How The U.S. Defines Race And Ethnicity May Change Under Trump

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-11-23 16:51Z by Steven

How The U.S. Defines Race And Ethnicity May Change Under Trump

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2017-11-23

Hansi Lo Wang


The Trump administration is expected to announce possible changes to how the U.S. government collects information about race and ethnicity by Dec. 1.
Chelsea Beck/NPR

Some major changes may be coming to how the U.S. government collects data about the country’s racial and ethnic makeup.

The Trump administration has been considering proposals to ask about race and ethnicity in a radical new way on the 2020 Census and other surveys that follow standards set by the White House.

Introduced when President Obama was still in office, the proposed changes could result in a fundamental shift in how the government counts the Latino population.

Another proposal would create a new checkbox on the census form for people with roots in the Middle East or North Africa, or MENA, which would be the first ethnic or racial category to be added in decades.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is expected to release a decision on these proposals by Dec. 1, but an announcement may come out before the end of the month…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity

Posted in Articles, Audio, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-12-30 02:32Z by Steven

Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2016-12-29

John Burnett, Southwest Correspondent, National Desk


Santo Tomas Catholic church in Abiquiu, N.M., is the site of an annual saint’s day celebration in late November that includes cultural elements of the genizaros, the descendants of Native American slaves.
John Burnett/NPR

Every year in late November, the New Mexican village of Abiquiu, about an hour northwest of Santa Fe, celebrates the town saint, Santo Tomas. Townfolk file into the beautiful old adobe Catholic church to pay homage its namesake.

But this is no ordinary saint’s day. Dancers at the front of the church are dressed in feathers, face paint and ankle bells that honor their forbears — captive Indian slaves called genizaros.

The dances and chants are Native American, but they don’t take place on a Pueblo Indian reservation. Instead, they’re performed in a genizaro community, one of several scattered across the starkly beautiful high desert of northern New Mexico.

After centuries in the shadows, this group of mixed-race New Mexicans — Hispanic and American Indian — is stepping forward to seek recognition…

Read the entire story here. Download the story (00:05:04) here.

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From Her Dad To Her ‘Jamish’ Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-12-11 18:26Z by Steven

From Her Dad To Her ‘Jamish’ Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2014-12-28

Arun Rath, Host

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

“It’s kind of … a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English,” she tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “It’s the name I gave myself.”…

Read the story here. Download the interview (00:06:15) here. Read the transcript here.

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Skin Color Still Plays Big Role In Ethnically Diverse Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-08-22 21:49Z by Steven

Skin Color Still Plays Big Role In Ethnically Diverse Brazil

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2013-09-19

Audie Cornish, Host

Melissa Block visits a historic section of Rio de Janeiro that pays homage to Afro-Brazilian history and the many slaves that came ashore there. She talks with Brazilian filmmaker Joel Zito Araujo about what it means to be black or mixed race in Brazil, and how skin color still dictates many aspects of life.


Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Halloween Costume Emails Stokes Debate At Yale

Posted in Audio, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-10 02:05Z by Steven

Halloween Costume Emails Stokes Debate At Yale

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2015-11-09

Audie Cornish, Host

Yale University is in turmoil after a series of emails about culturally insensitive Halloween costumes. Some students there are protesting what they say is a hostile environment for students of color. Sebi Median-Tayac [Aaron Z. Lewis], one of the leaders of the protest, speaks with NPR’s Audie Cornish.

Listen to the story (00:03:58) here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Rachel Dolezal’s Story Sparks Questions About ‘How People Experience Race’

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-06-18 20:09Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal’s Story Sparks Questions About ‘How People Experience Race’

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2015-06-16

Audie Cornish, Host

Khadijah White, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Allyson Hobbs, Assistant Professor of History
Stanford University

NPR’s Audie Cornish talks with Rutgers University professor Khadijah White and Allyson Hobbs, who wrote a book about the history of racial passing, about the former head of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash.

Listen to the story here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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One Playwright’s ‘Obligation’ To Confront Race And Identity In The U.S.

Posted in Arts, Audio, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-18 03:25Z by Steven

One Playwright’s ‘Obligation’ To Confront Race And Identity In The U.S.

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2015-02-16

Jeff Lunden

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins may be only 30 years old, but he’s already compiled an impressive resume. His theatrical works, which look at race and identity in America, have been performed in New York and around the country. Last year, Jacobs-Jenkins won the best new American play Obie Award for two of his works, Appropriate and An Octoroon.

An Octoroon is currently playing at Theater for a New Audience in New York…

…Over the past five years, the young playwright has written a trilogy of highly provocative and fantastical explorations of race in America. In Neighbors, a family of minstrels in blackface moves in next to a contemporary mixed-race family. In Appropriate, a white family discovers their dead father belonged to the KKK. His latest, An Octoroon, is a loose adaptation of a play written more than 150 years ago that deals with identity and race.

“They are all kind of like me dealing with something very specific, which has to do with the history of theater and blackness in America and form,” he says. “And also, my obligation, as a human being with regards to any of these themes.”

