Lost Boundaries (1949)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-11 23:51Z by Steven

Lost Boundaries (1949)

Visual Parables: A leading resource for faith-and-film reviews and study guides

Ed McNulty

Not Rated. Running time: 1 hour 39 min.

Our content rating (1-10): V 0; L 1; S/N 1.

Our star rating (1-5): 4

Philip Roth’s novel and the film made from it, The Human Stain, were both very much on my mind when I came across at a Hollywood Video store the video of this 1949 film about a “Negro” man and his wife who pass for white for twenty years. Seeing that its producer also was the producer for Martin Luther, I felt that I was led to this discovery, and so purchased it. Turns out this is a good film, based on “a true story” from Reader’s Digest. Made in the same year as the other film exploring the same theme, Pinky, Lost Boundaries is not as well known, possibly because the former boasts a better-known director (Elia Kazan) than Alfred L. Werker and a far more star-studded cast (Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters and William Lundigan. The star of Lost Boundaries was the debut film of an actor who would go on to renown, Mel Ferrer. Like Jeanne Craine, Ferrer was a white playing a Negro, standard Hollywood procedure, even for major Asian roles, as in The Good Earth or Shangri La

Read the entire review here.

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A history of Black people in Germany

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2017-03-11 21:13Z by Steven

A history of Black people in Germany

The African Courier

Gyavira Lasana

Portrait of the family of Mandenga Diek, Berlin, about 1920 – with his wife Emilie Diek (nee Wiedelinski) and daughters Erika and Doris. Many in today’s Black community have roots dating to more than 100 years ago │©SWF

The journey has been an arduous one. The historian Paulette Reed-Anderson informs us that in 1682, a ship bearing slaves from Africa docked in Hamburg. Twenty-five years later (1707), African musicians are employed in Prussian military units and Mohrenstrasse is christened in Berlin. By 1877, however, the first of the dreadful Völkerschauen (‘ethnographic exhibitions’) were staged in Hamburg and Berlin.  Seven years later, 1884, Germany was in full colonial mode, annexing Cameroon, Togo, South-West Africa and the so-called German East Africa. But by 1904, the colonies would revolt and Germany would respond with massacres against hundreds of thousands of Herero, Nama and other Africans…

Read the entire article here.

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In Los Angeles, a Festival of Love and Hapa-ness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-11 20:52Z by Steven

In Los Angeles, a Festival of Love and Hapa-ness

The New York Times

Lawrence Downes

Portraits from Hāfu2Hāfu, an ongoing photographic project which investigates what it means to be half Japanese and how this defines identity.
Credit Tetsuro Miyazaki

Los Angeles — The current political moment, with its upwelling of nationalism and xenophobia, has a repellent taste, like a mouthful of citrus pith, all bitter and white.

How bracing, then, to escape in late February to Los Angeles, city of the future, for something called the Hapa Japan Festival, a “celebration of mixed-race and mixed-roots Japanese people and culture.”

Hapa” means “half” in Hawaiian pidgin English, and can be used to denote a variety of mixed-race or ethnic combinations, but in this context it meant half Japanese and half something else. In Hawaii, where I grew up Okinawan-Irish, hapa status is unremarkable, a matter-of-fact part of life, like daily sunshine. In the mainland United States, the word is used more assertively, if not defiantly — as a declaration of an identity that many people overlook or dismiss.

The story of growing up hapa — or “hafu,” in Japan — has been told and retold, often as melodrama or tragedy, in tales of abandoned Amerasian orphans in former war zones, or of more contemporary misfits struggling with confusion and rejection…

But as Duncan Ryuken Williams, a professor of religion and East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Southern California, who organized the festival, explained, it’s more complicated than that, a subject worthy of deep — and optimistic — exploration. The festival coincided with a conference at the University of Southern California on critical mixed-race studies, and the publication of “Hapa Japan,” a two-part volume of essays that Professor Williams edited…

…But even so, as Mitzi Uehara Carter, who teaches at Florida International University and is the daughter of an Okinawan mother and an African-American father, explained, hāfus in Okinawa, like those anywhere, often balk at having their lives stuffed into narrative boxes. They don’t like being saddled with identity crises they don’t necessarily have.

