Visibly white but legally designated as black, my mother did what the 1924 Virginia state law, the Act to Preserve Racial Integrity, was determined to prevent.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-10-08 03:45Z by Steven

Visibly white but legally designated as black, my mother did what the 1924 Virginia state law, the Act to Preserve Racial Integrity, was determined to prevent. In an effort to preserve the “purity” of the white race, this law enshrined the one-drop rule, legally designating anyone with even one drop of African blood as black. A eugenicist at the time expressed the fear emblazoned in the law: “Many thousands of white Negros … were quietly and persistently passing over the line.” My mother was one of them.

Gail Lukasik, “My mother passed for white for most of her life. Here’s what that taught me about racial identity.Mic, September 12, 2017. https://mic.com/articles/184393/my-mother-passed-for-white-for-most-of-her-life-heres-what-that-taught-me-about-racial-identity.

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Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-09-08 02:45Z by Steven

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The First White President,” The Atlantic, October 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/.

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We should abandon attempts to save the category of race. There is no good way to make sense of the category from a biological or a social perspective.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-09-08 02:37Z by Steven

We should abandon attempts to save the category of race. There is no good way to make sense of the category from a biological or a social perspective. There are no races, only groups misunderstood as races: racialised groups.

Adam Hochman, “Racism is real, race is not: a philosopher’s perspective,” The Conversation, August 31, 2017. https://theconversation.com/racism-is-real-race-is-not-a-philosophers-perspective-82504.

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I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-08-17 04:22Z by Steven

“I’m white-passing. I’ve accepted that about myself and have never tried to control anything about black culture that’s not mine. I’m proud to be in a biracial family, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of my hair. One of my big jokes a long time ago was “I look white, but I still have white boys in my life asking me why my nipples are brown.” Every now and then I experience these racial blips. I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman. So it’s been weird navigating that. When I was growing up I didn’t know if I was supposed to love TLC or Britney.” —Halsey (Ashley Nicolette Frangipane)

Rebecca Haithcoat, “Halsey Covers Our Music Issue—and Proves No Topic is Off-limits,” Playboy, August 15, 2017. http://www.playboy.com/articles/20q-halsey.

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“My body is not a race.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-08-17 04:17Z by Steven

[Brian] Bantum explains his understanding of race as “the structure of death, the dehumanizing and de-creating word a people sought to speak over the world, and violently succeeded. Race is what overshadows the world, conceiving our bodies and their differences as something to be perpetually overcome.” He later writes, “My body is not a race.”

La Reine-Marie Mosely, “Race and sovereignty, a story of the body,” National Catholic Reporter, May 3, 2017. https://www.ncronline.org/books/2017/08/race-and-sovereignty-story-body.

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Felton is in many ways a historical hiccup, a throwback to a bygone racial trope: the “tragic mulatto” of books like Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson” and William Faulkner’s “Light in August.” Like so many terrorists, he was a man at war not just with the government but with history itself.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-08-16 02:10Z by Steven

[Leo] Felton’s subterranean journey into whiteness came during a historical moment in which many Americans, particularly those of his generation, were redefining their races in a very different way from the way Felton did: identifying themselves, in growing numbers, as multiracial. Multiracial activism flourished during the 90’s, with marches in Washington, magazines dedicated to interracial couples and a successful lobbying effort to include more complicated definitions of race on the 2000 Census form. (Seven million Americans ultimately chose to identify themselves by more than one race in that census.) Felton is in many ways a historical hiccup, a throwback to a bygone racial trope: the “tragic mulatto” of books like Mark Twain’sPudd’nhead Wilson” and William Faulkner’sLight in August.” Like so many terrorists, he was a man at war not just with the government but with history itself.

Paul Tough, “The Black Supremacist,” The New York Times Magazine, May 25, 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/25/magazine/the-black-supremacist.html.

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The main motive for the legislation was to prevent mixed marriages, which would lead to the birth of mixed-race children and “racial pollution.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-08-15 19:09Z by Steven

Based on a long series of modern studies, [James Q.] 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.

Oded Heilbronner, “Racism Comes Full Circle: America as the Harbinger of the Nazis’ Race Laws,” Haaretz, August 15, 2017. http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.806835.

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I understand the challenge of overcoming colorism. It. Is. EVERYWHERE in our culture.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-07-30 17:38Z by Steven

I understand the challenge of overcoming colorism. It. Is. EVERYWHERE in our culture. From the time we are children, we are praised or tutted at simply because of our physical features. He’s light skinned, you’ll have such cute babies, or, your daughter is so pretty, but she’s so dark. I spent many a night in the shower, scrubbing myself furiously with my mother’s skin whitening soap, willing it to make me a little lighter, my eyes a little greener, my hair a little more blonde and straight.

Yesenia Padilla, “Colorism in Latinx Communities,” The Lumen Blog, July 16, 2015. http://www.lumenmag.net/blog/colorism-in-latinx-communities.

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Minnie said William should show more respect for his race and reminded him that his mother was a black woman. His response was to punch her. Judge Berka sentenced him to 30 days in jail.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-07-24 00:38Z by Steven

Minnie [Bradley] returned to Omaha in 1904 and made two more appearances in police court before Judge Berka. The first, in March 1904, was as witness against a man named William Warwick, who was accused of assaulting her. The two had gotten into a heated argument when he bragged to her that, due to his light complexion, he often passed as a white man during his travels out west. He also mentioned that he had been in the company of two white women the previous evening. Minnie said William should show more respect for his race and reminded him that his mother was a black woman. His response was to punch her. Judge Berka sentenced him to 30 days in jail.

Shayne Davidson, “Angry in Omaha,” Captured and Exposed: Vintage Photography & True Crime Stories, June 8, 2017. https://capturedandexposed.com/2017/06/08/angry-in-omaha/.

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“I’ve been privy to a lot of racism and conversations in rooms where I unintentionally disappeared into whiteness…”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-07-21 19:27Z by Steven

“So for me, I’m not so much writing about race as I am writing about America. And to me, the American story is one of race, money and class. We do live in a racialized world, and I’ve spent my whole life in this space. I find it strange when writers don’t address it. I’m almost always assumed to be white. I’ve been privy to a lot of racism and conversations in rooms where I unintentionally disappeared into whiteness. I think there were periods when it was a struggle. But I’m at a place in my life when I’m very clear on who I am, my own story and who I come from.” —Danzy Senna

Donna Owens, “NBCBLK Summer Book Club: ‘New People’ by Danzy Senna,” NBC News, July 14, 2017. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/blk-summer-book-club-new-people-danzy-senna-n782806.

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