Inside the US Government Agency where Identity Politics Was Born

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-07 02:06Z by Steven

Inside the US Government Agency where Identity Politics Was Born

Quillette
2018-10-23

Michael Gonzalez, Senior Fellow
The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy
The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.

The phrase “grievance studies” recently has entered public discourse thanks to a scandal by three liberal academics who set out to expose the vacuous nature of critical theory, post-colonial studies, queer theory and other sub-disciplines within the social sciences. Mathematician James Lindsay, writer Helen Pluckrose, and Portland State philosophy professor Peter Boghossian spent a year writing fake papers, which they then pitched to journals specializing in these fields. Seven passed peer review and were accepted for publication. As various commentators (including several here at Quillette) have noted, the hoax has shown what many have long suspected—that ivory-tower academics who study in fashionable fields inhabit ideological domains far removed from those of ordinary people.

But while observers have correctly focused on the lessons that may be inferred about high academic culture in the United States, it should be noted that the drifts of the liberal arts into postmodern gibberish has not been an isolated phenomenon. The trend also has its cheerleaders in government, even in Donald Trump’s very own Washington D.C. backyard.

Few Americans have heard of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations (NAC). But when it comes to policymaking, the NAC effectively acts as a support network for grievance studies. Along with bureaucrats in other agencies, and various non-governmental “stakeholder” groups on the left, the NAC has for decades controlled the policy by which demographic data—the seedbed of identity politics—is collected and interpreted.

One ongoing dispute helps explain what the NAC does and why that work is important. In Jan., the Census Bureau (whose director is a presidential appointee) rejected two important changes to the 2020 census that had been proposed by the NAC. The first would have created yet another identity group, this one for Americans whose ancestors originate in the land between Morocco and the Iran-Afghan border, which were to be designated as MENA (for Middle East, North Africa). The second would have elevated another pan-ethnic group, Hispanics, to the status of a category on par with biological races. The NAC has bitterly opposed the Trump Administration’s decision not to go along with these initiatives, but that dispute was largely ignored by the media in the shadow of the much more high-profile issue of whether the census should ask residents whether they are U.S. citizens…

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Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing in Latin America: Brazil and Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2019-01-12 01:55Z by Steven

Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing in Latin America: Brazil and Mexico

Sociologia & Antropologia
Volume 8, Number 2: (May/August 2018)
pages 427-456
DOI: 10.1590/2238-38752017v824

Graziella Moraes Silva, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
Geneva, Switzerland; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Emiko Saldivar, Continuing Lecturer
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Barbara

By the end of the twentieth century, with the rise of multicultural discourses and identity politics, Latin American ideologies of racial mixture had become increasingly denounced as myths that conceal (and thus support) the reproduction of racial inequalities. These studies have largely been guided by comparisons between countries with widespread racial mixing (usually Brazil, Mexico or Colombia) and countries in which it was less encouraged and visible (most commonly, the USA). In this paper we move the focus to the diverse ways in which racial mixture currently impacts racial formations in the Latin America, looking initially at Brazil and Mexico, two of the largest countries in the region, and also those with the largest Afro-descendent and indigenous populations in the continent. For comparison, we analyze survey data from the PERLA project.

INTRODUCTION

Academic interpretations of racial mixing in Latin America, particularly in the North American literature, underwent a radical change during the second half of the twentieth century.1 After World War II, ‘Latin American miscegenation’ was seen as an alternative to ethnic and racial exclusions that had triggered the Jewish holocaust and had been a source of violent conflicts in the United States during the Jim Crow era and in South African apartheid during the 1950s and 1960s. But by the end of the twentieth century, with the rise of multicultural discourses and identity politics, Latin American ideologies of racial mixture became increasingly denounced as myths that conceal (and thus support) the reproduction of racial inequalities (e.g. De la Cadena, 2000; Hanchard, 1994).

These studies have largely been guided by comparisons between countries with widespread racial mixing (usually Brazil, Mexico or Colombia) and countries in which it was less encouraged and visible (most commonly, the USA). Such comparisons have largely contributed to a better understanding of miscegenation as an ideology that allowed racial inequalities to remain more invisible in the Latin American context throughout most of the twentieth century (e.g. Telles, 2003 and Knight, 1990). More recently, a number of authors have also stressed the influence of Latin American ideas of miscegenation in the transformation of racial inequalities in the United States, a phenomenon that has been labeled the Latin Americanization of American race relations (e.g. Bonilla-Silva, 2004). Exploring this comparison, these studies have usually treated racial mixture as a coherent ideology shared across the region.

