Affirmative action backed in largely black Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Politics/Public Policy on 2012-05-04 20:22Z by Steven

Affirmative action backed in largely black Brazil

Associated Press

Bradley Brooks

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s top court has backed sweeping affirmative action programs used in more than 1,000 universities across this nation, which has more blacks than any country outside Africa yet where a severe gap in education equality between races persists.

The Supreme Court voted 7-1 late Thursday to uphold a federal program that has provided scholarships to hundreds of thousands of black and mixed-race students for university studies since 2005. Its constitutionality was challenged by a right of center party, The Democrats. Three justices abstained from the vote.

The court ruled last week in a separate case that it was constitutional for universities to use racial quotas in determining who is admitted.

“If I didn’t have the scholarship, I wouldn’t be here. It pays my entire tuition,” said 22-year-old student Felipe Nunes, taking a break between classes at the privately run Univerisdade Paulista in Sao Paulo.

Nunes, the mixed-race son of a mechanic, said he’s the first person in his family to attend university. He’s one of 919,000 recipients of a “ProUni” scholarship since 2005. The ProUni program funds studies in private universities for black, mixed race, indigenous and poor students whose primary education was in the public school system…

…Norma Odara, a 20-year-old journalism student at Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo, considers herself black, though her mother is white, and her youthful face embodies Brazil’s mixed heritage.

She’s not the recipient of any government scholarship and her university does not use any sort of quota system, something made clear by the fact Odara was one of the few black students in a sea of whites on Mackenzie’s leafy campus. Still, Odara said quotas and other such programs are only temporary fixes, and that what is needed is more government spending in public grade schools where most black Brazilians study, so that they are better prepared to enter universities on academic merit alone…

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4 Years Later, Race Is Still Issue for Some Voters

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-05-04 20:03Z by Steven

4 Years Later, Race Is Still Issue for Some Voters

The New York Times

Sabrina Tavernise

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — This is the land of die-hard Democrats — mill workers, coal miners and union members. They have voted party line for generations, forming a reliable constituency for just about any Democrat who decides to run for office.

Certain precincts in this county are not going to vote for Obama,” said John Corrigan, clerk of courts for Jefferson County, who was drinking coffee in a furniture shop downtown one morning last week with a small group of friends, retired judges and civil servants. “I don’t want to say it, but we all know why.”

A retired state employee, Jason Foreman, interjected, “I’ll say it: it’s because he’s black.”

For nearly three and a half years, a black family has occupied the White House, and much of the time what has been most remarkable about that fact is how unremarkable it has become to the country. While Mr. Obama will always be known to the history books as the country’s first black president, his mixed-race heritage has only rarely surfaced in visible and explicit ways amid the tumult of a deep recession, two wars and shifting political currents…

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The Historiography of Métis Land Dispersal, 1870-1890

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Law, Media Archive on 2012-05-04 13:15Z by Steven

The Historiography of Métis Land Dispersal, 1870-1890

Manitoba History
Number 30, Autumn 1995

Brad Milne

History Department
University of Manitoba

The Manitoba Act of 1870 provided substantial land grants to the Métis at Red River. Section 31 set aside 1.4 million acres of land for distribution among the children of Métis heads of families residing in the province, while section 32 guaranteed all old settlers, Métis or white, “peaceable possession” of the lots they occupied in the Red River settlement prior to 15 July, 1870. Subsection 32(5) guaranteed allotments of land to commute the rights of hay and common in the outer two miles that accompanied many of the old river lots. Additional legislation of 1874 granted $160 scrip, redeemable in Dominion lands, to all Métis heads of families. However, as most students and scholars of Métis history are aware, very little of this land and scrip remained in Métis hands by the late 1870s. Instead, the period from 1870 to 1890 saw the widespread dispersal of the Métis from Red River.

In the last two decades, a virtual “explosion in Métis scholarship” has emerged to determine why this large scale migration occurred.With native political organizations and the governments of Canada and Manitoba embroiled in an on-going court battle, various scholars have received generous financial support to investigate Métis land claims in Manitoba. For two scholars in particular, Douglas Sprague and Thomas Flanagan, the Métis dispersal has become a subject of bitter dispute. Flanagan, a University of Calgary political scientist and a historical consultant for the federal Department of Justice, believes that the federal government fulfilled the land provisions of the Manitoba Act. On the other hand, Sprague, a historian retained by the Manitoba Métis Federation to undertake research into Métis land claims, argues that through a process of formal and informal discouragement, the Métis were victims of a deliberate conspiracy in which John A. Macdonald and the Canadian government successfully kept them from obtaining title to the land they were to receive under terms of the Manitoba Act of 1870. Although Sprague and Flanagan remain the central combatants in this historiographical battle, significant research has been conducted by many other scholars, most notably Gerhard Ens and Nicole St-Onge.

In short, the issue of Métis land dispersal is controversial and is the focus of an impressive historiographical debate. This article will not add to the debate. It is designed to help those who are not specialists in Métis history gain an understanding of the state of the argument over land claims…

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The Forgotten Diaspora

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2012-05-04 02:52Z by Steven

The Forgotten Diaspora

The Official Gateway to Scotland

Geoff Palmer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences
Heriot-Watt University

I was born in Jamaica in 1940, the largest British island in the Caribbean. I emigrated to London in 1955 to join my mother and earn a living. She had emigrated in 1948.

