‘People Assume I’m White. This is The Racism I See’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-10-15 00:14Z by Steven

‘People Assume I’m White. This is The Racism I See’

Newsweek
2021-10-14

Nikki Barthelmess

Nikki Barthelmess’ parents were Mexican American and Jewish, but people often assume she is white, not Mexican American. Nikki Barthelmess

A few months ago, I answered a knock at my door. My neighbor, James*, launched into a complaint. “That silver Honda is parked in front, and we have a friend coming over who wants to park there,” he said. He was referencing the car belonging to Ana*, a family friend who I hired days before to help with childcare for my toddler.

Ana appeared behind me to see what was going on. James looked at Ana and then at me, and despite Ana being only a few feet away, he nodded at Ana and spoke as if she wasn’t there. “Cleaning crew?” he asked me. My head snapped back in shock.

My eyes darted to Ana to see if she’d heard, and somehow it seemed she hadn’t. I stammered, unsure of what to say. She was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. She wasn’t holding a mop or dusting rag or anything that would indicate she was cleaning. After a moment of gaping, I closed the distance between Ana and me and put my arm around her. “James,” I said, looking at Ana, rather than at him, “this is Ana. She just started coming to the house to babysit Hadley while I write.” I squeezed Ana’s shoulder. “Ana is a long time family friend. She used to be my husband’s grandparents’ caregiver years ago before they died, and we’ve stayed in touch,” I said.

Read the entire article here.

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Race and Racism: When Racial Passing Becomes Racial Fraud

Posted in Canada, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Passing, Philosophy, Social Justice, United States on 2021-10-14 15:20Z by Steven

Race and Racism: When Racial Passing Becomes Racial Fraud

Virtual event on Zoom
Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University
London, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, 2021-10-14, 19:00-20:30 EDT (2021-10-14, 23:00-00:30Z)

Meena Krishnamurthy, Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

In the past year and a half, race and racism have been at the forefront of many people’s minds because of widespread Black Lives Matter protests and the disproportionately negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on certain racialized communities. But the underlying phenomenon is not only recent. For centuries, racialized communities across North America have faced social and environmental injustices. This series of public lectures examines the topics of race, racism, and environmental justice. It will include philosophical discussions about what race is, of how to and how not to respond to racism (e.g., through practices of “racial fraud” or racial passing), of racism as a source of vaccine hesitancy, and of environmental injustices that afflict Indigenous communities in Canada.

The 2021 philosophy lecture series, Race and Racism, is prepared in partnership with the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, the Department of Philosophy at Western University, and the London Public Library. Additional support for the talk by Deborah McGregor has been generously provided by the Faculty of Law at Western University.

Each talk will begin with a presentation by the speaker, lasting approximately 60 minutes. Rotman Institute Associate Director, Eric Desjardins, will act as host and ask the speaker a number of follow-up discussion questions. Registered attendees will have the option to ask additional questions live via Zoom, or to submit questions in advance via email. We look forward to having an engaging discussion with everyone in attendance in this online setting!

  • I. Scenes of Racial Passing
    1. Brit Bennett’s Vanishing Half – Stella
    2. HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” – Ruby
    3. Rev. Jesse Routte
    4. Walter White
    5. Ellen Craft
    6. John Redd/Korla Pandit
  • II. Ethics of Racial Passing
    1. Fooling as a skill
    2. = politically virtuous
      • a. Why? Challenges racial oppression
  • III. Ethics of Racial Fraud
    1. Jessica Krug
      • a. Not skilled
      • b. Not for a just cause
      • c. Politically vicious
      • d. Why? Entrenches racial oppression
    2. Counter examples?
      • a. John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me
      • b. Grace Halsell, Soul Sista
  • IV. Murky Waters
    1. Stella revisited

For more information, click here.

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‘Passing’: Rebecca Hall Reveals Personal Link To Directorial Debut – Contenders London

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-10-10 21:21Z by Steven

‘Passing’: Rebecca Hall Reveals Personal Link To Directorial Debut – Contenders London

Hollywood Deadline
2021-10-09

Anna Smith

Diana Lodderhose, Rebecca Hall, Ruth Negga and André Holland
Deadline

Rebecca Hall revealed a personal link to her directorial debut Passing at Deadline’s Contenders Film: London this morning. Joined on stage by stars Ruth Negga and André Holland, she explained why she adapted Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel. “My mother’s from Detroit and her father was African American and passed for white his whole life. When I read the book, it clicked into place: obviously that’s what my grandfather did — for his family, his children’s life.”

