Blasian Invasion: Racial Mixing in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-12-30 04:08Z by Steven

Blasian Invasion: Racial Mixing in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

University Press of Mississippi
2017-10-26
192 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496814227

Myra S. Washington, Assistant Professor
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of New Mexico

An exposition of a dynamic, multiracial-racial identity

Myra S. Washington probes the social construction of race through the mixed-race identity of Blasians, people of Black and Asian ancestry. She looks at the construction of the identifier Blasian and how this term went from being undefined to forming a significant role in popular media. Today Blasian has emerged as not just an identity Black/Asian mixedrace people can claim, but also a popular brand within the industry and a signifier in the culture at large. Washington tracks the transformation of Blasian from being an unmentioned category to a recognized status applied to other Blasian figures in media.

Blasians have been neglected as a meaningful category of people in research, despite an extensive history of Black and Asian interactions within the United States and abroad. Washington explains that even though Americans have mixed in every way possible, racial mixing is framed in certain ways, which almost always seem to involve Whiteness. Unsurprisingly, media discourses about Blasians mostly conform to usual scripts already created, reproduced, and familiar to audiences about monoracial Blacks and Asians.

In the first book on this subject, Washington regards Blasians as belonging to more than one community, given their multiple histories and experiences. Moving beyond dominant rhetoric, she does not harp on defining or categorizing mixed race, but instead recognizes the multiplicities of Blasians and the process by which they obtain meaning. Washington uses celebrities, including Kimora Lee, Dwayne Johnson, Hines Ward, and Tiger Woods, to highlight how they challenge and destabilize current racial debate, create spaces for themselves, and change the narratives that frame multiracial people. Finally, Washington asserts Blasians as not only evidence for the fluidity of identities, but also for the limitations of reductive racial binaries.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • CHAPTER ONE: Theorizing Blasians
  • CHAPTER TWO: Birth of a Blasian
  • CHAPTER THREE: Modeling Race: Refashioning Blasianness
  • CHAPTER FOUR: “Because I’m Blasian” Tiger Woods, Scandal, and Protecting the Blasian Brand
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Sporting the Blasian Body
  • CONCLUSION: En-Blasianing the Future
  • Notes
  • Index
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The Pedagogy and Politics of Racial Passing: Examining Media Literacy in Turn-of-the-Century Activist Periodicals

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-12-29 19:16Z by Steven

The Pedagogy and Politics of Racial Passing: Examining Media Literacy in Turn-of-the-Century Activist Periodicals

Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy
Volume 4, Issue 1 (Winter 2017)

Tara Propper, Senior Lecturer
Department of Literature and Languages
University of Texas, Tyler

This article explores how we can use African American activist media to theorize the role of pedagogy in the public sphere. Focusing on how racial passing stories expose the limiting (and often tropic) binaries through which racial identity is deciphered, this analysis further highlights the extent to which these binary constructions of identity are learned through media narration.

Using the December, 1912, issue of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Crisis Magazine as a touchstone for investigation, this analysis considers how pedagogy is taken up as both a theme and project in the magazine. Foregrounding the degree to which Crisis critiques and counternarrates the demeaning and derogatory portrayals of African American identity in early twentieth-century media, this article suggests that Du Bois’s magazine not only indicts dominant visual systems of seeing and evaluating African American identity but also reveals the extent to which such systems of seeing and interpreting blackness are learned and can be remediated through media intervention.

The ultimate aim of this article is to derive an interpretive framework that understands pedagogy as not simply a method for inscribing pre-existent dominant norms but rather as a means for intervening, questioning, and challenging dominant systems of representation and public articulation. Moreover, this analysis intends to reveal the hidden pedagogies within dominant cultural paraphernalia for the purposes of advancing an approach to media literacy that recognizes and endeavors to transform the tropes and archetypes applied to marginal and minority communities.

Read the entire article in PDF or HTML format.

