A Chosen Exile

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-10-31 01:50Z by Steven

A Chosen Exile

Dallas, Texas

Krys Boyd, Host and Managing editor

Dr. Albert Johnston passed in order to practice medicine. After living as leading citizens in Keene, N.H., the Johnstons revealed their true racial identity, and became national news. (Source: Historical Society of Cheshire County)

From the founding of our nation to the Civil Rights era, many African Americans who could pass as white did so in order to improve their lot in life. And while this new identity offered increased opportunity, it also meant that cultural and familial connections were often severed. This hour, we’ll talk about picking between identity and survival with Stanford assistant history professor Allyson Hobbs, author of “A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life” (Harvard University Press).

Listen to the story (00:48:15) here. Download the story here.

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La melaza que llora: How to Keep the Term Afro-Latino from Losing Its Power

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-31 00:53Z by Steven

La melaza que llora: How to Keep the Term Afro-Latino from Losing Its Power

Latino Rebels

Jason Nichols, Lecturer in African American Studies
University of Maryland

Me quiere hacer pensar/ que soy parte de una trilogía racial/ donde todo el mundo es igual/ sin trato especial/ se perdonar/ eres tú que no sabe disculpar/ so, como justifica tanto mal/ es que tu historia es vergonzosa/ Entre otras cosas/ cambiaron las cadenas por esposas —Tego Calderon, “Loiza”

Recently, it has become en vogue for Latinos (Latinx) to acknowledge their African “roots.” This understanding is a leap forward in racial formation for many in a region that is often known for hiding their Black grandmother in the closet. However, acknowledging her existence doesn’t always mean taking her out from behind that closed door.

Rosa Clemente is one of the first to contextualize Afro-Latinidad as an identity that is becoming more what she calls “trendy” than progressive. The Bronx-born Puerto Rican activist alludes to the fact that Afro-Latino identity has fed into, rather than disrupted the myth of a multicultural democracy that is often the dominant narrative in Latin America. Puerto Ricans and some other Latino groups have always acknowledged that they have African ancestry, but it is couched in the idea that the people are a perfect blend of the African slave, proud and noble Spaniard, and the humble native Taíno. This conception is problematic because it is a convenient way to deny institutional and in some cases individual racism. When Venezuelan TV personality Rodner Figueroa called Michelle Obama “planet of the apes,” he quickly defended himself from accusations of racism by stating that he comes from a racially plural family. Clemente doesn’t reject the term Afro-Latino completely, but states that there is a difference between identifying as Afro-Latino and identifying as Black, with the latter being a more progressive racial identity. Unlike many who believe in Latin multiracial democracy, Clemente states that she does not acknowledge the Spaniards in her lineage because she would “never claim my rapist.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Neither One Nor The Other: Why I Love Being Mixed-Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-30 23:54Z by Steven

Neither One Nor The Other: Why I Love Being Mixed-Race

Discover Nikkei

Mia Nakaji Monnier

I love those parts that seem incompatible but that, in a person, come together.

During my first week of college, I met a guy who, like me, had a long, four-part name. When I told him mine, he said, “Mine are better because they all match.”

This guy wasn’t exactly representative of my classmates at this New England liberal arts college. He was pretty obnoxious, and our friendship ended right along with freshman orientation. But he had a point. His name did match. It was a nice, genteel name, the kind you could transplant out of the 21st century and into a Jane Austen novel without anyone noticing the difference.

My name, on the other hand, is mixed and messy, alternately Japanese and French but, all together, a completely American whole: Mia Gabrielle Nakaji Monnier. In a 19th century novel, I might sound like an invading alien. But I love that. My name is a constant reminder that I’m mixed, on a borderline between worlds…

Read the entire article here.

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Is There an Identity Beyond Race? Four Case Studies

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Judaism, Law, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-10-30 00:47Z by Steven

Is There an Identity Beyond Race? Four Case Studies

Michigan Quarterly Review
Volume XLI, Issue 3, Summer 2002

Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White. By Earl Lewis and Heidi Ardizzone. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. Pp. 301. $26.95.

Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self. By Rebecca Walker. New York: Riverhead Books, 2001. Pp. 336. $14.

