When people challenge her blackness, I always say, ‘If she went to Howard, it means she’s one of us.’

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 22:41Z by Steven

“When people challenge her [Kamala Harris’] blackness, I always say, ‘If she went to Howard [University], it means she’s one of us,’ ” says Howard grad and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong. “She comes from there. No one should challenge her blackness.”

Robin Givhan, “Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.The Washington Post, September 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/16/kamala-harris-grew-up-mostly-white-world-then-she-went-black-university-black-city/.

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Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-09-17 17:04Z by Steven

Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.

The Washington Post
2019-09-16

Robin Givhan, Fashion critic


From left: Karen Gibbs, Kamala Harris and Valerie Pippen at Homecoming in 1986-1987. (Courtesy of Karen Gibbs)

When anyone challenges her racial identity, the presidential candidate points to her four years at Howard University.

Kamala Harris wanted to go to a black school. That’s what black folks called Howard University in the early 1980s when Harris was a teenager considering her future.

Harris, she would say later, was seeking an experience wholly different from what she had long known. She’d attended majority-white schools her entire life — from elementary school in Berkeley, Calif., to high school in Montreal. Her parents’ professional lives and their personal story were bound up in majority-white institutions. Her father, an economist from Jamaica, was teaching at Stanford University. Her mother, a cancer researcher from India, had done her graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, where the couple had met and fallen in love. And Harris’s younger sister would eventually enroll at Stanford.

Harris wanted to be surrounded by black students, black culture and black traditions at the crown jewel of historically black colleges and universities

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Virginia couples no longer have to disclose race on marriage license applications, state attorney general says

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-09-16 19:22Z by Steven

Virginia couples no longer have to disclose race on marriage license applications, state attorney general says

The Washington Post
2019-09-14

Hannah Natanson


Sophie Rogers and Brandyn Churchill, who are getting married on Oct. 19, are shown in this engagement photograph in the Napa Valley. (Christophe Genty/Christophe Genty Photography)

Virginia will no longer require couples to identify by race on their marriage licenses, the state’s attorney general announced this week.

Under a new policy — which Attorney General Mark Herring detailed in emails to court clerks and members of the media late Friday — people getting married will be able to select “Declined to Answer” in a box asking about race. Herring also told clerks they must issue a marriage license “regardless of an applicant’s answer or non-answer to that inquiry.”

The new guidance comes about a week after three couples filed a federal lawsuit alleging the required disclosure of race is unconstitutional because it violates the First, 13th and 14th amendments.

“We were happy to help quickly resolve this issue and get these couples what they asked for,” Herring said in his statement. “These changes will ensure that no Virginian will be forced to label themselves to get married.”…

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‘Aryan’ and ‘Octoroon’: Couples challenge racial labels to get married in Virginia

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-09-06 22:15Z by Steven

‘Aryan’ and ‘Octoroon’: Couples challenge racial labels to get married in Virginia

The Washington Post
2019-09-06

Rachel Weiner


Brandyn Churchill and Sophie Rogers are challenging a Virginia requrement to list race when applying for a marriage license. (Christophe Genty/Christophe Genty Photography)

When they applied for a marriage license in Rockbridge County, Va., Brandyn Churchill and Sophie Rogers were told they could not have one unless they each chose a race, from a list that included “Aryan” and “Octoroon.”

The Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage over half a century ago. Yet the mechanism by which that prohibition was enforced remains on the books: a requirement that all would-be newlyweds identify by race. To fill out the form falsely is a felony.

So, weeks away from their planned Oct. 19 wedding at a barn in Fincastle, Va., the couple is challenging the law in Virginia federal court. Joined by two other engaged couples, they argue the law is a racist holdover that has no place in modern marriage.

The suit is part of both efforts to scrape away vestiges of segregation in Virginia and to move away from institutional categorization in both race and gender. The plaintiffs say people should be free in their personal lives to identify by race but shouldn’t be forced to, under the First, 13th and 14th amendments. But the lawsuit raises a more challenging question: Can the government address discrimination without labels created from it?…

Kevin Maillard, a law professor at Syracuse University who has studied interracial marriage, said that while researchers might use the data, “I don’t know what the compelling reason that the state would have in retaining tracking of those categories would be.”

But he was skeptical of an effort to move away from race altogether.

“I think with the deep history of racial strife we have in the United States, these categories are going to remain incredibly important,” Maillard said. “My mother is racially mixed, but she considers herself a black person.”

Civil rights groups rely on government data to investigate inequality in schools and the criminal justice system and challenge voting restrictions.

“We need data on who people are to see if there are patterns,” said Myrna Pérez of the Brennan Center for Justice…

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Plecker claimed that when the English, Dutch and Scottish landed on the shores of North America, they came “to found a civilization of the highest type, not to mix their blood with the savages of the land, not to originate a mongrel population.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-01 03:01Z by Steven

[Walter] Plecker was obsessed with white racial purity, a cause he clearly connected to his belief that the United States was a white man’s country. In a 1924 speech before the American Public Health Association, Plecker claimed that when the English, Dutch and Scottish landed on the shores of North America, they came “to found a civilization of the highest type, not to mix their blood with the savages of the land, not to originate a mongrel population.” The fatal error, he believed, was made in 1619 when the Dutch introduced African slaves to North America. “The problem was not slavery,” he told his audience, “but the presence of the negro in what should be a white man’s land.”

