Rethinking Religion and Race in the Great Migration

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-11-12 23:30Z by Steven

Rethinking Religion and Race in the Great Migration

Black Perspectives

Emily Clark, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Prophet Noble Drew Ali (standing center) and temple members, at religious service of the Moorish Science Temple of America, circa late 1920s (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division)

This post is part of our online roundtable on Judith Weisenfeld’s New World A-Coming

Judith Weisenfeld’s New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration is, in short, a marvelous book. With its focus on the Moorish Science Temple of America (MST), the Nation of Islam (NOI), Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement (PM), and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Weisenfeld challenges much of the previous scholarship by moving these groups from the margins to the center. She pushes the field to rethink its approach to religion and race, opening multiple avenues for future scholars..

…One of my favorite ways to appreciate a new book is to consider how it has re-shaped my thinking about my own work. My first book looked at the Afro-Creole community in New Orleans. No one characteristic differentiated Afro-Creoles from other southern blacks. Much of the city’s Afro-Creole population belonged to Catholic, educated, often mixed-race, French-speaking or bilingual families who were freed during the colonial or antebellum era and who were often wealthier than their Black, non-creole neighbors. When writing in response to W.E.B. Du Bois, local historian Rodolphe Lucien Desdunes noted a distinction between Afro-Creoles and other Black Americans. Desdunes wrote, “One aspires to equality, the other to identity. One forgets he is a Negro in order to think that he is a man; the other will forget that he is a man in order to think that he is a Negro…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-11-12 23:03Z by Steven

Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro

University of North Carolina Press
December 2016
248 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520293793
Paperback ISBN: 9780520293809
Adobe PDF E-Book ISBN: 9780520967151
ePUB Format ISBN: 9780520967151

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Arizona

Based on spontaneous conversations of shantytown youth hanging out on the streets of their neighborhoods and interviews from the comfortable living rooms of the middle class, Jennifer Roth-Gordon shows how racial ideas permeate the daily lives of Rio de Janeiro’s residents across race and class lines. Race and the Brazilian Body weaves together the experiences of these two groups to explore what the author calls Brazil’s “comfortable racial contradiction,” where embedded structural racism that privileges whiteness exists alongside a deeply held pride in the country’s history of racial mixture and lack of overt racial conflict. This linguistic and ethnographic account describes how cariocas (people who live in Rio de Janeiro) “read” the body for racial signs. The amount of whiteness or blackness a body displays is determined not only through observations of phenotypical features—including skin color, hair texture, and facial features—but also through careful attention paid to cultural and linguistic practices, including the use of nonstandard speech commonly described as gíria (slang).

Vivid scenes from daily interactions illustrate how implicit social and racial imperatives encourage individuals to invest in and display whiteness (by demonstrating a “good appearance”), avoid blackness (a preference challenged by rappers and hip-hop fans), and “be cordial” (by not noticing racial differences). Roth-Gordon suggests that it is through this unspoken racial etiquette that Rio residents determine who belongs on the world famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon; who deserves to shop in privatized, carefully guarded, air conditioned shopping malls; and who merits the rights of citizenship.


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Worried about racism’s impact on her biracial son, a mother looks at home schooling

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-12 19:51Z by Steven

Worried about racism’s impact on her biracial son, a mother looks at home schooling

The Washington Post Magazine

Tracy Jan, Reporter

Tracy Jan, a reporter for The Washington Post, and her husband, Gerald Taylor, a former history teacher, with son Langston. (André Chung/For The Washington Post)

The declaration came emphatically, out of nowhere — dropped between sudsing his hair and rinsing out the shampoo with a plastic yellow duck full of water. “I’m not black,” my then 4-year-old son announced, while playing with his superhero figurines in the tub.

I assured him that not only was he black, because his daddy is black, but that he was also Chinese, like me. He wrinkled his nose and shook his head at this reality check. I was just as confused — where was all this coming from?

“If you’re not black and you’re not Chinese, what are you?” I asked, hoping he would not say “white.”

