The Space Between Black and White

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2022-01-18 02:55Z by Steven

The Space Between Black and White

Jacaranda Books
2020-03-03
Paperback ISBN: 9781913090128

Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith

This unique #TwentyIn2020 memoir sheds light on Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith’s journey as a feminist and political activist. The book illuminates her inner journey of self-discovery and uncovers truths that could help a growing community of mixed-race people struggling to find their own space in the world.

Illuminating her inner journey growing up mixed-race in Britain, Esua Jane Goldsmith’s unique memoir exposes the isolation and ambiguities that often come with being ‘an only’.

Raised in 1950s South London and Norfolk with a white, working-class family, Esua’s education in racial politics was immediate and personal. From Britain and Scandinavia to Italy and Tanzania, she tackled inequality wherever she saw it, establishing an inspiring legacy in the Women’s lib and Black Power movements.

Plagued by questions of her heritage and the inability to locate all pieces of herself, she embarks on a journey to Ghana to find the father who may have the answers.

A tale of love, comradeship, and identity crises, Esua’s rise to the first Black woman president of Leicester University Students’ Union and Queen Mother of her village, is inspiring, honest, and full of heart.

Tags: , , , , ,

Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Videos on 2022-01-13 14:53Z by Steven

Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

PBS Newshour
2022-01-12

Melissa Williams

Rebecca Hall has been on-screen since age 10, but in her new film “Passing” she steps into the director role for the first time. It is based on a novel that was written in 1929 by Nella Lawson Larsen at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. Hall shares her Brief But Spectacular take on “Passing” and on her own racial identity as part of our arts and culture series, CANVAS.

Read the full transcript here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Who’s Afraid of Lani Guinier?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2022-01-11 15:17Z by Steven

Who’s Afraid of Lani Guinier?

The New York Times Magazine
1994-02-27

Lani Guinier

For a late April day in Washington, the air was remarkably soft. The sun-splashed courtyard of the Department of Justice seemed a reflection of the glow surrounding Attorney General Janet Reno. She had just returned from a successful venture to Capitol Hill, where she faced down a committee upset about the recent confrontation with the Branch Davidians. I stood with six other Justice Department nominees to be presented to the public. In what we were told was a last-minute decision, the President himself was to make the presentations. We gathered in the hallway next to the courtyard stage and were lined up in the order we would be introduced. We were given our instructions, and then the President arrived.

The President had a regal bearing. I remember he was wearing a beautifully tailored blue suit. As he strode down the row of nervous nominees he greeted each of us in his typically physical style. He grasped my hand, congratulated me and kissed me lightly on the cheek. As he moved to the others I remember overhearing one of the nominees pass on a greeting from an old friend from Arkansas. The President stepped back and said, with a wistful look in his eye: “I remember Steve. That was when I had a real life.” And I remember the nominee’s response: “Mr. President, this is real life.”

As we were introduced there were cheers and signs saying “Atta girl, Janet!” and the like. I saw many old friends from the Civil Rights Division, where I had worked during the Carter Administration, giving the thumbs-up and smiling. I had not been back in the courtyard in 12 years, and now here I was accepting the nomination to head the Civil Rights Division…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

White people don’t always know I’m Black. That’s when their racism is revealed.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2022-01-04 18:40Z by Steven

White people don’t always know I’m Black. That’s when their racism is revealed.

The Lily
2021-12-10

Sarah Doneghy


(María Alconada Brooks/The Washington Post)

The jokes, comments and stereotypes always flow so freely. I speak up every time.

When I see mostly White people in a social gathering, whether it’s a class, party or presentation, I do a scan. It’s thorough but quick. Are there any Black people? Are there any people of color at all? When the answer is no, I prepare. How am I going to let them know that I’m Black? Am I going to wait until someone says something and then “surprise” them? Or will I be confrontational? Will I say, “Hey, guess what?” as if I’m kidding — but not really?

Most of the time, White people think I’m one of them. My skin is light, often as light as theirs. My lips are plump and my nose is broad, but my features aren’t a tip-off. My hair is black, big and curly. If anything, that’s the tell. But even then, it’s usually: “I thought you were Italian, Greek or Middle Eastern.” In other words, not quite White, but definitely not Black.

That’s when the racism rears. Someone says something because they feel safe. They can speak freely. And they have support…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Netflix’s Passing Made Me Rethink How I Carry My Racial Ambiguity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2022-01-04 18:07Z by Steven

Netflix’s Passing Made Me Rethink How I Carry My Racial Ambiguity

Popsugar
2021-12-13

Adele Stewart

As a white-passing biracial woman, I really resonated with Rebecca Hall’s film adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, Passing. The story centers on two biracial Black women, Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga), who are light-skinned enough to pass as white in 1920s New York. When Irene bumps into her old friend Clare, she almost doesn’t recognize her. Unlike Irene — who is living her life openly as a Black woman despite being able to pass for white if she wanted to — Clare has accentuated her already-light features with blond hair to help her pass as white in everyday society. Taking her deception even further, she’s married a wealthy white man (Alexander Skarsgard), who not only doesn’t know she’s Black but also holds an extreme, violent hatred toward Black people.

