our current racist environment. The future, we assume, can all too easily elide necessities in the present. As Tahirah Hairston writes for Fusion on the subject, “no matter what America will look like in the future, we will still have to address these issues head-on.” If we could fuck away white supremacy, wouldn’t it be gone by now?

Lauren Michele Jackson, “Why A New Mixed Race Generation Will Not Solve Racism,” BuzzFeed, February 10, 2017. https://www.buzzfeed.com/laurmjackson/multiracial-families-cant-save-the-world-from-racism.

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William flips her onto her stomach, and then he’s inside her breathing hotly into her ear, telling her that fucking her is just like fucking a black girl without having to fuck a black girl.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 01:00Z by Steven

William kneels between Sarah’s thighs. He uses a condom. He doesn’t know where the stripper has been. He practices some of the lingo he has learned from years of listening to rap music. “I’ve wanted to get all up in that since the day I first saw you, Sierra. I love your phat ass.” Sarah moans and heaves, reaches for her cell phone on the coffee table. It is just beyond her reach. William flips her onto her stomach, and then he’s inside her breathing hotly into her ear, telling her that fucking her is just like fucking a black girl without having to fuck a black girl. He smacks her thigh and tells her to do as Lil Jon instructs and bounce, bounce, bounce that ass.

Roxanne Gay, “La Negra Blanca,” The Collagist: Online literature from Dzanc Books, Issue Three (October 2009). http://thecollagist.com/the-collagist/la-negra-blanca.html.

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For African Americans, Obama’s presidency had been largely defined by his reluctance to engage with the ways that racial discrimination was blunting the impact of his administration’s recovery efforts.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:36Z by Steven

For African Americans, Obama’s presidency had been largely defined by his reluctance to engage with the ways that racial discrimination was blunting the impact of his administration’s recovery efforts. Obama has not shown nearly the same reticence when publicly chastising African Americans for a range of behaviors that read like a handbook on anti-black stereotypes, from parenting skills and dietary choices to sexual mores and television-watching habits.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, ”Barack Obama’s original sin: America’s post-racial illusion,” The Guardian, January 13, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/13/barack-obama-legacy-racism-criminal-justice-system.

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As I see it, Mr. Obama is the only figure to ever give Dr. King a run for his money as Greatest Black Man in American history.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:34Z by Steven

President Obama’s historic tenure ends as the nation celebrates what would have been Martin Luther King’s 88th birthday. As I see it, Mr. Obama is the only figure to ever give Dr. King a run for his money as Greatest Black Man in American history. More than a gentle rivalry for supremacy in the history books joins the two. They are tethered by death, too — if not by its actual occurrence, then by its looming possibility.

Michael Eric Dyson, “How Black America Saw Obama,” The New York Times, January 14, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/opinion/sunday/how-black-america-saw-obama.html.

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Writing the biography of a black person who passed for white in 20th-century America adds an extra layer of difficulty to the detective work any biographer must undertake. This is especially true since Herriman seems never to have addressed his deception in his personal writings or confided his feelings about racial identity to family or friends.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:25Z by Steven

Writing the biography of a black person who passed for white in 20th-century America adds an extra layer of difficulty to the detective work any biographer must undertake. This is especially true since [George] Herriman seems never to have addressed his deception in his personal writings or confided his feelings about racial identity to family or friends. He claimed he came from a family of bakers and had worked in his youth as a house painter and carnival barker. In truth he was the great-grandson of Stephen Herriman, a married white boat’s captain from Long Island with roots in England, who purchased enslaved workers after settling in Louisiana, and Justine Olivier, a “free woman of color” who engaged in a plaçage relationship in which her lover financially supported her and her two children.

Nelson George, “Invisibly Black: A Life of George Herriman, Creator of ‘Krazy Kat’,” The New York Times, January 12, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/books/review/krazy-george-herriman-biography-michael-tisserand.html.

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Definition of race can vary from country to country, and the use of the ‘one drop rule’ – as defined in law – is particular only to the USA. Similarly in the UK, as with the USA, despite a significant proportion of individuals self-defining as Mixed Race whilst partaking in respective census measures, the media in each country has continued to define ‘people of colour’ as black.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:03Z by Steven

The definition of race has come under scrutiny by a number of researchers (Case, 2012; Soudien, 2010; Rose & Paisley, 2012). This can include the arguments surrounding the ‘one drop rule.’ This has its origin in the racial segregation laws in the USA that defines the extent to which any person can be considered African-American relates to their having just one African-American ancestor. ‘A black is any person with any known African black ancestry’ (Davis, 2001, p.5). A difficulty with this definition is the fact that race can also be affected in both directions. As Davis (2001, p.6) points out, ‘many of the nation’s black leaders have been of predominantly white ancestry.’ Definition of race can vary from country to country, and the use of the ‘one drop rule’ – as defined in law – is particular only to the USA. Similarly in the UK, as with the USA, despite a significant proportion of individuals self-defining as Mixed Race whilst partaking in respective census measures, the media in each country has continued to define ‘people of colour’ as black. Miscegenation promotes assimilation with all other racial groups, but for African-Americans it disadvantages the white element; for other racial groups it advantages the non-white element (Soudien, 2010). This varied definition of race can thus undermine the fuller understanding of the intersectionality between race: in the USA, not even all non-white groups are discriminated against equally. This renders patterns of discrimination more complex and multilayered than might otherwise be considered.

J. J. Lindsley, “Peggy McIntosh (1997: 291) describes White privilege as ‘an invisible package of unearned assets’. A discussion on the relative advantages and disadvantages of this analogy in advancing our understanding of Whiteness,” Medium, January 8, 2017. https://medium.com/@JohnJLindsley/peggy-mcintosh-1997-291-describes-white-privilege-as-an-invisible-package-of-unearned-assets-732c671f5fb5.

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I think it’s important to recognize that to be Latinx is to be hybrid. There is no such thing as purity in Latinidad…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-16 20:25Z by Steven

“I think it’s important to recognize that to be Latinx is to be hybrid. There is no such thing as purity in Latinidad, if you even buy into this very American idea of Latinidad.” —Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Sebastian Hasani Paramo, “A Conversation With Natalie Scenters-Zapico,” The American Literary Review, March 27, 2016. http://www.americanliteraryreview.com/reviews–interviews/a-conversation-with-natalie-scenters-zapico.

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