Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Law, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2022-05-17 01:23Z by Steven

Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality

Beacon Press
2022-08-23
208 pages
5.5 x 8.5 Inches
Hardcover ISBN: ISBN: 978-080702013-5

Tanya Katerí Hernández, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law, New York, New York

The first comprehensive book about anti-Black bias in the Latino community that unpacks the misconception that Latinos are “exempt” from racism due to their ethnicity and multicultural background.

Racial Innocence will challenge what you thought about racism and bias, and demonstrate that it’s possible for a historically marginalized group to experience discrimination and also be discriminatory. Racism is deeply complex, and law professor and comparative race relations expert Tanya Katerí Hernández exposes “the Latino racial innocence cloak” that often veils Latino complicity in racism. As Latinos are the second largest ethnic group in the US, this revelation is critical to dismantling systemic racism. Based on interviews, discrimination case files, and civil rights law, Hernández reveals Latino anti-Black bias in the workplace, the housing market, schools, places of recreation, criminal justice, and in Latino families.

By focusing on racism perpetrated by communities outside those of White non-Latino people, Racial Innocence brings to light the many Afro-Latino and African American victims of anti-Blackness at the hands of other people of color. Through exploring the interwoven fabric of discrimination and examining the cause of these issues, we can begin to move toward a more egalitarian society.

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ONE DROP: Shifting the Lens on Race

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2021-02-27 04:26Z by Steven

ONE DROP: Shifting the Lens on Race

Beacon Press
2021-02-16
288 pages
9 x 9 Inches
ISBN: 978-080707336-0

Yaba Blay

Challenges narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality to understand the diversity of what it means to be Black in the US and around the world

  • What exactly is Blackness and what does it mean to be Black?
  • Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness?
  • Who determines who is Black and who is not?
  • Who’s Black, who’s not, and who cares?

In the United States, a Black person has come to be defined as any person with any known Black ancestry. Statutorily referred to as “the rule of hypodescent,” this definition of Blackness is more popularly known as the “one-drop rule,” meaning that a person with any trace of Black ancestry, however small or (in)visible, cannot be considered White. A method of social order that began almost immediately after the arrival of enslaved Africans in America, by 1910 it was the law in almost all southern states. At a time when the one-drop rule functioned to protect and preserve White racial purity, Blackness was both a matter of biology and the law. One was either Black or White. Period. Has the social and political landscape changed one hundred years later?

One Drop explores the extent to which historical definitions of race continue to shape contemporary racial identities and lived experiences of racial difference. Featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 countries and combining candid narratives with striking portraiture, this book provides living testimony to the diversity of Blackness. Although contributors use varying terms to self-identify, they all see themselves as part of the larger racial, cultural, and social group generally referred to as Black. They have all had their identity called into question simply because they do not fit neatly into the stereotypical “Black box”—dark skin, “kinky” hair, broad nose, full lips, etc. Most have been asked “What are you?” or the more politically correct “Where are you from?” throughout their lives. It is through contributors’ lived experiences with and lived imaginings of Black identity that we can visualize multiple possibilities for Blackness.

Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Intro
  • Introspection
  • Mixed Black
  • American Black
  • Diaspora Black
  • Outro
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements
  • About
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Biologically, We Are All Far More Alike Than Different

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2019-06-06 14:59Z by Steven

Biologically, We Are All Far More Alike Than Different

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
Boston, Massachusetts
2019-06-04

Christian Coleman, Associate Digital Marketing Manager

A Q&A with Angela Saini

Why are we seeing a resurgence of race science in the twenty-first century? Weren’t we supposed to be over this after World War II? The notion of “race” has been debunked in the world of science and is understood to be a social construct, but the idea of research-based racial differences is still with us—and has been with us since The Enlightenment. Science journalist Angela Saini tells this disturbing history in Superior: The Return of Race Science. Our blog editor Christian Coleman caught up with her to ask her about her book, the inspiration for it, and how to recognize the subtle signs of race science today.

Christian Coleman: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind writing Superior.

Angela Saini: For me, this is a book that has been bubbling since I was a child. I became a journalist in the first place because I became involved in antiracism movements at university while studying Engineering. But the time for this book was now, with the rise of the far-right and ethnic nationalism around the world. I wanted to put the rise of intellectual racism in historical and scientific context…

CC: What are some subtle examples of how we buy into the belief of biological racial differences today?

AS: I think it happens most clearly in medicine and DNA ancestry testing. When doctors tell us that certain groups are more susceptible to certain illnesses, without making clear that this may sometimes just be for cultural or socioeconomic reasons, it suggests we are biologically different. When firms say they can tell us where we are from by analysing our spit, without explaining how they do this or what it actually means, they also reinforce the idea of biological race…

Read the entire interview here.

