Color Crit: Critical Race Theory and the History and Future of Colorism in the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-10-24 23:49Z by Steven

Color Crit: Critical Race Theory and the History and Future of Colorism in the United States

Journal of Black Studies
First Published 2018-10-16
23 pages
DOI: 10.1177/0021934718803735

Robert L. Reece, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Texas, Austin

Critical race theory teaches that racism and racial inequality are constants in American society that stand outside of the prejudices of individuals. It argues that structures and institutions are primarily responsible for the maintenance of racial inequality. However, critical race theorists have neglected to formally examine and theorize colorism, a primary offshoot of racial domination. Although studies of colorism have become increasingly common, they lack a unifying theoretical framework, opting to lean on ideas about prejudice and preference to explain the advantages lighter skinned, Black Americans are afforded relative to darker skinned Black Americans. In this study, I deploy a critical race framework to push back against preference as the only, or primary, mechanism facilitating skin tone stratification. Instead, I use historical Census data and regression analysis to explore the historical role of color-based marriage selection on concentrating economic advantage among lighter skinned Black Americans. I then discuss the policy and legal implications of developing a structural view of colorism and skin tone stratification in the United States and the broader implications for how we conceptualize race in this country.

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Africanus Princeps? The Emperor Caracalla and the Question of His African Heritage

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2018-03-20 02:25Z by Steven

Africanus Princeps? The Emperor Caracalla and the Question of His African Heritage

Journal of Black Studies
First Published 2018-03-12
DOI: 10.1177/0021934718760219

Alex Imrie
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This article responds to a recent publication in the Journal of Black Studies regarding the emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire between AD 211 and 217, following the murder of his younger brother, Geta. In addition to offering an exploration of his career, the recent essay attempts to investigate the importance of Caracalla’s African heritage to the historical portrait of him that survives into modernity, claiming that both ancient sources and modern scholars have downplayed the emperor’s origin and ancestry. Unfortunately, the publication is beset by factual errors that serve to undermine its case. This article addresses these shortcomings and attempts to explain the scholarly approach to Caracalla’s ethnicity, showing that there was some recognition of Caracalla’s African roots, even in antiquity. Furthermore, this article considers the question of modern Africa’s relationship with the emperor, noting the symbolism of the Severan family within Libya under the dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

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Interrogating the African Roman Emperor Caracalla: Claiming and Reclaiming an African Leader

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2018-03-20 02:10Z by Steven

Interrogating the African Roman Emperor Caracalla: Claiming and Reclaiming an African Leader

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 47, Issue 1, January 2016
pages 41–52
DOI: 10.1177/0021934715611376

Molefi Kete Asante, Professor of African American Studies
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Shaza Ismail
Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt

This essay provides an interrogation into the historical and personal contradictions in the character of the Roman Emperor Caracalla. As an emperor of African origin who once ruled the world, the nature of his rule, in its political and social dimension, has not been adequately studied. In fact, the scholarly sources that focused on Caracalla as a powerful ruler hardly mention his African origin and in some cases outright deny the fact that he was African. On the other hand, many European writers who do understand his political significance refer to his military achievements ignoring his origin. This work seeks to place Caracalla in the historical setting that befits his adventure as emperor during the time of Rome’s incessant leadership crises. While we know that Caracalla’s life was a series of bold and cruel actions as well as creative achievements, this work discusses his life in the context of his humanity more than to itemize his imperial achievements. The idea is to reveal through the literature and history as much as we can of his complex character in amid the challenging circumstances that surrounded his life and career.

