Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:31Z by Steven

Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

CBC News
2017-09-27


Veteran author Wayne Grady is best known for his compelling writing on science, nature and natural history. Now, his first foray in to fiction, Emancipation Day, has become the One Book One Community selection for Waterloo region for 2017. (Don Denton)

Emancipation Day based on story of Grady’s father who kept black heritage secret for 50 years

Author Wayne Grady spent the first 50 years of his life thinking he was white.

It wasn’t until he began digging through the archives in Windsor, Ont., that he discovered the truth about his father’s heritage. His great-grandfather wasn’t Irish. He was African-American.

“I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet,” Grady told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris.

Working through that revelation is what inspired his first foray into fiction, Emancipation Day; the One Book One Community pick for Waterloo region for 2017.

“That’s kind of why I started working on the novel, to figure out – for myself – how it changed me or how it affected me. And I eventually realized it didn’t really change me at all. I’m still the same person I was before,” he said.

“I think I’ve pretty much decided that it doesn’t mean anything, except what society says it means.”…

Read the entire article here

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Emancipation Day: A Novel

Posted in Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:22Z by Steven

Emancipation Day: A Novel

Doubleday Canada
2013-07-30
336 pages
6.3 x 0.9 x 9 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0385677660

Wayne Grady

How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It’s World War II, and while stationed in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and longs to see the world. They marry against Vivian’s family’s wishes–there’s something about Jack that they just don’t like–and as the war draws to a close, the couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack’s family.

But when Vivian meets Jack’s mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her husband gets called into question. They don’t live in the dream home Jack depicted, they all look different from one another–different from anyone Vivian has ever seen–and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack’s father, he never materializes.

Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre- and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heartwrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.

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Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-29 02:52Z by Steven

Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

London Evening Standard
2017-08-14

Veronica Lee


Impassioned: Natasha Marshall performs in Half Breed Rebecca Need-Menear

Natasha Marshall gives an impassioned performance in a semi-autobiographical show, writes Veronica Lee

“I am that mixed-race kid, 50/50. I’m about as black as it goes round here,” 17-year-old Jaz says in Natasha Marshall’s semi-autobiographical piece about being the only non-white girl growing up in a small English village.

Jaz, who lives with her white grandmother in the West Country, dreams of going to drama school while her best friend, Brogan, whose main ambition in life is to have a baby, talks of London as if it were Mars.

But they’re tight, these two, kindred spirits brought together by both having spent time in the care system, and Brogan, despite not being able to fathom why her friend is doing it, is as determined as Jaz that her Shakespeare audition speech will be perfect…

Read the entire review here.

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

Read the entire article here.

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Notes on a Lifetime of Passing

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-27 04:20Z by Steven

Notes on a Lifetime of Passing

The New Yorker
2017-09-22

Trey Ellis, Associate Professor
Graduate School of the Arts
Columbia University, New York, New York


How do we remember how we crafted ourselves to an audience the last time we met? Luckily, I’ve had years of practice.
Photograph by Universal History Archive / UIG via Getty

Thanks to my parents transplanting me often from one ethnic mix to another, I’ve become something of a code-switching connoisseur.

I share the head of the table in the conference room in Columbia’s Faculty House with a distinguished professor from the University of Southern California. We are the featured guests for the latest Columbia University Seminar, a prestigious academic lecture series that has been running continuously since 1945. I am the invited “respondent/discussant” for the presentation of the Dartmouth professor Mark Williams’s paper “Passing for History: Humor and Early Television Historiography.” All the serious, eminent professors and doctoral candidates lining each side of the table nod and take notes when Williams references visual and televisual “indexicality.”

As soon as he finishes, we clap, and immediately the array of eyes home in on my own. Outwardly, I spend a lot of time thanking everyone who can possibly be thanked. Inwardly, I obsess about my lowly and decades-old B.A., my ignorance of the word “indexicality,” and how one of the assembled Illuminati at any moment, surely, in the middle of my talk, will burst to his feet and shout, like Congressman Joe Wilson at Barack Obama’s 2009 State of the Union address, “You lie!

