We should have seen Trump coming

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-08 04:18Z by Steven

We should have seen Trump coming

The Guardian
2017-09-29

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Obama’s rise felt like a new chapter in American history. But the original sin of white supremacy was not so easily erased.

I have often wondered how I missed the coming tragedy. It is not so much that I should have predicted that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It’s just that I shouldn’t have put it past us. It was tough to keep track of the currents of politics and pageantry swirling at once. All my life I had seen myself, and my people, backed into a corner. Had I been wrong? Watching the crowds at county fairs cheer for Michelle Obama in 2008, or flipping through the enchanting photo spreads of the glamorous incoming administration, it was easy to believe that I had been.

And it was more than symbolic. Barack Obama’s victory meant not just a black president but also that Democrats, the party supported by most black people, enjoyed majorities in Congress. Prominent intellectuals were predicting that modern conservatism – a movement steeped in white resentment – was at its end and that a demographic wave of Asians, Latinos and blacks would sink the Republican party.

Back in the summer of 2008, as Obama closed out the primary and closed in on history, vendors in Harlem hawked T-shirts emblazoned with his face and posters placing him in the black Valhalla where Martin, Malcolm and Harriet were throned. It is hard to remember the excitement of that time, because I now know that the sense we had that summer, the sense that we were approaching an end-of-history moment, proved to be wrong.

It is not so much that I logically reasoned out that Obama’s election would author a post-racist age. But it now seemed possible that white supremacy, the scourge of American history, might well be banished in my lifetime. In those days I imagined racism as a tumour that could be isolated and removed from the body of America, not as a pervasive system both native and essential to that body. From that perspective, it seemed possible that the success of one man really could alter history, or even end it…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Shedding my whiteness is a work in progress

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-17 02:58Z by Steven

Shedding my whiteness is a work in progress

The Guardian
2017-09-16

Georgina Lawton


Georgina Lawton … ‘In my family, whiteness has been assumed as default.’ Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian

A white identity was constructed for me 25 years ago and unravelling it feels like a Sisyphean task

My black side and my Irish side compete for recognition within me, like two separate flames of a fire, dancing around each other, fighting to shine the brightest. Take the other night in London; I was out for a drink with a friend from school when we heard the melody of Irish accents from a group of guys close by, and chimed in to chat. Later, a British-African guy overheard part of the exchange and bemusedly declared that “the Irish men love black women!” Looking decidedly sheepish, the Irish lads asserted that I was Irish, to which the black guy replied, “No – she’s black.” I pretended not to hear and went to the toilet, leaving the projected shadows of who I am and who others think I am, dancing on the walls behind me.

Outside my immediate family, my blackness has been obvious and non-negotiable, but among some of my Irish family, it is up for debate or ignored entirely. A white identity was constructed for me 25 years ago and now unravelling this construct – and asking some of my Irish family to unravel it with me – feels like a Sisyphean task. Shedding my own psychology of whiteness is a work in progress, but when I am back in Ireland it’s easy to revert to default because that’s all we know…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Living on the borderline: how I embraced my mixed-race status after years of denial

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-08-26 18:38Z by Steven

Living on the borderline: how I embraced my mixed-race status after years of denial

The Guardian
2017-08-26

Georgina Lawton


Solomon Glave as Heathcliff in Andrea Arnold’s 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights Photograph: Artificial Eye

I still have yet to uncover the full truth behind my heritage, but now feel that living in a racial no man’s land can actually be fun

Wuthering Heights has been one of my favourite books since I studied it for A-level seven years ago. I was fascinated by the tumultuous (and oddly asexual) relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff, but mostly with the theme of liminality that runs through the book, and many other works of gothic literature. Liminality refers to something – or someone – that sits on the boundary between two things; it’s a middle ground between polar opposites. Kind of like being mixed race.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I identified with Heathcliff (he’s a dark-skinned Gypsy anti-hero) because I have been straddling the borders of race liminality my whole life. Growing up brown-skinned in a white family and facing questions as to why that was, I have had to navigate many different racial identities depending on who I was with, never quite owning one…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

A moment that changed me: realising I was black

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2017-08-24 01:22Z by Steven

A moment that changed me: realising I was black

The Guardian
2017-08-18

Micha Frazer-Carroll, Founder and editor-in-chief
Blueprint


‘Mixedness feels rich, full, and multifaceted.’ Photograph: Micha Frazer-Carroll

I always thought I was mixed race until someone at school called me black. That started me thinking about racial identity

“A ‘black girl’. How weird is that?” I laughed. I’m met with silence from my mum’s side of the dinner table.

“It’s not weird. It’s what you are.”

Like one million other people in the UK, I’m mixed race. Up until I was a teenager, I’d never considered I could be anything else.

