Dr. Zebulon Miletsky talks about the mixed race / mixed culture experience to BWTM

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2017-07-19 03:31Z by Steven

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky talks about the mixed race / mixed culture experience to BWTM

Bayloric Worldwide Television & Media
2017-07-18

Ingram Jones, Host

Dr Zebulon Miletsky assistant professor of Africana Studies at Stony University, New York talks to BWTM  about his experiences and shares a wealth of knowledge on the topic of race.

Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky teaches African-American History at Stony Brook University where he is an Assistant Professor in both the Departments of Africana Studies and History. He is the author of numerous articles, essays and most recently a book chapter that appeared in the anthology “Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority” which traces the contested meanings throughout history of terminology for multiracial people and the role that this historical legacy of “naming” plays into how President Obama is read as African American, but still asserts a strategic biracial identity through the use of language, symbols, and interactions with the media. Miletsky who is half-Jewish (white) and African-American/Afro-Caribbean, received his Ph.D. in African-American Studies with a concentration in History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2008 . There, he was trained as a historian by some of the best thinkers in the field of Black Studies, many of whom are veterans from the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 70s. His research interests include: Racial passing; interracial marriage; African-Americans in Boston; Northern freedom movements; and Mixed race history. Miletsky has given a Ted Talk and at Stony Brook University entitled “Tracing Your ‘Routes’” and has have been interviewed on Huffington Post Live, various radio shows including the WBAI NYC 99.5 FM Pacifica radio show “Behind the News-Long Island” and the “Multiracial Family Man” Podcast.

Watch the interview (01:26:47) here.

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SBU Libraries Black History Month Lecture 2-13-17 Dr. Zebulon Miletsky: “Obama, Post-Racialism and the New American Dilemma”

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2017-07-10 01:57Z by Steven

SBU Libraries Black History Month Lecture 2-13-17 Dr. Zebulon Miletsky: “Obama, Post-Racialism and the New American Dilemma”

Stony Brook Library Media Services
2017-02-13 (Published 2017-02-15)

Zebulon Vance Miletsky, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 as the 44th President of the United States, raised hopes for many that as a country we were entering a post-racial moment, that the twin legacies of oppression and slavery were overcome, not only in the United States, but the world. That same period, however, brought crises of authority caused by neo-liberalism, police violence, and mass incarceration that have consistently set back the very racial progress that Obama’s presidency seemed to inaugurate. Far from being post-racial, the Obama years were a period of constant racial crisis, the repercussions of which were felt daily since the killings of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson in the summer of 2014. It took the election of an African American to the nation’s highest office to uncover a level of racial hatred the likes of which we have not seen since the 1960s, requiring an analysis of the relationship between multiracialism and post-racialism, as well as how whiteness operates in the United States, to fully appreciate what has come to pass. The election of Donald Trump as President has been a clear rejection of the post-racial era ushered in by Obama. Much like our more recent experiment in racial democracy, there are parallels between what happened with the overthrow of Reconstruction, America’s startling experiment in biracial democracy after the Civil War and today. The historical roots of the “whitelash” that fueled Trump’s victory lie in a prior racial backlash to an unprecedented attempt to grant African Americans citizenship during the period of Reconstruction. Based on a book chapter-in-progress for a volume on the Black Intellectual Tradition in America, this presentation discusses how the 21st century could potentially mark a new low in American race relations—or a “new American dilemma”.

Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and a historian specializing in recent African-American History, Civil Rights and Black Power, Urban History, Mixed Race and Biracial identity, and Hip-Hop Studies. His research interests include: African-Americans in Boston; Northern freedom movements outside of the South; Mixed race history in the U.S. and passing; and the Afro-Latin diaspora. He is the author of numerous articles, reviews, essays and book chapters and is currently working on a manuscript on the civil rights movement in Boston. Ph.D.; African-American Studies with a concentration in History, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2008.

