My grandparents were racist. Here’s how I moved on with my head held high.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2020-06-26 02:00Z by Steven

My grandparents were racist. Here’s how I moved on with my head held high.

The Washington Post
2020-06-23

Carolyn Copeland


The author, Carolyn Copeland, circa 1998, when she was about 7, with her father, Brian Copeland, her mother, Mary Copeland, and her brothers Casey, left, and Adam. (Carolyn Copeland)

My grandparents loved to take photos, but there are no pictures of them holding me as a baby. They weren’t in attendance at my birth, my baptism or any of my birthdays. That’s because for the first few years of my life, my grandparents rejected me and my two brothers because we are black.

I’ve hesitated over the years to share my story publicly out of fear that I would embarrass or hurt the people in my extended family, but with the demonstrations taking place around the country after the police killing of George Floyd, I feel it has never been a more important time to reveal my personal experience with racism and explain the different ways it has shown its face within my family. The age of “going along to get along” is over.

From the moment my white mother started dating my black father in the late 1980s, her father disowned her. From that point forward, on my grandfather’s orders, my parents were disinvited from all family gatherings. My grandmother — who said from the beginning that she was against the idea — still complied. Neither attended my parents’ wedding…

Read the entire article here.

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Recognizing being white-passing as a privilege

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Canada, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice on 2020-06-26 01:43Z by Steven

Recognizing being white-passing as a privilege

The Queen’s Journal
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
2020-06-01

Hareer Al-Qaragolie


In her first year at Queen’s, Hareer realized her responsibility to her community. Credit: Hareer Al-Qaragolie

Where I stand as a proudly-identifying Arab Muslim

I was born in Baghdad to Iraqi parents who fled war to Amman, Jordan. Although I grew up as part of a marginalized Iraqi community in Jordan, I was also part of the majority of the population, adapting to the Jordanian accent and identifying as both an Arab and a Muslim.

In Jordan, I never thought of my privilege beyond the fact that I was part of the Iraqi diaspora.

However, through my experiences at Queen’s, I’ve had to add another definition to what privilege means to me: being white-passing

Read the entire article here.

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Comfortable in My Own Skin

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2020-06-22 01:51Z by Steven

Comfortable in My Own Skin

Sojourners
January 2020

Maika Llaneza
New Orleans, Louisiana

My theology says brown skin is beautiful, but my Pinterest page said otherwise.

MY EXPERIENCE BEING color-shamed began when I was 5 years old and still living in the Philippines. My mom and aunts often told me that I could be mistaken for “the maid’s daughter,” due to my darker brown skin. Even at a young age, I understood it was intended as an insult.

As I grew up, billboards, films, television shows, and magazines bombarded me with images of white Americans and Filipinas with white facial features. Mestiza Filipina models and actresses—celebrities admired by young girls like me—advertised skin-whitening products.

Color-shaming by other Filipinas continued after I moved to the United States at age 7. My mom, titas (aunts or older women), and lolas (grandmothers or elderly women) told me to “stay away from the sun” and “try not to get so dark.” They told me I would look even prettier if I had lighter skin…

Read the entire article here.

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Local Voices: What Does it Mean to “Pass” as White?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-06-15 00:17Z by Steven

Local Voices: What Does it Mean to “Pass” as White?

The Coronado Times
Coronado, California
2020-06-07

Carolyn Osorio
Barrio Logan, San Diego, California


Carolyn Osorio

The Coronado Times asked its writers to tackle the topic of race in Coronado. Given the current environment, we were asked to address the topic head-on and at first, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how to tackle it. I do not live in Coronado, I am not black, and I would not presume to imagine the lived experience of being black in America today. However, tensions are high everywhere and an altercation with one of my Barrio Logan neighbors about my whiteness this past week highlighted a very important topic that I do feel qualified to tackle: What does it mean to “pass” as white?