“I’m just Langston,” he answered…

Read the entire article here.

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From Misty Copeland: Adjustments, Tips and Inspiration

Posted in Arts, Media Archive on 2017-11-12 17:53Z by Steven

From Misty Copeland: Adjustments, Tips and Inspiration

The New York Times

Siobhan Burke, Dance Writer
Brooklyn, New York

Misty Copeland (center) coaching students at Harlem Stage on Monday (facing the camera, Emily Lugohart and Gabriela Urena). Credit Marc Millman

Dougie Baldeo, a 13-year-old ballet student at Harlem School of the Arts, stood onstage Monday night as Misty Copeland offered him pointers on his port de bras, or carriage of the arms.

“Once you start moving, I don’t want to see the claw creep back in,” she said, referring to his sometimes tense right hand.

Dougie was one of 13 students selected to study — if only for an hour — with Ms. Copeland, one of the most famous ballerinas in the world, who in 2015 became the first female African-American principal dancer with American Ballet Theater.

And if the students, from Harlem School of the Arts and the Dance Theater of Harlem School, were already feeling nervous because of all that star power, there was added pressure: an audience. The event, “A Misty Copeland Ballet Class,” organized by Harlem Stage at its Gatehouse space was open to the students’ families and peers, with a few seats available to the public…

Read the entire article here.

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On the Color of Desire, Disrespect, and Sexual Exploitation in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2017-11-12 17:35Z by Steven

On the Color of Desire, Disrespect, and Sexual Exploitation in Brazil

For Harriet

Veronica Maria Brown-Comegys

The day I arrived in Rio de Janeiro a muscle-bound German stranger followed me from the reception desk into the hotel elevator. After the door closed, he began shouting in halting English, “You are American. I want to be with you tonight, why not?” “Why not?” I side-stepped to the elevator panel and wildly pounded the buttons. The door opened and I raced to my room.

White Brazilian and European male visitors gravitate to the eroticism of the woman of African descent. Yet they do not express their admiration in romantic sonnets and songs. Instead, white Brazilian men say in Portuguese, “As negras tem fogo no rabo.” The translation is, “Black women have fire in their ass,” according to my white friend, Carlos Marques, a fifty-six-year-old activist and historian. The activist, of Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, said, “Rabo is a VERY bad expression, extremely graphic. It is machismo and racism.” Cesar Renato, 19, a black aspiring rapper, in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, added, “They say worse things than that.”

Carlos Santos, 30, of Goias, a black decorator and house painter said, “It is true that the white man says the black woman has an appetite for sex, and is hotter than the white woman. I agree that black women are hotter. This is obvious. But, oh no, to say they have fire under their skirt, this is too much. This is hyper-sexualization of the black woman.”

The crude expression is directed at all black women. Yet it is the black woman who has tan, gold, caramel and light-to-nearly medium colored skin, who is preferred. Marques said, “Light-colored girls are a species of sexual fantasy for many men, Brazilian and foreign. They are something like a sexual fetish.”.

Dr. Norma Cavalcanti, a white psychologist, said “In Brazil a woman has only two rights; the right to be a mother, and the right to be a ‘boneca gloriosa’ (glorious doll).” Willing or not, I had all the necessary attributes to play this role: light brown skin, heavy-lidded, big brown eyes, full lips, and most importantly a five foot seven-inch body, which was far from thin and shapeless. Far from being a brown Playboy centerfold, but not to be ignored…

…During the 2014 World Cup Season male and female journalists were distained “international gringos who come to Brazil with the wrong idea.” Carol Apaloo, an African-American school teacher, whose family relocated from Los Angeles in the late 1970s said, “The Germans are the worst.” She discussed the lewd way they were dancing with the black Brazilian girls at Carnival. One journalist said that the foreigners are only part of the problem. Their behavior matched customary treatment black women receive from white Brazilian men.

