As a mixed child of a Latin American couple, I could be seen as socially undetermined — part of a mestizo/mulato muddle, yet embraced as part of a Puerto Rican national identity. But in the United States, my fate has been to be inexorably drawn to the identity of my darker parent.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-10-15 00:40Z by Steven

As a mixed child of a Latin American couple, I could be seen as socially undetermined — part of a mestizo/mulato muddle, yet embraced as part of a Puerto Rican national identity. But in the United States, my fate has been to be inexorably drawn to the identity of my darker parent. Like Pedro Pietri penning the obituary of the passive Puerto Rican, I accept and cherish that embrace, but hope to end the silence of the dear negro in me. It’s time to let go, and embrace the blackness at the core of my being that I’ve always known.

Ed Morales, “‘Mi negro’: Embracing my blackness as a Puerto Rican man,” The Washington Post, Septermber 14, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/09/14/mi-negro-embracing-my-blackness-as-a-puerto-rican-man.

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‘Mi negro’: Embracing my blackness as a Puerto Rican man

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-14 01:35Z by Steven

‘Mi negro’: Embracing my blackness as a Puerto Rican man

The Washington Post
2018-09-14

Ed Morales, Adjunct Professor
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University, New York, New York

Several years ago, at the height of New York’s stop-and-frisk policing policy, two officers stopped me at West 125th Street and Broadway and insisted that I was carrying a knife. I was walking from Columbia University’s campus, where I’ve taught seminars on Latinx identity since 2010, after picking up a couple books at the library. Because I wasn’t teaching that day, I was wearing a backward baseball cap, worn-out jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, attire that apparently made me look like a criminal suspect.

The officers were Latinx with complexions similar to mine, but in that moment, they made a racialized judgment about how I represented a culture of criminality often associated with black and Latinx people. They stared at me with insistent eyes, demanding that I hand over a weapon that I didn’t have. They had been signaled by my unkempt appearance and the furtive movement of my hand toward a keychain holder protruding from my right front pocket, a plastic Puerto Rican flag in the shape of an island. They were operating in the context of 125th Street, a dividing line between the largely white collegiate neighborhood of Morningside Heights and the predominantly black gentrifying neighborhood of Harlem.

The officers looked blankly at my university ID and reluctantly questioned me for several agonizing minutes, then decided I was not who they were looking for. But the experience reminded me that I can never escape my racial identity: In a society ruled by a binary perception of race, my complexion classifies me as “other,” but at any point in time, what I’m wearing, where I’m standing and how the sunlight hits my skin will color how I’m judged…

Read the entire article here.

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Biracial in ethnic derivation, nonbinary in gender identification, gay in sexual orientation, multi-hyphenate in creative aspiration, [Amandla] Stenberg embodies a similar blurring of boundaries.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-10-08 03:03Z by Steven

Biracial in ethnic derivation, nonbinary in gender identification, gay in sexual orientation, multi-hyphenate in creative aspiration, [Amandla] Stenberg embodies a similar blurring of boundaries. She grew up in Los Angeles with her African American mother and Danish father, commuting from their modest Leimert Park neighborhood to the far tonier Wildwood School. Her first movie role was in “Colombiana,” as a young version of Zoe Saldana. “The Hunger Games” — just her second film — was seen by tens of millions of people around the world. But it was a video she made for history class in 2015 that became a watershed: Called “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” the 4-minute-30-second tutorial explained the most offensive dynamics of cultural appropriation. After Stenberg posted the video on Tumblr, it became a viral sensation.

Ann Hornaday, “Her way. The new way.The Washington Post, October 4, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/lifestyle/amandla-stenberg-looks-a-lot-like-the-future-of-celebrity.

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Her way. The new way.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-10-08 00:22Z by Steven

Her way. The new way.

The Washington Post
2018-10-04

Ann Hornaday, Movie Critic


Amandla Stenberg, the 19-year-old star of “The Hate U Give.” (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Amandla Stenberg is redefining fame for a time when the personal, the professional and the political have never been more fused.

On a recent visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, actress Amandla Stenberg made a beeline for “Watching Oprah,” an exhibit dedicated to the TV-icon-turned-all-of-it-icon.

Oprah was very integral in my household,” she said, peering at the biographical information on the walls. “My mom used to be a journalist. . . . She worked at Elle magazine and then moved into celebrity journalism. The irony is not lost on me.”…

…Biracial in ethnic derivation, nonbinary in gender identification, gay in sexual orientation, multi-hyphenate in creative aspiration, Stenberg embodies a similar blurring of boundaries. She grew up in Los Angeles with her African American mother and Danish father, commuting from their modest Leimert Park neighborhood to the far tonier Wildwood School. Her first movie role was in “Colombiana,” as a young version of Zoe Saldana. “The Hunger Games” — just her second film — was seen by tens of millions of people around the world. But it was a video she made for history class in 2015 that became a watershed: Called “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” the 4-minute-30-second tutorial explained the most offensive dynamics of cultural appropriation. After Stenberg posted the video on Tumblr, it became a viral sensation…

Read the entire article here.

