Born Champions [Full Episode]

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Videos on 2014-10-02 01:45Z by Steven

Born Champions [Full Episode]

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
2014-09-30

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Host and Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Three of America’s greatest athletes, whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, were all cut off from their true origins. Billie Jean King learns the story of her grandmother. Derek Jeter confronts his ancestors’ lives as slaves. Rebecca Lobo finds out that her Spanish ancestor fought side by side with a famous revolutionary.

Watch the full episode here.

Partial Transcript below:

GATES: I’M HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. WELCOME TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS.

TONIGHT, WE REVEAL THE ANCESTRY OF THREE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST ATHLETES: TENNIS LEGEND BILLIE JEAN KING, YANKEES ALL-STAR DEREK JETER, AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PIONEER REBECCA LOBO… ATHLETES WHOSE PURPOSE AND DRIVE WERE PROFOUNDLY SHAPED BY THEIR FAMILIES.

TO DISCOVER THEIR ANCESTORS, WE’VE USED EVERY TOOL AVAILABLE…

GENEALOGISTS HELPED STITCH TOGETHER THE PAST USING THE PAPER TRAIL THEIR FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND, WHILE GENETICISTS UTILIZED THE LATEST ADVANCES IN DNA ANALYSIS TO REVEAL SECRETS HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD.

GATES: The answers are in this book…

GATES VO: AND WE’VE COMPILED EVERYTHING INTO A BOOK OF LIFE, A RECORD OF ALL OF OUR DISCOVERIES…

LOBO: I mean it’s just amazing to see her handwriting!

JETER: That’s unbelievable… all the way back to 1605!

BILLIE JEAN KING: This is from a bible?  Family…we have a family bible?

GATES: Mhm.

BILLIE JEAN KING: This (audio cuts off 1:01:04:12) is fantastic!

GATES: AS WE TRACE BILLIE JEAN, DEREK, AND REBECCA’S ROOTS, WE’LL EXPLORE HOW THEY BECAME CHAMPIONS, DID THEY COME TO GREATNESS THROUGH HARD WORK AND INDIVIDUAL EFFORT? IS THEIR TALENT SIMPLY ENCODED IN THEIR GENES? COULD IT BE, THESE THREE ATHLETES WERE MODELED IN WAYS THEY NEVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED? BY THE LIVES OF THEIR ANCESTORS.

ROOTS TITLE SEQUENCE…

…GATES VO: DEREK’S FATHER, CHARLES JETER, IS AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HIS MOTHER, DOROTHY CONNORS, IS OF IRISH DESCENT. IT WASN’T EASY BEING THE CHILD OF A MIXED MARRIAGE. WHEN DEREK WAS YOUNG, HE OFTEN HAD TO FACE UNWANTED ATTENTION.

JETER: You know back in the day, yeah you’d get some second glances, people trying to figure out what the dynamic is there. And if you go somewhere with both of them, obviously you get some stares.

GATES: Mhm.

JETER: My parents tried to explain to us that it’s just people’s ignorance they’re not used to seeing it.

GATES: Did your parents take any flack?

JETER: I think when you’re a young child, I think your parents don’t necessarily tell you how difficult it was…

GATES: Yeah.

JETER: …on them. So, you know, a lot of their troubles that they went through, I’m sure they sheltered us from it.

GATES:  So when people come up to you and say, you know, “What are you?” what do you say?

JETER:  Black and Irish…

GATES: Black and Irish, that’s what you say?

JETER: Yeah, that’s, that’s what I believe I am but I don’t know much about my history…

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Derek Jeter embodies MLK’s dream

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-01-17 05:26Z by Steven

Derek Jeter embodies MLK’s dream

ESPN New York
2012-01-16

Wallace Matthews

Biracial Yankees captain a symbol of the America Martin Luther King once envisioned

When the average person thinks of Derek Jeter, he or she is likely to think of the 3,000 hits, or the five World Series rings, or the highlight reel full of great plays he has made over the past 16 years for the New York Yankees.

They are likely to linger on the countless clutch hits he has delivered in key moments, or the 2000 World Series MVP, or the fact he has been captain of the Yankees for nearly a decade and the face of the franchise for considerably longer than that.

It is a safe bet that for most people, one of the last things they think about when they think about Derek Jeter is his race. Or, more correctly, his races.

To all the remarkable accomplishments Jeter has achieved in his Cooperstown-bound baseball career, add one that few of us ever bother to think about—that Jeter is the product of a mixed-race marriage, a happenstance that at one time would have caused him to suffer hardship, if not scorn, from many, but now is just another fact in the Derek Jeter biography.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, it is important to understand that of all the things Derek Jeter is, one of the most significant is that he is a symbol of the kind of America Dr. King hoped one day to live in…

…Jeter, always wary of discussing topics outside of his comfort zone—the baseball diamond—declined a request to be interviewed for this story.