See, I’m not a real professor, but I play one in arts school.

I was invited to respond that night because I’d written a screenplay about the period discussed, and because, thirty years earlier, soon after graduating college, I had written an essay called “The New Black Aesthetic,” which over the years has allowed me a back-door entrance into proper academic conferences such as this one. My actual job, teaching screenwriting as an associate professor of professional practice in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, is technically academic, but really arts-academic, which is to say academic-adjacent. Nevertheless, as I enter my tenth year of passing for a real professor, I find myself less and less inclined to correct those who mistakenly call me one.

You see, passing is like that. The real Harvard Business School professor and TED Talk rock star Amy Cuddy’s advice to “fake it till you become it” is a corollary to long-term passing. Or, as the veteran screenwriter William Goldman phrased it in the title of his second acidic Hollywood memoir, “Which Lie Did I Tell?”..

…So, at that Columbia seminar, despite my terror of being outed, the subject of the discussion was delicious to me. Thanks to Professor Williams’s work and exhaustive research by the rock critic R. J. Smith, I learned about Korla Pandit, a.k.a. Cactus Pandi, a.k.a. Juan Rolando, a.k.a. John Roland Redd. Pandit was a kitsch fixture of Los Angeles television in the nineteen-fifties, a mesmerizing, bejewelled-turbaned Indian swami in a sharp Western suit. For fifteen minutes every evening, first locally and then nationally, he wordlessly seduced the camera, swaying and staring, almost as unblinking as the lens, while effortlessly noodling on his Hammond organ or a piano, no sheet music, never looking down, as fluid Orientalist melodies undulated from the keyboards as if Pandit were about to conjure endless ranks of grinning, dancing cobras.

Housewives swooned before his image: exotically light-brown, crowned in his tight bejewelled turban, never, ever speaking. The ultimate mystery man, from 1948 to 1953 Pandit was becoming fabulously famous. Then, after a contract dispute with his syndicator, he was replaced by another keyboard player who went on to use the very same sets, only this guy was always smiling instead of cool and smoky, in a white tie and tails, a lit candelabra reflected in the black gloss of the grand piano’s lid. Pandit resented Liberace for the rest of his life.

Both of them were passing. Liberace as straight when he was gay, Korla as an Indian when he was a black St. Louisan, born John Roland Redd. Redd had moved to Hollywood in the nineteen-thirties, and, like all black musicians, had to scrounge for gigs, since he was barred from the union. He then simply changed his name to Juan Rolando and started playing all over town. A few years later, his identity crossed the South Pacific to become Korla Pandit, a New Delhi-born musical prodigy, classically trained at the University of Chicago. The prodigy part was true: he was a brilliant and sought-after pianist for radio and high-profile Hollywood gigs. In the nineteen-forties, he and his white, blond wife (they married in Tijuana, where interracial marriages were legal) regularly partied with Errol Flynn and Bob Hope

Read the entire essay here.

This essay appears in the forthcoming collection of essays “We Wear the Mask.”

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Mixed Remix: Mixed race voices in Hip Hop and the Complex Territory of Hip Hop Masculinity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2017-09-27 03:45Z by Steven

Mixed Remix: Mixed race voices in Hip Hop and the Complex Territory of Hip Hop Masculinity

September 2017

Wayne Martin Freeman, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Ethnic Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder

With its multicultural origins and ethos, as well as concerns with race and racial justice, Hip Hop music and culture has been at the forefront of describing and critiquing the latest forms of racial struggle and racial formations. Hip Hop continues to serve as a “political battlefield” with rap as an important sounding board or counterpublic sphere, one that includes multiple philosophies regarding mixed race identities and multiraciality. However, the male, heterosexual, centeredness of Hip Hop also means that most of its louder voices are invested in particular conceptions of masculinity, often characterized by performances of hypermasculinity. Through analysis of rap songs and albums, this paper explores the diversity of philosophies regarding mixed race identities and multiraciality found in rap music, as well as theorizes upon the unique intersections of mixed race identities and Hip Hop hypermasculinity.