Based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, writer-director Hall’s Passing explores the lives of two mixed-race childhood friends, Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga), who reunite as adults. They become involved in each other’s lives and explore how they diverged due to Irene identifying as Black while Clare “passes” as white. Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp and Gbenga Akinnagbe also star in the film, which premiered at Sundance. Netflix acquired the pic in February for nearly $15 million…

Read the entire article here.

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Race Off: The fantasy of race transformation

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-10-09 02:47Z by Steven

Race Off: The fantasy of race transformation

The Yale Review
2021-09-27

Namwali Serpell, Professor of English
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Genevieve Gaignard, People Make the World Go Round, 2019. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles.

This essay was first delivered in September 2021 as the Finzi-Contini Lecture at Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center. The Finzi-Contini lectureship was endowed in 1990 by the Honorable Guido Calabresi, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and former Dean of the Yale Law School, and Dr. Paul Calabresi, in memory of their mother, Bianca Maria Finzi-Contini Calabresi.

WHAT IF YOU COULD change your race? Some disturbing scandals of late have put this hypothetical to the reality test. A cluster of white American academics and activists, all women it seems, have been revealed to have spent years cosplaying a different race—Latinx, North African, black—deceiving their colleagues and comrades. The valedictorian of this recent class of racial fakers remains Rachel Dolezal, the former college instructor, activist, and president of an NAACP chapter, who was outed by a reporter in 2015. She confessed that she was “born white to white parents,” but still declares herself to be “racially human” and culturally black.

Such deceptions are nothing new. Racial hoaxes have been around for a long time, as Laura Browder explains in Slippery Characters: Ethnic Impersonators and American Identities (2000). In the mid-nineteenth century, P. T. Barnum showcased people of concocted races, such as “the Circassian Beauty,” and promoted a “Negro” who claimed to have discovered “a weed that turns a black person white.” Newspapers at the time called out runaway slave imposters, who went around “soliciting money,” “purchasing relatives and friends.” White writers published fake slave narratives, with some unconscious tells, according to Browder: their narrators tend to discover that slavery is bad (as if this were not obvious) and to betray both “disgust with the African-American body” and “an obsession with physical pain.” As late as the 1920s, the British- born Archibald Stansfeld Belaney disguised himself as Grey Owl, a Native American man. In his 2017 history Bunk, Kevin Young notes that “the hoax regularly steps in when race rears its head—exactly because it too is a fake thing pretending to be real.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial Americans could represent America’s future, some say

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2021-10-08 21:27Z by Steven

Multiracial Americans could represent America’s future, some say

The Washington Post
2021-10-08

Silvia Foster-Frau, Multiculturalism reporter
Ted Mellnik
Adrián Blanco, Graphics reporter


Steve Majors, in Takoma Park, Md., who is half-Black and half-White, grew up in an all-Black household but is often perceived as White. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

While still a relatively small part of the population, more Americans than ever identify as multiracial, according to the census

Tony Luna was once again being asked to choose one of his racial identities over the other.

He firmly believed in the anti-racism training his workplace was offering. But the instructor told him he had to pick a group for the program — either the one for White people, or the one for people of color.

Luna is biracial, Filipino and White, a combination that defined his upbringing and sense of self. He has always felt he was either both identities, equally — or in some settings, not fully one or the other.


Multiracial populations increased faster than any single race across the U.S. in the last census. Gains were highest in major metro areas, but the number of people identifying as multiracial also tripled in non-metro areas. Source: 2020 Census

“I felt like it was a false choice, because you’re saying which one are you more comfortable with, your mom or your dad?” Luna, 49, said. “Identity can be based on how people see you, but that can be wrong for mixed people. It’s really based on how you identify, what your experiences are — so many variables go into that.”

More than 33 million Americans — about 1 in 10 — identify as being of two or more races, a number that grew by nearly 25 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census. Multiracial people span all different combinations of races and ethnicities and make up the fastest-growing demographic in the country.

In some cities, the growth is stark. Almost 1.4 million more people each in Los Angeles and New York identified as multiracial in the 2020 Census compared with a decade ago, according to a Washington Post analysis. In Miami, nearly 1.6 million more did so…

Read the entire article here.

