A Promised Land

Posted in Autobiography, Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-09-17 18:26Z by Steven

A Promised Land

Crown (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2020-11-17
768 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9781524763169
Ebook ISBN: 9781524763183
Audio Book ISBN: ISBN 9780525633716

Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

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Passing Revisited: Racial Passing and White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-13 00:34Z by Steven

Passing Revisited: Racial Passing and White Supremacy

Medium
2020-09-04

Jennifer Rittner

In the wake of the white supremacist marches in 2017, I wrote a short reflection on racial passing. In that essay I wrote about my Black mother, my white son, and the absurd mythologies of racial purity needed by white supremacists to support their beliefs. Those marchers surely counted among them many who had direct African American heritage as a result of near ancestors who had passed for white in the inhospitable environments of legal slavery and Jim Crow.

The White Supremacy of Masquerading as Black

White supremacy rears its head again in another form of passing, as men and women who have grown up as white children in white families have taken to masquerading as Black adults in order to achieve personal success as race warriors. Jessica Krug and Rachel Dolezal, two sisters-in-deceit, both manipulated their ways to success by passing as a Black woman, and in the process, denying actual women of color the opportunities they took for themselves. Their behavior should cause us to reflect on our United States of Racial Anxiety as we are all, in fact, oppressed by our nation’s historical, collective weaponization of race. While adamantly censuring both of these women, we can use their deceptions as opportunities to reflect on how the social conditions we construct and perpetuate demand certain forms of racial authenticity, often built on the anxieties we all feel about passing as something.

First, two resources for anyone interested in the history of passing:

Allyson Hobbs, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life is a well-researched and beautiful read on the topic. James Baldwin, Another Country was one of the first books in which I felt seen around the question of passing as a social act…

Read the entire article here.

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INTERVIEW: Davon Loeb, Author of The In-Betweens

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-12 22:26Z by Steven

INTERVIEW: Davon Loeb, Author of The In-Betweens

Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction
2020-07-07

Interview by Amy Eaton


Davon Loeb

The Book: Beginning with the challenges of how his White father and Black mother met, with their desire “to run away and start fresh and new”—resulting in a sometimes “pretend family”—to a near-archetypal description of his grandfather having just cut the grass as the author watches with a swollen lip and a black eye, to incessant moments in which different expressions of masculinity get inculcated, Davon Loeb frequently captures the disturbing poesy of life growing up. With painstaking detail, this work is in the vein of James McBride’s ‘The Color of Water’, Justin Torres’s ‘We the Animals’, and Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Annie John’, ‘The In-Betweens’ is a meditation on bruise and healing. Loeb’s struggles become snapshots of how transformation occurs even where shards have been piled, where one waits “for something to happen, like flashes of red and blue sirens pulsing.” A truly extraordinary new voice! ~ Roy G. Guzmán, author of Restored Mural for Orlando

The author: Davon Loeb is the author of the lyrical memoir The In-Betweens, out now with Everytime Press. He earned an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Camden, and he is a poetry editor at Bending Genres. Davon writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net, and is forthcoming and featured in PANK Magazine, Barren Magazine, XRAY Magazine, Apiary Magazine, Split Lip Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere. Besides writing, Davon is a high school English teacher, husband, and father in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter

AE: Your mother is such a powerful figure in the book. You’ve got your father, who you don’t see for the first time until you’re seven? And then you start seeing him sort of consistently? It feels that your stepfather is the man you feel closest to, the man that you look up to, that you’re aspiring to be, but the women in your book: your mother, your grandmother are just solid rocks in there.

DL: That was intentional. In the chapter, But I’m Not Toby, I emphasize my mother trying to teach me about Black history and what it means to be a young Black man. She’s the strong maternal voice that I think is special in a lot of Black communities. For me, that was special—especially with the uncertainty of my fathers. I wanted to make her really the most consistent character throughout the book, and I do believe I succeeded at that…

Read the entire interview here.

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The In-Betweens: A Lyrical Narrative

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2020-09-12 21:22Z by Steven

The In-Betweens: A Lyrical Narrative

Everytime Press
2018-12-10
202 pages

Davon Loeb

Beginning with the challenges of how his White father and Black mother met, with their desire “to run away and start fresh and new”—resulting in a sometimes “pretend family”—to a near-archetypal description of his grandfather having just cut the grass as the author watches with a swollen lip and a black eye, to incessant moments in which different expressions of masculinity get inculcated, in The In-Betweens: A Lyrical Narrative Davon Loeb frequently captures the disturbing poesy of life growing up. With painstaking detail, Loeb revisits family tales of slavery, Alabama, domestic labor, church, cornrows, and the significance of studying one’s history, specters that continue to haunt him. This work is in the vein of James McBride’s The Color of Water, Justin Torres’s We the Animals, and Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, that is, work in which we learn about hardship from the perspective of the child. Confession, manifesto, bildungsroman, and prayer, The In-Betweens is a meditation on bruise and healing. Loeb’s struggles become snapshots of how transformation occurs even where shards have been piled, where one waits “for something to happen, like flashes of red and blue sirens pulsing.” A truly extraordinary new voice!