 But Dr. Harry Edwards, a sociologist and black activist of the 1960s who has spoken and written extensively on the subject of race and professional athletics, explained Jeter’s appeal as a combination both of his unique attributes as an athlete and individual, and as a sign that the United States, throughout its history often bitterly divided along racial, ethnic and territorial lines, is moving toward an era of diversity and inclusion.

“I think it’s absolutely appropriate in the 21st century that a Derek Jeter should be the face of the premier baseball team in this country,” Edwards said. “When you talk about leadership and production and consistency and durability over the years, what he has achieved and what he has accomplished, and more than that, the way that he has done it is just absolutely phenomenal. He is one of our real athletic heroes and role models to the point that his race or ethnicity does not matter.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race Celebrities on Race, in their Own Words

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2011-02-17 05:33Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Celebrities on Race, in their Own Words

Time Magazine: Healthland
2011-02-15

Meredith Melnick, Reporter and Producer

Who Are You?

If biracial and multiracial celebrities have anything in common, it is that they are often asked to explain themselves. That may sound familiar to any person of mixed ancestry for whom questions like “What are you?” and the slightly more delicate “Where are your parents from?” are the norm.

“Historically, racism is equated with segregation, separating people,” says Marcia Alesan Dawkins, a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. “In turn, we think racial progress is racial mixing. But the problem is, [that progress is] still based on appearance.”

People who embody racial diversity can’t be expected to explain the concept to everybody else, but their thoughts on the matter are often illuminating. As Dawkins said, “It’s still important to bring issues of multiracial identity to the public’s attention.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Being Multiracial in a Country that Sees Black and White

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-01-05 00:13Z by Steven

Being Multiracial in a Country that Sees Black and White

Interpolations: A Journal of First Year Writing
Deparment of English, University of Maryland
Fall 2009

Lavisha McClarin
University of Maryland

In America mixed race individuals are becoming more prominent in the media, politics and sports throughout the country. Some of the most popular mixed race individuals that we see everyday include Tiger Woods, Vin Diesel, Mariah Carey, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Derek Jeter, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys and of course President [Barack] Obama. The fact that this population of mixed race individuals is growing at an astounding rate is the reason behind the current discussion on the racial classification of such individuals. Before the 1960s many researchers considered “biracial identity [to be] equivalent to black identity…or a subset of blacks” (Rockquemore 21). This thought continued to exist in the United States by researchers until the 1990s [sic] when “biracial people were [considered] a separate [racial] group” (21). The multiracial movement that has arisen during the 1990s believes that “every person, especially every child, who is multi-ethnic/interracial has the same right as any other person to assert an identity that embraces the fullness and integrity of their actual ancestry” (Tessman 1). Although there are overall positive effects for these individuals from the movement, there are also negative affects that could potentially cause more problems for America’s current racial system. However, despite the negative effects of the movement, there is evidence that shows that this potential transition to a multiracial system in the US has beneficial aspects to it…

Read the entire article here.

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Driven: Branding Derek Jeter, Redefining Race

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2009-09-07 21:49Z by Steven

Driven: Branding Derek Jeter, Redefining Race

NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture
Volume 17, Number 2, Spring 2009
pages  70-79
E-ISSN: 1534-1844 Print ISSN: 1188-9330
DOI: 10.1353/nin.0.0041

Roberta Newman

Promoting the opening of the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit, “The Glory Days: New York Baseball, 1947-1957,” curator Ann Meyerson noted that for the first time since Jackie Robinson crossed the major league’s color line in 1947, not a single African American player was likely to be included on either of the city’s teams’ twenty-five man rosters in 2007. Excluding, for the sake of argument, Mets prospect Lastings Milledge, now with the Nationals, where did that leave the captain of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter?  In a 2005 interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Jeter handled the subject of his race with characteristic, media-savvy care: “My Dad is black, my Mom is Irish, and I’m Catholic, so I hear everything. I’m in New York and there are all different people, all races and religions. I can relate to everyone.”

Since his 1996 rookie season, Derek Jeter has not only played shortstop for the New York Yankees, he has parlayed his ability to “relate to everyone” into what advertisers hope will translate into an ability to “sell to everyone,” working overtime as a pitching machine.  Most of the products Jeter pitched before 2006 were ones generally associated with baseball and conventionally endorsed by its players-Nike sneakers, Gatorade sports drink, Ford cars and trucks, and a variety of breakfast and snack foods, including Ritz crackers, Post cereals, Skippy peanut butter, and, perhaps inevitably, Oreos.  Not so surprisingly for one of the most generously compensated players in the game, Jeter also endorsed a financial institution, Fleet Bank. In his role as a well-known man about town, not altogether unfamiliar to the readers of New York’s gossip columns, Jeter also appeared with his equally famous, generous compensator, George M. Steinbrenner, in a Visa commercial. Recently, however, Jeter has branched out beyond the expected, connecting his image to two very different…

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