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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Black, white or multicultural: constructing race in two countries

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-09-20 21:25Z by Steven

Black, white or multicultural: constructing race in two countries

The University of Utah News
2017-09-18

New study compares how people in U.S. and Brazil determine someone’s race

A new study demonstrates the strong influence ancestry plays in Americans’ interpretation of whether someone is black, white or multiracial, highlighting differences in the way race is socially constructed in the U.S. compared to other parts of the world.

The three-phase study, led by Jacqueline M. Chen of the University of Utah and published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, compared how Brazilians and Americans assessed the race of another person. Brazilians were more likely to decide what race a person was based on his or her appearance, while Americans relied most heavily on parentage to make that determination.

“Our results speak to completely different definitions of what race is and whether ancestry or family background is even relevant to race,” said Chen, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah. “It is ingrained in Americans to think about race in terms of heritage. In the U.S., people ask about where your family is from as a way to ascertain your race. But in Brazil, people don’t focus on family history when determining someone’s race.”

Co-authors of the study are Maria Clara P. de Paula Cuoto of the Ayrton Senna Institute in SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil (her involvement in the study is not related to her work at the institute); Airi M. Sacco of the Federal University of Pelotas, Pelatos, Brazil; and Yarrow Dunham of Yale University.

The researchers conducted three different experiments in the U.S. and Brazil to assess cultural differences in how participants determined race. Both countries have a history of European settlement, Native American displacement and African slavery, but have adopted different strategies and practices to address racial diversity, the researchers said.

The U.S. historically attempted to maintain racial hierarchy through formal rules that denied rights and resources to African Americans. Brazil encouraged interracial marriage as a way for individuals to move up the social hierarchy and to reduce the number of people who strongly self-identified as black…

Read the entire article here.

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On Black Negativity, Or the Affirmation of Nothing

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2017-09-20 16:02Z by Steven

On Black Negativity, Or the Affirmation of Nothing

Society and Space
2017-09-18

Jared Sexton, Interviewed by Daniel Colucciello Barber

Jared Sexton is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, where he also holds an affiliation with the Center for Law, Culture, and Society. He is the author of Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and Black Masculinity and the Cinema of Policing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). In these books, as well as in his numerous articles and essays, Sexton addresses themes of contemporary political and popular culture, or more broadly the cultural politics of the post-civil rights era United States, focusing on questions of race and sexuality, policing and prisons, multiracial coalition, and contemporary film.

The range of themes addressed in Sexton’s work is motivated by a central commitment to the field of black studies. Importantly, black studies is here understood not as one field among many, such that it would become identifiable through its division from others. Black studies—as “an internally differentiated project”—concerns what Sexton describes as “an unlimited field,” one that ramifies upon, because it is implicated in, all fields of study.

This interview attends to and foregrounds Sexton’s theorization of the meaning, stakes, and implications of the unlimited field of black studies. While such theorization is bound to matters that entail a sociological specificity, the questions that thereby emerge likewise entail the opening up of “a whole series of ontological matters.” Such double entailment follows from Sexton’s focus on the singular “sociopolitical status” of blackness in the modern world: if blackness “opens the space for articulating what is unthought,” this is because blackness is “that which relates to the undoing or unraveling of every social bond” and so inhabits them, negatively, from within.

Daniel Barber: In “The Social Life of Social Death,” you speak of “a procedure for reading, for study, for black study or, in the spirit of the multiple, for black studies … wherever they may lead. And, contrary to the popular misconception, they do lead everywhere. And they do lead everywhere, even and especially in their dehiscence.” This is a lesson that I am constantly learning from the reading of your work. You characterize such black study as “an exemplary transmission: emulation of a process of learning through the posing of a question, rather than imitation of a form of being,” and it is inarguable that your writing has been at the vanguard of such exemplification.

