When It Comes To Diversity, The Fashion and Beauty Industry Are The Absolute Worst

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-11 04:32Z by Steven

When It Comes To Diversity, The Fashion and Beauty Industry Are The Absolute Worst

Medium
2018-02-09

Ezinne Ukoha


These are some of the top fashion magazine covers of 2017

Including the sexy magazines that can’t stand dark-skinned models with puffy hair

As a child — I endured the casual comments from family friends who couldn’t help expressing how much I looked like my mother with the exception of her lighter skin — which I unfortunately didn’t inherit. This practice of exaggerating how my dark-skin didn’t measure up continued with my boarding school mates — who once compared my looks to one of the popular girls — and concluded that even though we looked alike — she was prettier.

We did sort of resemble each other — but she wasn’t prettier. She was just light-skinned. That same rhetoric was responsible for the infatuation and fascination assigned to the biracial students who almost always won beauty competitions and anything else that required the adulation of their prized features.

Interestingly enough — I never pressured myself into sourcing ways to solve the issue of my dark skin — the way other Nigerian women have resolved to do — at the risk of their health. Skin bleaching was a dirty secret when I was growing up — because even though it was glaringly obvious that Mrs. Kalu was indulging in potent solutions that couldn’t quite penetrate her knuckles, elbows or feet — we had to act as if her new complexion wasn’t weird as fuck.

My mother did an excellent job boosting my ego — and as a result there was hardly a time when I stared at the mirror and imagined how much more desirable I would be if the gods had been a little more miserly with the strokes of deep chocolate.

However — when I moved to the States to pursue my college degree — I was greeted with hard truths of what it means to be a “regular Black girl” — during an era when such a disposition was guaranteed to get you nowhere — especially in industries that catered to fashion and entertainment…

Read the entire article here.

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Toeing The Race Line — What I Am And What I Am Not

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-12-26 23:51Z by Steven

Toeing The Race Line — What I Am And What I Am Not

Medium
2017-12-07

Kristie De Garis
Edinburgh, Scotland

I think often of my mum’s choice to change her name from Mohammed. How she must have felt when she accepted that she and her children would be safer without that name. What she had to give up within herself to change it. Growing up I loved to spell it out over and over again. M-O-H-A-M-M-E-D. To me it was a beautiful word that felt full and strong in my mouth. I had no idea of its power beyond that. The fact is, my life as ‘Kristie Mohammed’ would have been a very different life to the one I have lived as Kristie Kelbie and then after marrying my first husband, Kristie De Garis.

People are interested in my current name, ‘De Garis’. I get many compliments on how ‘exotic’ it is and how it’s an asset to have such an unusual name. When I tell people that my name could have been ‘Mohammed’, the most common response I get is ‘Whoa!’ and a pained facial expression. My western names mean my looks are accepted as western too because my name provides people with a false context. Throw ‘Mohammed’ into the mix and my intriguing appearance (‘Are you part Spanish or something?’) takes on a different context. A less desirable context…

Read the entire article here.

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Got something to say about race and kids?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2017-07-19 02:58Z by Steven

Got something to say about race and kids?

Medium
2017-07-15

Andrew Grant-Thomas, Co-Founder
EmbraceRace

Let’s have it.

What do these pieces have in common?

“But Daddy, I’m a scientist, too!”

Why are all the white dolls sitting together on the Target shelf?

Muslim in Trump’s America

Read the entire article here.

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My Skin Is Black, My Name Is Latino (AfroLatinidad As a Layered Blackness)

Posted in Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-10 02:57Z by Steven

My Skin Is Black, My Name Is Latino (AfroLatinidad As a Layered Blackness)

Medium
2017-07-06

Jose Vilson
New York, New York


A younger me during one of my last visits to the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, Dominican Republic

I love jumping into cabs in Washington Heights for two reasons: the driver is almost always Dominican (as in Dominican Republic) and the driver is almost always surprised I can speak Spanish. He can have similar facial features, see the waves in my curly hair, and listen to the same music I have on my smartphone. It never matters. The second question is, “Wait, you’re Dominican? What barrio is your mom from?” I tell them the barrio and the cross-streets, and they get vexed. We exchange pleasantries, barbs about the way our music used to be, and elongated vowels before they finally drop me off at my destination.

