‘I’d Never Seen My Fears as an African-American Man Onscreen’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2018-01-07 23:16Z by Steven

‘I’d Never Seen My Fears as an African-American Man Onscreen’

The Carpetbagger
The New York Times
2017-12-06

Cara Buckley


Jordan Peele said he worried that the themes of white villainy and black victimization of “Get Out” would draw protests.
Credit Andrew White for The New York Times

Jordan Peele, writer-director of “Get Out,” says his own concerns almost prevented it from being made. Now prize givers love it. Will the academy agree?

Get Out,” the box office smash and awards season honey, almost didn’t get made, because its writer and director Jordan Peele figured it couldn’t happen.

The broad strokes of the story line — white girl brings black boyfriend home to meet her family — evoked “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” but with a crucial and sinister twist (spoilers ensue): The boyfriend’s suspicions about the white folks having it in for him become increasingly, and terrifyingly, justified.

Mr. Peele, 38, is known for his subversive comedy sketch show with Keegan-Michael Key, and had never before seen a movie like the one he desperately wanted to make. But he worried that its themes of white villainy and black victimization would keep people away in droves. Also, being biracial, he felt discouraged by the lack of people of color in the industry.

“I didn’t have enough role models telling me this movie could be made,” Mr. Peele said during a chat in mid-November at the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan. “But to me, it was the missing piece of the conversation. I’d never seen my fears as an African-American man onscreen in this way.”…

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Race, Sex And the Supreme Court

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-12-26 02:54Z by Steven

Race, Sex And the Supreme Court

The New York Times
1964-11-22

Anthony Lewis

WASHINGTON.

OVER the last decade, the legal foundations of racial discrimi­nation in this country have been washed away in the Supreme Court. One after another, state and local laws drawing lines between hu­man beings on the basis of their color have been found in conflict with the 14th Amendment’s promise of “the equal protection of the laws.”

Only one area in the law of race relations has escaped this judicial scrutiny, and that is the most sensi­tive of all—sex. During the decade, the Supreme Court strained to avoid passing on the constitutionality of the network of laws forbidding the sexual relations between the races in the South and some other states.

Now the time for decision appears to be at hand. The Court has heard argument this term in a case chal­lenging a Florida law against inter­racial cohabitation—a case which threatens to stir again the deepest Southern racial fears.

Even those who are ordinarily most skeptical of psychological generalisa­tions are likely to agree with the view of many social scientists that sex is a fundamental factor in Southern racial attitudes.

“Would you like to have your daughter marry a Negro?”

Twenty years ago, Gunnar Myrdal observed that this question was the automatic response of the Southern man on the street “to any plea for social equality” among whites and Negroes. Anyone who has argued the issues of racial discrimination has heard the question in one form or another, again and again…

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Turner Prize Goes to Lubaina Himid, Whose Work Depicts African Diaspora

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2017-12-06 02:39Z by Steven

Turner Prize Goes to Lubaina Himid, Whose Work Depicts African Diaspora

The New York Times
2017-12-05

Anna Codrea-Rado


Lubaina Himid won Britain’s leading contemporary art prize for “her uncompromising tackling of issues” including colonial history and racism, the jury chairman said.
Credit Edmund Blok for Modern Art Oxford

The visual artist Lubaina Himid, best known for her paintings, installations and drawings depicting the African diaspora, won the Turner Prize on Tuesday night, making her the first nonwhite woman to be given the leading British contemporary art award…

…Alex Farquharson, Tate Britain’s director and the chairman of the Turner Prize jury, said in a statement that the jury “praised the artist for her uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today.” Ms. Himid won for three of her shows this year, in Oxford, Bristol and Nottingham, he said.

Among the selection of Ms. Himid’s work on display at the Turner Prize exhibition in Hull was a collection of English ceramics painted with images of black slaves.

