Novels That Reach for the Stars : DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETERY, By John Gregory Brown (Houghton Mifflin: $19.95; 244 pp.)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-29 00:09Z by Steven

Novels That Reach for the Stars : DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETERY, By John Gregory Brown (Houghton Mifflin: $19.95; 244 pp.)

The Los Angeles Times
1994-01-23

Margaret Langstaff

I wish more people today would attempt books like this one, novels that take on the big questions, the eternal verities, and, without pretense and a whole lot of claptrap, address the difficulty of finding meaning and significance in life. For this is the stuff of which classics are made and what literature, certainly, is all about. That John Gregory Brown had the nerve to square off before such issues in his first novel is by itself laudable. The fact that he wrote a fine story with believable, memorable characters in the process is reason for applause.

Brown, not yet 40, writes out of the Southern tradition in fiction, and is midway, in terms of depth and accessibility, between Faulkner and Walker Percy, (sort of a Lite-Faulkner or a Percy au jus.) Race, family, heritage, faith, good and evil are the obsessions in question, and the plot turns on critical choices having to do with one’s understanding of the difference between virtuous behavior and cowardice, and one’s courage to do the right thing. More readable than Faulkner, less comedic than Percy, Brown is nonetheless in their direct line of descent, their natural heir, without any obvious imitation.

Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery” concerns the Eagen family of New Orleans and its immediate vicinity, Irish Catholics whose lineage is made more colorful, if not more difficult, by containing within it a black matriarch who mysteriously, in midlife, disappears, leaving her husband and small son to continue their lives without her. The legacy of this racial intermarriage and the mystery of Molly Moore Eagen’s disappearance–unsolved until the book’s final pages–haunt and twist the lives of three generations of Eagens…

Read the entire review here.

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How race shapes personal relationships in Canada

Posted in Canada, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Videos on 2019-05-28 01:01Z by Steven

How race shapes personal relationships in Canada

Globalnews.ca
2019-05-23

According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, less than five per cent of marriages in Canada are between interracial couples. An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found 15 per cent of Canadians would never consider marrying someone of a different ethnicity. Mike Drolet looks at attitudes towards mixed-race relationships in Canada.

Watch the story here.

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Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, A Novel

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-28 00:10Z by Steven

Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, A Novel

University of South Carolina Press
May 2019 (originally published in 1994)
256 pages
5.5 x 8
Paperback ISBN 978-1-64336-018-8

John Gregory Brown

A luminous and heartbreaking tale of identity, devotion, and regret

John Gregory Brown’s debut novel examines family, race, and faith in a heartbreaking tale of identity, devotion, and regret. The story centers on the Eagen family of New Orleans, Irish Catholics of “mixed blood” in a city where race defines destiny. In 1965 Thomas Eagen and his twelve-years-old twins, Meredith and Lowell, abruptly drive off, leaving his second wife, Catherine, and their home. As they cross Lake Pontchartrain, a section of the bridge collapses, injuring Murphy Warrington, an African American man who once worked for Thomas’s father. Murphy becomes the catalyst for a series of revelations about Thomas’s light-skinned black mother and the reasons she abandoned her husband and son when Thomas was an infant.

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Reviewed Work: Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010 by Nerad, Julie Cary

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-05-27 22:02Z by Steven

Reviewed Work: Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010 by Nerad, Julie Cary

CLA Journal
Volume 61, Number 3 (March 2018)
pages 250-253
DOI: 10.34042/claj.61.3.0250

Sharon L. Jones, Professor of English
Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Nerad, Julie Cary. Passing Interest: Racial Passing in Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990-2010. Albany: SUNY Press, 2014. 360pp. ISBN: 9781438452272. $95.00. Hardcover.

Passing Interest. Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990-2010 provides relevant, meaningful information because of its scope and range. Julie Cary Nerad, the editor and the other contributors, should be praised for the book, which features innovative contributions offering new and useful analysis of literature and film from varying critical perspectives. Overall, it serves an important purpose in advancing knowledge, discussion, and debates about different genres and centuries. Ultimately, Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990-2010 promotes a reconsideration of how numerous factors influence literature and popular culture.