Many of your recent essays have explicitly pressed the stakes of a dehiscent “everywhere.” The incommensurateness of the position of blackness with discourses of the universal—which, as you demonstrated in Amalgamation Schemes, remains the case even in a purportedly pluralized, expansive discourse such as multiracialism—marks an opening up all over, according to the unthought recesses of what Dionne Brand has called “a tear in the world.” I can imagine this everywhere coming to be interpreted as “more” universal than universality, and I wonder how you would think about this? Dehiscence—or, along similar lines, the ungrounding entailed by deracination—certainly exceeds the universal, but such excess would seem to refuse its being related in terms of universality.

Jared Sexton: First, let me thank you again for your rich and generative questions here, and for the careful and sustained reading required to formulate them. I say that especially because I am aware of the ways that, for all of the moments of real critical engagement I’ve enjoyed since entering academia, aspects of my writing, as one instance in a much larger collective project, have been fairly consistently distorted and, at times, caricatured for some time now. Some of that has to do of course with very broad developments in intellectual life in the United States—academic celebrity culture, social media “hot takes,” “me too” research protocols, the denigration of the arts and humanities, etc.—and some of it has to do with an understandable, if disagreeable, anxiety about conserving radical thought under reactionary conditions. But then too I think much of it reflects the type of paralogical affect, or animus, that Frantz Fanon explored so provocatively in his time and that I have, again among many others, tried for a while now to understand better. It strikes me as a ressentiment not of the slave, but rather about and against the slave, and those thought to be slavish…

Read the entire interview here.

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To Be or Not to Be (Black or Multiracial or White): Cultural Variation in Racial Boundaries

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-09-20 15:33Z by Steven

To Be or Not to Be (Black or Multiracial or White): Cultural Variation in Racial Boundaries

Social Psychological and Personality Science
First Published 2017-08-28
DOI: 10.1177/1948550617725149

Jacqueline M. Chen, Assistant Professor, Social Psychology
University of Utah

Maria Clara P. de Paula Couto
Ayrton Senna Institute, SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil

Airi M. Sacco
Department of Psychology
Federal University of Pelotas, Pelatos, Brazil

Yarrow Dunham, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Yale University

Culture shapes the meaning of race and, consequently, who is placed into which racial categories. Three experiments conducted in the United States and Brazil illustrated the cultural nature of racial categorization. In Experiment 1, a target’s racial ancestry influenced Americans’ categorizations but had no impact on Brazilians’ categorizations. Experiment 2 showed cultural differences in the reliance on two phenotypic cues to race; Brazilians’ categorizations were more strongly determined by skin tone than were Americans’ categorizations, and Americans’ categorizations were more strongly determined by other facial features compared to Brazilians’ categorizations. Experiment 3 demonstrated cultural differences in the motivated use of racial categories. When the racial hierarchy was threatened, only Americans more strictly enforced the Black–White racial boundary. Cultural forces shape the conceptual, perceptual, and ideological construal of racial categories.

Read or purchase the article here.

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‘I’m not racist. . . . My grandkids are biracial’

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2017-09-20 15:08Z by Steven

‘I’m not racist. . . . My grandkids are biracial’

The Philadelphia Inquirer
2017-08-29

Helen Ubiñas, Staff Columnist


istockphoto.com
Having biracial grandkids doesn’t give you a free pass to say racist things.

There was no hello. Just an angry voice on the other end of the line yelling obscenities about blacks and Latinos in North Philly. The man grew up there, he shouted, back when it used to be “a great white neighborhood.” Then “the blacks” and “the Puerto Ricans” moved in and ruined it. They’re garbage, he yelled. No, he seethed, garbage is better than them.

Oh, and before I or anyone else called him a bigot, he wanted me to know something.

He’s no racist. His grandchildren are half-Puerto Rican.

My heart sank. Poor kids…

…Family doesn’t inoculate anyone against racism.

Tanya Hernandez, professor of law at Fordham University and author of a forthcoming book, Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination, said it fits into a larger societal idea that having closer relationships with people of other races can make people more empathetic.

It’s a nice thought – especially after the post-racial fantasy we all fed on for the last eight years, and the ongoing myth that as the country’s demographics become more diverse, racism will be eradicated. But the reality can be much more complicated, and painfully personal…

Read the entire article here.

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