Genealogy & Racial Passing; Author Mary Doria Russell

Posted in Audio, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-12 20:47Z by Steven

Genealogy & Racial Passing; Author Mary Doria Russell

The Sound of Ideas
ideastream
Cleveland, Ohio
2019-11-11

Rachel Rood, Producer


Credit: MeganBrady/shutterstock

Parma native and award winning author, Gail Lukasik discovered in 1995 that her mother had kept a deep family secret from her. Her mother was half-black, but was passing as a white woman, and begged Gail not to reveal her true identity. Lukasik will be speaking about her family’s story, which she turned into a book in 2017, this week in Lakewood, and we’ll discuss the complicated waters of genealogy and race, on The Sound of Ideas. Later, Lyndhurst author, Mary Doria Russell, talks about her new historical novel: The Women of the Copper Country.

Listen to the episode (00:49:56) here.

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Color Blind

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, Philosophy on 2019-11-12 19:02Z by Steven

Color Blind

The Nation
2019-11-11

Ismail Muhammad, Reviews Editor
The Believer


Charts for testing color blindness. (Wellcome Collection)

Thomas Chatterton Williams’s argument against race.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race (New York: W. W. Norton, 2019)

Early in Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella Passing, Clare Kendry speaks nervously of her daughter Margery’s birth. “I nearly died of terror the whole nine months before Margery was born,” she confesses. She is, for all intents and purposes, a white woman married to a wealthy white man. Yet she finds herself fearing that her child’s birth will reveal her for what she is: a black woman who passes for white. If a child of Clare’s came out dark, it would be evidence of her passing. Luckily, Margery was born fair skinned. “Thank goodness, she turned out all right.”

A similar scene unfolds at the beginning of Thomas Chatterton Williams’s new memoir, Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race. In 2013, Williams—the son of a white woman and a black man—and his white French wife are living in Paris when she gives birth to their daughter, Marlow. Like Margery, Marlow arrives with fair skin. But this is not a comfort to Williams; instead, it comes as a shock. “It took my sluggish mind a moment to register and sort the sounds; and then it hit me that [the doctor] was looking at my daughter’s head and reporting back that it was blond,” he recalls.

Unlike Clare’s child, Williams’s blond baby is not the cause of relief but of psychic agitation. For Williams, she’s a portal into a new conception of his own racial identity. “I was aware…however vaguely, that whatever personal identity I had previously inhabited, I had now crossed into something new and different,” he writes. While Williams had long considered himself black, Marlow’s arrival unsettled his assumptions about how real race is to begin with. “The sight of this blond-haired, blue-eyed, impossibly fair-skinned child shocked me—along with the knowledge that she was indubitably mine,” he writes. How can the world consider this child black, and what does it say about his racial identity that he has fathered her? Even more important, his daughter’s birth raises a set of deeper existential and political questions. What does it say about race that some of the key assumptions that buttress Western conceptions of racial identity—that one’s skin color can tell us one’s race, for instance—dissolve in the face of reality’s manifold intricacies?…

Read the entire review here.

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‘When I Was White’: At 27, Sarah Valentine found out her biological father was black. A chat about her new memoir.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-11 21:27Z by Steven

‘When I Was White’: At 27, Sarah Valentine found out her biological father was black. A chat about her new memoir.

The Chicago Tribune
2019-10-29

Alexis Burling, Writer. Book Critic. Editor.

Sarah Valentine, author of "When I Was White," was unaware until she was 27 that her biological father was African American. She discusses how this affected her life.
Sarah Valentine, author of “When I Was White,” was unaware until she was 27 that her biological father was African American. She discusses how this affected her life. (Marcello Rostagni / HANDOUT)

When Sarah Valentine was growing up in the mostly white, middle-class suburbs of Pittsburgh during the 1980s, she assumed her experience was just like that of her peers. She embraced the traditions of her Irish and Italian heritage, did well in sports and school, and hung out with her white friends at the mall. “I didn’t know much about race,” she writes of a childhood friendship with a girl who looked like her, “but I knew it existed; I thought some people were black, but most people were normal.”

But as Valentine came of age and became more conscious of her place in the world, something seemed a little off. For one, her skin was a darker shade than that of her family members. Her classmates called her “Slash,” the nickname of the mixed-race Guns N’ Roses guitarist. Her high school guidance counselor suggested she consider minority scholarships when applying for college.

