I am the “Rashida Jones” version of biracial. I have white skin and dark brown, wavy hair — people always assume I’m white.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-05-18 18:20Z by Steven

I am the “Rashida Jones” version of biracial. I have white skin and dark brown, wavy hair — people always assume I’m white. Mariah Carey, who has a white mother and a black, Venezuelan father, was the only white-looking biracial person I knew of growing up. She was the biracial role model I needed, and I often thought of her when I struggled with the constant denial and questioning I faced whenever I told someone I was part black.

Sarah E. Gaither, “I study biracial identity in America. Here’s why Meghan Markle is a big deal.Vox, May 18, 2018. https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/5/14/17345162/meghan-markle-royal-wedding-2018-race.

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I study biracial identity in America. Here’s why Meghan Markle is a big deal.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-05-14 20:24Z by Steven

I study biracial identity in America. Here’s why Meghan Markle is a big deal.

Vox
2018-05-14

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Duke University


Photos: Getty Images. Photo illustration: Christina Animashaun/Vox

Biracial representation is sorely needed in a country with a fraught relationship with mixed-race people.

Growing up in the late ’80s as a biracial girl, I never had a mixed-race princess whose image I could sport on my backpack or my lunchbox. There was little to no representation of my identity — almost no characters in movies or television shows, no musicians or celebrities who identified as mixed-race.

For today’s biracial youth, Meghan Markle, the actress who is marrying into the British royal family — and who has defined herself publicly as “a strong, confident mixed-race woman” — represents the biracial role model I didn’t have growing up.

My mother is white and my father is black, and as a social psychologist, I research mixed-race identity and perceptions of biracial people for a living. The history of biracial couplings and children in our country is fraught: The “one drop” rule that categorized people with any African ancestry as “colored” was legally codified in a couple of states in the early 1900s. Interracial marriage was illegal in some states starting in 1664 until 1967 with the famous Loving v. Virginia case, and it wasn’t until the year 2000 when the option to “check all that may apply” for race appeared on the census…

Read the entire article here.

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In Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, you’re either difficult or you’re dead

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-01-10 01:36Z by Steven

In Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, you’re either difficult or you’re dead

Vox
2017-01-03

Constance Grady, Culture Writer

When Roxane Gay picks up a label, she’ll play with it, rip it apart a little, break it down, and finally embrace it. She did it in 2014 with her essay collection, Bad Feminist, which explored what it means to be a committed feminist who also likes to dance to “Blurred Lines,” who is not beholden to an ideological purity. And now she’s doing it again in her new short story collection, Difficult Women.

A difficult woman, in these stories, is usually a woman who has been hurt, typically by living under the patriarchy and under white supremacy. The injuries vary, ranging in scope from the blunt force of unimaginable trauma to the death-by-a-thousand-papercuts of daily microaggressions.

In “I Will Follow You,” the difficult woman was kidnapped by a child molester when she was 10 years old. In “La Negra Blanca,” she’s a mixed-race med student who moonlights as a stripper and is constantly fetishized by men who think of her as a white girl with a black girl’s ass. In “Best Features,” she’s a fat woman who is quietly furious at how worthless the world considers her to be…

Read the entire review here.

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White people, don’t tell me what Martin Luther King would think of Black Lives Matter

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2016-07-09 14:49Z by Steven

White people, don’t tell me what Martin Luther King would think of Black Lives Matter

Vox
2016-07-08

Jon Crowley
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I woke up Thursday morning and accidentally watched a video of Alton Sterling being killed by the police. In a world of social feeds and autoplaying video, I’m far from the only person who had this experience. Within 10 minutes I was reading descriptions of how Philando Castile had been killed, again by the police.

Like many people of color, I’ve been warned about interactions with the police since I was a little kid. Despite being a light-skinned, mixed-race black person, despite growing up in a safe suburban area, this warning was a part of my childhood.

And seeing, very explicitly, how easily two black men met violent deaths at the hands of people who are supposed to serve their communities, pushed me past my hard-earned emotional distance from the subject and made me feel scared. Scared and alone, even as I saw the reactions pouring out from people of every race, nationality, and culture, looking to express the same fear and outrage.

There are a lot of people from other communities or racial groups who want to express support, and a lot of people who want to explain why these men had it coming.

If you’ve made it this far, I’m going to assume you’re trying to find something positive to do or say, beyond offering hopes or prayers or condolences.

If you want to know what I’d consider the bare minimum of support you could offer to the people of color in your life, here’s a starting point:…

Read the entire article here.

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Race isn’t biologically real. That doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist.

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2016-06-13 00:10Z by Steven

Race isn’t biologically real. That doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist.

Vox
2016-06-11

Victoria M. Massie

The first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging it exists. And in the latest episode of MTV’s Decoded, host Franchesca Ramsey breaks down exactly why being colorblind to someone’s race not only doesn’t fix racism but, if anything, she says, actually makes matters worse.

“Have you ever wondered why people say, ‘Oh, I don’t see color’ as a way to fix racism?” Ramsey asks. “Yeah, that doesn’t work.”