In 1967 I completed a PhD at Edinburgh University. Now retired, I was a cereal grain scientist and lectured at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh on the science and technology of brewing and distilling. I have had the good fortune to represent Heriot-Watt and Scotland in these disciplines all over the world. A most memorable visit was to Africa to help with the growth and processing of the tropical grain, sorghum. Before a lecture a young African spoke to me in a local language believing I was a company representative. He was angry! Now, although my ancestors may have come from that part of Africa, I had no idea what was being said to me. One of my African ex-students over-heard the young man, laughed and explained he was asking, “Why is the company sending a Scotsman to speak to us?”

During a visit to Register House, Edinburgh last year I noticed a poster referring to “The distribution of Scottish people around the world”. With a smile I said to my host that I hoped people of Scottish descent in the Caribbean were included in this survey of the Scottish Diaspora. He turned and said goodbye quickly to get away from a Jamaican who had suddenly taken leave of his senses. Talking about Scottish-Caribbean history elsewhere in Scotland elicited similar responses.

In 2007, the British government decreed that the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade should be commemorated, a trade which had started in 1562. Many commemorative events took place and I was asked to give lectures to Scottish historical societies and various organisations in Scotland and England.

In contrast to my knowledge of brewing, distilling and cereal grains, my knowledge of the history of British/Scottish slavery in the Caribbean was limited. To prepare myself for the lectures I did some research and completed a small book on the consequences of British slavery, especially with regard to Jamaicans…

…It is estimated that 20,000,000 African people were bought or captured in Africa and transported into New World slavery. Only about half survived to work on the plantations. However, even Adam Smith was impressed by the profitability of this free land, free labour, business called Chattel slavery. The terrible and unique feature of this slavery was that legally slaves had “no right to life”. The working life of a field slave was about five years. Those who compare this slavery with other kinds of inhuman behaviour such as trafficking are being unfair to all such terrible activities…

…How did the Scots join the slave business? Originally officially excluded from the English slave trade, Scots such as Colonel John Campbell left the failed Scottish colonial experiment in Darien, Panama and arrived in Jamaica between 1697 and 1700. He had a large family in Jamaica and died there in 1740, initiating the spread of the name Campbell all over the island. Today there are many more Campbells in Jamaica per acre than in Scotland. In 1707 Scottish politicians signed 25 Acts to unify the parliaments of Scotland and England. The Act that was signed first was Act 4 which allowed the Scots to join the English slave business. Young Scotsmen rushed to the Caribbean to make quick fortunes as slave masters, slave doctors and administrators. The great economic benefits of Caribbean slavery to Scotland were clearly apparent to Robert Burns who wrote a toast honouring the “Memory of those on the 12th that we lost’, commemorating one of the most gruesome and crucial naval battles fought between the French, Spanish and the British. The prize was Jamaica. Like other young Scotsmen who wanted to change their lives making money from slavery, Burns bought his ticket for Jamaica in 1786, intending to sail from Greenock with Highland Mary but his new book of poems sold well and he did not sail. Later, Burns’ new lady friend, Clarinda (Mrs McLehose), sailed to Jamaica to discuss the state of her marriage with her husband, a slave master. On her return she told Burns her husband told her to return to Edinburgh as he was quite happy in Jamaica with his “ebony woman and mahogany children”.

Many Scottish and English slave masters had children with their slaves. Robert Wedderburn (abolitionist) was the Jamaican mixed race son of Scottish slave master James Wedderburn and his black slave Rosanna. Many Caribbean people are of mixed race and many of us are descended from Scottish slave masters. It is therefore enlightening that the national motto of Jamaica is: Out of Many One People. My late mother’s family name is Larmond a mis-spelling of Lamont. The issue of surnames has been a matter of debate between the descendants of slaves but I feel that our lost African names and our present Scottish/British surnames are all part of a history that cannot be changed. My ancestors came out of a cruel slavery and chose the family surnames. I see no reason why I should alter the choice they made. I am proud that our slave ancestors endured and produced proud nations of black people in the New World. My mother’s forefathers, like others who gained a small piece of land after slavery, described themselves as “planters” the same name used to describe white slave-plantation owners. A small but significant statement of ‘equality in position’…

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Setting Assumptions Aside: Exploring Identity Development in Interracial Intercultural Individuals Growing up in Japan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2012-05-04 01:47Z by Steven

Setting Assumptions Aside: Exploring Identity Development in Interracial Intercultural Individuals Growing up in Japan

University of Toronto
280 pages

Penny Sue Kinnear

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

This research attempts to understand the experience of interracial/intercultural individuals growing up in Japan. Their experiences do not fit current minority identity development models. Much of the tension in their experience appears to be between the individual’s own experience and the stereotypica1 experience he or she is supposed to undergo as a mixed individual. Identity was not a question of either/or, but took shape from dialogues that reflected a complex relationship between community, individual, language, and culture. One factor determining the tenor of the dialogue is its grounding in commonalities or in differences. The experience was profoundly different for individuals who attended international schools or Japanese schools. The difficulty that the international school attendees articulated, in contrast to those attending Japanese schools, appears as a clash of boundaries, not values. This is reflected particularly where “Japaneseness” fits in the hierarchy and the degree of rigidity or permeability of those boundaries.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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