Pearl’s Secret: A Black Man’s Search for his White Family. By Neil Henry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Pp. 321. $24.95.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. By James McBride. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996. Pp. 228. $23.95 (hb), $14 (pb).

All four books under review here are concerned with telling dramatic tales about singular, real lives. But they are also books about race. They are driven by the larger goal of making the individual story stand for more than itself.

To write something that is true to the distinctiveness of human experience while also being socially and politically illuminating is hard to achieve. Earl Lewis and Heidi Ardizzone’s Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White seems the most successful, perhaps because it is the only book in the group that is not a memoir. Lewis explains in an Afterword that he first stumbled on the subject while working on his dissertation seventeen years earlier, then returned to it when, as a professor at the University of Michigan, he began directing Ardizzone’s doctoral research on interracial identity in the first half of the twentieth century. They eventually decided to collaborate. The long period of gestation as well as the collaborative approach help to account for the book’s judicious tone in telling a story at once private and public, full of subjective elements yet illuminating of its social moment.

Love on Trial takes as its point of departure a sensational news story from the 1920s. Pursuing the story through careful research into court transcripts and newspaper archives, the authors piece together a fascinating narrative in which the personal intersects the social with tragic consequences.

The story centers on the marriage of Alice Jones, a nanny from Westchester, to Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander, a young scion of one of New York’s oldest and richest society families. It seems that the couple met, courted, and married without apparent difficulty until their relationship became publicized by the New York press, probably through the instigation of Leonard’s disapproving father. A scandal erupted when it was alleged that Alice Jones was black—a fact that Leonard subsequently claimed he did not know and which he made the basis for an annulment suit against his wife…

Read the reviews here.

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White by Law 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race

Posted in Books, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-30 00:38Z by Steven

White by Law 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race

New York University Press
October 2006
236 pages
Paper ISBN: 9780814736944

Ian Haney López, John H. Boalt Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley

White by Law was published in 1996 to immense critical acclaim, and established Ian Haney López as one of the most exciting and talented young minds in the legal academy. The first book to fully explore the social and specifically legal construction of race, White by Law inspired a generation of critical race theorists and others interested in the intersection of race and law in American society. Today, it is used and cited widely by not only legal scholars but many others interested in race, ethnicity, culture, politics, gender, and similar socially fabricated facets of American society.

In the first edition of White by Law, Haney López traced the reasoning employed by the courts in their efforts to justify the whiteness of some and the non-whiteness of others, and revealed the criteria that were used, often arbitrarily, to determine whiteness, and thus citizenship: skin color, facial features, national origin, language, culture, ancestry, scientific opinion, and, most importantly, popular opinion.

Ten years later, Haney López revisits the legal construction of race, and argues that current race law has spawned a troubling racial ideology that perpetuates inequality under a new guise: colorblind white dominance. In a new, original essay written specifically for the 10th anniversary edition, he explores this racial paradigm and explains how it contributes to a system of white racial privilege socially and legally defended by restrictive definitions of what counts as race and as racism, and what doesn’t, in the eyes of the law. The book also includes a new preface, in which Haney López considers how his own personal experiences with white racial privilege helped engender White by Law.

Table of Contents

  • Preface to the Revised and Updated Edition
  • Acknowledgments
  • A Note on Whiteness
  • 1. White Lines
  • 2. Racial Restrictions in the Law of Citizenship
  • 3. The Prerequisite Cases
  • 4. Ozawa and Thind
  • 5. The Legal Construction of Race
  • 6. White Race-Consciousness
  • 7. The Value to Whites of Whiteness
  • 8. Colorblind White Dominance
  • Appendix A. The Racial Prerequisite Cases
  • Appendix B. Excerpts from Selected Prerequisite Cases
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Table of Legal Authorities
  • Index
  • About the Author
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Rachel Dolezal, Alice Jones’ Nipples, the Rhinelander Fortune, and Racist White Fire Fighters Who Tried to Pass for ‘Black’

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-10-30 00:24Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal, Alice Jones’ Nipples, the Rhinelander Fortune, and Racist White Fire Fighters Who Tried to Pass for ‘Black’

Indomitable: The Online Blog of Essayist and Cultural Critic Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega

Alice Beatrice Jones and Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander of Rhinelander v. Rhinelander (1924).