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Born into slavery, they rose to be elite New York Jews. A new book tells their story.

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2021-10-08 14:05Z by Steven

Born into slavery, they rose to be elite New York Jews. A new book tells their story.

Religion News Service
2021-10-05

Yonat Shimron, National Reporter and Senior Editor


Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family” and author Laura Arnold Leibman. Courtesy images

In her new book, ‘Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family,’ Laura Arnold Leibman shows that Jews were not only slave owners. They were also slaves.

(RNS) — Jews are proud of the biblical story from Exodus that recounts their deliverance from slavery in Egypt in the third century B.C.

But few U.S. Jews consider that some of their ancestors were slaves in the trans-Atlantic slave trade that ended in the 19th century.

In her new book, “Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family,” Laura Arnold Leibman, a Reed College English professor, conclusively shows that Jews, who were typically thought of as white, were not only slave owners. They were also slaves.

Leibman does this by excavating the genealogies of Sarah and Isaac Lopez Brandon, siblings born in the late 18th century to a wealthy Barbadian Jewish businessman and an enslaved woman. The siblings eventually made it New York, where they were able to pass as white. They became accomplished and affluent members of New York City’s oldest Jewish congregation, Shearith Israel.

Sarah and Isaac’s father, Abraham Rodriguez Brandon, was a Sephardic Jew who traced his ancestry to the expulsion of Jews from Spain. He settled in Barbados as part of a Jewish community of between 400 and 500 families that worked on the island’s sugar plantations and refineries.

Brandon secured his children’s manumission fees, and in 1801 they became “free mulattos.” In Barbados, that still meant they could not vote or hold office, or for that matter be married in the island’s synagogue or buried in its cemetery.

But America was kinder to them. Both Sarah and Isaac immigrated to America and married into prominent and wealthy U.S. Jewish families while hiding their past. One granddaughter had no clue about their origins.

Religion News Service talked to Leibman about her discovery of the Brandon genealogy and what it means for the U.S. Jewish community to grapple with its multiracial past and present. The interview was edited for length and clarity…

Read the entire interview here.

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Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multi-Racial Jewish Family

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2021-10-07 15:45Z by Steven

Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multi-Racial Jewish Family

Oxford University Press
2021-08-30
320 Pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780197530474

Laura Arnold Leibman, Professor of English and Humanities
Reed College, Portland, Oregon

Highlights

  • Provides a rare historical portrait of life as a Jewish American of color
  • Examines the history of racial “passing” in an international context
  • Uses an intersectional lens to untangle a family history

An obsessive genealogist and descendent of one of the most prominent Jewish families since the American Revolution, Blanche Moses firmly believed her maternal ancestors were Sephardic grandees. Yet she found herself at a dead end when it came to her grandmother’s maternal line. Using family heirlooms to unlock the mystery of Moses’s ancestors, Once We Were Slaves overturns the reclusive heiress’s assumptions about her family history to reveal that her grandmother and great-uncle, Sarah and Isaac Brandon, actually began their lives as poor Christian slaves in Barbados. Tracing the siblings’ extraordinary journey throughout the Atlantic World, Leibman examines artifacts they left behind in Barbados, Suriname, London, Philadelphia, and, finally, New York, to show how Sarah and Isaac were able to transform themselves and their lives, becoming free, wealthy, Jewish, and–at times–white. While their affluence made them unusual, their story mirrors that of the largely forgotten population of mixed African and Jewish ancestry that constituted as much as ten percent of the Jewish communities in which the siblings lived, and sheds new light on the fluidity of race–as well as on the role of religion in racial shift–in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Table of Contents

  • Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Origins (Bridgetown, 1793-1798)
  • Chapter 2: From Slave to Free (Bridgetown, 1801)
  • Chapter 3: From Christian to Jew (Suriname, 1811-12)
  • Chapter 4: The Tumultuous Island (Bridgetown, 1812-1817)
  • Chapter 5: Synagogue Seats (New York & Philadelphia, 1793-1818)
  • Chapter 6: The Material of Race (London, 1815-17)
  • Chapter 7: Voices of Rebellion (Bridgetown, 1818-24)
  • Chapter 8: A Woman Valor (New York, 1817-19)
  • Chapter 9: This Liberal City (Philadelphia, 1818-33)
  • Chapter 10: Feverish Love (New York, 1819-1830)
  • Chapter 11: When I am Gone (New York, Barbados, London, 1830-1847)
  • Chapter 12: Legacies (New York and Beyond, 1841-1860)
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix: Family Trees
  • Abbreviations
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
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What Passes as Love: A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2021-09-30 03:57Z by Steven

What Passes as Love: A Novel

Lake Union Publishing
2021-09-01
335 pages
Paperback ISBN:‎ 978-1542030601

Trisha R. Thomas

A young woman pays a devastating price for freedom in this heartrending and breathtaking novel of the nineteenth-century South.