In some ways, I identify with Clare, particularly when it comes to how easy it is for me to blend in and reap the benefits of white privilege without facing the inequities of being Black in the US. While it was never intentional like it was with Clare, I have always gone through the world passing as white and seeing things through a “white” lens because that’s simply what most people assume I am. It wasn’t until my late teenage years that I started to see how my Black family, friends, or boyfriends were treated differently than I was. I seemed to have been floating through life unknowingly reaping the benefits of my racial ambiguity for a very long time. Often, it feels like I have a secret Black identity that doesn’t quite know where she fits and when (or if) she should reveal herself. Truth is, I want to belong everywhere — with my white family and friends, but also with my Black family and friends — so I tend to blend in and code-switch depending on who I’m with. As a result, I never feel like I entirely belong in either community…

Read then entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Oral history interview with Lawrence Dennis, 1967

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-12-23 20:08Z by Steven

Oral history interview with Lawrence Dennis, 1967

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections
Columbia Center for Oral History
Columbia University, New York, New York
Digitized 2010 (Originally recorded in 1967)
DOI: 10.7916/d8-cpb1-1692

Lawrence Dennis (1893-1977) interviewed by William R. Keylor (1944-).

Listen to the interview here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Point of View: Mixed Race Experience is Hard to Categorize. Stop Trying.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2021-12-21 03:14Z by Steven

A Point of View: Mixed Race Experience is Hard to Categorize. Stop Trying.

The Inclusion Solution
2021-05-27

Rochelle Younan-Montgomery, Founder & Facilitator at Holistic Workplace Inclusion LLC

I am mixed Egyptian and white, and I love being biracial. I can navigate differing cultural contexts with relative ease, I enjoy connecting with a wide variety of folx in a multitude of settings, and I take pleasure in deepening my non-Western cultural background. My racial identity has also been the source of an immense amount of pain. My white mother struggled with how to care for my unruly curly hair and would aggressively brush through it when it was dry (a major no-no for tight, thick curls), to the point of bringing me to tears. She now jokes that when I was 5 years old, she had my hair cut short for her birthday, to make things easier on herself. As a mother, I understand how hard parenting can be. However, the choice to “eliminate the hair problem” felt as though my natural hair was a burden for her, rather than something to be curious about, to celebrate, to work with, rather than work against. I am not alone in this; so many mixed children experience the pain of othering by their own families…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

One and Half of You

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Poetry on 2021-12-21 03:05Z by Steven

One and Half of You

Talon Books
2021-03-15
88 pages
6 W × 9 H × .237 D inches
Paperback ISBN: 9781772012866

Leanne Dunic

From the talented multidisciplinary artist, musician, and writer Leanne Dunic comes the lyric memoir One and Half of You. In sinuous language, with candour, openness, and surprising humour, Dunic explores sibling and romantic love and the complexities of being a biracial person looking for completion in another.

Including links to three songs written and performed for the book by tidepools.

Tags: , ,

Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2021-12-14 15:17Z by Steven

Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood

Tinder Press (an imprint of Headline Publishing Group)
2022-08-18
304 pages
222 x 138 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781472284839

Kit de Waal

From the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, The Trick to Time and Supporting Cast comes a childhood memoir set to become a classic: stinging, warm-hearted, and true.

Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn’t have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.

Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape.

Without Warning and Only Sometimes is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.

Tags: , , , ,

On Passing and Not Trying to Pass

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2021-12-14 02:52Z by Steven

On Passing and Not Trying to Pass

My Jewish Learning
2015-07-22

Tema Smith

I am black, and I am Jewish.

I’ve always found comfort in the and of my identity — that simple part of speech that joins together two disparate things: two families, two histories, two cultures, two heritages, two skin colors, two lineages of trauma, two pathways to North America. As the offspring of both, I am equally neither.

Lately, I spend a lot of time within the proverbial “walls” of the organized Jewish community. As a Jewish professional, my day-to-day life is dedicated to synagogue operations — specifically, membership and communications. While in many ways I am “at home” in the Jewish community, to this day I still feel out of place within the communal mainstream. And, contradictory as it may seem, it is the fact that I can easily pass for the Ashkenazi majority that leaves me feeling this way.

I should say: I never asked to pass. The fact that I can walk into Jewish settings and instantly fit in leaves me with a bad taste. At the same time, I remember recognizing my own thoughts when I read Katya Gibel Azoulay quote her son in her seminal book, Black, Jewish, and Interracial: It’s Not the Color of Your Skin, but the Race of Your Kin, and Other Myths of Identity: “I’m not going to put up a sign that says I’m black just to be accepted,” she relays, writing, “as far as he was concerned, the idea of ‘learning how to act Black’ was the theater of the absurd.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,