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Superior: The Return of Race Science

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2019-05-21 15:17Z by Steven

Superior: The Return of Race Science

Beacon Press
2019-05-21
272 pages
Size: 6 x 9 Inches
Cloth ISBN: 978-080707691-0

Angela Saini

Superior tells the disturbing story of the persistent thread of belief in biological racial differences in the world of science.

After the horrors of the Nazi regime in World War II, the mainstream scientific world turned its back on eugenics and the study of racial difference. But a worldwide network of intellectual racists and segregationists quietly founded journals and funded research, providing the kind of shoddy studies that were ultimately cited in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s 1994 title The Bell Curve, which purported to show differences in intelligence among races.

If the vast majority of scientists and scholars disavowed these ideas and considered race a social construct, it was an idea that still managed to somehow survive in the way scientists thought about human variation and genetics. Dissecting the statements and work of contemporary scientists studying human biodiversity, most of whom claim to be just following the data, Angela Saini shows us how, again and again, even mainstream scientists cling to the idea that race is biologically real. As our understanding of complex traits like intelligence, and the effects of environmental and cultural influences on human beings, from the molecular level on up, grows, the hope of finding simple genetic differences between “races”—to explain differing rates of disease, to explain poverty or test scores, or to justify cultural assumptions—stubbornly persists.

At a time when racialized nationalisms are a resurgent threat throughout the world, Superior is a rigorous, much-needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science—and a powerful reminder that, biologically, we are all far more alike than different.

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Why Do People Pass?: The Complex Journeys of Belonging and Identity in America

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-11-27 03:13Z by Steven

Why Do People Pass?: The Complex Journeys of Belonging and Identity in America

Beacon Broadside
2017-11-07

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.


Image credit: Bob Kosturko

America has a long and complicated history of passing. We’re familiar with the stories of African Americans who passed as white in the past in order to improve their social mobility. Nowadays, we are hearing a variety of personal experiences about passing that transcends additional modes of identity—class, religion, gender, sexuality, and more. Writers Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page have brought together some of these stories in their new essay anthology We Wear the Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America. As they point out in the introduction of the book, excerpted below, there have always been many ways in which people pass, and many reasons to do so.

In June 2015 a surprising number of Americans stopped to gawk at a thirty-seven-year-old “African American” woman named Rachel Dolezal who, after an almost decade-long act, was outed by her parents as a white woman who chose to pass as black. The national response, culminating in a Today Show appearance, was extreme. Some were outraged by her deception, while others drew parallels between her right to live her “truth” the same way Caitlyn Jenner embodies hers.

Rachel—or “#BlackRachel” as she trended online—never once “broke character.”

Later that month, the Daily Beast reported on Andrea Smith, an Anglo woman and esteemed professor of Native American studies at the University of California, Riverside, who presented as Cherokee for over twenty years. She had a long history of American Indian activism and published articles and books purporting to speak on Indian issues as an American Indian despite not a trace of Indian ancestry being found after two rounds of genealogical research.

If you’re looking for historical precedent, how about jazz clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow? A middle-class Jewish kid from Chicago, he married a black woman, moved to Harlem, self-identified in the 1940s as a “white Negro” and was listed by his draft board as “Negro.” His understanding of being a black American was an odd brew of sincere cultural musical appreciation and promoting the oversimplified “shuck and jive” stereotypes. Go back further and you’ll find Clarence King, a nineteenth-century blue-eyed white scientist and best-selling author who thrilled in “slumming.” For thirteen years, King passed as a black Pullman porter, complete with a black common-law wife and five mixed-race children.

American history is filled with innumerable examples like these. Why, then, did “#BlackRachel” fascinate and outrage so many of us? The answer lies in the complex phenomenon of passing…

Read the entire article here.

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We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-10-17 01:52Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
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Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2017-06-08 00:54Z by Steven

Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy

Beacon Press
2017-06-06
232 pages
6 x 9 Inches
Cloth ISBN-13: 978-0807058275

Sheryll Cashin, Professor of Law
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

How interracial love and marriage changed history, and may soon alter the landscape of American politics.

Loving beyond boundaries is a radical act that is changing America. When Mildred and Richard Loving wed in 1958, they were ripped from their shared bed and taken to court. Their crime: miscegenation, punished by exile from their home state of Virginia. The resulting landmark decision of Loving v. Virginia ended bans on interracial marriage and remains a signature case—the first to use the words “White Supremacy” to describe such racism.