Ms. Himid, 63, is the oldest recipient in the prize’s history; a rule change made her eligible. This year’s award was the first since 1991 that was open to artists over 50…

…This year’s shortlist was also noted for being one of the most diverse. All of the nominees have connections abroad, either by birth or through parentage. Ms. Nashashibi, 44, was born in London to a Palestinian father and an Irish mother; Ms. Büttner, 46, is German-born; Mr. Anderson is the son of Jamaican immigrants; and Ms. Himid was born in Tanzania…

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Does Race Matter in America’s Most Diverse ZIP Codes?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-12-05 18:01Z by Steven

Does Race Matter in America’s Most Diverse ZIP Codes?

The New York Times
2017-11-24

John Eligon


Darryl Johnson, center, and his wife, Marissa Johnson, with their daughter Sienna at their restaurant in Vallejo, Calif. The city is one of the most racially balanced in the United States.
Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

VALLEJO, Calif. — Beyond the burgers and fries coming from the kitchen and the oldies blaring from the radio, the scene playing out daily at the Original Red Onion might appear unfamiliar to much of the country.

The restaurant’s married owners — Marissa Johnson, a Filipino-American, and Darryl Johnson, an African-American — work alongside Jahira Fragozo, who is of Miskito and Yaqui Indian descent. Ms. Johnson bonds with a customer, Hillory Robinson, who is black, over the challenges of motivating their children in the winter. “They need something to do,” Ms. Robinson says.

Ms. Johnson gushes a short time later when a regular, Dylan Habegger, who is white, decides to tackle the restaurant’s new, spicy creation with a name that describes its effect. “Uh oh,” Ms. Johnson tells him, “you’re trying the Burner today.”

The Original Red Onion sits in one of the country’s most racially diverse ZIP codes: 94591, in Vallejo, Calif. About 30 miles north of Oakland, it is the rare place in the United States where black, white, Asian and Hispanic people not only coexist in nearly equal numbers, but actually connect…

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Do Not Pass

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-12-03 02:50Z by Steven

Do Not Pass

Sunday Book Review
The New York Times
2010-02-16

Touré

This may come as a shock to you, especially if you look at whiteness as a boon and blackness as a burden, but I have never once wished to be white. If a fairy godfather came to me and said I could switch races, I’d open the window and make him use it. I think 99 percent of black people would do the same. That’s not a knock on whiteness — it seems to be working out well for many people — it’s that I love blackness, even if passing would allow me to unhook myself from the heavy anchor called racism. It’s cool: I’ve learned how to be as quick as a Br’er Rabbit, even with the anchor attached. Still, you might argue, wouldn’t switching from a disadvantaged race to the dominant one be as liberating as a winning lottery ticket? Well, for those who’ve been able to complete the sociopolitical fantasy trip and become racial transvestites, it usually ends badly.

The character who jumps the color line is a fascinating American rogue, a self-­constructed person, a trickster who’s discovered that race is not an unscalable wall but a chain-link fence with holes big enough for some people to slip through. But once they cross the line, they’re fugitives hiding in plain sight, on the lam from themselves and their histories, cut off from their families, unchained from racism but chained to a secret whose revelation would bring an end to a life built on lies and a stolen place in the dominant culture. All that makes racial shape-shifters a fantastic opportunity for a writer: they’ve got Huck Finn’s independence, an identity in turmoil, a secret that could destroy their world, a refusal to be defined by others and a vantage on race that very few ever get to have. And in the story of a racial fugitive, there’s always a ticking bomb. It’s a corollary of the literary law that if you put a loaded rifle onstage, it has to go off: if a character shifts races, eventually he’ll be unmasked, and usually it’s painful physically or psychically or both…

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From Misty Copeland: Adjustments, Tips and Inspiration

Posted in Arts, Media Archive on 2017-11-12 17:53Z by Steven

From Misty Copeland: Adjustments, Tips and Inspiration

The New York Times
2017-11-08

Siobhan Burke, Dance Writer
Brooklyn, New York


Misty Copeland (center) coaching students at Harlem Stage on Monday (facing the camera, Emily Lugohart and Gabriela Urena). Credit Marc Millman

Dougie Baldeo, a 13-year-old ballet student at Harlem School of the Arts, stood onstage Monday night as Misty Copeland offered him pointers on his port de bras, or carriage of the arms.