Finally, when she was 27, after years of grappling with deep-rooted insecurities about feeling like an “other,” Valentine confronted her mother about her suspicions. What she found out was disturbing. According to her mother, Valentine was the product of a rape by an unknown black man. The revelation, she writes, meant that her entire upbringing had been “an insidious lie.”…

Q: In the United States, we’re still learning how to talk about identities that fall outside of our traditional understandings of race. In your memoir, “When I Was White,” you describe yourself as mixed-race African American. Why that, specifically?

A: For me, mixed-race experience is part of black experience in this country. Race is often seen as binary, but mixed-race people fall between categories and can encompass multiple identities. Growing up, my family denied my being black and mixed race, so it’s important for me to reclaim those identities…

Read the entire interview here.

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Elevating Social Status by Racial Passing and White Assimilation: in George Schuyler’s Black No More

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-11 02:15Z by Steven

Elevating Social Status by Racial Passing and White Assimilation: in George Schuyler’s Black No More

Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies
Volume 3, Number 4, October 2019
pages 24-35
DOI: 10.24093/awejtls/vol3no4.3

Menia Mohammad Almenia
Department of English Language and Translation
College of Arabic Language and Social Sciences
Qassim University, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia

This paper examines the legacy of the 1932 novel Black No More by George Schuyler with its message promoting assimilation. Racial divisions within the United States have a complex history, either insisting on separation or promoting unity, but advocates of assimilation have traditionally been viewed negatively. This paper aims to reconcile the assimilationist views of Schuyler against his larger purpose of empowerment through change. Schuyler focuses on issues of education, economy, and social status to demonstrate his thesis: meaningful change is possible if action is taken. Numerous theorists such as Jane Kuenz (1997), Hee-Jung Serenity Joo (2008), Jason Haslam (2002), and Ann Rayson (1978) have considered that Schuyler as an assimilationist. Schuyler’s novel builds a case for assimilation of individuals into the dominant culture as the practical course for improvement on both a personal and social scale.

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Passing in America

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-10 03:59Z by Steven

Racial Passing in America

Yale University Press Blog
2019-11-04

Adele Logan Alexander, Emeritus Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Over the years, the practice of “passing” for white has variously been considered wicked, cowardly, deceptive, essential, all or none of the above by much of the African American community. Certainly, it was and is controversial.

In years, decades, and centuries past, a number of light-skinned African Americans “passed,” either briefly, permanently, or situationally. Their stories are legion. This certainly has been the case for several members of my own family…

…But there are alternative stories too. In the Jim Crow South, my light-skinned grandmother sometimes wore a raceless mask to attend “all-white” suffrage conferences in the pre-Nineteenth Amendment years. Then she brought the information she gleaned back to share with her African American friends and peers who hoped to acquire the vote for women. On occasion, she also manipulated the racial apartheid system to acquire the best possible medical care for herself and her children. Would anyone argue with her choices in those instances?…

Read the entire article here.

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New Hampshire: Beyond Black & White

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2019-11-10 03:40Z by Steven

New Hampshire: Beyond Black & White

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
2019-2020 Elinor Williams Hooker Expanded Tea Talk Series
Keene State College
Young Student Center
Mountain View Room
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435
Sunday, 2019-11-10, 14:00 EST

Contact information:
JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director
603-570-8469

Panelists: David Watters, Darrell Hucks, & (TBA)
Moderator: Dottie Morris

Moving beyond rigid racial identities, this talk will explore the contemporary as well as historic intersection between Black and Indigenous communities, the presence of “passing” mixed race individuals, and the most recent immigrant experience within a New England context. These complex interactions, connections conflicts, experiences, and resistant efforts of Black, white and multi-racial citizens will be explored through scholarly research and an analysis of the film Lost Boundaries.

For more information, click here.

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ENGL 205 Focus on: Passing and Performing Identity

Posted in Course Offerings, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, United States on 2019-11-03 02:29Z 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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Hollywood at the Intersection of Race and Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2019-10-26 03:08Z 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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Who Was the Real James Young Deer?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-10-24 17:28Z by Steven

Who Was the Real James Young Deer?

Bright Lights Film Journal
Issue May 2013 (2013-04-30)
10 pages

Angela Aleiss, Full Time Lecturer, Information Systems
California State University, Long Beach

James Young Deer, 1909, at Bison

The Mysterious Identity of the Pathè Producer Finally Comes to Light

“With his acting experience and technical know-how, Young Deer soon advanced to one of Pathé’s leading filmmakers. His Indian identity served him well: no one in the cast or crew at that time would have taken orders from a black man.”

