A Century of Times Dance Photos, Through the Lens of Misty Copeland

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-22 22:43Z by Steven

A Century of Times Dance Photos, Through the Lens of Misty Copeland

The New York Times
2019-04-13

Remy Tumin


The ballerina Misty Copeland reviewing photographs for the Past Tense: Dance section in The New York Times’s building. Karen Hanley/The New York Times

Ms. Copeland, the American Ballet Theater’s first black principal ballerina, served as guest editor for a special section on dance photography.

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

There’s one photograph from The New York Times archives that stands out to Misty Copeland. It’s a black-and-white image of a group of young ballerinas, boys and girls, their dark skin accented by bright tights and tutus.

“They look so uncomfortable,” Ms. Copeland said in a recent interview. “In ballet, we’ve never been told there was a place for us to fit in. You can see that within this image.”

The “tension and awkwardness” that Ms. Copeland said she saw in the photo is familiar to her. She was the American Ballet Theater’s first black female principal dancer. Last month, when she visited The Times to serve as a guest editor of a special print section featuring dance images from our archives, she saw those threads throughout dance history.

The section is the latest from Past Tense, which highlights stories and photographs from The Times’s archives. Veronica Chambers, who leads the team, said that of the six million photos in the archives, at least 5,000 are dance-related. A dedicated section was a natural fit, as was the choice of Ms. Copeland as its guest editor, Ms. Chambers said…

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The Intersection of Race and Blood

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-05-14 22:53Z by Steven

The Intersection of Race and Blood

The New York Times
2019-05-14

Rose George


Keith Negley

Blood can be racially or ethnically specific, so having more blood donors in certain groups can be crucial for saving the lives of patients who share their backgrounds.

“We need black blood.”

I didn’t know what to say to this, not least because it had been said by the head of donor services at England’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant. The interview was for a book I was writing on blood, a topic I knew a little about by then, but the baldness of his statement still shocked me. Surely we’re all the same under the skin?

I knew the history of race and blood was an ugly one. America’s earliest blood bank, founded in 1937 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, noted race on donor forms and other blood banks followed suit. During World War II, African-American blood was labeled N for Negro (and some centers refused African-American donors outright) and given only to African-American soldiers. Writing to Eleanor Roosevelt, the chairman of the American Red Cross, Norman H. Davis, admitted that segregating blood was “a matter of tradition and sentiment rather than of science,” but didn’t stop doing it until 1950. Louisiana banned the segregation of blood only in 1972.

But the Red Cross was wrong: While no one is suggesting forced segregation of blood bags, it’s now scientifically established that blood can be racially or ethnically specific…

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A Graphic Novel That Answers a Child’s Question About Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-03 15:16Z by Steven

A Graphic Novel That Answers a Child’s Question About Being Biracial

Book Review
The New York Times
2019-05-02

Ed Park


Mira Jacob

For a person of color in America, the term person of color can be both useful and divisive, at once a form of solidarity and a badge of alienation. There’s a flattening effect, too: A multitude of ethnicities and cultures, with their own color-coded nuances, get crammed into the initials P.O.C.

Among its many virtues, Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir, Good Talk (One World, $30), helps us think through this term with grace and disarming wit. The book lives up to its title, and reading these searching, often hilarious tête-à-têtes — with her parents and brother, confidantes and strangers, employers and exes — is as effortless as eavesdropping on a crosstown bus.

Mira lives in New York with her husband, Jed, who is white and Jewish, and their young son, Z., who is dark-skinned like his mother — a poster for racial harmony that can, in the current climate, feel like a target. Born in New Mexico to parents who immigrated from India in 1968, Mira is simply “brown,” if ethnically obscure, while growing up (“You’re Indian like feathers or Indian like dots?” a boy asks her). Ironically, she first feels the stigma of skin color on trips to her parents’ native country, thanks to not being as “fair” as the rest of her family. As a girl, Mira envisions the “lighter, happier, prettier me.”…

Read the entire review here.

