As long as mixed race bodies and identities exist under a system of white supremacy, there will always be an implicit racial hierarchy among mixed race people, which celebrates lightness and whiteness and denigrates darkness and blackness.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-02-27 01:35Z by Steven

As long as mixed race bodies and identities exist under a system of white supremacy, there will always be an implicit racial hierarchy among mixed race people, which celebrates lightness and whiteness and denigrates darkness and blackness.

Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda, “DeCentering Whiteness: On Facing the Class Privilege that Exists in Mixed Race Asian Communities & Beyond,” The Body Is Not An Apology, February 15, 2018.

Tags: ,

For Multiracial Women, Hair Is a Political Statement

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Women on 2018-02-27 01:27Z by Steven

For Multiracial Women, Hair Is a Political Statement

The Link
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Volume 38, Issue 5 (2018-02-06)

Aysha White & Marissa Ramnanan

Two Women of Colour Talk About the Racialization of Their Hair

I have a weird ethnic first name (Aysha) and she has a weird ethnic last one (Ramnanan).

We are both mixed race, meaning we won’t find ourselves represented in mainstream media. In mostly white environments, such as universities, we become uncomfortably aware of how different we look from people belonging to a single race.

I gravitated towards Marissa, guessing she was also mixed because of her very curly hair…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

DeCentering Whiteness: On Facing the Class Privilege that Exists in Mixed Race Asian Communities & Beyond

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-02-27 01:10Z by Steven

DeCentering Whiteness: On Facing the Class Privilege that Exists in Mixed Race Asian Communities & Beyond

The Body Is Not An Apology

Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda
University of California, Berkeley

[Featured Image: A person with shoulder length black hair wearing a black t-shirt and denim stands indoors staring solemnly out of a window.]

Growing up queer, mixed race, and Asian in the American south, my identity often felt like an absence of any identity at all. For a long time, I existed in a kind of limbo state, not having a language to describe myself. Until my early twenties, I was unaware that the word “mixed race” existed, much less as a term that I had the option to identify with.

Because I neither knew nor saw any other mixed race children or people around me, for a long time my sense of self was only defined as a negation: I was certainly not white, and certainly not Japanese (at least by the standards of ethnic purity that were operative within my Japanese family and community), but as to what I was, actually, no one could really say.

So it was more than a breath of fresh air—more like a sense of psychic and spiritual relief—when I learned that such a thing as a mixed race identity existed, and that it was something I could identify as, with no other qualifications or explanations. When I finally encountered a community of other mixed race people during my twenties, I felt I was able to inhabit my body and experiences more fully and comfortably…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Broken identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, United Kingdom on 2018-02-26 23:01Z by Steven

Broken identity

The Times Literary Supplement

Bernardine Evaristo

Afua Hirsch ©Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Afua Hirsch, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging (London: Jonathan Cape, 2018)

People of colour raised in the openly racist Britain of the 1960s and 70s often put an identity quest at the heart of their fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction. Joan Riley’s novel about an alienated girl, The Unbelonging (1985), and Caryl Phillips’s pan-European travelogue, The European Tribe (1988), provide powerful early examples. Hanif Kureishi’s first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), opens with the mixed-race protagonist declaring, “My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost”. In her play Talking in Tongues (1991), Winsome Pinnock wrote about an Afro-Caribbean woman who sought to reassemble her fragmented identity back in her parents’ Jamaica. In my own verse novel, Lara (1997), the mixed-race protagonist journeys to her father’s Nigeria to see if she can belong there. Back then, writing in this genre spoke of the dilemma of not feeling accepted in Britain; to the children of immigrants, the seemingly harmless question, “Where do you really come from?”, was seen as a challenge to their British birthright. Jackie Kay’s memorable poem “In My Country” encapsulates one response: “Where do you come from? / Here, I said, Here, these parts” (Other Lovers, 1993).

It is a question I haven’t been asked in decades; I hoped it had died out along with the idea that Black and British was an oxymoron. Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish), however, finds it still tripping out of people’s mouths, as the most “persistent reminder of that sense of not belonging”. The book digs deep into the reasons for this enduring question, skilfully blending memoir, history and social commentary around race, culture and identity. Hirsch writes with an incisive honesty that disproves the idea that privilege can be easily reduced to racial binaries. She fully acknowledges the exclusive pedigree of her own background as a lighter-skinned woman of mixed parentage in a colourist society, who enjoyed a comfortable middle-class suburban childhood with her Ghanaian-born mother and English Jewish father. Her education was private all the way to Oxford University, and led to a first career as a barrister. Ten years ago she became a journalist. Hirsch is ostensibly the successful embodiment of Britain’s multicultural project, but her privileged status has not immunized her from the perniciousness of racism…

Read the entire book review here.