In this paper we propose to shift the focus onto the diverse ways in which racial mixture currently impacts racial formations in the region. Empirically, we turn our gaze to Brazil and Mexico, two of the largest countries in Latin America, and also those with the largest Afro-descendant and indigenous populations in the continent. As in most countries in the region, ideologies of racial mixture were instrumental to the construction of their national identity: first as a strategy for whitening (Stepan, 1991) and later as tools for assimilation (e.g. Freyre, 1946, and Gamio, 2010). Today, ideas of racial mixing remain central in both Brazil and Mexico, but racial politics are significantly different. Brazil has increasingly seen black (pretos) and brown (pardos) people join forces to address racial inequalities, arguing that mixed pardos are in similar conditions to blacks. Mexico, by contrast, still advocates the benefits of racial mixture, avoiding the discussion of race and racial inequalities on the grounds that most of the population is mixed.

Our paper unfolds as follows: first we explore the role of racial mixing in the nation building processes in Brazil and Mexico. We emphasize the similarities in the ways in which this idea has been articulated in the two countries historically, but also the important differences, something often overlooked in the literature. Next, turning to PERLA data (presented in our methods section), we discuss how these differences have created distinct perceptions of racial identification in Brazil and Mexico, focusing on three dimensions: (1) the relationship between racial identification and skin color, (2) the relationship between racial mixture and cultural differences, and (3) the impact of racial mixture on ethnoracial inequalities.2 We conclude by stressing the need for more comparative studies between Latin American countries in order to better understand the diversity of mestizaje projects and their differential impacts in the region…

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Mixed-race couples, residential mobility, and neighborhood poverty

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-12-29 02:19Z by Steven

Mixed-race couples, residential mobility, and neighborhood poverty

Social Science Research
Volume 73, July 2018
pages 146-162
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.03.007

Ryan Gabriel, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Despite substantial growth in mixed-race coupling, we know little about their association with neighborhood poverty. To address this gap, I utilize data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics linked to information from four censuses. With these data, I assess the extent to which mixed-race couples are more likely than monoracial couples to migrate in response to higher percentages of neighborhood poverty; and, once they move, I examine the percentage poverty in their destination neighborhoods. I find that most mixed-race couples are similar to white couples in their out-mobility responses to neighborhood poverty. However, when mixed-race couples with black partners migrate they tend to move to neighborhoods with higher poverty concentrations than couples without a black partner. Mixed-race couples without black partners experience similar percentages of poverty in their destination neighborhoods as whites, providing further evidence of the profound impact of black race on residential stratification.

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Las Vegas has second-highest rate of interracial marriage in US

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2018-12-29 02:14Z by Steven

Las Vegas has second-highest rate of interracial marriage in US

Las Vegas Review-Journal
2018-12-25

Michael Scott Davidson

Wife and husband Christie Faux, 63, left, and Kurt Faux, 61, sit together on a couch in their home in Henderson, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Wife and husband Christie Faux, 63, left, and Kurt Faux, 61, sit together on a couch in their home in Henderson, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal

She was raised in Silicon Valley, the black daughter of two well-paid IBM employees. He was a white child who lived with his mother and grandmother in Las Vegas — some days not having enough money to eat — before moving back to a rural West Virginia county to finish high school.

Despite such different backgrounds, Erica Kyles and Kevin Pauley felt an immediate connection when a mutual friend introduced them at a Henderson gym in 2007.

“We went on a date, and that was it,” said Erica, 39, referring to the couple’s marriage at a Las Vegas Strip resort in March 2010. “We were really inseparable ever since.”

Erica and Kevin, now living in a southwest Las Vegas Valley suburb, are far from alone in their decision to wed. The Las Vegas metropolitan area has the second-highest rate of interracial marriage among U.S. metro areas, according to Pew Research Center findings published last year.

Almost 1 in 3 newlyweds here have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, according to the analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from 2011 through 2015. Only the Honolulu metro area ranked higher.

“Generally, intermarriage rates tend to be higher in places with more racial and ethnic diversity. Both Honolulu and Las Vegas would fall into that category,” Pew senior researcher Gretchen Livingston said. “The pool of potential spouses is just much more diverse.”…

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From Color Line to Color Chart: Racism and Colorism in the New Century

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2018-11-16 04:28Z by Steven

From Color Line to Color Chart: Racism and Colorism in the New Century

Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy
Volume 10, Issue 1 (January 2008)
pages 52-69
DOI: 10.15779/Z380C9X

Angela P. Harris, Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Davis

When my sister graduated from college in the mid-1980s with a degree in musical theater she moved to Chicago with her new husband in search of work in television commercials and the performing arts. To her frustration and dismay, however, despite her good looks, acting ability, and musical talent, she was rejected in audition after audition. Getting rejected for arbitrary reasons or for no reason, of course, is just life in the entertainment industry. After a while, though, my sister began to hear some repetition in the rejections she received. “You don’t look black enough,” is the apology she would get.