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A Queer, Biracial Coming-of-Age Memoir Is Equal Parts Pain and Pleasure

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-20 01:57Z by Steven

A Queer, Biracial Coming-of-Age Memoir Is Equal Parts Pain and Pleasure

The New York Times
2019-04-19

Tessa Fontaine


Janice Chang

T Kira Madden, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, A Memoir (New York: Bloomsbury, 2019)

The tribe of fatherless girls that make up T Kira Madden’s titular chapter are three high school friends bonded by loss, lust, recklessness and love. But the tribe extends much further, shape-shifting throughout the memoir from youthful friendships to romantic partners, from a nuclear family to a revision of that family history. Though the tribe expands, Madden’s devoted, imperfect relationships with girls and women form the centrifugal force around which her story spins. This is a fearless debut that carries as much tenderness as pain. The author never shrinks from putting herself back into the world after every hurt, and we are lucky for it.

The memoir is told in fragmented chapters, many of which read like self-contained essays. They are arranged into three mostly chronological sections that follow Madden’s life from early memories to the death of her father when she is 27. Madden renders her mourning viscerally: “My hands — they are never not shaking,” and yet still, when she falls asleep, “it’s the women who come first.”…

Read the entire book review here.

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I could imagine the disapproval he would have shown for my future husband and son simply because they are black. The thought was unbearable.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-04-20 01:06Z by Steven

I could imagine the disapproval he [my stepfather] would have shown for my future husband and son simply because they are black. The thought was unbearable. Determined not to let a deceased man’s ideas control my life, I decided I would gather my immediate family to be open with them about my love and my pregnancy.

Tina Chang, “With the Birth of My Son, I Stopped Hiding,” The New York Times, April 19, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/style/modern-love-no-more-hiding-my-son-or-my-love.html.

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With the Birth of My Son, I Stopped Hiding

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-19 18:12Z by Steven

With the Birth of My Son, I Stopped Hiding

Modern Love
The New York Times
2019-04-19

Tina Chang, Poet Laureate of Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn, New York


Brian Rea

Fearing judgment of her interracial relationship and mixed-race child, a woman keeps both from her family. Until she doesn’t.

My son, Roman, turned to me from his book and said, “Mom, can you throw me a blanket? This is my favorite part in the book and I don’t want to stop.”

When I look at my son, I see myself: the inability to tolerate pain, even from the smallest of physical hurts; the deep fear of the dark, of the deserted street, of that strange insect on the ceiling; and the intense, abiding love of reading.

Most of all, I see myself in his face, the eyes like mine, left slightly larger than right, especially when he’s tired, and the toothy smile that breaks through the most serious situations. All of it: me.

Yet when he and I walk along the street, so many people feel the need to tell me how much he isn’t like me, how incredibly unalike we appear, how he looks just like his father. They say it with such authority.

My son is biracial. His father is Haitian-American and I’m of Chinese descent; Often, I have to work to prove that my son is mine. On our daily subway commute to school, at least one person will look at me, then at him, and then back again. I am forced to see what they see: His skin is darker and his hair wavy, while I’m fair, prone to freckling, with hair that won’t hold a curl. If their eyes happen to meet mine, they’ll catch me glaring, holding them accountable for what I deem to be their silent judgment…

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Liana by Martha Gellhorn (1944)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2019-04-18 19:30Z by Steven

Liana by Martha Gellhorn (1944)Liana by Martha Gellhorn (1944)

Literary Ladies Guide: Inspiration for Readers and Writers from Classic Women Authors
2018-11-25

Taylor Jasmine

Liana by Martha Gellhorn

Martha Gellhorn was married to Ernest Hemingway when Liana, her fifth novel, was published in 1944. She had already made quite a name for herself as a war correspondent by that point and it rankled her to be described as “Mrs. Ernest Hemingway” in reviews of her books.

Though her fiction varied in its quality and critical acclaim, her book of linked stories titled The Trouble I’ve Seen (1936), based on her actual observations as a journalist during the Depression, earned her a great deal of respect.

