“My mother understood she was raising two black children to be black women.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-03-29 02:59Z by Steven

“My mother understood she was raising two black children to be black women,” [Kamala] Harris said in the interview, a line she has often used to settle questions on the subject. Shyamala Gopalan Harris encouraged her daughter to go to Howard [University], a school her mother knew well, having guest lectured there and having friends on the faculty.

“There was nothing unnatural or in conflict about it at all,” Harris said. “There were a lot of kids at Howard who had a background where one parent was maybe from the Philippines and the other might be from Nairobi,” she added. “Howard encompasses the [African] diaspora.”

Evan Halper, “A political awakening: How Howard University shaped Kamala Harris’ identity,” The Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2019. https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-kamala-harris-howard-university-20190319-story.html.

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A political awakening: How Howard University shaped Kamala Harris’ identity

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2019-03-29 02:47Z by Steven

A political awakening: How Howard University shaped Kamala Harris’ identity

The Los Angeles Times
2019-03-19

Evan Halper

A political awakening: How Howard University shaped Kamala Harris’ identity
Kamala Harris, right, protests South African apartheid with classmate Gwen Whitfield on the National Mall in November 1982. (Photo courtesy of Kamala Harris)

The war on drugs had erupted, apartheid was raging, Jesse Jackson would soon make the campus a staging ground for his inaugural presidential bid. Running for student office in 1982 at Howard University — the school that nurtured Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison and Stokely Carmichael — was no joke.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has been known to break the ice with voters by proclaiming the freshman-year campaign in which she won a seat on the Liberal Arts Student Council her toughest political race. Those who were at the university with her are not so sure she is kidding.

It was at Howard that the senator’s political identity began to take shape. Thirty-three years after she graduated in 1986, the university in the nation’s capital, one of the country’s most prominent historically black institutions, also serves as a touchstone in a campaign in which political opponents have questioned the authenticity of her black identity.

“I reference often my days at Howard to help people understand they should not make assumptions about who black people are,” Harris said in a recent interview…

Read the entire article here.

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Remarks by the President at Howard University Commencement Ceremony

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2016-05-11 21:44Z by Steven

Remarks by the President at Howard University Commencement Ceremony

The White House
Washington, D.C.
2016-05-07

Office of the Press Secretary

Howard University
Washington, D.C.

11:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Hello, Howard! (Applause.) H-U!

AUDIENCE: You know!

THE PRESIDENT: H-U!

AUDIENCE: You know!

THE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) Thank you so much, everybody. Please, please, have a seat. Oh, I feel important now. Got a degree from Howard. Cicely Tyson said something nice about me. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, President!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back.

To President Frederick, the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, fellow recipients of honorary degrees, thank you for the honor of spending this day with you. And congratulations to the Class of 2016! (Applause.) Four years ago, back when you were just freshmen, I understand many of you came by my house the night I was reelected. (Laughter.) So I decided to return the favor and come by yours…

…Now, how you do that, how you meet these challenges, how you bring about change will ultimately be up to you. My generation, like all generations, is too confined by our own experience, too invested in our own biases, too stuck in our ways to provide much of the new thinking that will be required. But us old-heads have learned a few things that might be useful in your journey. So with the rest of my time, I’d like to offer some suggestions for how young leaders like you can fulfill your destiny and shape our collective future — bend it in the direction of justice and equality and freedom.

First of all — and this should not be a problem for this group — be confident in your heritage. (Applause.) Be confident in your blackness. One of the great changes that’s occurred in our country since I was your age is the realization there’s no one way to be black. Take it from somebody who’s seen both sides of debate about whether I’m black enough. (Laughter.) In the past couple months, I’ve had lunch with the Queen of England and hosted Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office. There’s no straitjacket, there’s no constraints, there’s no litmus test for authenticity…

Read the entire transcript here. Download the video in MP4 or MP3 format.

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Obama Gets All In His Blackness At Howard

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2016-05-11 20:41Z by Steven

Obama Gets All In His Blackness At Howard

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2016-05-10

Leah Donnella

“Be confident in your heritage. Be confident in your blackness,” President Barack Obama told graduates and their families at Howard University’s 2016 Commencement Ceremony. It was one of many moments in a speech that honored the achievements of black folks — many Howard alumni — and called on graduates to get and stay politically active. His speech was met with laughter, generous applause, and largely positive reviews. Paul Holston, editor-in-chief of Howard’s student newspaper The Hilltop, wrote that Obama’s address was “strong, eloquent, and inspirational,” and would “go down as one of the most significant moments in Howard University’s history.”

