Are Latinos “White”?

Posted in Articles, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-08-31 18:29Z by Steven

Are Latinos “White”?

Jesus For Revolutionaries: A Blog About Race, Social Justice, and Christianity

Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Hundreds of years of cultural politics underly the current debate over the proper racial categorization for Latinos.   For the greater part of U.S. history, Latinos argued for legal “whiteness” as a means of shielding itself from racial discrimination.  At the same time, up until the present day, many Latinos have consistently identified as “white” based upon the influence of colonial notions of race in Latin America.  Such identification with whiteness has the dual negative effect of disassociating the Latino community from the contemporary civil rights struggle in the United States, and perpetuating Latin American racist ideology.

Following the Mexican American War of 1848, Anglo American politicians struggled with how to incorporate more than 115,000 former Mexican citizens into United States society.  Many politicians argued vehemently, and publically, that they did not wish to confer the full rights of American citizenship upon the Mexican population which they viewed as an inferior cultural group.   The compromise, articulated in Article IX of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, was that Mexicans in the conquered territories could choose to become U.S. citizens, but that such citizenship would not take effect until an undetermined future date to be decided upon by Congress.  More than two decades after the signing of the treaty in 1848, the citizenship status of thousands of Mexicans remained ambiguous and unresolved.

Mexicans in California were finally declared to be American citizens in 1870 as part of the famous case of People v. De la Guerra.  Since U.S. citizenship at that time was reserved for those defined by the law as “white,” Mexicans at that moment gained not only citizenship, but also an implicit judicial declaration of whiteness.   Despite their legal whiteness, however, Mexicans, and other Latinos continued to experience explicit, and pervasive, racial discrimination in housing, education, and every other facet of American life…

Read the entire essay here.

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“I’m biracial,” she says. “I will fight somebody who calls me black.”

Posted in Barack Obama, Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-08-30 04:20Z by Steven

Ms. [Heather] Curry thinks Mr. Obama identifying as African-American could be confusing to mixed-race children, making them feel they have to choose or making them think, “If Obama says he’s black, does this mean I’m black?” She thinks biracial people shouldn’t choose one race over the other because they are both.

“I’m biracial,” she says. “I will fight somebody who calls me black.”

L. A. Johnson, “Obama election stokes debate over what is biracial,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 3, 2009.

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New Book by Dr. Yaba Blay Explores Racial Identity and Skin Color Politics

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2013-08-30 04:03Z by Steven

New Book by Dr. Yaba Blay Explores Racial Identity and Skin Color Politics

Drexel Now
Drexel University

News Media Contact: Alex McKechnie, News Officer, University Communications
Phone: 215-895-2705; Mobile: 401-651-7550

What does it mean to be Black? Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness? What determines who is Black and who is not? A new book by Dr. Yaba Blay, an assistant professor and co-director of the Africana Studies program in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, seeks to challenge narrow perceptions of what Blackness is and what it looks like. 

The book, entitled (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race, combines candid narratives and photos of 60 contributors from 25 different countries, providing a living testimony to the diversity of Blackness. It is intended to spark dialogue about the intricacies and nuances of racial identity and the influence of skin color politics.

The book is part of Blay’s larger, multi-platform project called (1)ne Drop – a reference to the “one-drop rule” from the early 1900s that held that anyone with 1/32 of “African Black blood” was Black.

The project, which includes an online and traveling exhibition, ultimately seeks to raise social awareness and inspire community conversation about the complexities of Blackness as both an identity and a lived reality.

The project was the inspiration behind “Who is Black in America?”, the fifth installation of CNN’s Black in America television documentary series with Soledad O’Brien in 2012, on which Blay served as a consulting producer…

Read the entire press release here.

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The Debate: Multiracial Identity

Posted in Canada, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2013-08-29 21:19Z by Steven

The Debate: Multiracial Identity

The Agenda with Steve Paikin
TVO (TV Ontario)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2011-07-22, 20:00 EDT (Local Time)
Also at: 2011-07-25, 05:00 EDT (Local Time)

Piya Chattopadhyay, Host

Guests (in order of appearance)

Rainier Spencer, Director of the Afro-American Studies Program
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
(Author of three books on multiracialism including, Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix, 2011)

Minelle Mahtani, Professor of Geography and Journalism
University of Toronto

Ravi Jain,  Immigration Lawyer
Green and Spiegel, Toronto

Sarah Grzincic, Graduate Student
Ontario Institue for Studies in Education
University of Toronto

Jean Teillet, Partner (and the great grand niece of Louis Riel)
Pape Salter Teillet


Stavros Rougas, Associate Producer

Walk down the street in any Canadian city. The face of Canada is changing, no longer predominantly white and of European descent. How does being multiracial shape your identity? What policy changes are needed to best reflect the changing face of our society?

