Feeling Is Believing: Why Obama’s Hair Matters

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-05-31 21:38Z by Steven

Feeling Is Believing: Why Obama’s Hair Matters


Danielle Fuentes Morgan

It’s a question President Obama has undoubtedly been asked before. It’s almost a universal African American experience, except this time it was asked under different circumstances and for a different reason.

“Can I touch your hair?”

The photo of this moment, three-years-old at this point, is making the rounds again. You’ve seen it in your inbox and on social networking sites—President Obama, bent at his waist while a five-year-old African American boy wearing a tie and dress pants touches his hair. It seems innocuous enough—meriting a few awwws certainly—but leaving some to wonder what all the fuss is about. Cute, sure. But is this news? Absolutely…

…If a black man—indeed, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama—can become leader of the free world, then what can’t a child of color do? It’s this new belief in the possibility of limitlessness that matters so much. Perhaps Jacob couldn’t believe his eyes. But by touching the president’s hair, his own potential was affirmed.

Read the entire article here.

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Cape Verdean identity in a land of Black and White

Posted in Africa, Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2012-05-31 18:45Z by Steven

Cape Verdean identity in a land of Black and White

Volume 12, Number 3
pages 354-379
DOI: 10.1177/1468796811419599

Gene A. Fisher, Professor Emerita of Sociology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Suzanne Model, Professor Emerita of Sociology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Cape Verde is an island group off the African coast with a history of slavery. Its residents having both European and African ancestors, they consider themselves a mixed-race people. Residents of the United States, however, observe the one-drop rule: anyone with a perceptible trace of African blood is defined as Black. This difference motivates us to ask: how do Cape Verdean Americans answer questions about their racial identity? Strict assimilationists predict that, as they adapt to their new home, Cape Verdeans will identify less as mixed-race than as White or Black. Others suggest that the quality of race relations at the time immigrants arrive affects their identity. We test these ideas using data from the 2000 US Census and the American Community Survey. Our multivariate analysis shows that some, but not all, forms of assimilation increase the odds of identifying as Black. The odds of identifying as White, on the other hand, have little to do with assimilation. The timing of arrival also has a significant effect on racial identity, with Black gaining popularity among recent immigrants.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Jared Sexton, Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism [Comer Review]

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-05-31 03:01Z by Steven

Jared Sexton, Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism [Comer Review]

Black Diaspora Review
Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)
pages 52-53

Nandi Comer
Indiana University, Bloomington

Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism. By Jared Sexton. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. 345 pp.

“It’s proud to be able to say that… The first black president… That’s unless you screw up. And then it’s going to be what’s up with the half white guy?”
Wanda Sykes, 2009 White House Correspondents Dinner

Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, Wanda Sykes stood in front of a banquet hall of the most prominent journalists in the United States and celebrated Barack Obama for being the “first black president.” During her comments she also acknowledged his biracial identity, but her emphasis on his Black identity represented the frame of mind of millions of Americans who acknowledge Obama as the first Black president. Still, Sykes’s remarks about Obama’s racial identity indicates the choice people of mixed race have—to accept traditional notions about race and hypodescent, which determines anyone with African blood Black, or to claim a multiracial identity. Although this choice is a personal one, since the 1980s multiracial communities have mobilized to construct a politicized identity in the pursuit of racial equality.

In Amalgamation Schemes, author Jared Sexton examines the political history and current discourse of multiracialism in order to uncover the negative ramifications of its political agenda. Through his critical analysis, Sexton argues that in its attempt to gain political recognition as a progressive movement committed to racial equality and the elimination of sexual racism, multiracialism has positioned itself in opposition to notions of hypodescent and antimiscegenation, while simultaneously adapting a morally conservative identity. For Sexton the multiracial political agenda are dangerous breeding grounds for antiblackness, heteronormativity, desexualization of race, and deracialization of sex. In other words, Jared Sexton argues that multiracialism is a mechanism for further reinforcement of “global white supremacy”.

In his work Sexton’s primary aim is to “address the problematic of multiracial discourse” (154). What was originally a movement dedicated to furthering the goals of the Civil Right Movement, seeking acknowledgement and representation in the census, Sexton argues, was actually a misinterpretation of the original policy meant to “track the progress towards racial equality.” Ironically, Sexton argues, the very Black civil rights leaders from whom multiracialism draws are the same individuals from whom multiracialism seeks to distance itself…

Read the entire review here.

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Call for Papers—Inaugural Issue: Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies

Posted in Media Archive, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2012-05-31 02:18Z by Steven

Call for Papers—Inaugural Issue: Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies

“Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies”

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies (JCMRS) is a peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS). Launched in 2011, it is the first academic journal explicitly focused on Critical Mixed Race Studies. Sponsored by the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Sociology Department, JCMRS is hosted on the eScholarship Repository, which is part of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library. JCMRS functions as an open-access forum for critical mixed race studies scholars and will be available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.

