The clear genetic boundaries that racists crave to bolster their narrative are simply absent from the analyses of our 20,000-odd genes and their variants.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-02-07 19:27Z by Steven

The claim that genetics supports any form of racism – or that it supports the idea of race as a biologically meaningful concept – is a fallacy, argues the geneticist, author and Twitter warrior Adam Rutherford, in this slim, two-fingered salute to the haters: “The continual failure to settle on the number of races is indicative of its folly. No one has ever agreed how many races there are, nor what their essential features might be, aside from the sweeping generalisations about skin colour, hair texture and some facial features.” The clear genetic boundaries that racists crave to bolster their narrative are simply absent from the analyses of our 20,000-odd genes and their variants.

Anjana Ajuha, “The pseudoscience of hate,” The New Statesman, February 5, 2020. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2020/02/how-to-argue-with-a-racist-adam-rutherford-review.

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Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

Posted in Arts, Biography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-07 18:28Z by Steven

Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park, Maryland 20742-1625
2020-02-07 and 2020-02-08, 20:00 EST (Local Time)

After moving audiences at The Clarice in 2017, trumpeter, composer and comedian Ahamefule J. Oluo returns with “Susan,” a memoir delivered through wry comedic monologue and live, grand-scale big-band and jazz.

When Susan Hawley was a sophomore in college, she fell in love with a doctoral student from Nigeria. They got married, had two children, and just as their dream life seemed like it was coalescing, her husband went back to Nigeria to visit his family and never contacted her again—leaving her a Midwestern white lady with two African babies. They were desperately poor; Susan began gaining weight rapidly, soon reaching 400 pounds. These were the cards she was dealt. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s theatrical work, Susan, tells his mother’s story as a means to tell the story of millions of women. It is a tangible crystallization of how race, class and size affect people all over the world every day. Despite all that darkness, Susan will be funny. It’s a collection of wry, black, but humane monologues, interspersed with live, grand-scale orchestral music.

This vulnerable theatrical work about his childhood tells the story of how his Midwestern mother was left to raise two bi-racial babies after the sudden departure of her husband. There’s obvious chemistry between Oluo’s singular voice and the grand creation of the music; at times, when the story is too painful for him, the ensemble carries the show. “Susan” is a category-defying reflection on how race, class, and appearance impact everyone—and how we play the hand that we’re dealt.

In 2002, after being selected as Town Hall Seattle’s first-ever artist-in-residence, Oluo realized he wanted to do something different. After years of performing and recording with prominent musicians like John Zorn, Hey Marseilles, Wayne Horvitz and Macklemore, Oluo knew he had his own story to tell—and the diverse set of skills to do it. During his time in residency, he began experimenting with blending big-band, jazz, standup and memoir to formulate a new musical and theatrical identity.

For more information, click here.

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Andrea Levy, my brilliant friend

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-07 16:02Z by Steven

Andrea Levy, my brilliant friend

The New Statesman
2020-02-05

Gary Younge

Remembering the novelist, one year after her death.

While Bill Mayblin, the novelist Andrea Levy’s widower, was gathering her things for the British Library archive, he came across a red Moleskine book containing a handwritten tale that he’d never seen before.

Entitled “Two”, it is a brief dialogue between two unnamed functionaries working for the Grim Reaper . They are discussing Andrea’s impending death. With a mixture of wry cynicism, callous ambivalence and bureaucratic nonchalance they ponder her admittance, as though standing at a water cooler in a celestial call centre.

I have someone for you.
Good. Male or female?
Female.
Childbirth?
Don’t be silly, we haven’t done childbirth in ages. It’s a bit rare you know.
Around here maybe but not in other parts.
Well, maybe so. But childbirth… no. Cancer.
Breast?
Of course.
I’m not going to have to hang about for ages am I? Only the last one took years.
It’s on. It’s off. Tries my patience.

As a close friend of Andrea’s, who talked with her a lot about the cancer she had and the death that was coming, I found the voices were recognisably hers. She lived with cancer for a decade – long enough for her to joke that she stopped telling people about it because some looked almost disappointed when they bumped into her and found her looking fine…

Read the entire article here.

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Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain’s Atlantic Empire

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-02-07 15:45Z by Steven

Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain’s Atlantic Empire

University of North Carolina Press
June 2020
Approx. 336 pages
10 halftones, 5 figs., 7 tables, notes, index
6.125 x 9.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5879-7
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5526-0

Christine Walker, Assistant Professor of History
Yale-NUS College, Singapore

Jamaica Ladies is the first systematic study of the free and freed women of European, Euro-African, and African descent who perpetuated chattel slavery and reaped its profits in the British Empire. Their actions helped transform Jamaica into the wealthiest slaveholding colony in the Anglo-Atlantic world. Starting in the 1670s, a surprisingly large and diverse group of women helped secure English control of Jamaica and, crucially, aided its developing and expanding slave labor regime by acquiring enslaved men, women, and children to protect their own tenuous claims to status and independence.

Female colonists employed slaveholding as a means of advancing themselves socially and financially on the island. By owning others, they wielded forms of legal, social, economic, and cultural authority not available to them in Britain. In addition, slaveholding allowed free women of African descent, who were not far removed from slavery themselves, to cultivate, perform, and cement their free status. Alongside their male counterparts, women bought, sold, stole, and punished the people they claimed as property and vociferously defended their rights to do so. As slavery’s beneficiaries, these women worked to stabilize and propel this brutal labor regime from its inception.

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