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Imitation of Life

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-12-26 23:30Z by Steven

Imitation of Life

Charisse L’Pree, Ph.D.: The Media Made Me Crazy
2005-04-20

Charisse L’Pree, Assistant Professor of Communications
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Written during the dismal conditions of the Great Depression, Fannie Hurst’s novel, Imitation of Life, was adapted to film in 1934 and 1959. It tells the story of two widowed mothers, one white and one black, raising their daughters amidst a climate of capitalism and racism. Despite the drastic changes in the movie industry and culture, both versions met great success. Using the conventions of female melodrama, the story foregrounds the dilemmas of motherhood while commenting on capitalism, racism and image. In this paper, I will address how this story manages to transcend a generation and how the narrative was changed to accommodate a postwar audience. I will also discuss how the movie industry affected the production and marketing of Imitation of Life at the cusp of the tumultuous 1960s.

Released in 1932, Hurst tells the story of Bea Pullman, a young widow looking to sell her deceased husband’s excess of maple syrup and take care of her daughter, Jessie. She hires Delilah Johnson as a sleep-in housemaid who brings her remarkably light skinned daughter, Peola, to complete the family. After eating Delilah’s pancakes, Bea decides to go into business selling pancakes on the boardwalk of Atlantic City. The story then follows as the business becomes successful, Bea falls in love with Steve and the daughters begin to grow up and begin to develop their own lives. Hurst was a close friend of acclaimed author Zora Neale Hurston and Hurst’s descriptions of the black American experience are remarkably detailed and fitting for the time…

…The year before America’s famed sixties, Imitation of Life was released in theaters. Sirk’s story was different from Hurst’s or Stahl’s. Bea Pullman was renamed Lora Meredith, an aspiring actress struggling in New York City with her daughter, Susie. On the beach, they meet Annie Johnson and her daughter, Sarah Jane, who are currently between residences. In a moment of heartfelt sympathy, Lora invites the Johnsons to spend the night at her small apartment. The next morning, Annie tends to the housework while Lora sleeps in, securing the new family dynamic. With Annie’s domestic assistance, Lora becomes a famous Broadway actress. Meanwhile, Annie tries to raise her light-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane, who desperately wants to be white. This version travels deeper into the issues of Sarah Jane’s internalized oppression; it takes the audience to the seedy nightclubs where she works after running away from home and inserts a scene where her white boyfriend beats her in an alley after learning that she is black. True to form, Imitation of Life (1959) still addresses issues of motherhood, capitalism and racism but does so through the eyes of an acclaimed, German-born, melodramatic director…

Read the entire review here.

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The case against ‘Latinx’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-12-23 04:24Z by Steven

The case against ‘Latinx’

The Los Angeles Times
2017-12-17

Daniel Hernandez


“Latinx,” is has been argued, is a less determinist and more inclusive term than “Latino” for males and “Latina” for females. (Illustration by Wes Bausmith / For The Times)

This year, Fusion and MiTú each posted videos earnestly explaining to their millennial viewers why “Latinx” is the new term everyone should use to refer to people of Latin American descent.

The argument is that “Latinx” is a less determinist, more inclusive form of the words it replaces — “Latino” for males and “Latina” for females. These gendered identifiers, the thinking goes, impose a binary, give preference to the male over the female, and leave out those who don’t consider themselves either.

Although the target audiences for the MiTú and Fusion videos were mainstream consumers in their 20s — a demographic thought to be on board with “Latinx” — the comment sections of both videos were flooded with negative reactions, with some calling the term “ridiculous,” “stupid” and “offensive” to the Spanish language. “Please stop trying to force feed some millennials hipster buzzword,” one commenter said.

Not everyone is on board with the term. And yet “Latinx” — pronounced “La-teen-ex” in English — continues its march into more news outlets and magazines amid our growing public awareness of transgender and non-binary gender identities. The term is even used officially at some UC campuses and is being considered for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Like many of its awkward predecessors, “Latinx” does not work. Its experimental “x” opens too many linguistic floodgates. And why is this kind of label necessary at all?…

Read the entire article here.