This is a question I, and other mixed-race people, ask ourselves constantly. Born from a combination of cultures, we have a foot in two (or more) worlds but, oftentimes, none of them fits quite right. For many of us, our racial makeup can be physically ambiguous and this ambiguity often allows us to “pass.” I’d like to think we are the living embodiment of America’s melting pot, a celebration of mixed cultures and languages, the product of two people choosing to love a different race than their own. Instead, we are often not quite white enough to be “white” but not quite brown or black or Asian or native enough to belong entirely to part of our cultural makeup. When we fill out the racial demographic section of forms, we are forced to select just one box that might define us. This has never felt more important than it does now in the face of protests and movements dedicated to abolishing racial prejudice…

Read the entire article here.

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I’m a black man with white privilege. I see how it distorts America.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2020-06-14 20:31Z by Steven

I’m a black man with white privilege. I see how it distorts America.

The Washington Post
2020-06-11

Steve Majors
Takoma Park, Maryland


A demonstrator speaks to the crowd on a bullhorn during a protest against racial inequality. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

I walk a racial tightrope. It’s one I’ve struggled to balance on for my entire life. But over the past several weeks, I’ve felt myself teetering. I’m black and outraged that racism continues to kill black people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor while burdening the lives of so many others in our country. But I know that I am not one of those people. I know the freedom of moving through a world that magically removes many barriers from my life and shields me from harm — all because of my ability to pass as white.

My skin tone has given me white privilege. For more than five decades of the journey across my tightrope, I’ve had what feminist researcher Peggy McIntosh calls an “invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.” These are the tools of white privilege, unwanted and conferred on me at birth by a white father who had a fleeting relationship with my divorced black mother. I was the youngest of five and grew up with older siblings in a large, extended black family. They were quick to remind me that what they jokingly called my “light, bright, almost-white skin” did not grant me any special advantage in our family. But they and I could see that wasn’t going to be the case in the outside world.

I want to assure my white friends that white privilege is real, because I benefit from it every day. And I want to explain to my black family that even though this knapsack that whites carry is invisible, weightless and present from birth, it’s possible to teach yourself that it’s there. I say that not so I can seek forgiveness for myself or offer absolution for any others. It’s to explain why so many claim to be blind and unfeeling to something that has been present throughout the history of this country. Even as I continue to reap its benefits, I am ashamed of the white privilege I carry around because I know it comes at the expense of others who have every right to the same opportunities, advantages and freedoms…

Read the entire article here.

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Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-06-09 16:01Z by Steven

Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love

Chicago Review Press
2020-06-02
288 Pages
6 x 9
Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF
ISBN: 9781641602747

E. Dolores Johnson
Boston, Massachusetts

Say I’m Dead is the true story of family secrets, separation, courage, and trans-formation through five generations of interracial relationships. Fearful of prison time—or lynching—for violating Indiana’s antimiscegenation laws in the 1940s, E. Dolores Johnson’s black father and white mother fled Indianapolis to secretly marry in Buffalo, New York. When Johnson was born, social norms and her government-issued birth certificate said she was Negro, nullifying her mother’s white blood in her identity. Later, as a Harvard-educated business executive feeling too far from her black roots, she searched her father’s black genealogy. But in the process, Johnson suddenly realized that her mother’s whole white family was—and always had been—missing. When she began to pry, her mother’s 36-year-old secret spilled out. Her mother had simply vanished from Indiana, evading an FBI and police search that had ended with the conclusion that she had been the victim of foul play.

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Swirl Girl: Coming of Race in the USA

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2020-06-06 02:41Z by Steven

Swirl Girl: Coming of Race in the USA

Alchemy Media Publishing Company
2020-04-01
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0998930053

TaRessa Stovall

Swirl Girl: Coming of Race in the USA reveals how a hard-headed Mixed-race “Black Power Flower Child” battles society—and sometimes her closest loved ones—to forge her identity on her own terms.

As the USA undergoes its own racial growing pains, from the 1968 riots after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, to the historic 2008 election of the nation’s first Biracially Black president, TaRessa Stovall challenges popular stereotypes and fights nonstop pressures to contort, disguise, or deny her uncomfortable truths.

