Interracialism: Biracials Learning About African-American Culture (B.L.A.A.C.)

Posted in History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2020-09-12 00:51Z by Steven

Interracialism: Biracials Learning About African-American Culture (B.L.A.A.C.)

YouTube
2020-04-09

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky, Associate Professor of Professor of Africana Studies and History
State University of New York, Stony Brook

‘Interracialism: Biracials Learning About African American Culture (B.L.A.A.C.)’ with Dr. Zebulon Miletsky. February 19th 4:00PM-5:30PM Melville Library, Central Reading Room, Stony Brook University.

A discussion of #interracialism and #interracialmarriage, and the phenomenon of “#antiblackness”—identity and #mixedrace in the 21st century, and the possible stakes for those who identify as multiracial and biracial—in these politically divided times.

Watch the video (01:08:02) here.

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Suddenly a Person of Color [Plötzlich Person of Color]

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2020-08-26 00:50Z by Steven

Suddenly a Person of Color [Plötzlich Person of Color]

Die Zeit
Hamburg, Germany
2020-08-14

Von Fernanda Thome de Souza

Graciously translated from German into English for me by Gyavira Lasana and his wife Anne.


Ein Leben in Abhängigkeit von der Beurteilung der eigenen Hautfarbe: in Brasilien Subjekt, in Deutschland Objekt © . liane ./​unsplash.com

In Brazil, I was white and privileged, but in Germany I was not white enough. That told me a lot about racism and social participation.

Fernanda Thome de Souza, born in Sao Paulo, has lived in Berlin since 2008, working as a freelance writer, journalist and copywriter. She is a guest author of “10 to 8.” © private

In my first months in Berlin, when I was in the city, I was busy reading subway plans, translating social codes and discovering new landscapes. So I didn’t immediately notice that there was something particularly uncomfortable for me behind the differences and the new.

At some point, in the subway, in the supermarket, at work, I began to feel a disturbing look at my body, burdened with a reproach I had never experienced before. To this day, this gaze, which is determined in transmitting its message, accompanies me. He draws a clear line: that of the territory to which he belongs, where I am read as a stranger, the one that comes from outside.

My skin is dark, my eyebrows are thick, my hair is black and curled. Where I was born, in Brazil, I am white. A fact that is often difficult for Germans to understand. In Berlin I discovered myself as a Person of Color. This process did not happen overnight, but it definitely began with the perception of this depifting gaze.

While, as white people in Brazil, I have the legitimacy to occupy spaces – whether public, academic, professional, or cultural – as a matter of course, my presence here is called into question. While I live in Brazil the privilege of neutrality (I am the center, the “normal”, the subject), in Germany the equation has reversed. Because of my appearance, I was transformed into “the other”, an object of the edge, prone to the arbitrariness of the German white gaze.

I have been living with this ambiguity for twelve years. That, of course, changed me. Oscillating between different sides of social geographies, even from a safe place, has forced me to look beyond my horizons and question my own role. I have started to talk to other Brazilians living in a similar situation in Berlin. I wanted to know if it was just me. What is whiteness in Brazil? Why do we in Germany stop being white? How can the complex backgrounds be described? What have we learned and how has it changed our self-image and our relationship with the society to which we belong?

Legacy of European Colonialism

Brazil is an extremely racist country – a legacy of centuries-old European colonialism. After the abolition of slavery, at the beginning of the 20th century, a group of Brazilian intellectuals was first engaged in formulating the self-image of the young Republic of Brazil. Based on ethnic mixing, the theory of a supposed harmony between the different groups was developed.

Notwithstanding the fact that this ethnic mix-up was caused by the rape of black and indigenous women by white men, the idea served as evidence that there was no racism in Brazil and that in this tropical paradise, everyone, regardless of color or origin, would have equal opportunities. The notorious myth of so-called racial democracy was thus born and disseminated. For decades, racism has been kept out of debate and public policy, and has increasingly become established in all areas of social structure.

Today, the statistics show the brutal ethnic inequality in the country. While the indigenous population has been almost wiped out and now accounts for only 0.4 percent of total society, blacks – just over half of the total population – are systematically oppressed. Seventy-five percent of those killed by the police, 64 percent of the prison inmates and 75 percent of the poorest are black. Every 23 minutes, a young black man is killed in Brazil. Their biographies and struggles are not in the history books, and their religions are still subject to constant persecution.

