The Cultural Coach: Being biracial should be a bridge, not a wall

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2021-01-05 02:12Z by Steven

The Cultural Coach: Being biracial should be a bridge, not a wall

The Philadelphia Daily Sun
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Linda S. Wallace

Dear Cultural Coach:

I am one of four biracial children in my family. My grandfather and I were doing an essay on the state of Black youths in America. I brought the question to my grandfather, “Where do I fit in?” My grandfather’s reaction was, “What do you mean?” I explained that I am neither Black nor white. Then he asked me how I felt, and I said, “At school, for example, when I hang out with the Blacks, then the Black girls see me as a Black girl. But when I hang out with the white girls, some Black girls see me as a white girl.” In my family on my mom’s side, my grandfather does not claim me.”

In between two worlds

Dear In Between:

You belong to the cultural communities of both your mother and your father.

It is unfortunate that some of your relatives won’t claim you because you are biracial. Please don’t let their beliefs define you. Don’t ever give anyone the power to change the way you feel about yourself.

Every so often in life, you will cross paths with individuals who are prejudiced or just mean. It is important to learn how to repel these statements so that you can hold on to self-confidence and pride…

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Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy [Smith Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-01-05 02:00Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy [Smith Review]

The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research
Volume 50, (Winter 2020) – Issue 4: Black Girlhood
pages 86-88
DOI: 10.1080/00064246.2020.1811610

Justin Smith, Ph.D. candidate in English and African American
Pennsylvania State University

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy, by Alisha Gaines. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017. $27.95, paperback. 230 pages.

Black for a Day takes on “white-to-Black” racial passing through five readings of first-hand accounts. While it would be simple enough to bring up such examples of passing as nothing more than farces, Alisha Gaines offers a valuable genealogy of this phenomenon, seeking to view these incidents through the lens of (failed) empathy. Gaines introduces the book with a personal anecdote about how she was responsible for makeup in her majority-white school’s version of Finian’s Rainbow, and one of her jobs was to apply blackface to one of the white actors for a scene where the character magically transforms from white-to-Black. Initially, Gaines did not see a problem with doing this, but she came to see this event as revealing “profound, uncomfortable, and often contradictory assumptions about the bodies we inhabit” (3). Consequently, Gaines sets out to “(construct) a genealogy of temporary black individuals operating under the alibi of racial empathy” and borrows her definition of empathy from bell hooks’s definition of “eating the other,” which, “highlight|s| how empathy fails to bring about systemic or institutional racial change” (8).

In the first chapter, “Good Niggerhood,” Gaines examines Ray Sprigle, a journalist who went “undercover” in 1948 in an effort to document an authentic Black experience. Sprigle finds it important to go to the South since he assumes the South is where the real racism is. Gaines spends a good portion of the chapter discussing “Dixie terror”: the assumption that the South—no particular place in the South, but just the imaginary of the generalized South—is where racism resides, and that “only violence and suffering render black bodies worthy of attention” (23). Gaines pushes back on these claims, arguing that racism is not restricted by geography, and that Black life is more than just violence and suffering. Gaines has two main critiques of Sprigle. The first is that he “never learned what it meant to be a black man, and instead, he only learned how to be a ‘good nigger'” (31). The second is that “he confuses black epistemology, experience, and narrative authority with making a few new black friends” (36). She argues that Sprigle does not have any sort of authentic Black experience due to his penchant for being obsequious when in disguise, but he also speaks…

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Afro-Argentines: How Black People Were Systematically Whitewashed From Argentine History

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2021-01-05 01:28Z by Steven

Afro-Argentines: How Black People Were Systematically Whitewashed From Argentine History

The Bubble

Allie Pitchon

Afroargentines playing candombe porteño near of a bonfire of Saint John (San Juan) in 1938. via

Argentina is perceived by many to be a primarily white, European country, with Buenos Aires often referred to as the “Paris of Latin America” in popular culture. This perception is rooted in a post-colonial process where Argentine leaders and intellectuals in the 19th century, especially during the Generation of 1837 and the Generation of 1880, actively made an effort to systematically erase Black Argentines from the country’s history, popular culture, and society in an effort to position the nation as a global power modeled after the US and Europe.