In “Preface: The ‘Posts’ of Passing,” Gayle Wald assesses the book in an enlightening and thoughtful manner by drawing upon personal and academic contexts (vii-x). Wald states, “In particular, this book expands upon a rich body of scholarship on passing by exploring recent literary and visual texts produced in an era often referred to as ‘post-racial,’ and by bringing a host of new voices to the scholarly con-versation” (vii). Wald astutely acknowledges the scholarly writings of other authors, and some examples include the following: Barbara Christian, Houston Baker, Valerie Smith, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as well as Werner Sollors (viii). Wald also stresses, “In some ways, the essays in Passing Interest are about the conditions of the possibility of post-ness itself “ (ix). Wald’s approach demonstrates the book’s relevant position in helping potential readers to better understand contemporary and earlier times.

As both editor and contributor, Julie Cary Nerad highlights her careful and meticulous approach to analyzing the book’s topic. In “Introduction: the (Not So) New Face of America,’’ (chapter one) Nerad argues that “ln the United States, race does still matter. Indeed, the concept of race continues to be a fundamental element of identity in America” (5). Nerad identifies several books that are noteworthy including Crossing the Line: Racial Passing in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature and Culture, Passing and the Fictions of Identity, Passing: Identity and Interpretation in Sexuality, Race, and Religion, as well as acknowledging additional scholarship (12). Nerad contends “These works generally read passing texts from early American literature up to the Civil Rights Era” (12). Nerad’s introductory essay then lays a foundation for the idea that Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990-2010 proves distinct from many other books because of its emphasis on analyzing more recent publications (12).

The subsequent chapters offer useful insight or perspectives. For example, the second and third chapters concentrate on nonfiction and present illuminating commentary. In “On the Margins of a Movement: Passing in Three Contemporary…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Fear of a Multiracial Planet: Loving’s Children and the Genocide of the White Race

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-27 02:16Z by Steven

Fear of a Multiracial Planet: Loving’s Children and the Genocide of the White Race

Fordham Law Review
Volume 86, Issue 6 (2018)
pages 2761-2771

Reginald Oh, Professor of Law
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio

Part I analyzes the Loving decision striking down antimiscegenation laws and examines the segregationists’ justifications for antimiscegenation laws. Next, Part II explores the historical opposition of white segregationists to interracial marriages, families, and children and argues that the principle and practice of endogamy is a central feature of Jim Crow segregation. Finally, Part III examines the present ideology of white nationalism and shows that white nationalists oppose interracial unions and families for some of the same reasons that white segregationists opposed them. Specifically, white nationalists oppose interracial families because they are one of the main factors contributing to the so-called genocide of the white race.

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial Malaise: Multiracial as a Legal Racial Category

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-05-27 01:58Z by Steven

Multiracial Malaise: Multiracial as a Legal Racial Category

Fordham Law Review
Volume 86, Issue 6 (2018)
pages 2783-2793

Taunya Lovell Banks, Jacob A. France Professor of Equality Jurisprudence
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

The focus of this Article is the underlying assumption of the Brookings Institution report that multiracial individuals constitute a separate racial category. My discussion of legal racial categories focuses only on government “racial” definitions. Multiracial individuals should enjoy the freedom to self-identify as they wish—and, like others, be afforded the protections of anti discrimination law. The question is whether a separate legal racial category is needed to provide that protection. Race in this country has been “crafted from the point of view of [white] race protection” protecting the interests of white Americans from usurpation by non whites and, unless the creation of a separate multiracial legal category advances this goal, change will be resisted. Commentaries grounded in Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and federal statutory anti-discrimination jurisprudence shape the construction of racial categories in U.S. law. This jurisprudence influences the racial categories and definitions used for the census. The next Part briefly discusses the attempt to get a multiracial category on the U.S. census.