“Whiteness” in Brazil

Germans, Italians, Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, Japanese and all the other groups that were part of the various waves of migration that have arrived in Brazil since the 19th century were accepted and treated as free people. This immediately gave them advantages and privileges. While the newly liberated black population was let down by the system, immigrants were given subsidized travel tickets and a job guarantee. Europeans were often given additional land for the establishment of colonies, driven by an effort to “wash” the Brazilian population whiter. In Brazil, color is inextricably linked to the class.

“Being white in Brazil means not suffering from racism,” says Berlin-based writer Fred Di Giacomo Rocha. It is said that they are not constantly being watched in the supermarket, that they are not afraid of the police and that they have access to lawyers. It is the knowledge that one’s own rights are respected by the institutions.

The choreographer and stage artist Rodrigo Garcia Alves explains the inequality in the state of schools. “Sending your own children to the best private school in the city is a mark of being white. These are only white environments. Because Brazil is not only a racist country, but also a classicist country.” In fact, enough teachers, hot meals, and school safety are a right reserved for whites, who are already entering the brutal competition for the best university places with a head start. In this context, privilege softens with reward for achievement – social inequality is entrenched.

In the 21st century, being white in Brazil still means coming through the front door and having domestic workers, who are mostly black and underpaid. “It’s impossible not to talk about who is serving and who is being served,” says school social worker D. Wiltshire Soares. “These relationships, which on the one hand are very emotional, on the other hand are also full of violence,” adds Lia Ishida, a Doctoral student in German studies. “It’s about integrating these people into the family without making them equal. A situation very similar to slavery.”

Fall into the European colonial fantasy

We white Brazilians come to Germany with European passports, higher education, fluent English, university places, money in our pockets and all the security, self-respect and arrogance that has been granted to us throughout our lives through historical privileges. Our bodies do not carry the traumas of racism. And yet we have definitely lost the “white status” we were used to here. And what does that mean?

As the Portuguese interdisciplinary artist and author Grada Kilomba put it in her book Plantation Memories, although there are Germans of all skin colors, the colonial fantasy prevails that being German means being white. It is a racism in which prejudice and discrimination arise not from an idea of the superiority of individual “races”, but on the basis of ideas of nation, ethnicity and cultural differences, incompatibilities and hierarchies.

What racism does to all of us

Since being German in the hegemonic imagination means first of all being white, I am automatically marked as someone who does not belong here.

This is the first “transition” of a Brazilian who ceases to be white: the loss of neutrality and the position of the subject. We will immediately become objects that are observed and questioned. Kilomba explains this by referring in her text to the Afro-German experience. While the white subject is preoccupied with the question “What do I see?”, the subject of color is forced to deal with the question “What do they see?” And what they see is not born of a mere interest in the story we have to tell, but from the projection of white fantasies about what we should be.

The experiences of the Brazilians I have spoken to coincide with mine. Deprived of our human complexity, we are reduced to stereotypes that in no way reflect our identity. If you read a Brazilian with a beard as a “terrorist Arab,” he becomes a “harmless Iberian” without a beard. The clothes we wear tell us whether we are read as Syrians or Italians, which means being considered suspicious or not.

Subordination and condescension

Because of this colonial dialectic, as Grada Kilomba defines it, the white subject deserves a position of authority, while the racist is forced to subordination. This hierarchy in relations is repeated from one area to another and represents a loss of status for Brazilians, who until then saw themselves as whites. Actually accustomed to hegemony, our mobility is suddenly monitored, our environment is reduced, our habits and behaviors are questioned and corrected, and finally our experiences and points of view are simplified and disqualified.

When Di Giacomo Rocha presented his latest book at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019, he criticized the German condescension. The universal voice is a white domain. In his opinion, Latin American literature only gains space when it talks about its regionality, its exotic peripheral reality.

Theories like Kilomba’s have helped me not only to process my experiences in Germany, but above all to understand the extent of my privileges, their structures and the origins of violence. There is an urgent need to break with the white idea of universality. The systematic small-termization of marginal voices is not only used to secure the status quo. It allows the privileged classes to be ignorant of realities of which they prefer not to know. If there is a moral and legitimate obligation to combat racism, there is an urgent need for stolen spaces to be returned to their actual owners. It is necessary to read these voices, to listen to them and to get to know them. Until we irrevocably understand what racism does to us as a society and as a human being.

Read the article in German here.