~ Roy G. Guzmán, author of Restored Mural for Orlando

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Are We Home Yet?

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2020-09-12 01:23Z by Steven

Are We Home Yet?

Jacaranda Books
2020-09-10
Paperback ISBN13: 9781913090197

Katy Massey

One of Jacaranda’s #TwentyIn2020, Are We Home Yet? is a moving memoir of a mixed-race woman from a working class community in Leeds and her outspoken French-Canadian mother. Exploring issues of shame, immigration and class, the pair share their stories but struggle to understand each other’s choices in a fast-changing world.

Spanning the years from 1935 to 2010, Are We Home Yet? is the moving and funny story of a girl and her mother.

As a girl, Katy accidentally discovers her mother is earning money as a sex worker at the family home, rupturing their bond. As an adult, Katy contends with grief and mental health challenges before she and her mother attempt to heal their relationship. From Canada, to Leeds and Jamaica, and exploring shame, immigration and class, the pair share their stories but struggle to understand each other’s choices in a fast-changing world.

By revealing their truths, can these two strong women call a truce on their hostilities and overcome the oppressive ghosts of the past?

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White GWU professor admits she falsely claimed Black identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-09-03 19:45Z by Steven

White GWU professor admits she falsely claimed Black identity

The Washington Post
2020-09-03

Lauren Lumpkin and Susan Svrluga


A George Washington University history professor falsely claimed a Black identity throughout her life, she admitted Thursday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

.
Jessica A. Krug, an associate professor at George Washington University, said she’s claimed a Black identity throughout her career.

A history professor at George Washington University admitted in a blog post to claiming a Black identity, despite being White.

Jessica A. Krug said she has deceived friends and colleagues by falsely claiming several identities, including “North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she wrote in a blog post on Medium. Krug, whose areas of expertise include African American history, Africa and Latin America, is White and Jewish, she admitted.

“I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” Krug wrote. “I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.”

Neither Krug nor the university immediately returned a request for comment.

Krug, in the blog post, said she has been battling “unaddressed mental health demons” for her entire life. She said she started to assume a false identity as a child.

Read the entire article here.

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The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-09-03 19:17Z by Steven

The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies

Medium
2020-09-03

Jessica A. Krug, Associate Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

For the better part of my adult life, every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.

Not just any lies.

To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness. I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love…

Read the entire essay 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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Other Tongues: Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2020-08-22 20:55Z by Steven

Other Tongues: Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

I Wonder As I Wonder
2019-09-16

Adebe DeRango-Adem

image2

Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (Again!)

Co-editors Adebe DeRango-Adem and Andrea Thompson are seeking submissions of writing and/or artwork for a follow-up anthology of work by and about mixed-race women, intended for publication by Inanna Publications in 2020-21.

Deadline for Submissions: SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

The purpose of this anthology is to explore the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the 21st Century. The anthology will also serve as a place to learn about the social experiences, attitudes, and feelings of others, while investigating more general questions around what racial identity has come to mean today. We are inviting previously unpublished submissions that engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race…

…WHAT IS OTHER TONGUES?

The first edition of Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out was born from a desire to see a new and refreshing literature that could be at the forefront of mixed-race discourse and women’s studies, while providing a space for the creative expression of mixed-race women. Through an inspirational and provocative mix of visual art, literature, orature, creative non-fiction and academic analysis, Other Tongues chronicled the changes in social attitudes towards race, mixed-race, gender and identity, and the each of the contributors’ particular reactions to those attitudes.

The diversity of each woman’s story demonstrated the breadth and depth of the lived reality of the mixed experience for women in North America at that particular moment in time. In this way, the book became a snapshot of the North American racial terrain in the afterglow of the inauguration of the first mixed-race/Black American President—a pivotal point in history that many mistakenly labeled the dawning of a “post-racial” age….

For more information, click here.

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 01:11Z by Steven

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2020-07-28
224 pages
6x8in
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062248572
Large Print ISBN: 9780063076709
E-book ISBN: 9780062248596
Digital Audio, MP3 ISBN: 9780063005860

Natasha Trethewey, Board of Trustees Professor of English
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

An Instant New York Times Bestseller

A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy

At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

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