Rachel Dolezal struggling after racial-identity scandal in Spokane

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-25 15:41Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal struggling after racial-identity scandal in Spokane

The Seattle Times
2017-03-24

Nicholas K. Geranios
The Associated Press


In this March 20, 2017 photo, Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston in the bureau of the Associated Press in Spokane, Wash. Dolezal, who has legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, rose to prominence as a black civil rights leader, but then lost her job when her parents exposed her as being white and is now struggling to make a living. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)

“I was presented as a con and a fraud and a liar,” says Rachel Dolezal, who has been unable to find steady work since she was outed as a white woman in media reports. Dolezal had rose to prominence as a black civil-rights leader in Spokane.

SPOKANE — A woman who rose to prominence as a black civil-rights leader then lost her job when her parents exposed her as white is struggling to make a living these days.

Rachel Dolezal said she has been unable to find steady work in the nearly two years since she was outed as a white woman in media reports, and she is uncertain about her future.

“I was presented as a con and a fraud and a liar,” Dolezal, 40, told The Associated Press this week. “I think some of the treatment was pretty cruel.”

She still identifies as black, and looks black, despite being “Caucasian biologically.”

“People didn’t seem able to consider that maybe both were true,” she said. “OK, I was born to white parents, but maybe I had an authentic black identity.”…

…Dolezal has written a book about her ordeal titled “In Full Color.” It’s scheduled to be published next week.

Last year, Dolezal legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, a West African moniker that means “gift from the gods.” She made the change in part to give herself a better chance of landing work from employers who might not be interested in hiring Rachel Dolezal, a name she still intends to use as her public persona…

Read the entire article here.

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Identity Crisis

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Judaism, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-03-24 01:07Z by Steven

Identity Crisis

Washington Independent Review of Books
2017-03-10

Helene Meyers, Professor of English
Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas

The “white Jewish” question posed in The Human Stain.

Emma Green of the Atlantic started a firestorm recently with the article “Are Jews White?” Taking for granted that Ashkenazi Jews have assimilated to whiteness, Green used the white Jewish question to wonder whether the rise of the so-called “alt-right” (read racist, misogynist white supremacists) is upending Jewish security in the U.S.

Green’s provocative title question caused quite a bit of tumult on Twitter. Predictably and understandably, Jews of color replied, with much amusement and some angst, “No.” Some white Jews responded, “No,” as well, citing anti-Semitism and/or Jewish distinctiveness. For once, this group agreed with the likes of David Duke, who tweeted in all caps “NO — JEWS ARE NOT WHITE.” Some white Jews and blacks unequivocally replied, “Yes,” citing white privilege as decisive.

While the answers to Green’s question from Jewish-American literature are all over the map, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain brilliantly depicts the continuing effects of “so arbitrary a designation as race” on those who choose or are assigned the off-whiteness of Jewishness…

Read the entire essay here.

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New Perspectives on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, United States on 2017-03-23 18:54Z by Steven

New Perspectives on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

University of Georgia Press
2017-07-15
272 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-5097-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8203-5096-7

Edited by

Noelle Morrissette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) exemplified the ideal of the American public intellectual as a writer, educator, songwriter, diplomat, key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and first African American executive of the NAACP. Originally published anonymously in 1912, Johnson’s novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man is considered one of the foundational works of twentieth-century African American literature, and its themes and forms have been taken up by other writers, from Ralph Ellison to Teju Cole.

Johnson’s novel provocatively engages with political and cultural strains still prevalent in American discourse today, and it remains in print over a century after its initial publication. New Perspectives contains fresh essays that analyze the book’s reverberations, the contexts within which it was created and received, the aesthetic and intellectual developments of its author, and its continuing influence on American literature and global culture.

