Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2020-01-10 01:26Z by Steven

Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia

Mercer University Press
2005-04-08
314 pages
6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780865548695

Wayne Winkler, Director WETS-FM
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

Walking toward the Sunset is a historical examination of the Melungeons, a mixed-race group predominantly in southern Appalachia. Author Wayne Winkler reviews theories about the Melungeons, compares the Melungeons with other mixed-race groups, and incorporates the latest scientific research to present a comprehensive portrait. In his telling portrait, Winkler examines the history of the Melungeons and the ongoing controversy surrounding their mysterious origins. Employing historical records, news reports over almost two centuries, and personal interviews, Winkler tells the fascinating story of a people who did not fit the rigid racial categories of American society. Along the way, Winkler recounts the legal and social restrictions suffered by Melungeons and other mixed-race groups, particularly Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act, and he reviews the negative effects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century magazine and journal articles on these reclusive people. Walking toward the Sunset documents the changes in public and private attitudes toward the Melungeons, the current debates over “Melungeon” identity, and the recent genetic studies that have attempted to shed light on the subject. But most importantly, Winkler relates the lives of families who were outsiders in their own communities, who were shunned and shamed, but who created a better life for their children, descendants who are now reclaiming the heritage that was hidden from them for generations.

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Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2020-01-10 01:09Z by Steven

Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

University of Nebraska Press
January 2020
432 pages
8 photos, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0663-3
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1698-4
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1700-4

Edited by:

Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai, Curator of History
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California

Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, Professor of History
University of La Verne, Point Mugu, California

Paul Spickard, Distinguished Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Shape Shifters

Shape Shifters presents a wide-ranging array of essays that examine peoples of mixed racial identity. Moving beyond the static “either/or” categories of racial identification found within typical insular conversations about mixed-race peoples, Shape Shifters explores these mixed-race identities as fluid, ambiguous, contingent, multiple, and malleable. This volume expands our understandings of how individuals and ethnic groups identify themselves within their own sociohistorical contexts.

The essays in Shape Shifters explore different historical eras and reach across of the globe, from the Roman and Chinese borderlands of classical antiquity to Medieval Eurasian shape-shifters, the Native peoples of the missions of Spanish California, and racial shape-shifting among African Americans in the post–civil rights era. At different times in their lives or over generations in their families, racial shape-shifters have moved from one social context to another. And as new social contexts were imposed on them, identities have even changed from one group to another. This is not racial, ethnic, or religious imposture. It is simply the way that people’s lives unfold in fluid sociohistorical circumstances.

With contributions by Ryan Abrecht, George J. Sanchez, Laura Moore, and Margaret Hunter, among others, Shape Shifters explores the forces of migration, borderlands, trade, warfare, occupation, colonial imposition, and the creation and dissolution of states and empires to highlight the historically contingent basis of identification among mixed-race peoples across time and space.

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Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Posted in Africa, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa, Women on 2020-01-10 01:07Z by Steven

Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Duke University Press
January 2020
368 pages
85 illustrations (incl. 39 in color)
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0642-8
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0538-4

Lynn M. Thomas, Professor of History
University of Washington

Beneath the Surface

For more than a century, skin lighteners have been an ubiquitous feature of global popular culture—embraced by consumers even as they were fiercely opposed by medical professionals, consumer health advocates, and antiracist thinkers and activists. In Beneath the Surface, Lynn M. Thomas constructs a transnational history of skin lighteners in South Africa and beyond. Analyzing a wide range of archival, popular culture, and oral history sources, Thomas traces the changing meanings of skin color from precolonial times to the postcolonial present. From indigenous skin-brightening practices and the rapid spread of lighteners in South African consumer culture during the 1940s and 1950s to the growth of a billion-dollar global lightener industry, Thomas shows how the use of skin lighteners and experiences of skin color have been shaped by slavery, colonialism, and segregation, as well as consumer capitalism, visual media, notions of beauty, and protest politics. In teasing out lighteners’ layered history, Thomas theorizes skin as a site for antiracist struggle and lighteners as a technology of visibility that both challenges and entrenches racial and gender hierarchies.

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Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

Posted in Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2020-01-10 00:56Z by Steven

Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

Race Talk
2020-01-08

David Morse, Host

Chinyere K. Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

 Artwork for Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race

Dr. Chinyere Osuji discusses her book, “Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race“. It’s an amazing work of scholarship rooted in comparing and contrasting black/white marriages in Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles.

Listen to the podcast (00:40:33) here.

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Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-01-10 00:36Z by Steven

Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out

The New York Times
2020-01-09

Afua Hirsch


Samir Hussein/WireImage, via Getty Images

It’s the racism.

The British press has succeeded in its apparent project of hounding Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, out of Britain. The part it perhaps didn’t bargain for, however, is the loss of Prince Harry — a much loved Royal and a key part of the family’s global brand — along with her.

