Overlooked by the Media, Women Like Me Took to Instagram

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-07-29 23:50Z by Steven

Overlooked by the Media, Women Like Me Took to Instagram

The New York Times
2017-07-28

Natasha S. Alford, Deputy Editor
The Grio


Monica Ramos

I rarely see Afro-Latinas on television. Online, it’s a different story.

I was about 11 years old when I started to think I wasn’t like the other Latina girls.

The summer before sixth grade, my mother put me in a beauty pageant sponsored by a Hispanic community organization in Syracuse, N.Y., where we lived. The stage wasn’t fancy — it was in a gymnasium on the West Side, one of the poorest areas of the city. But there was a lot at stake. The winner would represent the pride of the community during the Puerto Rican Day Festival parade.

I was mortified at the idea of competing. Aside from being a nerd with thick plastic glasses and a school marching band membership to match, I didn’t look Latina. At least not compared with my pageant competitors or the women and girls I saw in the media…

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Overlooked No More: Edmonia Lewis, Sculptor of Worldwide Acclaim

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2018-07-29 23:35Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Edmonia Lewis, Sculptor of Worldwide Acclaim

The New York Times
2018-07-25

Penelope Green


The 19th century sculptor Edmonia Lewis. The intense focus on her race both frustrated her and fueled her ambition.
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum

As an artist she transcended constraints, and as a woman of color, she confronted a society that wished to categorize her.

Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported in The Times.

It was the middle of the 19th century, and Edmonia Lewis, part West Indian, part Chippewa, had the audacity to be an artist. It was risky enough for a free woman of color to pursue such a career, but to claim marble as her medium was to tilt at the Victorian conventions of the time, which decreed gentler aesthetic forms for the second sex, like poetry or painting.

Among the first black sculptors known to achieve widespread international fame, Lewis was raised Catholic, educated at Oberlin College in Ohio and mentored by abolitionists in Boston. She lived much of her life in Rome, sailing to Europe in 1865 and joining a community of American sculptors there who included female artists derided by the author Henry James as “a white marmorean flock.”…

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The Legacy of Monticello’s Black First Family

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2018-07-06 03:13Z by Steven

The Legacy of Monticello’s Black First Family

The New York Times
2018-07-04

Brent Staples
Photographs by Damon Winter


A view of Thomas Jefferson’s home from the main avenue where enslaved people were quartered at Monticello.

A recently opened exhibit at Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia estate gives new recognition to Sally Hemings and the role of slavery in the home — and in his family.

Plantation wives in the slave-era South resorted to willful blindness when their husbands conscripted black women as sexual servants and filled the household with mixed-race children who inevitably resembled the master. Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha, was several years dead when he set off on this path, fathering at least six children with Martha’s enslaved black half sister, Sally Hemings. The task of dissembling fell to the remaining white Jeffersons, who aided in a cover-up that held sway for two centuries and feigned ignorance of a relationship between Jefferson and Hemings that lasted nearly four decades.

The foundation that owns Monticello, Jefferson’s mountaintop home near Charlottesville, Va., broke with this long-running deception last month when it unveiled several new exhibits that underscore the centrality of slavery on the founder’s estate. The most important — in the South Wing, where Sally Hemings once lived — explores the legacy of the enslaved woman whom some historians view as the president’s second wife and who skillfully prevailed on him to free from slavery the four Jefferson-Hemings children who lived into adulthood.

The exhibit underscores the fact that the Jefferson estate was an epicenter of racial mixing in early Virginia, making it impossible to draw clear lines between black and white. It reminds contemporary Americans that slave owners like the Jeffersons often held their own black children, aunts, uncles and cousins in bondage. And it illustrates how enslaved near-white relations used proximity to privilege to demystify whiteness while taking critical measure of the relatives who owned them…

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In Brazil, however, the often admirable blurring of racial boundaries is a modern reality that — rather than stemming from colorblindness — is tainted with the sinister origins of state-sanctioned attempts to dilute, even dissolve, blackness.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-07-01 05:14Z by Steven

[Paulo César] Lima’s words point to a painful and somewhat paradoxical consequence of Brazil’s racial fluidity. America’s politics of racial purity, which culminated in the notion that even one-drop of African blood made a person legally black, fostered solidarity among those targeted by discriminatory laws. In Brazil, however, the often admirable blurring of racial boundaries is a modern reality that — rather than stemming from colorblindness — is tainted with the sinister origins of state-sanctioned attempts to dilute, even dissolve, blackness.

Cleuci de Oliveira, “Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race,” The New York Times, June 30, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/opinion/is-neymar-black-brazil-and-the-painful-relativity-of-race.html.

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Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2018-07-01 04:57Z by Steven

Is Neymar Black? Brazil and the Painful Relativity of Race

The New York Times
2018-06-30

Cleuci de Oliveira, Brasília-based reporter


Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, center, celebrating a goal with his teammates during Brazil’s World Cup match against Serbia on Wednesday. Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ever since his “It’s not like I’m black, you know?” comment, Neymar has served as a focal point in the country’s cultural reckoning with racism, whitening, identity and public policy.

