In the past, she notes, when white people have been asked to share resources and power, they have not responded “by leveling the field; instead, they have expanded the scope of who is considered white, allowing the racial hierarchy to remain more firmly in place.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-27 17:58Z by Steven

In her new book, “White Identity Politics,” the Duke political scientist Ashley Jardina examines the increasing relevance of white identity in America. Drawing on data from American National Election Studies surveys and her own research, Jardina finds that about thirty to forty per cent of white Americans say that white identity is important to them, and she adds an interesting twist—that this group only partly overlaps with the group of white Americans who hold racist views. According to Jardina’s analysis, about thirty-eight per cent of white people who highly value their white identity are at or below the mean level of racial resentment, while forty-four per cent of white people who say their racial identity is less important are at or above that level. “For those invested in racial equality, this outcome should be of little comfort,” Jardina writes, of white Americans asserting their identity, with or without explicit racial resentment. In the past, she notes, when white people have been asked to share resources and power, they have not responded “by leveling the field; instead, they have expanded the scope of who is considered white, allowing the racial hierarchy to remain more firmly in place.”

Isaac Chotiner, “The Disturbing, Surprisingly Complex Relationship Between White Identity Politics and Racism,” The New Yorker, January 19, 2019. https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/the-disturbing-surprisingly-complex-relationship-between-white-identity-politics-and-racism.

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Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-19 05:35Z by Steven

[Barack] Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug.

Chris Woodyard, “More cities add Barack Obama’s name to landmarks, highways,” USA TODAY, January 13, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/01/13/barack-obama-former-president-african-american-black-naming-renaming-freeway-highway/2539917002/.

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Children born to parents who occupied positions increasingly seen as racially distinct posed political, ideological, and economic problems. Their indeterminacy needed to be fixed.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-06 01:17Z by Steven

Why and how race became the key to enslaveability was a question posed and resolved using myriad strategies across the early modern Atlantic as traders and setters constructed paradigms that enabled the exchange of human commodities and the enslaved constructed paradigms that enabled their response to the New World order. Children born to parents who occupied positions increasingly seen as racially distinct posed political, ideological, and economic problems. Their indeterminacy needed to be fixed. Recall the preamble: “Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman shall be slave or free.” The word doubts names mixed-race children as excess, as both circulating and unregulated, and ultimately as a source of chaos.23 The law imposes order as it both configures those children as property and asserts its right to do so. It also points to a very specific legal case involving Elizabeth Keye (to which I will turn below) that compelled the Virginia legislators to make explicit the implicit logic that regulated the slave markets and the probate courts across Atlantic slave societies. In the context of a nascent colonial setting, then, these reproducing women and their chaotic children were grounds on which claims to sovereign authority rested.

Jennifer L. Morgan, “Partus sequitur ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery,” Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Volume 22, Number 1 (55) (March 3, 2018), 6. https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-4378888.

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The report from the Board delegation concluded, ‘[F]rom information received, through Parents and Citizens … more or less colored children have been smuggled into the schools set apart for the education of white children’ (OPSB, pp. 327-8).

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-05 21:28Z by Steven

‘More or Less Colored Children’

After the OPSB [Orleans Parish School Board] meeting, [William O.] Rogers charged a delegation of Board members to investigate the allegations of race mixing at Bayou Road. He also instructed [Stephanie] Bigot to have each child ‘reputed to be of mixed race’ deliver to their parent or guardian ‘without delay’ written requests for ‘such documentary evidence or testimony of sworn witnesses as will serve to establish the Status, in point of color of said pupil’ (OPSO [Orleans Parish Superintendent’s Office], 1868:298). Without proper documentation, the student would be dismissed promptly from the Bayou Road School (OPSO, 1868:299). Of the twenty-nine students investigated, five had been dismissed. The report from the Board delegation concluded, ‘[F]rom information received, through Parents and Citizens … more or less colored children have been smuggled into the schools set apart for the education of white children’ (OPSB, pp. 327-8). The investigations into the racial and class positions occupied by each of the families in question raised concerns about the dangers of middle-class claims by racial outsiders and the need for rigidly enforced boundaries.

The Daily Picayune noted that two students ‘who bore evidences of African descent’ were, according to both Rogers’ and Bigot’s testimonies, admitted into the school by conventional means: ‘the first upon a certificate of birth in France, and the other at the request of the father, a white citizen of the Second District’ (New Orleans Daily Picayune, 1868, May 22, p. 1). Although each of the girls had been recorded as ‘white’ in the Orleans Parish Register of Births, other records revealed ambiguity about their families’ racial backgrounds (State of Louisiana, n.d.). Both parents of Alice and Anais Meilleur, for example, appeared as ‘white’ in the 1860 census but their father, whose birthplace was listed as France, was identified as ‘mulatto‘ in the 1850 census. These findings, combined with the fact that the fathers of all five girls were employed as white-collar workers,1 confirmed white fears about the threat black social mobility posed to race and class boundaries in light of the postbellum South’s changing social dynamics. Without upper class wealth, the city’s middle-class families relied upon perceived respectability to reproduce social position. Bigot’s carelessness had put their social position at risk by undermining familial claims to racial purity.

Joseph O. Jewell, “Other(ing) People’s Children: Social Mothering, Schooling, and Race in Late Nineteenth Century New Orleans and San Francisco,” Race, Gender & Class, Volume 21 , Number 3-4, (2014). https://www.jstor.org/stable/43496989.

