As a key figure of national and transnational desire, the mulata was famed for her corporal functions—sex and dance. Beginning in the 1970s, Brazilian governmental tourism agencies utilized the image of the sexually available mulata for the promotion of Brazil as a tourist destination.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-07-12 18:02Z by Steven

As a key figure of national and transnational desire, the mulata was famed for her corporal functions—sex and dance. Beginning in the 1970s, Brazilian governmental tourism agencies utilized the image of the sexually available mulata for the promotion of Brazil as a tourist destination. From the 1970s to the 1990s, white Rio de Janeiro businessman Oswaldo Sargentelli, a self-described mulatólogo (mulata expert), presented samba spectacles of scantily clad dancing women to the Brazilian elite and tourists alike. With the branding of brasilidade as a sexual paradise of mulatas, the archetype of the sensual sexually available mulata who dances with abandon became a thematic fixture memorialized in popular Brazilian cultural politics and in the international imagination.

Jasmine Mitchell, “Sensual Not Beautiful: The Mulata as Erotic Spectacle,” ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, Spring 2017. https://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/sensual-not-beautiful.

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“You’re not white enough; you’re not black enough. You’re kind of that gray-area kid, and I think that’s one of the hardest spots to be in,” Cloud said. “Kids are brutal, and if you don’t fit in, where do you go?”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-06-25 01:29Z by Steven

[Natasha] Cloud was just “Tash” at home, but she couldn’t find her place at school.

“You’re not white enough; you’re not black enough. You’re kind of that gray-area kid, and I think that’s one of the hardest spots to be in,” Cloud said. “Kids are brutal, and if you don’t fit in, where do you go?”

Basketball helped. Cloud eventually started thinking of herself as a black woman, helped along by the realization that when the outside world looks at her, they don’t see a woman raised by two white parents or even a biracial person.

Ava Wallace, “‘Why am I different?’ Behind this WNBA player’s activism was a search for the answer.The Washington Post, June 22, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/06/19/wnba-player-natasha-cloud-speaks-out-gun-violence-after-finding-her-voice.

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“The notion that to see myself is to see a mixed race, heterosexual, endomorphic contemporary, I think really reduces what the self is.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-06-06 19:59Z by Steven

Otis Houston: You agree that it’s important for people to see a black family in the White House, if only to demonstrate that it’s possible. Is it also important for black children to be able to see people who look like them on television, or in movies, or even in television commercials? Is there an importance in people, whatever their background, seeing folks who superficially resemble them included in mainstream media?

Thomas Chatterton Williams: Yeah, there probably is. I’m sure that there is. But one thing that often gets lost in a lot of these debates is that black people have only ever been around 12 percent of the population. So it doesn’t really bother me or my sense of myself if I don’t always see myself. Also — getting back to my own obtuseness or naïveté — I saw myself in Crime and Punishment in a way that I did with very few novels in which the protagonist resembled me and my American contemporary social identity. I saw myself in The Brothers Karamazov. I saw myself in the novels of Roberto Bolaño, and in Borges’s Ficciones set in Buenos Aires. The self is really something that I don’t think can be boiled down to physical appearance, necessarily, or to gender, to epoch, to time or era, to language. The notion that to see myself is to see a mixed race, heterosexual, endomorphic contemporary, I think really reduces what the self is.

I never saw myself more clearly than in the novels of Dostoyevsky when I was in college. No one has ever spoken more to my sense of myself. And I can see myself in Batman. I relate to Bruce Wayne more than I do to the Black Panther, if we have to go into comic books. I don’t want to be glib about it — I understand why a young boy or young girl needing some self-esteem, a young girl seeing Wonder Woman … I get it. But I think we really should not go too far with it, or we risk restricting the self too severely. The self is a multitudinous thing, right?

Otis Houston, “The Singular Power of Writing: A Conversation with Thomas Chatterton Williams,” Los Angeles Review of Books, April 12, 2019. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-singular-power-of-writing-a-conversation-with-thomas-chatterton-williams.

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I grew up, though, and began finding power in being mixed race, and learning to claim both my AAPI upbringing (most of my friends were Asian-American) with the truth of both cultures.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-06-04 20:13Z by Steven

I grew up, though, and began finding power in being mixed race, and learning to claim both my AAPI upbringing (most of my friends were Asian-American) with the truth of both cultures. I learned Spanish and danced Tinikling. While I still got the looks and the questions, knowing that I wasn’t alone in my responses and frustrations made it more bearable.

Christina Torres, “The Seeker of Stories,” Christina Torres: Teacher. Runner. Writer., May 23, 2019. https://christinatorres.org/2019/05/23/the-seeker-of-stories/.

