Right now, census data are distorting one of the most transformative population developments of the early 21st century. A sizable and growing number of young people come from families with one white and one minority parent, as more adults form families across racial and ethnic lines.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-02-14 23:35Z by Steven

Today’s census questions misunderstand both Hispanic and white identity

Right now, census data are distorting one of the most transformative population developments of the early 21st century. A sizable and growing number of young people come from families with one white and one minority parent, as more adults form families across racial and ethnic lines. By far the largest group among them have Hispanic and white European ancestry.

But you wouldn’t know that from the 2000 or 2010 Census results. While 2000 was the first to allow Americans to report a multiracial heritage, neither it nor the 2010 Census allowed people to check off both part Hispanic and part something else.

Why? The culprit is that the census examines race and ethnicity with two questions: first, race; and then Hispanic origins. This format was created in accordance with a 1997 Office of Management and Budget memorandum that defined the standards for collecting and classifying ethnic and racial data to which all federal agencies must adhere.

Richard Alba, “There’s a big problem with how the census measures race,” The Washington Post, February 6, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/02/06/theres-a-big-problem-with-how-the-census-measures-race.

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They considered themselves white, but DNA tests told a more complex story

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-02-14 23:26Z by Steven

They considered themselves white, but DNA tests told a more complex story

The Washington Post
2018-02-06

Tara Bahrampour

As more Americans take advantage of genetic testing to pinpoint the makeup of their DNA, the technology is coming head to head with the country’s deep-rooted obsession with race and racial myths. This is perhaps no more true than for the growing number of self-identified European Americans who learn they are actually part African.

For those who are surprised by their genetic heritage, the new information can often set into motion a complicated recalibration of how they view their identity.

Nicole Persley, who grew up in Nokesville, Va., was stunned to learn that she is part African. Her youth could not have been whiter. In the 1970s and ’80s in her rural home town, she went to school with farmers’ kids who listened to country music and sometimes made racist jokes. She was, as she recalls, “basically raised a Southern white girl.”

But as a student at the University of Michigan: “My roommate was black. My friends were black. I was dating a black man.” And they saw something different in her facial features and hair.

“I was constantly being asked, ‘What are you? What’s your ethnic background?’ ”…

…The test results can present an intriguing puzzle. When a significant amount of African DNA shows up in a presumably white person, “there’s usually a story — either a parent moved away or a grandparent died young,” said Angela Trammel, an investigative genealogist in the Washington area. “Usually a story of mystery, disappearance — something.”

For Persley, 46, the link turned out to be her grandfather, who had moved away from his native Georgia and started a new life passing as white in Michigan. He married a white woman, who bore Persley’s father…

Read the entire article here.

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There’s a big problem with how the census measures race

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-14 23:06Z by Steven

There’s a big problem with how the census measures race

The Washington Post
2018-02-06

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Graduate Center, City University of New York


Activists hold signs during a news conference in front of the Supreme Court in 2015. (Getty Images)

Will the 2020 Census be accurate? A number of observers have been worrying about that question for several reasons. For instance, the Justice Department has been trying to insert a citizenship question on the census form; such a question could discourage many immigrants from completing the form. As a result, cities and regions with large numbers of immigrants could see their populations seriously undercounted, with troubling results for political representation, services and funding.

But there’s another reason to be worried, one that hasn’t gotten much attention. The Census Bureau just announced that its 2020 form will not fundamentally change the questions it uses to ask about ethnic and racial origins. This may seem like a minor technical issue — but it will have major real-world implications. If it does not incorporate already-tested improvements into these questions, the census will deliver a less accurate picture of the United States.

And as a result, census statistics will continue to roil the public discussion of diversity, by exaggerating white decline and the imminence of a majority-minority United States. Political figures and pundits who oppose immigration and diversity could exploit that, peddling an alarmist narrative that doesn’t fit with the long-standing reality of mixing between immigrant and established Americans….

Read the entire article here.

