The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the-Century New York City

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2009-10-18 20:44Z by Steven

The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the-Century New York City

Princeton University Press
November 2004
320 pages
6 x 9; 23 halftones. 4 maps.
Paperback ISBN: 9780691130484

Mary Ting Yi Lui, Assistant Professor of American Studies and History
Yale University

2005 AAAS Book Award, History category

In the summer of 1909, the gruesome murder of nineteen-year-old Elsie Sigel sent shock waves through New York City and the nation at large. The young woman’s strangled corpse was discovered inside a trunk in the midtown Manhattan apartment of her reputed former Sunday school student and lover, a Chinese man named Leon Ling.

Through the lens of this unsolved murder, Mary Ting Yi Lui offers a fascinating snapshot of social and sexual relations between Chinese and non-Chinese populations in turn-of-the-century New York City. Sigel’s murder was more than a notorious crime, Lui contends. It was a clear signal that attempts to maintain geographical and social boundaries between the city’s Chinese male and white female populations had failed.

When police discovered Sigel and Leon Ling’s love letters, giving rise to the theory that Leon Ling killed his lover in a fit of jealous rage, this idea became even more embedded in the public consciousness. New Yorkers condemned the work of Chinese missions and eagerly participated in the massive national and international manhunt to locate the vanished Leon Ling.

Lui explores how the narratives of racial and sexual danger that arose from the Sigel murder revealed widespread concerns about interracial social and sexual mixing during the era. She also examines how they provoked far-reaching skepticism about regulatory efforts to limit the social and physical mobility of Chinese immigrants and white working-class and middle-class women.

Through her thorough re-examination of this notorious murder, Lui reveals in unprecedented detail how contemporary politics of race, gender, and sexuality shaped public responses to the presence of Chinese immigrants during the Chinese exclusion era.

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The Mulatto In The United States: Including A Study Of The Role Of Mixed-Blood Races Throughout The World

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-18 20:16Z by Steven

The Mulatto In The United States: Including A Study Of The Role Of Mixed-Blood Races Throughout The World

Greenwood Press Reprint
918 (Reprint Publication Date: 1969-05-08)
417 pages
ISBN: 0-8371-0938-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8371-0938-1
DOI: 10.1336/0837109388

Edward Byron Reuter (1880-1946)

An historical study of the role of the mulatto in American society, with a discussion of the mixing of races in other parts of the world. Edward Byron Reuter (1880-1946) received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1919 for this dissertation. He served (in 1933) as the 22nd President of the American Sociological Society.

Read the entire book here.

Commentary by Steven F. Riley

For 21st century readers this book will most likely considered a racist trope on ‘racial mixing’.

On page 103 in Rainier Spencer‘s Spurious Issues: Race and Multiracial Identity Politics in the United States, he discusses Reuter and says…

…It would be best to begin with a frank examination of Reuter’s racial views.  With absolute bluntness Reuter assured his readers that the “lower culture of the Negro people is of course a simple observational fact and is to be accepted as such.  To question is to deny the obvious.”  He was quite clear about the relative cultural merits of the Negro and white races, which he posited as representing “the antipodal degrees of human culture: at the one extreme are the standards of West Africa; at the other, those of Western Europe.”  Nor did Reuter seem to think that there was any bias inherent in this arrangement, feeling certain enough of it to write that “no Negro questioned the superior ability of the white, and probably there is no Negro today who does not subconsciously believe the white man superior”…

It would be easy (and perhaps desirable) to dismiss the influence of Reuter, but according to his biography at the American Sociological Association:

…Reuter was an active and influential participant in the development of the sociological profession, serving as president of the American Sociological Society in 1933, as secretary-treasurer of the Sociological Research Association from 1936 to 1938 and as president of this group in 1939. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 1928 until a few months before his death in 1946, he was consulting editor of the McGraw-Hill “Publications in Sociology” series. He served approximately ten years as an advisory editor of The American Journal of Sociology….