For more information, click here.

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Saluting a Dream, and Adapting It for a New Era

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-08-29 04:12Z by Steven

Saluting a Dream, and Adapting It for a New Era

The New York Times

Peter Baker and Sheryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON — President Obama stepped into the space on Wednesday where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stood, summoning his iconic dream of a colorblind society in a celebration of a half-century of progress and a call to arms for the next generation.

On a day of overcast skies and misty rain, tens of thousands of Americans — black, white and every shade in between — returned to the site of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to listen to the nation’s first black president pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way for his own ascension to the heights of American government.

“Because they kept marching, America changed,” the president said as Dr. King’s family watched. “Because they marched, a civil rights law was passed. Because they marched, a voting rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else’s laundry or shining somebody else’s shoes.

“Because they marched,” he added, “city councils changed and state legislatures changed and Congress changed and, yes, eventually, the White House changed.”

The symbolic journey from Dr. King to Mr. Obama on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial animated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom more than any oratory. While Mr. Obama’s line about the White House changing was his only reference to his unique place in history, the power of his presence was lost on no one.

But it also underscored the challenge to a movement to reframe its mission for a new era. With an African-American in the Oval Office, it is harder to argue about political empowerment than it was in 1963, and much of the day’s message centered on tackling persistent economic disparity, as well as newer frontiers of civil rights like equality for gay men and lesbians…

Read the entire article here. Read President Obama’s full remarks here.

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President, Not Preacher, but Speaking More on Race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-08-29 01:43Z by Steven

President, Not Preacher, but Speaking More on Race

The New York Times

Peter Baker

WASHINGTON — Sitting in the Roosevelt Room with prominent African-American religious leaders, President Obama on Monday mused about how far the nation had come in the 50 years since the March on Washington led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and how far it still had to go.

A president who often shies away from talking about race is set to deliver his own speech on Wednesday from the Lincoln Memorial. One thing he knew, he said, was that he could not fill Dr. King’s shoes. “He was discouraging us from comparing him to Dr. King,” said the Rev. Alvin Love of Chicago, one of the preachers who were there.

For Mr. Obama, Dr. King has been an idol, a role model and a burden since he assumed the presidency. He keeps a bust of the civil rights leader in the Oval Office along with a framed program from the 1963 march, and some of his favorite lines have been adopted from Dr. King. But as the nation’s first black president, Mr. Obama has found that no matter how much supporters may want to compare them, he cannot be a latter-day Dr. King…

…Outside events have also forced race back into the spotlight, and onto the Obama agenda. After the Supreme Court overturned part of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. went to court seeking to use other elements of the law to challenge a Texas statute. The Trayvon Martin case in Florida led Mr. Obama to make a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to talk about the sting of being trailed in stores as a young black man

Read the entire article here.

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Jahaji Bhai: The emergence of a Dougla poetics in Trinidad and Tobago

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2013-08-28 03:44Z by Steven

Jahaji Bhai: The emergence of a Dougla poetics in Trinidad and Tobago

Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
Volume 5, Issue 4, 1999
Special Issue: Fight the Power: Changing forms of Consciousness and Protest
pages 569-601
DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.1999.9962630

Rhoda Reddock, Professor of Gender and Development Studies
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

This paper explores the issues of ethnicity and identity in the post‐colonial Caribbean with special reference to Trinidad and Tobago. As with other multi‐ethnic post‐colonial societies, the collapse of post‐World‐War II promises of unified national projects based on the nation‐state or class politics has seen the re‐emergence of racial/ethnic based trajectories. In the context of the contestations of ethnicity, class, and gender in Trinidad and Tobago, the voice of the “Dougla,” or those projecting “dougla identities” of mixed African and Indian ancestry, has been largely missing. Unlike in the North, conceptions of “mixed” identity have existed in the region for many decades. A concept of multiracial identity, however, is relatively new and underdeveloped. This paper explores tentative attempts through the popular culture to express such multiracial identities, especially through the medium of Calypso and Soca and the contestations that greet such an emergence. The dynamics of the changing social, political, and cultural context are also taken into consideration. It does so through the contrasting 1996 “hits” of two singer/songwriters in the Calypso/Soca genre, Brother Marvin and Chris Garcia.