Her brief marriage to Hemingway was already in jeopardy the year that Liana appeared. In her capacity as a war correspondent, Gellhorn wanted to cover the action, wherever it happened to be…

…The story centers on Liana, who is described as a mulatto, or what we now call mixed-race. She marries Marc Royer, a wealthy white man on a fictional French Caribbean island called Saint Boniface.

For his part, he marries her mainly to spite another woman, and so, Liana is marked by a kind of tragedy in this sense, becoming a prisoner in his home, and a partner to a man who doesn’t fully love her…

Read the entire review here.

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I don’t need a DNA test to tell me that I come from everywhere. Creoles are the original American racial mélange of black and European — French and Spanish mostly — and frequently Native American.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-04-18 01:14Z by Steven

I don’t need a DNA test to tell me that I come from everywhere. Creoles are the original American racial mélange of black and European — French and Spanish mostly — and frequently Native American. But this mélange has hardly been celebrated. Instead, it was the measuring stick for the limits to which Jim Crow laws had to go to police racial lines in Louisiana and the wider South (see one-drop rule, tragic mulatto, Plessy v. Ferguson). Creole multiracialism has been viewed not as quintessentially American but as something that undermines what quintessentially American should mean. Both blacks and whites viewed Creoles with special contempt and more than a little suspicion, as if we were trying to join a club we could never belong to, because of our color.

Erin Aubry Kaplan, “I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am,” The New York Times, April 16, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/opinion/dna-test-23andme-race.html.

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I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-17 14:08Z by Steven

I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am

The New York Times
2019-04-16

Erin Aubry Kaplan, Contributing Opinion Writer


Simone Noronha

Tests like 23andMe are a fad that distracts us from the reality of race in America.

When my sister called me a few months ago to say, a little breathlessly, that she had gotten back her results from 23andMe, I snapped at her, “I don’t want to know!” She kept trying to share, but I kept shutting her down, before saying I had to go and hanging up. Afterward I felt a little shaky, as if I’d narrowly escaped disaster.

I’ve never been interested in DNA tests. I have nothing against people discovering they’re 18 percent German or 79 percent Irish, but I think the tests are a fad that distracts us from the harsh realities of race and identity in America. They encourage us to pretend that in terms of shaping who we really are, individual narratives matter more than the narrative of the country as a whole. There is no test for separation and tribalism, and yet they are baked into our cultural DNA.

But that didn’t explain the panic I felt during that phone call. I was a little embarrassed that I couldn’t take the news, whatever that news turned out to be. And then I realized that was it: I didn’t want to “turn out to be” anything more than what I was. I didn’t want my blackness divvied up or deconstructed any more than it has already been, not just in my lifetime but in the history of the Creole people of Louisiana I descend from…

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Descendants Tell Stories of Free People of Color

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-03-14 17:12Z by Steven

Descendants Tell Stories of Free People of ColorDescendants Tell Stories of Free People of Color

The New York Times
2019-03-12

Katy Reckdahl


Dwight and Beverly Stanton McKenna on the porch of the museum. “In this area, free people of color left their fingerprints on everything,” Ms. McKenna said. “This is who we are. This is our story.”
Erica Christmas for The New York Times

NEW ORLEANSLe Musée de f.p.c. is devoted to the story of the free people of color of New Orleans, as told by their descendants.

Kim Coleman, 29, a curator at the museum whose grandmother was born three blocks from Le Musée, says that she sees it as a “reminder of who built the city culturally, politically and economically,” even as the black population of the surrounding Tremé-Lafitte neighborhood dropped to 64 percent from 92 percent after Hurricane Katrina.

Before the Civil War, free people of color made up a higher proportion of the population in New Orleans than anywhere else in the United States. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase, free black residents made up about 20 percent of the city’s population, largely because French and Spanish officials had allowed enslaved people to purchase their freedom.

Le Musée de f.p.c. is on the first floor of a grand, white-pillared mansion on Esplanade Avenue. Two hundred years ago, French-speaking Afro-Creole free people of color owned much of the property along Esplanade, a broad boulevard shaded by massive, gnarled live oak trees…

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