Tags: , , ,

What do Meghan Markle and Chicago woman who wrote ‘Passing’ have in common?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2018-02-25 23:47Z by Steven

What do Meghan Markle and Chicago woman who wrote ‘Passing’ have in common?

The Chicago Tribune

Christopher Borrelli

Nella Larsen, author of “Passing.” (Carl Van Vechten)

Nella Larsen was a mystery in life, and a mystery after her death in 1964. According to biographers, when she died her half sister inherited the $35,000 that remained in Larsen’s savings, then said she didn’t know she had a half sister.

Which wasn’t true.

Yet, in many ways, it’s the response you expect.

Nella Larsen was born Nellie Walker in 1891, in Chicago.

Or Nella Larsen was born Nella Larsen, 1892, in Chicago.

Or Nella Larsen was born Nellye Larson, 1893, in Chicago.

Biographers have run across a few possibilities, and the agreed-upon details are this: Nella Larsen was born in 1891, in Chicago, as Nellie Walker. Larsen fudged her vitals on occasion, depending on who was asking and what form she was completing. She lived her life at times with a sort of concentrated vagueness — “in the shadows,” wrote George Hutchinson, one of her biographers. Just as her career was taking off, she broke ties with her closest friends, and she spent her last three decades working as a nurse, living in a relative, self-imposed anonymity. Which sounds melodramatic, yet Larsen — who had been a major star of the Harlem Renaissance after leaving Chicago (but never quite cast aside the rejection that she felt here) — lived a life that could fuel melodramas.

As it happens, she left great ones, slim novels that amount to 250 pages, combined. Indeed, “Quicksand” (1928) and “Passing” (1929) constitute most of her published work. Yet both are portraits of Chicago women who, like Larsen, navigated the blurriest of racial lines in the early 20th century, having been born to one black parent and one white parent. Both novels are about women who “passed” — that is, they presented themselves, day to day, as white. Her biographers say it’s unlikely Larsen herself did this, yet her protagonists are haunted by identity, frozen out by the black bourgeois, not at ease in white society, torn by the task of self-identifying in a binary-minded country…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Frederick Douglass’s Fight Against Scientific Racism

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-25 18:33Z by Steven

Frederick Douglass’s Fight Against Scientific Racism

The New York Times

Eric Herschthal, Fellow
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. New York Public Library

Frederick Douglass in the 1870s. Scientists, he wrote, sometimes “sacrifice what is true to what is popular.”
Credit Corbis, via Getty Images

The 200th birthday of one of America’s greatest thinkers, Frederick Douglass, is being celebrated this month. Douglass is remembered as many things: a fugitive slave who gained his freedom, an abolitionist, an advocate for women’s rights, a gifted writer and orator. But we should also remember him as someone whose insights about scientific theories of race are every bit as relevant in our era as they were when he wrote them.

When Douglass rose to prominence, in the 1840s, he was living in a world just as excited and anxious about his era’s new inventions, like the railroad and the telegraph, as we are about modern-day innovation. But he understood that the ends to which science could be used were forever bound up with the moral choices of its practitioners. “Scientific writers, not less than others, write to please, as well as to instruct,” he wrote in 1854, “and even unconsciously to themselves (sometimes) sacrifice what is true to what is popular.”

That statement was part of a lecture in which he attacked one of the most prominent scientific fields of the antebellum era: ethnology, or what was sometimes called “the science of race.” Though often dismissed today as pseudoscience, at the time Douglass was writing, it was considered legitimate. The most accomplished scientists engaged in it, and the public eagerly consumed it…

…Of course, engaging with ethnology on its own terms was a dangerous game. It sometimes meant that Douglass perpetuated scientific ways of thinking about race rather than simply dismantling its logic and insisting on race as a product of history. He borrowed from the ethnological theories of his friend James McCune Smith, a fellow black abolitionist and the nation’s first credentialed black physician, to argue that both black and white people would be improved by racial mixing.

Yet it would be wrong to dismiss these ideas as merely the result of Douglass’s own mixed racial heritage — his father, possibly his owner, was white — or as a backhanded insult to black history, to black culture. They were always written in the service of a clear political agenda, one that was radical for his time: full black integration rather than segregation…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

The First Great Movie of the Trump Era

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-23 05:05Z by Steven

The First Great Movie of the Trump Era


Jada Yuan and Hunter Harris

Daniel Kaluuya and Jordan Peele filming the game-room scene of Get Out.
Justin Lubin/courtesy of Universal Pictures

How Get Out began as a rebuke to Obama-inspired dreams of racial harmony and became a conduit for fears reignited by the rise of the new president.