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“Why should we separate out based on this thing, this race thing? If we have grown them and they speak Lumbee the way we speak Lumbee, and they’ve gone to Lumbee schools and Lumbee churches and we’ve fed them and nourished them, they’re Lumbee.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-08-22 03:46Z by Steven

Some Lumbees have red hair and freckles, others have tight blond curls, and others have sleek, dark hair and mocha skin. No one is kicked out of the tribe because of their skin tone — and that concept is hard for the BIA to accept, according to Mary Ann Jacobs, chair of the Department of American Indian Studies at UNC-Pembroke. “They don’t like the fact that we refuse to put people out who look too white or look too black. If they’re our people, we keep them.” Jacobs laughed, as if the idea of doing anything else were absurd. “We refuse to give them back. Why should we separate out based on this thing, this race thing? If we have grown them and they speak Lumbee the way we speak Lumbee, and they’ve gone to Lumbee schools and Lumbee churches and we’ve fed them and nourished them, they’re Lumbee.”

Lisa Rab, “What Makes Someone Native American?The Washington Post Magazine, August 20, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2018/08/20/feature/what-makes-someone-native-american-one-tribes-long-struggle-for-full-recognition.

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What Makes Someone Native American?

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-08-21 03:27Z by Steven

What Makes Someone Native American?

The Washington Post Magazine
2018-08-20

Story by Lisa Rab
Photos by Travis Dove


Brittany Hunt (Travis Dove)

One tribe’s long struggle for full recognition

In March 2012, Heather McMillan Nakai wrote a letter to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs asking the agency to verify that she was Indian. She was seeking a job at the Indian Health Service and wanted to apply with “Indian preference.” Nakai knew this might be difficult: As far as she was aware, no one from her North Carolina tribe — the Lumbee — had ever been granted such preference.

Her birth certificate says she’s Indian, as did her first driver’s license. Both of her parents were required to attend segregated tribal schools in the 1950s and ’60s. In Nakai’s hometown in Robeson County, N.C., strangers can look at the dark ringlets in her hair, hear her speak and watch her eyes widen when she’s indignant, and know exactly who her mother and father are. “Who’s your people?” is a common question in Robeson, allowing locals to pinpoint their place among the generations of Lumbee who have lived in the area for nearly 300 years.

Yet in the eyes of the BIA, the Lumbee have never been Indian enough. Responding to Nakai the following month, tribal government specialist Chandra Joseph informed her that the Lumbee were not a federally recognized tribe and therefore couldn’t receive any federal benefits, including “Indian preference.” Invoking a 1956 law concerning the status of the Lumbee, Joseph wrote: “The Lumbee Act precludes the Bureau from extending any benefits to the Indians of Robeson and adjoining counties.” She enclosed a pamphlet titled “Guide to Tracing Indian Ancestry.”…

…In the Jim Crow South, white ancestry was acceptable for indigenous people, but black blood was not. When the United States was dividing up reservations and providing land “allotments” to Indians, a government commission told the Mississippi Choctaw that “where any person held a strain of Negro blood, the servile blood contaminated and polluted the Indian blood.” Many Native Americans internalized these racial politics and adopted them as a means of survival. After North Carolina established a separate school system for Indians in Robeson County in the late 1880s, some Lumbees fought to exclude a child whose mother was Indian and whose father was black.

In their segregated corner of North Carolina, Lumbees enjoyed more power and privileges than their black neighbors, but this was not the case for Native Americans in every state. In Virginia in the 1920s, Indians were required to classify themselves as “colored,” whereas Oklahoma considered Indians to be white — prompting Creek Indians to reject tribal members with black ancestry…

Read the entire article here.

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Jefferson’s Monticello finally gives Sally Hemings her place in presidential history

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2018-06-14 17:00Z by Steven

Jefferson’s Monticello finally gives Sally Hemings her place in presidential history

The Washington Post
2018-06-13

Philip Kennicott, Art and architecture critic


A view of Monticello. (Jack Looney)

You cannot see Thomas Jefferson’s mansion, Monticello, from the small room burrowed into the ground along the south wing of his estate. When the door is closed, you can’t see anything at all, because it is a windowless room, with a low ceiling and damp walls. But this was, very likely, the room inhabited by Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who bore six of Jefferson’s children, a woman about whom little is known, who lived her life as Jefferson’s property, was considered his concubine, was a source of scandal and a political liability, and yet who might be considered the first lady to the third president of the United States if that didn’t presume her relationship to Jefferson was voluntary.