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The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-04-20 23:43Z by Steven

The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Journal of Black Studies
Published online before print 2016-03-21
DOI: 10.1177/0021934716638802

Kehinde Andrews, Associate Professor in Sociology
Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Critical Whiteness studies has emerged as an academic discipline that has produced a lot of work and garnered attention in the last two decades. Central to this project is the idea that if the processes of Whiteness can be uncovered, then they can be reasoned with and overcome, through rationale dialogue. This article will argue, however, that Whiteness is a process rooted in the social structure, one that induces a form of psychosis framed by its irrationality, which is beyond any rational engagement. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of the two only British big budget movies about transatlantic slavery, Amazing Grace and Belle, the article argues that such films serve as the celluloid hallucinations that reinforce the psychosis of Whiteness. The features of this discourse that arose from the analysis included the lack of Black agency, distancing Britain from the horrors of slavery, and downplaying the role of racism.

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Are Americans Really in Favor of Interracial Marriage? A Closer Look at When They Are Asked About Black-White Marriage for Their Relatives

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-07-24 07:05Z by Steven

Are Americans Really in Favor of Interracial Marriage? A Closer Look at When They Are Asked About Black-White Marriage for Their Relatives

Journal of Black Studies
Published online before print: 2014-07-10
DOI: 10.1177/0021934714541840

Yanyi K. Djamba, Director, Center for Demographic Research; Professor of Sociology
Auburn University, Montgomery, Alabama

Sitawa R. Kimuna, Associate Professor of Sociology
East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina

This study transcends general opinion reports and uses data from the General Social Survey (GSS) to examine responses on attitudinal questions about how Black and White Americans actually feel about their close relative marrying outside their own race. The results show that more than half (54%) of Black Americans are in favor of their close relative marrying a White person compared with nearly one-in-four (26%) White Americans who said they were in favor of their close relative marrying a Black person. Such results suggest that questions about how individuals feel when close relatives engage into Black-White marriage provide better measures of attitude toward racial exogamy. Logistic regression models are analyzed to determine how socio-demographic factors influence Black and White Americans’ views on interracial marriage of their close relatives.

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Overturning Anti-Miscegenation Laws: News Media Coverage of the Lovings’ Legal Case Against the State of Virginia

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-01-10 22:02Z by Steven

Overturning Anti-Miscegenation Laws: News Media Coverage of the Lovings’ Legal Case Against the State of Virginia

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 43, Number 4 (May 2012)
pages 427-443
DOI: 10.1177/0021934711428070

Jennifer Hoewe
College of Communications
Pennsylvania State University, University Park

Geri Alumit Zeldes, Associate Professor
School of Journalism
Michigan State University

This study fills a gap in scholarship by exploring historical news coverage of interracial relationships. It examines coverage by The New York Times, Washington Post and Times-Herald, and Chicago Tribune of the progression of the landmark civil rights case of Loving v. Virginia, in which the Supreme Court overturned Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law, which prohibited marriage between any White and non-White person. An analysis of the frames and sources used in these publications’ news stories about the case indicate all three publications’ coverage favored the Lovings.

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Subjecting Pleasure: Claude McKay’s Narratives of Transracial Desire

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2013-11-01 00:54Z by Steven

Subjecting Pleasure: Claude McKay’s Narratives of Transracial Desire

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 44, Number 7 (October 2013)
pages 706-724
DOI: 10.1177/0021934713507579

Smita Das, 2012-2013 Dissertation Fellow
University of Illinois, Chicago

This article explores the threat posed by the Afro-Asian body in Claude McKay’s novels, Banjo (1929) and Banana Bottom (1933). Banjo’s narrative of transracial alliances converges onto the body of the Afro-Asian prostitute, whose positioning as a “conjunction” exposes contradictions surrounding immigration within French liberalism. Banana Bottom also maps a conflictual relationship between a licentious Afro-Asian coolie woman, and a Black subject who both wrestle with attaining national belonging within an idyllic Jamaica. While Banjo reveals McKay’s yearnings for transnational Black affiliations without the Afro-Asian woman, Banana Bottom reconciles the wrought relations between Black middle-class Jamaicans and the bastardized “coolie gal.”