It’s year 8 – I’m probably about 12 or 13. The day hasn’t been hugely out of the ordinary, but something had happened earlier that made me feel a bit odd. For the first time in my life, I’ve been referred to as “black”.

Sitting down to dinner that night, as a unit, my family look like a sort of Pantone colour chart of milky beige to deep brown; my mum’s black, my dad’s white, and me and my siblings are various shades of in-between – who’s darkest generally depends on who had been playing in the sun the longest. We exemplify the sort of image of modern Britain that was particularly prevalent during the run-up to the London Olympics. Despite the day’s confusion, early-adolescent me knows one thing for sure: while I am proud of my ethnicity, and being half black, I am not black, I am mixed race. Both parts are equally important to my identity. Mum is visibly getting a bit agitated now. “Most people don’t see that. Above all, you’re black.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Barack Obama’s $400,000 speaking fees reveal what few want to admit

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-03 02:37Z by Steven

Barack Obama’s $400,000 speaking fees reveal what few want to admit

The Guardian
2017-05-01

Steven W. Thrasher


‘It seems like Obama will spend his post-presidency hauling in money as the Clintons have.’ Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

His mission was never racial or economic justice. It’s time we stop pretending it was

The reason many of us have been critical of Barack Obama’s outrageous $400,000 speaking fee is that it robs us of a fantasy: that sooner or later, the first black president was going to use his considerable powers, in or out of office, to help the economic ravages of the poor, who are disproportionately black.

That Obama’s project was or ever would be racial and economic justice was always a dream – and the sooner we let go of this and recognize Obama for who he is and what he does, the better we’ll all be.

Some people who disagree with me believe I am racist for not lauding Obama’s right to cash in on the presidency the same way the Clinton and Bush dynasties have. I will never deny the representational and psychological value of having had Obama in the Oval Office and his beautiful black family living in the White House. I always liked the guy immensely, even as I’ve criticized the politician…

Read the entire article here.

Tags:

Chris Hughton: ‘I have a thirst for knowledge. I won’t always be a manager’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2017-04-29 02:08Z by Steven

Chris Hughton: ‘I have a thirst for knowledge. I won’t always be a manager’

The Guardian
2017-04-28

Donald McRae


Chris Hughton says he is hoping to ‘tweak the squad and make some improvements’ before starting life in the Premier League. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images

In an exclusive interview, the Brighton manager talks about the ‘shocking’ imbalance between white and BAME managers in England and his hopes for Brighton in the Premier League next season

“‘It is shocking and the more we speak about it, and reflect on it, the more it hits home that there’s an incredible imbalance,” Chris Hughton says as he addresses the grievous lack of black managers in English football. His only current managerial contemporary is Keith Curle, in charge of Carlisle United in League Two, and Hughton’s quietly spoken words carry even more impact now that he has led Brighton & Hove Albion into next season’s Premier League.

Brighton’s inspiring promotion, after decades of strife in which the club became homeless, bankrupt and on the brink of losing their place in the Football League, was guaranteed last week. Their 58-year-old manager has two games remaining of this Championship season, starting with Bristol City at home on Saturday. But first, on a cold evening at the Amex Stadium, before his players participate in their annual awards, it is striking how he sidesteps beaming celebrations or personal vindication. Hughton, instead, confronts more important issues with a social conscience that is often missing from English football.

The “incredible imbalance” has long been, as Hughton says, “between those of ethnic backgrounds playing football, often at very good clubs, having good careers, being captains of their teams, and an absence in senior management. There have been some changes and it has been encouraging at academy and grassroots level – but still not at the top level. The game has a responsibility to redress the balance.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

‘We’re the geeks, the prostitutes’: Asian American actors on Hollywood’s barriers

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-13 21:29Z by Steven

‘We’re the geeks, the prostitutes’: Asian American actors on Hollywood’s barriers

The Guardian
2017-04-11

Sam Levin


Clockwise from top left: Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell; Pun Bandhu; Matt Damon in Great Wall; Atsuko Okatsuka. Composite: Alamy / Universal Pictures / Courtesy of Pun Bandhu / Courtesy of Atsuko Okatsuka

Films like Ghost in the Shell have fueled debate over whitewashing, while roles are few for Asian Americans – and when they are wanted, it’s often to play offensive stereotypes

Pun Bandhu’s training at the prestigious Yale School of Drama didn’t help much with the skill he needed for so many auditions after graduation – the “Asian accent”.

The Thai American actor – who has appeared in a wide range of TV shows and films over the last 15 years – said he was once told that an accent he used for a Thai character, modeled after his parents, was not working for an “American ear”. Instead, the director went with a Chinese accent.

