A vigorous examination of ‘Mr. NAACP,’ who passed as White

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive on 2022-04-01 02:58Z by Steven

A vigorous examination of ‘Mr. NAACP,’ who passed as White

The Washington Post
2022-03-25

Kevin Boyle, William Smith Mason Professor of American History
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Walter White was executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in June 1942. (Gordon Parks/Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress) (Gordon Parks /Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress

When Walter White joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s New York staff in 1918, he had a thin record of civil rights activism. But he quickly made himself into the association’s indispensable man, particularly skilled at communicating the terror of racial violence to White audiences. It was a talent built partly on his limitless courage, partly on his incessant charm, and partly on a family inheritance that set him apart from most of Black America. “I am a Negro,” he wrote late in life. “My skin is white, my eyes are blue, my hair is blond. The traits of my race are nowhere visible upon me.”

But the marks of slavery were. The sexual exploitation that ran through the antebellum South coiled tightly round White’s maternal line: Both his great-grandfather and grandfather were prominent White men; his great-grandmother and grandmother, enslaved women powerless to resist them. His mother was born into bondage, too, just as the Civil War was about to bring the slave system down. Over the decades of freedom that followed, she and the light-skinned man she married pulled their family into the Black middle class, where their color carried a great deal of cachet. There White was born and raised, wrapped in the Victorian virtues of turn-of-the-century Atlanta’s most prestigious Black neighborhood as Jim Crow closed in around him.

A.J. Baime centers the first two thirds of his vigorous biography, “White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret,” on the first 12 years of White’s confrontation with that brutal regime. His breakthrough came two weeks into his time as an NAACP staffer, when his boss, the incomparable James Weldon Johnson, sent him to investigate a lynching in tiny Estill Springs, Tenn. White arrived in town claiming to be a traveling salesman. In short order, he was sitting in the general store, chatting up the locals who assumed that he was as White as they were. By nightfall, he had gathered all the horrifying details that made his resulting exposé, published in the NAACP magazine, the Crisis, a sensation…

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Latinos have many skin tones. Colorism means they’re treated differently.

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-31 16:19Z by Steven

Latinos have many skin tones. Colorism means they’re treated differently.

The Washington Post
2022-03-31

Rachel Hatzipanagos

Loribel Peguero, 22, a New York hairstylist, said her darker-skinned grandmother lamented that it was a “punishment.” (Christopher Gregory for The Washington Post)

Growing up, Anyiné Galván-Rodríguez was not the darkest-skinned member of her part-Dominican, part-Puerto Rican family, and not the lightest.

“In every Dominican family, because you have such a melting pot of Spaniard, African and Taino origins, you always have a rainbow of colors,” she said.

Even as a child, Galván-Rodríguez noticed that her physical features shaped how she was treated. While some grandchildren were praised for their looser curls, Galván-Rodríguez was chastised for her coarse, curly hair.

“No one ever directly said, ‘Oh you have bad hair and because you have bad hair, you’re less than the other cousin,’” said Galván-Rodríguez, 40. “But it was said like microaggressions.”…

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For mixed-descent people on America’s frontier, acceptance and suspicion

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2022-03-15 15:01Z by Steven

For mixed-descent people on America’s frontier, acceptance and suspicion

The Washington Post
2022-03-11

H.W. Brands

Marguerite Waddens, pictured in the 1850s. Her father was a White fur trader, and her mother an Indigenous woman in Canada. Waddens herself married White men, including Alexander McKay, who worked for the North West Company. Often, unions between traders and native women were expected by both parties to be temporary. (National Park Service )

In the late 19th century, Frederick Jackson Turner lit up the historical world with his frontier thesis of American history. He asserted that American democracy owed its distinctiveness to the existence of an advancing frontier, where American institutions reinvented themselves every generation. By no means did all historians accept Turner’s views, but his approach framed debate on the subject far into the 20th century.