Something about my blackness wouldn’t allow them to embrace theirs…

Read the entire article here.

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On the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Marriage: When Race Isn’t the Only Difference

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 20:11Z by Steven

On the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Marriage: When Race Isn’t the Only Difference

Medium
2017-06-13

Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD, Independent Scholar & Researcher

[Rebecca Bodenheimer is the author of Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba]

Our story is not the Loving story. It is a tale of interracial love and marriage — like the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose journey was beautifully and poignantly represented in the 2016 Jeff Nichols film Loving — and yet, it’s so very different. Fifty years ago, the Lovings took on the state of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage in a landmark Supreme Court case, and on June 12, 1967, they won, hammering the final nail in the coffin of state prohibitions on interracial marriage. The Lovings were relatively similar in terms of background, including aspects of class, region, and language. The only thing that separated them was race. This is not to minimize the huge significance of racial difference, particularly in the 1950s South, but only to emphasize that in terms of other aspects of their identity, they were actually quite compatible with each other. One of the main messages I took away from the Loving movie was the gulf between the huge significance of race from a legal and social perspective, and its insignificance in the daily life of the Lovings. This story was not about a couple who set out to challenge a racist law, or even to take a stand on racial equality, at least not at first; rather it was about a man and woman in love, trying to do what was best for their family.

I am a white American woman married to a black Cuban man, and we have a mixed-race son. Despite the surface similarities between our story and that of the Lovings, especially as seen from an outsider’s perspective, I have always perceived our biggest divisions as related not to race, but rather to culture and class…

…I struggle with the potential perception of anti-blackness that identifying my son as mulato (or “mixed-race”) instead of “black” may present here in the U.S. On the other hand, doing so would erase the cultural specificity of racial categories in Cuba. Quite simply, my son would never be identified as black by his father or in Cuba. Ultimately, it will be up to him to decide how to identify himself, and unless it’s to claim he’s white, I have no skin in the game….

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race In America

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-08 00:39Z by Steven

Mixed-Race In America

Medium
2017-06-05

Geoff Vasile

A Personal Look at The Psychology and History of Racism

My entire life — all I’ve wanted to do was help others. My career has given me titles such as caretaker and counselor; volunteerism has provided the opportunity for charity in a host of ways. My skill-set is providing comfort and confidence; my tools — empathy and communication. I have saved two lives; been responsible for many others — and counseled too many to count. I am flawed as well — and just like everyone else there are somethings I won’t admit to you as I likely don’t admit them to myself.

An unflagging bridge-person — too often I come across as contrarian; too often due to my intellectual vanity. Still, I like to think this is mostly part of my innate and reinforced desire for impartiality. Romanian, Black, and Korean, I grew up in South Central LA in the late 80s — the backdrop of the crack-epidemic, gang-wars, the LA Riots, and OJ Simpson case were just a few of the over-arching, commonly known conflicts fueled by racial tension. They imbued within me a deep and personal admiration for nuance’s ability to heal. Through both nature and nurture, environment and heritability — this characteristic of seeking resolution is how I like to think of myself; who I am when I’m at my best…

Read the entire article here.

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Get the Fuck Outta Here: A Dialogue on Jordan Peele’s GET OUT

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-15 01:11Z by Steven

Get the Fuck Outta Here: A Dialogue on Jordan Peele’s GET OUT

Medium
2017-02-27

Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr)

Writer and educator Law Ware had the wonderful idea of he and I having a dialogue on the recently released horror film, Get Out. The film, written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele, stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington, a photographer dating a white woman named Rose (Allison Williams). Rose takes Chris home to meet her “liberal/progressive” parents in their New England home and that’s when shit, literally and figuratively, goes left.

