Playing the White Card

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2021-10-26 01:44Z by Steven

Playing the White Card

The Racial Imaginary
The Whiteness Issue (September 2017)

Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Through prose and performance, Martha S. Jones examines the cruel, curious, and comical dimensions of the mixed-race experience. With the pathos of the tragic mulatto in mind, she gets beyond simple renderings of the one-drop rule by exploring family history, her ambiguous appearance, and shifting ideas about racial categories. If race is a social construction it is also a lie, one that Jones exposes through reflections on everyday scenes of race-making. Her work is for those for who checking boxes elicits a shudder, while also speaking to anyone who finds themselves in-between and misunderstood by the sociological categories that organize our world.

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Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2021-10-11 18:22Z by Steven

Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments

Noemi Press
2021-10-01
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-934819-97-5

Jackson Bliss

From fragmented ransom notes to hanging footnotes, contemporary fairy tales to coded text, interconnecting pieces of modal flash fiction to backwards fractal narratives about gradual blindness, transgressive listicles to how-to guides for performative wokeness, variable destinies in downtown Chicago to impossible dating applications, counterfactual relationships to the French translation of adolescence, the conceptual, language-driven short stories in Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments are an exploration of not just mixed-race/hapa identity in Michigan (and the American Midwest), but also of the infinite ways in which stories can be told, challenged, celebrated, and subverted.

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He passed as a white student at U-M — but was actually college’s first black enrollee

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-10-24 15:03Z by Steven

He passed as a white student at U-M — but was actually college’s first black enrollee

Detroit Free Press
2019-10-19

Micah Walker

Tylonn J. Sawyer, 42 of Detroit, works on the mural he's been painting inside the University of Michigan, Modern Languages Building on campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The mural titled "First Man: Samuel Codes Watson (Acrylic)" is dedicated to the first African-American to attend the University of Michigan, Samuel Codes Watson. In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson was the first African American student admitted to the Michigan.
Tylonn J. Sawyer, 42 of Detroit, works on the mural he’s been painting inside the University of Michigan, Modern Languages Building on campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The mural titled “First Man: Samuel Codes Watson (Acrylic)” is dedicated to the first African-American to attend the University of Michigan, Samuel Codes Watson. In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson was the first African American student admitted to the [University of] Michigan. (Photo: Eric Seals, Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press)

In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson became the first black student admitted to the University of Michigan at a time where higher education for African Americans was nearly impossible.

Studying to become a doctor, Watson would go on to receive his M.D. from Cleveland Medical College in 1857, being one of the first black people to do so. He later became Detroit’s first elected African-American city official and the city’s richest property owner by 1867.

Now, Tylonn Sawyer is bringing more awareness to Watson’s story through a work of art.

The Detroit artist is working with two U-M students on a mural to honor Watson. He’s spent the last two weekends painting inside U-M’s Modern Language Building. The mural was to be completed Saturday.

The project is part of Sawyer’s residency at the Institute for the Humanities, which will include his exhibition, “White History Month Vol. 1,” and a series of student engagement opportunities…

…”I was trying to find something not too heavy-handed, but something that could fit the theme (of the exhibit) and then it dawned on me, I wanted to know who was the first black person to attend the school,” he said.

However, since Watson was of mixed race, he passed as white during his two years at U-M. Fortunately for Sawyer, that fact made the doctor more compelling to paint for “White History.”

“That fascinates me that there was a black person who had white privilege and was cognizant of his ethnicity,” he said. “When you really think about it, he kinda wasn’t a black person when he was there. That’s such a juxtaposition for me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-09-18 01:46Z by Steven

Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Wayne State University Press
2019-08-26
352 pages
7 black-and-white photos
Size: 6×9
Paperback ISBN: 9780814345801
Ebook ISBN: 9780814345818

Shonda Buchanan, Literary Editor
Harriet Tubman Press

Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, alcoholism, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society’s ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance.

Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn’t know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe—a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed—and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse. Ultimately, Buchanan’s nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America’s early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins.

Black Indian doesn’t have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American’s multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family’s history as it can go—sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan’s search for hers will resonate with anyone who has wondered “maybe there’s more than what I’m being told.”

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Detroit Housewife Kills White Husband

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-19 03:07Z by Steven

Detroit Housewife Kills White Husband

Jet
1953-03-05
page 20

A 29-year-old Detroit Negro housewife stabbed her white husband to death because he nagged her about not having his dinner ready. Mrs. Dorothy Homic told police she took a paring knife from her husband, Frank, 38, and stabbed him in the chest after he threatened her. She was arraigned on a first degree murder charge before Recorders Judge Paul E. Krause.

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Longtime professor Martha Jones reflects on her time at the University

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-05-23 22:54Z by Steven

Longtime professor Martha Jones reflects on her time at the University

The Michigan Daily
2017-05-22

Riyah Basha, Daily News Editor


Courtesy of Martha Jones

In her 15 years at the University of Michigan, History Prof. Martha Jones has invested much of herself into the campus community — and the return has not disappointed. As a co-director of the Law School’s program in Race, Law and History, former associate chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and, most recently this winter, her work as a Presidential Bicentennial professor with the landmark Stumbling Blocks exhibit — Jones has become somewhat of a stalwart in convening campus around issues of race and social justice.

Jones arrived in Ann Arbor the day before 9/11, and — from the battle over affirmative action and Proposal 2 to Obama to Trump to the University’s contentious celebration of its 200th year — took part in molding the University in the years thereafter. This summer, though, Jones will relocate to Baltimore to join the history department at Johns Hopkins University. She joined the Daily for an exit interview of sorts, to reflect on her career at the University and the lessons she’s taken from this year, and decade, of powerful turbulence…

Read the entire interview here.

