DNA tests are all fine and dandy, but they can never tell us who we really are

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Oceania on 2018-04-04 23:11Z by Steven

DNA tests are all fine and dandy, but they can never tell us who we really are

Stuff (The Dominion Post)
Wellington, New Zealand
2018-04-03

Geoff Chambers, Senior Research & Teaching Fellow (Retired)
Victoria Unversity of Wellington, New Zealand

Paul Callister, Retired Economist
Wellington, Victora, New Zealand


‘So just who are we? Ancestry and culture became blended in the concept of ‘ethnicity’ popular from around the 1980s. 123rf.com

OPINION: Who am I and where do I come from? Many New Zealanders ask themselves these important questions. This is the basis of our identity as individuals and as members of groups. The article Seeking the truth in DNA (March 24) tells us just how popular it has become to seek answers through genetic testing companies like Ancestry.com. For a few dollars and a small saliva sample all will be revealed.

But will it? What these tests do show is who our deep-time ancestors were and where they came from. Their results may be surprising to some. It is possible to be born in Dublin to two rock solid Irish parents and yet be told that you are Scandinavian. This dilemma can only be resolved by learning about historical population movements and invasions.

In New Zealand our focus is often on the Māori v European identity. The article above told the story of Oriini​ Kaipara, whose DNA test showed that she was 100 per cent Māori rather than just 80 per cent as she had expected. This sparked a ‘blood quantum‘ debate. This became entwined with a wider discussion led by Simon Bridges about what constitutes our sense of identity. It is time now to unpack the history of these ideas for all round better understanding…

Read the entire article here.

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Reigning from the Ground: The Gravity of Soledad O’Brien

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-04-04 22:43Z by Steven

Reigning from the Ground: The Gravity of Soledad O’Brien

Bitch
Issue #78 | Spring 2018, 2018-03-13

Lisa Factora-Borchers

photography by Margarita Corporan

The rumors circulated and reached me months before I met her. People who knew her in various capacities—from her personal representatives to those who briefly met her at a speaking event—repeated the same sentiment: Even with all her successes and all the reasons not to be, Soledad O’Brien is incredibly sweet and down-to-earth.

Like millions of other CNN viewers, I became familiar with O’Brien’s broadcast journalism in the early 2000s, when she secured her status as one of the few women journalists of color in mainstream media. In 2006, during the zenith of blogging, Heather B. Armstrong, a popular writer in the mom-blogosphere, gushed about meeting O’Brien in person and described her “glowing aura”:

“She was exquisite in every conceivable way, perfect hair and makeup and wardrobe, and when she greeted everyone and made small talk, I got the sense that her brain was wired to a digital encyclopedia of everything that has ever happened on Earth, because she spoke with authority on every topic.”

Some descriptions stay with you, even after 11 years, until you have to shed them as prep—because you can’t interview a master interviewer when you’re preoccupied with talk of glowing auras and infallibility.

O’Brien’s home is a sprawling apartment in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood (where, it should be noted, she has lived since well before its ascent to ultra-gentrified chic). Its white built-in shelves are stacked with impeccably aligned books interrupted by candles, framed photos, and artisan bowls and vases. The place is immaculate, but not intimidating. This feels intentional. As far as the famed O’Brien aura itself, it is a bit different than I imagined. She carries herself with a sense of ease and casual authority; although she comes through the door with her hands and arms full, that doesn’t stop her from calling out friendly greetings to me and the photography team. O’Brien has spent the past three decades telling stories. Google her—every kind of story that a journalist dreams about covering, she’s covered: natural disasters, structural inequality, national identity, politics, sports, and narrative stories from marginalized communities. There isn’t one way to describe her successes; they’re like vines—woven and connected, multitudinous and plentiful. After she dropped out of Harvard, she began working as a reporter, in 1989, for the medical radio show Second Opinion. She spent the ’90s reporting and anchoring weekend and morning shows for NBC before eventually transitioning to CNN in 2003. While anchoring CNN’s American Morning, O’Brien was moved to the documentary division and from 2007 until 2013 hosted the series In America, which eventually led to two spin-offs, Black in America and Latino in America

Read the entire article here.

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Mixing up identity, race and culture

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-04-04 22:21Z by Steven

Mixing up identity, race and culture

Now
Toronto, Ontario
2018-03-28

Samantha Edwards


Zoé Doyle (left) and Vanessa Trenton star in a new production of the groundbreaking play.

MIXIE & THE HALF BREEDS written by Julie Tamiko Manning and Adrienne Wong, directed by Jenna Rodgers. Presented by fu-GEN Theatre Company at the Pia Bouman School for Ballet (6 Noble). Previews from Tuesday (April 3), opens April 5 and runs to April 15. $15-$35.