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The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2018-02-14 04:47Z by Steven

The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

University of Minnesota Press
2018
320 pages
9 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-1-5179-0156-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-5179-0155-4

Jaime Amparo Alves, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Staten Island of the City University of New York
also: Associate Researcher
Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos of Universidad Icesi/Colombia

An important new ethnographic study of São Paulo’s favelas reveals the widespread use of race-based police repression in Brazil

While Black Lives Matter still resonates in the United States, the movement has also become a potent rallying call worldwide, with harsh police tactics and repressive state policies often breaking racial lines. In The Anti-Black City, Jaime Amparo Alves delves into the dynamics of racial violence in Brazil, where poverty, unemployment, residential segregation, and a biased criminal justice system create urban conditions of racial precarity.

The Anti-Black City provocatively offers race as a vital new lens through which to view violence and marginalization in the supposedly “raceless” São Paulo. Ironically, in a context in which racial ambiguity makes it difficult to identify who is black and who is white, racialized access to opportunities and violent police tactics establish hard racial boundaries through subjugation and death. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in prisons and neighborhoods on the periphery of this mega-city, Alves documents the brutality of police tactics and the complexity of responses deployed by black residents, including self-help initiatives, public campaigns against police violence, ruthless gangs, and self-policing of communities.

The Anti-Black City reveals the violent and racist ideologies that underlie state fantasies of order and urban peace in modern Brazil. Illustrating how “governing through death” has become the dominant means for managing and controlling ethnic populations in the neoliberal state, Alves shows that these tactics only lead to more marginalization, criminality, and violence. Ultimately, Alves’s work points to a need for a new approach to an intractable problem: how to govern populations and territories historically seen as “ungovernable.”

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: On Our Own Terms
  • 1. Macabre Spatialities
  • 2. “Police, Get off My Back!”
  • 3. The Favela-Prison Pipeline
  • 4. Sticking Up!
  • 5. Bringing Back the Dead
  • Conclusion: Blackpolis
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
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What Doctors Should Ignore

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-14 04:27Z by Steven

What Doctors Should Ignore

The New York Times
2017-12-08

Moises Velasquez-Manoff


Joan Wong

Science has revealed how arbitrary racial categories are. Perhaps medicine will abandon them, too.

Sickle cell anemia was first described in 1910 and was quickly labeled a “black” disease. At a time when many people were preoccupied with an imagined racial hierarchy, with whites on top, the disease was cited as evidence that people of African descent were inferior. But what of white people who presented with sickle cell anemia?

Doctors twisted themselves into knots trying to explain those cases away. White sickle cell patients must have mixed backgrounds, they contended — a black forebear they didn’t know about perhaps, or one they didn’t want to mention. Or maybe white patients’ symptoms didn’t stem from sickle cell anemia at all, but some other affliction. The bottom line was, the disease was “black,” so by definition white people couldn’t get it.

Today, scientists understand the sickle cell trait as an adaptation to malaria, not evidence of inferiority. One copy of the sickle cell trait protects against malaria. Having two can cause severe anemia and even death. Scientists also know that the trait is common outside Africa across the “malaria belt” — the Arabian Peninsula, India and parts of the Mediterranean Basin. And people historically considered white can, in fact, carry it. In the Greek town of Orchomenos, for example, the gene is more prevalent than it is among African-Americans.

We know all this, and yet the racialization of the disease, the idea that it occurs only in people of sub-Saharan African descent, persists. “When I talk to medical students, I get this all the time — ‘Sickle cell is a black trait,’ ” Michael Yudell, chairman of the department of community health and prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, told me.

That’s worrisome for many reasons, he says, chief among them that it may result in subpar medical care for some patients. Case in point: California’s universal blood disorder screening program has identified thousands of nonblack children with the sickle cell trait and scores with the disease — patients who, had doctors stuck to received “wisdom,” might have been missed.

Professor Yudell belongs to a growing chorus of scholars and researchers who argue that in science at least, we need to push past the race concept and, where possible, scrap it entirely. Professor Yudell and others contend that instead of talking about race, we should talk about ancestry (which, unlike “race,” refers to one’s genetic heritage, not innate qualities); or the specific gene variants that, like the sickle cell trait, affect disease risk; or environmental factors like poverty or diet that affect some groups more than others…

Read the entire article here.

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