Years before he became the most expensive player in the world; before his Olympic gold medal; before the Eiffel Tower lit up with his name to greet his professional move from Barcelona to Paris, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, the Brazilian forward known to the world simply as Neymar, faced his first public relations controversy.

The year was 2010, and Neymar, then 18, had shot to fame in Brazil after a sensational breakout season. During an interview for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, in between a conversation about Disneyland and sports cars, he was asked if he had ever experienced racism. “Never. Not in the field, nor outside of it,” he replied.

“It’s not like I’m black, you know?”

His answer was heard like a record-scratch across the country. Was this young man in denial about his racial identity? Particularly when in the same interview he outlined his meticulous hair care regime, which involved getting his locks chemically straightened every few weeks, then bleached blonde.

Or was there a less alarming explanation behind his comment? Could Neymar merely be pointing out that, as the son of a black father and a white mother, his lighter skin tone shielded him from the racist abuse directed at other players? Had he, at least in his context, reached whiteness? Whatever the interpretation, Neymar’s words revealed the tricky, often contradictory ways that many Brazilians talk, and fail to talk, about race in a country with the largest population of black descendants outside of Africa

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For anyone who is doubtful of the sheer absurdity of racial categorization and the porousness of our supposed boundaries, the Piper family history can be instructive.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-06-30 03:08Z by Steven

For anyone who is doubtful of the sheer absurdity of racial categorization and the porousness of our supposed boundaries, the Piper family history can be instructive. Adrian Margaret Smith Piper was born in 1948 in Washington Heights, and raised there and on Riverside Drive. On her paternal side, she is the product of a long line of whites and extremely light-skinned, straight-haired black property owners and, on her mother Olive’s side, mixed-race, planter-class Jamaican immigrants. Her father, Daniel, received two separate and contradictory birth certificates. The first one labeled him as “white,” while the second, which his mother demanded as a corrective, put him down as “octoroon.” (At MoMA, they are hung on the wall, as part of the installation of “Cornered.”) Piper’s paternal grandfather, also Daniel, went the opposite route after the birth of his second, slightly darker son, Billy, abandoning his wife and children and moving out West to start a new “white” family in Washington State. Daniel Sr.’s brother, Piper’s great-uncle, William, lived his life as a Caucasian man of distinction, founding the Piper Aircraft Corporation and making his name as “the Henry Ford of Aviation.” He ended up with his face on a postage stamp and a fortune big enough to endow a building at his alma mater, Harvard.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, “Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?The New York Times Magazine, June 27, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/magazine/adrian-pipers-self-imposed-exile-from-america-and-from-race-itself.html.

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Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 01:10Z by Steven

Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

The New York Times Magazine
2018-06-27

Thomas Chatterton Williams


Illustration by Hsiao-Ron Cheng

The conceptual artist’s life and work push against the boundaries

Adrian Piper, the conceptual artist and analytic philosopher, is almost as well known for what she has stopped doing as for what she has done. By 1985, she had given up alcohol, meat and sex. In 2005, she took a leave of absence from her job at Wellesley, sold her home on Cape Cod and shipped all of her belongings to Germany. On a lecture tour in the United States the next year, she discovered a mark on her plane ticket that suggested, to her, that she’d been placed on a watch list; she has not set foot in America since. Then, in 2012, on her 64th birthday, she “retired from being black.” She did this by uploading a digitally altered self-portrait to her website, in which she had darkened her skin — normally café très-au-lait — to the color of elephant hide. It was accompanied by a news bulletin announcing her retirement. The pithy text superimposed at the bottom of the photo elaborated: “Henceforth, my new racial designation will be neither black nor white but rather 6.25% grey, honoring my 1/16th African heritage,” she wrote. “Please join me in celebrating this exciting new adventure in pointless administrative precision and futile institutional control!” (Through extensive genealogical work, she later determined that her African heritage is closer to one-eighth.)

The piece was, like much of Piper’s art and writing, absurdly comical in no small part because it was so brutally honest. It was inspired by Piper’s dawning realization that she was unable to fulfill other people’s expectations through the lens of race; since the early 2000s, she had stopped allowing any of her artwork to be exhibited in all-black shows, which she came to see as ghettoizing. In 2015, she announced that she would no longer talk to the press about her work.

Such inflexibility has done little to damage her standing in the art world. On a drizzly evening in March, a well-turned-out crowd of several hundred alighted upon the Museum of Modern Art to sip prosecco, schmooze and Instagram snippets of Piper’s immense body of work. The occasion was the opening of the enormous, and enormously demanding for the casual viewer, 50-year career retrospective, “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016,” on display through July 22. The exhibition draws its title from Kant’sCritique of Pure Reason,” a lifelong touchstone for Piper, and marks the first time in MoMA’s history that the work of any living artist has earned the entirety of its sprawling sixth-floor special-exhibitions gallery. Alongside a Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale, which Piper won in 2015, this is among the very highest honors the art world can proffer…


‘‘Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features’’ (1981)
The Eileen Harris Norton Collection. Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin.

