The Burdened Virtue of Racial Passing

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-05-16 19:38Z by Steven

The Burdened Virtue of Racial Passing

The Boston Review
2022-05-13

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

A still from Rebecca Hall’s film Passing, based on the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen. Image: Netflix

Though a means of escaping and undermining racial injustice, the practice comes with own set of costs and sacrifices.

In Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing, adapted by Rebecca Hall and distributed on Netfli­x last fall, Clare Kendry—a light-skinned Black woman—decides to pass as white. Clare grows up poor in Chicago; after her alcoholic father dies, she is taken in by her racist white aunts. When she turns eighteen she marries a rich white man who assumes she is white. Clare makes a clean escape until, some years later, she runs into her childhood friend, Irene Redfield, at a whites-only hotel; Irene, it turns out, sometimes passes herself, in this case to escape the summer heat. The storyline traces their complex relationship after this reunion and ends in tragedy for Clare.

Hall’s film adaptation joins several other recent representations that dramatize the lived experience of passing. The protagonist of Brit Bennett’s best-selling novel The Vanishing Half (2020), for example, decides to start passing as white in the 1950s at age sixteen after responding to a listing in the newspaper for secretarial work in a New Orleans department store. Much to her surprise, after excelling at the typing test, Stella is offered the position; her boss assumes she is white. Initially Stella keeps up the ruse just to support her and her sister, but passing also becomes a way for her to escape the trauma of her father’s lynching and the prospect of her own…

Read the entire article here.

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Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy on 2022-05-15 19:00Z by Steven

Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Columbia University Press
December 2021
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780231200660
Paperback ISBN: 9780231200677
E-book ISBN: 9780231553735

Joseph L. Graves Jr., is a professor in the Department of Biology at
North Carolina A&T State University

Alan H. Goodman, Professor of Biological Anthropology
Hampshire College

The science on race is clear. Common categories like “Black,” “white,” and “Asian” do not represent genetic differences among groups. But if race is a pernicious fiction according to natural science, it is all too significant in the day-to-day lives of racialized people across the globe. Inequities in health, wealth, and an array of other life outcomes cannot be explained without referring to “race”—but their true source is racism. What do we need to know about the pseudoscience of race in order to fight racism and fulfill human potential?

In this book, two distinguished scientists tackle common misconceptions about race, human biology, and racism. Using an accessible question-and-answer format, Joseph L. Graves Jr. and Alan H. Goodman explain the differences between social and biological notions of race. Although there are many meaningful human genetic variations, they do not map onto socially constructed racial categories. Drawing on evidence from both natural and social science, Graves and Goodman dismantle the malignant myth of gene-based racial difference. They demonstrate that the ideology of racism created races and show why the inequalities ascribed to race are in fact caused by racism.

Graves and Goodman provide persuasive and timely answers to key questions about race and racism for a moment when people of all backgrounds are striving for social justice. Racism, Not Race shows readers why antiracist principles are both just and backed by sound science.

Contents

  • List of Questions
  • Preface
  • Introduction: What Are Race, Racism, and Human Variation?
  • 1. How Did Race Become Biological?
  • 2. Everything You Wanted to Know About Genetics and Race
  • 3. Everything You Wanted to Know About Racism
  • 4. Why Do Races Differ in Disease Incidence?
  • 5. Life History, Aging, and Mortality
  • 6. Athletics, Bodies, and Abilities
  • 7. Intelligence, Brains, and Behaviors
  • 8. Driving While Black and Other Deadly Realities of Institutional and Systemic Racism
  • 9. DNA and Ancestry Testing
  • 10. Race Names and “Race Mixing”
  • 11. A World Without Racism?
  • Conclusions
  • Notes
  • Index
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The dream of creating a mixed super-race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2022-03-21 01:40Z by Steven

The dream of creating a mixed super-race

Spiritual Eugenics: Exploring the overlap between eugenics and New Age spirituality, from 1880 to the present day
2022-03-19

Jules Evans, Honorary Research Fellow
Centre for the History of Emotions
Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom

Eugenics often overlapped (and still overlaps) with scientific racism and white supremacy, leading many people to confuse the two. It’s true that in the United States and Germany, the two countries which most enthusiastically embraced eugenics in the 1920s-1940s, eugenics did very often overlap with an ideology of white supremacy and scientific racism. However, as I’ve explored throughout this project, there were several different varieties of eugenics, including versions which promoted using selective breeding to encourage inter-racial mingling, thereby creating a spiritual master-race.

