Choosing Racial Identity in the United States, 1880-1940

Posted in Economics, History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2020-01-22 01:56Z by Steven

Choosing Racial Identity in the United States, 1880-1940

National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER Working Paper No. 26465
Issued in November 2019
76 pages
DOI: 10.3386/w26465

Ricardo Dahis, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Emily Nix, Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics
University of Southern California

Nancy Qian, James J. O’Connor Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

This paper documents that many black males experienced a change in racial classification to white in the United States, 1880–1940, while changes in racial classification were negligible for other races. We provide a rich set of descriptive evidence on the lives of black men “passing” for white, such as marriage, children, the passing of spouses and children, migration and income.

Read the entire paper here.

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We European Jews never passed as white

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2020-01-12 02:54Z by Steven

We European Jews never passed as white

The Times of Israel
2020-01-09

Rivka Hellendall, Graduate Student of English Literature and Jewish Studies
University of Amsterdam

Rivka Hellendall
Rivka Hellendall

In the last two decades, American Ashkenazi Jews have returned to the question of their Otherness, or, put more crudely, to the question of whether Ashkenazi Jews are White, “white-passing”, or something else entirely. A quick Google search entry of “are Jews white” yields roughly 89 million results, including news articles, op-eds, and even academic tomes. The fact that Karen Brodkin named her 243-page 1998 study on the topic “How Jews Became White Folks and what that Says about Race in America” speaks volumes. Apparently, there was a large enough body of Jews at the time who never suffered anti-Semitism in person for Brodkin to make this title a viable one. A large enough number of American Jews who had never, for example, been denied housing or religious rights, equal opportunity employment (i.e. suffered job discrimination), or experienced insults, social exclusion, threats, and physical violence because of their Jewishness. Sadly, those times have changed since…

Read the entire article here.

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ENGL 205 Focus on: Passing and Performing Identity

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-01-11 22:23Z by Steven

ENGL 205 Focus on: Passing and Performing Identity

Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio
Spring 2020

Xavier University

Section 25 Online MCFARLANE HARRIS
Section 26 Online MCFARLANE HARRIS
CRN 13054 and 11004

EOAs part of the Core Curriculum’s Ethics / Religion and Society Requirement, Literature and the Moral Imagination is required for all undergraduate students. In broad terms, ENGL 205: Literature and the Moral Imagination focuses on personal and social ethical issues in literature. Individual sections feature specific topics.

In this course, we will read fiction and graphic novels that investigate the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States, whereby “black” persons light-skinned enough to appear “white” cross the color line to live as white people. Along the way, we will read a smattering of historical sources and cultural theory on the social construction of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, religion, etc.

For more information, click here.

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Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous NB Media Co-op

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:46Z by Steven

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous

NB Media Co-op
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
2019-11-22

Susan O’Donnell, Adjunct Professor of Sociology
University of New Brunswick

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous
Sportsman and Indigenous guides (carrying snowshoes), with game in winter. Gabe Atwin far left, ca. 1875. Image from the Provincial Archives of NB.

The number of people across Canada who self-identify as Indigenous is growing rapidly. Some of that growth can be explained by the Indigenous children of the Sixties Scoop and residential school survivors re-discovering or accepting their Indigenous identities. However an entirely different group of Canadians has emerged. “Race-shifters” are white people with no or a small amount of Indigenous ancestry who identify as Indigenous.

Race-shifters live in every province, mostly in communities with large populations of French ancestry. In this province, for example, in 1996 and 2016, the population of New Brunswick was roughly the same. However in the 1996 census, only 950 people self-identified as Métis, but in the 2016 census that number jumped to 10,200. How is this possible?

The confusion includes the misconception that anyone with Indigenous ancestry can call themselves Métis. On the contrary, “Métis” has a specific definition in Canadian law. In 2003 the Supreme Court Powley decision described a Métis person as “one who self-identifies, has an ancestral connection to a historic Métis community, and is accepted by that community.” Anyone can self-identify as “Métis” when answering a census question, but not everyone of them is a member of the historic Métis Nation that originated in the Red River Valley of Manitoba.

Darryl Leroux has been exploring the race-shifting phenomenon for more than two decades. The social scientist from St. Mary’s University was in Fredericton Nov. 20 to speak about the process he has called “white settler revisionism,” a new wave of colonialism and to launch his new book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity published by the University of Manitoba Press

Read the entire article here.