“Once you start moving, I don’t want to see the claw creep back in,” she said, referring to his sometimes tense right hand.

Dougie was one of 13 students selected to study — if only for an hour — with Ms. Copeland, one of the most famous ballerinas in the world, who in 2015 became the first female African-American principal dancer with American Ballet Theater.

And if the students, from Harlem School of the Arts and the Dance Theater of Harlem School, were already feeling nervous because of all that star power, there was added pressure: an audience. The event, “A Misty Copeland Ballet Class,” organized by Harlem Stage at its Gatehouse space was open to the students’ families and peers, with a few seats available to the public…

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The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-09-08 13:53Z by Steven

The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

The New York Times
2017-09-07

John Branch


Colin Kaepernick may forever be known as the quarterback who knelt for the national anthem before N.F.L. games in 2016 as a protest against social injustice.
Credit Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The standout college quarterback went to the meeting alone that winter night, looking to join. The fraternity brothers at Kappa Alpha Psi, a predominantly black fraternity with a small chapter at the University of Nevada, knew who he was. He was a tall, lean, biracial junior, less than a year from graduating with a business degree.

“When he came and said he had interest in joining the fraternity, I kind of looked at him like, ‘Yeah, O.K.,’” said Olumide Ogundimu, one of the members. “I didn’t take it seriously. I thought: ‘You’re the star quarterback. What are you still missing that you’re looking for membership into our fraternity?’”

His name was Colin Kaepernick, and what he was looking for, Ogundimu and others discovered, was a deeper connection to his own roots and a broader understanding of the lives of others.

Seven years later, now 29, Kaepernick is the most polarizing figure in American sports. Outside of politics, there may be nobody in popular culture at this complex moment so divisive and so galvanizing, so scorned and so appreciated…

‘How Dare You Ask Me Something Like That?’

Turlock is a pleasant and unremarkable place in California’s flat, interior heartland. It is stifling hot in the summer and can be cool and rainy in the winter. Like many sprawling cities of central California, it features suburban-style neighborhoods and strip malls slowly eating the huge expanses of agriculture that surround it. And, like neighboring cities, the population of about 73,000 is overwhelmingly white and increasingly Latino. In Turlock, fewer than 2 percent of residents identify as African-American, according to the census.

Kaepernick moved there when he was 4. He was born in Milwaukee to a single white mother and a black father and quickly placed for adoption. He was soon adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick of Fond du Lac, Wis., who were raising two biological children, Kyle and Devon. They had also lost two infant sons to congenital heart defects.

The family moved to California because Rick Kaepernick took a job as operations manager at the Hilmar Cheese Company, where he later became a vice president.

The boy became used to strangers assuming he was not with the other Kaepernicks. When anyone asked if he was adopted, he would scrunch up his face in mock sadness. “How dare you ask me something like that?” he would reply, and then laugh…

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In Search of the Slave Who Defied George Washington

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-09-08 13:02Z by Steven

In Search of the Slave Who Defied George Washington

The New York Times
2017-02-06

Jennifer Schuessler


Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the author of “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge,” at George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon, Va.
Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

MOUNT VERNON, Va. — The costumed characters at George Washington’s gracious estate here are used to handling all manner of awkward queries, whether about 18th-century privies or the first president’s teeth. So when a visitor recently asked an African-American re-enactor in a full skirt and head scarf if she knew Ona Judge, the woman didn’t miss a beat.

Judge’s escape from the presidential residence in Philadelphia in 1796 had been “a great embarrassment to General and Lady Washington,” the woman said, before offering her own view of the matter.

