A Way of Sharing

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-12-05 22:20Z by Steven

A Way of Sharing

UMKC Today
University of Missouri, Kansas City
2015-06-08


Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Knowledge, Expertise and Experience

Women from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and nearby states in North America attended the 2015 Women of Color Leadership Conference.

MC Mia Ramsey strolled across the stage in her black sweater, black skirt, white T and pink sneakers. An energetic lady, Ramsey was ready to inspire and encourage women through song, jokes, personal stories and rousing introductions of presenters.

The 10th annual conference, “Together We Rise: 10 Years of Paving the Way,” at the University of Missouri-Kansas City focused on improving the lives of all women of color. More women of diverse backgrounds attend each year to share their expertise and to learn from facilitators and speakers.

Shortly after keynote speaker Lacey Schwartz took to the podium, she made an emphatic statement: “Tell the truth about things that are hard to tell the truth about.” If that had been the case, her life would have been less complicated, and she would have known far sooner exactly who she was.

In the documentary “Little White Lie,” Schwartz tells her story of growing up in New York with her parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity, only to discover she was not white, but biracial. She created the documentary to start a conversation about difficult conversations…

Read the entire article here.

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Rethinking Religion and Race in the Great Migration

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-11-12 23:30Z by Steven

Rethinking Religion and Race in the Great Migration

Black Perspectives
2017-09-27

Emily Clark, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington


Prophet Noble Drew Ali (standing center) and temple members, at religious service of the Moorish Science Temple of America, circa late 1920s (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division)

This post is part of our online roundtable on Judith Weisenfeld’s New World A-Coming

Judith Weisenfeld’s New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration is, in short, a marvelous book. With its focus on the Moorish Science Temple of America (MST), the Nation of Islam (NOI), Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement (PM), and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Weisenfeld challenges much of the previous scholarship by moving these groups from the margins to the center. She pushes the field to rethink its approach to religion and race, opening multiple avenues for future scholars..

…One of my favorite ways to appreciate a new book is to consider how it has re-shaped my thinking about my own work. My first book looked at the Afro-Creole community in New Orleans. No one characteristic differentiated Afro-Creoles from other southern blacks. Much of the city’s Afro-Creole population belonged to Catholic, educated, often mixed-race, French-speaking or bilingual families who were freed during the colonial or antebellum era and who were often wealthier than their Black, non-creole neighbors. When writing in response to W.E.B. Du Bois, local historian Rodolphe Lucien Desdunes noted a distinction between Afro-Creoles and other Black Americans. Desdunes wrote, “One aspires to equality, the other to identity. One forgets he is a Negro in order to think that he is a man; the other will forget that he is a man in order to think that he is a Negro…

Read the entire article here.

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Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Religion, United States on 2017-11-09 03:20Z by Steven

Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific

University of Nebraska Press
September 2017
240 pages
21 photographs, 7 illustrations, 1 map, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8589-7

Joy Schulz, Instructor of History
Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Nebraska

Twelve companies of American missionaries were sent to the Hawaiian Islands between 1819 and 1848 with the goal of spreading American Christianity and New England values. By the 1850s American missionary families in the islands had birthed more than 250 white children, considered Hawaiian subjects by the indigenous monarchy and U.S. citizens by missionary parents. In Hawaiian by Birth Joy Schulz explores the tensions among the competing parental, cultural, and educational interests affecting these children and, in turn, the impact the children had on nineteenth-century U.S. foreign policy.

These children of white missionaries would eventually alienate themselves from the Hawaiian monarchy and indigenous population by securing disproportionate economic and political power. Their childhoods—complicated by both Hawaiian and American influences—led to significant political and international ramifications once the children reached adulthood. Almost none chose to follow their parents into the missionary profession, and many rejected the Christian faith. Almost all supported the annexation of Hawai‘i despite their parents’ hope that the islands would remain independent.

