Because She Can: The Unbearable Whiteness of Jessie

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-09-13 01:25Z by Steven

Because She Can: The Unbearable Whiteness of Jessie

The Crisis
2020-09-09

TaRessa Stovall

I’m a mixed (Black, Jewish, Native American) boomer, very light-skinned and so racially ambiguous looking that most people question, assume and try to challenge my racial identity.

My copper-toned Black father hated that I wouldn’t exploit my appearance to “be anything.” My Russian Jewish mother wondered about my lifelong allegiance to Blackness and my stubborn insistence on conveying the messy totality of my DNA even when it wasn’t comfortable, advantageous or convenient.

Still, I never lied about my identity. Even when doing so might have made my life easier.

We’re familiar with the reasons that many Black people passed for white, especially in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras — as a way to lessen oppression and “level up” to better opportunities. But why would a white person discard their privilege to pretend to be Black?

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I’m a Teen of Mixed Race: Here’s What It’s Like to Grow Up Biracial in America Today

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2020-07-17 14:17Z by Steven

I’m a Teen of Mixed Race: Here’s What It’s Like to Grow Up Biracial in America Today

Parents
2020-03-03

Adiah Siler


ILLUSTRATION BY YEJI KIM

In this week’s ‘Teen Talk’ column, a teen explains her experience growing up mixed and how parents can help their children navigate the complexities of being biracial with single-race friends and family.

In my eighteen years growing up as mixed race, I’ve only had one biracial friend. She was a year younger than me and endlessly realistic—the one friend everyone needs who tells it like it is.

“Being mixed isn’t some great injustice,” she said to me one morning after I brought up some of the discomforts I had about feeling “othered” by our friends. Growing up, my school district was predominantly white, and my identity had developed around that of my peers. Now, being in an art school where it’s much more diverse, I’ve had to acclimate to the many ways blackness presents itself around me. “Talent scouts, modeling agencies, casting directors … they all love racial ambiguity—it sells better,” she added.

I’d never thought of my mixed skin tone like this before. My mom is white and my dad is black. Although I don’t pass for white at all, with an Afro and dark skin, I am definitely light-skinned compared to others, which has its advantages. But my mixed look has definitely been complicated for me. I was 4 years old the first time I realized that my mother’s hair was nothing like mine and never would be. At age 12 I was referred to by the N-word for the first time and felt such rage and confusion that I didn’t know how to react. My white friend later explained to me that it wasn’t a big deal, her friends said it all the time…

Now 18, I have predominantly white friends, and a white partner. I’m finally at the age where I can recognize not only my privilege in being mixed, but my luck in finding both black and white people that I love and identify with.

Colorism, or discrimination based on skin complexion, plays a huge role in the ways that modern society operates and picks the minorities it wants to show. There is also truth to the fact that being mixed can be incredibly difficult and confusing at times. There have always been a thousand little things that make me feel disconnected from my single-race family and friends. I want parents to understand the complexities that come with raising a mixed child, so they can help their children navigate the “in-betweeness” that I have felt and that never really leaves.

Read the entire article here.

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Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2020-06-22 19:42Z by Steven

Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Liverpool University Press
2019-09-10
280 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-789-62000-9

Henrice Altink, Professor of Modern History; Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre
University of York

Informed by critical race theory and based on a wide range of sources, including official sources, memoirs, and anthropological studies, this book examines multiple forms of racial discrimination in Jamaica and how they were talked about and experienced from the end of the First World War until the demise of democratic socialism in the 1980s. It also pays attention to practices devoid of racial content but which equally helped to sustain a society stratified by race and colour, such as voting qualifications. Case studies on the labour market, education, the family and legal system, among other areas, demonstrate the extent to which race and colour shaped social relations in the island in the decades preceding and following independence and argue that racial discrimination was a public secret – everybody knew it took place but few dared to openly discuss or criticise it. The book ends with an examination of race and colour in contemporary Jamaica to show that race and colour have lost little of their power since independence and offers some suggestions to overcome the silence on race to facilitate equality of opportunity for all.

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Comfortable in My Own Skin

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2020-06-22 01:51Z by Steven

Comfortable in My Own Skin

Sojourners
January 2020

Maika Llaneza
New Orleans, Louisiana

My theology says brown skin is beautiful, but my Pinterest page said otherwise.

MY EXPERIENCE BEING color-shamed began when I was 5 years old and still living in the Philippines. My mom and aunts often told me that I could be mistaken for “the maid’s daughter,” due to my darker brown skin. Even at a young age, I understood it was intended as an insult.

As I grew up, billboards, films, television shows, and magazines bombarded me with images of white Americans and Filipinas with white facial features. Mestiza Filipina models and actresses—celebrities admired by young girls like me—advertised skin-whitening products.

