Mitsawokett to Bloomsbury: Archaeology and History of a Native-American Descendant Community in Central Delaware

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Chapter, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2010-12-31 22:51Z by Steven

Mitsawokett to Bloomsbury: Archaeology and History of a Native-American Descendant Community in Central Delaware

Chapter 5. A Larger Ethnic Community

383 pages
Delaware Department of Transportation Project 88-110-01
Federal Highway Administration Project F-NH-1003(13)
Delaware Department of Transportation Archæological Series Number 154
Carolann Wicks, Secretary

Original and redraft prepared by

Edward F. Heite and Cara L. Blume
Heite Consulting, Inc., Camden, Delaware

Redraft of original compiled by

Heite Consulting, Inc., Frederica, Delaware

DelDOT [Delaware Department of Transportation] has edited all cultural resource documents on this website. The documents were edited to protect the location of archaeological sites, any culturally sensitive material, and all State Historic Preservation Office (archaeological) cultural resource forms. Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended in 1992, 36 CFR pat 800.11 of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s regulations implementing Section 106 of that same Act, Section 9(a) of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and Delaware Code Title 7, Chapter 53 and 5314 provide the legal authority for restricting access to information on the location and nature of archaeological resources.

At least three Bloomsbury households belonged to a distinct local ethnic enclave. Similar, related, communities existed along the Eastern Seaboard

The preservation planning regime requires that each property must be considered in terms of its larger cultural and historical context. An obvious context for the subject property is the post-contact history of “isolate” populations of Native American descent in Delaware, not previously noticed by the planning process. While creation of a new full-blown planning context is not appropriate in a site-specific study, some information is necessary in order to place the site in its own proper ethnic milieu.

An ethnic group may be defined by any combination of such traits as consanguinity, shared foodways, settlement patterns, and common customs. A Kent County isolate community included several Bloomsbury residents. By some definitions, this closed community can be described as a distinct ethnic group, part of a series of similar, interrelated, ethnic enclaves along the eastern seaboard.

Members of Delaware’s racial isolate communities have been known by a bewildering variety of labels over the years. Labels have shifted, depending upon the era and individual points of view. It is useful to analyse the meaning behind these labels, remembering that they reflect observer bias.

As the local group developed, similar communities were coming into existence up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Genealogical research firmly connects the local community with nearby groups. On a larger scale, similar circumstances and surname similarities suggest that there was, at an early date, an informal network of such communities over long distances. In any case, research for this project indicates that the local “isolate” community was not an isolated or a unique phenomenon.

These isolate groups share certain characteristics that are consistent from North Carolina northward at least to New Jersey. Shared attributes of the various communities include:

  1. Iberian surnames appear in all the communities as early as the seventeenth century, and always before the middle of the eighteenth century.
  2. Families with documented Native American heritage are related to at least some members of each community. Some of the documented Native American families are found among several communities, and migrations can be traced.
  3. At least by the middle of the eighteenth century, each community had begun to intermarry, thereby removing themselves from the larger local pool of prospective marriage partners.
  4. People moved among the communities and married, thereby suggesting that they early recognized and embraced one another as similar cultural communities.
  5. Aside from the term “Mulatto” applied with increasing frequency as time passed, most community members were not identified racially until after the Revolution…

Read the entire chapter here.

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Facts for Families: Multiracial Children

Posted in Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2010-12-31 19:18Z by Steven

Facts for Families: Multiracial Children

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Number 71, October 1999
2 pages

Multiracial children are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. The number of mixed-race families in America is steadily increasing, due to a rise in interracial marriages and relationships, as well as an increase in transracial and international adoptions. Publicity surrounding prominent Americans of mixed cultural heritage, such as athletes, actors, musicians, and politicians, has highlighted the issues of multicultural individuals and challenged long-standing views of race. However, despite some changes in laws and evolving social attitudes, multiracial children still face significant challenges.

Read the fact sheet here.