The film is multilayered and speaks quite deftly to the terror of being black in the United States. Law and I were anxious to get the conversation started. We spoke on Sunday, the same day as the Oscars, where the specter of race hung over everything like a noose on a poplar tree. There was so much to talk about and as much as we unpacked, there was still so much left to cover (like the end scene, for example). We might need a part two.

PLEASE NOTE: This discussion will contain SPOILERS. Proceed at your own risk.]

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Robert Jones, Jr: So about Get Out. Shall we begin? I’m a horror film buff. I like to watch them to better understand the psychology of other human beings. And I’m very critical of them because a lot of them are dishonest garbage. But this one here? Chile, this is one of the greatest, maybe the greatest, horror film I’ve ever seen.

The opening scene. Did you peep how Jordan Peele flips the script on who the actual menace is? How he reverses course on how the black body is always seen as the threat on the streets and in elevators and such. But here, we have an ordinary black person walking in a neighborhood in which he “doesn’t belong” and the menace is the white people seeking to police his presence in very literal and nefarious terms. This was a brilliant metaphor for stop-and-frisk and the so-called “Concerned Neighbor” phenomena, both of which often end with the death of us. Sundown Towns and shit.

Law Ware: Absolutely. And what I found to be utterly brilliant about that scene, and the movie holistically, is that he uses established horror film tropes to critique Whiteness and white fears. He could have put this in the mouth of our protagonist, but he uses the language of film. That’s why I think many don’t see what he is up to. We are accustomed to preachifying in “important films.” Peele is too nuanced for that…

RJJ: Precisely. And it’s those nuances, those metaphors, that subtext that speaks to some of us on a subconscious level, that made Get Out such a terrifying experience. My partner was as deeply moved by this film as I was, perhaps deeper. But as you imply, it also explains the misreadings of the film that I have seen or encountered. One person insisted that it was a film designed to let white people off the hook. I was flabbergasted by two things: 1. That the person actually watched the film — with that reveal and that ending — and got that from it, and 2. That the person actually thought this film was for white people in any way, shape, or form. To me, this was a film for black people. And it spoke to us in our own language and felt no need to explain anything to us. It assumed we already knew certain things and proceeded from that knowing. If anything perplexed me, it was knowing that Peele is biracial and has a white mother, and is also married to a white woman. I assumed that the movie would be certain unfavorable things based on that. I assumed he’d be more understanding and apologetic to Whiteness. But the exact opposite was true. So I’m implicated in making certain false judgments about black people based on their backgrounds. And I wonder if this film operates, in some ways, as Peele’s cry for help…

Read the entire interview here.

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I Owe Black Canada

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-03-11 04:02Z by Steven

I Owe Black Canada

Medium
2017-03-05

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


Nova Scotia on the drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove, 2010. Formerly enslaved Black people from the American colonies were promised that they could farm this land in Canada if they fought for the British during the Revolution. (source: me) [image: rocky terrain with Atlantic Ocean in the background, lots of moss and short pine-looking bush-trees]

Coming to understand the real but not real border

In a move that many told me was a major professional mistake, I dropped out of one of the best astronomy PhD programs in the United States to pursue research at the relatively new Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, switching to the PhD program at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. I had never heard of Waterloo, although I’ve come to understand that in math and engineering circles, it’s kind of a BFD, with the largest mathematics faculty in North America (multiple math departments!), and the most extensive engineering co-op program in North America.

Being one of about 10 Black grad students across all departments at UC Santa Cruz, it didn’t cross my mind to be picky about how many Black students there were at Waterloo. It also didn’t occur to me that it would take a rather traumatizing search before I could find anyone who could actually cut my hair without asking me stupid questions like, “Can you put a comb in that?”