[R]ace is at once an empty category and a powerful instrument. —Melissa Nobles1

Racism is about race: more races can lead . . . to changes in the way racism is presented, and ultimately to more, rather than less, racism. —Paulette M. Caldwell2

INTRODUCTION

The fiftieth anniversary of Loving v. Virginia,3 which struck down Virginia’s antimiscegenation statute, provides an opportunity to reflect on Loving’s impact. A 2017 Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data found that interracial marriages constitute 17 percent of all marriages,4 which represents an increase of 14 percent since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Loving in 1967.5 One byproduct of the increase in interracial marriages is the growing number and prominence of multiracial children. For example, a July 2017 Brookings Institution report characterizes Barack Obama, born six years before Loving, as the person who gave growing “prominence” to the emergence of multiracial people in America.6

Increasingly, there is interest in the offspring of interracial unions and how they compare to monoracial individuals. The Brookings Institution, for example, reported that “there is no test score gap between white and multiracial high school students.”7 The report seems to define “multiracial” very narrowly as people with parents from different racialized groups.8 Yet the multiracial population in the United States is not a new phenomenon. By limiting multiracial “to first-generation children of interracial couples,”9 as others have, the report fails to acknowledge older and larger generations whose genealogical mixture is more distant. Many of the people within this older multiracial population are racially classified by government and custom as black or African American, and they constitute “around 40 [percent] of the total population.”10 In contrast, according to the 2000 census, firstgeneration multiracial individuals (including those with remote African ancestry) make up roughly 2 percent of the total population and are more likely to be seen as multiracial.11

Proponents of a multiracial legal category complain that multiracial individuals are harmed by not being recognized under law as multiracial. Specifically, they argue that the law neither recognizes their personal identity nor protects their right to self-identify racially and to have that identity accepted.12 Despite the long history of multiracial people in the United States, Fourteenth Amendment equal protection constitutional jurisprudence, statutory antidiscrimination laws, and the census do not formally recognize a separate multiracial category. Thus, the question is whether legal recognition is needed to remedy race-based discrimination experienced by multiracial individuals.13

Historically, courts grappling with racial-identity questions looked at three factors, phenotypical characteristics, ancestry, and racial reputation in the community, to resolve the issue.14 The courts relied on a binary classification system of white and nonwhite; the underlying issue in these cases being whether one party had any nonwhite ancestry. Thus, until recently, Barack Obama, despite his white mother, would be classified racially as black, since twentieth-century notions of race held that any known African ancestry made one black.15

Admittedly, since Loving, conventional notions of race in the United States have “destabilized” as a result of “increases in immigration, intermarriage, and cross-racial adoptions.”16 Reflecting the era of racial self-identification,17 racial categories are more fluid in the twenty-first century, even for people who, historically, racially classified as black. These attitudinal changes are reflected in a 2007 Pew Research Center finding that “[n]early four-in-ten African Americans (37%) say that blacks can no longer be thought of as a single race” because of increasing diversity within that community.18

Conventional blackness, where one is “black” if one’s African ancestry is visible or known,19 is on the wane. As critical race theory legal scholar Neil Gotanda posits, race—particularly the racial category “black”—while a consistent and constant “social divider,” is not a “stable, coherent legal and social concept.”20 Today, people with some African ancestry may move away from blackness and, in some respects, the legal multiracial category movement is an example.21

The focus of this Article is the underlying assumption of the Brookings Institution report that multiracial individuals constitute a separate racial category. My discussion of legal racial categories focuses only on government “racial” definitions. Multiracial individuals should enjoy the freedom to self-identify as they wish—and, like others, be afforded the protections of antidiscrimination law. The question is whether a separate legal racial category is needed to provide that protection. Race in this country has been “crafted from the point of view of [white] race protection”22— protecting the interests of white Americans from usurpation by nonwhites and, unless the creation of a separate multiracial legal category advances this goal, change will be resisted.

Commentaries grounded in Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and federal statutory antidiscrimination jurisprudence shape the construction of racial categories in U.S. law. This jurisprudence influences the racial categories and definitions used for the census. The next Part briefly discusses the attempt to get a multiracial category on the U.S. census…

Read the entire article here.

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We’re in planning mode for the 2019 Midwest Mixed Conference!

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2019-05-26 03:44Z by Steven

We’re in planning mode for the 2019 Midwest Mixed Conference!

2019 Midwest Mixed Conference: Disrupting the Single Story
First Universalist Church
3400 Dupont Ave South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
2019-07-12 through 2019-07-14

MWM_SaveTheDate.jpg

We’re always looking for amazing people to join our team! Whether it’s a few moments of your time or dedicating a day to volunteer at our 2019 Conference, we appreciate all the help we can get.

For more information, click here.