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“The Lost Apostrophe”?: Race, the roots journey and the “Rose of Tralee” pageant

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2017-12-22 20:12Z by Steven

“The Lost Apostrophe”?: Race, the roots journey and the “Rose of Tralee” pageant

Irish Studies Review
Published online: 2017-12-06
17 pages
DOI: 10.1080/09670882.2017.1412099

Sinéad Moynihan, Senior Lecturer of English
University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Building on recent scholarship on discourses of race in twentieth-century and contemporary Ireland, this article examines the racialised nature of the “roots journey”, in which subjects of Irish descent – typically white Irish Americans – travel back to Ireland to trace their roots. Outlining arguments that have emphasised both the reactionary and radical potential of the practices of genealogy and the search for roots, the article focuses on recent developments in the Rose of Tralee contest, an annual beauty pageant in which women of Irish descent compete for the title “Rose of Tralee”. Noting that three winners since 1998 (and several other competitors since 1994) have been of mixed race ancestry, and emphasising the subsequent roots journeys undertaken by two of these winners to the Philippines and India, respectively, the article questions whether these roots journey, taking non-white subjects of Irish descent out of Ireland rather than into it, may offer the potential of decoupling “Irishness” and “whiteness” in radical new ways.

Read or purchase the entire article here.

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The Mutating Immutable: Black, Mixed, Bi-Racial

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2017-12-20 17:31Z by Steven

The Mutating Immutable: Black, Mixed, Bi-Racial

iMiXWHATiLiKE!: Emancipatory Journalism and Broadcasting
2017-12-14

Jared Ball, Host and Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Panama Jackson of Very Smart Brothas joined us to discuss the shifting dynamics and politics around being “mixed” and “Black.”

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Racial (Dis)Harmony: The Overestimated Post-racial Power of Meghan Markle

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2017-12-04 02:08Z by Steven

Racial (Dis)Harmony: The Overestimated Post-racial Power of Meghan Markle

Bitch Media
2017-12-01

Dr. Shantel Gabrieal Buggs, Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
Florida State University


Photo credit: Twitter/newsjsBW

This week, the engagement of American actress Meghan Markle to British royal Prince Harry set social media ablaze.

Race is at the center of this internet firestorm: Markle is biracial, with a Black mother and white father. As a Black and white mixed-race woman who studies multiracial identity and interracial relationships, the online debates over Markle and her fiancé have been both perplexing and unsurprising. Over the last year, Markle’s racial background has drawn negative press in Britain. Last November, Prince Harry publicly called out the barely veiled racism and sexism in the media coverage of their relationship. Despite this treatment, their engagement is viewed as an opportunity to change what it means to be British and royal, with American fans celebrating a “real Black princess” who will bring #BlackGirlMagic to the royal family and the seemingly stale royal wedding traditions. Several essays have been written about what Markle’s presence means for the British monarchy and the broader racial politics of the West…

Read the entire article here.

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‘If Meghan Markle had darker skin there would NOT be a wedding’ – BBC guest blasts Royals

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-11-29 02:15Z by Steven

‘If Meghan Markle had darker skin there would NOT be a wedding’ – BBC guest blasts Royals

The Daily Express
2017-11-28

Nicole Stinson

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement sparked a heated debate on racial identity on BBC’s Newsnight following the couple’s wedding announcement on Monday.

The ginger royal and American actress’ engagement was officially announced by his father the Prince of Wales in a statement from Clarence House.

Prince Harry had popped the question to Ms Markle earlier this month in London and their engagement has sparked a debate on race – the Suits actress is the first person of mixed race origin to marry into the royal family.

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, who writes for the online magazine “by women of colour” gal-dem, told Newsnight: “I think if she was darker skinned it would be very unlikely that she would be marrying Prince Harry.”

Her comments were backed by columnist Georgina Lawton who added that if Harry had been next in line to the throne: “I definitely think there would have been more racism.”

She added: “The people who are commenting on this issue and saying we don’t need to discuss race and it is just two people who have fallen in love – I think you need to look at the Prince’s statement last year condemning the racial undertones of the press coverage…

Read the entire article here.