I didn’t know Canada, although I thought I did. Here’s what I knew about Canada: that it was like the US but people said “sore-ry” instead of “sawry,” that people sometimes mistook my Los Angeles-British colonial accent for a Canadian one, that some of my cousins on the Barbados side lived north of Toronto, that it was the end of the underground railroad, that they had single-payer health care, that as a child I had to watch Canadian TV to see the diversity that reflected my real life, and that overall this all meant they were more civilized than the US. In other words, I believed what I would now call the Canadian national myth, rather strongly…

…Hanging out in the other bookstore in Waterloo, I found out that the author, Lawrence Hill, would be doing an event with Afua Cooper, who had just published another book, I picked up, The Hanging of Angelique. Cooper’s book was about the Black enslaved woman who burned Montreal down (well, we think anyway). I made a note to show up at their event come hell or high water.

Hill, a light skinned Black man whose white American mother and Black American father had come to Canada when his father got into the University of Toronto for grad school, talked about discovering the hidden Canadian history of the Black Loyalists, as they are known. Cooper, a dark skinned Black woman and an established poet in addition to historian, talked about uncovering the often ignored and hidden history of Canada’s own horrible past with slavery…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Semitic Girl Reader At The Airport

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-02-08 21:14Z by Steven

Black Semitic Girl Reader At The Airport

Medium
2017-02-07, 21:00 PST (Local Time)

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Theoretical Astro|Physicist

Where books become bombs

Seattle International Airport—Just spent 20 minutes being physically searched at Seattle airport, body searched, and at one point being spoken to and surrounded by seven — yes seven — TSA agents while being informed my backpack had bomb making materials in it. A few thoughts:

  1. My bag was flagged at the X-ray machine because I had too many books in my bag.
  2. Then the chemical testing machine told them that there were bomb making materials in my bag. Remember, they were only looking because I had “too many” books
  3. Then a second machine told them that my 2014 model MacBook Pro had extra bomb making materials on it.
  4. They checked my hair, my breasts, and between my legs.
  5. Then they told me they would have to do it again…

Read the entire article here.

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Definition of race can vary from country to country, and the use of the ‘one drop rule’ – as defined in law – is particular only to the USA. Similarly in the UK, as with the USA, despite a significant proportion of individuals self-defining as Mixed Race whilst partaking in respective census measures, the media in each country has continued to define ‘people of colour’ as black.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:03Z by Steven

The definition of race has come under scrutiny by a number of researchers (Case, 2012; Soudien, 2010; Rose & Paisley, 2012). This can include the arguments surrounding the ‘one drop rule.’ This has its origin in the racial segregation laws in the USA that defines the extent to which any person can be considered African-American relates to their having just one African-American ancestor. ‘A black is any person with any known African black ancestry’ (Davis, 2001, p.5). A difficulty with this definition is the fact that race can also be affected in both directions. As Davis (2001, p.6) points out, ‘many of the nation’s black leaders have been of predominantly white ancestry.’ Definition of race can vary from country to country, and the use of the ‘one drop rule’ – as defined in law – is particular only to the USA. Similarly in the UK, as with the USA, despite a significant proportion of individuals self-defining as Mixed Race whilst partaking in respective census measures, the media in each country has continued to define ‘people of colour’ as black. Miscegenation promotes assimilation with all other racial groups, but for African-Americans it disadvantages the white element; for other racial groups it advantages the non-white element (Soudien, 2010). This varied definition of race can thus undermine the fuller understanding of the intersectionality between race: in the USA, not even all non-white groups are discriminated against equally. This renders patterns of discrimination more complex and multilayered than might otherwise be considered.

J. J. Lindsley, “Peggy McIntosh (1997: 291) describes White privilege as ‘an invisible package of unearned assets’. A discussion on the relative advantages and disadvantages of this analogy in advancing our understanding of Whiteness,” Medium, January 8, 2017. https://medium.com/@JohnJLindsley/peggy-mcintosh-1997-291-describes-white-privilege-as-an-invisible-package-of-unearned-assets-732c671f5fb5.

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