the forgotten history of the reno: manchester’s original nightclub for mixed race youth

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-03-05 13:02Z by Steven

the forgotten history of the reno: manchester’s original nightclub for mixed race youth

i-D
Vice
2019-02-21

Kamila Rymajdo, Northern correspondent


Image from @excavatingthereno

Thirty years after it closed, Manchester nightclub the Reno has been excavated by playwright Linda Brogan and a team of volunteers — now they’re taking over Whitworth Art Gallery to continue telling its story.

“We dipped our fingers in the fountain of youth,” is how Jamaican-Irish playwright Linda Brogan explains the 2017 archaeological excavation of The Reno, Manchester’s original nightclub for mixed-race youth. Opened in the early 1960s, and famously visited by Muhammad Ali, the funk and soul venue enjoyed a heyday in the 1970s, only to close in 1986, and be demolished a year later. Overgrown by grass in the multi-ethnic neighbourhood of Moss Side — where Manchester’s Irish, West Indian and African communities have traditionally lived — it was all but forgotten. Until now.

“Once you got in, it was like you were home,” remembers Barrie George, a retired Manchester City Football Club steward, who partook in the club’s excavation.

Stigmatised by the 1930 ‘Fletcher Report’ (a controversial paper that described children of mixed heritage as suffering from inherent physical and mental defects) people such as Barrie and Linda found themselves caught between two different communities. “When we’d go to town, white people would say, ‘black this, black that,’ then we’d go out in Moss Side and the Jamaican people would go, ‘you mixed race, two nation, people with no countries,’ so it was like we were battling with two,” explains another Reno regular, Steve Cottier, his words echoing around the vast expanse of Whitworth Art Gallery’s upper floor. We’re here because, starting on 15 March, the gallery will be the site of a year long residency, during which Linda, and twelve former Reno regulars, will explore the club’s historical context and attempt to strengthen its legacy…

Linda Brogan Contact interview from matt kowalczuk on Vimeo.

Read the entire article here.

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None of this is about flattery, it’s about power, desire and ownership. A sinister reminder that people who once owned our bodies, still can, and of the troubled history and deep seated taboos that continue to define race relations between black and white in the 21st century.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-11-24 02:11Z by Steven

By the 20th century these stories had morphed into stereotypes about “mixed-race” black women, which migrated into popular culture, where we now had the privilege of being represented as “tragic mulattos”; according to white supremacist discourse, the mulatto did not have the “right to live” the US senator Charles Carroll said in 1900. We were an abomination who disrupted the racial order, and as a result of our pathology were emotionally unstable, yet we were still perceived as seductresses. And that’s why it’s no coincidence that when these online imposters post as their light-skin black alter egos they post thirst-traps with sultry eyes and pouty mouths, yet in photographs as their white selves, they remain smilingly wholesome girls next door. They are operating in familiar terrain, reinforcing topes that emerged out of slavery and which have been developed and refined via mass media throughout the 20th and 21st century. None of this is about flattery, it’s about power, desire and ownership. A sinister reminder that people who once owned our bodies, still can, and of the troubled history and deep seated taboos that continue to define race relations between black and white in the 21st century.

Emma Dabiri, “white girls reinventing themselves as black women on instagram has to stop,” i-D, November 20, 2018. https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/nepzyg/white-girls-instagram-blackface-blackfishing.

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white girls reinventing themselves as black women on instagram has to stop i-D

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Women on 2018-11-21 22:28Z by Steven

white girls reinventing themselves as black women on instagram has to stop

i-D
Vice
2018-11-20

Emma Dabiri


Instagram influencer Emma Halberg has been accused of altering her looks to appear black. She denies the accusations. Images via social media.

As a recent Twitter storm brought attention to social media blackface, Emma Dabiri looks at the cultural history of this racist practice and its links to black women being perceived as sexually available.

Last week a Twitter thread went viral for calling out white girls on Instagram and YouTube, some of them with huge followings, who are seemingly using various methods to transform their faces and bodies so they look “mixed-race” – though some have denied that’s what they’re doing, blaming their change on a propensity to deeply tan. Various media outlets are referring to this as “blackfishing”, but there is another name for it, which more clearly links this practice to its racist past. While “ni**erfishing” sounds like a sport from the good ole days when AMERICA WAS GREAT, when a picnic wasn’t a picnic without a black body swinging in the southern breeze, it is in fact a phenomenon all our own, from the year of our good lord 2018. N**erfishing is this cute lil trick whereby white girls literally reinvent themselves online, on Instagram and Youtube, as “mixed-race” or light-skinned black women. From our complexion to our lips and other facial features, to textured hair and the use of protective styles, weaves and braids — there is little to separate these white women visually from black women…

Read the entire article here.

