By phone I’m white, British and middle class. A Londoner maybe. Definitely educated and probably called Oliver. An accent they can’t place on a black baritone that blends with feminine cadences. Physically, I’m often mistaken for half-Asian…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-12-05 22:24Z by Steven

By phone I’m white, British and middle class. A Londoner maybe. Definitely educated and probably called Oliver. An accent they can’t place on a black baritone that blends with feminine cadences. Physically, I’m often mistaken for half-Asian. Occasionally when my broad shoulders, thick thighs and big belly are accounted for, the answer is Samoan. But my beard suggests I have a relationship with the Quran, certainly when it comes to airports in Southend, Stockholm and San Francisco.

So I feel the double-take when people meet me for the first time.

“Oh!” they will say. “I had no idea you were…”

…Gay?

Ashley Thomas, “Life in The Hinterlands; Growing up Gay & Mixed Race on The Isle of White,” The Afropean: Adventures in Afro Europe, May 9, 2017. http://afropean.com/life-in-the-hinterlands-growing-up-gay-mixed-race-in-the-isle-of-white/.

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“Africa has the greatest amount of phenotypic variability in skin color, and yet it’s been underrepresented in large scale endeavors.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-12-05 00:44Z by Steven

Africa has the greatest amount of phenotypic variability in skin color, and yet it’s been underrepresented in large scale endeavors,” said Alicia Martin, a postdoctoral scientist in the lab of Broad Institute member Mark Daly. “There are some genes that are known to contribute to skin pigmentation, but by and large there are many more new genes that have not been discovered.”

David Cameron, “Skin pigmentation is far more genetically complex than previously thought,” Broad Institute, November 30, 2017. https://www.broadinstitute.org/news/skin-pigmentation-far-more-genetically-complex-previously-thought.

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The answer is that Warren, like millions of other Americans, is mixed-race, and percentages shouldn’t matter when we consider such ancestry.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-30 00:47Z by Steven

The answer is that [Elizabeth] Warren, like millions of other Americans, is mixed-race, and percentages shouldn’t matter when we consider such ancestry.

Martha S. Jones, “Why calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ is a slur against all mixed-race Americans,” The Washington Post, November 29, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/11/29/why-calling-elizabeth-warren-pocahontas-is-a-slur-against-all-mixed-race-americans.

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“Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-25 02:45Z by Steven

“There is no consensus on who is considered Métis or a non-status Indian, nor need there be,” the court wrote. “Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage.” For eastern Métis, proof of the latter is enough. Their organizations typically accept anyone who can provide a genealogical chart showing an Indigenous ancestor.

Graeme Hamilton, “Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists,” National Post, November 23, 2017. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/who-gets-to-be-metis-as-more-people-self-identify-critics-call-out-opportunists.

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No doubt I am mixed, but I’m mixed and black. Blackness can accommodate mixedness, in a way that whiteness, with its myths of purity cannot.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-20 04:55Z by Steven

No doubt I am mixed, but I’m mixed and black. Blackness can accommodate mixedness, in a way that whiteness, with its myths of purity cannot. In some contexts I am black, in others mixed, sometimes I am Irish, others Nigerian (white is still off limits), but I am always me, always with the potential to identify as any of these things.

Emma Dabiri, “Emma: On Whether Irish Black People Are Woke, and on Changing “Foreign” Names,” Dublin Inquirer, October 25, 2017. https://www.dublininquirer.com/2017/10/25/emma-on-whether-irish-black-people-are-woke-and-on-changing-foreign-names/.

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I’m not the only mixed race person who longs for a space where I can work through my complicated relationship with race free from fear of hurting the cause for racial justice rather than helping.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-17 03:04Z by Steven

I’m not the only mixed race person who longs for a space where I can work through my complicated relationship with race free from fear of hurting the cause for racial justice rather than helping.

Elise Chen, “The quest for racial validity,” The Berkeley Beacon, November 2, 2017. http://www.berkeleybeacon.com/opinion/2017/11/2/the-quest-for-racial-validity.