On Saturday, Monticello will open the room to the public, with a small exhibition devoted to the life of Hemings and the Hemings family. Reclaiming this space, which previously had been used as a public restroom, marks the completion of a five-year plan called the Mountaintop Project, which has seen significant changes to the beloved estate of the founding father. Using archaeology and other evidence, Monticello curators have restored Mulberry Row, where enslaved people lived and labored, and made changes (including to the wallpaper, paint and furnishings) inside the mansion, restored the north and south wings, and opened the upstairs rooms to the public on special tours. But symbolically and emotionally, the restoration of the Hemings room is the heart of the new interpretation of Monticello, and it makes tangible a relationship that has been controversial since rumors of “Dusky Sally” became part of American political invective in the early 19th century…

Read the entire article here.

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The demise of the white majority is a myth

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2018-05-19 16:54Z by Steven

The demise of the white majority is a myth

The Washington Post
2018-05-18

Dowell Myers, Professor
Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

Morris Levy, Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of Southern California


Meghan Markle, engaged to Britain’s Prince Harry, with her mother, Doria Ragland. (Steve Parsons/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The tale of the coming white minority has roiled American politics. A recent political science study shows that white anxiety over lost status tipped the last election to Donald Trump, and Democratic Party leaders are banking on changing demography for a brighter destiny.

But rumors of white America’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. That’s because the prevailing definition of whiteness is stubbornly stuck in the past.

It was 2000 when the Census Bureau first projected an end to the white majority of the population in 2059. Four years later, it revised that date to 2050. Then in 2008, it told the public that the passing of the white majority would occur in 2042. At this abrupt rate of change, some anxious whites might see displacement as an imminent threat.

In fact, the Census Bureau projects no fewer than six futures for the white population based on various definitions of whiteness. The most touted set of projections adopts the most exclusive definition, restricting the white population to those who self-identify as white and also no other race or ethnicity. Under this definition, whites are indeed in numerical decline.

But this doesn’t reflect the increasingly fluid and inclusive way that many Americans now regard racial and ethnic backgrounds. Mixed-race parentage is growing more common, and a rapidly growing number of people choose more than one racial or ethnic category to describe themselves on the census…

Read the entire article here.

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The making of Meghan Markle

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2018-05-16 15:26Z by Steven

The making of Meghan Markle

The Washington Post
2018-05-16

Jessica Contrera, Features Writer


Portraits of Meghan Markle from eighth, ninth and 12th grades. From her childhood in Los Angeles to her acting career, Markle has said her “ethnically ambiguous” appearance shaped her identity. (John Dlugolecki/Contact Press Images)

What happens when a ‘confident mixed-race woman’ marries into the royal family

Meghan Markle was glaring at her love interest. She leaned forward, fury clear in her expression as she asked the question: Was it so hard to believe one of her parents was black?

“You think,” she spat, “this is just a year-round tan?”

He stammered. She grimaced. The opening credits began to roll.

It was just the scene of a television show, a few lines from the script of the law drama “Suits.” But Markle would later describe it as something more: the moment she was no longer playing the role of “ethnically ambiguous.” That was the description assigned to so many of the jobs for which she had auditioned. Others asked her to be white, like her father. Or black, like her mother…

Read the entire article here.

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What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-05-11 15:30Z by Steven

What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

The Washington Post
2018-05-11

Karla Adam, London correspondent covering the United Kingdom

William Booth, London bureau chief

Photos by Tori Ferenc


Photo by Tori Ferenc

After she marries Prince Harry, the royal family will look a bit more like modern Britain.

LONDON—Jean Carter had never bothered to come out for a royal appearance before. But when Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, made a visit to Brixton this year, Carter bought a bouquet and weathered a chilly afternoon waiting for a glimpse of the couple.

Carter was glad to see Harry, the happy-go-lucky, ginger-bearded son of the late Princess Diana. As an immigrant from Jamaica, though, Carter, 72, really wanted to lay eyes on Markle, a biracial American actress who is the subject of deep fascination here.

Multiethnic Brixton is South London’s hub for a founding generation of Afro-Caribbean immigrants. It’s a crossroad so central to the story of the African diaspora that local historians call the neighborhood — with its jerk chicken grills, reggae dance halls and vibrant mural scene — the black capital of Europe. When South African President Nelson Mandela came to Britain in 1996 he went to Buckingham Palace — and Brixton.

Carter characterized the royal couple’s visit to the neighborhood as “a big statement.”

But what exactly will it mean to have a biracial member of the monarchy after Prince Harry and Markle exchange vows on May 19?…

Read the entire article here.

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