“Ona was born free, like everybody,” she said. “It was this world that made her a slave.”

It’s always 1799 at Mount Vernon, where more than a million visitors annually see the property as it was just before Washington’s death, when his will famously freed all 123 of his slaves. That liberation did not apply to Ona Judge, one of 153 slaves held by Martha Washington.

But Judge, it turned out, evaded the Washingtons’ dogged (and sometimes illegal) efforts to recapture her, and would live quietly in New Hampshire for another 50 years. Now her story — and the challenge it offers to the notion that Washington somehow transcended the seamy reality of slaveholding — is having its fullest airing yet…

Ms. Dunbar, the author of “Never Caught,” first came across Ona Judge in the late 1990s, when she was a graduate student at Columbia researching free black women in Philadelphia. One day in the archives, she noticed a 1796 newspaper ad offering $10 for the return of “a light Mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy hair” who had “absconded” from the president’s house.

“I said to myself: ‘Here I am, a scholar in this field. Why don’t I know about her?’” Ms. Dunbar recalled…

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Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-05 00:20Z by Steven

Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista

The New York Times Magazine
2017-08-31

Jazmine Hughes


Elaine Welteroth
Credit Erik Madigan Heck for The New York Times

The editor in chief has taken on a seemingly impossible task: reinventing the glossy magazine for a hyperempathetic generation.

If you are, like me, a person with no sense of style and a stomach paunch, you might understand why dressing for a fashion show would be a psychological challenge. The day before my first one, I begged my best-dressed co-worker to chaperone my visit to a fast-fashion outlet. I’d coveted a pleated gold-foil skirt I’d seen on the store’s website. My co-worker had approved the skirt on the model. I tried it on. She did not approve it on me. In person, the gold foil looked cheap, the waistband of the skirt unflattering. Instead, she picked out a rose-colored accordion skirt that I would never have thought to buy. I put it on the next morning. Four hours later, I spilled steak juice all down my front.

Maybe another person would have given up at that point, but I was on my way to meet Elaine Welteroth, the editor in chief of Teen Vogue. Hired at 29, she is the youngest-ever editor in chief of a Condé Nast publication, and only the second black woman to hold the title there. Since taking over the magazine last year, she has become a personality of sorts, appearing as herself on ABC’s ‘‘black-ish’’ and being photographed cuddled up to celebrities: the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, the actors Gabrielle Union and Aja Naomi King. As I headed to the Coach fall show this February, I found myself growing increasingly nervous to meet her. It wasn’t that she was famous, really. But I spent a significant portion of my adolescence fantasizing about running my own teen magazine, and, like her, I am a young, black New York-based editor with curly hair and myopia. She was famous to me…

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Two Lessons in Prejudice

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-08-26 23:00Z by Steven

Two Lessons in Prejudice

The New York Times
2017-08-26

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh


Niedring/Drentwett – MITO images, via Getty Images

What I know of rural white America mostly begins and ends with the three times I went at the age of 8 to visit a friend’s farm in Butler County, Pa., about an hour north of Pittsburgh, where I grew up. I recall vast farmland, ample sunshine and no black people — or Hispanics or Jews, or for that matter, half-Iranian, half-Jewish people like me. There was, however, my friend’s father, who found it amusing to make fun of my name over dinner, coming up with a wide variety of ways to mispronounce it each time. I did my best to politely correct him each time, until it finally became apparent to me that I was participating in a game in which there was no chance of winning, and I ran from the table and out of the house and cried among the farmland.

It is, of course, unfair to judge an entire county with a population of almost 200,000 on the behavior of one man 40 years ago, but I hope you can understand my disbelief when on a dark night last November, I watched on television as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign tried to assure her supporters that little Butler County was going to come through for her in the 11th hour and overtake Donald Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania, and by extension the Electoral College. Now, I thought, is as good a time as any to turn off the television and go bury my head under the pillow

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