Ijeoma Oluo: ‘I am drowning in whiteness’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-10-07 20:47Z by Steven

Ijeoma Oluo: ‘I am drowning in whiteness’

KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio
Seattle, Washington
2017-10-01

Ijeoma Oluo


Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Hi, I am Ijeoma Oluo, and I am a mixed race black woman who was raised by a white mother in this very white city.

I have a Ph.D. in whiteness, and I was raised in “Seattle nice.” I was steeped in the good intentions of this city and I hate it.

I love this city. I love you guys. Also, I hate it. I really do…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story (00:10:24) here.

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The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-04-19 16:37Z by Steven

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black

The Stranger
2017-04-19

Ijeoma Oluo


Rajah Bose

I’m sitting across from Rachel Dolezal, and she looks… white. Not a little white, not racially ambiguous. Dolezal looks really, really white. She looks like a white woman with a mild suntan, in box braids—like perhaps she’d just gotten back from a Caribbean vacation and decided to keep the hairstyle for a few days “for fun.”

She is also smaller than I expected, tiny even—even in her wedge heels and jeans. I’m six feet tall and fat. I wonder for a moment what this conversation might look like to bystanders if things were to get heated—a giant black woman interrogating a tiny white woman. Everything about Dolezal is smaller than expected—the tiny house she rents, the limited and very used furniture. Her 1-year-old son toddles in front of cartoons playing on a small television. The only thing of real size in the house seems to be a painting of her adopted brother, and now adopted son, Izaiah, from when he was a young child. The painting looms over Dolezal on the living-room wall as she begins to talk. I try to get my bearings and listen to what she’s trying to say, but for the first few moments, my mind keeps repeating: “How in the hell did I get here?”

I did not want to think about, talk about, or write about Rachel Dolezal ever again. While many people have been highly entertained by the story of a woman who passed herself off for almost a decade as a black woman, even rising to the head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, before being “outed” during a TV interview by KXLY reporter Jeff Humphrey as white, as later confirmed by her white parents, I found little amusement in her continued spotlight. When the story first broke in June 2015, I was approached by more editors in a week than I had heard from in two months. They were all looking for “fresh takes” on the Dolezal scandal from the very people whose identity had now been put up for debate—black women. I wrote two pieces on Dolezal for two different websites, mostly focused not on her, but on the lack of understanding of black women’s identity that was causing the conversation about Dolezal to become more and more painful for so many black women.

After a few weeks of media obsession, I—and most of the other black women I knew—was completely done with Rachel Dolezal.

Or, at least I hoped to be…

Read the entire interview here.

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Rachel Dolezal struggling after racial-identity scandal in Spokane

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-25 15:41Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal struggling after racial-identity scandal in Spokane

The Seattle Times
2017-03-24

Nicholas K. Geranios
The Associated Press


In this March 20, 2017 photo, Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston in the bureau of the Associated Press in Spokane, Wash. Dolezal, who has legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, rose to prominence as a black civil rights leader, but then lost her job when her parents exposed her as being white and is now struggling to make a living. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)

“I was presented as a con and a fraud and a liar,” says Rachel Dolezal, who has been unable to find steady work since she was outed as a white woman in media reports. Dolezal had rose to prominence as a black civil-rights leader in Spokane.

SPOKANE — A woman who rose to prominence as a black civil-rights leader then lost her job when her parents exposed her as white is struggling to make a living these days.

Rachel Dolezal said she has been unable to find steady work in the nearly two years since she was outed as a white woman in media reports, and she is uncertain about her future.

“I was presented as a con and a fraud and a liar,” Dolezal, 40, told The Associated Press this week. “I think some of the treatment was pretty cruel.”

She still identifies as black, and looks black, despite being “Caucasian biologically.”

“People didn’t seem able to consider that maybe both were true,” she said. “OK, I was born to white parents, but maybe I had an authentic black identity.”…

…Dolezal has written a book about her ordeal titled “In Full Color.” It’s scheduled to be published next week.

