Before Arguing About DNA Tests, Learn the Science Behind Them

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-10-25 00:51Z by Steven

Before Arguing About DNA Tests, Learn the Science Behind Them

The New York Times
2018-10-18

Carl Zimmer


Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test results indicated that she had a Native American ancestor several generations ago.
Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

Our genetic code cannot be treated as a matter of simple fractions.

People have always told stories about their ancestral origins. But now millions of people are looking at their DNA to see if those stories hold up. While genetic tests can indeed reveal some secrets about our family past, we can also jump to the wrong conclusions from their results.

The reception of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA results is a textbook case in this confusion…

…Slavery, too, led to an obsession with increasingly tiny fractions of ancestral blood, reaching the absurd extreme of the “one drop” rule. A single black ancestor — no matter how far back in the family tree, no matter how tiny the mythical drop of blood he or she contributed — was enough to make a person black…

…But DNA is not a liquid that can be divided down into microscopic drops. It’s a string-like molecule, arranged into 23 pairs of chromosomes, that gets passed down through the generations in a counterintuitive way.

Eggs and sperm randomly end up with one copy of each chromosome, coming either from a person’s mother or father. In the process, some DNA can shuffle from one chromosome to its partner. That means we inherit about a quarter of our DNA from each grandparent — but only on average. Any one person may inherit more DNA from one grandparent and less from another.

Over generations, this randomness can lead to something remarkable. Look back far enough in your family tree, and you’ll encounter ancestors from whom you inherit no DNA at all…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Passing and Double Consciousness in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-10-25 00:35Z by Steven

Racial Passing and Double Consciousness in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain

Philip Roth Studies
Volume 14, Number 1, 2018
pages 55-69
DOI: 10.5703/philrothstud.14.1.0055

Dyanne K. Martin, Assistant Professor of English
Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Floirida

Philip Roth’s nuanced understanding of the issues of race in pre- and post-Civil Rights America offers fresh thinking in a field that perhaps needs to explore new directions. The approach in this article is to use techniques of semiotics to assess the subtle cues in the linguist protagonist’s language as his statements move in and out of clarity, ambivalence, and doubleness. I argue that these forms of semiotic doubleness represent the dualities and ironies with which mixed-race people struggle in a society still divided by race.

Much has been said about Philip Roth’s use of racial passing as a trope in his novel The Human Stain. Critics such as Luminita Dragulescu and Jennifer Glaser argue that the novel represents the complexities of identity performance. Dragulescu, in particular, positions Roth’s use of racial passing as “a terrain of discursive power” (96). Glaser agrees with Dragulescu but adds that Roth’s mixed-race protagonist, Coleman Silk, portrays the traumatic complexities of the mulatto’s decision to traverse not just the color line but also the ethnic line. Passing as both white and Jewish, Silk illustrates what Glaser calls the “ongoing dynamics of racializcd power” in the discipline of critical race theory, a theory that is “inherently comparative” (1465). While these critics have engaged important issues in The Human Stain, they leave unaddressed Roth’s use of verbal or syntactic ambivalence in relation to the trope of racial passing in his novel. When Coleman Silk in a pivotal scene lashes out that he “don’t carry no nigger,” he seems, ostensibly, to be making a simple, straightforward statement (Stain 117). Yet Silks words are both…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Color Crit: Critical Race Theory and the History and Future of Colorism in the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-10-24 23:49Z by Steven

Color Crit: Critical Race Theory and the History and Future of Colorism in the United States

Journal of Black Studies
First Published 2018-10-16
DOI: 10.1177/0021934718803735

Robert L. Reece, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Texas, Austin

Critical race theory teaches that racism and racial inequality are constants in American society that stand outside of the prejudices of individuals. It argues that structures and institutions are primarily responsible for the maintenance of racial inequality. However, critical race theorists have neglected to formally examine and theorize colorism, a primary offshoot of racial domination. Although studies of colorism have become increasingly common, they lack a unifying theoretical framework, opting to lean on ideas about prejudice and preference to explain the advantages lighter skinned, Black Americans are afforded relative to darker skinned Black Americans. In this study, I deploy a critical race framework to push back against preference as the only, or primary, mechanism facilitating skin tone stratification. Instead, I use historical Census data and regression analysis to explore the historical role of color-based marriage selection on concentrating economic advantage among lighter skinned Black Americans. I then discuss the policy and legal implications of developing a structural view of colorism and skin tone stratification in the United States and the broader implications for how we conceptualize race in this country.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Misogyny, Authoritarianism, and the Rise of Multiracial White Supremacy

