Carina E. Ray, Crossing the Color Line: race, sex, and the contested politics of colonialism in Ghana [Aderinto Review]

Posted in Articles, Arts, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-05-03 19:18Z by Steven

Carina E. Ray, Crossing the Color Line: race, sex, and the contested politics of colonialism in Ghana [Aderinto Review]

Africa
Volume 88, Issue 1 (February 2018)
pages 193-194
DOI: 10.1017/S0001972017000821

Saheed Aderinto, Associate Professor of History
Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina

Carina E. Ray, Crossing the Color Line: race, sex, and the contested politics of colonialism in Ghana. Athens OH: Ohio University Press (hb US$80 – 978 0 8214 2179 6; pb US$32.95 – 978 0 8214 2180 2). 2015, 333 pp.

In this creatively and brilliantly conceived book, Carina Ray uses the story of interracial sexual relationships between European men and African women in the Gold Coast and African men and European women in Britain as an entry point into a much broader history of racial and gender relations. Throughout, one learns about the interconnectedness of sexual and racial politics to the big question of colonial ‘civilization’. The author’s carefully sourced and previously untapped primary sources from both Ghana and Britain, combined with her ingenuity, give beauty to historical writing. Her detailed archival materials and oral interviews allow her to move from specific colonial trials of interracial affairs to big narratives on the transatlantic movement of ideas, practices and families, and anti-colonial struggles within the British Empire. The photographs of multiracial families strategically placed throughout further put a human face on her narratives, and bring readers another step closer to the lived experience of historical agents and the societies that produced them. The eight closely connected chapters introduce change and continuity in the politics of race and sex in both the Gold Coast and Britain, the factors responsible for change, and how social and political transformation of colonial legitimacy reshaped perceptions of interracial relationships across race, class, gender and location.

Any Africanist familiar with trends in the scholarship on race, gender, sexuality and empire would not contest the significant contributions of Ray’s Crossing the Color Line to African studies. For one thing, this book is another successful attempt at putting sexuality in its rightful place in the general history of the colonial encounter in Africa. Instead of following the established discourse of ‘sex peril’ or anxiety over the alleged rape of European women by African men in settler colonies of East and Southern Africa, Ray’s book presents convincing arguments and narratives that humanize socio-sexual relations and removes them from the margins of criminality and violence…

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Color Her Conscious: Nathalie Emmanuel Is the Latest to Advocate for Accurately ‘Melanated’ Casting

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Women on 2019-05-03 18:58Z by Steven

Color Her Conscious: Nathalie Emmanuel Is the Latest to Advocate for Accurately ‘Melanated’ Casting

The Glow Up
The Root
2019-04-26

Maiysha Kai, Managing Editor

Nathalie Emmanuel arrives at HBO’s Post Emmy Awards Reception on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Nathalie Emmanuel arrives at HBO’s Post Emmy Awards Reception on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

She’s already won hearts as the endearing Missandei on Game of Thrones, but actress Nathalie Emmanuel may have won herself a few more since last Sunday’s episode, all due to a simple tweet.

As Shadow & Act reported on Thursday, Emmanuel recently became the latest light-skinned actress to turn down a role for a darker-skinned character—even if only in a hypothetical sense…

…In disavowing a role intended for a darker-complected actress, Emmanuel joined fellow colorblind casting-averse actors like Amandla Stenberg in affirming that simply being of color isn’t the sole criteria for every black role. Stenberg (who now uses they/them pronouns) famously backed out of the casting process for Black Panther’s beloved Shuri because they felt it inappropriate as a light-complected, biracial actor…

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A Graphic Novel That Answers a Child’s Question About Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-03 15:16Z by Steven

A Graphic Novel That Answers a Child’s Question About Being Biracial

Book Review
The New York Times
2019-05-02

Ed Park


Mira Jacob

For a person of color in America, the term person of color can be both useful and divisive, at once a form of solidarity and a badge of alienation. There’s a flattening effect, too: A multitude of ethnicities and cultures, with their own color-coded nuances, get crammed into the initials P.O.C.