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Beyond Black and White: When Going Beyond May Take Us Out of Bounds

Posted in Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-02-19 05:45Z by Steven

Beyond Black and White: When Going Beyond May Take Us Out of Bounds

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 44, Number 2 (March 2013)
pages 158-181
DOI: 10.1177/0021934712471533

Katerina Deliovsky, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario

Tamari Kitossa, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario

This article examines a selection of the North American scholarly research that calls for “moving beyond” a “Black/White binary paradigm.” Some scholars suggest this paradigm limits or obscures a complex understanding of the historical record on race, racism, and racialization for Asian, Latina/o, Mexican, and Native Americans. On the face of it, the notion of a Black/White binary paradigm and the call to move beyond appears persuasive. The discourse of a Black/White binary paradigm, however, confuses, misnames, and simplifies the historical and contemporary experiences structured within what is, in fact, the racially incorporative matrix of a black/white Manicheanism. We assert this call sets up blackness and, by extension, people socially defined as “black” as impediments to multiracial coalition building. As a result, “moving beyond” is epistemologically faulty and politically harmful for African-descended people because it is based on “bad faith” toward blackness.

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Quilombismo and the Afro-Brazilian Quest for Citizenship

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-11-06 02:53Z by Steven

Quilombismo and the Afro-Brazilian Quest for Citizenship

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 43, Number 8 (November 2012)
pages 847-871
DOI: 10.1177/0021934712461794

Niyi Afolabi, Professor of African & African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

Between the radicalism of Black Brazilian movements of the 1980s, an aftermath of the negation and rejection of the myth of “racial democracy” that denies Brazilian subtle racism, the rise of re- Africanization sensibilities among Afro-Carnival groups, and the current ambivalent co-optation that has been packaged as “affirmative action” in the new millennium, a missing link to the many quests for Afro-Brazilianness lies in the (dis)locations that permeate the issues of identity, consciousness, and Africa-rootedness. Recent studies have remained invested in the polarity between the rigidity of “race” (one-drop rule) from the North American perspective and the fluidity of identity as professed by the South American miscegenation thesis. Regardless of the given schools of thought, or discourses, that have not resolved the oppressive sociopolitical realities on the ground, one must face the many levels of (dis)locations that define Afro-Brazilian identities. This essay draws upon the cultural productions of five Afro-Brazilian poets from various regions of Brazil, namely, Oliveira Silveira, Lepê Correia, Jamu Minka, Abelardo Rodrigues, and Carlos de Assumpção. Beyond exposing the marginalized poets to a wider readership in English, the essay also engages the current debate in the shift from racial democracy to affirmative action in Brazil and the implications for continued racial tensions and contradictions in the Brazilian state.

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El Que No Tiene Dingo, Tiene Mandingo: The Inadequacy of the “Mestizo” as a Theoretical Construct in the Field of Latin American Studies-The Problem and Solution

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-04-04 15:03Z by Steven

El Que No Tiene Dingo, Tiene Mandingo: The Inadequacy of the “Mestizo” as a Theoretical Construct in the Field of Latin American Studies-The Problem and Solution

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 27, Number 2 (November 1996)
pages 278-291

Andrew Juan Rosa
Temple University

I am Yoruba, I am Lucumi, Mandingo, Congo, Carabli.
—Nicolás Guillén

The word “black” today covers a whole generation of folk from Kenya, to Brazil, to the United States.
—Gwendolyn Brooks

At a recent lecture at Temple University titled The African Presence in Puerto Rico, a young African woman from the island proclaimed to the audience that the Black experience in the United States is indeed unique and, because of her “mestizo” heritage, acculturation, racism, and struggle were not a part of her historical experience. As I looked on the face of my beautiful African sister, my heart shattered into a thousand little pieces. The lessons passed down to us from our African ancestors in the oral tradition—el que no tiene Dingo, tiene Mandingo—have finally fallen on deaf ears. Their struggle and perseverance to hold on to all that was Africa in the midst of brutal oppression had been, at this moment in time, for naught. The European had succeeded in colonizing the mind of my sister, for instead of locating herself within a rich tradition that dates…

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