Last year, Dolezal legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, a West African moniker that means “gift from the gods.” She made the change in part to give herself a better chance of landing work from employers who might not be interested in hiring Rachel Dolezal, a name she still intends to use as her public persona…

Read the entire article here.

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Biracial composer seeks her ‘true name’ through piece for North Corner Chamber Orchestra

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-12 16:53Z by Steven

Biracial composer seeks her ‘true name’ through piece for North Corner Chamber Orchestra

The Seattle Times
2017-02-16

Jason Victor Serinus, Special to The Seattle Times


Composer Hanna Benn

NOCCO’s Feb. 18-19 concerts will feature a work by local composer Hanna Benn; works by Davida Ingram, Alex Guy and Rick Benjamin, rooted in Scott Joplin’s opera, “Treemonisha”; and works by Alvin Singleton and George Walker.

It is the very subject of “Resonance,” North Corner Chamber Orchestra’s concert “Celebrating Black American Composers,” that left Seattle-based composer Hanna Benn, 29, in a bit of quandary. As much as she was delighted to work with one of the world’s few conductorless chamber orchestras, her commission to honor black American composers left her pondering the fact that she is biracial, and does not see herself as either black or white.

“For the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to understand where I come from, and my responsibility as a biracial person,” she explained by phone and email. “I want to completely embrace my blackness / my whiteness.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Semitic Girl Reader At The Airport

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-02-08 21:14Z by Steven

Black Semitic Girl Reader At The Airport

Medium
2017-02-07, 21:00 PST (Local Time)

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Theoretical Astro|Physicist

Where books become bombs

Seattle International Airport—Just spent 20 minutes being physically searched at Seattle airport, body searched, and at one point being spoken to and surrounded by seven — yes seven — TSA agents while being informed my backpack had bomb making materials in it. A few thoughts:

  1. My bag was flagged at the X-ray machine because I had too many books in my bag.
  2. Then the chemical testing machine told them that there were bomb making materials in my bag. Remember, they were only looking because I had “too many” books
  3. Then a second machine told them that my 2014 model MacBook Pro had extra bomb making materials on it.
  4. They checked my hair, my breasts, and between my legs.
  5. Then they told me they would have to do it again…

Read the entire article here.

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Why white liberals need to figure out how to talk about race

Posted in Articles, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-01-28 01:54Z by Steven

Why white liberals need to figure out how to talk about race

KUOW.org: 94.9 FM, Seattle News & Information
2017-01-06

By Katherine Banwell & Jamala Henderson


Professor Ralina Joseph at the University of Washington says to just start talking about race.
University of Washington

Why is race so hard to discuss? Ralina Joseph, founding director of the University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity, talked about coded racial language, from Seattle liberals to Trump. This is a transcript from her interview, lightly edited for clarity…

Listen to the interview (00:04:12) here.

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“Please select one”: Growing up with a multiracial identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-22 01:28Z by Steven

“Please select one”: Growing up with a multiracial identity

The Seattle Globalist
2016-11-31

Jaya Duckworth, Senior
Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington


Jaya Duckworth (second from right) and friends hold signs showing pride in multiracial identities at a school district-wide walkout in protest of the election of Donald Trump. (Photo courtesy Jaya Duckworth.)

Race: Please select one”

It’s an instruction mixed-race people are all too familiar with. These days, surveys have become more nuanced, and usually read “select all that apply.” But growing up, I faced dozens of surveys, questionnaires, and tests that all made me choose one race.

As a half-white, half-Nepali child, I never knew what to select. Do I select white because I act like white kids and talk like white kids, go to school with white kids and have been raised like a white kid? Or do I select Asian because I look brown, because I eat curry, because on Christmas morning I always had to wait until puja was over at my Nepali grandparents’ house before I could open presents? White kids don’t do that, do they?

I usually ended up choosing “Other,” as if instead of being human, I was a stray dog; some lost object or animal that no one could categorize. Sometimes surveys also listed “multiracial,” which didn’t sit well with me either. The label feels like a message: here, these are the important races, and anyone who doesn’t fit these categories can be lumped together under the “mutt” category…

Read the entire article here.