More recently the concept of frontier has given way to the idea of borders and borderlands, where peoples and cultures have intermingled and interacted. In “Born of Lakes and Plains: Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West,Anne F. Hyde examines family life in the borderlands; her carefully wrought portrait of five families reveals the peculiar challenges faced by these quintessential people of the border…

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Pauli Murray applied to be a Supreme Court justice in 1971. 50 years later, a Black woman could make history.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2022-02-01 23:05Z by Steven

Pauli Murray applied to be a Supreme Court justice in 1971. 50 years later, a Black woman could make history.

The Washington Post
2022-01-27

Anne Branigin

(AP; iStock/Washington Post illustration)

The trailblazing lawyer wrote President Nixon to do something “unprecedented”

When Pauli Murray wrote to President Richard Nixon in September 1971, the trailblazing lawyer, activist, writer and scholar held no illusions about how the letter would be received.

The 60-year-old constitutional lawyer was writing to Nixon to “do something which may be unprecedented in the history of the USA”: to directly apply, as a self-identified “Negro woman,” for a seat on the Supreme Court.

“By the time this letter reaches the White House, I suspect you will have announced your choice to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Justice Hugo L. Black’s resignation,” Murray wrote. “Since I do not expect you to see this letter, it does no harm to amuse your administrative and secretarial staff as it passes up and down the line on its way to the waste basket.”

But while Murray may have taken a tongue-in-cheek tone, the ultimate aim of the letter was a serious one…

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Opinion: Hollywood is putting mixed couples on screen. If only they would talk about it.

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-06 17:17Z by Steven

Opinion: Hollywood is putting mixed couples on screen. If only they would talk about it.

The Washington Post
2021-12-29

Tracy Moore, Contributing Writer at Vanity Fair
Los Angeles, California


(Jason Lyon/For The Washington Post)

In Netflix’s holiday rom-comLove Hard,” comedian Jimmy O. Yang plays Josh Lin, a Chinese American everyman who uses the photo of his much-hotter, mixed-race Asian friend Tag (Darren Barnet) to get dating app matches. The ploy works. He links with and falls for Natalie (Nina Dobrev), a White woman so smitten she flies cross-country to surprise him.

But — shocker — Josh isn’t the beefcake in the photos, but a regular guy. Natalie is incensed, though not about his race. Guilty about his catfishing, Josh helps Natalie woo handsome Tag instead.

Natalie also meets real Josh’s Chinese family, where his father is married to a White woman and his brother dates one. These arrangements surprised me — Asian male/White female relationships, called AMWF online, are rarely shown on-screen. That has finally begun to change, but I’m still waiting for the couples to talk about it…

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Their interracial romance ended painfully after college. They reunited 42 years later — and now live together.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-05 03:16Z by Steven

Their interracial romance ended painfully after college. They reunited 42 years later — and now live together.

The Washington Post
2021-10-04

Sydney Page, Freelance Reporter

Steve Watts and Jeanne Gustavson, while they were dating in secret in the 1970s. The couple met in college at a German Club meeting, when Gustavson was a freshman and Watts was a senior. They dated for eight years. (Courtesy of Jeanne Gustavson)

When Jeanne Gustavson spontaneously booked a trip to Chicago last summer, she had no idea what to expect. She was going to visit her first love — whom she had not seen in 42 years.

The last time Gustavson, now 68, spoke to Steve Watts was in the spring of 1979. They were young and in love, but there was one persistent issue: Watts was Black, and Gustavson’s family forbade her to see him.

“They had this mentality that Blacks and Whites don’t belong together,” said Gustavson, who was raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and now lives in Portland, Ore. “In my heart, I knew it wasn’t right.”

So, she flouted her family’s strict rule and dated Watts in secret.

Although she did not like disobeying her parents, “I couldn’t let him go,” Gustavson said…

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I thought I was White until I learned my mother’s secret. The census helped me tell my family story.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Census/Demographics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-12-27 21:52Z by Steven

I thought I was White until I learned my mother’s secret. The census helped me tell my family story.

The Washington Post
2021-10-13

Gail Lukasik

Gail Lukasik’s mother, Alvera Frederic Kalina, in New Orleans circa 1942. Kalina was born into a Black family in New Orleans but spent her life passing as White. (Family photo)

The first time I was grilled about my racial identity, I’d just given a talk to an all-White audience at a suburban Chicago library.