In this chapter, we’re going to examine four figures who promoted inter-racial forms of spiritual eugenics — ie they explored the idea that inter-racial breeding can help to create spiritually gifted individuals or even a new race of superbeings. They didn’t all necessarily believe in the state saying who can and can’t reproduce — but they did explore ideas of selective inter-racial breeding towards the goal of creating more spiritually advanced humans…

Read the entire article here.

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Dialogues Beyond the Master’s Map: An Invitation

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Philosophy, Social Justice, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2022-02-02 03:28Z by Steven

Dialogues Beyond the Master’s Map: An Invitation

Carlos Hoyt, Ph.D., LICSW
2022-01-08

My journey has taken me past constructions of race,
past constructions of mixed race,
and into an understanding of human difference
that does not include race as a meaningful category.
–Race and Mixed-Race: A Personal Tour, Rainier Spencer

Introduction

About ten years ago I invited people who resist the practice of racialization to talk with me about why, when, and how they arrived at a point beyond personal and social identity defined and confined by the dogma of race.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of being able to write, talk, and teach about the implications of the non-racial worldview in a wide variety of contexts. And all along the way, I’ve heard from folks wishing to gather with others who share an anti-racialization orientation. This is an invitation to such a gathering.

If, despite being told and trained and pressured to embrace and perform a sense of identity that represents a false construct of human differences, you defy racial reduction and seek the company of others who resist racialization, please contact me. About a month from the posting of this invitation, sometime in early February, I’ll contact everyone who expressed interest with a date and time for our first gathering (via Zoom) where we’ll share perspectives and narratives of life beyond the master’s map…

To continue reading, click here.

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Race and Racism: When Racial Passing Becomes Racial Fraud

Posted in Canada, Live Events, Media Archive, 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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The last humanist: how Paul Gilroy became the most vital guide to our age of crisis

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2021-09-22 02:07Z by Steven

The last humanist: how Paul Gilroy became the most vital guide to our age of crisis

The Guardian
2021-08-05

Yohann Koshy, Assistant Opinion Editor


Prof Paul Gilroy near his home in north London. Photograph: Eddie Otchere/The Guardian

One of Britain’s most influential scholars has spent a lifetime trying to convince people to take race and racism seriously. Are we finally ready to listen?

In 2000, the race equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust published a report about the “future of multi-ethnic Britain”. Launched by the Labour home secretary Jack Straw, it proposed ways to counter racial discrimination and rethink British identity. The report was nuanced and scholarly, the result of two years’ deliberation. It was honest about Britain’s racial inequalities and the legacy of empire, but also offered hope. It made the case for formally declaring the UK a multicultural society.

The newspapers tore it to pieces. The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page article: “Straw wants to rewrite our history: ‘British’ is a racist word, says report.” The Sun and the Daily Mail joined in. The line was clear – a clique of leftwing academics, in cahoots with the government, wanted to make ordinary people feel ashamed of their country. In the Telegraph, Boris Johnson, then editor of the Spectator magazine, wrote that the report represented “a war over culture, which our side could lose”. Spooked by the intensity of the reaction, Straw distanced himself from any further debate about Britishness, recommending in his speech at the report’s launch that the left swallow some patriotic tonic.

The Parekh report, as it was known – its chair was the political theorist Lord Bhikhu Parekh – was not a radical document. It was studiously considerate. Contrary to the Telegraph front page, it didn’t claim “British” was a racist word. It said that “Britishness, as much as Englishness, has … largely unspoken, racial connotations”. This was the sentence that launched a thousand tirades, but where did this idea come from? Follow the footnote in the offending paragraph and you arrive at the work of an academic called Paul Gilroy

Read the entire article here.

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Charting a course beyond racism | Carlos Hoyt | TEDxWaltham

Posted in Media Archive, Philosophy, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2021-08-29 01:05Z by Steven

Charting a course beyond racism | Carlos Hoyt | TEDxWaltham

TEDx Talks
2021-08-12

Carlos Hoyt, Ph.D., LICSW

In this talk, Carlos Hoyt, Ph.D., LICSW, points out how our misunderstandings about race and our well-meaning but misguided efforts to achieve “racial equality” only end up keeping us trapped in a vicious cycle of trying to get beyond racism while reproducing and re-enforcing its false basis, race. Carlos provides directions that can finally and truly enable us to get past racism. References and notes related to this talk can be found here. Carlos Hoyt, Ph.D., LICSW, is the Director of Equity and Inclusion, Belmont Day School, a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant, and a Psychotherapist. Through his research, writing, teaching, Carlos interrogates master narratives and the dominant discourse on race with the goal of illuminating and virtuously disrupting the racial worldview and reductive identity constructs in general.