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From Black to Biracial: Transforming Racial Identity Among Americans

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-18 19:38Z by Steven

From Black to Biracial: Transforming Racial Identity Among Americans

Praeger Publishers an imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group
160 pages
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Paperback ISBN: 0-275-96744-1; ISBN-13: 978-0-275-96744-4

Kathleen Odell Korgen, Professor of Sociology
William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Is a person with both a white and African American parent black?  Thirty years ago in American society the answer would have been yes. Today, the answer most likely depends on whom you ask. According to the U.S. Census, a person with both a black and a white parent is, in fact, black. However, most young persons who fit this description describe themselves as biracial, both black and white. Most young Americans, whatever their racial background, agree.  Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signaled the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement, a transformation has occurred in the racial self-definition of Americans with both an African American and a white parent. This book describes the transformation and explains why it has occurred and how it has come about. Through extensive research and dozens of interviews, Korgen describes how the transformation has its roots in the historical and cultural transitions in U.S. society since the Civil Rights era. A ground breaking book, From Black to Biracial will help all Americans understand the societal implications of the increasingly multiracial nature of our population. From affirmative action to the present controversy over the U.S. Census 2000, the repercussions of the transformation in racial identity related here affect all race-based aspects of our society. Students and faculty in sociology and multicultural studies, business leaders, and general readers alike will benefit from reading this work.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: The Transformation of Racial Identity
  • Biracial Americans: White, Black, Both, Neither
  • Black by Definition or The Best of Both Worlds?
  • The Transformation: From Black to Biracial
  • Turning Points: Biracial College Students and Dating
  • Marginality and the Biracial American
  • Identities and Transformation
  • Public Policy Implications
  • Appendix: Notes on Methodology
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Claiming Place: Biracial Young Adults of the Post-Civil Rights Era

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-18 18:55Z by Steven

Claiming Place: Biracial Young Adults of the Post-Civil Rights Era

208 pages
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-89789-760-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-313-06507-1

Marion Kilson, Dean of the Graduate School
Salem State College, Massachusetts

Born in the 1960s, the middle-class Biracial Americans of this study are part of a transitional cohort between the hidden biracial generations of the past and the visible blended generations of the future. As individuals, they have variously dealt with their ambiguous status in American society; as a generation, they share common existential realities in relation to White culture.

During the last decade of the 20th century public awareness of mixed race Americans increased significantly, in no small part because there has been a substantial increase in interracial marriages and offspring since 1960. This study, based on ethnographic interviews, provides an historical overview of the study of Biracial Americans in the social sciences, a sociological profile of project participants, sociocultural discussions of family and race as well as racial identity choices, and examinations of racial realities in adult lives and of recurrent systemic and personal life themes. The textual part of the book demonstrates the diversity of perception and experience regarding race and identity of these biracial young adults. The Epilogue not only reviews major findings pertaining to this transitional generation of Biracial Americans but discusses biraciality and the deconstruction of race in contemporary American society. An extensive bibliography of popular and scholarly sources concludes the book.

Table of Contents:

Biracial American Experience in Post-Civil Rights Era
Biracial Americans
Biracial Americans and Their Families
Biracial American Identity Choices
Racial Realities in Adult Biracial American Lives
Biracial American Life Themes
Biracial American Voices
Development of Racial Identities
Childhood Memories of Race
Family Relationships Remembered
Assessments of Biracial American Experiences

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Light, Bright, and Damned Near White: Biracial and Triracial Culture in America

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2009-10-18 18:35Z by Steven

Light, Bright, and Damned Near White: Biracial and Triracial Culture in America

Praeger Publishers an imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group
168 pages
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 0-275-98954-2; ISBN-13: 978-0-275-98954-5

Stephanie Rose Bird

The election of America’s first biracial president brings the question dramatically to the fore. What does it mean to be biracial or tri-racial in the United States today? Anthropologist Stephanie Bird takes us into a world where people are struggling to be heard, recognized, and celebrated for the racial diversity one would think is the epitome of America’s melting pot persona. But being biracial or tri-racial brings unique challenges – challenges including prejudice, racism and, from within racial groups, colorism. Yet America is now experiencing a multiracial baby boom, with at least three states logging more multiracial baby births than any other race aside from Caucasians.  As the Columbia Journalism Review reported, American demographics are no longer black and white. In truth, they are a blended, difficult-to-define shade of brown.