JCMRS is transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational in focus and emphasizes the critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions and constructions of race. JCMRS emphasizes the constructed nature and thus mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. JCMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

Some questions to consider:

  • Why Critical Mixed Race Studies rather than mixed ethnicity or mixed heritage?
  • How does CMRS transform Ethnic Studies?
  • What does CMRS mean in transnational contexts?
  • What are some ways that CMRS can be institutionalized?
  • How do foundational articles or books in CMRS resonate today?
  • How does CMRS relate to the Multiracial Movement or social activism around mixed heritage identities?
  • How does post-racial discourse factor into the development of CMRS?
  • How is CMRS transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary?

Papers that were presented at the Inaugural Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference in 2010 are invited for revision and submission. JCMRS encourages both established and emerging scholars to submit articles throughout the year. Articles will be considered for publication on the basis of their contributions to important and current discussions in mixed race studies, and their scholarly competence and originality.

Submission Deadline: July 1, 2012

Submission Guidelines: Article manuscripts should range between 15-30 double-spaced pages, Times New Roman 12-point font, including notes and works cited, must follow the Chicago Manual of Style, and include an abstract (not to exceed 250 words).

Visit our website for complete submission guidelines and to submit an article: http://escholarship.org/uc/ucsb_soc_jcmrs

Please address all inquiries to: socjcmrs@soc.ucsb.edu

Founding Editors G. Reginald Daniel, Wei Ming Dariotis, Laura Kina, Maria P. P. Root, Paul Spickard

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This Is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2012-05-30 21:07Z by Steven

This Is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature

Temple University Press
November 2010
216 pages
5.5 x 8.5
1 halftone
paper ISBN: 978-1-43990-217-2
cloth ISBN: 978-1-43990-216-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-43990-218-9

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies (founder of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).)
San Francisco State University

An introduction to the themes of a still-evolving American ethnic literature

In the first book-length study of Vietnamese American literature, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud probes the complexities of Vietnamese American identity and politics. She provides an analytical introduction to the literature, showing how generational differences play out in genre and text. In addition, she asks, can the term Vietnamese American be disassociated from representations of the war without erasing its legacy?

Pelaud delineates the historical, social, and cultural terrains of the writing as well as the critical receptions and responses to them. She moves beyond the common focus on the Vietnam war to develop an interpretive framework that integrates post-colonialism with the multi-generational refugee, immigrant, and transnational experiences at the center of Vietnamese American narratives.

Her readings of key works, such as Andrew Pham’s Catfish and Mandala and Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge show how trauma, race, class and gender play a role in shaping the identities of Vietnamese American characters and narrators.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Inclusion
    • 1. History
    • 2. Overview
    • 3. Hybridity
  • Part II: Interpretation
    • 4. Survival
    • 5. Hope and Despair
    • 6. Reception
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father and African American Literature

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-05-30 21:01Z by Steven

Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father and African American Literature

European Journal of American Studies
1, 2011, Varia
Document 6
DOI: 10.4000/ejas.9232

Daniel Stein
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

This article provides a series of close readings of Barack Obama’s autobiography Dreams from My Father. It places the narrative within the history of African American literature and rhetoric and argues that Obama uses the text to create a life story that resonates with central concepts of African American selfhood and black male identity, including double consciousness, invisibility, and black nationalism. The article reads Dreams from My Father as an attempt to arrive at a state of “functional Blackness,” which moves away from questions of racial authenticity and identity politics but recognizes the narrative powers of African American literature to shape a convincing and appealing black self.

Read the entire article here.

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The Great Seducer: writings on Gilberto Freyre, from 1945 until today (O Grande Sedutor: escritos sobre Gilberto Freyre de 1945 até hoje)

Posted in Biography, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2012-05-30 18:55Z by Steven

The Great Seducer: writings on Gilberto Freyre, from 1945 until today (O Grande Sedutor: escritos sobre Gilberto Freyre de 1945 até hoje)

Cassará Publishing House (Blog)
724 pages
16 X 23 cm
ISBN: 978-85-64892-01-9

Edson Nery da Fonseca, Professor Emeritus
University of Brasilia

The book is the result of more than sixty years of study and research and offers a unique and intimate not only on the thought of Freyre, but also about his personal life. Over 135 papers that comprise the collection of articles and essays, Nery da Fonseca presents the genesis of the thought of Gilberto Freyre, identifying intellectuals and artists in a variety of chains, with which Freyre dialogued lifelong and tells stories and curious details . In addition, summarizes the main features, but also sheds new perspectives and points out aspects little or nothing known about the author’s thought of Casa-Grande & Senzala. The work is aimed at all interested in the work of Freyre, but also to all those who appreciate the art of writing.

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University of Missouri Press to Shut Down in July

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2012-05-30 16:18Z by Steven

University of Missouri Press to Shut Down in July

Riverfront Times
St. Louis, Missouri

Aimee Levitt

The Post-Dispatch was not the only publishing institution in Missouri to have a bad week. Yesterday morning, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, announced plans to shut down the University of Missouri Press.