My sister is very fair-skinned, with hair that streaks blonde in the summer. Yet, at least to discerning eyes, she can’t “pass” for white: her features, her creamy skin, and her “African booty” distinguish her from the Scandinavian descent blondes that populate beer commercials and musical revues. For casting directors, then, she fell into a limbo: too white to play black, but too black to play white.

Today, my sister has a recurring role on a children’s television show (she’s Prudence the Musical Genie on “Jack’s Big Show,” produced by Nickelodeon, if you want to see her), and fortunes are changing not just for her but for many women and men in the performing arts who “read” as racially ambiguous, or racially “mixed.” To put it bluntly, the ambiguous/mixed look is now “hot.” Celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Mariah Carey, and The Rock discuss their mixed background with pride;’ television, catalog, magazine, and newspaper advertising is full of adorable light-brown children with flowing locks that are not quite nappy, not quite straight; and mixed-race.

Politician Barack Obama finds himself able to appeal to both white and African-American audiences. A recent essay predicts that in the future the most desirable aesthetic both in the United States and in Latin America will not be to look “white,” but to look café con crema.

Not only the aesthetics but the ideologies of race are undergoing a shift. Tanya Hernandez, who writes in the field of comparative race and racism, argues that the United States is poised to adopt the “multiracial matrix” that characterizes state and civil society in Cuba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. Hernandez describes this matrix as composed of four beliefs:

(1) [R]acial mixture and diverse racial demography will resolve racial problems by transcending race; (2) fluid racial identity is an indicator of a form of racial progress that deconstructs the stability of racial categories and thereby brings society closer to a colorblind utopia; (3) racism is solely a phenomenon of aberrant racist individuals who inappropriately express their prejudice; and (4) discussing race or focusing on race is itself racist because it disrupts the harmony of race neutrality.

Judging from these indicators, perhaps the dream of finally achieving racial harmony through racial intermixing is about to become real. Hernandez and some other scholars, however, are worried rather than pleased about the emergence of the multiracial matrix. Some worry that despite the emergence of an anti-race public discourse, racism has not disappeared, but instead has retreated into individual cognitive processing systems, where it is inaccessible to legal intent tests (and, often, the individual’s own conscious mind), yet continues to shape the life chances of persons according to race. In this view, what is disappearing is not racism but rather our ability to talk about it. Others argue that in the new millennium traditional racism is indeed disappearing, but only to be slowly supplanted by colorism, in which the color of a person’s skin will take on more importance in determining how she is treated by others than her ancestry. In this Article, I speculate about the implications of this second possibility.

In Part I, I survey the critical race theory literature addressing colorism. This literature has examined how colorism fits (or doesn’t fit) into the existing apparatus of anti-discrimination law in the United States, and – as in Hernandez’s work – the relationship between colorism in the United States and in other countries. In Part II, I draw on a different strand of critical race theory literature to argue that the work of the performativity school offers a way to conceptually link colorism to more familiar forms of racism. In Part III, I speculate about the possible effects on society and anti-discrimination law of a drift away from ancestry as an important component of assigned race and towards a greater focus on color…

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Generational change and how we conceptualize and measure multiracial people and “mixture”

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-11-01 01:59Z by Steven

Generational change and how we conceptualize and measure multiracial people and “mixture”

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 40, 2017 – Issue 13
pages 2333-2339
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1344273

Miri Song, Director of Research
University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom

Until relatively recently, in countries such as the U.S.A. and U.K., individuals could only opt for “single race” categories with which they identified. However, in the 2000 decennial census, respondents in the U.S. were able to choose more than one racial category, while in 2001, a “Mixed” box (with further subcategories) was provided in the England and Wales census for the first time. But the very success of this racial project in these countries has spawned a number of questions for policy-makers and academics who theorize, enumerate and study the experiences of multiracial people. With demographic changes such as generational change, who counts as multiracial or mixed race? This question has yet to receive significant attention. Although mixing is becoming more commonplace, the question of who counts as multiracial is far from straightforward, especially as we look down the generational pipeline.