Howard students weren’t the only ones cheering over the speech. Janell Ross at The Washington Post lauded Obama’s call for “empathy and [an] expanded moral imagination” as one of the few surprising and thought-provoking messages that graduates will receive this season. On Twitter, Slate writer Jamelle Bouie called the speech “a great mediation on democracy AND a celebration of black life.” Mathew Rodriguez at Mic described Obama’s speech as “one of the best and blackest he’s given.”

Melissa Harris-Perry, editor-at-large of Elle, wrote that Obama’s speech was remarkable in its treatment of gender as well as race, and proved “that he is our most black, feminist president to date” by highlighting the genius of black women like Lorraine Hansberry, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer and Zora Neale Hurston:

“Once again, [Obama] put black women at the very center of the stories he told and the lessons he imparted. As he warmed up, he jokingly referred to ‘Shonda Rhimes owning Thursday night’ and ‘Beyonce running the world.’ They were casual references, not central themes of his talk, but even here he deployed two boss black women as representatives of black excellence and achievement.”…

Read the entire article here.

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In the Middle, In Between: Cultural Hybridity, Community Rejection, and the Destabilization of Race in Percival Everett’s “Erasure”, Adam Mansbach’s “Angry Black White Boy”, and Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia”

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2011-09-01 23:54Z by Steven

In the Middle, In Between: Cultural Hybridity, Community Rejection, and the Destabilization of Race in Percival Everett’s “Erasure”, Adam Mansbach’s “Angry Black White Boy”, and Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia”

Howard University
2011
84 pages
Publication Number: AAT 1495397
ISBN: 9781124728568

Laura R. Perez

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Howard University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in the Department of English

Cultural hybridity, a term first introduced by post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha, has been a shifting and difficult to define concept within academic discourse. My thesis will focus on cultural hybridity as the embodiment of a pluralistic identity that encompasses the characteristics or attributes of more than one culture or race. I will examine three contemporary literary works of racial satire—Percival Everett’s Erasure, Adam Mansbach’s Angry Black White Boy, and Danzy Senna’s Caucasia—that present culturally hybrid protagonists and explore the ways in which these protagonists are utilized to destabilize race. Furthermore, I will demonstrate the tensions that this destabilization creates through community rejections of each protagonists’ hybridity – tensions that become inherent to hybridity itself.

My exploration will include an analysis of the protagonists’ hybridity—the ways in which they do not fit into the existing notions of what blackness or whiteness is—and how this hybridity is marginalized by their communities. Following this, I will explicate the protagonists’ responses to their marginalization—their creation of dual identities or alter egos and the racial/psychoanalytic significance of this process. I will draw upon post-colonial and critical race theory writings, as well as Freudian and Lacanian theory, to frame my analysis. But most importantly, I will draw upon the work of scholars—including Marwan Kraidy, Jopi Nyman, Sabrine Broeck, Pnina Werbner, Peter Burke, and Robert Young—to theorize hybridity within my analysis.

Finally, I will examine the novels’ conclusions, during which the protagonists’ dual identities are forcefully merged, and demonstrate the lack of resolution that this merging creates. This examination will reveal that the community rejections of hybridity in each novel are, in themselves, impossible to mediate. Thus, I will prove that each protagonist’s hybrid positioning not only destabilizes race by challenging the concreteness of racial categorizations, but that this positioning, and the community’s response to it, also demonstrates the tensions inherent to hybridity itself. In this way, each text undermines the black-white binary, while also affirming the tensions that result from not willfully engaging in it.

Table of Contents

  • Thesis Committee
  • ABSTRACT
  • CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
    • Background to the Problem
    • Statement of the Problem
    • Review of Literature
    • Theoretical Framework and Methodology
    • Plan of Research
    • Definition of Terms
  • CHAPTER 2: PERCIVAL EVERETT’S ERASURE
  • CHAPTER 3: ADAM MANSBACH’S ANGRY BLACK WHITE BOY
  • CHAPTER 4: DANZY SENNA’S CAUCASIA
  • REFERENCES

Purchase the dissertation here.

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