 The news came as a complete surprise to the ten-member staff, editor in chief Clair Wilcox told the Columbia Daily Tribune.

It was true the press, which was partially funded by a $400,000 annual subsidy from the university system, had continued to operate with a deficit even after seven employees had been laid off three years ago, but who expects a university press to be a major money-making operation?

The purpose of the U of M Press, founded in 1958, was to showcase scholarly work about Missouri and its people which would be ignored by more commercial publishers. The current catalog, likely to be the press’s last, features a memoir by a Bootheel farmer, a study of old-time Missouri fiddlers, histories of the Missouri State Penitentiary and a Civil War draft resistance movement and biographies of Satchel Paige and the folklorist Mary Alicia Owen (the last with the tantalizing title Voodoo Priests, Noble Savages and Ozark Gypsies)…

Read the enetire article here.

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The Significance of Mixed-Race: Public Perceptions of Barack Obama’s Race and the Effect of Obama’s Race on Public Support for his Presidency

Posted in Barack Obama, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-05-30 02:47Z by Steven

The Significance of Mixed-Race: Public Perceptions of Barack Obama’s Race and the Effect of Obama’s Race on Public Support for his Presidency

Social Science Research Network
Working Paper Series
55 pages
DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.1910209

Samuel Sinyangwe
Stanford University

This research paper seeks to understand white, black, and mixed-race Americans’ perceptions of President Barack Obama’s racial identity and the influence that those perceptions have on patterns of public support for the President. Some have proposed that the American racial hierarchy is becoming more stratified and complex, with mixed-race Americans rising to a higher, “honorary white” racial stratum with greater socioeconomic and political privileges than they have had in the past. These claims are partially supported by this research. Contrary to those who still conceptualize race in terms of black and white, this research establishes that a majority of whites and mixed-race Americans, and a third of blacks, likely conceptualize the racially ambiguous President Barack Obama as distinctly “mixed-race.” I argue that Americans distinguish Obama as “mixed-race” for a purpose. Whites, blacks, and mixed-race Americans identify Obama as “mixed-race” to express his perceived difference from black people, interests, and values. These distinctions have political significance: mixed-race Americans that are at least part black are more likely to both perceive and support a “mixed-race” Obama while blacks respond more favorably to a perceived “black” Obama.

Read the entire article here.

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Author Q&A: Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive on 2012-05-29 21:08Z by Steven

Author Q&A: Jessica Maria Tuccelli

The Washington Independent Review of Books

In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night — a desperate measure that proves calamitous when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road. … Ella awakens in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a root doctor and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked deep in the Takatoka Forest. As Ella heals, the secrets of her lineage are revealed.
Jessica Maria Tuccelli spent three summers trekking through northeastern Georgia, soaking up its ghost stories and folklore. A graduate of MIT with a degree in anthropology, she lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Glow is her first novel.

What sets this book apart is the way it is framed. You begin with the displacement of one of the main character’s daughter, and then you go backwards in time. What made you tell the story this way?
The story spilled out naturally, beginning in 1941 and working its way back to 1836 and then out again. As I wrote it, I had an image in mind of a Russian nesting doll, each figurine nestled inside the next one, and I thought of the structure of Glow in this manner. I was drawn to the idea of discovery, each step inward revealing a new secret within the story or insight into a character…

My great grandmother was white on one census, years later, mulatto, and white again a few years later. Why did you include the census instructions?
I have great interest in the personal versus public assignation of race and identity and its implications. Glow is told from the perspective of characters whose birth parents are of different backgrounds — African, African-American, Cherokee, and Scotch-Irish. “Mixed race” in our parlance. How the characters define themselves, however, is not necessarily how their society describes them. This causes internal and external conflict, something I experienced myself as a child.
I included the census instructions of 1850, 1920, and 1940 to call attention to the arbitrary nature of racial designations — race is a cultural concept, not a scientific or biological one — and to question the federal government’s utilization of “white” as an endowment of personhood and privilege, as reflected by the blood proportion guidelines in the census instructions and the process of electoral votes and congressional apportionment.
To quote the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, “Prior to 1870, the population base included the total free population of the states, three-fifths of the number of slaves, and excluded American Indians not taxed. The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, removed the fractional count of the number of slaves from the procedure.”
So often, the characters don’t speak of their own race, their neighbors do. Maybe the census should have asked each neighbor to describe the other. Do you think the results would have been similar?
I imagine the results would be as varied as there are individuals. We have to ask ourselves what is our motive in inquiring about race, why is it so important that we identify our bloodlines or origins, will we as a nation ever be free of our obsession with race and should we be? My goal is not to create colorblindness, but rather to understand how Americans use the linguistics of race as a way of delineating, separating, or uniting one human or group from another. In 2008, when we elected Barack Obama as our president, George W. Bush hailed Obama’s journey as a triumph in the American story, a sentiment that resonated for me not only for the historical milestone it represented, but the opportunity it created to talk about race and identity in our country…

Read the entire interview here.

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