I want to extend a sincere thanks to all of the kind folks who donated so far. I have about 10 more “thank you” emails to go. I am very close to the goal for the fundraiser. We have stalled today and hopefully if a few folks thrown in some supportive monies, I can pull in the begging bowl for another six months…

…I am not very kind to Rachel Dolezal. I chose to speak the truth about her racial con game and made my best effort to provide some context for her most offensive act of racial tourism.

Race may be a “social construct”. But the colorline–and who is considered “white” and those considered “non-white” in the United States has a deep, long, and ugly history. Those boundaries have been policed by the law, enforced by violence, and as Ian Haney Lopez notes in the brilliant book White by Law (another complement read is Cheryl Harris’s widely cited 2001 Harvard Law Review article Whiteness as Property“) white racial group membership is a type of property with economic value that has been widely litigated in America’s courtrooms.

While too much energy has already been spent on the Rachel Dolezal racial tragicomedy, one of the most important aspects of “passing” and its many variants (white to black; black to white; brown to black; black to brown; white to something else; Martian to human)–the relationship between race and the law–has been little commented upon by the mainstream pundit classes…

Legal scholar Randall Kennedy’s 2001 Ohio Law Review article “Racial Passing” is an essential and highly informative survey of the law and racial passing in the United States.

It is wonderful writing that contains moments of great wit and storytelling.

Here is a great gem (of despicable behavior) about a scandalous case among turn of the 20th century New York City high society types in which the black body, intimate knowledge, and the color of a woman’s nipples, were introduced as a type of evidence “proving” racial group membership:…

Read the entire article here.

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The varied tragedy of human life furnishes few more pathetic spectacles than that of the educated mulatto…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-10-30 00:04Z by Steven

The varied tragedy of human life furnishes few more pathetic spectacles than that of the educated mulatto who is honestly seeking the welfare of a race with which a baleful commingling of blood has inexorably identified him, — who is striving to uplift to his own level a people between whose ideals and ambitions and capabilities and his own a great gulf has been fixed by nature’s laws. Frequently inheriting from the superior race talents and aspirations the full play of which is denied him by his kinship to the inferior, — through no fault of his own he is doomed to be an anachronism in American political and social life.

Alfred Holt Stone, “The Mulatto Factor in the Race Problem,” The Atlantic Monthly, May 1903, 662.

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The Spectacle of the Races: Scientists, Institutions, and the Race Questions in Brazil, 1870-1930 (review)

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-10-29 22:10Z by Steven

The Spectacle of the Races: Scientists, Institutions, and the Race Questions in Brazil, 1870-1930 (review)

Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Volume 75, Number 1, Spring 2001
pages 152-153
DOI: 10.1353/bhm.2001.0014

J. D. Goodyear, Senior Lecturer and Associate Director, Public Health Studies Program
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Lilia Moritz Schwarcz. The Spectacle of the Races: Scientists, Institutions, and the Race Questions in Brazil, 1870-1930. Translated by Leland Guyer. Originally published as O espetáculo das raças: Cientistas, instituições e questão racial no Brasil, 1870-1930 (Brazil: Companhia das Letras, 1993). New York: Hill and Wang, 1999. ix + 355 pp. Ill. $35.00.

Brazil, like the United States, is an immigrant nation with an extensive history of slavery: in more than three hundred years of slave trading, Brazil received an estimated 3.5 million Africans. But unlike the United States, in Brazil slavery permeated all of the cities as well as the many distinctive regions. And with slavery came widespread miscegenation — a phenomenon that has shaped not only the demography of modern Brazil but also its intellectual history and cultural identity.

As the nineteenth century unfolded, Brazil shed its status as a Portuguese colony and educated elites sought to adopt notions of progress that were derived from ideas of the Enlightenment and the emerging power of science. Toward the end of the century, the thought of Darwin, Spencer, and the positivists lay at the core of debates about race and Brazil’s potential to achieve order and progress. Lilia Moritz Schwarcz takes up the challenge of examining the social history of racial ideas held by a range of Brazilian “shadowy men of science” (p. 16). In so doing she offers us a remarkable playbill of the extensive cast of characters and the plots that shaped the intellectual discourse among elites in Brazil for more than six decades.