A recent essay in The Times described the creativity and mental flexibility of biracial people; critics took issue with it, arguing that race-blending is not the antidote to white supremacy, that hapas won’t save the world…

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For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-03-11 20:18Z by Steven

For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated

Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio

Kat Chow

For years, advocates have pushed the Census Bureau for a box for people of Middle Eastern or North African descent. Now, the bureau recommends one. Some worry the data may be misused in surveillance.
Chelsea Beck/NPR

When Atoosa Moinzadeh filled out past census forms, she found herself in a racial identification conundrum. Moinzadeh identifies as Iranian American. But the census forms don’t have a box for Iranian American. The closest she could come to identifying herself the way she wanted was to choose the box for “white,” which had “Middle East” listed as an example.

That wasn’t quite right for her.

“I’ve always identified as not white, and so the expectation to check off ‘white’ on forms has never felt accurate to me,” Moinzadeh said. She has brown skin and grew up in a white neighborhood in a Seattle suburb. Like many other people of Middle Eastern or North African descent, the world did not treat Moinzadeh as white. And so, on past census forms, Moinzadeh would select the box for “other” and write in “Iranian American.”…

Now, after years of advocacy groups pressuring the U.S. Census Bureau to create a separate geographic category for people of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) descent, the bureau is recommending that MENA be added to the 2020 census. That could mean that the approximately 3.7 million Arab-Americans in the U.S. might have their own box to check off.

Collecting accurate demographic information is crucial, especially for ethnic minority communities, since data gleaned from census forms affects funding for services such as voter protections or English as a second language programs in schools, and also is included in research on topics like housing discrimination. And in 2015, when the bureau tested potential new categories, including MENA, it found that people of Middle Eastern or North African descent would check off the MENA box when it was available; when it wasn’t, they’d select white.

But with policies and political rhetoric that are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim, some worry the MENA census category might be used against the very people it’s supposed to include. “The downside is concerns about misuse of this data and how it could be used by the government in a time of national crisis,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Concerns like these have been around for almost as long…

Read the entire article here.

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Korean city to build park for biracial adoptees

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive on 2017-03-11 19:46Z by Steven

Korean city to build park for biracial adoptees

Yonhap News Agency

This image, provided by the Paju municipal government, shows a blueprint of a park to be built in the city for biracial adoptees. (Yonhap)

PAJU, South Korea, March 8 (Yonhap) — A park for mixed-race Korean adoptees sent abroad in the years after the 1950-53 Korean War will be built inside a former U.S. military base on the outskirts of Seoul, officials said Wednesday.

The park named “Mother’s bosom” in Korean will be constructed in Paju, some 30 kilometers north of Seoul, this year to help biracial adoptees feel a sense of pride and affinity toward their motherland, municipal authorities said…

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Let’s not ask if European Jews are white. The more urgent question is: what price have they paid in colluding with whiteness?

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-11 04:07Z by Steven

Let’s not ask if European Jews are white. The more urgent question is: what price have they paid in colluding with whiteness? The price of heritage, of language, and of culture? Or the price of dignity, of accountability, of moral authority? Far from giving white Jews a free pass on confronting their own white privilege, I hope that answering this question might just lead more of our Jewish communities towards truly joining the multi-racial, multi-faith fight against white supremacy.

Mark Tseng-Putterman, “More than a Feeling: Jews and Whiteness in Trump’s America,” Unruly: A racial justice blog by the Jews of Color Caucus organized in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace, February 23, 2017. http://jocsm.org/more-than-a-feeling-jews-and-whiteness-in-trumps-america/.

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I Owe Black Canada

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-03-11 04:02Z by Steven

I Owe Black Canada


Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Nova Scotia on the drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove, 2010. Formerly enslaved Black people from the American colonies were promised that they could farm this land in Canada if they fought for the British during the Revolution. (source: me) [image: rocky terrain with Atlantic Ocean in the background, lots of moss and short pine-looking bush-trees]

Coming to understand the real but not real border

In a move that many told me was a major professional mistake, I dropped out of one of the best astronomy PhD programs in the United States to pursue research at the relatively new Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, switching to the PhD program at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. I had never heard of Waterloo, although I’ve come to understand that in math and engineering circles, it’s kind of a BFD, with the largest mathematics faculty in North America (multiple math departments!), and the most extensive engineering co-op program in North America.