Read the entire article here (by permission of the author).

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Virginia Officials, Hidden Figures Author Join NASA in Honoring Legacy of Famed Mathematician; Live on NASA Television

Posted in Articles, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Virginia, Women on 2017-09-22 15:48Z by Steven

Virginia Officials, Hidden Figures Author Join NASA in Honoring Legacy of Famed Mathematician; Live on NASA Television

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Langley
Media Advisory M17-105

Karen Northon
Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
202-358-1540

Mike Finneran
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
757-864-6110

2017-09-07


The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Credits: NASA

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and author Margot Lee Shetterly are among the dignitaries honoring Katherine Johnson, former NASA employee and central character of the book and movie Hidden Figures, at 1 p.m. [EDT] Sept. 22 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

They will join Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and Langley Center Director David Bowles in cutting the ribbon to officially open the center’s new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, a state-of-the-art lab for innovative research and development supporting NASA’s exploration missions.

The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Media wishing to attend must contact Michael Finneran of the Langley communications office at 757-864-6110 or michael.p.finneran@nasa.gov.

Johnson, 99, will attend and participate in photo opportunities, but will not be available for interviews. A prerecorded message from her will be aired during the ceremony and a statement will be read.

Johnson was a “human computer” at Langley who calculated trajectories for America’s first spaceflights in the 1960s. The retired mathematician was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2015. Her contributions and those of other NASA African-American human computers are chronicled in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, based on Lee-Shetterly’s book of the same name. She worked at Langley from 1953 until she retired in 1986.

For more about Johnson, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) is a $23-million, 37,000-square-foot, energy efficient structure that consolidates five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis. Much of the work now done by wind tunnels eventually will be performed by computers like those at the CRF.

For more information about Langley Research Center, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/langley

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Provenance: A Novel

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2017-09-21 19:28Z by Steven

Provenance: A Novel

Creative Cache
2015-09-16
334 pages
5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
ISBN-13: 978-0991614325

Donna Drew Sawyer

  • Winner of the 2017 Maryland Writers’ Association Annual Book Award for Historical Fiction
  • Selected for the 2017 “Go On Girl Book Club” reading list
  • Finalist for 2016 “Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction.”

Southern civility turns savage when Hank Whitaker’s dying words reveal the unimaginable. No one—not his socialite wife, Maggie, or young son, Lance—ever suspected the successful businessman, husband, and father they knew and loved was a black man passing for white. In 1931, in the segregated South, marriage between whites and blacks is illegal. Maggie is now a criminal facing jail. When Lance receives death threats to atone for his father’s betrayal, the family flees the U.S. for the racial freedom of Paris.

Still grieving Hank’s death and fearful of their uncertain future as Europe marches toward war, Lance and Maggie mourn the lives they loved but lost. As they struggle to create new lives and identities for themselves, they find a surprising community of artists and American expats that are on the same journey and show them a different way to live and to love. Provenance is a sweeping historical saga about love, betrayal, tragedy, triumph, passion, privilege and the universal desire for acceptance—regardless of who you are or where you’re from.

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Hapa-palooza fosters cross-cultural knowledge and celebration

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-09-21 19:03Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza fosters cross-cultural knowledge and celebration

Westender: Everything Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2017-09-20

Tessa Vikander


Participants dance during the family day portion of last year’s Hapa Palooza festival, celebrating mixed race backgrounds. — Contributed photo

Mixed-race artists use hybrid experience as creative spring-board

“Halfers” are one of the fastest growing population groups and their experiences are informing a fresh wave of creativity, says Jeff Chiba Stearns, co-founder of the Hapa-palooza festival.

