A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Posted in Autobiography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-03 01:03Z by Steven

A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Code Switch: Race and identity, remixed
National Public Radio
2018-11-21

Nabil Ayers

All families have histories.
Man_Half-tube/Getty Images

“Well hello there Nabil!

“I welcome your letter.

“So in the little bit of information you shared with me, I am intrigued.

“I have worked for a number of years, 26 in fact, on my genealogy. It has been a passion and at times an obsession.”

In her initial email to me, Karen surprised me with her excitement and candor — neither of which I was expecting from the woman whom I had gently accused of being the descendant of the man who owned my ancestors…

…My mother, who is white, chose to have me and raise me on her own. My father is black, but because he has never been part of my life, I’ve never held a strong black identity or felt I belonged to any single race. I grew up in very diverse and liberal surroundings where, if anyone asked, I was racially mixed, and that was fine.

I’m often asked the question, “What are you?” Or the less invasive, but still pointed, “Where are you from?” I’ve always described myself as “half black and half white.” It’s a phrase I still use for simplicity…

Read the entire article here.

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Ask Code Switch: ‘Since You’re Black, You Must Be … ‘

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2017-08-26 23:12Z by Steven

Ask Code Switch: ‘Since You’re Black, You Must Be … ‘

Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2017-08-26

Leah Donnella, News Assistant, Code Switch


Code Switch is tackling your trickiest questions about race.
amathers/iStock

Welcome back to Ask Code Switch, a segment where we dissect your trickiest questions about race. This week, we’re tackling one version of a question that we hear all the time: What do you do when people just won’t stop making assumptions about you because of how you look?

Franchesca in San Francisco writes:

I am mixed Filipino and black, but was raised by my Filipino side. Because I identify more with being Filipino, I get offended when people assume that I’m only black or that I’m only into “black things.” For example, they assume that I must be into black men, etc. It makes me feel like I’m being stereotyped based off my appearance (which is racially ambiguous and depends on who is looking at me and their own perceptions or experiences with different ethnicities). How can I avoid being offended and address the situation when I do feel like I am being boxed into a certain category, without making it a huge deal?…

Read the entire article here.

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For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-03-11 20:18Z by Steven

For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated

Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2017-03-11

Kat Chow


For years, advocates have pushed the Census Bureau for a box for people of Middle Eastern or North African descent. Now, the bureau recommends one. Some worry the data may be misused in surveillance.
Chelsea Beck/NPR

When Atoosa Moinzadeh filled out past census forms, she found herself in a racial identification conundrum. Moinzadeh identifies as Iranian American. But the census forms don’t have a box for Iranian American. The closest she could come to identifying herself the way she wanted was to choose the box for “white,” which had “Middle East” listed as an example.

That wasn’t quite right for her.

“I’ve always identified as not white, and so the expectation to check off ‘white’ on forms has never felt accurate to me,” Moinzadeh said. She has brown skin and grew up in a white neighborhood in a Seattle suburb. Like many other people of Middle Eastern or North African descent, the world did not treat Moinzadeh as white. And so, on past census forms, Moinzadeh would select the box for “other” and write in “Iranian American.”…

Now, after years of advocacy groups pressuring the U.S. Census Bureau to create a separate geographic category for people of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) descent, the bureau is recommending that MENA be added to the 2020 census. That could mean that the approximately 3.7 million Arab-Americans in the U.S. might have their own box to check off.

Collecting accurate demographic information is crucial, especially for ethnic minority communities, since data gleaned from census forms affects funding for services such as voter protections or English as a second language programs in schools, and also is included in research on topics like housing discrimination. And in 2015, when the bureau tested potential new categories, including MENA, it found that people of Middle Eastern or North African descent would check off the MENA box when it was available; when it wasn’t, they’d select white.

But with policies and political rhetoric that are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim, some worry the MENA census category might be used against the very people it’s supposed to include. “The downside is concerns about misuse of this data and how it could be used by the government in a time of national crisis,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Concerns like these have been around for almost as long…

Read the entire article here.