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After more than 200 years, the census had stopped dictating who people had to be and asked me to define myself.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-17 03:00Z by Steven

For the first time, the 2000 Census offered an option for mixed race that gave the respondent the chance to self-declare the components of his or her own identity. Dozens of racial and ethnic categories were listed for those who wished to check all the boxes of their multicultural, multi-racial, selves, including a box for white, allowing people like me to acknowledge, legally and honorably, both sides of their heritage. After more than 200 years, the census had stopped dictating who people had to be and asked me to define myself.

E. Dolores Johnson, “The Census Always Boxed Us Out,” Narratively, October 30, 2017. http://narrative.ly/census-always-boxed-us/.

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Well-meaning mixed people can also perpetuate the ideology of White supremacy.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-15 02:01Z by Steven

Well-meaning mixed people can also perpetuate the ideology of White supremacy. In 2007, I co-created a podcast exploring mixed identity. Each week, we discussed our and our guests’ responses to the ‘what are you’ question, and other common experiences of mixedness. We had a decent following and published episodes weekly. Then, a dear friend told me that a loyal fan had stopped listening. When I asked why, my friend’s response floored me: “You don’t address Whiteness.” My immediate reaction was defensive: What do you mean!? I acknowledge my mother is White and I’m half White all the time!

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, “Love, Alone, Will Not Dismantle Racism,” Girl Mob, November 13, 2017. http://thegirlmob.com/culture/dismantleracism.

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I believe that the United States shares with Brazil this orientation towards whiteness and away from blackness, though ideologies of racial purity clearly differ. In Brazil, the ideal national color is “moreno” or brown.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-13 01:10Z by Steven

Brazil is both proud of its history promoting miscegenation and racial mixture and deeply ashamed of its status as a “mongrel” nation that lacks the culture, civilization, and modernity associated with racial whiteness. Across Latin America and the Caribbean, individuals, families, and nation-states have long struggled to acquire and display whiteness, harboring both implicit and explicit fears that they will never shed their associations with nonwhiteness, which includes both African and indigenous heredity. Whiteness suggests decorum, respectability, and civilized control. But the presumed lack of racial purity in Brazil – what has been called “virtual whiteness” or the implication that one is “branco por procuração” (white by proxy) – means that one’s whiteness is always vulnerable. I find this racial anxiety productive in suggesting that critical whiteness scholars should question the presumed “normalcy” and stability of whiteness, even in the United States. In particular, I am intrigued by the cultural and linguistic work that people (of different racial backgrounds) do to associate themselves with whiteness, in order to benefit from racial privilege. (Though people like the rappers and rap fans I worked with could also choose to explicitly reject the push for racial whitening or assimilation.) In the book, I examine three social and racial imperatives that uphold Brazilian racial hierarchy: (1) the need to display whiteness, (2) the desire to avoid blackness, and (3) the obligation to remain racially “cordial.” I believe that the United States shares with Brazil this orientation towards whiteness and away from blackness, though ideologies of racial purity clearly differ. In Brazil, the ideal national color is “moreno” or brown. —Jennifer Roth-Gordon

Ilana Gershon, “Jennifer Roth-Gordon on her new book, Race and the Brazilian Body,” CaMP Anthropology, September 4, 2017. https://campanthropology.org/2017/09/04/jennifer-roth-gordon-race-and-the-brazilian-body/.

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Gerald and I want Langston to know where he comes from — so that he can take pride in his culture, his people, his identity.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-13 00:57Z by Steven

Gerald and I want Langston to know where he comes from — so that he can take pride in his culture, his people, his identity. We want him to appreciate that the history of black people does not begin at slavery and end after the civil rights era. We want his Chinese American influences to be more than just a footnote to a largely white and black narrative, more than a mention of Lunar New Year every winter. Home schooling, we thought, could be the answer to many of these concerns.

Tracy Jan, “Worried about racism’s impact on her biracial son, a mother looks at home schooling,” The Washington Post Magazine, November 9, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/worried-about-racisms-impact-on-her-biracial-son-a-mother-looks-at-homeschooling/2017/11/08/09da0baa-b509-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html.

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