They Call Me “Negro”

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-08-20 17:35Z by Steven

They Call Me “Negro”

Embrace Race: Raising A Brave Generation
2019-08-18

Dr. Ruth L. Baskerville

Picture
Early family photo in 1951. The author is on the bottom right.

In 1943 in Manhattan, NY, a 46-year old African- and Native-American man who was a renowned band director and jazz composer marries a 19-year old naive European-American woman of Jewish Ukrainian descent, who wants to sing professionally. I’m the second of five children.

At age four, I overhear Mommy telling her Mom she won’t leave Daddy and me in order to come back home with my whiter looking brother. Every year of our growing up, Mommy takes the whitest looking child to find new housing, and our unwanted family moves in the middle of the night. We’re in new schools, too.

There are no “Mulattos” in our neighborhoods, and I’m constantly asked, “Where are you from? I mean, what are you?” The questioners have distorted faces, uncomfortable with their ambivalence about my ethnicity. Even today, they need to fit me into a race category before they can utter their next sentence! “You’re Saudi – Moroccan – Indian – Spanish – Italian – definitely foreign!” I’m from New York!…

Read the entire article here.

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Color Me In, A Novel

Posted in Books, Judaism, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, Religion, United States on 2019-08-20 13:28Z by Steven

Color Me In, A Novel

Delacorte Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2019-08-20
384 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525578239
eBook ISBN: 9780525578246
Audiobook ISBN: 9781984889140

Natasha Díaz

Color Me In

Debut YA author Natasha Díaz pulls from her personal experience to inform this powerful coming-of-age novel about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds.

Who is Nevaeh Levitz?

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.

Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?

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Natasha Díaz on Turning Her Black Jewish Childhood Into a YA Novel

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2019-08-15 17:41Z by Steven

Natasha Díaz on Turning Her Black Jewish Childhood Into a YA Novel

Alma
2019-08-15

Emily Burack, Associate Editor

Natasha Díaz was 9 years old when she and her mom went on Oprah to talk about the experience of being a multiracial family. Díaz, who has a Jewish father and a Liberian and Brazilian mom, had recently been featured in a documentary called Between Black & White. When Oprah asked her a question, young Natasha froze up (you can watch the video here).

Well, she is freezing up no longer — Díaz’s debut YA novel, Color Me In, fictionalizes her childhood and tells the coming-of-age story of Navaeh Levitz. Navaeh is a Black Jewish teenager whose father forces her to have a belated bat mitzvah at age 16. Navaeh’s parents are in the midst of a divorce, and the bat mitzvah is her father’s way of having her stay connected to his family. Meanwhile, Navaeh is struggling to figure out her identity, her relationship to her blackness, her privilege, a blossoming relationship, and her family. It’s a compelling and timely read.

We had the chance to chat with Díaz about writing Color Me In, #OwnVoices in young adult literature, and connecting with her Jewish identity.

How close does the protagonist Naveah’s experience as a Black Jewish teenager mirror your own?

I would say in a lot of ways it’s similar, and in a lot of ways it’s very different.

We have very similar backgrounds, racially and religiously. I am multiracial, she’s biracial. I’m Brazilian, Liberian, and Jewish, where she’s just half-Black and half-Jewish. And my parents separated, similar to her, although mine separated when I was much younger than she was. And, as a result of my parents’ divorce, it was literally in the divorce papers that I had to be raised Jewish.

Aside from that, I would say we’re completely different. I was raised very immersed in my culture, especially on my mom’s side, which is where the Black and Brazilian side is. My parents had split custody [over me], so I spent time with both families, but I’m closer to my mom’s family because a lot of my dad’s family doesn’t live in New York City. Where Naveah was sheltered from her identity, I was very immersed in mine.

It doesn’t mean that we haven’t, at times, shared a lot of the same insecurities, like feeling you don’t really fit in in either world, or you’re not really sure what part of yourself you have a right to claim or own. I’ve never had an extremely religious connection to Judaism. Culturally, though, especially growing up in New York City, there’s a lot of Jewish cultural things that I connect to on a personal level…

Read the entire interview here.

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Harmless Like You: A Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-04 01:52Z by Steven

Harmless Like You: A Novel

W. W. Norton
February 2017
320 pages
5.9 × 8.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-324-00074-7

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Written in startlingly beautiful prose, Harmless Like You is set across New York, Connecticut, and Berlin, following Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki’s son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront his mother’s abandonment of him when he was only two years old.

The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, intoxicated by her friendship with the beautiful aspiring model Odile, the energy of the city, and her desire to become an artist. But when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki’s life is unmoored. Harmless Like You is a suspenseful novel about the complexities of identity, art, adolescent friendships, and familial bonds that asks—and ultimately answers—how does a mother desert her son?