I’d flown from Paris to see the opening of “Synthesis” after having struck up a polite but formal email correspondence with Piper. In the last message she had sent me, about three weeks earlier, she refused to speak to me on the record unless she or her archivist could independently fact-check the article before publication. “I decided a long time ago that I would prefer no representation to misrepresentation,” she wrote, and it seemed that, with this impossible condition, she would not grant an exemption from her indefinite moratorium. She suggested, as an alternative, that I consult her website and extensive body of published writing, an incalculable number of academic articles, essays and books. But I had already read many of those, and they had left me convinced that she has been quietly conducting, from that vexed and ever-expanding blot on the American fabric where white and black bleed into each other, one of the smartest, funniest and most profound interrogations of the racial madness that governs and stifles our national life that I had ever encountered…

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A Sign of ‘Modern Society’: More Multiracial Families in Commercials

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-06-27 01:08Z by Steven

A Sign of ‘Modern Society’: More Multiracial Families in Commercials

The New York Times
2018-06-03

Joanne Kaufman

A hapless man stands on the sidewalk, watching and wincing as an ex-girlfriend tosses his possessions out a second-floor window in a commercial for DirecTV Now. A husband and wife are overjoyed to learn from a Fidelity investments adviser that, yes, they have saved enough for retirement to realize their fondest dream, one that involves a boat and a grandchild. And a considerably younger couple is delighted with the possibilities presented by the Clearblue ovulation test system.

The men and women vary in age, circumstances and happiness levels, but they have one thing in common. They are all part of interracial couples.

Recently, companies and brands like JPMorgan Chase, Humira, State Farm, Smile Direct Club, Coors Light, Macy’s, Tide and Cadillac have featured multiracial couples or families in their advertising.

“There’s no doubt that the incidence of these commercials is at least double what it was five years ago,” said Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at the Pace University Lubin School of Business…

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Growing, Faltering, Changing, Growing: Lessons From Kay WalkingStick

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2018-06-08 01:53Z by Steven

Growing, Faltering, Changing, Growing: Lessons From Kay WalkingStick

The New York Times
2018-06-07

Holland Cotter, Co-chief Art Critic


Kay WalkingStick’s “New Mexico Desert,” 2011, in which bands of Navajo patterning float across scrub land and mesas as if surveying and protecting them.
National Museum of the American Indian

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — An artist’s career retrospective, if shaped with care, is more than a look at a life of labor. It’s also a record of contingent lives, cultural changes and a political passage in time. This is true of “Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist,” an era-spanning survey of this 83-year-old painter at the Montclair Art Museum here. Yet what powers the chronologically arranged show, first and last, is the personal: the sense it gives of one worker growing, changing, faltering, then growing and changing more.

Born in 1935 in Syracuse, Ms. WalkingStick was the child of a biracial marriage: “Syracuse Girl Weds Cherokee Indian” was the headline on the report of her parents’ wedding in the local newspaper. As it turned out, she saw little of her father over the years, though her mother, Scottish-Irish by descent, made a point of instilling pride in her daughter’s Native American heritage.

Ms. WalkingStick studied painting in college, and as a young wife and mother in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s, she continued to paint, keeping a close eye on what was happening in Manhattan. Among the earliest pieces in the show, from 1971, are two crisp, Pop-ish silhouette images in bright colors of female nudes. The artist herself was the model, and feminism — or at least the loosened-up spirit of it — a spur…

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A French-Rwandan Rap Star Turned Novelist From Burundi

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2018-05-30 02:31Z by Steven

A French-Rwandan Rap Star Turned Novelist From Burundi

The New York Times
2018-05-29

Tobias Grey


Small Country,” by Gaël Faye, is about a boy, living in Burundi during the war between the Hutus and Tutsis, who loses his innocence in spite of desperately wanting to cling onto it.
Elliott Verdier for The New York Times

PARIS — “It felt like an injustice to me,” said the rapper and novelist Gaël Faye, about having to leave civil-war-torn Burundi in 1995 to come live in France. Mr. Faye, who was 13 at the time, had to contend with the shock of a new culture and moving with his younger sister into the cramped space of his mother’s apartment in Versailles.

Months went by without unpacking his suitcases. “When I went to school I used to take what I needed and put it back afterward,” the 36-year-old author said in a recent interview in Paris. “I’d convinced myself that any day my father would ring up and tell us that the war had ended and we could come back. But the war ended up lasting until 2005 by which time I was an adult.”

In his first novel, “Small Country” — a huge hit in France when it was published in 2016 and where it sold 700,000 copies — Mr. Faye wrote with a rare and subtle yearning about his youthful escapades in and around Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. It has now been translated from French into English by Sarah Ardizzone and is being released by Hogarth on June 5.

“Small Country,” which in its original language shares the title of one of Mr. Faye’s most popular songs, “Petit Pays,” is told from the perspective of Gabriel, a 10-year-old boy with a French father and a Rwandan mother (the same mixed-race parentage as Mr. Faye). He is part of a gang of young boys sneaking beers in cabaret bars and stealing mangoes from local gardens to sell on the black market…

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