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-22 23:12Z by Steven

Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Misogyny, Authoritarianism, and the Rise of Multiracial White Supremacy

The Takeaway
WNYC Studios, New York, New York
2018-10-16

Tanzina Vega, Host


Gavin McInnes is surrounded by supporters after speaking at a rally Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media and founder of the pro-TrumpProud Boys,”
( AP Photo )

Gavin McInnes, alt-right leader and founder of the far-right group the Proud Boys, was invited to speak at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this past weekend. In advance of his appearance, McInnes promised to reenact the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma, posing in photos depicting ugly Asian caricatures.

His presence drew crowds of both protesters and right-wing counter-protesters to the event, and violence erupted late Friday night. Several cell phone videos show groups of uniformed Proud Boys bragging about the assaults, and NYPD released footage of a protester throwing a bottle at McInnes’ supporters.

The Proud Boys fit into an American tradition of far-right hate groups, but the Internet has enabled disparate groups from all across the country to find support in their message of “western chauvinism.” Also interestingly, the Proud Boys seem to have an ability to attract men of color, which seems at odds with groups that borrow heavily from a white supremacist ideology.

Tanya Hernández, professor of law at Fordham University and the author of the forthcoming book Multiracials and Civil Rights[: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination], and David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, and correspondent for the Southern Poverty Law Center, join the program to help make sense of this current phenomenon.

Listen to the story here. Download the story (00:11:53) here.

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Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-10-21 15:07Z by Steven

Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

The Daily Beast
2018-09-04

Arun Gupta


Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Patriot Prayer’s leader is half-Japanese. Black and brown faces march with the Proud Boys. Is the future of hate multicultural?

PORTLAND, Oregon—Outfitted in a flak jacket and fighting gloves, Enrique Tarrio was one of dozens of black, Latino, and Asian men who marched alongside white supremacists in Portland on Aug. 4.

Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, is president of the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys, who call themselves “Western chauvinists,” and “regularly spout white-nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last month, prior to the Patriot Prayer rally he attended in Portland, Tarrio was pictured with other far-right activists making a hand sign that started as a hoax but has become an in-joke. Last year, Tarrio said traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Unite the Right rally that ended with a neo-Nazi allegedly killing an anti-fascist protester. (The Proud Boys said any members who went to the event were kicked out.)

Tarrio and other people of color at the far-right rallies claim institutional racism no longer exists in America. In their view, blacks are to blame for any lingering inequality because they are dependent on welfare, lack strong leadership, and believe Democrats who tell them “You’re always going to be broke. You’re not going to make it in society because of institutional racism,” as one mixed-race man put it…

Read the entire article here.

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Was Interracial Love Possible in the Days of Slavery? Descendants of One Couple Think So

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-10-21 14:45Z by Steven

Was Interracial Love Possible in the Days of Slavery? Descendants of One Couple Think So

The New York Times
2018-10-21

Adeel Hassan


Paula Wright, a seventh-generation descendant of an interracial couple, has documented over 500 images that chronicle her family’s history.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

He was buried in a white cemetery. She was buried in a black cemetery. Their marriage was unheard-of at the time.

Both William Ramey and his wife, Kittie Simkins, were born and raised in Edgefield, S.C., or “Bloody Edgefield,” a town known for its grisly murder rate in the antebellum South. Their relationship defied convention, and yet it survived war and bitter family resentment.

Mr. Ramey, born in 1840, came from a prominent white family. Ms. Simkins was born a slave in 1845, most likely on a property called Edgewood owned by Francis Pickens, who would become a Confederate governor.