Few in Hollywood knew that James Young Deer, general manager of Pathé Frères West Coast Studio from 1911 to 1914, was really an imposter. After all, Young Deer had earned a reputation as the first Native American producer and had worked alongside D. W. Griffith, Fred J. Balshofer, and Mack Sennett. As one of Hollywood’s pioneer filmmakers, Young Deer oversaw the production of more than 100 one-reel silent Westerns for Pathé, the world’s largest production company with an American studio in Edendale in Los Angeles.

Young Deer was married to Lillian St. Cyr, a Winnebago Indian from Nebraska known as “Princess Red Wing” and star of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1914 classic The Squaw Man. He boasted of a full-blooded Winnebago heritage similar to his wife: his birthplace became Dakota City, Nebraska, and his father was “Green Rainbow” from the Winnebago reservation. He claimed he attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, the first off-reservation Indian boarding school.

In a 2010 BBC Radio 3 segment, “James Young Deer: The Winnebago Film-Maker,” no one — including this author — could unscramble Young Deer’s murky past. Young Deer was elusive, and a search in his background leads to a maze of contradictions and discrepancies. But after ten months of poking through dusty archives and faded vital records and tracking down Lillian’s relatives, the identity of this mysterious filmmaker finally came to light. His real name: James Young Johnson, born about April 1, 1878, in Washington, D.C., to mulatto parents George Durham Johnson and Emma Margaret Young.

“If Young Deer claimed to be Winnebago, he was lying to himself and others to promote himself,” says David Smith, Winnebago historian, author, and former director of Indian Studies at Little Priest Tribal College in Nebraska. Smith has heard endless stories about Young Deer’s supposed Winnebago heritage, and he’s had enough. His reaction is understandable: Native American identity is an especially sensitive issue, and no Indian tribe wants their name appropriated by some wannabe.

Little did anyone know that Young Deer’s true heritage lies hidden within the small mid-Atlantic community of whites, African Americans, and Native Americans once known as the “Moors of Delaware.” So secluded were these people that the late historian Clinton A. Weslager referred to them as “Delaware’s Forgotten Folk.”…

Read the entire article here.

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He passed as a white student at U-M — but was actually college’s first black enrollee

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-10-24 15:03Z by Steven

He passed as a white student at U-M — but was actually college’s first black enrollee

Detroit Free Press
2019-10-19

Micah Walker

Tylonn J. Sawyer, 42 of Detroit, works on the mural he's been painting inside the University of Michigan, Modern Languages Building on campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The mural titled "First Man: Samuel Codes Watson (Acrylic)" is dedicated to the first African-American to attend the University of Michigan, Samuel Codes Watson. In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson was the first African American student admitted to the Michigan.
Tylonn J. Sawyer, 42 of Detroit, works on the mural he’s been painting inside the University of Michigan, Modern Languages Building on campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The mural titled “First Man: Samuel Codes Watson (Acrylic)” is dedicated to the first African-American to attend the University of Michigan, Samuel Codes Watson. In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson was the first African American student admitted to the [University of] Michigan. (Photo: Eric Seals, Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press)

In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson became the first black student admitted to the University of Michigan at a time where higher education for African Americans was nearly impossible.

Studying to become a doctor, Watson would go on to receive his M.D. from Cleveland Medical College in 1857, being one of the first black people to do so. He later became Detroit’s first elected African-American city official and the city’s richest property owner by 1867.

Now, Tylonn Sawyer is bringing more awareness to Watson’s story through a work of art.

The Detroit artist is working with two U-M students on a mural to honor Watson. He’s spent the last two weekends painting inside U-M’s Modern Language Building. The mural was to be completed Saturday.

The project is part of Sawyer’s residency at the Institute for the Humanities, which will include his exhibition, “White History Month Vol. 1,” and a series of student engagement opportunities…

…”I was trying to find something not too heavy-handed, but something that could fit the theme (of the exhibit) and then it dawned on me, I wanted to know who was the first black person to attend the school,” he said.

However, since Watson was of mixed race, he passed as white during his two years at U-M. Fortunately for Sawyer, that fact made the doctor more compelling to paint for “White History.”

“That fascinates me that there was a black person who had white privilege and was cognizant of his ethnicity,” he said. “When you really think about it, he kinda wasn’t a black person when he was there. That’s such a juxtaposition for me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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