Race and the Obama Administration: Substance, Symbols and Hope

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-06-08 01:57Z by Steven

Race and the Obama Administration: Substance, Symbols and Hope

Manchester University Press
160 pages
June 2017
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5261-0501-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5261-0502-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-5261-0503-5

Andra Gillespie, Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
Emory University, Atlanta Georgia

  • Employs a novel comparative analysis of the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations to determine if Obama’s performance on racial issues differed significantly from his immediate predecessors
  • Does distinct analyses of Barack Obama’s performance on substantive and symbolic issues of importance to African Americans
  • Uses a commissioned public opinion data set of black voters to probe attitudes toward President Obama and explanations for his performance on racial issues
  • Encourages readers to consider the ways that institutional constraints on the presidency and candidates’ campaign choices limit the role of the president to address racial issues

The election of Barack Obama marked a critical point in American political and social history. Did the historic election of a black president actually change the status of blacks in the United States? Did these changes (or lack thereof) inform blacks’ perceptions of the President?

This book explores these questions by comparing Obama’s promotion of substantive and symbolic initiatives for blacks to efforts by the two previous presidential administrations. By employing a comparative analysis, the reader can judge whether Obama did more or less to promote black interests than his predecessors. Taking a more empirical approach to judging Barack Obama, this book hopes to contribute to current debates about the significance of the first African American presidency. It takes care to make distinctions between Obama’s substantive and symbolic accomplishments and to explore the significance of both.

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Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2017-06-08 00:54Z by Steven

Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy

Beacon Press
2017-06-06
232 pages
6 x 9 Inches
Cloth ISBN-13: 978-0807058275

Sheryll Cashin, Professor of Law
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

How interracial love and marriage changed history, and may soon alter the landscape of American politics.

Loving beyond boundaries is a radical act that is changing America. When Mildred and Richard Loving wed in 1958, they were ripped from their shared bed and taken to court. Their crime: miscegenation, punished by exile from their home state of Virginia. The resulting landmark decision of Loving v. Virginia ended bans on interracial marriage and remains a signature case—the first to use the words “White Supremacy” to describe such racism.

Drawing from the earliest chapters in U.S. history, legal scholar Sheryll Cashin reveals the enduring legacy of America’s original sin, tracing how we transformed from a country without an entrenched construction of race to a nation where one drop of non-white blood merited exclusion from full citizenship. In vivid detail, she illustrates how the idea of whiteness was created by the planter class of yesterday, and is reinforced by today’s power-hungry dog-whistlers to divide struggling whites and people of color, ensuring plutocracy and undermining the common good.

Cashin argues that over the course of the last four centuries there have always been “ardent integrators” who are now contributing to the emergence of a class of “culturally dexterous” Americans. In the fifty years since the Lovings won their case, approval for interracial marriage rose from 4% to 87%. Cashin speculates that rising rates of interracial intimacy—including cross-racial adoption, romance and friendship—combined with immigration, demographic and generational change will create an ascendant coalition of culturally dexterous whites and people of color.

Loving is both a history of white supremacy and a hopeful treatise on the future of race relations in America, challenging the notion that trickle-down progressive politics is our only hope for a more inclusive society. Accessible and sharp, Cashin reanimates the possibility of a future where interracial understanding serves as a catalyst of a social revolution ending not in artificial color blindness, but a culture where acceptance and difference are celebrated.

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“We Are Not Used to People Thinking We Are Beautiful”

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico on 2017-06-08 00:49Z by Steven

“We Are Not Used to People Thinking We Are Beautiful”

The New Yorker
2017-06-02

Jonathan Blitzer


Photograph by CĂ©cile Smetana Baudier

It was a toothache that brought the Franco-Danish photographer Cécile Smetana Baudier to Costa Chica, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. She was in Oaxaca at the time, for a project on women’s fashion, when she visited a dentist with a special reputation among cash-strapped local photographers. He accepted payment in the form of photographs. His waiting room, in Oaxaca City, was like a gallery, with framed images along the walls and piles of art books cascading over tables. There, just before getting a molar pulled, Baudier came across a series of photos of reedy men with fishing rods and nets, lolling in boats and along the banks of lagoons. She was surprised, given the fact that the men were black, to learn that the photographs had been taken in Mexico, in the remote southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. It was the first time she had ever seen images of Afro-Mexicans, and she decided to try to contribute some of her own. A few weeks later, she set out for El Azufre—a secluded coastal fishing village with a large Afro-Mexican population—where she spent five weeks living in a tent pitched on the front yard of an acquaintance’s house.

The African presence in Mexico dates back to the early sixteenth century, when Spanish conquistadors and colonialists arrived; with them came the slave trade. As many as two hundred and fifty thousand African slaves were transported Mexico, according to academic estimates*. At the turn of the nineteenth century, ten per cent of the population had African origins, but Mexican independence ignited a new national dialogue that downplayed race and elevated, instead, the idea of common citizenship. Even though some of the country’s most iconic freedom fighters and early politicians had African roots, their accomplishments fed a celebration of the broader mestizo culture. The history of Afro-Mexicans ever since has been one of erasure and marginalization. Today, there are 1.4 million citizens of African descent in Mexico, but the government did not recognize them officially until a 2015 census count…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race In America

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-08 00:39Z by Steven

Mixed-Race In America

Medium
2017-06-05

Geoff Vasile

A Personal Look at The Psychology and History of Racism

My entire life — all I’ve wanted to do was help others. My career has given me titles such as caretaker and counselor; volunteerism has provided the opportunity for charity in a host of ways. My skill-set is providing comfort and confidence; my tools — empathy and communication. I have saved two lives; been responsible for many others — and counseled too many to count. I am flawed as well — and just like everyone else there are somethings I won’t admit to you as I likely don’t admit them to myself.

An unflagging bridge-person — too often I come across as contrarian; too often due to my intellectual vanity. Still, I like to think this is mostly part of my innate and reinforced desire for impartiality. Romanian, Black, and Korean, I grew up in South Central LA in the late 80s — the backdrop of the crack-epidemic, gang-wars, the LA Riots, and OJ Simpson case were just a few of the over-arching, commonly known conflicts fueled by racial tension. They imbued within me a deep and personal admiration for nuance’s ability to heal. Through both nature and nurture, environment and heritability — this characteristic of seeking resolution is how I like to think of myself; who I am when I’m at my best…

Read the entire article here.

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