And the 2022 Oscar Nominees Should Be…

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-18 02:18Z by Steven

And the 2022 Oscar Nominees Should Be…

The New York Times
2022-01-14

Illustrations by Ben Denzer

If our chief critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott had their way, these are the films and the people who would be up for Academy Awards.

  • Best Picture: Drive My Car, Passing, The Power of The Dog
  • Best Director: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog; Rebecca Hall, Passing
  • Best Actress: Kristen Stewart, Spencer; Tessa Thompson, Passing
  • Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story; Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard; Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth; Toko Miura, Drive My Car; Ruth Negga, Passing
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Drive My Car, Passing, The Power of The Dog

Read the entire article here.

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Overlooked No More: Elizabeth A. Gloucester, ‘Richest’ Black Woman and Ally of John Brown

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2022-01-11 18:12Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Elizabeth A. Gloucester, ‘Richest’ Black Woman and Ally of John Brown

The New York Times
2019-09-18

Steve Bell, Senior Staff Editor

Elizabeth Gloucester amassed a fortune from running more than 15 boardinghouses, including the Remsen House in Brooklyn, which drew an elite clientele.

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

She ran boardinghouses whose lodgers included members of New York’s elite, raised money for an orphan asylum and was active in the abolitionists’ cause.

With a fortune built largely from operating boarding homes in Brooklyn and beyond, Elizabeth A. Gloucester was considered by many to be the richest black woman in America at her death at age 66 on Aug. 9, 1883.

Attending her funeral was “a congregation of people such as has seldom come together,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, made up of “richly dressed white ladies, fashionably attired gentlemen and a number of well-known colored people.”

Whether her fortune of about $300,000 (the equivalent of about $7 million today) actually made her the nation’s wealthiest black woman may be impossible to prove. Some white women were much richer; the financial whiz Hetty Green was then building a net worth that might rival or exceed that held by President Trump today.

But Gloucester was notable for more than just her money. She was linked — for a time dangerously so — to the antislavery firebrand John Brown, whom some blamed for leading the nation into the Civil War. She also led efforts to raise money for New York’s Colored Orphan Asylum, which would be set afire in the deadly draft riots of 1863. In her final year she even managed to land a cameo role in a high-society scandal that made headlines across the country…

Read the entire article here.

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Overlooked No More: Si-lan Chen, Whose Dances Encompassed Worlds

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:56Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Si-lan Chen, Whose Dances Encompassed Worlds

The New York Times
2021-05-27

Jennifer Wilson, Contributing Writer
The Nation

Si-lan Chen in 1944. A socialist, she approached dance as a way to build international solidarity.
Man Ray 2015 Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, ADAGP, Paris 2021; Telimage

This article is part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

As a dancer and choreographer, she sought to represent a broad range of ethnic groups, but audiences often sexualized and exoticized her by focusing on her mixed race.

In 1945, the dancer Si-lan Chen sent a draft of her memoir to the writer Pearl S. Buck, with a letter asking for her thoughts on why she was struggling to get the attention of a publisher.

The problem, Buck explained, was that while Chen had dined with the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in revolutionary China, had been romanced by the poet Langston Hughes in Soviet Moscow, and had worked in Hollywood for the producer Joseph Mankiewicz, no one actually knew who she was.

The autobiography, Buck said, of a mixed-race girl growing up in Trinidad, studying ballet at the Bolshoi and choreographing films like “Anna and the King of Siam” (1946), was too focused on, well, her…

Read the entire article here.

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Who’s Afraid of Lani Guinier?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2022-01-11 15:17Z by Steven

Who’s Afraid of Lani Guinier?

The New York Times Magazine
1994-02-27

Lani Guinier

For a late April day in Washington, the air was remarkably soft. The sun-splashed courtyard of the Department of Justice seemed a reflection of the glow surrounding Attorney General Janet Reno. She had just returned from a successful venture to Capitol Hill, where she faced down a committee upset about the recent confrontation with the Branch Davidians. I stood with six other Justice Department nominees to be presented to the public. In what we were told was a last-minute decision, the President himself was to make the presentations. We gathered in the hallway next to the courtyard stage and were lined up in the order we would be introduced. We were given our instructions, and then the President arrived.

The President had a regal bearing. I remember he was wearing a beautifully tailored blue suit. As he strode down the row of nervous nominees he greeted each of us in his typically physical style. He grasped my hand, congratulated me and kissed me lightly on the cheek. As he moved to the others I remember overhearing one of the nominees pass on a greeting from an old friend from Arkansas. The President stepped back and said, with a wistful look in his eye: “I remember Steve. That was when I had a real life.” And I remember the nominee’s response: “Mr. President, this is real life.”

As we were introduced there were cheers and signs saying “Atta girl, Janet!” and the like. I saw many old friends from the Civil Rights Division, where I had worked during the Carter Administration, giving the thumbs-up and smiling. I had not been back in the courtyard in 12 years, and now here I was accepting the nomination to head the Civil Rights Division…

Read the entire article here.

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The Impact of the Browning of America on Anti-Blackness

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2021-11-29 02:24Z by Steven

The Impact of the Browning of America on Anti-Blackness

The New York Times
2021-11-14

Charles M. Blow

Ike Edeani for The New York Times

One of the things I often hear as a person who frequently writes about race, ethnicity and equality is that the browning of America — the coming shift of the country from mostly white to mostly nonwhite — is one of the greatest hopes in the fight against white supremacy and oppression.

But this argument always flies too high to pay attention to the details on the ground. For me, white supremacy is only one foot of the beast. The other is anti-Blackness. You have to fight both.