Calypso fictions and narratives, fantasies and commentaries, venture into vitally important areas of social intercourse which, because of unspoken protocols of civil discourse, remain sensitive areas of darkness. Within the freedom of performance, a space hallowed by tradition,…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Multiracial Identities in Trinidad and Guyana: Exaltation and Ambiguity

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science on 2013-08-28 03:10Z by Steven

Multiracial Identities in Trinidad and Guyana: Exaltation and Ambiguity

Latin American Issues
Volume 13 (1997) (The Caribbean(s) Redefined)
Article IV

Camille Hernandez-Ramdwar, Associate Professor of Sociology
Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

For people of formerly colonized countries, race mixing among the populace has always been a reality. This is particularly true for Caribbean peoples. This paper addresses the ambivalent existence of multiracial identities for Caribbean people in the regions of Trinidad and Guyana, two areas with particularly diverse populations including significant numbers of people who are of (East) Indian background, as well as (in Guyana) an indigenous Amerindian population. The current relevancy of this issue is highlighted by tensions between African and Indian populations in each area, following the elections of predominantly Indian-based governments in Guyana in 1992 (PPP) and Trinidad & Tobago in 1995 (UNC/NAR coalition). As racial terrains shift in the realms of power, people often resort to constructions of “pure” identities to support an “us” versus “them” agenda. An exploration into multiracial identity challenges this re-ordering of racial monoliths and homogeneous social organization; it provides an opening for discussion of similarities rather than differences, of interlinkages and a shared history of colonization.

For the purposes of this article, the term “multiracial” is intended to signify an identity which has arisen out of a colonial history. Prior to Columbus, any notion of “race” among the Amerindians would have differed considerably from that which was developed over time by the Europeans for very specific imperialist reasons. Multiracial Caribbean people are those who are descended from more than one racial group found in the Caribbean. The very notion of multiracial identity is only significant if importance, privilege, difference, or debasement has been accorded to particular racial groups over others during the course of Caribbean history.

My analysis of Caribbean multiracial identity is based on the works cited as well as a series of interviews I conducted with multiracial Caribbean and Caribbean-Canadian people during 1994-1995. It is a preliminary investigation of a subject area which requires much deeper study, a study which I hope to flesh out from this skeletal framework of initial inquiry. Caribbean scholarship has largely ignored and overlooked multiracial/mixed race identity with the exception of a few articles and papers (Khan, Puri, Reddock, and Shibata), and a rather significant body of work dealing with the Coloured/Mulatto/gens de couleur class and its historical/political significance (Braithwaite, Brathwaite, Brereton, Cohen & Green, Heuman, and Sio). In comparison, within the body of Caribbean literature there is an attempt to examine, however superficially, multiracial identity and its problematic/complex meaning beyond African/European bipolarity. This is mostly evident in the works of Edgar Mittelholzer, V.S. Naipaul, Jan Shinebourne, Lawrence Scott, and Merle Hodge. However, large gaps remain in the areas of theory and primary research examining how racially complex Caribbean people negotiate and navigate their identities in a social and political atmosphere which both exalts them (“All o’ we is one”, “One people, one nation, one destiny”, “Out of many, one people”) and denies them full recognition as a legitimate racial “group” in an arena where one’s racial allegiance purportedly informs community and political alliance, personal and business networks, state power and consequently, access to resources.


  • I. “Raceing” in Trinidad and Guyana: Historical Developments
  • II. “Douglas
  • III. The “Cocoa Panyols
  • IV. “Bovianders”
  • V. Representations of the Multiracial Person
  • VI. “Brotherhood of the Boat”? The Common Origin Debate in Trinidad
  • VII. Erasure of Multiracial Identity in Trinidad, Erasure of Multiracial Identity in Trinidad and Guyana
  • VII. Conclusion
  • Notes

Read the entire article here.

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Extended Families: Mixed-Race Children and Scottish Experience, 1770-1820

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Economics, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2013-08-28 02:54Z by Steven

Extended Families: Mixed-Race Children and Scottish Experience, 1770-1820

international journal of scottish literature
ISSN: 1751-2808

Daniel A. Livesay, Assistant Professor of History
Drury University, Springfield, Missouri

Daniel Livesay was winner of the 2007 North American Conference on British Studies Prize, Dissertation Year Fellowship for “Imagining Difference: Mixed-Race Britons and Racial Ideology in the Eighteenth Century Atlantic.”