Drawing from the earliest chapters in U.S. history, legal scholar Sheryll Cashin reveals the enduring legacy of America’s original sin, tracing how we transformed from a country without an entrenched construction of race to a nation where one drop of non-white blood merited exclusion from full citizenship. In vivid detail, she illustrates how the idea of whiteness was created by the planter class of yesterday, and is reinforced by today’s power-hungry dog-whistlers to divide struggling whites and people of color, ensuring plutocracy and undermining the common good.

Cashin argues that over the course of the last four centuries there have always been “ardent integrators” who are now contributing to the emergence of a class of “culturally dexterous” Americans. In the fifty years since the Lovings won their case, approval for interracial marriage rose from 4% to 87%. Cashin speculates that rising rates of interracial intimacy—including cross-racial adoption, romance and friendship—combined with immigration, demographic and generational change will create an ascendant coalition of culturally dexterous whites and people of color.

Loving is both a history of white supremacy and a hopeful treatise on the future of race relations in America, challenging the notion that trickle-down progressive politics is our only hope for a more inclusive society. Accessible and sharp, Cashin reanimates the possibility of a future where interracial understanding serves as a catalyst of a social revolution ending not in artificial color blindness, but a culture where acceptance and difference are celebrated.

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The Lovings dared to cross the color line, and their story reveals why that color line was constructed. In fact, the Loving decision was the first and only time the Court ever used the potent words ‘White Supremacy’ (in caps) to name such ideology.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-12-19 01:12Z by Steven

“I’ve been describing Sheryll Cashin’s next book partly as a history of white supremacy in America,” says Cashin’s editor, Joanna Green. “Cashin powerfully illustrates how white supremacy was and is foundational to US capitalism and expansion; thus, segregation proves to be an essential tactic. The Lovings dared to cross the color line, and their story reveals why that color line was constructed. In fact, the Loving decision was the first and only time the Court ever used the potent words ‘White Supremacy’ (in caps) to name such ideology. It’s surprising that so few people are aware of this case.”

Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, “Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy,” Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press, December 15, 2016. http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2016/12/beacon-goes-to-the-movies-loving-and-the-history-of-white-supremacy.html.

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Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-12-17 22:55Z by Steven

Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
2016-12-15

Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, Editorial Assistant

When publicity assistant Perpetua Charles and senior editor Joanna Green first began planning a staff trip to see the film Loving in celebration of Beacon’s forthcoming book on the same topic five months ago, they couldn’t have known for sure what our political environment would be as they and fellow members of the Beacon Press staff walked through a rainy November night to the theater. Exactly a week after the country watched the electoral votes tally in favor of a divisive Republican presidential candidate, we came together to view a retelling of how Mildred and Richard Loving, a young interracial couple from Virginia, helped end the ban on interracial marriage in the United States.

“Biopics like this leave you with an overwhelming sense of hope, right? Making you think that as soon as the anti-miscegenation laws were overturned, every interracial couple was getting married left and right and naysayers kept their mouths shut. But that’s surely not what happened,” Perpetua said, going into the film.

From reading an early copy of Sheryll Cashin’s upcoming book, Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy, I gradually came to the understanding that the story this film set out to tell feels big because it is big. Not only is it the story of Richard and Mildred Loving—their love, their decision to formally wed, their beloved hometown of Central Point, Virginia turning against them, their exile to Washington D.C., and the ten years they spent mired in the legal battle that would culminate in the seminal Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision. It is also a four hundred-year-old story of people defying a deeply entrenched and fiercely protected color line to love or marry in America. It is a story that has gone on for as long as this country has existed, and as this election has confirmed, is nowhere near over…

Read the entire review here.

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Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2016-10-08 01:14Z by Steven

Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families

Beacon Press
2016-10-04
216 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-080707678-1

Lori L. Tharps, Assistant Professor of Journalism
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis, Same Family, Different Colors explores the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States.

Colorism and color bias—the preference for or presumed superiority of people based on the lighter color of their skin—is a pervasive but rarely openly discussed phenomenon, one that is centuries old and continues today. In Same Family, Different Colors, journalist Lori Tharps, the mother of three mixed-race children with three distinct skin colors, uses her own family as a starting point to explore how skin-color difference is dealt with in African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed-race families and communities. Along with intimate and revealing stories and anecdotes from dozens of diverse people from across the United States, Tharps adds a historical overview and a contemporary cultural critique. Same Family, Different Colors is a solution-seeking journey to the heart of identity politics, so this more subtle “cousin to racism,” in the author’s words, will be acknowledged, understood, and debated.

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