Schwarcz focuses on the naturalists, historians, legal theorists, and physicians who sought to rationalize Brazilian social realities in light of nineteenth-century European thought. These are her “shadowy men” who engaged in defining the role of race in Brazilian identity. As a group, they were well educated and eager to participate in the debates begun in Europe and fueled by Darwinism and positivism. Other scholars who have visited this topic paint with much broader strokes. A great strength of this book is that Schwarcz teases apart the positions of the various players, examining the nuances that distinguish different lines of race thought. She has made a conscious effort to articulate the original contributions of Brazilians to the social construction of race that, by her estimate, occurred by the turn of the century. Another strength lies in her effort to take a comprehensive look at educated elites writing in different genres. Rather than isolating a single set of professionals, or concentrating on elites located in a single region of the country, she takes up the challenging task of reviewing extensive published materials across several disciplines. Through content analysis of journal articles, as well as close reading of editorials, theses, and treatises, she isolates the pivotal role of race in defining Brazil before and after emancipation (1888).

The materials used by Schwarcz are exceptionally rich. Whether analyzing natural history museums or institutes of history and geography, she can compare institutions founded in different cities to discern regional approaches to the meaning of miscegenation for Brazil. In her comparative profiles of the Goeldi Museum in Belém and the (new) National Museum in Rio, she reviews research efforts into physical anthropology as they relate to the perceived negative impact of Amerindians and Afro-Brazilians on the country’s ability to achieve sociocultural progress. She continues in the same style with her comparison of Brazil’s two law schools (at São Paulo and Recife) and two medical schools (at Bahia and Rio). She captures the individual approaches of different institutions through in-depth analyses of their respective journals and other publications that document the scholarly output each institution encouraged and found deserving. The jurists tended to view themselves as “masters in the process of civilization” (p. 233), and they repeatedly addressed issues of race and race-mixing as matters of penal law, criminal anthropology, and social policy. At the two medical schools, the physicians and medical students wrote regularly about race…

Read or purchase the article here.

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I won’t apologize for my blackness.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-29 21:55Z by Steven

I won’t apologize for my blackness.

Lake Views: The Award Winning Student Newspaper of Lake Oswego High School
Lake Oswego, Oregon

Camryn Leland

It’s not my job to make you feel comfortable.

In an article written about the use of the n-word in the NFL it was stated, “The Story of the n-word, in many ways, parallels the overall story of race in America – from the bloody circumstances of its birth to the messy state of its present. The word is visible almost anywhere there is racial conflict: the lawless realm of social media, the vast landscape of pop culture,”… or the halls of Lake Oswego High School.

I’m Camryn Montana Leland but only my mother calls me Camryn Montana (usually when I’m in deep trouble). I moved to our lovely bubble of Lake O when I was 8 years old and I come from a multi-racial family. As a little kid I did not think being half black would have much of an impact on me, but oh boy, was I wrong…

…For years I have grown up surrounded by people who do not look like me, and it is felt like living in a zoo. From the constant stares to the idiotic questions and ignorant statements. No, the other black person in the class is not related to me. Yes, I do in fact know my dad. No, it is not “unbelievable” that my mom is a white woman. No, there is no reason in pointing out the fact that he’s black, I imagine he is very aware. I can almost guarantee you asking her if you can use the N word just to “tell the joke right” is in no way going to be o.k. with her…

Read the entire article here.

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I Am Mixed And I Am Whole

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2015-10-29 21:42Z by Steven

I Am Mixed And I Am Whole

Ain’t I A Woman Collective: Centring the Voices of Women with African Ancestry

Sekai Makoni

When I heard the theme for this month was ‘identity’, the word crisis as an appendage kept coming to mind. As a mixed person it, it seems as though the word “crisis” is constantly attached to identity, as though there is confusion somewhere. This is problematic. Other phrases that have become synonymous with “mixed race” include: ‘unsure of themselves’, ‘in-between’, ‘not one, not the other’, etc. It becomes a little exasperating, especially if, like me, you don not relate to such notions of bi- and multi-racial identity. It sometimes seems alien to some that an identity crisis is not an inevitable part of your coming of age. I’d like to take this opportunity to say that identity crises are not a universal truth for those of mixed heritage…

Read the entire article here.

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