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Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother—Partus Sequitur Ventrem.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-05 20:15Z by Steven

Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman shall be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother—Partus Sequitur Ventrem. And that if any Christian shall commit fornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act.

“Laws of Virginia, 1662 Act XII;” Latin added by William Henig, The Statutes at Large, 1819.

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After more than two centuries of willful collective ignorance about Jefferson and Hemings, it might sound far-fetched to suggest that she ought to be designated a first lady. But our country was populated through precisely this sort of racial mixing — sexual relationships that, it bears repeating, enslaved people such as Hemings did not choose for themselves.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-05 01:57Z by Steven

After more than two centuries of willful collective ignorance about Jefferson and Hemings, it might sound far-fetched to suggest that she ought to be designated a first lady. But our country was populated through precisely this sort of racial mixing — sexual relationships that, it bears repeating, enslaved people such as Hemings did not choose for themselves.

Evelia Jones, “It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States,” The Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2019. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-jones-sally-hemings-first-lady-20190104-story.html.

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Race is an absurdity, having long ago been discredited as a valid biological category and, in the Brown decision, a defensible legal one. Yet as a means of defining and separating people, it retains its power.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-01-05 01:54Z by Steven

Race is an absurdity, having long ago been discredited as a valid biological category and, in the Brown decision, a defensible legal one. Yet as a means of defining and separating people, it retains its power. That power can’t be undone simply by pretending it doesn’t exist, or even by telling African Americans that they should desist from “race-holding” as an excuse or crutch. How do we ignore the power of racialist thinking when we see it exploited by cynical politicians who ignore facts and try to convince white voters—often in coded ways—that their economic woes are largely attributable to blacks and other minorities who are getting more than their share in a zero-sum struggle for economic advancement and opportunities? “We make up selves from a tool kit of options made available by our culture and society,” writes the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah. “We do make choices, but we do not determine the options among which we choose.”4 For my part, I can’t help seeing the ways race played, and continues to play, a role in my life. Yet at the same time, I recognize how a racial identity can be limiting and burdensome, particularly when it is based on, and helps to perpetuate, hoary myths and outright lies.

W. Ralph Eubanks, “What Makes Me Black? What Makes You White?The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture, Volume 20, Number 2 (Summer 2018). https://iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2018_Summer_Eubanks.php.

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It doesn’t matter how dark or fair someone’s skin is or if they grew up in a family that struggled or one of privilege. There is no such thing as being Indigenous enough.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-12-31 04:33Z by Steven

It doesn’t matter how dark or fair someone’s skin is or if they grew up in a family that struggled or one of privilege. There is no such thing as being Indigenous enough.

Charla Huber, “Charla Huber: Every Indigenous person is Indigenous enough,” The Times Colonist, December 30, 2018. https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/charla-huber-every-indigenous-person-is-indigenous-enough-1.23566435.

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“Historically, in the United States, if you had one drop of black blood, you were defined as black. You had various names for people who looked as white as their master, but they were defined as black. I didn’t grow up identifying as black because of that — for me it was more about pride, culture and my parents’ politics.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-12-31 04:29Z by Steven

“Historically, in the United States, if you had one drop of black blood, you were defined as black. You had various names for people who looked as white as their master, but they were defined as black. I didn’t grow up identifying as black because of that — for me it was more about pride, culture and my parents’ politics. But Maria, like me, walks into a room and people don’t see that she’s black. She deals with that as a conflict more than just the fact of being mixed. If you pass as white in the world but know yourself not to be white, you’re privy to all those uncensored comments about black people that other black people sort of in liberal circles are shielded from. You’re constantly aware of this kind of mask falling away.” —Danzy Senna

Eleanor Wachtel, Danzy Senna’s darkly comic take on racial identity, Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel, CBC Radio, June 15, 2018. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/writersandcompany/danzy-senna-s-darkly-comic-take-on-racial-identity-1.4707804.

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Even if hypodescent is no longer enforced, its effects remain. That is, the legacy of the one-drop rule—black pride—is undiminished for many who identify as multiracial even if the rule itself no longer legally dictates how they identify themselves.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-12-27 01:14Z by Steven

The value of black pride cannot be overstated in its role of providing hope, dignity, and political strength to a population that has long existed within a racist white supremacist nation.1 After centuries of American history that have consistently made it difficult to be anything but black (via hypodescent) and made black pride the most effective tool for combating white racism and discrimination, it is understandable why an African American might prefer that those with black ancestry identify themselves similarly. Certainly, racial solidarity is the chief objection to multiracial identity in contemporary discourse about multiracialness. Many commentators argue that multiracialism poses a potential threat to the continued struggles of African Americans by reducing the numbers of African Americans or distracting black multiracials from being wholly committed to African American causes. While this may be a problem in relation to some multiracial individuals (as well as some white multiracial-activist parents), for many Americans who identify as black–white, their multiracial identification does not detract from their black pride or their commitment to black political struggle. Even if hypodescent is no longer enforced, its effects remain. That is, the legacy of the one-drop rule—black pride—is undiminished for many who identify as multiracial even if the rule itself no longer legally dictates how they identify themselves.

Molly Littlewood McKibbin, Shades of Gray: Writing the New American Multiracialism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018), 145.

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