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I’m a Black and Jewish Woman. My Identity Matters.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2020-06-06 02:21Z by Steven

I’m a Black and Jewish Woman. My Identity Matters.

Kveller
2020-06-04

Faith Gabbay-Kalson

“What are you?”

I have been asked this question on way too many occasions: in private, in public, by strangers, by people I was acquainted with, and by many who should have known better. Singled out, put on the spot.

What am I? Hmm… I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a lover of beautiful things, a designer, the list goes on. I’m human — at least that’s what I so naively assumed. Our single race has been divided up into category upon subcategory, and this world forces you into just a single, specific, and limiting box.

But what does one do when you sit on the fence between two vast divides?

I’m the daughter of a Jewish (white) mother and a Guyanese (Black) father. My story was split from the very start. However, it really is so much more complex than that. I was raised Jewish, running the gamut from Reform/Conservative all the way through to sectors of ultra-Orthodoxy. My story has evolved along the way. One thing remained constant, though: more boxes, more labels, not all of them choices…

Read the entire article here.

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That Hair

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Europe, Novels on 2020-04-10 20:13Z by Steven

That Hair

Tin House
2020-03-17
163 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947793-41-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-947793-50-7

Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida
Translated by Eric M. B. Becker

“The story of my curly hair,” says Mila, the narrator of Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s autobiographically inspired tragicomedy, “intersects with the story of at least two countries and, by extension, the indirect story of the relations among several continents: a geopolitics.” Mila is the Luanda-born daughter of a black Angolan mother and a white Portuguese father. She arrives in Lisbon at the tender age of three, and feels like an outsider from the jump. Through the lens of young Mila’s indomitably curly hair, her story interweaves memories of childhood and adolescence, family lore spanning four generations, and present-day reflections on the internal and external tensions of a European and African identity. In layered, intricately constructed prose, That Hair enriches and deepens a global conversation, challenging in necessary ways our understanding of racism, feminism, and the double inheritance of colonialism, not yet fifty years removed from Angola’s independence. It’s the story of coming of age as a black woman in a nation at the edge of Europe that is also rapidly changing, of being considered an outsider in one’s own country, and the impossibility of “returning” to a homeland one doesn’t in fact know.


That Hair

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Creole Son: An Adoptive Mother Untangles Nature and Nurture

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2020-03-06 20:47Z by Steven

Creole Son: An Adoptive Mother Untangles Nature and Nurture

LSU Press
March 2020
216 pages
5.50 x 8.50 inches / 6 halftones
Paperback ISBN: 9780807173107

E. Kay Trimberger, Professor Emerita of Women’s and Gender Studies
Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California

Introduction by:

Andrew Solomon, Professor of Clinical Psychology
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York

Creole Son is the compelling memoir of a single white mother searching to understand why her adopted biracial son grew from a happy child into a troubled young adult who struggled with addiction for decades. The answers, E. Kay Trimberger finds, lie in both nature and nurture.

When five-­day-­old Marco is flown from Louisiana to California and placed in Trimberger’s arms, she assumes her values and example will be the determining influences upon her new son’s life. Twenty-­six years later, when she helps him make contact with his Cajun and Creole biological relatives, she discovers that many of his cognitive and psychological strengths and difficulties mirror theirs. Using her training as a sociologist, Trimberger explores behavioral genetics research on adoptive families. To her relief as well as distress, she learns that both biological heritage and the environment—and their interaction—shape adult outcomes.

Trimberger shares deeply personal reflections about raising Marco in Berkeley in the 1980s and 1990s, with its easy access to drugs and a culture that condoned their use. She examines her own ignorance about substance abuse, and also a failed experiment in an alternative family lifestyle. In an afterword, Marc Trimberger contributes his perspective, noting a better understanding of his life journey gained through his mother’s research.

By telling her story, Trimberger provides knowledge and support to all parents—biological and adoptive—with troubled offspring. She ends by suggesting a new adoption model, one that creates an extended, integrated family of both biological and adoptive kin.

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