The “Multiracial” Option: Social Group Identity and Changing Patterns of Racial Categorization

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2010-12-31 18:42Z by Steven

The “Multiracial” Option: Social Group Identity and Changing Patterns of Racial Categorization

American Politics Research
Volume 39, Number 1 (January 2011)
pages 176-204
DOI: 10.1177/1532673X10378845

Natalie Masuoka, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Tufts University

This article focuses on a new and growing trend in the United States: multiracial (or mixed race) identification. Multiracial self-identification forces us to consider that the norms of racial identification are shifting in which Americans perceive greater individual agency in how they choose to racially identify compared to the choices offered in the past. Given this, is the willingness to identify as multiracial a proxy for changing political attitudes about American race relation? Using a unique data set that includes multiple measures of racial identification, this article examines the individual-level determinants that predict who is willing to self-identify as multiracial and the political consequences of this identity. This research demonstrates the complexity of racial identification today as well as the need to reconsider how race is measured in public opinion surveys. Most importantly, the data demonstrate that those who self-identify as multiracial hold different racial attitudes than those who do not.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Double-barrelled race system to start on Saturday

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, New Media, Politics/Public Policy on 2010-12-31 03:55Z by Steven

Double-barrelled race system to start on Saturday

Today Online

Zul Othman

SINGAPORE – From Saturday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will implement the registration of dual heritage options for children with parents of different races. This means these children will be able to share dual heritages on their identity cards (ICs), by way of “double-barrelled” races.

This change was first announced in Parliament in January; giving mixed marriage couples—a Caucasian-Chinese, for example—the flexibility to decide how their children’s race should be recorded instead of categorising them as Chinese, Caucasian, or Eurasian.

The ICA says that there will not be any advantages in terms of policy considerations for those who register either a double-barrelled or singular race…

…As for the HDB’s [Housing and Development Board’s] Ethnic Integration Policy—which puts a cap on the number of families of each race in a HDB block to ensure a balanced mix of races—it has previously said that it may be more flexible towards mixed-race couples…

Read the entire article here.

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Challenges for ‘Mixed-Race’ Events

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2010-12-31 02:32Z by Steven

I think balancing personal experience and personal stories with an understanding of our past and also scholarly work and research… finding a balance between those.  Because that we find that people who are really interested in the emotional/personal stories tend to not have a lot of background information.  And then we find vice-versa, that the people who are really experts in history don’t know how to get on the Internet. So yes, and for stories especially… We have a lot of people really interested in storytelling but have no background in context. So we need historians who can find a way to make their information interesting to young people.

Fanshen Cox, “Community-Based Multiracial Movements: Learning from the Past, Looking toward the Future” (roundtable discussion at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, November 5-6, 2010).

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Applying Self-Discrepancy Theory to Biracial Identity and Adjustment: A Proposed Study

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2010-12-31 00:19Z by Steven

Applying Self-Discrepancy Theory to Biracial Identity and Adjustment: A Proposed Study

Social-Personality Brown Bag Series
University of California, Davis
Location: Young 166
2010-11-08, 12:10-13:30 PST (Local Time)

Lauren Berger

Research suggests that biracials may have poorer mental health than monoracials and a recent meta-analysis (Shih & Sanchez, 2005) cites a lack of research testing potential mediators of the link between biracial identity and adjustment. The proposed study aims to examine Higgin’s Self-Discrepancy Theory (1987, 1989) model of vulnerability as one such mediator of the relationship. Discrepancies between self-state representations have been found to be related to different kinds of emotional distress and self-esteem.  We hypothesize that both internal and external (dis-confirming feedback from others) identity discrepancies will be related to lower levels of biracial adjustment. The extent to which the individual is comfortable with conflicting messages will also be examined as a moderator. Some aspects of the study are not yet finalized and feedback/comments would be much appreciated!

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Rhetoric and Silence in Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father”

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2010-12-30 18:56Z by Steven

Rhetoric and Silence in Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father”

Cultural Logic: An Electronic Journal of Marxist Theory and Practice
46 pages
ISSN: 1097-3087

Barbara Clare Foley, Professor of English
Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey

When Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance first appeared in 1995, it was greeted with relatively modest sales but favorable reviews: critics welcomed a politician who actually possessed writerly skills. In the wake of Obama’s celebrated speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention and successful bid for the Illinois seat in the U.S. Senate, sales mounted, and a second edition appeared, this one containing the convention speech. In 2006, the audio book version, featuring the author as reader, won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. In 2007, a third edition was published, this time accompanied by an excerpt from Obama’s 2006 policy book, The Audacity of Hope. By July 2008, as the election neared, Obama’s autobiography had been on the best-seller list for 104 weeks. As of this writing in the summer of 2009, the book has sold millions of copies and been translated into eight different languages.

While Dreams from My Father has supplied some fodder for attacks by conservative pundits, it has for the most part inspired positive reviews, many of them bordering on hagiography. Toni Morrison praised Obama’s novelistic skill in “reflect[ing] on this extraordinary mesh of experiences that he has had.” Joe Klein, in Time, proclaimed that the book “may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.” On the eve of Obama’s inauguration, Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times critic, described Dreams from My Father as “the most evocative, lyrical and candid autobiography [ever] written by a future president.” Indicating the book’s popular appeal, the hundreds of reviews recorded on give the now-President’s autobiography an overall rating of 4½ stars. An informal web-based survey of college course syllabi suggests that, either excerpted or in its totality, Obama’s autobiography is being frequently assigned to college students. Dreams from My Father has proven to be an outstanding success in commercial, critical, and popular terms.