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Asian Am 251/Af Am 251: The Mixed Race Experience

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Course Offerings, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-21 01:56Z by Steven

Asian Am 251/Af Am 251: The Mixed Race Experience

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Spring 2016

Nitasha Sharma, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Performance Studies; Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence

Growing numbers of interracial marriages and children of mixed racial descent have contributed to the increasing diversity of 21st century America. In this course, we will evaluate the experiences of self-identified multiracials. This class will explore the interracial and inter-ethnic marriage trends in various Asian communities in the U.S. Additionally, we will compare the experiences of multiracials representing a range of backgrounds, including those of Asian/White and Asian/Black ancestry as well as Asian/Black heritage. Some of the specific topics that will be covered in this course include: racial and ethnic community membership and belonging; passing; the dynamics of interracial relationships; identity, authenticity, and choice; and the gender identities of the mixed race individuals.

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Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-03-19 22:52Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

University of North Carolina Press
May 2017
230 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3283-4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3282-7

Alisha Gaines, Assistant Professor of English
Florida State University

In 1948, journalist Ray Sprigle traded his whiteness to live as a black man for four weeks. A little over a decade later, John Howard Griffin famously “became” black as well, traveling the American South in search of a certain kind of racial understanding. Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people passing as black, and here Alisha Gaines constructs a unique genealogy of “empathetic racial impersonation”–white liberals walking in the fantasy of black skin under the alibi of cross-racial empathy. At the end of their experiments in “blackness,” Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness.

Complicating the histories of black-to-white passing and blackface minstrelsy, Gaines uses an interdisciplinary approach rooted in literary studies, race theory, and cultural studies to reveal these sometimes maddening, and often absurd, experiments of racial impersonation. By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, Gaines shows that there was, and still is, a faulty cultural logic that places enormous faith in the idea that empathy is all that white Americans need to make a significant difference in how to racially navigate our society.

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A Tale Which Must Never Be Told: A New Biography of George Herriman

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-19 14:32Z by Steven

A Tale Which Must Never Be Told: A New Biography of George Herriman

Los Angeles Review of Books
2017-03-18

Ben Schwartz

George Herriman, a Life in Black and White
By Michael Tisserand

Published 12.06.2016
Harper
560 Pages

ON MARCH 4, 1913, Woodrow Wilson took the oath of office and became our 28th president. While we remember Wilson for his internationalist foreign policy and progressive labor laws, he was also the first Southerner elected since the mid-19th century, and his racial policies reflected it. Wilson saw Jim Crow as the necessary remedy to the aftermath of the Civil War. As president, he normalized his revanchist views from the White House by expanding segregation of federal workers. Not surprisingly, 1913 also saw a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. An excerpt from Wilson’s revisionist writings proclaiming the Klan “a veritable empire of the South” even appears in D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, a box-office smash which Wilson personally screened at the White House, the first American film ever shown there.

In that reactionary atmosphere, on October 28, 1913, in the New York Evening Journal, William Randolph Hearst debuted a new comic strip, Krazy Kat, by one of his favorite cartoonists, George Herriman. It starred Krazy, an androgynous cat in love with Ignatz, a brick-throwing, cat-chasing mouse. They lived in Coconino County, Arizona, desert mesa country, and Herriman shifted their backgrounds panel-by-panel — night to day, day to night, mountain to desert to town to river — with no rhyme or reason. They spoke in a patois of slang, Elizabethan English, Yiddish, Spanish, French, and tossed off literary allusions. When asked once about his basic upending of the natural order of cats, mice, dogs, time, and space, Herriman summed up his Weltanschauung: “To me it’s just as sensible as the way it is.”.

Krazy Kat’s whimsy caught on quickly in the Age of Wilson, and its large and devoted fan base ranged from high society to poets to school children to the president himself. What none of them knew then was that George Herriman was black. He passed for white most of his life. And what we can only see now, thanks to an authoritative new biography of Herriman by New Orleans historian Michael Tisserand, is that, as far removed from social commentary as Krazy Kat may appear, race was as much on George Herriman’s mind as the president’s…

Read the entire review here.