In a statement released this week, the couple said they want to “carve out a progressive new role” within the royal family and will “step back as ‘senior’ members, and work to become financially independent.”

The British press reacted with surprise at the “shock move abroad,” described variously as “seismic,” “selfish,” “rogue” and “an atrocious lapse of judgment.”

If the media paid more attention to Britain’s communities of color, perhaps it would find the announcement far less surprising. With a new prime minister whose track record includes overtly racist statements, some of which would make even Donald Trump blush, a Brexit project linked to native nationalism and a desire to rid Britain of large numbers of immigrants, and an ever thickening loom of imperial nostalgia, many of us are also thinking about moving…

Read the entire article here.

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Trump loves to blame the black guy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-01-09 20:48Z by Steven

Trump loves to blame the black guy

The Washington Post
2020-01-09

Jonathan Capehart, Opinion Writer

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump speak before members of the media during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Nov. 10, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump speak before members of the media during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Nov. 10, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Anyone else tired of perpetually petulant President Trump blaming former president Barack Obama for, well, everything?

Boo-hoo, the air conditioning makes the White House too cold. Waaa, it’s unlawful for Turkey to buy U.S. fighter jets because it purchased missiles from Russia. Hmmph, Iran is restarting its nuclear program after I junked the international treaty Obama negotiated that put the whole thing on ice for at least 10 years.

On Wednesday, hours after some yapper on “Fox & Friends” said, “This moment right now is on Barack Obama, not Donald Trump,” the 45th president of the United States blamed the 44th. “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump mewled. “The very defective [Iran nuclear agreement] expires shortly anyway, and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.” As my Post colleague Paul Waldman noted, “None of those things is true.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous NB Media Co-op

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:46Z by Steven

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous

NB Media Co-op
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
2019-11-22

Susan O’Donnell, Adjunct Professor of Sociology
University of New Brunswick

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous
Sportsman and Indigenous guides (carrying snowshoes), with game in winter. Gabe Atwin far left, ca. 1875. Image from the Provincial Archives of NB.

The number of people across Canada who self-identify as Indigenous is growing rapidly. Some of that growth can be explained by the Indigenous children of the Sixties Scoop and residential school survivors re-discovering or accepting their Indigenous identities. However an entirely different group of Canadians has emerged. “Race-shifters” are white people with no or a small amount of Indigenous ancestry who identify as Indigenous.

Race-shifters live in every province, mostly in communities with large populations of French ancestry. In this province, for example, in 1996 and 2016, the population of New Brunswick was roughly the same. However in the 1996 census, only 950 people self-identified as Métis, but in the 2016 census that number jumped to 10,200. How is this possible?

The confusion includes the misconception that anyone with Indigenous ancestry can call themselves Métis. On the contrary, “Métis” has a specific definition in Canadian law. In 2003 the Supreme Court Powley decision described a Métis person as “one who self-identifies, has an ancestral connection to a historic Métis community, and is accepted by that community.” Anyone can self-identify as “Métis” when answering a census question, but not everyone of them is a member of the historic Métis Nation that originated in the Red River Valley of Manitoba.

Darryl Leroux has been exploring the race-shifting phenomenon for more than two decades. The social scientist from St. Mary’s University was in Fredericton Nov. 20 to speak about the process he has called “white settler revisionism,” a new wave of colonialism and to launch his new book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity published by the University of Manitoba Press

Read the entire article here.

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Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:30Z by Steven

Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

University of Manitoba Press
September 2019
296 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-846-7

Darryl Leroux, Associate Professor
Department of Social Justice and Community Studies
Saint Mary’s University, Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the twenty-first century: otherwise white, French descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined “Indigenous” identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an “Indigenous” identity today.

After setting out the most common genealogical practices that facilitate race shifting, Leroux examines two of the most prominent self-identified “Indigenous” organizations currently operating in Quebec. Both organizations have their origins in committed opposition to Indigenous land and territorial negotiations, and both encourage the use of suspect genealogical practices. Distorted Descent brings to light to how these claims to an “Indigenous” identity are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing along the way the shifting politics of whiteness, white settler colonialism, and white supremacy.