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Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:30Z by Steven

Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

University of Manitoba Press
September 2019
296 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-846-7

Darryl Leroux, Associate Professor
Department of Social Justice and Community Studies
Saint Mary’s University, Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the twenty-first century: otherwise white, French descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined “Indigenous” identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an “Indigenous” identity today.

After setting out the most common genealogical practices that facilitate race shifting, Leroux examines two of the most prominent self-identified “Indigenous” organizations currently operating in Quebec. Both organizations have their origins in committed opposition to Indigenous land and territorial negotiations, and both encourage the use of suspect genealogical practices. Distorted Descent brings to light to how these claims to an “Indigenous” identity are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing along the way the shifting politics of whiteness, white settler colonialism, and white supremacy.

For more information on the rise of the so-called ‘Eastern Metis’ in the eastern provinces and in New England, including a storymap, court documents, and research materials, visit the Raceshifting website, created by Unwritten Histories Digital Consulting.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction—Self-Indigenization in the Twenty-First Century
  • Part One: The Mechanics of Descent
    • Chapter One—Lineal Descent and the Political Use of Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Two—Aspirational Descent: Creating Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Three—Lateral Descent: Remaking Family in the Past
  • Part Two: Race Shifting as Anti-Indigenous Politics
    • Chapter Four—After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming “Métis” in Two Regions of Quebec
    • Chapter Five—The Largest Self-Identified “Métis” Organization in Quebec: The Métis Nation Of The Rising Sun
  • Conclusion—White Claims to Indigenous Identity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Separated at birth: Was my mother given away because she looked white?

Posted in Africa, Articles, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, Passing, South Africa on 2019-12-01 23:57Z by Steven

Separated at birth: Was my mother given away because she looked white?

Stories
BBC News
2019-12-01

Vibeke Venema, Senior Broadcast Journalist

Margaret as a young woman
Nathan Romburgh

When a health emergency prompted Nathan Romburgh and his sisters to look into their family history, decades after the end of apartheid, they uncovered a closely guarded secret that made them question their own identity.

Cape Town, 29 September 1969 – at 10pm the city is rocked by a huge earthquake. Margaret Buirski is working as a First Aid nurse in the Alhambra cinema and, for once, her medical skills are really needed. A woman has fallen from the balcony and Margaret is tending to her injuries in the chaos.

A young man walks past, very drunk, and notices the nurse’s shapely legs. Despite his inebriation, he offers to drive the women to hospital. This is the start of the romance between Margaret and Derek Romburgh…

…”Then there was this big question – what would make someone give away only one of her twins? It just didn’t make sense,” says Nathan.

He soon formed a theory – it was based on photographs Alan had shared, which showed that Margaret was fairer than her sister Norma.

“My mother had olive skin, but she passed for white in apartheid South Africa,” says Nathan. “I don’t think Norma could have.”

Although Mary Francis, Nathan’s grandmother, was registered as “European”, she was in fact mixed-race. Mary’s father, James Francis, was British, and her mother, Christina, was of Malaysian origin, from the island of St Helena. Mary was the youngest of their six children…

Read the entire article here.

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Whites can be black if they wish, says lecturers’ union

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-22 21:00Z by Steven

Whites can be black if they wish, says lecturers’ union

The Telegraph
2019-11-18

Mike Wright, Social Media Correspondent

Anthony Lennon 
Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director who describes himself as an ‘African born again’ Credit: Twitter

People should be allowed to identify as black no matter what colour they are born, a lecturers’ union has said.

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 100,000 university lecturers and staff, set out its position on whether people should be able to self-identify as different races or genders.

In the paper “UCU Position on Trans Inclusion”, it stated: “The UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify, whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT or women.”…

…The debate over racial self-identification has become heated in recent years. Last November, Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director who describes himself as an “African born again”, drew criticism for securing public funding intended to help ethnic minorities develop their stage careers.

Mr Lennon, 53, who was born in London and whose parents are Irish, won a place on a two-year Arts Council-funded scheme, after a leading black theatre company accepted his claim to be of “mixed heritage”

Read the entire article here.