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Nadia Karizat: Divided into nothing

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-09 19:58Z by Steven

Nadia Karizat: Divided into nothing

The Michigan Daily
2016-05-18

Nadia Karizat

There are moments in my life that have burned me silently and set me up for questioning what I am. I say “what” and not “who” because I know who I am. I am someone who believes that the best moments are spontaneous, that music cures all and that the most fun thing one can do on a Saturday night is sit with friends and discuss our exquisite lives. I am also a biracial (Arab and White [Italian]) woman from Michigan who’s checked “other” on every single form she’s needed to fill out since she was 8 years old and made aware that society felt the need to force all her complexities into a single box…

Read the entire article here.

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In Love and Struggle: The Revolutionary Lives of James and Grace Lee Boggs

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-06-03 02:24Z by Steven

In Love and Struggle: The Revolutionary Lives of James and Grace Lee Boggs

University of North Carolina Press
May 2016
Approx. 432 pages
6.125 x 9.25, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8078-3520-3

Stephen M. Ward, Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

James Boggs (1919-1993) and Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) were two largely unsung but critically important figures in the black freedom struggle. James Boggs was the son of an Alabama sharecropper who came to Detroit during the Great Migration, becoming an automobile worker and a union leader. Grace Lee was a Chinese American scholar who studied Hegel, worked with Caribbean political theorist C. L. R. James, and moved to Detroit to work toward a new American revolution. As husband and wife, the couple was influential in the early stages of what would become the Black Power movement, laying the intellectual foundation for labor and urban struggles during one of the most active social movement periods in modern U.S. history.

Stephen Ward details both the personal and the political dimensions of the Boggses’ lives, highlighting the vital contributions these two figures made to black activist thinking. At once a dual biography of two crucial figures and a vivid portrait of Detroit as a center of activism, Ward’s book restores the Boggses, and the intellectual strain of black radicalism they shaped, to their rightful place in postwar American history.

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Putting racism, white supremacy, and white privilege in context

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-12-17 00:02Z by Steven

Putting racism, white supremacy, and white privilege in context

Chimes: The official student newspaper of Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2015-12-11

Joseph Kuilema, Professor of Social Work


A group of students went to write positive messages on snow on cars following the racist comments that were written. Photo Credit Katelyn Bosch

On Sunday, Nov. 22, two members of our community wrote “white power” and drew a swastika in the snow on a car. Many members of our community condemned these actions as hateful and totally incompatible with our mission. In some ways, that’s the easy part. What has been more difficult is to acknowledge that what occurred was not an isolated incident, a freak occurrence in an otherwise loving and inclusive community. While few members of this community openly espouse white supremacy, many members of our community continue to deny white privilege. It must be clearly stated that those who deny white privilege functionally believe in white supremacy, whether they have the courage to write it on a car or not.

In his remarks on the incident, President Le Roy rightly identified the statement “white power” and the swastika with white supremacy and the ideology that shaped Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, chattel slavery in the U.S. and the Jim Crow South. He focused on two scriptures, the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53-8:11), and Jesus warning that before we remove the splinter in the eye of the other we ought to attend to the plank in our own (Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6:37-42). He did this largely in the context of not demonizing those who committed these acts, and that is an appropriate concern. Christians should never reduce anyone to the worst thing they have done. None of us stands innocent before the Lord.

However, we should never mention Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa or the Jim Crow South without identifying the connections to us here at Calvin College and the brutality right here in Grand Rapids

…At the same time, I have to respectfully disagree with President Le Roy’s assertion that we are all racists. I, Joseph Kuilema, am certainly a racist. As a white male, I benefit tremendously from institutions and systems that have been built by and for people like me. This is how the social sciences define racism, not as merely the product of prejudice, explicit or implicit bias, but a system of power based on the invention of the “white race” by people in power. By this definition, we are not all racists…

Read the entire article here.

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Grace Lee Boggs, Human Rights Advocate for 7 Decades, Dies at 100

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-10-09 15:29Z by Steven

Grace Lee Boggs, Human Rights Advocate for 7 Decades, Dies at 100

The New York Times
2015-10-05

Robert D. McFadden


Ms. Boggs and her husband, James. Credit LeeLee Films, Inc.

Grace Lee Boggs, one of the nation’s oldest human rights activists, who waged a war of inspiration for civil rights, labor, feminism, the environment and other causes for seven decades with an unflagging faith that revolutionary justice was just around the corner, died on Monday at her home in Detroit. She was 100.

Her death was confirmed by Alice Jennings, her friend and legal trustee.

Born to Chinese immigrants, Ms. Boggs was an author and philosopher who planted gardens on vacant lots, founded community organizations and political movements, marched against racism, lectured widely on human rights and wrote books on her evolving vision of a revolution in America.

Her odyssey took her from the streets of Chicago as a tenant organizer in the 1940s to arcane academic debates about the nature of communism, from the confrontational tactics of Malcolm X and the Black Power movement to the nonviolent strategies of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and finally to her own manifesto for change — based not on political and economic upheavals but on community organizing and resurgent moral values…

…In 1953, she moved to Detroit and married James Boggs, a black autoworker, writer and radical activist. The city, with its large black population, racial inequalities and auto industry in its postwar heyday, seemed poised for changes, and the couple focused on African-Americans, women and young people as vanguards of a social movement…

Read the entire obituary here.

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