Dwayne Johnson identifies as both ‘Black and Samoan’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive on 2019-03-25 14:33Z by Steven

Dwayne Johnson identifies as both ‘Black and Samoan’

IOL News
2019-03-20


Producer and cast member Dwayne Johnson poses at the premiere of the film “Fighting With My Family” during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Park City, Utah. Picture: AP

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson responded to a social media debate between fans to confirm that he identifies as both Black and Samoan.

The Hollywood star and former WWE champion responded to a social media debate between wrestling fans regarding his ethnicity and how he was portrayed on screen, with one arguing that Johnson – whose father Rocky was Black Canadian and whose mother Ata came from a Samoan family – identified with the latter professionally…

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Color Me In, A Novel

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Judaism, Novels, Passing, Religion, United States on 2019-03-25 14:33Z by Steven

Color Me In, A Novel

Delacorte Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2019-08-20
384 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525578239
eBook ISBN: 9780525578246
Audiobook ISBN: 9781984889140

Natasha Díaz

Color Me In

Debut YA author Natasha Díaz pulls from her personal experience to inform this powerful coming-of-age novel about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds.

Who is Nevaeh Levitz?

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.

Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?

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Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2019-03-25 14:20Z by Steven

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Polity
May 2019
172 pages
138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 9781509526390
Paperback ISBN: 9781509526406
Open eBook ISBN: 9781509526437

Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Princeton University

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce white supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Far from a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, Benjamin argues that automation has the potential to hide, speed, and even deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of tool – a technology designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice that is part of the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

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Quiet as its Kept: Passing Subjects, Contested Identities

Posted in Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2019-03-25 14:18Z by Steven

Quiet as its Kept: Passing Subjects, Contested Identities

Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, New York
Friday, 2019-04-05 through Sunday, 2019-04-07

Passing Beyond Passing

The phrase “passing for white” first appears in advertisements for the return of runaway slaves. Abolitionist fiction later adopts the phenomenon of racial passing (together with the figure of the “white slave”) as a major literary theme. The term continued to enjoy currency in literature in the postbellum era and during the Harlem Renaissance. Today, “passing” has various manifestations and applications. Not limited to race, the term may indicate subversions of gender, sexuality, religion, ability and class, among other identity coordinates.

This conference responds to renewed interest in passing that derives from the popularity of genetic genealogy tests, sensational cases of racial fraud (i.e., Rachel Dolezal), the idea of “realness” appropriated from ball culture, racial ambiguity in a surveillance state, public fascination with celebrities like Meghan Markle, and the construction (and manipulation) of online identities (i.e., catfishing and blackfishing). Interdisciplinary perspectives on passing, miscegenation, authenticity, sexuality, kinship, and racial ambiguity in the arts, law, memory, popular culture, and the racial state are invited. Themes may include betrayal, secrecy, dissimulation, subjectivity, masquerade, visibility/invisibility, surveillance, fraud, and belonging.

At Vassar College, interest in this topic has reemerged since the publication of Karin Tanabe’s novel The Gilded Years (2016), about Anita Hemmings’ experience as the first black woman known to attend the College. In 1900, poet, novelist, lyricist Paul Laurence Dunbar modeled one of his musical characters (Parthenia Jenkins in Uncle Eph’s Christmas) after Anita Hemmings. By placing a character with Hemmings’ stature in a farce, Dunbar lampoons class / caste based distinctions. More importantly, he associates Hemmings – a racial performer celebrated for her respectability – with less-respected, equally assertive performers of race. Hemmings’s story is currently being adapted into a film, A White Lie, starring Zendaya and produced by Reese Witherspoon and Zendaya. This conference provides an opportunity to reflect on Hemmings’ experience – and those of other black women – who integrated women’s colleges.