Among its many virtues, Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir, Good Talk (One World, $30), helps us think through this term with grace and disarming wit. The book lives up to its title, and reading these searching, often hilarious tête-à-têtes — with her parents and brother, confidantes and strangers, employers and exes — is as effortless as eavesdropping on a crosstown bus.

Mira lives in New York with her husband, Jed, who is white and Jewish, and their young son, Z., who is dark-skinned like his mother — a poster for racial harmony that can, in the current climate, feel like a target. Born in New Mexico to parents who immigrated from India in 1968, Mira is simply “brown,” if ethnically obscure, while growing up (“You’re Indian like feathers or Indian like dots?” a boy asks her). Ironically, she first feels the stigma of skin color on trips to her parents’ native country, thanks to not being as “fair” as the rest of her family. As a girl, Mira envisions the “lighter, happier, prettier me.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri review – a voyage to empowerment

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-05-03 13:35Z by Steven

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri review – a voyage to empowerment

The Guardian
2019-05-02

Colin Grant


Emma Dabiri records the external and internal pathologising of black hair as a chronic condition. Photograph: Silvana Trevale/The Guardian

Combs, braids and Bob Marley’s bad-hair days are explored in this richly researched cultural history

When Rita Anderson’s teenage boyfriend Bob was growing up in Jamaica’s Trenchtown ghetto, the fair-skinned future Rasta reggae star was so concerned to demonstrate his black heredity that he would get Rita to rub black shoe polish into his hair – so that, she says, it appeared “blacker, coarser and more African”. But after reading Emma Dabiri’s richly researched book, you wonder which model of African hair Bob Marley had in mind. For Dabiri shows that Africans have always paid close attention to the grooming and careful styling of hair, and in Yoruba the phrase for “dreadlocks” is irun were, which translates as “insane person’s hair-do”.

Like Marley, Dabiri also has black and white parents, and has wrestled with her identity. As a child in Ireland, people volunteered opinions about her hair that made her feel ashamed and “like an abomination”. But her personal story merely serves in the book as a jumping off point for an exploration of many subjects, among them colourism and self-worth.

Dabiri, who is a teaching fellow at SOAS, argues that the “desire to conform” to a European “aesthetic which values light skin and straight hair is the result of a propaganda campaign that has lasted more than 500 years”. European powers saw African culture as an impediment to productivity. “Idle husbands”, fumed one colonial administrator, wasted hours setting their wives the task of “braiding and fettishing out their woolly hair”…

Read the entire review here.

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Don’t Touch My Hair

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2019-05-03 13:30Z by Steven

Don’t Touch My Hair

Allen Lane (an imprint of Penguin)
2019-02-05
240 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780241308349
Ebook ISBN: 9780141986296

Emma Dabiri, Teaching Fellow SOAS; Visual Sociology Ph.D. Researcher, Goldsmiths

Despite our more liberal world views, black hair continues to be erased, appropriated and stigmatised to the point of taboo. Why is that?

Recent years have seen the conversation around black hair reach tipping point, yet detractors still proclaim ‘it’s only hair!’ when it never is. This book seeks to re-establish the cultural significance of African hairstyles, using them as a blueprint for decolonisation. Over a series of wry, informed essays, the author takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and into today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. We look at the trajectory from hair capitalists like Madam CJ Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, touching on everything from women’s solidarity and friendship, to forgotten African scholars, to the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.

The scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems – the bedrock of modern computing – in black hair styles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.

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ABC Orders ‘Black-Ish’ Prequel ‘Mixed-Ish’ Starring Tika Sumpter, Renews Parent Series For Season 6

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-03 13:11Z by Steven

ABC Orders ‘Black-Ish’ Prequel ‘Mixed-Ish’ Starring Tika Sumpter, Renews Parent Series For Season 6

Shadow And Act
2019-05-02

black-ish has been renewed for Season 6 and ABC has also officially ordered a prequel series, mixed-ish.

The fact that mixed-ish has received an early series order ahead of upfronts shows the network’s heavy confidence in the second black-ish series following Freeform’s grown-ish. Initially set to air this season, the mixed-ish backdoor pilot will air as an episode of black-ish next season.

The official description for mixed-ish: Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow’s parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they’re perceived as neither black nor white. This family’s experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one’s own identity when the rest of the world can’t decide where you belong…

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