Whether the missionary children moved to the U.S. mainland, stayed in the islands, or traveled the world, they took with them a sense of racial privilege and cultural superiority. Schulz adds children’s voices to the historical record with this first comprehensive study of the white children born in the Hawaiian Islands between 1820 and 1850 and their path toward political revolution.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Imperial Children and Empire Formation in the Nineteenth Century
  • 1. Birthing Empire: Economies of Childrearing and the Establishment of American Colonialism in Hawai‘i
  • 2. Playing with Fire: White Childhood and Environmental Legacies in Nineteenth-Century Hawai‘i
  • 3. Schooling Power: Teaching Anglo–Civic Duty in the Hawaiian Islands, 1841–53
  • 4. Cannibals in America: U.S. Acculturation and the Construction of National Identity in Nineteenth-Century White Immigrants from the Hawaiian Islands
  • 5. Crossing the Pali: White Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and the Racial Divide in Hawai‘i, 1820–98
  • Conclusion: White Hawaiians before the World
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Perishing Heathens: Stories of Protestant Missionaries and Christian Indians in Antebellum America

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United States on 2017-11-06 20:12Z by Steven

Perishing Heathens: Stories of Protestant Missionaries and Christian Indians in Antebellum America

University of Nebraska Press
October 2017
276 pages
1 photograph, 3 tables, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0187-4

Julius H. Rubin, Professor Emeritus of Sociology
University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut

In Perishing Heathens Julius H. Rubin tells the stories of missionary men and women who between 1800 and 1830 responded to the call to save Native peoples through missions, especially the Osages in the Arkansas Territory, Cherokees in Tennessee and Georgia, and Ojibwe peoples in the Michigan Territory. Rubin also recounts the lives of Native converts, many of whom were from mixed-blood métis families and were attracted to the benefits of education, literacy, and conversion.

During the Second Great Awakening, Protestant denominations embraced a complex set of values, ideas, and institutions known as “the missionary spirit.” These missionaries fervently believed they would build the kingdom of God in America by converting Native Americans in the Trans-Appalachian and Trans-Mississippi West. Perishing Heathens explores the theology and institutions that characterized the missionary spirit and the early missions such as the Union Mission to the Osages, and the Brainerd Mission to the Cherokees, and the Moravian Springplace Mission to the Cherokees.

Through a magnificent array of primary sources, Perishing Heathens reconstructs the millennial ideals of fervent true believers as they confronted a host of impediments to success: endemic malaria and infectious illness, Native resistance to the gospel message, and intertribal warfare in the context of the removal of eastern tribes to the Indian frontier.

Table of Contents

  • List of Tables
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Travails of David Bacon: “A Humble Missionary of the Cross”
  • 2. The Missionary Vocation of Miss D: A Life Broken by Disease and Disappointment
  • 3. The Endless Chain of Religious Intelligence: The Emergence of an American Evangelical Identity
  • 4. The Question of K: “The First Friend of the Osage Nation unto God”
  • 5. The First Fruits of the Cherokee Nation: Catharine Brown and Sister Margaret Ann
  • 6. Métis Christian Indian Lives: Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and Mackinaw Mission Converts
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-10-17 01:52Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
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My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2017-08-23 15:28Z by Steven

My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Vice
2017-08-22

Mike Miksche


Images courtesy of the author

Each of my siblings’ names, skin, hair, and religious observances earned us different levels of privilege.

My family immigrated from Lebanon to Canada before I was born in order to flee a nasty civil war. Since we’re quite light-skinned, growing up people assumed we were some kind of white: Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese was mainly what I heard. My mom explained how back in those pre-9/11 days, people she met hardly knew where Lebanon was and hadn’t heard much about Islam either, so it was easy for us to live under the radar, hassle-free. This was before the hummus craze. But obviously, with everything going on today, things have changed. Now, the disclosure of who we are, along with some cultural clues, shifts how people see us regardless of our light skin tone. I suppose one could argue that it’s a privilege to be passable as white, or a variant thereof, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

As a kid, my folks cultivated a dual identity within the Lebanon-like bubble of our southwestern Ontario home. We remixed the Lebanese Arabic dialect with English idioms and ate kibbeh with chicken nuggets and homemade fries. As Muslims, we studied the Qu’ran, prayed five times a day, and were forbidden to eat pork—including pepperoni and bacon, too. You’d expect it all to be confusing, but I was a happy kid living under the radar and felt my upbringing was normal…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and sovereignty, a story of the body

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Religion, Social Justice on 2017-08-10 01:05Z by Steven

Race and sovereignty, a story of the body

National Catholic Reporter
2017-05-03

La Reine-Marie Mosely, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, Maryland


Brian Bantum (Jessica Wood)

THE DEATH OF RACE: BUILDING A NEW CHRISTIANITY IN A RACIAL WORLD
By Brian Bantum
Published by Fortress Press, 182 pages, $16.99

In The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World, Brian Bantum explores the practical consequences of race in our world: Those who have inherited sovereignty have long organized the world according to the belief that whiteness is the paragon of existence, while black and brown bodies are deficient and suspect. It is this misconstrued and dangerous understanding of race that Bantum believes must die if followers of Jesus Christ want to live a meaningful embodied life in the spirit of their Savior.