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‘Please don’t get a tan’: passing as white in Hong Kong is a reward for hard work you didn’t do

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing on 2019-11-21 15:36Z by Steven

‘Please don’t get a tan’: passing as white in Hong Kong is a reward for hard work you didn’t do

Hong Kong Free Press
2018-11-04

Sarah Denise Moran

Sarah Denise Moran
Photo: Sarah Denise Moran.

Twenty-six years ago, my Filipino mother left behind everything familiar to work abroad as a domestic helper. Around the same time, my British father also left his home country in search of better opportunities.

Then in 1995, I won the lottery of birth by being born in Hong Kong to a British father and a Filipino Mum. That day, I gained a British passport, white skin, and a lifetime of privilege.

I grew up in local schools in Hong Kong. I can speak, read, and write Chinese fluently and half of my friends are Chinese. Which is why despite not being Chinese in Hong Kong, I never felt like I was different or didn’t fit in.

Until this one time, when I was seven years old, my teacher started explaining to the class how the Chinese term gwai mui (literally ghost girl in Cantonese, used to describe western females) came about. Apparently, when Westerners arrived in China for the first time, Chinese people thought they were so white, they could almost be ghosts.

Being the only foreigner in a local Chinese school, I was naturally the “ghost girl” in class. What followed was a week of my classmates shying away from me, and occasional gwai mui remarks. That was the first time I realised skin colour meant something, and my only close-to-negative experience from being white-passing in Hong Kong…

Read the entire article here.

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Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Mississippi, Passing, Religion, United States, Women on 2019-11-20 02:21Z by Steven

Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

World Socialist Web Site
2019-10-30

Eric London


Victoria Bynum

An interview with the author of The Free State of Jones

Historian Victoria Bynum, author of The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) and Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), spoke to the World Socialist Web Site’s Eric London on the historical falsifications involved in the New York Times’1619 Project.”

The 1619 Project, launched by the Times in August, presents American history in a purely racial lens and blames all “white people” for the enslavement of 4 million black people as chattel property.

Bynum is an expert on the attitude of Southern white yeomen farmers and impoverished people toward slavery. Her book The Free State of Jones studied efforts by anti-slavery and anti-confederate militia leader Newton Knight, who abandoned the Confederate army and led an armed insurrection against the Confederacy during the Civil War. It was adapted for the big screen in Gary Ross’s 2016 film Free State of Jones.

* * *

WSWS: Hello Victoria, it is a pleasure to speak to you. The New York Times writes that slavery is “America’s national sin,” implying that the whole of American society was responsible for the crime of slavery.

But [Abraham] Lincoln said in his second inaugural address in 1865 that the Civil War was being fought “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.” What was the attitude of the subjects of your study toward slavery? Is it possible to separate those attitudes from the economic grievances that many white farmers and poor people harbored against the Confederate government of the slavocracy?

Victoria Bynum: Direct comments about the injustice of slavery are rare among plain Southern farmers who left few written records. Knowing this at the outset of my research, I was delighted to find clear and strong objections to slavery expressed by the Wesleyan Methodist families of Montgomery County, North Carolina, which I highlighted in my first book, Unruly Women. In 1852, members of the Lovejoy Methodist Church invited the Rev. Adam Crooks, a well-known abolitionist, to address their church…

WSWS: Do you see parallels between the New York Times’ references to genetics (the historic “DNA” of the United States) and the argument, advanced by the slavocracy, that “one drop” of black “blood” was enough to count a light-skinned person in the expanded the pool of slave labor. Can you expand on this?

VB: The frequent correlation of identity with ancestral DNA continues to mask the historical economic forces and shifting constructions of class, race and gender that have far more relevance to one’s identity than one’s DNA can ever reveal. Historically, race-based slavery required legal definitions of whiteness and blackness that upheld the fiction that British/US slavery was reserved for Africans for whom the institution “civilized.” From the earliest days of colonization, however, both forced and consensual sexual relations created slaveholding and non-slaveholding households that were neither “black” nor “white,” but rather were mixed-race. The frequent rape of enslaved women by slaveholders produced multitudes of such children, but so also were many mixed-race children born to whites and free blacks. Slave law dictated that the child of an enslaved woman was also a slave—and therefore “black”—regardless of who fathered the child. Conversely, deciding the race of children born to free women who crossed the color line was not so easy, and became even more difficult after slavery was abolished. In the segregated South, where one’s ability to work, live, love, travel and enjoy the full benefits of American citizenship depended on one’s perceived race, such questions might end up in court, as was the case in 1946 for Newt Knight’s mixed-race great-grandson, Davis Knight, after he married a white woman. While custom dictated that Davis Knight was “black” based on his great-grandmother Rachel’s mixed-race status, state laws required more precise evidence. Under Mississippi law, unless one was proved to have at least one-fourth African ancestry, one was legally—though not socially—white. On this basis, Davis Knight went free…

Read the entire interview here.

