BOOK REVIEW: “White Like Her” by Gail Lukasik, Reviewed By C. Ellen Connally

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-08-03 02:22Z by Steven

BOOK REVIEW: “White Like Her” by Gail Lukasik, Reviewed By C. Ellen Connally

Cool Cleveland

Former Clevelander and author Gail Lukasik named her recently published memoir White Like Her. Subtitled My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing, Lukasik tells the story of her mother, Alvera Frederic Kalina, who changed her racial identity from black to white when she married in 1944 and moved to Cleveland. With that move, she abandoned her black family and racial heritage and in her mind, became white like the man she married.

Alvera hid her secret from the world until her daughter made the discovery when she was tracing her family tree. Her mother’s birth certificate and that of her grandfather and other relatives ,along with census records, showed that her mother and other relatives were black. When confronted with such concrete evidence, Alvera refused to admit her mixed-race heritage. In her mind, her life as a black person was over when she married and left New Orleans, the city of her birth. She begged her daughter not to reveal her secret. For 17 years, until her mother’s death, Lukasik continued her research but did not reveal her findings outside her immediate family.

Stories of passing — a term used to define the process of abandoning one’s cultural identity and adopting another — are traditionally associated with a light-skinned black person who assumes a white identity. People of color living as white have been the theme for many literary works in the late 19th and 20th century. Clevelander Charles W. Chesnutt, a black man who could have easily passed for white, wrote a significant number of stories about black people passing for white around the turn of the 20th century. Many of the stories take place in Cleveland which he fictionalized to be Groveland, Ohio…

Read the entire review here.

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Self-Reported Race and Genetic Admixture

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2011-12-09 03:44Z by Steven

Self-Reported Race and Genetic Admixture

The New England Journal of Medicine
Number 354, Number 4 (2006-01-26)
pages 431-422
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc052515

Moumita Sinha, M.Stat.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Emma K. Larkin, M.H.S.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Robert C. Elston, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Susan Redline, M.D., M.P.H.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

To the Editor:

The use of data on self-reported race in health research has been highly debated. For example, Burchard et al. recently argued that important information on disease susceptibility may be derived from the use of data on self-reported race, whereas Cooper et al. cited Wilson et al., who argued that ethnic labels “are inaccurate representations of the inferred genetic clusters.” Cooper et al., however, ignored later work that identified limitations in the analyses of Wilson et al. — specifically, inappropriate classification of groups, the use of a suboptimal model for cluster identification, and reliance on only 39 microsatellite markers for cluster analyses. With larger numbers of markers, it was shown that genetically distinct groups can be almost completely inferred from self-reported race…

…With support from a U.S. Public Health Service grant, we applied an admixture analysis to a sample population in Cleveland. Participants were clearly separated into unique groups with the use of this genetic approach. Whereas 93 percent of self-reported whites were classified as having predominantly European ancestry, less than 2 percent of blacks were so classified. Only 4 percent who reported their race as black had predominantly African ancestry; yet, the admixture proportions of this group made it possible to separate the population into two groups, in which 94 percent of self-reported blacks and 7 percent of self-reported whites were classified as being of mixed race (Figure 1: Frequency Histogram Showing the Percentage of African Ancestry in a Population Living in Cleveland). The sharp peak at the left in Figure 1 indicates that there are many persons who have no African ancestry (i.e., the values correspond to those of self-reported whites), and the broad peak at the right indicates that most blacks are of mixed race and do not originate from any single population. Thus, self-reported race and genetic ethnic ancestry appear to be highly correlated as a dichotomy, with those who self-report as being black comprising, as expected from historical and cultural practices in the United States, a broad range of African ancestry…

Read the entire letter here.

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