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The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding American Mainstream

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2020-08-12 00:45Z by Steven

The Great Demographic Illusion: Majority, Minority, and the Expanding American Mainstream

Princeton University Press
2020-09-01
336 pages
15 b/w illus. 7 tables.
6.13 x 9.25 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691201634
eBook ISBN: 9780691202112

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Graduate Center, City University of New York

Why the number of young Americans from mixed families is surging and what this means for the country’s future

Americans are under the spell of a distorted and polarizing story about their country’s future―the majority-minority narrative―which contends that inevitable demographic changes will create a society with a majority made up of minorities for the first time in the United States’s history. The Great Demographic Illusion reveals that this narrative obscures a more transformative development: the rising numbers of young Americans from ethno-racially mixed families, consisting of one white and one nonwhite parent. Examining the unprecedented significance of mixed parentage in the twenty-first-century United States, Richard Alba looks at how young Americans with this background will play pivotal roles in the country’s demographic future.

Assembling a vast body of evidence, Alba explores where individuals of mixed parentage fit in American society. Most participate in and reshape the mainstream, as seen in their high levels of integration into social milieus that were previously white dominated. Yet, racism is evident in the very different experiences of individuals with black-white heritage. Alba’s portrait squares in key ways with the history of immigrant-group assimilation, and indicates that, once again, mainstream American society is expanding and becoming more inclusive.

Nevertheless, there are also major limitations to mainstream expansion today, especially in its more modest magnitude and selective nature, which hinder the participation of black Americans and some other people of color. Alba calls for social policies to further open up the mainstream by correcting the restrictions imposed by intensifying economic inequality, shape-shifting racism, and the impaired legal status of many immigrant families.

Countering rigid demographic beliefs and predictions, The Great Demographic Illusion offers a new way of understanding American society and its coming transformation.

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In Brazil, the death of a poor black child in the care of rich white woman brings a racial reckoning

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2020-06-30 01:18Z by Steven

In Brazil, the death of a poor black child in the care of rich white woman brings a racial reckoning

The Washington Post
2020-06-28

Terrence McCoy


Demonstrators in Recife, Brazil, demand justice for the death of 5-year-old Miguel Otávio Santana da Silva, the son of a black maid who fell from the ninth floor of a building while under the watch of his mother’s white employer. (Leo Malafaia/AFP/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO — In the early days of Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak, when businesses and churches went dark, anyone who could stay home did. But not Mirtes Souza. She worked as a maid, and her duties cooking and cleaning for a wealthy family were to continue.

One day this month, she left the luxury building to walk the family’s dog, leaving her 5-year-old son, Miguel, in the care of her boss. But security footage broadcast widely in Brazil showed the woman leaving him unattended inside an elevator and the door closing.

The boy rode it to the top of the building and wandered outside. When Souza returned from the walk, she found him crumpled on the pavement outside the luxury building. He’d fallen nine floors.

“I’m a domestic worker,” Souza said in an interview. “But if I was white, and he’d been white, would this have happened?”

Sarí Gaspar, Souza’s employer, has been charged with culpable homicide in the death of Miguel Otávio Santana da Silva. She has asked for Souza’s forgiveness in a public letter…

Read the entire article here.

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Shilling for U.S. Empire: The Legacies of Scientific Racism in Puerto Rico

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2020-06-26 01:10Z by Steven

Shilling for U.S. Empire: The Legacies of Scientific Racism in Puerto Rico

The Abusable Past
Radical History Review
2020-06-22

R. Sánchez-Rivera
Department of Sociology
University of Cambridge


Pablo Delano, A Group of newly made Americans at Ponce, Porto Rico, (detail from the conceptual art installation The Museum of the Old Colony, 2016-ongoing). Source: Stereocard published by M. H. Zahner, Niagara Falls, New York, 1898. Photographer not identified.

Recently, a published, peer-reviewed article caused a great deal of controversy when it circulated among many academic Facebook pages such as Latinx Scholars, Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA), and the Latin American Studies Association (LASA)-Puerto Rico Section. This article, “Economic Development in Puerto Rico after US Annexation: Anthropometric Evidence,” written by Brian Marein, a PhD student in economics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, brings together data to show that the average height of men in Puerto Rico increased by 4.2cm after the U.S. “annexation” (a euphemism for colonization). The author uses anthropometrics to argue that U.S. colonialism was actually beneficial to Puerto Ricans “in contrast to the prevailing view in the literature.” His main conclusion is that because U.S. officials brought in resources, food, and education, the life of Puerto Ricans improved (inferred by the increased height of men) as a result of colonization.