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Hollywood at the Intersection of Race and Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2019-11-19 21:13Z by Steven

Hollywood at the Intersection of Race and Identity

Rutgers University Press
2019-11-15
314 pages
31 b-w photographs
6 x 9
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8135-9931-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-9932-8
PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-9935-9
EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8135-9935-9

Edited by:

Delia Malia Caparoso Konzett, Professor of English, Cinema/American/Women’s Studies
University of New Hampshire, Durham

Contributions by: Ruth Mayer, Alice Maurice, Ellen C. Scott, Delia Malia Caparoso Konzett, Jonna Eagle, Ryan Jay Friedman, Charlene Regester, Matthias Konzett, Chris Cagle, Dean Itsuji Saranillio, Graham Cassano, Priscilla Peña Ovalle, Ernesto R Acevedo-Muñoz, Mary Beltrán, Jun Okada, and Louise Wallenberg.

Hollywood at the Intersection of Race and Identity explores the ways Hollywood represents race, gender, class, and nationality at the intersection of aesthetics and ideology and its productive tensions. This collection of essays asks to what degree can a close critical analysis of films, that is, reading them against their own ideological grain, reveal contradictions and tensions in Hollywood’s task of erecting normative cultural standards? How do some films perhaps knowingly undermine their inherent ideology by opening a field of conflicting and competing intersecting identities? The challenge set out in this volume is to revisit well-known films in search for a narrative not exclusively constituted by the Hollywood formula and to answer the questions: What lies beyond the frame? What elements contradict a film’s sustained illusion of a normative world? Where do films betray their own ideology and most importantly what intersectional spaces of identity do they reveal or conceal?

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Hollywood Formulas: Codes, Masks, Genre, and Minstrelsy
    • Daydreams of Society: Class and Gender Performances in the Cinema of the Late 1910s / Ruth Mayer
    • The Death of Lon Chaney: Masculinity, Race, and the Authenticity of Disguise / Alice Maurice
    • MGM’s Sleeping Lion: Hollywood Regulation of the Washingtonian Slave in The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) / Ellen C. Scott
    • Yellowface, Minstrelsy, and Hollywood Happy Endings: The Black Camel (1931), Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935), and Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937) / Delia Malia Konzett
  • Genre and Race in Classical Hollywood
    • “A Queer, Strangled Look”: Race, Gender, and Morality in The Ox-Bow Incident / Jonna Eagle
    • By Herself: Intersectionality, African American Specialty Performers, and Eleanor Powell / Ryan Jay Friedman
    • Disruptive Mother-Daughter Relationships: Peola’s Racial Masquerade in Imitation of Life (1934) and Stella’s Class Masquerade in Stella Dallas (1937) / Charlene Regester
    • The Egotistical Sublime: Film Noir and Whiteness / Matthias Konzett
  • Race and Ethnicity in Post-World War II Hollywood
    • Women and Class Mobility in Classical Hollywood’s Immigrant Dramas / Chris Cagle
    • Orientalism, Diaspora, and Indigeneity in Go for Broke! (1951) / Dean Itsuji Saranillio
    • Savage Whiteness: The dialectic of racial desire in The Young Savages (1961) / Graham Cassano
    • Rita Moreno’s Hair / Priscilla Peña Ovalle
  • Intersectionality, Hollywood, and Contemporary Popular Culture
    • “Everything Glee in ‘America’”: Context, Race, and Identity Politics in the Glee Appropriation of West Side Story / Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz
    • Hip Hop “Hearts” Ballet: Utopic Multiculturalism and the Step Up Dance Films / Mary Beltrán
    • Fakin da Funk (1997) and Gook (2017): Exploring Black/Asian Relations in the Asian American Hood Film / Jun Okada
    • “Let Us Roam the Night Together”: On Articulation and Representation in Moonlight (2016) and Tongues Untied (1989) / Louise Wallenberg
  • Acknowledgments
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Contributors
  • Index
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