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Dealing with Everyday Racism as a Black Mom with a White-Passing Son

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-03-18 01:28Z by Steven

Dealing with Everyday Racism as a Black Mom with a White-Passing Son

Broadly.
2018-03-14

Ndéla Faye
London, United Kingdom


Illustration by Erin Aniker

Do they live far?” the woman asks me in the swimming pool changing rooms, nodding her head towards my son. “We live across the river, not far from here,” I reply, not quite understanding the wording of her question. On my way home I realize that her choice of pronoun referred to my son’s family—which she assumed I was not a part of. She did not think my child was mine. I bite my lip and wipe the tears from my eyes.

When white professor Robert E. Kelly’s children interrupted his live interview on the BBC last year, many thought his Korean wife, visible in the background, was the nanny. The incident sparked a much-needed debate on stereotypes and racism, but the truth is this is part and parcel of many non-white mum’s life. Having lived in London for more than a decade, where less than half the population identify as white and British, I have – perhaps naively – been lulled into the idea that people don’t judge me based on the color of my skin. But since the birth of my child, I’ve been proven wrong time and time again.

I notice a shop security guard staring at my son, examining his features and trying to answer the big red question mark blinking in his head. “Are you looking after him for someone?” he blurts out. This time I’m unable to hide my anger. “No, I pushed him out myself,” I reply curtly. I make a swift exit, accompanied by the awkward laughs and raised eyebrows of those who witnessed this unfortunate exchange. Swatting away microaggressions with an invisible bat has become part of my everyday survival.

Part of motherhood is being thrown into a whole new world, but as the mother of a “white-passing” child, I’ve been thrown head first into a place where a playgroup leader asks if I am my child’s guardian—but immediately refers to my white friend and her white baby as “mom and baby.” A place where an Irish woman corrects me on the pronunciation of my own child’s Irish name. A place where I see people flinch with surprise as I nurse my son in public, and I wonder whether they think I’m a hired wet nurse, and keep smiling even though I feel like crying…

Read the entire article here.

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uncovering the “privilege” of being a white passing person of colour

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Passing, United Kingdom on 2017-12-22 19:42Z by Steven

uncovering the “privilege” of being a white passing person of colour

i-D
VICE
2016-02-02

Niloufar Haidari


Photography Khashayar Elyassi

Why we shouldn’t let white people police who gets to be “white”.

I am a ‘white-passing’ person of colour; a white-passing British-Iranian woman of colour to be exact. I am in no way ignorant as to the privilege this gives me in a still very much racialised world in which the after-effects of colonialism and imperialism are all too evident and dark skin is seen as anything from unattractive to a reason to kill. I am aware that in a culture in which fair skin is still valued higher than those of brown people whether in the fashion industry, on the internet or just at family gatherings, I am lucky. I am white-passing, and I have white-passing privilege. In short, this means that I am not necessarily immediately recognisable as a ‘brown person’, an ‘other’. Make-up companies cater to my concealer and lipstick needs, ‘flesh-coloured’ plasters and crayons are roughly the right shade. Due to the fact that I have spent my whole life living in the UK, I suffer from Vitamin D deficiency and am therefore more likely to be mistaken for Italian/Spanish rather than Middle Eastern for 9 months of the year. I would like to make it very clear that I am in no way trying to claim I suffer the same kind of discrimination based on skin that black or dark-skinned Asian women do; I don’t even suffer the same kind of discrimination as other Iranian women who are darker than I do.

But I do suffer discrimination. I am white-passing, not white. And interestingly, it often seems to be white people rather than other people of colour who are darker than me who are quick to announce my non-eligibility for discrimination and to tell me I’m white. I have experienced a long and varied history of this from both white friends and anonymous white strangers on the internet…

Read the entire article here.

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My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2017-08-23 15:28Z by Steven

My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Vice
2017-08-22

Mike Miksche


Images courtesy of the author

Each of my siblings’ names, skin, hair, and religious observances earned us different levels of privilege.

My family immigrated from Lebanon to Canada before I was born in order to flee a nasty civil war. Since we’re quite light-skinned, growing up people assumed we were some kind of white: Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese was mainly what I heard. My mom explained how back in those pre-9/11 days, people she met hardly knew where Lebanon was and hadn’t heard much about Islam either, so it was easy for us to live under the radar, hassle-free. This was before the hummus craze. But obviously, with everything going on today, things have changed. Now, the disclosure of who we are, along with some cultural clues, shifts how people see us regardless of our light skin tone. I suppose one could argue that it’s a privilege to be passable as white, or a variant thereof, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

As a kid, my folks cultivated a dual identity within the Lebanon-like bubble of our southwestern Ontario home. We remixed the Lebanese Arabic dialect with English idioms and ate kibbeh with chicken nuggets and homemade fries. As Muslims, we studied the Qu’ran, prayed five times a day, and were forbidden to eat pork—including pepperoni and bacon, too. You’d expect it all to be confusing, but I was a happy kid living under the radar and felt my upbringing was normal…

Read the entire article here.