Anthropometrics refers to the measuring of people’s bodies and skeletons to correlate their difference to “racial” and psychological traits that privileged Eurocentric ideas of beauty, intelligence, ableness, morality, among others. This stems from a long history of “race science” that surged from the polygenetic assumption that (1) “race” was a biological type and (2) “races” had distinct origins. Two major theories of human origins and heredity dominated during the nineteenth century: monogenism and polygenism. Thinkers who advocated for monogenism argued that all humans came from the same origin but were in different developmental stages (usually with Whites at the top and Black people at the bottom). However, during the second half of the nineteenth century polygenism, or the notion that the “races” had separate origins and should be considered as distinct and immutable species, became more widely accepted…

Read the entire article here.

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Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2020-06-22 19:42Z by Steven

Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Liverpool University Press
2019-09-10
280 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-789-62000-9

Henrice Altink, Professor of Modern History; Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre
University of York

Informed by critical race theory and based on a wide range of sources, including official sources, memoirs, and anthropological studies, this book examines multiple forms of racial discrimination in Jamaica and how they were talked about and experienced from the end of the First World War until the demise of democratic socialism in the 1980s. It also pays attention to practices devoid of racial content but which equally helped to sustain a society stratified by race and colour, such as voting qualifications. Case studies on the labour market, education, the family and legal system, among other areas, demonstrate the extent to which race and colour shaped social relations in the island in the decades preceding and following independence and argue that racial discrimination was a public secret – everybody knew it took place but few dared to openly discuss or criticise it. The book ends with an examination of race and colour in contemporary Jamaica to show that race and colour have lost little of their power since independence and offers some suggestions to overcome the silence on race to facilitate equality of opportunity for all.

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‘Racialization works differently here in Puerto Rico, do not bring your U.S.-centric ideas about race here!’

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2020-06-13 22:07Z by Steven

‘Racialization works differently here in Puerto Rico, do not bring your U.S.-centric ideas about race here!’

Black Perspectives
2020-03-03

Hilda Lloréns, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Rhode Island


“FSA – T[enant] P[urchase] borrowers? by their house, Puerto Rico” – Jack Delano (Library of Congress)

This title is a variation of a statement I have heard during the last two decades as a professional anthropologist. I was reminded of it again recently, when a Puerto Rico-based colleague mentioned that it is common in the archipelago to think about the race research produced by U.S.-based Puerto Rican researchers as being tainted by U.S.-centric ideas about race. At its base, this assertion has the effect, and maybe even the goal from the outset, of discrediting the race research produced by those of us living in the Diaspora. But I believe there is more going on than just marking our research as suspect.

Because at this point I have heard variations of this opinion dozens of times, and particularly so by a subset of the archipelago’s intelligentsia, it is time to explore the ideological work this claim does. This brief analysis is less a defense of the validity of research like mine, and instead exposes how as a cultural construction in itself, this hegemonic statement is an example of how cultural nationalism and anti-Black racism warps even the brightest minds. While it is true that anti-Black racism takes on specific and locally contextual qualities, it is also true that the anti-Black racism experienced by evidently Black individuals throughout the American hemisphere has strikingly similar consequences: poverty and marginalization; lack of access to quality education, health care, employment, and a clean environment; police profiling and brutality; spatial segregation and territorial dispossession; denial of entry into restaurants, night clubs, stores, and country clubs; social marginalization and political exclusion; and the attempt to silence the voices of those who dare speak out against on-going racial violence and terror.

Read the entire article here.

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HALF MEASURES: California’s Journey Toward Counting Multiracial People By 2022

Posted in Campus Life, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Reports, Social Science, Social Work, United States on 2020-04-29 00:02Z by Steven

HALF MEASURES: California’s Journey Toward Counting Multiracial People By 2022

Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC)
2020
30 pages

Thomas Lopez, Editor
Sarah Gowing, Lead Researcher

Reviewers:

G. Reginal Daniel, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Kelly F. Jackson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work
Arizona State University

Racial and ethnic data is collected by the government to enable the enforcement of civil rights laws, ensure equitable distribution of resources, and measure inequality. In 2016, the State of California released new policy standards for the collection and public reporting of racial/ethnic demographic data. All State agencies, boards, and commissions that collect this data must comply by January 1, 2022, allowing respondents to select multiple racial/ethnic categories. They must also disseminate this information in such a way as to not obscure mixed-race individuals. Potentially the most significant change to the standards would be the counting of people with mixed Latina/o and non-Latina/o identity. California will be the first state in the nation to do this.