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Ninth Avenue

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-04-12 00:52Z by Steven

Ninth Avenue

Avon Publishing Company
1951 (originally published in 1926)
267 pages

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954)

He Loved Her Too Much To Marry Her — Without Telling Of His Negro Blood!

Ninth Avenue is about a poor hard-ass Irish-Catholic family in Hell’s Kitchen New York, who’s daughter, through all the racist trials and tribulations, falls in love with a black man and they go off to marry and live happily ever after.” —Michael Sampson Sweeney, HOBOHEMIA – The Life and Writings of Maxwell Bodenheim.

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The “Miscegenation” Troll

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-23 21:23Z by Steven

The “Miscegenation” Troll

JSTOR Daily
2019-02-20

Mark Sussman

The Miscegenation Troll
via Wikimedia Commons

The term “miscegenation” was coined in an 1864 pamphlet by an anonymous author.

In 1864, a pamphlet entitled “Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro” began to circulate on the streets of New York. The title certainly would have given New Yorkers pause. No one had ever seen the word “miscegenation” before. In fact, the pamphlet’s anonymous author invented it, giving the reason that “amalgamation”—then the most common term used to describe “race mixing”—was a “poor word, since it properly refers to the union of metals with quicksilver.” The term “miscegenation”—from the Latin miscere (to mix) and genus (race)—had only one definition.

Besides introducing a new word into the English language, the pamphleteer was also responsible for what appeared to be one of the most fearless documents in the archive of nineteenth century abolitionist writing. Among many other claims and political recommendations, the pamphlet notes that, “the miscegenetic or mixed races are much superior, mentally, physically, and morally, to those pure or unmixed;” that “a continuance of progress can only be obtained through a judicious crossing of diverse elements;” that “the Caucasian, or white race… has never yet developed a religious faith on its own;” that “the true ideal man can only be reached by blending the type man and woman of all the races of the earth;” that “the most beautiful girl in form, feature, and every attribute of feminine loveliness [the pamphleteer] ever saw, was a mulatto.” Most provocatively, the writer claimed that “the Southern beauty… proclaims by every massive ornament in her shining hair, and by every yellow shade in the wavy folds of her dress, ‘I love the black man.’”

At the time, Miscegenation was radical. Even among the most radical abolitionists of the day, interracial marriage was tolerated, but rarely explicitly encouraged. (Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner and prominent abolitionist Wendell Phillips were exceptions.) Eurocentric racial hierarchies were often deeply ingrained in their thinking…

Read the entire article here.

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Part I: The DNA Trail from Madagascar to Manhattan

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Slavery, United States on 2019-02-16 02:35Z by Steven

Part I: The DNA Trail from Madagascar to Manhattan

Radiant Roots, Boricua Branches: Musings on My Tri-racial Black and Puerto Rican Ancestry.
2015-01-27

Teresa Vega


Map of Indian Ocean Countries

This blog post is dedicated to my M23 Malagasy ancestors who survived the Middle Passage and made it to New York and New Jersey. This is Part I of a two part series and is focused on my family’s Malagasy ancestry. My next blog post will discuss how my ancestors arrived in New York based on the actions of unscrupulous NY merchants and pirates.

About Madagascar and DNA

Over the past decade, there have been numerous studies done that describe the origins of the Malagasy, the people of Madagascar. For example, in 2005, Hurles et al. discussed the dual origins of the Malasy people as being Southeast Asian and East African. His study was followed by one done in 2009 by Sergio Tofanelli et al. In this article, they wrote:

“Our results confirm that admixture of Malagasy was due to the encounter of people surfing the extreme edges of two of the broadest historical waves of language expansion: the Austronesian and Bantu expansions. In fact, all Madagascan living groups show amixture of uni-parental lineages typical present in African and Southeast Asian populations with only a minor contribution of Y lineages with different origins. Two observations suggest that the Y lineages with “another origin” entered the island in recent times: 1) they are particularly frequent in the Tanosy area (Fort Dauphin), and around Antananarivo, where commercial networks and the slave trade had a focus; 2) they matched with haplogroups typical of present Indo-European (Europeans) and Arabic speaking (Somali) people.”.