This conference is also an occasion to rethink identity categories that have long been naturalized or taken for granted. From critical race theorists, sociologists, and social psychologists like Cheryl I. Harris, George Lipsitz, and Claude Steele to labor historians and feminist scholars such as David Roediger and Ruth Frankenberg, many intellectuals have examined whiteness as a social formation to which disparate ethnic groups (i.e., Jewish, Italian, and Irish) have assimilated. This conference (and concomitant art show at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center) can facilitate careful rethinking of assumptions about identity formations and affiliations. All are welcome.

For more information, click here.

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Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2019-03-25 13:59Z by Steven

Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain

University of Alabama Press
February 2019
312 pages
9 B&W figures / 3 maps / 23 tables
Trade Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8173-2007-2
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8173-9220-8

Norah L. A. Gharala, Colonial Latin Americanist and Assistant Professor of World History
Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey

A definitive analysis of the most successful tribute system in the Americas as applied to Afromexicans

During the eighteenth century, hundreds of thousands of free descendants of Africans in Mexico faced a highly specific obligation to the Spanish crown, a tax based on their genealogy and status. This royal tribute symbolized imperial loyalties and social hierarchies. As the number of free people of color soared, this tax became a reliable source of revenue for the crown as well as a signal that colonial officials and ordinary people referenced to define and debate the nature of blackness.

Taxing Blackness:Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain examines the experiences of Afromexicans and this tribute to explore the meanings of race, political loyalty, and legal privileges within the Spanish colonial regime. Norah L. A. Gharala focuses on both the mechanisms officials used to define the status of free people of African descent and the responses of free Afromexicans to these categories and strategies. This study spans the eighteenth century and focuses on a single institution to offer readers a closer look at the place of Afromexican individuals in Bourbon New Spain, which was the most profitable and populous colony of the Spanish Atlantic.

As taxable subjects, many Afromexicans were deeply connected to the colonial regime and ongoing debates about how taxpayers should be defined, whether in terms of reputation or physical appearance. Gharala shows the profound ambivalence, and often hostility, that free people of African descent faced as they navigated a regime that simultaneously labeled them sources of tax revenue and dangerous vagabonds. Some free Afromexicans paid tribute to affirm their belonging and community ties. Others contested what they saw as a shameful imposition that could harm their families for generations. The microhistory includes numerous anecdotes from specific cases and people, bringing their history alive, resulting in a wealth of rural and urban, gender, and family insight.

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The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-03-25 13:36Z by Steven

The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life

Dover Publications
2013-11-21 (Originally published in 1931)
352 pages
5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
ISBN: 978-0486493220

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Adultery, incest, and questions of racial identity simmer beneath the tranquil surface of suburban life in this novel, set in a small New Jersey town of the early 1900s. Lovely young Laurentine is obsessed with her “bad blood,” inherited from a common-law interracial union. Proud and independent, she longs for the respectability of a conventional marriage. Laurentine’s vivacious and self-confident cousin, Melissa, also aspires to “marry up.” But a family secret shadows Melissa’s dreams and ambitions as she approaches an explosive revelation.

African-American editor, poet, essayist, and novelist Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882–1961) was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. An editor of the NAACP magazine The Crisis, she was also an editor and co-author of the African-American children’s magazine, The Brownies’ Book. Her third novel, The Chinaberry Tree, draws upon elements of Greek tragedy in its powerful depiction of interracial love and marriage. The tale also offers a modern perspective on the struggle of its African-American heroines toward self-knowledge.

Reprinted from the Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1931 edition.

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The (Dis)Ability of Color; or, That Middle World: Toward A New Understanding of 19th and 20th Century Passing Narratives

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-03-25 13:16Z by Steven

The (Dis)Ability of Color; or, That Middle World: Toward A New Understanding of 19th and 20th Century Passing Narratives

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
2015

Julia S. Charles, Assistant Professor of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