This study’s aim is to determine whether these agencies are in compliance or whether there are still changes to be made. After reviewing organizations and aims from four sectors (education, business, health, and criminal justice), it was found that only one system is in compliance with the data collection, and none have followed the standards for race/ethnic data presentation. The counting of mixed Latina/o identified people is the most conspicuous gap in both the data collection and reporting methods. With less than two years to make the required changes, agencies must ensure that they are beginning the process now due to the time and resources required.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • About MASC
  • Terminology
  • Introduction
  • Current vs. Future Standards
    • Future Data Collection Compliance
    • Future Data Presentation Compliance
  • Methodology
  • Results
    • Data Collection
    • Data Presentation
  • Discussion & Recommendations
  • About the Authors
  • Works Cited
  • Appendix A: Assembly Bill 532
  • Appendix B: Supporting Data

Read the entire report here.

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White Colorism

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2020-03-10 17:41Z by Steven

White Colorism

Social Currents
Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2015
pages 13-21
DOI: 10.1177/2329496514558628

Lance Hannon, Professor of Sociology and Criminology
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Perhaps reflecting a desire to emphasize the enduring power of rigidly constructed racial categories, sociology has tended to downplay the importance of within-category variation in skin tone. Similarly, in popular media, “colorism,” or discrimination based on skin lightness, is rarely mentioned. When colorism is discussed, it is almost exclusively framed in terms of intraracial “black-on-black” discrimination. In line with arguments highlighting the centrality of white racism, the present paper contends that it is important for researchers to give unique attention to white colorism. Using data from the 2012 American National Election Study, an example is presented on white interviewers’ perceptions of minority respondent skin tone and intelligence (N = 223). Results from ordinal logistic regression analyses indicate that African American and Latino respondents with the lightest skin are several times more likely to be seen by whites as intelligent compared with those with the darkest skin. The article concludes that a full accounting of white hegemony requires an acknowledgment of both white racism and white colorism.

Read or purchase the article here.

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To fight discrimination, the U.S. census needs a different race question

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2020-03-10 14:48Z by Steven

To fight discrimination, the U.S. census needs a different race question

Science News: Independent Journalism Since 1921
2020-03-08

Sujata Gupta, Social Sciences Writer


An accurate sense of racial diversity is hard to achieve with current U.S. census questions.
Delphine Lee

The government has asked people their race since 1790

Wendy Roth has been arguing for years that the U.S. Census Bureau should ask about race in a different way. The race box that people check for themselves on the census doesn’t always match the box someone else might have checked for them. And that, Roth says, is a problem.

Roth, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, began researching that mismatch in racial identification in the early 2000s. She recruited 60 New Yorkers who had been born in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, showed them the census race question and asked them how they would answer. The responses surprised her.

Consider the case of Salvador, a kitchen worker in the Bronx. “Many Americans observing him would consider him to be black,” Roth wrote in December 2010 in Social Science Quarterly. But Salvador told Roth that he checks “white.”

While attitudes in the mainland United States have been shaped by the long legacy of the “one-drop rule,” in which a single drop of “black blood” conferred “blackness,” Puerto Ricans believe the opposite — that even dark-skinned people can’t be black if they have “white blood.” Puerto Ricans use terms like mulatto or trigueño to describe those falling somewhere between white and black. But when presented with race checkboxes that offer no intermediate options, Salvador simply goes by what he knows…

A slippery sense of self

As minority groups fight for greater visibility, and the race question gets wound up in ideas about self-affirmation and group empowerment, the census data have been getting more difficult to decipher since the 1960 shift to self-identification.

With the power to check their own race box, many people previously identified as white have embraced a nonwhite or mixed-race identity. That’s evident in the American Indian numbers. From 1890 to 1960, the American Indian population grew from 248,000 to 524,000, with an average annual growth rate of just 1.1 percent. But over the next several decades, and coinciding with the shift to self-identification, that population grew to almost 2 million by 1990 — with an average annual growth rate of 4.3 percent. That meteoric growth extends well beyond what is possible through births alone, [Carolyn] Liebler says…

Read the entire article here.

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