The sad reality is, however, that anti-Blackness — or anti-darkness, to remove the stricture of a single-race definition for the sake of this discussion — exists in societies around the world, including nonwhite ones.

In too many societies across the globe, where a difference in skin tone exists, the darker people are often assigned a lower caste.

Read the entire article here.

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My Boyfriend’s Parents Are Ignorant About Race. Why Should I Have to Teach Them?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Letters, Media Archive, United States on 2021-11-26 01:06Z by Steven

My Boyfriend’s Parents Are Ignorant About Race. Why Should I Have to Teach Them?

The New York Times
2021-11-25

Philip Galanes


Miguel Porlan

A reader seeks advice on dealing with people who undermine her experience as a mixed-race woman.

I am a mixed-race college student and identify as Black. For a year, I’ve been dating a white guy. We’ve never had an issue with race — until now. When I met his parents for the first time, ahead of the family’s big Thanksgiving feast, his father told me that being mixed race is “the best of both worlds.” I didn’t follow. So, he explained: You’re “really white,” but you get the advantages of being Black in college admissions and diversity hiring. I was stunned! My boyfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t see the problem. He says his parents are clueless about race, and it’s our job to help them understand. But I’m not interested in that job. I canceled my Thanksgiving visit, and now my boyfriend is mad at me. Advice?

TRACEY

Your boyfriend and his dad both owe you apologies, for different offenses…

Read the entire letter here.

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There’s this mental discomfort triggered when their belief (“I’m a fan of Tom! Tom is white!”) clashes with the evidence (“Tom says he’s Black!”). These people don’t sleep well at night. And while I sincerely appreciate the good-hearted fans who chime in with, “I don’t see you as any color, Tom. I’m colorblind. I just enjoy the music” — thank you, but this is America, and you’re missing the whole damn point.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-11-08 16:44Z by Steven

So, behold, there is a segment of my audience that freaks out whenever I refer to being Black. To them, I must be white. Music that sounds like that must be made by people who look like them. This cognitive dissonance has haunted me throughout my career. There’s this mental discomfort triggered when their belief (“I’m a fan of Tom! Tom is white!”) clashes with the evidence (“Tom says he’s Black!”). These people don’t sleep well at night. And while I sincerely appreciate the good-hearted fans who chime in with, “I don’t see you as any color, Tom. I’m colorblind. I just enjoy the music” — thank you, but this is America, and you’re missing the whole damn point. And so over the course of 20 albums and three decades I’ve walked the tightrope of rock and race.

Tom Morello, “The Ghost of Hendrix, and Fans Who Think I’m White,” The New York Times, November 3, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/11/03/opinion/tom-morello-race-music.html.

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The Ghost of Hendrix, and Fans Who Think I’m White

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-04 20:32Z by Steven

The Ghost of Hendrix, and Fans Who Think I’m White

The New York Times
2021-11-03

Tom Morello

Mr. Morello has spent over three decades melding music and political activism as a power guitarist with Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, with the acoustic chords of the Nightwatchman and in protests around the country.

In 1965, I literally integrated the town of Libertyville, Ill., at least according to the real estate agent who helped my mom and me find our first apartment.

My Irish-Italian mom had excellent teaching credentials, but the school boards in Northern Illinois made clear that while as a single mother she was welcome to teach in their town, we would have to live elsewhere because we were an interracial family.

I was the interracial part, as my dad is from Kenya. Libertyville, however, was willing to give my mom a shot, with the caveat that the residents of the apartment complex across the street from the school approved. Our helpful real estate agent assured the neighbors that this was no ordinary 1-year-old “Negro” child entering their building, but rather an exotic East African princeling. This false tale haunted me throughout my youth, but it gave my mom and me a toehold among the locals…

Read the entire article here.

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Love’s Perils, Trauma’s Wounds: New Story Collections

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2021-10-21 18:18Z by Steven

Love’s Perils, Trauma’s Wounds: New Story Collections

The New York Times
2021-10-15

Tracy O’Neill

THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING
By Lara Stapleton
123 pp. Paloma Press. Paper, $18.

If love conquers all, in Stapleton’s second story collection it’s not clear then whether anyone wins much of anything from it. There is plenty of sex in this book, but little is erotic. Bringing someone to bed skews more toward self-medicating. The fantasy tends to begin and end with being someone worth desiring. Careening in tone from fairy tale to social satire to grim, confessional emails, these stories center on wounded devotees of intimacy. “The way I love people is to consume them,” one narrator muses. “I didn’t want him to know that I eat with love.” But carnal enterprise fails to compensate for the disappointments of broken homes, previous demoralizing romances, artistic failure and a sense of meager privilege. To the women who love too much, heterosexuality is, predictably, a prison…

Read the entire review here.

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Hall’s film has cracked open a public conversation about colorism, privilege and secrets.

Posted in New Media on 2021-10-21 00:36Z by Steven

[Rebecca] Hall’s film [Passing] has cracked open a public conversation about colorism, privilege and secrets. On Twitter, people are sharing stories and black-and-white photographs of a grandmother’s cousins who moved out of state, great-aunts who sneaked back to see their family in secret, relatives who lost their jobs when co-workers informed management about their identities: a public airing of what in Hall’s family was once closely held. Recently one of her mother’s sisters reached out: She said that they never really had language to understand the hidden context that shaped their family, and she thanked her for giving it to them.

Alexandra Kleeman, “The Secret Toll of Racial Ambiguity,” The New York Times Magazine. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/20/magazine/rebecca-hall-passing.html.

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