Color-shaming by other Filipinas continued after I moved to the United States at age 7. My mom, titas (aunts or older women), and lolas (grandmothers or elderly women) told me to “stay away from the sun” and “try not to get so dark.” They told me I would look even prettier if I had lighter skin…

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White Colorism

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2020-03-10 17:41Z by Steven

White Colorism

Social Currents
Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2015
pages 13-21
DOI: 10.1177/2329496514558628

Lance Hannon, Professor of Sociology and Criminology
Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Perhaps reflecting a desire to emphasize the enduring power of rigidly constructed racial categories, sociology has tended to downplay the importance of within-category variation in skin tone. Similarly, in popular media, “colorism,” or discrimination based on skin lightness, is rarely mentioned. When colorism is discussed, it is almost exclusively framed in terms of intraracial “black-on-black” discrimination. In line with arguments highlighting the centrality of white racism, the present paper contends that it is important for researchers to give unique attention to white colorism. Using data from the 2012 American National Election Study, an example is presented on white interviewers’ perceptions of minority respondent skin tone and intelligence (N = 223). Results from ordinal logistic regression analyses indicate that African American and Latino respondents with the lightest skin are several times more likely to be seen by whites as intelligent compared with those with the darkest skin. The article concludes that a full accounting of white hegemony requires an acknowledgment of both white racism and white colorism.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-03-06 18:06Z by Steven

Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

New York University Press
March 2020
280 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781479800292
Hardcover ISBN: 9781479881086

Edited by:

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont

Whiter

Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled “too dark” to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards

“I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed from that of intent observer to one of guilt and shame. . . . ‘My anak (dear child),’ she began, ‘you are so beautiful. It is a shame that you are so dark. No Filipino man will ever want to marry you.’” —“Shade of Brown,” Noelle Marie Falcis

How does skin color impact the lives of Asian American women? In Whiter, thirty Asian American women provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with colorism in this collection of powerful, accessible, and brutally honest essays, edited by Nikki Khanna.

Featuring contributors of many ages, nationalities, and professions, this compelling collection covers a wide range of topics, including light-skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, and anti-blackness. From skin-whitening creams to cosmetic surgery, Whiter amplifies the diverse voices of Asian American women who continue to bravely challenge the power of skin color in their own lives.

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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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Me, Myself, and My Mixed Identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Canada on 2019-11-19 01:05Z by Steven

Me, Myself, and My Mixed Identity

The Bull & Bear: McGill’s Student-Run News Magazine
Montreal, Quebec
2019-10-17

Alia Shaukat


Photo courtesy of Regina Gonzalez

Content Warning: This article deals with sensitive topics such as racism, colorism, and sexual abuse.

I first encountered the world of racial fetishization during my brief stint on Tinder last June. That low-stakes, medium-reward dating app that we all know and love seemed like the perfect place for me to explore the dating scene. It was also, as I soon discovered, the perfect place for many men to explore their potential for racism.

Each morning, I would wake up to an aggressive amount of inquiring “What’s your race?” texts paired with a wealth of heart-eye emojis. This duality of violation and flattery was extremely confusing. Upon revealing my mixed ethnicity to my Tinder suitors, I would be praised for being “different” or “interesting,” and yet the only thing they knew about me was my mixed race identity. When I was younger, I would’ve found the comments gratifying, simply because they indicated that someone had taken an interest in me. However, now that I am older, I’ve seen that these compliments are the subtle forms in which racial fetishization manifests. It is a form of racism in which hurtful stereotypes camouflage as compliments and praise…

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New Evidence of Skin Color Bias and Health Outcomes Using Sibling Difference Models: A Research Note

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-10-26 03:32Z by Steven

New Evidence of Skin Color Bias and Health Outcomes Using Sibling Difference Models: A Research Note

Demography
Volume 56, Issue 2 (April 2019)
pages 753-762
DOI: 10.1007/s13524-018-0756-6

Thomas Laidley, Postdoctoral Fellow
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado

Benjamin Domingue, Assistant Professor of Education and, by courtesy, of Sociology
Stanford University

Piyapat Sinsub
Princeton University

Kathleen Mullan Harris, James Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology
University of North Carolina

Dalton Conley, Henry Putnam University Professor in Sociology
Princeton University

In this research note, we use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to determine whether darker skin tone predicts hypertension among siblings using a family fixed-effects analytic strategy. We find that even after we account for common family background and home environment, body mass index, age, sex, and outdoor activity, darker skin color significantly predicts hypertension incidence among siblings. In a supplementary analysis using newly released genetic data from Add Health, we find no evidence that our results are biased by genetic pleiotropy, whereby differences in alleles among siblings relate to coloration and directly to cardiovascular health simultaneously. These results add to the extant evidence on color biases that are distinct from those based on race alone and that will likely only heighten in importance in an increasingly multiracial environment as categorization becomes more complex.

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Column: Lightskin privilege and its place in activism

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2019-10-23 01:00Z by Steven

Column: Lightskin privilege and its place in activism

The Daily Tar Heel
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2019-04-14

Devon Johnson, Chief Opinion Editor

Column: Lightskin privilege and its place in activism

After reading a letter to the editor this week questioning the place of biracial students in campus activism, I thought it was an important question that deserved to be expanded upon and hopefully answered to some degree. So I’ve reflected on my race, specifically how my race is perceived by others and how, if at all, it impacts the ways in which I form my racial identity.

The first time I distinctly remember my biracial identity being affirmed was, perhaps unsurprisingly, in Drake’sYou & The 6.” “I used to get teased for being Black, and now I’m here and I’m not Black enough.” This line summed up the in-betweenness I had felt for most of my life; the tugging from either side of the aisle by those trying to have me racialize and categorize myself…

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