Now in its seventh year, the annual festival celebrating people of mixed backgrounds will hit Vancouver this weekend, providing space for celebration as well as discussion on the nuances of hybrid identity.

“Don’t think of us as a special little subset of the Canadian community or demographic, but we’re actually growing – we’re one of the fastest growing demographics,” Chiba Stearns says.

Carleigh Baker

Read the entire article here.

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Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2017-09-20 23:40Z by Steven

Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray

Oxford University Press
2017-05-01
512 Pages
31 illustrations
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190656454

Rosalind Rosenberg, Professor Emerita of History
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, New York

  • Definitive biography of a key figure in the civil rights and women’s movements.
  • Sensitive exploration of a black person identified at birth as female who believed she was male, before the term “transgender” existed.
  • Murray’s legal work was influential in key Supreme Court cases.
  • New Yale residential college to be named for Murray in 2017.

Throughout her prodigious life, activist and lawyer Pauli Murray systematically fought against all arbitrary distinctions in society, channeling her outrage at the discrimination she faced to make America a more democratic country. In this definitive biography, Rosalind Rosenberg offers a poignant portrait of a figure who played pivotal roles in both the modern civil rights and women’s movements.

A mixed-race orphan, Murray grew up in segregated North Carolina before escaping to New York, where she attended Hunter College and became a labor activist in the 1930s. When she applied to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, where her white great-great-grandfather had been a trustee, she was rejected because of her race. She went on to graduate first in her class at Howard Law School, only to be rejected for graduate study again at Harvard University this time on account of her sex. Undaunted, Murray forged a singular career in the law. In the 1950s, her legal scholarship helped Thurgood Marshall challenge segregation head-on in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.

When appointed by Eleanor Roosevelt to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1962, she advanced the idea of Jane Crow, arguing that the same reasons used to condemn race discrimination could be used to battle gender discrimination. In 1965, she became the first African American to earn a JSD from Yale Law School and the following year persuaded Betty Friedan to found an NAACP for women, which became NOW. In the early 1970s, Murray provided Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the argument Ginsburg used to persuade the Supreme Court that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution protects not only blacks but also women—and potentially other minority groups—from discrimination. By that time, Murray was a tenured history professor at Brandeis, a position she left to become the first black woman ordained a priest by the Episcopal Church in 1976.

Murray accomplished all this while struggling with issues of identity. She believed from childhood she was male and tried unsuccessfully to persuade doctors to give her testosterone. While she would today be identified as transgender, during her lifetime no social movement existed to support this identity. She ultimately used her private feelings of being “in-between” to publicly contend that identities are not fixed, an idea that has powered campaigns for equal rights in the United States for the past half-century.

Table of Contents

  • Abbreviations
  • A Note on Pronouns and Other Word Choices
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Coming of Age, 1910-1937
    • Chapter 1 – A Southern Childhood
    • Chapter 2 – Escape to New York
  • Part II: Confronting Jim Crow, 1938-1941
    • Chapter 3 – “Members of Your Race Are Not Admitted”
    • Chapter 4 – Bus Trouble
    • Chapter 5 – A Death Sentence Leads to Law School
  • Part III: Naming Jane Crow, 1941-1946
    • Chapter 6 – “I Would Gladly Change My Sex”
    • Chapter 7 – California Promise
  • Part IV: Surviving the Cold War, 1946-1961
    • Chapter 8 – “Apostles of Fear”
    • Chapter 9 – A Person In Between
    • Chapter 10 – “What Is Africa to Me?”
  • Part V: A Chance to Lead, 1961-1967
    • Chapter 11 – Making Sex Suspect
    • Chapter 12 – Invisible Woman
    • Chapter 13 – Toward an NAACP for Women
  • Part VI: To Teach, To Preach, 1967-1977
    • Chapter 14 – Professor Murray
    • Chapter 15 – Triumph and Loss
    • Chapter 16 – The Reverend Dr. Murray
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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