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There is good reason to expect that in the United States today individuals who identify as multiracial experience negative treatment. Multiracial individuals report encountering discrimination and microaggressive behaviors such as racial exclusion and marginalization, exoticization, invalidation of their racial identities, and racial essentialization.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-06-02 01:59Z by Steven

There is good reason to expect that in the United States today individuals who identify as multiracial experience negative treatment. Multiracial individuals report encountering discrimination and microaggressive behaviors such as racial exclusion and marginalization, exoticization, invalidation of their racial identities, and racial essentialization.2 These behaviors are in part a result of the kinds of racism that all groups of color face, and in part products of monoracism, a system which privileges single-race categories over racial mixing.3 This system leads to the systematic exclusion and reduction of multiracial identities. For example, during much of the history of the United States, the “one-drop rule” (the idea that every person with any black ancestry was to be identified as only black) was both a social and a legal principle that was heavily enforced.”4

Monoracism and the discriminatory and microaggressive behavior it produces continue to affect multiracial individuals today. For example, there have been numerous cases of workplace racial discrimination presented to courts by multiracial plaintiffs alleging the violation of Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.5 A common type of microaggressive behavior found in many of the court cases was racial essentialization; individuals were assigned to a single, monoracial group by others despite their multiracial background.6 For example, multiracial individuals with a black parent are typically described and treated as if they are solely African American.7 Even the courts themselves generally describe multiracial people with any black ancestry as simply black. Many scholars who are supporters of the “Personal Identity Equality” approach have critiqued this pattern, arguing that the “misrecognition of one’s identity” is a form of “social subordination,”8 although it is not against the law to refuse to acknowledge the racial identity that a person claims.

Mary E. Campbell and Sylvia M. Emmanuel, “On The Edge: Multiracial Groups and Public Policies,” in How Public Policy Impacts Racial Inequality, Josh Grimm and Jaime Loke eds. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019), 96.

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Yet government’s ambivalence towards the “brown babies” remained. The children were not white and therefore not truly “British”, since Britishness assumed whiteness.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-05-25 02:37Z by Steven

Yet government’s ambivalence towards the “brown babies” remained. The children were not white and therefore not truly “British”, since Britishness assumed whiteness. In addition, a mixed-race GI baby stood out as a visual marker of the black soldier having indeed, as the comedian Tommy Trinder was well-known for quipping, been “over-paid, over-fed, over-sexed and over-here”.

Lucy Bland, Thousands of mixed-race British babies were born in World War II – and adoption by their black American fathers was blocked, The Conversation, May 16, 2019. https://theconversation.com/thousands-of-mixed-race-british-babies-were-born-in-world-war-ii-and-adoption-by-their-black-american-fathers-was-blocked-116790.

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In fact, the idea that all of humanity can be divided into four or five (or however many) racial groups is relatively new. Ancient Greeks, for example, never thought of themselves as “white.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-05-15 21:38Z by Steven

In fact, the idea that all of humanity can be divided into four or five (or however many) racial groups is relatively new. Ancient Greeks, for example, never thought of themselves as “white.” As Tim Whitmarsh noted in Aeon in 2018, “Greeks simply didn’t think of the world as starkly divided along racial lines into black and white: that’s a strange aberration of the modern, Western world, a product of many different historical forces, but in particular the transatlantic slave trade and the cruder aspects of 19th-century racial theory.”

Peter G. Prontzos, “The Concept of “Race” Is a Lie,” Scientific American, May 14, 2019. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-concept-of-race-is-a-lie/.

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“My book looks at societal representations of the mixed-race character as ‘insane,’ ‘tragic’ and ‘torn between two worlds,’” Hodges Persley said. “But if you dig deeper, that’s not necessarily the case.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-05-14 15:40Z by Steven

“My book [Not Tragic: Fredi Washington and the Improvisation of Radical Black Performance Traditions] looks at societal representations of the mixed-race character as ‘insane,’ ‘tragic’ and ‘torn between two worlds,’” [Nicole] Hodges Persley said. “But if you dig deeper, that’s not necessarily the case. [Adrienne] Kennedy says it’s not necessarily the mixing of two races that produces psychosis but the predominant narrative of whiteness that people of color are forced to consume, but that they can never fulfill; they can never live up to it. She asks why blackness is portrayed as evil and not seen for its positive contributions to the world.”

Rick Hellman, “‘Funnyhouse of a Negro’ gets under character’s skin,” KU Today, May 1, 2019. https://today.ku.edu/2019/04/30/funnyhouse-negro-gets-under-characters-skin.

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“In France, we have a very different relationship in terms of defining blackness. I’m not called black — I’m called a Frenchwoman.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-05-13 15:45Z by Steven

[Mati] Diop’s father (jazz musician Wasis Diop) is from Senegal and her mother is French. Diop was born and raised in Paris, although she visited Senegal often as a child. In France, we have a very different relationship in terms of defining blackness. Im not called black — I’m called a Frenchwoman, she says. “But I have noticed that in America, as soon as you have a little — even 10 or 20 percent of blackness — you become black. Being black is not something I think about every day when I wake up. I don’t think of myself as white or as black. I just think about me as me.”

Meet the First Black Female Director in the Cannes Competition, The Hollywood Reporter, May 9, 2019. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mati-diop-being-first-black-female-director-cannes-lineup-1208189.

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Still, over the years, and in my own experience, most light-skinned black and mixed folks I know would rather identify as black and proudly claim our heritage and legacy than pass for white, or even mention the whiteness part.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-05-12 17:46Z by Steven

Still, over the years, and in my own experience, most light-skinned black and mixed folks I know would rather identify as black and proudly claim our heritage and legacy than pass for white, or even mention the whiteness part. Because it’s the whiteness part that gave this country white sheets and pointy hoods, that put an unrecognizably maimed Emmett Till in an open coffin. It’s what made Margaret Garner slit her child’s throat rather than return her to slavery. Whiteness is what gave us Donald Trump, and all the free-wheeling privilege and arrogance of average white men the world over.

Rebecca Carroll, “What The Reaction To The Royal Baby Says About Racial Identity And Racism,” Gothamist, March 10, 2019. http://gothamist.com/2019/05/10/royal_baby_race_obsession.php.

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