Get Out was shot in just 23 days on a budget of $4.5 million, but when it opened one year ago, it quickly became clear it was not just another low-budget horror movie. There were monstrous grosses and rapturous reviews, but most important, the film instantly became a cultural phenomenon — the subject of political commentary and social-media memes. The bizarre story of a young black man lured by his white girlfriend to her family home in the country, where they plan to replace his brain with an older white person’s, it immediately introduced into the lexicon terms like “the sunken place” — as in “We’ve lost Kanye to the sunken place,” used to suggest the rapper has lost touch with his black identity. Racial inequity, and the failure of white liberals to adequately address it, proved powerful fodder for a horror narrative. A year later, as one of the most unlikely Oscar Best Picture nominees in years, Get Out is being taught in courses on racism and Afro­futurism. It began as an insight in the brain of creator Jordan Peele during the 2008 primary fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton and premiered at Sundance within a week of Donald Trump’s inauguration. This is the story of how Get Out got out…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2018-02-22 05:03Z by Steven

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

Ballantine Books
448 pages
6.3 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1101886243
Paperback ISBN: 978-0525524380

Catherine Kerrison, Associate Professor of History
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

The remarkable untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters—two white and free, one black and enslaved—and the divergent paths they forged in a newly independent America

Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. In Jefferson’s Daughters, Catherine Kerrison, a scholar of early American and women’s history, recounts the remarkable journey of these three women—and how their struggle to define themselves reflects both the possibilities and the limitations that resulted from the American Revolution.

Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris—a hothouse of intellectual ferment whose celebrated salonnières are vividly brought to life in Kerrison’s narrative. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America.

Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery—apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future.

For this groundbreaking triple biography, Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters when they were in their teens, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families. She has interviewed Hemings family descendants (and, with their cooperation, initiated DNA testing) and searched for descendants of Harriet Hemings.

The eventful lives of Thomas Jefferson’s daughters provide a unique vantage point from which to examine the complicated patrimony of the American Revolution itself. The richly interwoven story of these three strong women and their fight to shape their own destinies sheds new light on the ongoing movement toward human rights in America—and on the personal and political legacy of one of our most controversial Founding Fathers.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Lupita Nyong’o To Star In ‘Born A Crime’ Based On Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, South Africa on 2018-02-22 04:47Z by Steven

Lupita Nyong’o To Star In ‘Born A Crime’ Based On Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Deadline Hollywood

Amanda N’Duka


EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, currently starring as Nakia in Disney/Marvel’s record-smashing, watershed hit Black Panther, has signed on to star in Born a Crime, the film adaptation of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s bestselling debut autobiography Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Nyong’o will play Noah’s mom, Patricia, who served as an important figure to her son in his formative years. She was shot in the head by his stepfather while returning from a church service in 2009, but survived.

Noah is producing the project through his Ark Angel Productions alongside Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment, and Nyong’o…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Combating the Myth of Racial Democracy in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2018-02-22 02:28Z by Steven

Combating the Myth of Racial Democracy in Brazil

Primary Source: The Indiana University Undergraduate Journal of History
Volume IV: Issue I, Fall 2013
Page 17-22

Rebecca Pattillo

While Brazil and the United States share a history of slavery, the changes to race relations in Brazil following emancipation differ greatly from the African American experience in the United States. The United States continuously enacted discriminatory laws against people of color such as Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws. From this emerged a society with government-institutionalized racism. In contrast, Brazil did not experience the same type of institutionalized racism and did not have overtly racist discriminatory laws. This is not to say that Afro-Brazilians did not struggle for social and racial equality following emancipation; rather, Brazil saw substantial differences in their racial social hierarchy due to their unique reasons for emancipation. Out of this emerged the opinion that racial prejudice and stratification existed more along the lines of wealth and class as opposed to the color of one’s skin. Sociologist Antonio Sérgio Alfredo Guimarães wrote in his essay “The Misadventures of Nonracialism in Brazil” that “in Brazil racism developed in a different way, present in social practice – a racism of attitudes – but unrecognized by the legal system and denied by the  nonracialist discourse of nationality.”1 Hence, a myth of racial democracy and inclusion emerged regarding Afro-Brazilians. Namely, this myth propagates that racism and inequality were not as prevalent in Brazil as they were in the United States and that blacks experienced little to no racial oppression…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,