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Ultimately, the narrative that imagines mixed-race people as a panacea for racism is a flawed one that reinforces ideas around the very existence of race.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-09 21:38Z by Steven

Ultimately, the narrative that imagines mixed-race people as a panacea for racism is a flawed one that reinforces ideas around the very existence of race. Instead, we might want to refocus our conversation around how the collective fiction of race is weaponized to limit access to equality and justice for some groups and not others, then maybe we’re onto something.

Alexandros Orphanides, “Why Mixed-Race Americans Will Not Save The Country,” Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed, National Public Radio, March 8, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/03/08/519010491/why-mixed-race-americans-will-not-save-the-country.

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Why Mixed-Race Americans Will Not Save The Country

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-08 19:32Z by Steven

Why Mixed-Race Americans Will Not Save The Country

Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2017-03-08

Alexandros Orphanides


What do mixed-race Americans mean for the future of racism?
Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images

Americans like to fantasize that a mixed-race future will free them from the clutches of racism.

But this illusion is incompatible with an America in which the presidential election was won by the candidate who ran a “Make America Great Again” campaign, which many critics have pointed out was widely heard as a call to “Make America White Again.”

If the election results are a vindication for those championing the politics of President Trump, the demographic trends point in the opposite direction. Today, the United States’ mixed-race population is growing three times faster than the general population, and optimism about the impact that mixed-race people can have on a racially-divided country abounds.

What Biracial People Know,” a recent op-ed in The New York Times, argues that the growing multiracial population may act as a “vaccine” to the bigotry that buoyed Trump’s campaign, granting America “immunity” to the longstanding politics of exclusion shaped by racism.

But this hope that a mixed-race future will result in a paradise of interracial and ethnically-ambiguous babies is misleading. It presents racism as passive — a vestigial reflex that will fade with the presence of interracial offspring, rather than as an active system that can change with time. A 2015 study by Pew Research Center concluded that mixed-race Americans describe experiences of discrimination in the form of slurs, poor customer service, and police encounters. These figures were highest among people of black-white and black-Native American descent…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Rachel Dolezal Can Never Be Black

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-07 03:33Z by Steven

Why Rachel Dolezal Can Never Be Black

Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2017-03-03

Denene Millner


Rachel Dolezal stepped down from her post as the leader of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP in 2015 amid criticism that she was passing herself off as black.
Nicholas K. Geranios/AP

Rachel Dolezal just won’t let it go.

The white civil rights activist and former NAACP leader outed by her parents in 2015 for passing herself off as black is making the rounds with news that she is living on food stamps, a month away from homelessness, can’t find a job and, perhaps most shockingly, has legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo.

News of Dolezal’s precarious living conditions and new name — Nkechi is the Igbo word for “gift of God,” with roots in Nigeria, and Diallo means “bold” in Fulani, a word that can be traced to both Guinea and Senegal — comes, not surprisingly, just weeks before her new memoir, In Full Color, heads to bookstores…

Read the entire article here.

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Will Racism End When Old Bigots Die?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-01-16 17:54Z by Steven

Will Racism End When Old Bigots Die?

Code Switch: Race And Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2017-01-14

Leah Donnella

Shelly Fields is a 46-year-old white woman living in Richton Park, a racially diverse Chicago suburb. She says she’s raised her four daughters, who are biracial, to see people of all races as equal, just as her parents raised her. Fields doesn’t think that racism will ever disappear completely, but she’s hopeful that it lessens with each passing generation.

“The more biracial children there are, the more equality we see,” Fields said. “The more people of color we see in positions of power – it will help to change the way people see race.”

Her oldest daughter, Summer, is a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Chicago. When she was in high school, Summer probably would have agreed that race relations were looking up. The ’90s and early 2000s were “a post-racial fantasy time” in Richton Park, Summer said. “Being firmly in the middle of the Obama era – it [was] a moment of progress. It was validating.”

Now, as the Obama era ends, she is of the mind that racism isn’t going anywhere.

“Racism always evolves, and will find a way,” Summer said.