“What are you, anyway?” a woman asked. Her blunt tone put me on edge.

I’d just related my mother’s story of racial passing. How she and her New Orleans family were designated as “Negro” during the Jim Crow era, how she moved north to Ohio, married my White, bigoted father, and hid her mixed race from him and eventually us. Looking back, there were small clues, like she always wore face makeup, even to bed.

I’d told the audience about my journey of finding my mother’s birth certificate and discovering her racial secret when I was 49, confronting her — and her swearing me to secrecy until her death. Then 18 years later, I found my mother’s lost family, thanks to my appearance on PBS’sGenealogy Roadshow.”…

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“Race is a social construct; it is not a biological determinant of health or disease,” he said.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-11-29 02:30Z by Steven

The initial move across the country to change the formula was initially sparked about five years ago by medical students who raised questions about using race in medical tests and the influence it can have on a patient’s treatment.

Paul Palevsky, president of the National Kidney Foundation, said the inclusion of race sends a “wrong message.”

“Race is a social construct; it is not a biological determinant of health or disease,” he said.

Ovetta Wiggins, “University of Maryland Medical System drops race-based algorithm officials say harms Black patients,” The Washington Post, November 17, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/maryland-hospital-black-diagnostic-test-kidneys/2021/11/17/e69edcfc-4711-11ec-b05d-3cb9d96eb495_story.html.

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University of Maryland Medical System drops race-based algorithm officials say harms Black patients

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-11-27 23:29Z by Steven

University of Maryland Medical System drops race-based algorithm officials say harms Black patients

The Washington Post
2021-11-17

Ovetta Wiggins, Local reporter covering Maryland state politics

Uchenna Ndubisi, who is undergoing dialysis treatment, was pleased to learn that her hospital is getting rid of a race-based algorithm for a kidney diagnostic test. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Uchenna Ndubisi was blown away when she first noticed the “African American” notation on a diagnostic test designed to show doctors how well her kidneys are working.

What did her race have to do with the toll lupus was taking on her body? The answer left her more resigned than surprised: an equation used to estimate how well a person’s organs filter waste included a decades-old racist assumption about Black bodies.

In this case, clinicians assumed Ndubisi had more muscle mass than a White patient would. For many Black kidney patients, like Ndubisi, the equation overestimates how well their kidneys are functioning, leading to the loss of critical time for necessary treatment.

“It’s being Black in America,” said Ndubisi, 35, who lives in Prince George’s County. “Another reminder . . . that there’s hurdles into health care for African Americans in this country.”…

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Long before Charlottesville, ‘great replacement theory’ found its champion in a racist senator

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-11-15 15:36Z by Steven

Long before Charlottesville, ‘great replacement theory’ found its champion in a racist senator

The Washington Post
2021-11-15

Martha Hamilton

A 1939 photo of Sen. Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi. (Harris & Ewing Collection/Library of Congress)

Four years ago, torch-bearing “Unite the Right” demonstrators, including Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis, marched into Charlottesville, shouting, “Jews will not replace us” and “White lives matter.” The next day, they clashed with counter-protesters, leaving one woman dead and a nation stunned.

Two-dozen participants in the rally are now on trial in a civil case, accused of conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence.

Some of the Charlottesville demonstrators were motivated by an ideology known as the “great replacement theory,” which warns that an increase in the non-White population fueled by immigration will destroy White and Western civilization.

That ideology has inspired a lot of recent violence, including the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, where the shooter warned of “White genocide” before pleading guilty to 51 murders, 40 attempted murders and engaging in a terrorist act.

But the great replacement theory isn’t new. More than 70 years ago, a U.S. senator published a book warning of the same destruction of White civilization. And as with the Charlottesville defendants, his incitements to racial violence that gave him a spotlight also got him into serious trouble.

Theodore G. Bilbo had twice been governor of Mississippi before he served in the U.S. Senate from 1935 to 1947, when “the growing intolerance among many whites toward public racism and anti-Semitism” led to his fall, according to an account in the Journal of Mississippi History

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