By the second half of the 1700’s, roughly a third of the population of Buenos Aires was comprised of Afro-Argentines. While some were free, most were enslaved, brought in slave ships during the late 16th century in the hundreds of thousands to work as domestic servants and on plantations in the Rio de la Plata region. During the 18th and 19th centuries, people of African descent spread across Argentina. In some provinces, including Salta, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero, and Catamarca, Black Argentines accounted for roughly half the population. Meanwhile, General San Martín’s army was heavily comprised of Afro-Argentines. In the battle of Chacabuco, for instance, which was key in helping liberate Chile from Spanish rule, half of the soldiers were Afro-Argentines promised freedom from slavery in exchange for military service…

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Ancient DNA Shows Humans Settled Caribbean in 2 Distinct Waves

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2021-01-05 00:56Z by Steven

Ancient DNA Shows Humans Settled Caribbean in 2 Distinct Waves

The New York Times

Carl Zimmer

Taíno ceramic vessels from eastern Dominican Republic, circa A.D. 1400. Menno Hoogland/Leiden University

Millions of people living on the islands today inherited genes from the people who made them home before Europeans arrived.

When Dr. Juan Aviles went to school in Puerto Rico, teachers taught him that the original people of the island, the Taino, vanished soon after Spain colonized it. Violence, disease and forced labor wiped them out, destroying their culture and language, the teachers said, and the colonizers repopulated the island with enslaved people, including Indigenous people from Central and South America and Africans.

But at home, Dr. Aviles heard another story. His grandmother would tell him that they were descended from Taino ancestors and that some of the words they used also descended from the Taino language.

“But, you know, my grandmother had to drop out of school at second grade, so I didn’t trust her initially,” said Dr. Aviles, now a physician in Goldsboro, N.C.

Dr. Aviles, who studied genetics in graduate school, has become active in using it to help connect people in the Caribbean with their genealogical history. And recent research in the field has led him to recognize that his grandmother was onto something…

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A genetic history of the pre-contact Caribbean

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2021-01-05 00:44Z by Steven

A genetic history of the pre-contact Caribbean

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03053-2

D.M. Fernandes

K.A. Sirak

H. Ringbauer, et al.

Humans settled the Caribbean about 6,000 years ago, and ceramic use and intensified agriculture mark a shift from the Archaic to the Ceramic Age at around 2,500 years ago1,2,3. Here we report genome-wide data from 174 ancient individuals from The Bahamas, Haiti and the Dominican Republic (collectively, Hispaniola), Puerto Rico, Curaçao and Venezuela, which we co-analysed with 89 previously published ancient individuals. Stone-tool-using Caribbean people, who first entered the Caribbean during the Archaic Age, derive from a deeply divergent population that is closest to Central and northern South American individuals; contrary to previous work4, we find no support for ancestry contributed by a population related to North American individuals. Archaic-related lineages were >98% replaced by a genetically homogeneous ceramic-using population related to speakers of languages in the Arawak family from northeast South America; these people moved through the Lesser Antilles and into the Greater Antilles at least 1,700 years ago, introducing ancestry that is still present. Ancient Caribbean people avoided close kin unions despite limited mate pools that reflect small effective population sizes, which we estimate to be a minimum of 500–1,500 and a maximum of 1,530–8,150 individuals on the combined islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola in the dozens of generations before the individuals who we analysed lived. Census sizes are unlikely to be more than tenfold larger than effective population sizes, so previous pan-Caribbean estimates of hundreds of thousands of people are too large5,6. Confirming a small and interconnected Ceramic Age populatio7, we detect 19 pairs of cross-island cousins, close relatives buried around 75 km apart in Hispaniola and low genetic differentiation across islands. Genetic continuity across transitions in pottery styles reveals that cultural changes during the Ceramic Age were not driven by migration of genetically differentiated groups from the mainland, but instead reflected interactions within an interconnected Caribbean world1,8.

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