The love affair could have been lost if not for Paula Wright, a seventh-generation descendant of the couple who inherited vintage photographs documenting eight generations of her family, dating to 1805. Ms. Wright, a New York Times reader, shared her family’s story with Race/Related earlier this year…

Read the entire article here.

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Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-10-17 18:00Z by Steven

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Routledge
2018-09-04
358 pages
31 B/W Illus.
Paperback: 9781138485303
Hardback: 9781138727021
eBook (VitalSource): 9781315191065

Edited by:

Kwame Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ollie A. Johnson III, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Latin America has a rich and complex social history marked by slavery, colonialism, dictatorships, rebellions, social movements and revolutions. Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America explores the dynamic interplay between racial politics and hegemonic power in the region. It investigates the fluid intersection of social power and racial politics and their impact on the region’s histories, politics, identities and cultures.

Organized thematically with in-depth country case studies and a historical overview of Afro-Latin politics, the volume provides a range of perspectives on Black politics and cutting-edge analyses of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Regional coverage includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and more. Topics discussed include Afro-Civil Society; antidiscrimination criminal law; legal sanctions; racial identity; racial inequality and labor markets; recent Black electoral participation; Black feminism thought and praxis; comparative Afro-women social movements; the intersection of gender, race and class, immigration and migration; and citizenship and the struggle for human rights. Recognized experts in different disciplinary fields address the depth and complexity of these issues.

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America contributes to and builds on the study of Black politics in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America – Black Politics Matter [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
  • Part 1: History
    • 1. Beyond Representation: Rethinking Rights, Alliances and Migrations: Three Historical Themes in Afro-Latin American Political Engagement [Darién J. Davis]
    • 2. Recognition, Reparations, and Political Autonomy of Black and Native Communities in the Americas [Bernd Reiter]
    • 3. Pan-Africanism and Latin America [Elisa Larkin Nascimento]
  • Part 2: The Caribbean
    • 4. Black Activism and the State in Cuba [Danielle Pilar Clealand]
    • 5. Correcting Intellectual Malpractice: Haiti and Latin America [Jean-Germain Gros]
    • 6. Black Feminist Formations in the Dominican Republic since La Sentencia [April J. Mayes]
  • Part 3: South America
    • 7. Afro-Ecuadorian Politics [Carlos de la Torre and Jhon Antón Sánchez]
    • 8. In The Branch of Paradise: Geographies of Privilege and Black Social Suffering in Cali, Colombia [Jaime Amparo Alves and Aurora Vergara-Figueroa]
    • 9. The Impossible Black Argentine Political Subject [Judith M. Anderson]
    • 10. Current Representations of “Black” Citizens: Contentious Visibility within the Multicultural Nation [Laura de la Rosa Solano]
  • Part 4: Comparative Perspectives
    • 11. The Contours and Contexts of Afro-Latin American Women’s Activism [Kia Lilly Caldwell]
    • 12. Race and the Law in Latin America [Tanya Katerí Hernández]
    • 13. The Labyrinth of Ethnic-Racial Inequality: a Picture of Latin America according to the recent Census Rounds [Marcelo Paixão and Irene Rossetto]
    • 14. The Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals and Afro-descendants in the Americas: An (Un)intended Trap [Paula Lezama]
  • Conclusion [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
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Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2018-10-15 02:29Z by Steven

Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption

University of Nebraska Press
October 2018
352 pages
12 photographs
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0746-3
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1088-3
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1086-9

Susan Devan Harness, Member
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Bitterroot

In Bitterroot Susan Devan Harness traces her journey to understand the complexities and struggles of being an American Indian child adopted by a white couple and living in the rural American West. When Harness was fifteen years old, she questioned her adoptive father about her “real” parents. He replied that they had died in a car accident not long after she was born—except they hadn’t, as Harness would learn in a conversation with a social worker a few years later.

Harness’s search for answers revolved around her need to ascertain why she was the target of racist remarks and why she seemed always to be on the outside looking in. New questions followed her through college and into her twenties when she started her own family. Meeting her biological family in her early thirties generated even more questions. In her forties Harness decided to get serious about finding answers when, conducting oral histories, she talked with other transracial adoptees. In her fifties she realized that the concept of “home” she had attributed to the reservation existed only in her imagination.