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Color Crit: Critical Race Theory and the History and Future of Colorism in the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-10-24 23:49Z by Steven

Color Crit: Critical Race Theory and the History and Future of Colorism in the United States

Journal of Black Studies
First Published 2018-10-16
23 pages
DOI: 10.1177/0021934718803735

Robert L. Reece, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Texas, Austin

Critical race theory teaches that racism and racial inequality are constants in American society that stand outside of the prejudices of individuals. It argues that structures and institutions are primarily responsible for the maintenance of racial inequality. However, critical race theorists have neglected to formally examine and theorize colorism, a primary offshoot of racial domination. Although studies of colorism have become increasingly common, they lack a unifying theoretical framework, opting to lean on ideas about prejudice and preference to explain the advantages lighter skinned, Black Americans are afforded relative to darker skinned Black Americans. In this study, I deploy a critical race framework to push back against preference as the only, or primary, mechanism facilitating skin tone stratification. Instead, I use historical Census data and regression analysis to explore the historical role of color-based marriage selection on concentrating economic advantage among lighter skinned Black Americans. I then discuss the policy and legal implications of developing a structural view of colorism and skin tone stratification in the United States and the broader implications for how we conceptualize race in this country.

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The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-14 01:26Z by Steven

The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics

Verso Books
September 2018
368 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781784783198
eBook ISBN: 9781784783204

Ed Morales, Adjunct Professor
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University, New York, New York

Latinx-1050

Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is the gender-neutral term that covers one of the largest and fastest growing minorities in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the country. Over 58 million Americans belong to the category, including a sizable part of the country’s working class, both foreign and native-born. Their political empowerment is altering the balance of forces in a growing number of states. And yet Latinx barely figure in America’s ongoing conversation about race and ethnicity. Remarkably, the US census does not even have a racial category for “Latino.”

In this groundbreaking discussion, Ed Morales explains how Latinx political identities are tied to a long Latin American history of mestizaje—“mixedness” or “hybridity”—and that this border thinking is both a key to understanding bilingual, bicultural Latin cultures and politics and a challenge to America’s infamously black–white racial regime. This searching and long-overdue exploration of the meaning of race in American life reimagines Cornel West’s bestselling Race Matters with a unique Latinx inflection.

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Shifting Racial Subjectivities and Ideologies in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2018-10-08 05:24Z by Steven

Shifting Racial Subjectivities and Ideologies in Brazil

Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World
First Published 2018-09-20
12 pages
DOI: 10.1177/2378023118797550

Stanley R. Bailey, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

Fabrício M. Fialho, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre de Recherches Internationales, Sciences Po Paris, France

Census ethnoracial categories often reflect national ideologies and attendant subjectivities. Nonetheless, Brazilians frequently prefer the non-census terms moreno (brown) and negro (black), and both are core to antithetical ideologies: racial ambiguity versus racial affirmation. Their use may be in flux as Brazil recently adopted unprecedented race-targeted public policy. We examine propensities to self-classify as moreno and negro before and after the policy shift. Using regression modeling on national survey data from 1995 and 2008 that captured self-classification in open and closed formats, we find moreno is highly salient but increasingly constricted, while negro is restricted in use, though increasingly popular. Negro’s growth is mostly confined to the darker pole of Brazil’s color continuum. Education correlates in opposing directions: negative with moreno and positive with negro. Our findings proxy broad ideological shift from racial ambiguity to negro racial affirmation. They suggest race-targeted policy is transforming racial subjectivities and ideologies in Brazil.

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Naomi Osaka, a New Governor and Me

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive on 2018-10-08 03:48Z by Steven

Naomi Osaka, a New Governor and Me

The New York Times
2018-10-06

Motoko Rich, Tokyo Bureau Chief


The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun printed a special edition when Naomi Osaka won the United States Open tennis championship in September. Yomiuri Shimbun, via Associated Press

Is Japan becoming more welcoming to mixed-race people?

TOKYO — Just over 40 years ago, when my family moved from California to Tokyo, the fact that my mother was Japanese did not stop schoolchildren from pointing at me and yelling “Gaijin!” — the Japanese word for foreigner — as I walked down the street.

After seeing my red-haired, blue-eyed father, a shopkeeper in the suburb where we lived asked my mother what it was like to work as a nanny in the American’s house.

When we moved back to California two years later, I entered fourth grade and suddenly, I was the Asian kid. “Ching chong chang chong ching!” boys chanted on the playground, tugging at the corners of their eyes. Classmates scrunched their noses at the onigiri — rice balls wrapped in dried seaweed — that my mother packed in my lunch bag. When our teacher mentioned Japan during a social studies lesson, every head in the class swiveled to stare at me.

Now, back in Tokyo as a foreign correspondent for this newspaper, I am no longer pointed at by people on the street. But I am incontrovertibly regarded as a foreigner. When I hand over my business card, people look at my face and then ask in confusion how I got my first name. My Japanese-ness, it seems, barely registers.

In the past few weeks, covering local reaction to the tennis champion Naomi Osaka, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian-American father, and Denny Tamaki, who is the son of a Japanese mother and a white American Marine and was elected governor of Okinawa last weekend, I have wondered whether Japanese attitudes toward identity are slowly starting to accommodate those of us with mixed heritages…

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