Bird shows us the history of biracial and tri-racial people in the United States, and in European families and events. She presents the personal traumas and victories of those who struggle for recognition and acceptance in light of their racial backgrounds, including celebrities such as golf expert Tiger Woods, who eventually quit trying to describe himself as Cablanasin, a mix including Asian and African American.  Bird examines current events, including the National Mixed Race Student Conference, and the push to dub this Generation MIX.  And she examines how American demographics, government, and society are changing overall as a result.  This work includes a guide to tracing your own racial roots.
Table of Contents:

Chapter I: Premixed Pre-measured: Populace of the New World.
Chapter II: Too Light to be Black, Too Dark to be White: who is passing for what?
Chapter III Tan Territory: eparating Fact, Fiction and Fantasy.
Chapter IV: Some of Americas Best Known Biracials and Triracials Across History.
Chapter V: Bricolage: Constructed Identities of Les Gens de Couleur Libre and Cane River Negroes
Chapter VI: From Italian explorers to Sicilian Contandini and Biracial Royals: the Mixed Race Experience as Illustrated by the Italian Diaspora.
Chapter VIII: When Things Really Go Wrong: Australia’s Black/White Debacle.
Chapter IX: Profiles of Triumph and Courage.
Chapter X: Current events: In Government, On Campus, the Internet and in the News.
Chapter XI: Tool Box for Change/Conclusions

About the Author:
Stephanie Rose Bird is an independent scholar and anthropologist. She is herself tri-racial, and has been interviewed on the topic by media including ABC, National Public Radio, and the Public Broadcast System.

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Relative/Outsider: The Art and Politics of Identity Among Mixed Heritage Students

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Teaching Resources, United States on 2009-10-18 18:20Z by Steven

Relative/Outsider: The Art and Politics of Identity Among Mixed Heritage Students

Praeger Publishers
200 pages
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-56750-551-1
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-56750-550-4
e-Book ISBN: 978-0-313-07598-8
DOI: 10.1336/1567505511

Kendra R. Wallace, Assistant Professor of Education
University of Maryland, Baltimore

The author explores the ethnic and racial identity formation among high school and college students of racially mixed heritage. The portraits in this book provide a thorough examination of the dynamic ethnic and racial lives of a multifaceted and growing segment of students. Unlike most recent projects on mixed heritage people which are narrow in scope and focus on one set of backgrounds (e.g., black and white or black and Japanese), the subjects in this study represent a vast array of heritages, including those of dual minority ancestry.

The students’ stories speak volumes about the uneven nature of racial and ethnic experience within and across traditional communities in contemporary U.S. society. Unlike studies analyzing broad intergroup processes, this work begins by examining the cultural dynamics of the home, contributing valuable insights into the otherwise invisible lives of mixed heritage families. Processes of enculturation and discourse acquisition are considered in the development of ethnic identity. The book also helps to frame how changes within the U.S. racial ecology lead many recently mixed heritage individuals to see themselves as occupying (un)common ground. Finally, this work offers recommendations for educators concerned with creating school contexts that are critically supportive of human diversity.
Table of Contents

Surveying the U.S. Racial Ecology
Out of the Borderlands: Interethnic/Interracial Families
Lessons of Community: Origins of and Approaches to Ethnic Identity
Constructing Race
On Being Mixed: Issues and Interpretations
Conclusions and Educational Implications
Appendix A: Race-Ethnicity Survey
Appendix B: Recruitment Flyer
Appendix C: Expressive Autobioraphical Interview Probes

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