Identity Issues: The Passing Mulatto and the Politics of Representations

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-09 17:45Z by Steven

Identity Issues: The Passing Mulatto and the Politics of Representations

American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS)
Volume 28, Number 1 (2017)
pages 296-305

Dr. Hayder Naji Shanbooj Alolaiw, Faculty of Letters
Department of Anglo-American and German Studies
University of Craiova Craiova, Romania

The transformation of the American nation into a multicultural society could result in a nation that voluntarily and openly accepts the benefits of contributing traditions, values, philosophies and behaviors. This trend, though, is struggling against a social structure that has been perceived to be grounded upon a dominant culture and value system. According to John A. Garcia, multiculturalism and difference are challenging cultural and ideological supremacy upsetting the sense of naturalness and neutrality that infused most peoples’ sense of modern society. The U.S. American ethos was characterized by individualism, egalitarianism, equality of opportunity and emphasis on Western cultures, among other things. All these characteristics have historically been turned into the perfect ingredients of a pervasive American tradition that serves as a cultural core that all members of society learnt to share and internalize ensuring societal stability and gradual change.

Read the entire article here.

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‘Yes, I’m Irish’

Posted in Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Videos on 2017-08-09 14:59Z by Steven

‘Yes, I’m Irish’


‘Yes, I’m Irish’ is a video series focusing on the experiences of mixed-race Irish people. They told us how the Ireland of today compares with the one they grew up in.

Watch the entire series here.

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Danzy Senna’s New Black Woman

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-09 14:41Z by Steven

Danzy Senna’s New Black Woman

The New Yorker

Doreen St. Félix

In Danzy Senna’s latest novel, “New People,” the ugliness of segregation has given way to a class of upwardly mobile light-skinned black people.
Agence Opale / Alamy Stock Photo

In an essay published in 2006, the novelist Paul Beatty recalled the first book he’d ever read by a black author. When the Los Angeles Unified School Board—“out of the graciousness of its repressive little heart”—sent him a copy of Maya Angelou’sI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” he made it through a few “maudlin” pages before he grew suspicious, he wrote. “I knew why they put a mirror in the parakeet’s cage: so he could wallow in his own misery.” Observing that the “defining characteristic of the African-American writer is sobriety,” Beatty described his own path toward a black literary insobriety, one that would lead to the satirical style of his novels “White Boy Shuffle” and “The Sellout.” Along the way, he discovered a select canon of literary black satire, including Zora Neale Hurston’s freewheeling story “The Book of Harlem” and Cecil Brown’sThe Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger.”

Danzy Senna, Beatty’s friend and fellow novelist, makes an appearance in that essay, smiling “wistfully” as she shows him “the cover of Fran Ross’s hilarious 1974 novel, ‘Oreo.’” As Senna later wrote in the foreword to the novel’s reissue, “Oreo,” about a biracial girl searching for her itinerant white father, manages to probe “the idea of falling from racial grace” while avoiding “mulatto sentimentalism.” Since her 1998 début novel, “Caucasia,” a stark story about two biracial sisters, Senna, like Ross before her, has developed her own kind of insobriety, one focussed on comically eviscerating the archetype of the “tragic mulatto”—that nineteenth-century invention who experiences an emotional anguish rooted in her warring, mixed bloods. Both beautiful and wretched, the mulatto was intended to arouse sympathy in white readers, who had magnificent difficulty relating to black people in literature (to say nothing of life). Senna, the daughter of the white Boston poet Fanny Howe and the black editor Carl Senna, grew up a member of the nineties Fort Greene “dreadlocked élite”; her light-skinned black characters, who dodge the constraints of post-segregation America, provide an excuse for incisive social satire. Thrillingly, blackness is not hallowed in Senna’s work, nor is it impervious to pathologies of ego. Senna particularly enjoys lampooning the search for racial authenticity. Her characters, and the clannish worlds they are often trying to escape, teeter on the brink of ruin and absurdity.

Senna’s latest novel, the slick and highly enjoyable “New People,” makes keen, icy farce of the affectations of the Brooklyn black faux-bohemia in which Maria, a distracted graduate student, lives with her fiancé among the new “Niggerati.” Maria and Khalil Mirsky—the latter’s name a droll amalgamation of his black and white Jewish parentage—are the “same shade of beige.”…

Read the entire review here.

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