1850. I was six years old the day Lewis Holt came to take me away.

Born into slavery, Dahlia never knew her mother―or what happened to her. When Dahlia’s father, the owner of Vesterville plantation, takes her to work in his home as a servant, she’s desperately lonely. Forced to leave behind her best friend, Bo, she lives in a world between black and white, belonging to neither.

Ten years later, Dahlia meets Timothy Ross, an Englishman in need of a wife. Reinventing herself as Lily Dove, Dahlia allows Timothy to believe she’s white, with no family to speak of, and agrees to marry him. She knows the danger of being found out. She also knows she’ll never have this chance at freedom again.

Ensconced in the Ross mansion, Dahlia soon finds herself held captive in a different way―as the dutiful wife of a young man who has set his sights on a political future. But when Bo arrives on the estate in shackles, Dahlia decides to risk everything to save his life. With suspicions of her true identity growing and a bounty hunter not far behind, Dahlia must act fast or pay a devastating price.

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Gibbes Museum’s Film Series to Focus on Racial Passing

Posted in Articles, Arts, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-09-30 03:19Z by Steven

Gibbes Museum’s Film Series to Focus on Racial Passing

Holy City Sinner
Charleston, South Carolina
2021-09-23


Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson appear in “Passing” by Rebecca Hall, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Edu Grau

The Gibbes Museum of Art has announced the second installment of its film series, titled “Gibbes Films in Focus: Passing Strange,” which will feature the Lowcountry’s first screening of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival selection, “Passing,” by Rebecca Hall, starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland, and Alexander Skarsgård and adapted from the groundbreaking novel by Nella Larsen.

In this series, the Gibbes will explore the tradition of race-passing narratives as represented on the silver screen. From Kate Chopin’s 1893 short story “Désirée’s Baby,” to the 1936 and 1951 adaptations of the musical “Showboat,” America has been enthralled by passing narratives, whereby a person of Black descent, but of ambiguous or white features, slips into white society, destabilizing the strict racial codes that have governed so much of American life. This three-part series will be held at the museum this fall…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Masks and Stereotypes in Imitation of Life and Bamboozled

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-09-29 15:36Z by Steven

Racial Masks and Stereotypes in Imitation of Life and Bamboozled

Caméra Stylo: The Cinema Studies Undergraduate Student Journal
University of Toronto
Volume 13 (2013)
2013-04-01
pages 62-74

Nicole Wong

Visible signs of difference mark the racialized body only in com-bination with nonvisible social preconceptions and expectations. A racial stereotype is the link, the image, which ties the visible with the nonvisible imagined meanings and values specific to the culture in which they are produced and shared. The process of racial stereotyping therefore requires three components: the marked body, the collective society of meaning and image-makers, and the racial mask through which the latter views and defines the former. My concern in this article is how American1 popular culture and mass media entertainment has become the foremost platform for racial meaning production, perpetuating false racial stereotypes, yet at the same time attempting to expose its own role as image-maker.

As forms of popular mass media entertainment, Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life (1959) and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000) depict such an exposition of the racial stereotyping process, but with significant differences that come with forty years’ distance. These two films function as tragic allegories of the racial stereotype production process as popular entertainment, wherein central characters mask their marked bodies, their self-identity and essential personhood. Racial stereotypes literally are enacted on stage to entertain an audience, a downsized representation both American media makers and receivers. Through the optic of Sander Gilman’s conceptions of the Other and the Self, I will explore the motives behind, and subsequent futility of, attempts to mask racial self-identities with media-defined projected identities that ultimately turn performers into the slaves of spectators. I will also position the ideologies of both films as reflections of the racial performer/audience relationship of their respective time periods…

Read the entire article here.

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