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“Obama, Post-Racialism and the New American Dilemma,” a lecture by Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky

Posted in Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-02-11 22:15Z by Steven

“Obama, Post-Racialism and the New American Dilemma,” a lecture by Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky

Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library
2nd Floor, E-2340 (Special Collections Seminar Room)
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794
2017-02-13, 14:00-15:00 EST (Local Time)

Zebulon Vance Miletsky, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 as the 44th President of the United States, raised hopes for many that as a country we were entering a post-racial moment, that the twin legacies of oppression and slavery were overcome, not only in the United States, but the world. That same period, however, brought crises of authority caused by neo-liberalism, police violence, and mass incarceration that have consistently set back the very racial progress that Obama’s presidency seemed to inaugurate. Far from being post-racial, the Obama years were a period of constant racial crisis, the repercussions of which were felt daily since the killings of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson in the summer of 2014. It took the election of an African American to the nation’s highest office to uncover a level of racial hatred the likes of which we have not seen since the 1960s, requiring an analysis of the relationship between multiracialism and post-racialism, as well as how whiteness operates in the United States, to fully appreciate what has come to pass. The election of Donald Trump as President has been a clear rejection of the post-racial era ushered in by Obama. Much like our more recent experiment in racial democracy, there are parallels between what happened with the overthrow of Reconstruction, America’s startling experiment in biracial democracy after the Civil War and today. The historical roots of the “whitelash” that fueled Trump’s victory lie in a prior racial backlash to an unprecedented attempt to grant African Americans citizenship during the period of Reconstruction. Based on a book chapter-in-progress for a volume on the Black Intellectual Tradition in America, this presentation discusses how the 21st century could potentially mark a new low in American race relations—or a “new American dilemma”.

Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and a historian specializing in recent African-American History, Civil Rights and Black Power, Urban History, Mixed Race and Biracial identity, and Hip-Hop Studies. His research interests include: African-Americans in Boston; Northern freedom movements outside of the South; Mixed race history in the U.S. and passing; and the Afro-Latin diaspora. He is the author of numerous articles, reviews, essays and book chapters and is currently working on a manuscript on the civil rights movement in Boston. Ph.D.; African-American Studies with a concentration in History, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2008.

For more information, click here.

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“He’s gonna have a hard time proving he’s a brother.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-10-16 16:56Z by Steven

“He’s gonna have a hard time proving he’s a brother.” According to my mother, these are the first words I ever heard in my life. And they were spoken by the pediatrician who delivered me at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, California. Dr. Boynton was her name.

“He’s gonna have a hard time proving he’s a brother.” A brother.

This was the [19]70s. And, the doctor who said those words, our pediatrician, couldn’t have realized how right she was. But at the same time, she couldn’t have realized how wrong.

Because while I have spent my life proving in a sense, my black identity—I am of mixed race—I have also succeeded in sense that I have been accepted as an African-American and indeed have become a professor of Africana studies.

Zebulon Miletsky, “Tracing Your “Routes”,”  TEDx Talks: TEDxSBUWomen, Stony Brook University, State University of New York, July 10, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpqUAxh7X74. (00:00:09-00:01:22).

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The Dilemma of Interracial Marriage: The Boston NAACP and the National Equal Rights League, 1912–1927

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-10-14 20:32Z by Steven

The Dilemma of Interracial Marriage: The Boston NAACP and the National Equal Rights League, 1912–1927

Historical Journal of Massachusetts
Volume 44, Number 1, Winter 2016

Zebulon Miletsky, Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

On a wintry evening on February 1, 1843, a group of Boston’s African American citizens gathered in the vestry of the African Baptist Church nestled in the heart of Boston’s black community on the north slope of Beacon Hill. The measure they were there to discuss was a resolution to repeal the 1705 Massachusetts ban on interracial marriage.  Led largely by white abolitionists, the group cautiously endorsed a campaign to lift the ban. Their somewhat reluctant support for this campaign acknowledged the complexity that the issue of interracial marriage posed to African American communities. In contrast, during the early twentieth century, black Bostonians attended mass meetings at which they vigorously campaigned against the resurgence of antimiscegenation laws led by the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and William Monroe Trotter’s National Equal Rights League (NERL). This change is indicative of both the evolution of thinking about the issue of interracial marriage and the dilemma that it had frequently represented for black Bostonians and their leaders.