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BrownBox Theatre and Sound Theatre Company to Present Encore Reading of BLACK LIKE US

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2016-11-10 21:22Z by Steven

BrownBox Theatre and Sound Theatre Company to Present Encore Reading of BLACK LIKE US

Broadway World
2016-11-05

BWW News Desk

To celebrate the publication of the play Black Like Us, BrownBox Theatre joins forces with Sound Theatre Company to present an “encore” staged reading of the Gregory Award Winning Play at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Black Like Us is a funny, poignant, and deeply relevant story about the bonds of family, the struggles of identity, and the far-reaching effects of one woman’s decision. The play is set in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood, not far from the location of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, and spans decades of change that have impacted that community.

In their second collaboration, BrownBox Theatre and Sound Theatre Company present the staged reading of Gregory Award winning play

Black Like Us at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Performances are Saturday, November 19 at 2:00pm and at 7:00 pm and free and open to the public. There is a reception between the performances to celebrate the publication of this script and the work of playwright Rachel Atkins and the companies of artists who helped to develop this multi-award-winning play.

Sound Theatre Company and BrownBox Theatre last collaborated on the 2015 production of Marcus Gardley’s visionary and poetic play, …And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi at the Center Theatre at the Seattle Center Armory.

In 1958, a young African-American woman makes the life-changing decision to start passing for white, creating a ripple effect through multiple generations. In 2013, her granddaughters accidentally discover her secret and seek out the family she left behind. Moving back and forth through time, what happens in between is a frank and funny look at the shifting boundaries of tolerance, as they are all faced with the many questions of what identity really means…

Read the entire article here.

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From Raised Eyebrows To Raised Curtains: Rachel Atkins Tackles Racial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-11-10 20:57Z by Steven

From Raised Eyebrows To Raised Curtains: Rachel Atkins Tackles Racial Identity

KUOW.org 94.9 FM: Seattle News & Information
Seattle, Washington
2014-02-27

Marcie Sillman, Arts and Culture Reporter


Actresses Kia Pierce and Marquicia Dominguez in Rachel Atkins’ play, “Black Like Us.”
Credit Courtesy of Annex Theatre/Shane Regan

When Rachel Atkins was 7, she and her sisters got a new stepfather. Atkins loved this man, but when she and her family went out in public, they raised a lot of eyebrows.

“My stepdad, who raised me, was black,” says Atkins. “We were three little white Jewish girls in New Jersey, when multi-racial families were not that common. We would get asked all the time, ‘Who’s that guy with your family?’ And we’d say, ‘That’s our dad.'”

Decades later, Atkins’ experience was part of the impetus behind her new play “Black Like Us,” currently having its world premiere production at Seattle’s Annex Theater.

“Black Like Us” is about two black sisters in 1950s Seattle. Feisty Maxine is attracted to the nascent Civil Rights movement; lighter-skinned Florence is in love with a white man. Following her heart, Florence passes herself off as white and estranges herself from her entire family…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview here.

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‘Raising Mixed Race’: An Evening with Sharon H. Chang and Tangerine

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-24 16:14Z by Steven

‘Raising Mixed Race’: An Evening with Sharon H. Chang and Tangerine

The Seattle Public Library
Central Library
Level 1 – Microsoft Auditorium
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104-1109
Thursday, 2016-09-29, 19:00-21:00 PDT (Local Time)

Join us for an author talk, and live music by Seattle band Tangerine, to celebrate the final stop of Sharon H. Chang’sRaising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” book tour.

Drawn from extensive research and interviews with sixty-eight parents of multiracial children, “Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” examines the complex task of supporting our youngest around being “two or more races” and Asian while living amongst post-racial ideologies. “Racist America” author Joe R. Feagin hailed Chang’s work as “one of the best field interview studies of multiracial issues yet to be done,” one which captures “the gritty realities of being mixed-race in this country.”

Following an interview with Sharon H. Chang about their experiences as multiracial musicians, Seattle indie band Tangerine will perform a live set with songs from their latest EP, Sugar Teeth

For more information, click here.

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