Making sense of her family, the American Indian history of assimilation, and the very real—but culturally constructed—concept of race helped Harness answer the often puzzling questions of stereotypes, a sense of nonbelonging, the meaning of family, and the importance of forgiveness and self-acceptance. In the process Bitterroot also provides a deep and rich context in which to experience life.

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Race Experts: Sculpture, Anthropology, and the American Public in Malvina Hoffman’s Races of Mankind

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2018-10-15 02:17Z by Steven

Race Experts: Sculpture, Anthropology, and the American Public in Malvina Hoffman’s Races of Mankind

University of Nebraska Press
August 2018
420 pages
86 illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0185-0
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-0805-7
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-0803-3

Linda Kim, Associate Professor of American and Modern Art History
Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Race Experts

In Race Experts Linda Kim examines the complicated and ambivalent role played by sculptor Malvina Hoffman in T​he Races of Mankind series created for the Chicago Field Museum in 1930. Although Hoffman had training in fine arts and was a protégé of Auguste Rodin and Ivan Meštrović, she had no background in anthropology or museum exhibits. She was nonetheless commissioned by the Field Museum to make a series of life-size sculptures for the museum’s new racial exhibition, which became the largest exhibit on race ever installed in a museum and one of the largest sculptural commissions ever undertaken by a single artist.

Hoffman’s Races of Mankind exhibit was realized as a series of 104 bronzes of racial types from around the world, a unique visual mediation between anthropological expertise and everyday ideas about race in interwar America. Kim explores how the artist brought scientific understandings of race and the everyday racial attitudes of museum visitors together in powerful and productive friction. The exhibition compelled the artist to incorporate not only the expertise of racial science and her own artistic training but also the popular ideas about race that ordinary Americans brought to the museum. Kim situates the Races of Mankind exhibit at the juncture of these different forms of racial expertise and examines how the sculptures represented the messy resolutions between them.

Race Experts is a compelling story of ideological contradiction and accommodation within the racial practices of American museums, artists, and audiences.

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Complex look at Frederick Douglass with a lesson for Trump era

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-15 01:05Z by Steven

Complex look at Frederick Douglass with a lesson for Trump era

The Boston Globe
2018-10-12

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor; William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies
Princeton University


Enrique Moreiro for The Boston Globe

David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018)

David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass. With extraordinary detail he illuminates the complexities of Douglass’s life and career and paints a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the 19th century. One would expect nothing less. Blight, considered a leading authority on the slavery period, has been thinking about Douglass for over 35 years. The Yale historian wrote his dissertation on him. And now with unprecedented access to a trove of material gathered by African-American art collector Walter O. Evans, Blight sheds light on the final 30 years of Douglass’s life in ways we have never seen. The resulting chronicle enriches our understanding of Douglass and the challenges he faced and offers a lesson for our own troubled times.

What surfaces is a powerful and flawed human being. We see him struggling to create himself under the conditions of slavery, waging war against the peculiar institution with words and action, raging against “the infinite manifestations of racism” (what Douglass called our “national faith”), and remaining a loyal partisan of the Republican Party until the day his heart gave out in 1895 at age 77. His is a journey from radical outsider to political insider, a prophet whose fires cooled as he aged, gained famed, and acquired access to the corridors of power.

But we also get a glimpse of the intimate spaces of Douglass’s private life that are haunted by the specter of his slave experience. Blight reminds us that slavery stole from Douglass “all filial affection . . . [H]e never found it easy to love, while always seeking love as much as anything else in life.” Perhaps this gaping absence or, better, need, along with his hatred of slavery and American racism, kept him on the road, even in old age. Douglass maintained a back-breaking speaking schedule. Constantly traveling, he left his family in the hands of his unshakable wife, Anna Murray, an illiterate, free-born woman who grew up on the east bank of the Tuckahoe River in Maryland. It was she who bore the burden of raising their family, managing the household (often under financial duress), and helping to navigate the life of the most famous black man in the world…

Read the entire review here.

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