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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