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Mind the Gap: Mixed-race mindset

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-16 01:32Z by Steven

Mind the Gap: Mixed-race mindset

The Tufts Daily
Medford, Massachusetts
2017-03-14

MJ Greigo

Most strangers who pass me on the street think I’m white. I don’t blame them for this, as I’m pale as hell. I got some sort of mid-point of my parents’ genes: my obviously brown father and my paper-white mom, his black hair and her light brown, her 5-foot-7-inches and his 6-foot-4-inches. Growing up, I got so tan in the summers, and I brought in Nana Griego’s homemade tortillas for show and tell. My friends joked about how I loved burritos and that I was like a maid. The confusion of childhood takes a lifetime to unpack, and I find myself looking back with terror on things that I couldn’t have understood at the time. Yet without fully knowing about their repercussions, these tiny moments come together to form a huge part of the way everyone sees the world…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing Before ‘Passing’: The Ambivalent Identity of the Narrator in Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-14 18:59Z by Steven

Passing Before ‘Passing’: The Ambivalent Identity of the Narrator in Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man

European Scientific Journal
Volume 13, Number 5 (2017)
DOI: 10.19044/esj.2017.v13n5p1

Bassam M. Al-Shraah, Teaching Associate
School of Linguistics and Language Studies
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man is considered by many as an early seminal censure and commentary on the contested racial issue of African American in the United States of America. This paper argues that the ‘invisible’ protagonist of the Novel has passed for white as early as his childhood years. The narrator relinquishes his black identity for the conveniences and supremacy that the white identity entails. This paper brings to question the credibility of narrative in the novel; also, it proves that the narrator contradicts himself. The invisible narrator appears not to have a firm stance regarding the atrocities suffered by his own people—African Americans. People of color in the United States were caught between two cultures, identities, and lives. The un-named narrator has taken the least troubled road. He announces his passing for white at the end of the novel. This study contends that he has done so long time ago before he literally announces his passing.

Read the entire article here.

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Apres Midi Afternoon Classics: March 7, 2017- “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White”

Posted in Arts, Audio, Biography, Interviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-13 18:24Z by Steven

Apres Midi Afternoon Classics: March 7, 2017- “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White”

Apres Midi/Afternoon Classics
KRVS 88.7 FM
Lafayette, Louisiana
2017-03-07

Judith Meriwether, Host

Interview with Michael Tisserand about his book Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White.

Listen to the interview (01:00:00) here.

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‘Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White’: A life as unorthodox as his comic strip

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-12 02:21Z by Steven

‘Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White’: A life as unorthodox as his comic strip

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
2017-02-19

Wayne Wise


Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White” by Michael Tisserand.

Ignatz Mouse: “Hey, this isn’t black coffee!!!”

Krazy Kat: “Sure it is. Look unda the milk.”

Krazy Kat,” created by George Herriman, is one of the most influential comic strips of all time. Centered around the iconic love triangle of Krazy, Ignatz Mouse and Offisa Pupp, the feature ran as a syndicated newspaper strip from 1913 to 1944. To a modern audience the strip can be difficult to understand, if not impenetrable. The pacing and sense of humor of 100 years ago feel foreign to current trends. There are references that were common at the time that are lost to us now. The language used is an idiosyncratic patois of nonsense poetry.

The backgrounds, while beautifully rendered, are a constantly changing surreal backdrop. Characters frequently broke the fourth wall, commenting directly on their status as cartoons. The title character, Krazy Kat, was of indeterminate gender, referred to with shifting pronouns, sometimes within the same sentence. As a whole, Krazy Kat was an ongoing challenge to the reader’s perception of definitions and boundaries.

Creator George Herriman was born in New Orleans in 1880. In the latter part of the 19th century his family moved to Los Angeles where his father worked as a tailor and George began his art career, eventually becoming one of the most famous and celebrated cartoonists in history. This is a distinction that would not have been possible if the truth of his life had been known at the time.

In 1971, while researching Mr. Herriman for an entry in the Dictionary of American Biography, professor Arthur Berger discovered a previously unknown fact. On his birth certificate Mr. Herriman was listed as “colored.” It had always been assumed that he was a white man. Mr. Herriman, to use the terminology of the time, “passed for white” his entire life, at a time when his color would have prevented him from many, if not all, of the achievements he is known for…

Read the entire article here.

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