This dissertation mines the intersection of racial performance and the history of the so-called “tragic mulatto” figure in American fiction. I propose that while many white writers depicted the “mulatto” character as inherently flawed because of some tainted “black blood,” many black writers’ depictions of mixed-race characters imagine solutions to the race problem. Many black writers critiqued some of America’s most egregious sins by demonstrating linkages between major shifts in American history and the mixed-race figure. Landmark legislation such as, Fugitive Slave Act 1850 and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) are often plotlines in African American passing literature, thus demonstrating the failure of America to acknowledge its wrongdoings against people of color. While this project surveys passing narratives collectively, it pays careful consideration to those novelists whose presentations of the mixed-race figure challenge previously conceived notions of the “tragic mulatto” figure. I investigate how the writers each illuminate elements of the history of slavery and its aftermath in order to remark on black disenfranchisement at the turn of the century. Ultimately, however, I argue for the importance of the mixed-race figure as a potent symbol for imagined resolution between the larger narrative of American freedom and enslavement of blacks in the United States.

I examine several works of African American racial passing literature: William Wells Brown’s The Escape; Or, A Leap for Freedom (1858), the first published play by an African American writer. It explores the complexities of American culture at a time when tensions between North and South were about to explode into the Civil War. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860), tells the true story of the mixed-race Ellen Craft and her husband who escaped to freedom through various racial performances. Nella Larsen sets her novella Passing (1929) in Harlem in the 1920s. The story centers on two childhood friends reunited, but each dealing with their mixed-race ancestry in different ways. Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral (1928) and The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life (1931) and Charles W. Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth” and “A Matter of Principle” (1900). endeavors to depict a better class of blacks through her examination of the fair-skinned bourgeois-striver Angela Murray. Each of these stories address American legacies of racism and representation beginning with the Civil War.

I investigate how these authors use the mixed-race figure (mostly) following the Civil War to mark the continuing impact that its legacy has had on black Americans through the New Negro Harlem Renaissance, but also to gesture to the mythic moment of freedom symbolized by successfully crossing the so-called color line. In addition to cataloguing an era of migration, the African American passing narrative represents the moment in which we shift from only seeing characters in terms of monoracial identities. These writers suggest that new performative modes of racial affiliation are necessary to achieve freedom. Reminding us that characters of mixed status practiced race in ways that enabled them to build shared identity despite an often disparate cultural heritage, these works suggest that identities like blackness are always constituted through performance. I argue that racial passing facilitated the “performance” of whiteness together with, an acknowledgment of what is accepted as blackness.

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Experiencing Racial Identities: Passing in ‘Assassin’s Creed: Liberation’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-03-25 12:55Z by Steven

Experiencing Racial Identities: Passing in ‘Assassin’s Creed: Liberation’

Pop Matters
2012-10-30

G. Christopher Williams, Professor of English
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

In a recent issue of Game Informer, Matt Miller describes the addition of a new mechanic to the Assassin’s Creed series that involves taking on what Ubisoft Sofia is calling “personas” in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation. Miller explains that the first female protagonist in an Assassin’s Creed game, Aveline, is “a woman of mixed race who also has access to significant financial resources,” and as a result that the character will have “access to three personas as she wanders New Orleans [. . .] each represented by a change in abilities and clothing (“10 Cool Features You Don’t Know about Assasssin’s Creed III . . . and 5 More from Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, Game Informer. November 2012. p. 97). Barring the persona of the assassin, the two other personas available to Aveline are “the lady persona,” which consists of “the constraining dress of an affluent New Orleans woman” that will limit “her mobility [. . .], but she [will] gain the ability to charm her way past soldiers and other obstacles that would stand in her way.” The final persona puts her in the guise of “a local slave,” which allows her to “slip unnoticed past opponents or incite a riot with the local populace.”

Fans of the series will probably immediately recognize that what has previously been a mechanic enacted in the Assassin’s Creed series by hiring groups of prostitutes, gypsies, mercenaries, and thieves in order to create distractions and throw off guards in this stealth series has now become a mechanic directly associated with the protagonist herself. Now Aveline’s disguises will allow her to do what otherwise had previously only been accomplished by hiring some outside help…

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