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The Prism of Race: The Politics and Ideology of Affirmative Action in Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-05-26 02:04Z by Steven

The Prism of Race: The Politics and Ideology of Affirmative Action in Brazil

University of Michigan Press
2018
272 pages
2 tables
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-472-13084-9
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-472-12389-6
DOI: 10.3998/mpub.9736376

David Lehmann, Emeritus Reader in Social Science
Cambridge University

Foreword by:

Antonio Sergio Guimarães, Senior Professor of Sociology
University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Brazil has developed a distinctive response to the injustices inflicted by the country’s race relations regime. Despite the mixed racial background of most Brazilians, the state recognizes people’s racial classification according to a simple official scheme in which those self-assigned as black, together with “brown” and “indigenous” (preto-pardo-indigena), can qualify for specially allocated resources, most controversially quota places at public universities. Although this quota system has been somewhat successful, many other issues that disproportionately affect the country’s black population remain unresolved, and systemic policies to reduce structural inequality remain off the agenda.

In The Prism of Race, David Lehmann explores, theoretically and practically, issues of race, the state, social movements, and civil society, and then goes beyond these themes to ask whether Brazilian politics will forever circumvent the severe problems facing the society by co-optation and by tinkering with unjust structures. Lehmann disrupts the paradigm of current scholarly thought on Brazil, placing affirmative action disputes in their political and class context, bringing back the concept of state corporatism, and questioning the strength and independence of Brazilian civil society.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. After Durban
  • 3. Classification Wars
  • 4. Race, Class, and Education in the Search for Social Justice
  • 5. The Movimento Negro between State, Civil Society, and Market
  • 6. The Campaign and Theories of Social Movements
  • Appendix A: Selected Indicators on the Growth of the Brazilian Higher Education System (2003–2014)
  • Appendix B: Interviews Carried Out between 2008 and 2014
  • Glossary
  • Footnotes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Black Sheep Boy

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-25 19:44Z by Steven

Black Sheep Boy

Rare Bird Books
2016
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1942600374
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1947856066

Martin Pousson

Black Sheep Boy

  • PEN Center USA Fiction Award Winner
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Winner
  • Simpson Family Literary Prize Finalist
  • Los Angeles Times Literary Pick
  • NPR: The Reading Life Featured Book
  • The Millions Best Summer Horror Selection
  • Book Riot Must-Read Indie Press Book
  • On Top Down Under Book of the Year Finalist
  • Best Gay Fiction Selection
  • Best Gay Speculative Fiction Selection

Meet Boo, a wild-hearted boy from the bayou land of Louisiana. Misfit, outcast, loner. Call him anything but a victim. Sissy, fairy, Jenny Woman. Son of a mixed-race Holy Ghost mother and a Cajun French phantom father. In a series of tough and tender stories, he encounters gender outlaws, drag queen renegades, and a rogues gallery of sex-starved priests, perverted teachers, and murderous bar owners. To escape his haunted history, Boo must shed his old skin and make a new self. As he does, his story rises from dark and murk, from moss and mud, to reach a new light and a new brand of fairy tale. Cajun legends, queer fantasies, and universal myths converge into a powerful work of counter-realism. Black Sheep Boy is a song of passion and a novel of defiance.

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Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States on 2019-05-25 18:12Z by Steven

Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love

Copper Canyon Press
2019-05-21
80 pages
5.9 x 0.3 x 8.9 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-1556595615

Keith S. Wilson, Poet, Editor, Game Designer

Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love is a collection whose poems approach family, politics, and romance, often through the lens of space: the vagaries of a relationship full of wonder and coldness, separation and exploration. There is the sense of the speaker as a cartographer of familiar spaces, of land he has never left or relationships that have stayed with him for years, and always with the newness of an alien or stranger. Acutely attuned to the heritage of Greco-Roman myth, Wilson writes through characters such as the Basilisk and the Minotaur, emphasizing the intense loneliness these characters experience from their uniqueness. For the racially ambiguous speaker of these poems, who is both black and not black, who has lived between the American South and the Midwest, there are no easy answers. From the fields of Kentucky to the pigeon coops of Chicago, identities and locations blur―the pastoral bleeds into the Afrofuturist, black into white and back again.

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