Bantum is a biracial person who married a Korean-American woman. His life story is woven throughout the book as he explains the manner in which he came to racial consciousness.

It began with a choice. When the author was 6 years old, his mother was filling out a government document. Under the category of race, she asked her son to select the race that best captured his identity: white or black. Bantum selected “white” because of his love of his mother and the physical characteristics he shared with her. His brother, on the other hand, chose black because of the physical characteristics he shared with his father. Early in his life, Bantum began to realize the complexity of race in the U.S...

Read the entire review here.

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Afro-Palestinians talk heritage and resistance

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Reading List, Religion on 2017-08-07 20:47Z by Steven

Afro-Palestinians talk heritage and resistance

Al Jazeera
2017-08-05

Jaclynn Ashly


Their lives are characterised by checkpoints, daily interrogations, night raids and incessant fears of detention [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

Palestinians of African descent describe their daily struggles against ‘double-racism’ and Israeli occupation.

Occupied East Jerusalem – “It’s hard not to get detained here,” 16-year-old Abdallah Balalawi, an Afro-Palestinian from Chad, told Al Jazeera from his home in the Old City. “I have to be aware of the way I look and even the way I walk to avoid making the Israelis suspicious.”

Abdallah is one of at least 350 Afro-Palestinians from Nigeria, Chad, Senegal and Sudan residing in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Afro-Palestinian neighbourhood is not the easiest to find, accessible only through an Israeli police checkpoint where officers interrogate anyone who is not from the local community.

On a nearly hidden road straddled between two police blockades, third generation Afro-Palestinian teenagers tell Al Jazeera about the world they inherited, characterised by checkpoints, daily interrogations, night raids and incessant fears of detention by Israeli forces.

Most Afro-Palestinians in this tight-knit community came to the region as religious pilgrims during the British Mandate for Palestine, and many have been part of the Palestinian resistance movement since Israel’s establishment in 1948. Others arrived as volunteers with the Egyptian army to fight against Zionist militias taking control of historic Palestine during the Arab-Israeli war

Read the entire article here.

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Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United Kingdom on 2017-07-16 01:50Z by Steven

Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

University of Massachusetts Press
January 2017
310 pages
16 b&w illustrations
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-62534-259-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-62534-258-4

Drew Lopenzina, Associate Professor of English
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

New insights on an important Native American writer

The life of William Apess (1798–1839), a Pequot Indian, Methodist preacher, and widely celebrated writer, provides a lens through which to comprehend the complex dynamics of indigenous survival and resistance in the era of America’s early nationhood. Apess’s life intersects with multiple aspects of indigenous identity and existence in this period, including indentured servitude, slavery, service in the armed forces, syncretic engagements with Christian spirituality, and Native struggles for political and cultural autonomy. Even more, Apess offers a powerful and provocative voice for the persistence of Native presence in a time and place that was long supposed to have settled its “Indian question” in favor of extinction.

Through meticulous archival research, close readings of Apess’s key works, and informed and imaginative speculation about his largely enigmatic life, Drew Lopenzina provides a vivid portrait of this singular Native American figure. This new biography will sit alongside Apess’s own writing as vital reading for those interested in early America and indigeneity.

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Disciples of Christ elect first woman of color to lead a mainline denomination

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2017-07-12 03:20Z by Steven

Disciples of Christ elect first woman of color to lead a mainline denomination

The Christian Century
2017-07-10

Celeste Kennel-Shank


Teresa Hord Owens after her election as head of the Disciples of Christ on July 9, 2017. Photo by Mary Ann Carter.

Despite all the talk of mainline decline, Teresa Hord Owens, the first woman of color to serve as top executive of a mainline denomination, is not in survival mode.

“The life that we will find is continuing to be relevant to a society that deeply needs to see hope,” she said.

The Indianapolis-based Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) elected Owens, a descendant of one of Indiana’s oldest free settlements of African Americans, as its general minister and president on Sunday evening. The denomination, which has 600,000 members in the United States and Canada, has been led for 12 years by Sharon Watkins, who at her election in 2005 was the first woman to be top executive of a mainline body…

Read the entire article here.

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