It is Jacob-Jenkins’ self-examination that drove Ben Brantley, the chief drama critic for The New York Times, to rank An Octoroon on the top of his best pays list last year. He saw it at Soho Rep, a tiny off-Broadway theater.

“[Jacobs-Jenkins] starts off from self-consciousness, which you would think would be a crippling place for a playwright to begin,” Brantley says.”But his self-consciousness isn’t just particular; it’s national, it’s universal. And it’s the self-consciousness of realizing that we don’t have the vocabulary, the tools to discuss race.”

The play, based on a 1859 melodrama by the Irish-Anglo playwright Dion Boucicault, tells the story of a young man who’s about to inherit a plantation and falls in love with a woman who is an octoroon — seven-eighths white, one-eighth black.

Director Sarah Benson points out that, in the original, all the parts had to be played by white actors…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Download the audio here. Read the transcript here.

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The Whiteness Project: Facing Race In A Changing America

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-22 02:52Z by Steven

The Whiteness Project: Facing Race In A Changing America

National Public Radio
All Things Considered
2014-12-21

Karen Grigsby Bates
Los Angeles Correspondent

Whitney Dow found participants in the Whiteness Project by putting out a call for interested white folks in Buffalo to talk about whiteness on tape.

The voices in the Whiteness Project vary by gender, age and income, but they all candidly express what it is like to be white in an increasingly diverse country.

“I don’t feel that personally I’ve benefited from being white. That’s because I grew up relatively poor,” a participant shared. “My father worked at a factory.” These are the kind of unfiltered comments that filmmaker Whitney Dow was hoping to hear when he started recording a group of white people, and hoped to turn their responses into provocative, interactive videos.

“I was essentially giving people permission to discuss this,” he says. “And I believe there’s a huge hunger in this country to engage this topic.”…

…”It is not typical for white people to think about their race,” says Catherine Orr, who teaches critical identity studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin. She says that many white people who don’t feel privileged struggle against the notion that race gives them an inherent advantage. “I think white folks are terribly invested in our own innocence,” she points out. “We don’t want to think about how what we have is related to what other people don’t have.”…

Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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‘A Chosen Exile’: Black People Passing In White America

Posted in Articles, Audio, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-10-08 00:47Z by Steven

‘A Chosen Exile’: Black People Passing In White America

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2014-10-07

Karen Grigsby Bates, Correspondent
Culver City, California


Dr. Albert Johnston passed in order to practice medicine. After living as leading citizens in Keene, N.H., the Johnstons revealed their true racial identity, and became national news. (Historical Society of Cheshire County)

Several years ago, Stanford historian Allyson Hobbs was talking with a favorite aunt, who was also the family storyteller. Hobbs learned that she had a distant cousin whom she’d never met nor heard of.

Which is exactly the way the cousin wanted it.

Hobbs’ cousin had been living as white, far away in California, since she’d graduated from high school. This was at the insistence of her mother.

“She was black, but she looked white,” Hobbs said. “And her mother decided it was in her best interest to move far away from Chicago, to Los Angeles, and to assume the life of a white woman.”…

…Hobbs began writing about passing for her doctoral dissertation, and was encouraged to turn it into a book. The dissertation became A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in America. It’s a history of passing told through the lens of personal stories…

…Then there’s the sad tale of Elsie Roxborough, a beauty from a distinguished Detroit family who became the first black girl to live in a dorm at the University of Michigan. She tried acting in California, then moved to New York to live as a white woman. When her disapproving father refused to support her, Roxborough — then known as Mona Manet — committed suicide. Her grieving and equally pale sister passed as a white woman to claim the body, so Roxborough’s secret wouldn’t be given away. Her death certificate declared she was white….

Read the article here. Listen to the story (00:04:58) here. Download the story here.

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‘Everything I Never Told You’ Exposed In Biracial Family’s Loss

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Interviews, United States on 2014-08-04 18:54Z by Steven

‘Everything I Never Told You’ Exposed In Biracial Family’s Loss

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio
2014-06-28

Arun Rath
All Things Considered

It’s May, 1977, in small-town Ohio, and the Lee family is sitting down at breakfast. James is Chinese-American and Marilyn is white, and they have three children — two girls and a boy. But on this day, their middle child Lydia, who is also their favorite, is nowhere to be found.

That’s how Celeste Ng’s new novel, Everything I Never Told You, begins.

It’s soon discovered that Lydia has drowned in a nearby lake, in what looks like a suicide. The incident pulls the family into an emotional vortex and reveals deep cracks in their relationships with each other.

This all takes place an era when interracial marriages are only recently legal (the Supreme Court struck down interracial marriage bans in 1967). Lydia’s death forces members of the Lee family to confront their individual insecurities and grapple with their identity as a biracial family in the Midwest.

But would it be very different for them today? Ng answered that question for NPR’s Arun Rath, host of All Things Considered.

Ng, who is a first-generation Asian-American Midwesterner, also spoke about her own experiences growing up and about the state of the American conversation on race…

Read the article here. Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here.

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