For more information on the rise of the so-called ‘Eastern Metis’ in the eastern provinces and in New England, including a storymap, court documents, and research materials, visit the Raceshifting website, created by Unwritten Histories Digital Consulting.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction—Self-Indigenization in the Twenty-First Century
  • Part One: The Mechanics of Descent
    • Chapter One—Lineal Descent and the Political Use of Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Two—Aspirational Descent: Creating Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Three—Lateral Descent: Remaking Family in the Past
  • Part Two: Race Shifting as Anti-Indigenous Politics
    • Chapter Four—After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming “Métis” in Two Regions of Quebec
    • Chapter Five—The Largest Self-Identified “Métis” Organization in Quebec: The Métis Nation Of The Rising Sun
  • Conclusion—White Claims to Indigenous Identity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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How I changed my mind about the biology of race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:07Z by Steven

How I changed my mind about the biology of race

The Guardian
2019-12-28

Philip Ball, Science Writer


‘I have all the liberal lefty’s revulsion at racism, but I couldn’t help thinking that if we insisted that race is not biologically determined, wouldn’t that just confuse people?’ Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Angela Saini’s book Superior showed me our misconceptions about race and science arise from a habit of the mind

It has been common for several years now to assert that science shows the concept of race has no biological basis, and that we must see it instead as a social construct. That case was argued, for example, by Kenan Malik in his 2008 book Strange Fruit, and it is presented, too, in Angela Saini’s Superior (which I reviewed for the Guardian in July), a popular choice on many “books of the year” lists.

I used to be sceptical about this claim. I have all the liberal lefty’s revulsion at racism, but I couldn’t help thinking: “If we insist that race is not biologically determined, won’t that just confuse people, given that it is so blindingly obvious that characteristic markers of race are inherited?” The usual argument is that genomics has identified no clusters of gene variants specific to conventional racial groupings: there is more genetic variation within such groups than between them. But doesn’t that insist on a definition of race that most people simply won’t recognise? Isn’t it better to say that yes, race has a biological basis – but the relevant bodily features are a trivial part of what makes us us?

I confess that I was too nervous to make this suggestion in such an incendiary area. Fortunately, after reading Saini’s book I no longer need to, for Superior gave me the perspective I needed to see what is wrong with it. Our concept of race is not really about skin colour or eye shape, and never has been. It has baked into it beliefs that can’t be dispelled merely by reducing its biological correlates to trivialities. For in our assumptions about race, those features have always been rather irrelevant in themselves. Rather, they serve to activate prejudices stemming from deeply ingrained cognitive habits…

Read the entire article here.

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Autobiography of an Ex-Black Man

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2019-12-24 02:48Z by Steven

Autobiography of an Ex-Black Man

Harpers’s
December 2019

Emily Bernard

Thomas Chatterton Williams loses his race

Self-Portrait in Black and White, by Thomas Chatterton Williams. W. W. Norton. 192 pages. $25.95.

What a strange thing is “race,” and family, stranger still.
—Elizabeth Alexander, “Race”

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been!” declares Wanda Sykes in her 2016 Epix special, What Happened . . . Ms. Sykes? As one of her fans, I was glad to hear it. As a member of a racially and culturally mixed family, I was particularly charmed to learn the circumstances of Sykes’s joy. For ten years, Wanda Sykes has been a mother. Her wife, Alex Niedbalski, gave birth to twins Olivia and Lucas in 2009. “My kids are white white, you know? I mean blond hair, blue eyes. I’m talking Frozen,” says Sykes.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined myself in this situation.

“Here’s the thing. I’m a black woman from Virginia,” she continues. “I went to an H.B.C.U., historically black college—I went to Hampton University. I pledged the first black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. So I got a lot of black going on.” The audience roars. “And now I’m married to a white French woman, and I have two white kids. Fucked up my legacy.” She throws her arm up to the ceiling.

“Now, don’t get me wrong,” she says. “I love my family. I love my family dearly, you know, and I wish we could live in a color-blind society. Yeah. But I gotta admit, I see shit.”…

Self-Portrait is Williams’s attempt to liberate his mind from the shackles of conventional racial designations once he realizes that his children will never be seen by anyone—not even, most likely, by themselves—as black. Williams, the son of a white mother and a black father, whom he calls “Pappy” and who serves as an intellectual and ethical anchor in Self-Portrait and a previous memoir, marries a white French woman, and their firstborn child, a daughter named Marlow, emerges in the delivery room with blond hair and blue eyes. Because Marlow will not share his racial identity, Williams decides that that identity no longer suits him. Instead of black, by the end of the book, he calls himself “ex-black”—which may be a bit like threatening to run away from home but never making it past the front porch.

Still, Self-Portrait is a fluent, captivating, if often disquieting story. Thomas Chatterton Williams and Wanda Sykes have many of the same questions about the way race will affect how they relate to their children, and how their children will see themselves. “In all of these white rooms that she is being brought up in, what will she learn to think of herself?” Williams writes about Marlow. But there is not much to laugh about in Self-Portrait, which begins with a lot of hand-wringing over Marlow’s fate. “Will she develop my ancestral GPS,” Williams writes, “or will that signal fade—would it even be right for me to transmit my habits of orientation, some of which are riddled with guilt and steeped in illusion, to her untroubled head?”…

Read the entire review here.

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