Being one of about 10 Black grad students across all departments at UC Santa Cruz, it didn’t cross my mind to be picky about how many Black students there were at Waterloo. It also didn’t occur to me that it would take a rather traumatizing search before I could find anyone who could actually cut my hair without asking me stupid questions like, “Can you put a comb in that?”

I didn’t know Canada, although I thought I did. Here’s what I knew about Canada: that it was like the US but people said “sore-ry” instead of “sawry,” that people sometimes mistook my Los Angeles-British colonial accent for a Canadian one, that some of my cousins on the Barbados side lived north of Toronto, that it was the end of the underground railroad, that they had single-payer health care, that as a child I had to watch Canadian TV to see the diversity that reflected my real life, and that overall this all meant they were more civilized than the US. In other words, I believed what I would now call the Canadian national myth, rather strongly…

…Hanging out in the other bookstore in Waterloo, I found out that the author, Lawrence Hill, would be doing an event with Afua Cooper, who had just published another book, I picked up, The Hanging of Angelique. Cooper’s book was about the Black enslaved woman who burned Montreal down (well, we think anyway). I made a note to show up at their event come hell or high water.

Hill, a light skinned Black man whose white American mother and Black American father had come to Canada when his father got into the University of Toronto for grad school, talked about discovering the hidden Canadian history of the Black Loyalists, as they are known. Cooper, a dark skinned Black woman and an established poet in addition to historian, talked about uncovering the often ignored and hidden history of Canada’s own horrible past with slavery…

Read the entire article here.

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That Asian mom is not the nanny. Why do so many people assume she is?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2017-03-11 03:34Z by Steven

That Asian mom is not the nanny. Why do so many people assume she is?

The Los Angeles Times

Jessica Roy

If you’ve been on the Internet at all today, you’ve probably already seen this video.

A white professor became the star of a viral video when his two young children wandered into the room while he was being interviewed by the BBC about relations between North and South Korea. An Asian woman dashed in and dragged the kids away before crawling back to close the door behind him.

It’s charming and relatable. Kids don’t care about your Skype interview or the carefully arranged tableau of books and maps behind you. Anyone who’s ever been around a young child can relate…

Read the entire article here.

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In contrast to the Loving litigators’ approach, the ideology that race is important to genetics but not to society is spreading in the United States today.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-11 03:20Z by Steven

In contrast to the Loving litigators’ approach, the ideology that race is important to genetics but not to society is spreading in the United States today. The current resurgence of genetic definitions of race at a time when a majority of Supreme Court justices have embraced a colorblind approach that ignores white supremacy has the potential to intensify racial inequality. The coincidence of these two flawed ideologies—that human beings are naturally divided into genetically distinct races and that racism has ceased significantly to affect society—reinforces a biological explanation for persistent racial inequities. Finding racial differences at the molecular level seems to make sense of the paradox of intensifying racial gaps in health, economic status, and incarceration since the civil rights movement.

Dorothy E. Roberts, “Loving v. Virginia as a Civil Rights Decision,” New York Law School Law Review, Volume 59, Number 1 (2014/2015), 208. http://www.nylslawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2015/02/Volume-59-1.Roberts.pdf.

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More than a Feeling: Jews and Whiteness in Trump’s America

Posted in Articles, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-11 03:06Z by Steven

More than a Feeling: Jews and Whiteness in Trump’s America

Unruly: A racial justice blog by the Jews of Color Caucus organized in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace

Mark Tseng-Putterman

A few weeks after the election, I had dinner at my grandparents’ house. I typically associate my visits to their home with raucous family gatherings of a cross-section of our grandparents’ six children and twenty-odd grandkids. But this was an unusually intimate setting—just my sibling and I across from them at their dining room table.

The relative silence refracted objects and half-memories in the way that only an old home can. The Magen David brooch around my grandmother’s neck; the overflowing pile of kippot in the foyer, amassed from decades of B’nai Mitzvot; the ice bucket that has chilled four generations’ worth of cocktails. This is the desk where my father chipped a tooth, climbing to reach a misfired toy dart in his childhood bedroom. Here is the piano bench where his uncle, the World War II veteran turned wedding singer, taught him to play by ear. These are the wedding albums, full of awkward bar mitzvah photos, the elegant portraits of black-and-white elders wearing garb of the Old Country that perhaps is now gathering dust in my grandmother’s attic…

Read the entire article here.

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