Sure, race is not biologically real. But Ramsey points out that resting on that argument alone is part of the problem…

Read the entire article here.

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What Jefferson did to Hemings was rape.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-04-12 22:26Z by Steven

By all accounts, [Thomas] Jefferson’s sexual relationship with [Sally] Hemings spanned several decades, beginning when Hemings was a teenager and Jefferson was in his 40s. It was not, in any sense of the word, consensual: Hemings was a child, and Jefferson literally owned her; she was not in any position to give or withhold consent. What Jefferson did to Hemings was rape.

Constance Grady, “Thomas Jefferson spent years raping his slave Sally Hemings. A new novel treats their relationship as a love story.Vox, April 8, 2016. http://www.vox.com/2016/4/8/11389556/thomas-jefferson-sally-hemings-book.

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Thomas Jefferson spent years raping his slave Sally Hemings. A new novel treats their relationship as a love story.

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-04-11 02:25Z by Steven

Thomas Jefferson spent years raping his slave Sally Hemings. A new novel treats their relationship as a love story.

Vox
2016-04-08

Constance Grady

A new historical novel about Thomas Jefferson is raising eyebrows.

Stephen O’Connor’s Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, which came out on Tuesday, is about our third president’s relationship with Sally Hemings, his slave. DNA evidence has proved that Jefferson and Hemings had six children together while Jefferson kept Hemings enslaved — and Jefferson also enslaved their children, freeing them one by one as they came of age. To further complicate matters, Sally Hemings was a half-sister to Jefferson’s late wife, the product of a relationship between Jefferson’s father-in-law and one of his slaves.

By all accounts, Jefferson’s sexual relationship with Hemings spanned several decades, beginning when Hemings was a teenager and Jefferson was in his 40s. It was not, in any sense of the word, consensual: Hemings was a child, and Jefferson literally owned her; she was not in any position to give or withhold consent. What Jefferson did to Hemings was rape.

But Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, judging from early reviews, is most interested in exploring potential ambiguities of their relationship. The book wonders: Did Hemings perhaps enjoy it? To what extent was she complicit?…

Read the entire article here.

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Color film was built for white people. Here’s what it did to dark skin

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-09-21 02:43Z by Steven

Color film was built for white people. Here’s what it did to dark skin

Vox
2015-09-18

Estelle Caswell

The biased film was fixed in the 1990s, so why do so many photos still distort darker skin?

For decades, the color film available to consumers was built for white people. The chemicals coating the film simply weren’t adequate to capture a diversity of darker skin tones. And the photo labs established in the 1940s and 50s even used an image of a white woman, called a Shirley card, to calibrate the colors for printing:

Concordia University professor Lorna Roth has researched the evolution of skin tone imaging. She explained in a 2009 paper how the older technology distorted the appearance of black subjects:

Problems for the African-American community, for example, have included reproduction of facial images without details, lighting challenges, and ashen-looking facial skin colours contrasted strikingly with the whites of eyes and teeth.

How this would affect non-white people seemingly didn’t occur to those who designed and operated the photo systems. In an essay for Buzzfeed, writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden described growing up with film that couldn’t record her actual appearance:

The inconsistencies were so glaring that for a while, I thought it was impossible to get a decent picture of me that captured my likeness. I began to retreat from situations involving group photos. And sure, many of us are fickle about what makes a good portrait. But it seemed the technology was stacked against me. I only knew, though I didn’t understand why, that the lighter you were, the more likely it was that the camera — the film — got your likeness right.

Many of the technological biases have since been corrected (though, not all of them, as explained in the video above). Still, we often see controversies about the misrepresentation of non-white subjects in magazines and advertisements. What are we to make of the fact that these images routinely lighten the skin of women of color?…

Read the entire article here.

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The Shaun King controversy, explained

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2015-08-20 20:49Z by Steven

The Shaun King controversy, explained

Vox
2015-08-20

German Lopez, Staff writer


Shaun King (Source: Twitter)

Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is currently at the center of a controversy that has nothing to do with a police shooting or brutality — it’s, instead, about his personal life and racial identity.

Over the past several weeks, conservative media outlets have published multiple pieces disputing different claims King has made about his life over the years. And the latest accusations — which caused the story to trend on Twitter — have called into question whether King is biracial, as he claims.

There’s a bit of history to this conflict. But the fact that a self-identified biracial man is being chastised by conservative media outlets as part of an attempt to discredit him shows just how fluid the entire concept of race can be, and that makes it difficult to know who’s right and wrong when questions about race come up…

Read the entire article here.

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America’s largest multiracial group doesn’t think of itself that way

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-06-25 20:26Z by Steven

America’s largest multiracial group doesn’t think of itself that way

Vox
2015-06-18

Jenée Desmond-Harris

People who have both white and Native American heritage make up America’s biggest multiracial group. But they’re the least likely to embrace the label.

This is one of the findings of a Pew Research Center study that took an incredibly detailed look at the lives of multiracial Americans. Pew did something unique to get this data: instead of studying only the people who checked off the “multiracial” box on the census, it looked at all the people who have reported having parents and grandparents of different racial backgrounds — a much bigger group…

Read the entire article here.

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