The question that Shelly and Summer are tackling has been posed in many forms for many generations. Will racism just die off with old bigots? Does the fate of race relations lie with the children?…

…They’ve argued over things like trigger warnings and safe spaces (her mom says that’s not how the real world works) and about how to self-identify. Summer thought of herself as biracial until she went to college. When she started referring to herself as a black woman, that became another point of contention.

“My mom doesn’t understand,” she said. “She feels like that’s an affront to her.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Meet Shereen Marisol Meraji, A Latina Journalist Tackling Race & Idendity Through Podcasting

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-28 20:39Z by Steven

Meet Shereen Marisol Meraji, A Latina Journalist Tackling Race & Idendity Through Podcasting

Latina
2016-11-23

Raquel Reichard, Politics & Culture Editor


Hugo Rojo

With Donald Trump, a candidate who ran on racism, xenophobia, sexism, Islamophobia and a disdain for journalists, heading to the White House, reports by and about the communities most impacted by the president-elect’s rhetoric and proposals are ever-important, making Shereen Marisol Meraji a periodista you need to know.

The Cali-based Puerto Rican-Iranian is a journalist reporting on race for NPR’s Code Switch podcast. Each week, Meraji and her team tackle issues of race, ethnicity and identity that are impacting our country as a whole.

The mixed-race mujer, who prides herself on being vocal, opinionated and informed, approaches these topics from her own intersections as a woman, bi-cultural Latina and daughter of a Muslim immigrant father.

Ahead, the Persian-Rican opens up about her work, why she focuses on race and identity, and the need for nuanced and uncomfortable discussions on these topics in the media and at the dinner table…

Why are issues of race particularly important to you, Shereen the human, rather than Shereen the journalist-podcaster?

For me, the human, I think it’s because of my mixed background. I never felt like I belonged. I realized, Oh my God! Not only is my mixed identity not represented anywhere, but not even my mom’s or dad’s 100 percent identities are represented. I’m not seeing any stories of what I’m interested in, what I do or who I am, and those stories are important. Never having really belonged, being on the margins while observing everything, that’s made me a natural journalist – not quite a part of something, always observing…

Read the entire interview here.

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There’s something about feeling like an outsider in the place where you grew up that stings. Like family members who no longer recognize you.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-10-25 19:23Z by Steven

I was already dreading the thought of doing it again, having to face those saccharine smiles trying to understand, Why are you here?

Again, I’m a black woman with a Jewish mother, and I live in the United States of America. When I say that I’m used to being in places where I don’t look like I belong, I mean it. Looking out of place is one of the most consistent parts of my life.

But it’s different in a synagogue. There’s something about feeling like an outsider in the place where you grew up that stings. Like family members who no longer recognize you.

Leah Donnella, “Black, Jewish And Avoiding The Synagogue On Yom Kippur,” Code Switch: Race And Identity, Remixed (National Public Radio), October 12, 2016. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/10/12/496868502/black-jewish-and-avoiding-the-synagogue-on-yom-kippur

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Black, Jewish And Avoiding The Synagogue On Yom Kippur

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-10-19 17:42Z by Steven

Black, Jewish And Avoiding The Synagogue On Yom Kippur

Code Switch: Race And Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2016-10-12

Leah Donnella

Last time I worshipped in a synagogue was Sept. 5, 2014. And I won’t be going today.

That might surprise my friends, who put up with my bragging ad nauseam about how Jewish I am.

You got a great deal on plane tickets? Reminds me of the time I took a free Birthright trip to Israel. Going skating? I haven’t been on skates since my bat mitzvah reception, held at the roller skating rink in Villanova, Pa. You say you love the musicals of George Gershwin? Ha, that sounds just like Gershenfeld, my mother’s maiden name, which is also my middle name, which means “barley field” in Yiddish, the language my ancestors spoke in Eastern Europe.

Some of this is just me being obnoxious. But it’s also a way to claim a part of my identity that’s hidden from most people. I’m a black woman. No one ever assumes I’m Jewish. When I talk about Judaism, people look at me in a way that makes me feel like I’m breaking into my own house. Especially the people inside the house.

Read the entire article here.

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