His approach consists of preparing participants to interact fully, empathically, courageously, and candidly; grounding all content in facts and critical thinking; and, facilitating experiential opportunities for participants to be active synthesizers who can translate cognitive growth into positive personal action.

Watch the video here.

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The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice on 2021-03-11 00:15Z by Steven

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred

Bold Type Books (an imprint of the Hachette Book Group)
2021-03-09
336 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781541724709
eBook ISBN-13: 9781541724693
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781549133961

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy; Core faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies
University of New Hampshire

From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science.

In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter — all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.

One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions.

Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe.

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Why We Shouldn’t Compare Transracial to Transgender Identity

Posted in Articles, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Passing, Philosophy, United States on 2020-11-20 02:25Z by Steven

Why We Shouldn’t Compare Transracial to Transgender Identity

Boston Review: A Political and Literary Forum
2020-11-18

Robin Dembroff, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Yale University

Dee Payton, Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

From left: Jessica Krug, Nkechi Amare Diallo (née Rachel Dolezal), Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox

Editors’ Note: This essay is the first installment in a new series, Racial Identity & Racial Fraud.

Unlike gender inequality, racial inequality primarily accumulates across generations. Transracial identification undermines collective reckoning with that injustice.

“Call me Caitlyn.” With this phrase, emblazoned on Vanity Fair’s June 2015 cover, Caitlyn Jenner revealed her transgender identity to the world. But these words were not only a revelation; they also were a demand. Most obviously, they demanded that others call Jenner by a new name. But even more importantly, they demanded that others recognize Jenner as having a certain identity: woman.

Reactions to this demand were predictable. Jenner was warmly embraced and lauded by many for her decision to—as Jenner put it—live as her “authentic self.” Transgender activist and writer Laverne Cox wrote that Jenner’s “courage to move past denial into her truth so publicly . . . [is] beyond beautiful to me.” President Barack Obama, retweeting Jenner’s announcement, praised her “courage to share [her] story.” Hundreds of thousands of others left encouraging comments on Jenner’s social media. Within these reactions, an idea repeatedly surfaced: Jenner’s demand for recognition as a woman is legitimate because Jenner is a woman…

Read the entire article here.

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Part of a Larger Battle: A Conversation with Thomas Chatterton Williams

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2020-07-17 14:44Z by Steven

Part of a Larger Battle: A Conversation with Thomas Chatterton Williams

Los Angeles Review of Books
2020-07-16

Otis Houston
Portland, Oregon


Thomas Chatterton Williams

I FIRST INTERVIEWED Thomas Chatterton Williams for the Los Angeles Review of Books in the spring of 2019. We discussed his then-forthcoming book, Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, as well as the state of the discussion about race in in the United States, including the popular movements for social justice born of the increased visibility of the killings of black Americans by police.

I recently spoke with Thomas again about what has changed in the way we talk about race and identity. We also discussed the effects of the collision of social justice theories with art and institutions, and the best-selling books that are now influencing the national mood and tracing the borders of generational and ideological difference in the United States in 2020.

Thomas is a contributing editor at The New York Times and a columnist at Harper’s. He spoke to me by phone from his home in Paris, France. The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

OTIS HOUSTON: At about this time last year we discussed Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race. One of your main arguments was that, in order to transcend racism and the social hierarchies it imposes, we have to commit to rejecting the very concept of race and its centrality in determining our identities.

One year later, in a time of mass protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, it seems to me like we’re seeing the media and some of the most prominent voices in the antiracism movement moving further away from the view of race and identity you’ve been advocating for. Increasingly, they argue that effective opposition to racism requires racial identity to always be foremost in our minds, both in the way we view politics and society and in our daily interactions with one another. This ideological movement is perhaps most visible in the books How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, which have topped best-seller lists for weeks now. How would you describe this shift in thinking?

THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS: I see that as kind of a lamentable movement, actually. The two books that have dominated the conversation — and I mean dominated — are books that brook no middle ground and occlude any nuance. Robin DiAngelo’s central thesis, for instance, is that white people function not as individuals, but as a category, as a monolith that is inherently racist. According to her, to deny that you’re racist as a white person is proof of your racism, and to admit that you’re racist as a white person is proof of your racism, and the circular logic is airtight…

Read the entire interview here.

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