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What Being of Mixed Heritage Has Taught Me About Identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-12-11 18:59Z by Steven

What Being of Mixed Heritage Has Taught Me About Identity

VICE
2016-12-10

Salma Haidrani

This article originally appeared on VICE UK

“What are you?” When you think about it, it’s a pretty stupid question to ask another person, especially when you already know the answer: a human, just like you mate. But that doesn’t stop people directing it at people like me, who are of dual ethnic heritage or “mixed-race.” If your parents are of distinctly different ethnic groups, you feel like you have to “pick a side”—and the inevitable questions vary from ones shouted in a crowded pub to those staring up in black-and-white next to a checkbox on a form.

We’re so far down the road of thinking about race as a biological reality that we’ve forgotten it’s a construct. There are no links between how much melanin someone has in their skin and their culture. There are no links between melanin and intellect, physical abilities or creative skills. Proximity and language have tended to have more to do with what makes people of the same ethnic group seem similar—the colour of their skin doesn’t determine that.

For that reason, it’s silly to think that the experiences of the 1.2 million people in the UK who identify as “mixed” would be identical. Some are happy to define themselves in that way, while last year the British Sociological Association deemed deemed the term mixed-race as “misleading since it implies that a ‘pure race’ exists”…

Read the entire article here.

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Documenting the UK’s Black and Mixed Race Gingers

Posted in Articles, Arts, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-01-24 02:54Z by Steven

Documenting the UK’s Black and Mixed Race Gingers

Vice
2105-08-24

Natasha Culzac


Francis Johnson by Michelle Marshall

How would you describe a typical redhead? Do you think of Julianne Moore: light skinned and beautiful, with rust-coloured hair and a flush of crimson through her porcelain cheeks? Or do you think of Ed Sheeran?

Either way, it’s likely the redhead in your mind is white. Red hair is mainly considered the preserve of northern Europe, a Celtic-Germanic trait. This is what resulted in London-based photographer Michelle Marshall’s quest to capture as many Afro Caribbean redheads as possible as part of her project, MC1R.

MC1R, or Melanocortin 1 receptor if you’re feeling fancy, is the gene responsible for red hair. Mutations in it can cause various degrees of pigmentation. It’ll either work “properly”, causing your hair to get darker, or it will become dysfunctional, not activate and then fail to turn red pigment to brown, causing a build up of red pigment and thus, red hair…

Dr George Busby from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics agrees. He says that the red hair and freckles is the likely result of the historical interactions between Europeans and Africans in the formation of the Caribbean populations – most notably with Brits, as the Spanish and Portuguese went to South America.

George states: “This might also explain why you occasionally see red hair on a black Caribbean person who has two black parents. By chance alone, it might be that they are both carrying a European mutation which has come together in their child.”

Most of Michelle’s subjects have been in the UK, though she’s had a lot of interest in the US and some in mainland Europe. “I’ve got the whole of London on this,” she laughs, when describing her army of spotters…

Read the entire article here.

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In Rachel Dolezal’s Skin

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2015-12-07 21:27Z by Steven

In Rachel Dolezal’s Skin

Broadly
VICE’s Women’s Interest Channel
2015-12-07

Mitchell Sunderland, Managing Editor


Photos by Amy Lombard

In an exclusive interview, Rachel Dolezal discusses growing up on a Christian homestead, painting her face different colors as a child, and why she’s naming her new baby after Langston Hughes.

On a gloomy Saturday night in Spokane, WA, roughly a dozen people gather in the penthouse suite of the Davenport Grand Hotel for Rachel Dolezal’s baby shower. Hip-hop and jazz play on a flat-screen TV, and paper yellow duckies hang on the silver walls. While Rachel’s 21-year-old adopted son Izaiah pops a bottle of champagne, Rachel’s friends—her ex-boyfriend Charles Miller and several women—eat croissant sandwiches on disposable plastic plates. The women vary in age and race (there’s nearly an equal number of black and white guests), but when I ask them how they know Rachel, most give the same answer: “She does my hair.”

Rachel does her own hair, too. Today, she wears a black weave. “In the winter I like to have [a weave] because you don’t have to wear a hat,” she explains. “In the summer I like to wear braids and dreads—that’s just me.” The women’s conversations, though, aren’t about hair and instead revolve around the baby. An hour into the party, Rachel’s friend passes out pieces of paper for a “baby pool.” She asks the partygoers to predict the baby’s “weight, birthday, and gender.” There’s not an option for race. It’s undoubtedly a sensitive topic in this room, but no less a loaded one. After all, much of Rachel’s story is hinged on the concept that, like gender, race is a social construct

Read the entire interview here.

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