While much of the recent debate around Asian representation in Hollywood has centered on whitewashing – when white actors are cast to tell Asian stories – working actors said a lack of opportunity was only one part of the problem. Asian American actors said they rarely, if ever, got auditions for leading roles, and when they did get parts, they were frequently secondary to the plot or portrayed offensive tropes…

…“We’re so desperate for opportunities,” said Kanoa Goo, a mixed-race actor who is Chinese, Hawaiian and white. “Often it’s pretty one-dimensional. It’s the tech computer analyst who doesn’t have much to say. His role is really just in service of the leads.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Doctor Who’s Pearl Mackie: ‘When I was little there weren’t many people like me on TV’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-04-10 01:31Z by Steven

Doctor Who’s Pearl Mackie: ‘When I was little there weren’t many people like me on TV’

The Guardian
2017-04-09

Sarah Hughes


Pearl Mackie: ‘This is by far the biggest thing I have ever done, which is amazing.’ Pearl wears top £26 urbanoutfitters.com. Make-up by Linda Johansson at One Represents using YSL Beauty. Hair by Bianca Simone Scott using Mizani. Fashion assistant Bemi Shaw. Photograph: Andrew Woffinden for the Observer

Meet Doctor Who’s new companion, Pearl Mackie. She tells Sarah Hughes why it’s so important to have diverse actors on TV, and how her friends are making sure her feet stay on the ground

The moment when Pearl Mackie understood just how big her new role as Doctor Who’s latest companion was came early in filming. “There was a scene in episode three that was so awesome – in the sense that I was awestruck by the scale of the set – that it was really humbling. I stood there looking at it, thinking, ‘Oh. Wow. This is a very big show.’ When you see it from the inside, that’s when you realise how massive it is.”

She’s not wrong — Doctor Who is, as 29-year-old Mackie puts it, “properly, globally huge”. The most successful science fiction series in television history, this tale of a history-haunted time lord and his adventures across the universe with various sidekicks has progressed far beyond its days as children’s tea-time entertainment. In 2013 the 50th anniversary special broke viewing records around the world after being aired in 94 countries simultaneously while the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, began his stint by undertaking a rock star-style world tour with then companion Jenna Coleman, taking in Cardiff, London, Seoul, Sydney, New York, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. At each stop they were greeted by queues of fans, many of them in costume. There were Weeping Angels and Daleks, Cybermen and companions, and a whole host of Doctors, from every stage of this very British institution’s lengthy career…

…She spent much of her own childhood searching for a similar jolt of recognition. “When Alicia Keys came out that was a big thing for me because she was mixed race as well,” she says. “There were a lot of people I liked on screen, like Judi Dench, she’s wicked, but that’s very different to having someone where you think, ‘She looks like me, maybe I could do that.’”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

People with mixed backgrounds can disrupt notions of purity that undergird race and synthesize vast cultural traditions. People with mixed backgrounds can also internalize and carry out racism.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-04-03 02:42Z by Steven

People with mixed backgrounds can disrupt notions of purity that undergird race and synthesize vast cultural traditions. People with mixed backgrounds can also internalize and carry out racism.

Daniel José Camacho, “Diversity doesn’t make racism magically disappear,” The Guardian, April 1, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/01/diversity-doesnt-make-racism-magically-disappear.

Tags: ,

Diversity doesn’t make racism magically disappear

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-04-02 15:52Z by Steven

Diversity doesn’t make racism magically disappear

The Guardian
2017-04-01

Daniel José Camacho
Duke Divinity School


‘Consider Brazil. There, white people are a minority – but are still dominant.’ Photograph: Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images

Some hope that changing demographics make us destined to be post-racial. It isn’t so simple

We can’t screw our way beyond racism. Many think mixed-race babies and browner demographics will automatically usher in a post-racial world. They interpret the projections of a “majority-minority” shift in our nation – now set to take place in 2044 – as a sign of guaranteed progress. Changing faces in the US are seen as anti-racist destiny. But don’t overestimate the power of this post-racial cocktail.

Jordan Peele’s brilliant film Get Out reminds me of the importance of questioning overly optimistic narratives of racial progress. Made by someone who has been open about being biracial and married to a white women, this film creatively uses the genre of horror to depict the persistence of racism through a story about an interracial couple. In many ways, it can be seen as a strident critique of a liberal brand of racism that has blossomed in the post-Obama era…

…If more mixed people guarantee greater tolerance, then Brazil – and most of Latin America – should be a racial paradise. Although a great degree of ‘mestizaje’ or racial mixing has taken place since the time of conquest, Indigenous and Afro-descendent people in Latin America remain disproportionately poor, discriminated against, and locked out from opportunity.

Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, in his book Racism without Racists, has speculated whether the racial order in the US might eventually resemble that of Latin American and Caribbean nations. In this case, white supremacy and racial stratification will continue to operate in the US even as it becomes a “majority-minority” nation…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,