Growing up, Julie Tamiko Manning didn’t know many people who looked like her. Manning is half-Japanese and half-white, a hybrid identity that made her stick out in her hometown in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

In the early 2000s, when Manning was in her 20s, she went to Vancouver for the first time and found herself working with a cast made up entirely of mixed race people. During that trip, she became friends with Adrienne Wong, a half-Chinese, half-white playwright and actor originally from Calgary and now based in Ottawa.

“Adrienne and I totally bonded over being mixies,” says Manning, who now lives in Montreal.

“No matter what the mix is, there’s a very similar experience that you have lived as a mixed race person.”

Like Manning, I’m half-Japanese and half-white, and I understand why she and Wong felt an immediate kinship. Mixed race people – or “mixies,” as some of us like to call ourselves – have a special, almost familial connection to one another. We can spot a fellow mixie from across a crowded streetcar or in the most minor roles in a movie. We can relate to strangers constantly asking us, “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” or feeling culturally estranged from both sides of our identity.

These ideas of identity, race and culture in Canadian society are explored in Manning and Wong’s comedic, fantastical play, Mixie & The Half Breeds, which follows the burgeoning friendship of two mixed race women who couldn’t be more different…

Read the entire article here.

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Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2018-04-04 20:20Z by Steven

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Simon & Schuster
2018-10-02
864 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781416590316

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History; Professor of African-American and American Studies; Director, Gilder Lehrman Center
Yale University

The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African-Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.

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Mixie and the Halfbreeds play opens tonight in Toronto

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2018-04-04 17:45Z by Steven

Mixie and the Halfbreeds play opens tonight in Toronto

Metro Morning with Matt Galloway
CBC Radio One
2018-04-03

Matt Galloway, Host

We meet the director [Jenna Rodgers] of a new play opening tonight in Toronto and talk about what it means to be mixed-race in Canada right now.

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Mixie and the Halfbreeds

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events on 2018-04-04 15:13Z by Steven

Mixie and the Halfbreeds

fu-GEN Theater
157 Carlton Street, Suite 207
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2K3
Telephone: 416.920.2828
2018-04-03 through 2018-04-15

written by: adrienne wong & julie tamiko manning
directed by: jenna rodgers
featuring: zoe doyle & nessa trenton
choreography by: ming-bo lam
set & lighting design by: alison yanota
costume design by: jackie chau
sound design by: deanna h. choi
stage manager: bradley dunn
producer: jenna harris
production manager: suzie balogh

In Mixie and the Halfbreeds, two estranged neighbors are not as different as they think. Haunted by peroxide teeth and blondissima hair, Mixie and Trixie tackle a question that has plagued mankind through the ages: do blondes really have more fun? Mixie & the Halfbreeds invites the audience to explore complex and relevant issues of culture, identity, and race, and tackles questions of mixing in contemporary Canadian society and popular culture.

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Lesec, from Brave Mulato into Blackness?: Defection to France and Spanish Racial Regression

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-04-04 02:33Z by Steven

Lesec, from Brave Mulato into Blackness?: Defection to France and Spanish Racial Regression

Age of Revolutions
2018-04-02

Charlton W. Yingling, Assistant Professor of History
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky


“El ciudadano Hedouville habla al mentor de los negros…,” Jean-Louis Dubroca, Vida de J. J. Dessalines, gefe de los Negros de Santo Domingo (Mexico, 1806), University of Virginia Slavery Images Database, JCB_67-270-3. This well-known image is cropped to draw attention away from the figures’ faces and to their façades.

In May 1794, Governor Joaquín García of Spanish Santo Domingo (present-day Dominican Republic) praised the “brave spirit” of “Carlos Gabriel Lesec, mulato,” a term denoting European and African heritage. As an officer in Spain’s Black Auxiliaries, Lesec had just repulsed troops of the French Republic in a resounding victory at Santa Susana on the border with Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). As the third anniversary of the Haitian Revolution approached, thousands of ex-slaves had expanded their liberatory war under Spanish flags and occupied nearly half of Saint-Domingue.[1] These “Black Auxiliaries” of Spain enjoyed limited manumissions and material support in their war against the French, their former exploiters. Their leaders, Jean-François and Georges Biassou, represented some of the earliest participants in the initial slave revolts of 1791. Those who ascended later, such as Toussaint Louverture and his officer Charles Lesec, seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at upward mobility by punishing their former French oppressors. Despite these victories, García was dismayed by the “disunion that reigns between the black chiefs Biassou and Toussaint,” who along with Jean-François were Lesec’s superiors.[2] Six months earlier French commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax had begun tactical, practical emancipations, in part to attract black supporters due to desperation over his opponents’ successes…

Read the entire article here.

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