Arguably, however, it is precisely because the President’s literary star has ascended to such heights that his text warrants critical scrutiny. For success in the U.S. book market is in large part a measure not just of literary excellence or authorial prominence but also of a text’s embodiment of normative assumptions about society and self. In particular, a narrative of ascent—of which Dreams from My Father is a prime example—characteristically invokes dearly held myths about bootstraps individualism and social mobility, however poorly such notions may mesh with the realities of life in modern capitalist society. In this post-millennial moment, rife with anxieties domestic and international, economic and political, there is a particular yearning for tales about individuals who have passed over barriers and triumphed over hardships, thereby affirming the nation’s transcendence of its ugly racial past and entry into a present that is, if not “post-racial”—the current popular buzz-word—at least qualitatively more benign. To the extent that the identity quest embarked upon and achieved in Dreams from My Father can be taken to illustrate the integrity of not just its central actor, but the nation that has chosen him to be its leader, the text functions as Exhibit A in the case for American progress.

My principal goal in this essay—which is directed primarily to teachers of Obama’s text—is to examine the various rhetorical maneuvers that the author deploys in order to render maximally persuasive his odyssey to self-knowledge. I shall engage in a study not just of literary devices—which Obama handles with considerable skill—but of the ideology of form. This project will involve textual analysis on both the macro-level—the text’s apparatus of prefaces and postscripts, its tripartite division, the structuring of its individual units—and the micro-level—its narrative voice, methods of characterization, deployment of metaphor. To a significant extent, however, the effect of Dreams from My Father is contingent upon what the text does not say—the structured silences that allow it to minimize or, on occasion, exclude material that might impede its ideological work. In order to read the text fully, I shall as needed move outside it—not just to events and situations in Obama’s own life that are elided in his narrative, but also to events in the life of the mysterious father who inhabits the core of the narrative. Although readers may find most provocative the occlusions and obfuscations discussed in the final portion of this essay, they are urged to view these in the context of Obama’s overall rhetorical project, in which the said and the not-said are indissolubly linked…

…“A broader public debate”: Narrative frames

The teleological structure of Dreams from My Father can be described in various terms: a narrative of ascent and quest; a record of redemption, reinvention and rebirth; an odyssey from isolation to belonging, alienation to community. Obama’s story is distinctly gendered—unabashedly Oedipal in its focus on fathers and sons—and raced—it places front and center the identity dilemma of a young man of mixed descent coming to terms with the dualisms and hierarchies of a society obsessed with racial categorization. As Obama puts it in his 1995 Introduction, the text records “a boy’s search for his father, and through that search a workable meaning for his life as a black American” (xvi). Dreams from My Father thus invokes such classic accounts of black male self-discovery as W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Malcolm X’s Autobiography, as well as various autobiographical and fictional writings of James Baldwin and Richard Wright—many of which are referenced, implicitly and explicitly in the course of Obama’s narrative. Where these earlier explorations of selfhood characteristically end in defeat or ambivalence, however, Obama’s journey—described throughout the text by means of a trope of voyaging, charting, and traveling the seas—ends in a triumphal homecoming. The text assures its readers that, although not without a few false starts that were soon corrected, its protagonist has moved from a child’s non-racial consciousness through an ambivalent Third Worldism to a confident blend of cosmopolitanism and American nationalism, bolstered by an ecumenical optimism that Obama loosely terms “faith.”…

Read the entire essay here.

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Choosing Race: Multiracial Ancestry and Identification

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-12-30 18:45Z by Steven

Choosing Race: Multiracial Ancestry and Identification

Social Science Research
Volume 40, Issue 2 (March 2011)
pages 498–512
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.12.010

Aaron Gullickson, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Oregon

Ann Morning, Assistant Professor of Sociology
New York University

Social scientists have become increasingly interested in the racial identification choices of multiracial individuals, partly as a result of the federal government’s new “check all that apply” method of racial identification. However, the majority of work to date has narrowly defined the population of multiracial individuals as the “biracial” children of single-race parents. In this article, we use the open-ended ancestry questions on the 1990 and 2000 5% samples of the U.S. Census to identify a multiracial population that is potentially broader in its understanding of multiraciality. Relative to other studies, we find stronger historical continuity in the patterns of hypodescent and hyperdescent for part-black and part-American Indian ancestry individuals respectively, while we find that multiple race identification is the modal category for those of part-Asian ancestry. We interpret this as evidence of a new, more flexible classification regime for groups rooted in more recent immigration. Our results suggest that future work on multiracial identification must pay closer attention to the varied histories of specific multiracial ancestry groups.