In addition, a 2012 study by Cox, et al. noted that most Malagasy people can trace their mtDNA back to 30 Indonesian women who made up the founding population of Madagascar. Given the fact that Southeast Asian Y-DNA was also found among the Malagasy, it is assumed that there were also some Indonesian men among this group of women. These women went on to have children with the Indonesian men present as well as men from Africa. Later migrations from Africa also included Southeast African Bantu mtDNA haplogroups from north of the Zambezi River. In 2013, Melanie Capredon et al. also discussed the Arab-Islamic contribution to the Malagasy gene pool as a result of Indian Ocean slave trade…

Read the entire article here.

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Explains Her Race and Ethnicity

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-15 16:43Z by Steven

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Explains Her Race and Ethnicity

DiversityInc
2019-02-14

Keka Araujo


Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

“I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of Indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers,” explained Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an MSNBC interview.

Conversations around race and ethnicity have been prominent in the media because of the onslaught of diverse newly elected public officials. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is one of them. In an interview on MSNBC, she addressed her heritage with respect to her race.

It’s no secret that throughout the Latino community there are three major racial influences: African, European, and Indigenous.

And depending on a person’s country of origin, it has been well-established that one of these influences can be dominant or they can be equal.

Ocasio-Cortez is Nuyorican (a person of Puerto Rican-descent, born and raised in New York). In the interview, she talked about her heritage citing: “My identity is the descendant of many different identities. I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of Indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers… I am a descendant of all sorts of folks. That doesn’t mean I’m Black, that doesn’t mean I’m Native, but I can tell the story of my ancestors.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Emory professor translates 1922 novel about racial identity

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 03:06Z by Steven

Emory professor translates 1922 novel about racial identity

Emory News Center
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
2017-10-12

April Hunt, Communications Manager


In “The Blue Stain,” a man viewed as white in Europe struggles with identity after he comes to the U.S., where he is seen as black. Thanks to Peter Höyng, associate professor of German studies, the novel is now available in English.

Carletto is a man raised in privilege and wealth in Europe, where he is seen as white, if exotic. He struggles with the very question of identity after he loses his fortune and comes to the United States, where he is viewed as black.

What may sound like a contemporary debate about the complex questions of race and identity is actually the plot from the 1922 novel “The Blue Stain.”

Austrian author Hugo Bettauer’s novel might have been lost to the ages had Peter Höyng, an associate professor of German studies in Emory College, not stumbled across it in the Austrian National Library while doing scholarly research on the author in 2002.

He was struck that Carletto’s story starts, and ends, in Georgia. Along the way, it touches on the entrenched role that race has in American society, as seen by an outsider like Bettauer, a Jewish man from Austria.

Höyng became devoted to translating the story. His labor of love recently became the English-language version of “Blue Stain” — published with the subtitle, “A Novel of a Racial Outcast” —with him as editor and co-translator with Chauncey J. Mellor, a former colleague at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“There is nothing else in German literature at the time that addresses racial issues in the United States, how racism worked not just in the South, but in New York and the North,” Höyng says. “The story itself, though, is a small but very effective way to discuss the deeply political ideas of standing up for equality and against injustice.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast

Posted in Books, Europe, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 02:10Z by Steven

The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast

Camden House (an imprint of Boydell & Brewer)
May 2017 (Originally published in 1922)
182 pages
9×6 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781571139993
Hardback ISBN: 9781571139825
eBook for Handhelds ISBN: 9781782049975
eBook ISBN: 9781787440876

Hugo Bettauer (1872-1925)

Translated by:

Peter Höyng, Associate Professor of German Studies
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Chauncey J. Mellor, Emeritus Professor of German
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Afterword by:

Kenneth R. Janken, Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A European novel of racial mixing and “passing” in early twentieth-century America that serves as a unique account of transnational and transcultural racial attitudes that continue to reverberate today.

Hugo Bettauer’s The Blue Stain, a novel of racial mixing and “passing,” starts and ends in Georgia but also takes the reader to Vienna and New York. First published in 1922, the novel tells the story of Carletto, son of a white European academic and an African American daughter of former slaves, who, having passed as white in Europe and fled to America after losing his fortune, resists being seen as “black” before ultimately accepting that identity and joining the early movement for civil rights. Never before translated into English, this is the first novel in which a German-speaking European author addresses early twentieth-century racial politics in the United States – not only in the South but also in the North. There is an irony, however: while Bettauer’s narrative aims to sanction a white/European egalitarianism with respect to race, it nevertheless exhibits its own brand of racism by asserting that African Americans need extensive enculturation before they are to be valued as human beings. The novel therefore serves as a unique historical account of transnational and transcultural racial attitudes of the period that continue to reverberate in our present globalized world.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Peter Höyng
  • Part One: Georgia
  • Part Two: Carletto
  • Part Three: The Colored Gentleman
  • Afterword by Kenneth R. Janken
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