Marly Ferreira, 57, a black Brazilian writer and Professor of Biology said, “The image still exists of the black woman as sexy, good in bed, to be used as an object. This image is a benefit to tourism. There are many schemes to make the color black agreeable, to be used by everybody.” More than two decades ago, white historian, sociologist and anthropologist Gilberto Freyre said, “The mulata is treated like a product. Our mulata is not different from other women, but she is being exploited as a sex symbol, and the majority are being turned into prostitutes.”…

Read the entire article here.

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I have to tell you, if I hadn’t found that 1900 census record and appeared on Genealogy Roadshow, I would’ve lived my life blissfully ignorant of my black heritage and the family my mother left behind in New Orleans. To me, that would have been a tragic loss.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-12 04:41Z by Steven

“I would like to believe that “passing” is an archaic notion,” she [Gail Lukasik] said. “I really would like to believe that, because we no longer have laws like the one drop rule. But I suspect that in America’s racist culture, mixed race people who can pass for white must still wrestle with that choice. I have to tell you, if I hadn’t found that 1900 census record and appeared on Genealogy Roadshow, I would’ve lived my life blissfully ignorant of my black heritage and the family my mother left behind in New Orleans. To me, that would have been a tragic loss.”

Matt Christy, “Secret heritage,” The Herald-Argus, October 26, 2017.

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Secret heritage

Posted in Articles, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-11-12 04:32Z by Steven

Secret heritage

The Herald-Argus
La Porte, Indiana

Matt Christy, Staff Writer
Telephone: (219) 326-3870

Secret heritage
White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing” is on book shelves now and available for check-out at the La Porte County Public Library.

Author tells story behind new book

Looks can be deceiving.

To look at a photograph of Alvera Frederic Kalina, you wouldn’t know the secret she was hiding. Hiding from her husband, hiding from her children, hiding from everyone but those she cut all ties to when she left her New Orleans roots far, far behind.

Alvera avoided the sun. She had no photos of her family. She was obsessed with makeup, even wearing it when she slept.

“I can’t even imagine the fear she lived with, which I later understood was why she did (those mysterious things),” said Alvera’s daughter, author Gail Lukasik.

Lukasik is a mystery writer, but her newest book “White Like Her” is a mystery of another sort. Unlike the female driven detective novels Lukasik is known to pen, “White Like Her” tells the story of a true mystery, one Lukasik — not one of her fictional protagonists — unraveled. It was the mystery her mother made her swear to carry to her grave.

It began with Lukasik wanting to know more about her mother’s father, Azemar Frederic. She knew nothing of her grandfather and when asked, her mother would only say her parents divorced when she was young and her father didn’t raise her.

“The one time I asked her if we could visit New Orleans, where she grew up, she said it would depress her to go home, so I let it go. But in the back of my mind I always wondered about Azemar Frederic. What did he look like? What did he do for a living? What kind of man was my grandfather?” she said.

The answers would shock her and would change everything she thought she knew…

Read the entire article here.

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Beige Bubble Bodies: New People by Danzy Senna

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-12 04:12Z by Steven

Beige Bubble Bodies: New People by Danzy Senna

The Miami Rail

Claudia Milian, Associate Professor of Spanish & Latin American Studies
Duke University

New People by Danzy Senna, Riverhead Books, 240 pp.

Danzy Senna’s New People unfolds the creases of Maria and her fiancé, Khalil’s flat lives––exposing sharp, furrowed, details of their beige being in a pre-tech gentrifying Brooklyn bubble. Their barely colored bodies, their contrasts between white and brownish, are a prototype, a palette that is substituted, again and again, by the mélange of nationalities and shades that fill in the indistinct Northeastern landscape.

The neutrally named and orphan Maria, a border girl, as it were, whose nebulousness crosses, re-crosses, and double-crosses racial and cultural spectrums and expectations, steers toward the excessive closeness, to an infinite jest, of mixed race America and its vague embodiments. Senna is, on the face of it, in exclusive conversation with black-and-white America. But the novel’s other deviations of grayness and brownness provoke, drift, and pump up the volume on Maria’s out of body experiences as she walks in and out of Latina states…

Read the entire review here.

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