Douglas Todd: Mixed unions applauded by some, but dismissed by others as brownwashing

Posted in Articles, Canada, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-25 02:37Z by Steven

Douglas Todd: Mixed unions applauded by some, but dismissed by others as brownwashing

The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2015-07-24

Douglass Todd, Vancouver Sun columnist

Ethnically mixed couples — involving whites, blacks, Japanese, Hispanics, Chinese, South Asians or others — were heralded not long ago as the wave of a tolerant, open, non-racist future.

National Geographic and Time magazine ran cover features with photos of mixed-race people, celebrating The New Face of America. The hero in the Warren Beatty movie, Bulworth, trumpeted inter-marriage as the way to end racial discrimination.

Polls consistently reveal many whites, blacks, Asians and others are attracted more to other ethnicities than their own, particularly for dating. British writer Laura Smith, who has a Guyanese mother and Scottish father, says she’s often told her mixed-race children “look cool.”

In the age of multi-ethnic celebrities such as Paula Abdul, Vin Diesel, Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, Halle Berry and Mariah Carey, Smith, who frequently writes about mixed unions, says white mothers, in particular, confess to her they yearn for mixed offspring; they want a society that’s less white and more “brown.”

But three cultural trends are shaking up this utopian dream, which places inter-ethnic couples at the vanguard of cultural fusion…

…Scholars SanSan Kwan and Kenneth Spiers, editors of Mixing it Up: Multiracial Subjects, also maintain the melting pot ideal, in which people of different ethnicities inevitably join up to make babies together, is a “problematic” form of “brownwashing.”

“To embrace a ‘brown’ or raceless society and to dispense with concepts of race are to deny the beauty there is in difference,” say Kwan and Spiers.

“Brownwashing hopes to erase the ugly patterns of racism and in one grand gesture homogenize us all.”

Roosevelt University Professor Heather Dalmage’s book also questions the vision of a society replete with mixed marriages. In The Politics of Multiracialism: Challenging Racial Thinking, contributors criticize white people who seek a “colour-blind” society, claiming they just want to deny the prevalence of racism.

British researcher Miri Song, of Kent University, also suggests a Western inter-marriage involving a white person can lead to questionable “assimilation,” in which the ethnic minority loses their identity to the so-called “dominant culture.”

Instead of being a sign of cultural success, Song writes, mixed marriages could “engender deep ambivalence” for minority members…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixing It Up: Multiracial Subjects

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Philosophy, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-21 00:48Z by Steven

Mixing It Up: Multiracial Subjects

University of Texas Press
2004
6 x 9 in.
225 pages
ISBN: 978-0-292-74345-8
Print-on-demand title

Edited by:

SanSan Kwan, Associate Professor of Dance, Performance Studies
University of California, Berkeley

and

Kenneth Speirs (1964-2013), Professor of English
University of California, Berkeley

Foreword by

Naomi Zack, Professor of Philosophy
University of Oregon

The United States Census 2000 presents a twenty-first century America in which mixed-race marriages, cross-race adoption, and multiracial families in general are challenging the ethnic definitions by which the nation has historically categorized its population. Addressing a wide spectrum of questions raised by this rich new cultural landscape, Mixing It Up brings together the observations of ten noted voices who have experienced multiracialism first-hand.

From Naomi Zack’s “American Mixed Race: The United States 2000 Census and Related Issues” to Cathy Irwin and Sean Metzger’s “Keeping Up Appearances: Ethnic Alien-Nation in Female Solo Performance,” this diverse collection spans the realities of multiculturalism in compelling new analysis. Arguing that society’s discomfort with multiracialism has been institutionalized throughout history, whether through the “one drop” rule or media depictions, SanSan Kwan and Kenneth Speirs reflect on the means by which the monoracial lens is slowly being replaced.

Itself a hybrid of memoir, history, and sociological theory, Mixing It Up makes it clear why the identity politics of previous decades have little relevance to the fluid new face of contemporary humanity.

Table of Contents

  • Preface (Naomi Zack)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction (SanSan Kwan and Kenneth Speirs)
  • I. Issues and Trends
    • 1. American Mixed Race: The United States 2000 Census and Related Issues (Naomi Zack)
    • 2. Misceg-narrations (Raquel Scherr Salgado)
  • II. Multiracial Subjects
    • 3. A Passionate Occupant of the Transnational Transit Lounge (Adrian Carton)
    • 4. Miscegenation and Me (Richard Guzman)
    • 5. “What Is She Anyway?”: Rearranging Bodily Mythologies (Orathai Northern)
    • 6. Resemblance (Alice White)
    • 7. “Brown Like Me”: Explorations of a Shifting Self (Stefanie Dunning)
    • 8. Toward a Multiethnic Cartography: Multiethnic Identity, Monoracial Cultural Logic, and Popular Culture (Evelyn Alsultany)
    • 9. Keeping Up Appearances: Ethnic Alien-Nation in Female Solo Performance (Cathy Irwin and Sean Metzger)
    • 10. Against Erasure: The Multiracial Voice in CherrĂ­e Moraga’s Loving in the War Years (Carole DeSouza)
  • About the Contributors
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