Susan Pearson, Birth certificates have always been a weapon for white supremacists, The Washington Post, September 11, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/09/11/birth-certificates-have-always-been-weapon-white-supremacists/.

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Birth certificates have always been a weapon for white supremacists

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-08-31 20:23Z by Steven

Birth certificates have always been a weapon for white supremacists

The Washington Post
2018-09-11

Susan Pearson, Associate Professor of History
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois


(Bigstock) (ziimmytws/Bigstock)

Policing the color line through vital documents.

The Trump administration’s decision to revive and expand the Bush and Obama-era practice of denying U.S. passports to Latinos born in South Texas should come as no surprise. From his assault on Barack Obama’s citizenship to his allegations that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists to his promise to institute a Muslim ban, Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he believes the only true Americans are white.

But long before Trump rode to prominence promoting birtherism, birth certificates were an important instrument for policing the racial boundaries of citizenship. In the Jim Crow era, states used these seemingly innocuous public records to ensure that the rights of citizenship were accessible to white Americans — and no one else.

The best example of this comes from the career of Walter Plecker. Plecker, the state registrar of vital statistics in Virginia from 1912 to 1946, worked with the white-supremacist Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America to persuade the state legislature to pass the 1924 Racial Integrity Act

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Aaron Burr — villain of ‘Hamilton’ — had a secret family of color, new research shows

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing on 2019-08-26 00:51Z by Steven

Aaron Burr — villain of ‘Hamilton’ — had a secret family of color, new research shows

Retropolis
The Washington Post
2019-08-24

Hannah Natanson


A depiction of the duel between then-Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton at Weehawken, N.J., in 1804. The fight would end Hamilton’s life and forever soil Burr’s reputation. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The vice president is best known for killing rival Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. But he was also a notorious rake, historians say.

Within a week of her arrival at Princeton University, Sherri Burr received a puzzling phone call.

The caller, another student, said Sherri was invited to a Burr family meeting — “Burr” as in Aaron Burr, the third vice president of the United States and villain of “Hamilton,” the astronomically popular musical. Aaron Burr’s father co-founded Princeton, the caller told her, so all descendants who attend the school are summoned to regular gatherings.

“I took a look down at my brown skin and thought, ‘Well, that doesn’t apply to me,’ ” said Sherri Burr, who was getting her graduate degree from Princeton. “So I never went.”…

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“You’re not white enough; you’re not black enough. You’re kind of that gray-area kid, and I think that’s one of the hardest spots to be in,” Cloud said. “Kids are brutal, and if you don’t fit in, where do you go?”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-06-25 01:29Z by Steven

[Natasha] Cloud was just “Tash” at home, but she couldn’t find her place at school.

“You’re not white enough; you’re not black enough. You’re kind of that gray-area kid, and I think that’s one of the hardest spots to be in,” Cloud said. “Kids are brutal, and if you don’t fit in, where do you go?”

Basketball helped. Cloud eventually started thinking of herself as a black woman, helped along by the realization that when the outside world looks at her, they don’t see a woman raised by two white parents or even a biracial person.

Ava Wallace, “‘Why am I different?’ Behind this WNBA player’s activism was a search for the answer.The Washington Post, June 22, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/06/19/wnba-player-natasha-cloud-speaks-out-gun-violence-after-finding-her-voice.

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‘Why am I different?’ Behind this WNBA player’s activism was a search for the answer.

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2019-06-24 19:36Z by Steven

‘Why am I different?’ Behind this WNBA player’s activism was a search for the answer.

The Washington Post
2019-06-22

Ava Wallace


Natasha Cloud in the Mystics’ locker room Friday, when she followed through on a “media blackout” to discuss only gun violence. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)

Some 30 minutes after the Washington Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm on June 14 in Southeast D.C., starting guard Natasha Cloud moved from her seat along the back wall of the Mystics’ locker room to stand at the front, pausing twice to maneuver around various reporters pointing TV cameras and cellphones at her face.

She was not among the Mystics’ leading scorers that night, but she would be their only player to address the media.

Her voice quavering but strong, Cloud, 27, read a prepared statement on behalf of the team rather than answer questions about the game. She followed through on plans she announced the day before on Instagram to hold a “media blackout” to address only gun violence in Washington.

Cloud’s public action came together over little more than 24 hours. But it was the culmination of a long journey, the result of maturation, her increased status with the Mystics since the start of last season and, most importantly, a level of comfort in her own skin that took years to achieve.

“This is my fifth year in the league, and it took me five years to be like, I know something’s wrong, but how do I use my voice? What is my voice? Who am I to speak on the situation?” Cloud said. “You know, I didn’t grow up that way. I grew up in a privileged, white family. How do I correlate that?”…

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Kamala Harris’s record and character matter — not the race of her father and husband

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-02-23 21:38Z by Steven

Kamala Harris’s record and character matter — not the race of her father and husband

The Washington Post
2019-02-22

Colbert I. King


Sen. Kamala D. Harris arrives at a Harlem restaurant in New York for lunch with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

California Democratic Sen. Kamala D. Harris hardly had time to finish basking in the glow of her presidential bid’s five-star rollout before 20,000 adoring Oakland hometown fans, when two black-media-inspired questions hit her in the face: Why did she marry a white man? And: Is she black enough?

Harris has answers to both questions. They will appear in this column. But let’s take a look at why these questions turn up in a presidential contest.

Questions about race, sex and interracial coupling aren’t new. Warring over them is older than the Republic…

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