Read the entire article here.

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The Lives of Jean Toomer: A Hunger for Wholeness

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2010-12-30 18:26Z by Steven

The Lives of Jean Toomer: A Hunger for Wholeness

Louisiana State University Press
448 pages
Paper ISBN-13: 978-0-8071-1548-0

Cynthia Earl Kerman, Emeritus Professor of English
Villa Julie College in Stevenson, Maryland

Richard Eldridge

Jean Toomer (1894–1967) arrived on the American literary scene in 1923 with the publication of Cane, a small, emotional book about southern blacks that is often seen as marking the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance. But Toomer was much more than a fiction writer and poet dedicated to the pursuit of art. He was also a disciple and teacher of Georges Gurdjieff’s spiritual-mental-physical system for achieving wholeness, and later a religious leader among Quakers. The many “lives” that Jean Toomer led are unfolded in this comprehensive and fascinating biography by Cynthia Earl Kerman and Richard Eldridge.

The authors describe Toomer’s childhood and youth, tracing the influence of his grandfather, P.B.S. Pinchback, his peculiar isolation as a child even amid family and friends, the shock of his mother’s death, his removal to the home of his grandparents, and his erratic ventures from there into formal and informal education. They tell the story of Toomer’s sudden entry into, and as sudden exit from, the active literary world of New York in the early 1920s, and they follow Toomer’s reluctant but eventual total commitment to the mystical Gurdjieffan movement. Kerman and Eldridge devote considerable attention to Toomer’s subsequent involvement with Quakers in and around Philadelphia. They also consider the final fifteen years of Toomer’s life, when failing health and a diminished sense of achievement marked his withdrawal into a state of isolated invalidism.

Kerman and Eldridge are careful to place Toomer’s varied accomplishments in perspective. They seek to correct misapprehensions about Toomer’s position on race and offer a thorough treatment of his concept of the “universal man” as one beyond racial demarcation. They also look closely at Toomer’s penchant for mysticism. The authors find that Toomer’s intense need to be perfect and whole gave focus to the many passions he embraced throughout his life.

The Lives of Jean Toomer is enhanced by the authors’ extensive use of primary and secondary materials, particularly the voluminous Toomer papers, formerly at Fisk University and now at Yale, and by their interviews with various persons who knew Toomer. In style, content, and organization, in its depth as well as balance, The Lives of Jean Toomer is a model biography, a fitting tribute to an important but often misunderstood individual.

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University of Vermont study examines biracial identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2010-12-30 17:36Z by Steven

University of Vermont study examines biracial identity

Burlington Free Press

Tim Johnson, Free Press Staff Writer

Even though he was born of a white mother and an African father, Barack Obama is commonly referred to as the first black president. That’s a sign, sociologists say, that America’s “one-drop rule”—a vestige of the United States’ segregationist past—is still with us.

Under the one-drop rule, a person with even minimal African ancestry (one drop of black blood) was considered black. In the Jim Crow South, such people were denied the rights and opportunities accorded to—unless they had sufficiently light skin and Caucasian features to conceal their African ancestry and “pass” themselves off as white.

Racial “passing” still takes place today, University of Vermont sociologist Nikki Khanna reports in a new study, but in different ways. Light-skinned people with African ancestry might pass themselves off as white or as black, depending on the situation. And biracial people with one white parent and one black parent are more likely for various reasons to identify themselves as black and even to conceal their white ancestry, Khanna said…

A person’s racial identity is determined not just by society; it also can be self-defined. Even people who regard themselves as biracial often are inclined to pass themselves off as monoracial, Khanna reports in an article, co-written with Cathryn Johnson of Emory University, published recently in Social Psychology Quarterly

..The fact that “biracial” and “multiracial” have entered common American parlance suggests that the “one-drop rule” might be weakening, Khanna said. The U.S. census, beginning in 2000, allowed respondents to choose more than one race.

Still, the widespread perception that people with one black parent are black has its roots in a historically racist attitude that “one drop of black blood made one black, but one drop of white blood did not make one white,” as Khanna and Johnson put it.

Khanna, daughter of an Indian father and a white mother, grew interested in interracial studies in graduate school. She said she noticed that research was lacking on the offspring of interracial couples…

Read the entire article here.

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