Three years prior to the ending of the slave trade, Jamaica’s richest and most influential merchant mused on the possible consequences of abolition. Writing to his friend George Hibbert in January of 1804, Simon Taylor offered a stark vision of the British imperial economy without slave importation, echoing scores of other pro-slavery writers who preached the financial doom and gloom of a post-abolitionist society.  Economics, however, were not the only thing on either man’s mind. Hibbert, in a previous letter, had asked Taylor for his thoughts on the future of Jamaica’s white population if fresh supplies of slaves came to a halt.  He wondered if the colony’s whites could farm sugar themselves and if such back-breaking labour would further stifle the increase of the island’s already meager European population. Throwing off his earlier pessimism, Taylor replied with high hopes for the growth of Jamaica’s white residents.  His optimism sprung from a phenomenon he had watched develop over the last two generations: ‘When I returned from England in the year 1760 there were only three Quadroon Women in the Town of Kingston. There are now three hundred, and more of the decent Class of them never will have any commerce with their own Colour, but only with White People. Their progeny is growing whiter and whiter every remove […] from thence a White Generation will come’.  Taylor had seen all other attempts to increase the white population fail and he believed that this process of ‘washing the Blackamoor White’ to be the only way to build an effective racial hedge against an overwhelming black majority on the island.

If miscegenation was the answer to Jamaica’s problems, Simon Taylor could claim to be doing his part for the movement. Indeed, he had earned a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for his multiracial family. Not long after arriving in Jamaica with her husband, the new Lieutenant-Governor of the island, Lady Maria Nugent visited Simon Taylor in his Golden Grove estate. She commented in her diary that Taylor was ‘an old bachelor’ who ‘detests the society of women’, but she seemed determined to win him over.  However, she could not help but register surprise after an evening at Taylor’s estate when ‘[a] little mulatto girl was sent into the drawing-room to amuse [her]’. Recording the event in her diary, she noted, ‘Mr. T[aylor] appeared very anxious for me to dismiss her, and in the evening, the housekeeper told me she was his own daughter, and that he had a numerous family, some almost on every one of his estates’.  Taylor’s sexual activities with slaves and women of colour were not unusual, nor was his attempt to hide them from European eyes.  Like many white West Indians at the time, Taylor may have given some favours to his children of colour, but he did not treat them as full members of his family.

In contrast to Simon Taylor’s inattention to his mixed-race children, John Tailyour, Simon’s cousin, made a significant attempt to provide for his offspring of colour.  Tailyour originated from Montrose, near Simon’s ancestral home in Borrowfield, and made several unsuccessful attempts at business in the colonies. Forced to abandon his tobacco trade in Virginia at the outbreak of the American Revolution, he returned to North America in 1781, but failed to establish himself in New York’s dry-goods market. Rather than return home to Scotland once again, Tailyour ventured to Jamaica at his cousin Simon’s invitation, where he operated as a merchant from 1783 to 1792. With very few white women on the island from which to choose, Tailyour took up residence with an enslaved woman from his cousin’s plantation. The couple eventually had four children together before Tailyour finally decided to return to Scotland in 1792. Rather than leave his children in Jamaica, however, John Tailyour sent at least three of them to Britain for their education and to be brought up in a trade. His conduct toward his mixed-race offspring stands in sharp relief with that of his cousin’s and reveals the complicated attitudes that whites had toward these children…

Read the entire article here.

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The Politics of Multiracialism in an Anti-Black World

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-08-28 02:42Z by Steven

The Politics of Multiracialism in an Anti-Black World

I MiX What I Like!
WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington, D.C.

Jared A. Ball, Host and Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Jared Sexton, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Film & Media Studies
University of California, Irvine

Dr. Jared Sexton joined us this week to discuss to his work in Amalgamation Schemes and the politics of multiracial identification in an anti-Black world.  As Sexton has written, “Multiracialism cuts its teeth on the denial of this fundamental social truth: not simply that antiblackness is longstanding and ongoing but also that it is unlike other forms of racial oppression in qualitative ways—differences of kind, rather than degree, a structural singularity rather than an empirical anomaly.”   We also paid a brief tribute to professor Derrick Bell and his continuing influence.

Listen to the interview (00:59:30) here. Download the interview here.

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