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The Free State of Jones: A Roundtable

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States on 2017-11-13 01:33Z by Steven

The Free State of Jones: A Roundtable

Civil War History
Volume 63, Number 4, December 2017
pages 400-420

Joseph Beilein (JB), Assistant Professor of History
Pennsylvania State University, Behrend

Margaret Storey (MS), Professor of History and Associate Dean
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

Andrew Slap (AS), Professor of History
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tenneessee

Jarret Ruminski (JR), Freelance Writer, researcher, and Consultant
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ryan Keating (RK), Civil War History book review editor; Assistant Professor of History
California State University, San Bernardino

The summer of 2016 saw the release of the first large-budget Civil War film since 2012’s critically acclaimed Lincoln. The Free State of Jones, directed by Gary Ross and starring Matthew McConaughey, is not simply, however, another film about the Civil War. Based on historian Victoria Bynum’s acclaimed book The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, this film marks an important shift in the popular depiction of America’s greatest conflict as it takes viewers inside the complex inner civil wars many Americans fought during this period. Long defined as a conflict pitting the north against the south, the realities of the Civil War were, as this film attempts to show, much more complex. Questions of loyalty and issues of patriotism have become an important part of the historiography of the Civil War era, illustrating the ways average men and women, North and South, struggled with the collision of national and local issues. Although the nuances of patriotism and loyalty have long driven the scholarly community, these issues have played a less important role in public, and especially Hollywood, portrayals of the war and the Reconstruction era. Certainly, past films have touched on the subject. Ride with the Devil, Pharaoh’s Army, and Cold Mountain, for example, all touch on patriotism and loyalty, as the main characters struggle with the consequences of the war on the home front. Based on a true story, Free State of Jones, is, however, the first to truly analyze this struggle through the lens of southern dissent. Following the experiences of Mississippian Newton Knight, a disillusioned southern soldier who returns home to lead a revolt against Confederate authorities in Mississippi, the film strikes at the heart of the complex nature of identity, patriotism, and loyalty during the Civil War and Reconstruction and gives viewers a rare glimpse into aspects of the war often overlooked by Hollywood film.

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Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-17 02:35Z by Steven

Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States

Oxford University Press
2017-09-27
280 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190657468
Paperback ISBN: 9780190657475

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Political Scienc
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

  • Provides readers seeking to understand the history of American race relations with both historical methods and analyses of empirical data
  • Offers a new theory of thinking about race, the “identity choice” framework which is situated in the major debates on U.S. racial formation
  • Will be of interest to scholars of critical race theory and identity theory, in addition to multiracial individuals and others interested in US racial politics

While pundits point to multiracial Americans as new evidence of a harmonious ethnic melting pot, in reality mixed race peoples have long existed in the United States. Rather than characterize multiracial Americans as a “new” population, this book argues that instead we should view them as individuals who reflect a new culture of racial identification. Today, identities such as “biracial” or “swirlies” are evoked alongside those more established racial categories of white, black Asian and Latino. What is significant about multiracial identities is that they communicate an alternative viewpoint about race: that a person’s preferred self-identification should be used to define a person’s race. Yet this definition of race is a distinct contrast to historic norms which has defined race as a category assigned to a person based on certain social rules which emphasized things like phenotype, being “one-drop” of African blood or heritage.

In Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States, Natalie Masuoka catalogues how this cultural shift from assigning race to perceiving race as a product of personal identification came about by tracing events over the course of the twentieth century. Masuoka uses a variety of sources including in-depth interviews, public opinion surveys and census data to understand how certain individuals embrace the agency of self-identification and choose to assert multiracial identities. At the same time, the book shows that the meaning and consequences of multiracial identification can only be understood when contrasted against those who identify as white, black Asian or Latino. An included case study on President Barack Obama also shows how multiracial identity narratives can be strategically used to reduce anti-black bias among voters. Therefore, rather than looking at multiracial Americans as a harbinger of dramatic change for American race relations, this Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States shows that narratives promoting multiracial identities are in direct dialogue with, rather than in replacement of, the longstanding racial order.

Table of Contents

  • CHAPTER 1: Identity Choice: Changing Practices of Race and Multiracial Identification
  • CHAPTER 2: Exclusive Categories: Historical Formation of Racial Classification in the United States
  • CHAPTER 3: Advocating for Choice: Political Views of Multiracial Activists
  • CHAPTER 4: Declaring Race: Understanding Opportunities to Self-Identify as Multiracial
  • CHAPTER 5: Implications of Racial Identity: Comparing Monoracial and Multiracial Political Attitudes
  • CHAPTER 6: In the Eye of the Beholder: American Perceptions of Obama’s Race
  • CHAPTER 7: Multiracial and Beyond: Racial Formation in the 21st Century
  • References
  • Appendices
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