Laws against interracial marriage were a national concern. In both 1913 and 1915 the U.S. House of Representatives passed laws to prohibit interracial marriage in Washington DC; however, each died in Senate subcommittees. In 1915 a Georgia Congressman introduced an inflammatory bill to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit interracial marriage. These efforts in the U.S. Congress to ban interracial marriage reflected widespread movements at the state level.

The 1913 bill (HR 5948) would have prohibited the “intermarriage of whites with negroes or Mongolians” in the District of Columbia and made intermarriage a felony with penalties up to $500 and/or two years in prison. The bill passed “in less than five minutes” with almost no debate, by a vote of 92–12. However, it was referred to a Senate committee and never reported out before the session expired. In 1915 an even more draconian bill was introduced (HR 1710). It increased penalties for intermarriage to $5,000 and/or five years in prison. The bill was first debated on January 11 and passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 238–60. However, it too was referred to a Senate committee and never reported out. African Americans and their allies throughout the nation closely followed the passage of both bills and organized strong opposition, particularly to the 1915 bill. Most likely, their protests were key to the bill’s defeat in the Senate. As several authors have pointed out: Although a symbolic victory [the 1913 and 1915 passage by the U.S. House of Representatives], a federal antimiscegenation policy was not produced. The District of Columbia would continue to be a haven for interracial couples from the South who wished to marry. Indeed, Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who would be at the center of the Loving v. Virginia (1967) Supreme Court case that struck down state-level anti-miscegenation laws, were married in the District of Columbia in 1958. Although the bill to ban interracial marriage in Washington, DC, was successfully defeated, by 1920 thirty states had anti-miscegenation laws on their books. (The term “miscegenationwas coined in 1863 and was derived from the Latin word miscere, meaning “to mix.”) As late as 1967, when the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in the aptly named Loving v. Virginia decision, sixteen states still enforced them.

This article examines the political struggle over the issue of interracial marriage and the dilemma it posed for the Boston branch of the NAACP, as well as the national organization. The NAACP and its Boston chapter constituted the principal opposition to these efforts. The author examines the struggle to defeat similar bills that would have criminalized intermarriage in Massachusetts in 1913 and a second attempt in 1927.

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Tracing Your “Routes”

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos on 2016-10-14 15:35Z by Steven

Tracing Your “Routes”

TEDx Talks: TEDxSBUWomen
Stony Brook University, State University of New York
2015-07-10

Zebulon Miletsky, Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

“He’s gonna have a hard time proving he’s a brother.”

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky discusses his journey through the multiple worlds of race and identity as he shares his experiences with researching his own family genealogy, the various “routes” this process led him to and how “tracing your routes” can lead to more than just knowledge about your background–it’s about how we treat one another along those “routes”.

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky teaches African-American History at Stony Brook University where he is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies. He is the author of numerous articles, essays and most recently a book chapter that appeared in the anthology “Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority” which traces the contested meanings throughout history of terminology for multiracial people and the role that this historical legacy of “naming” plays into how President Obama is read as African American, but still asserts a strategic biracial identity through the use of language, symbols, and interactions with the media. Miletsky who is half-Jewish (white) and African-American/Afro-Caribbean, has done a great deal of genealogical research for a book manuscript in progress and is in the process of researching his own family tree. He lives in Brooklyn.

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One Drop of a Father’s Love

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-02 16:51Z by Steven

One Drop of a Father’s Love

Biracials Learning About African-American Culture (B.L.A.A.C)
Sunday, 2014-06-15

Zebulon Miletsky, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

This week I had the pleasure of attending a one-woman show by Television and Film actress, Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, called “One Drop of Love” a multimedia solo performance put on at the Brooklyn Historical Society. It was phenomenal. Not only was it brilliant in its exposition of the social and historical dimensions of race, but it alsobrought a human dimension to the oft-complicated question of mixed race in America.  The context alone was compelling.  In the next room, the critically praised exhibit on Brooklyn Abolitionists entitled “In Pursuit of Freedom”, rich with the documentation and exhibits about slavery and its abolition, much of it the raw material and subtext of the play we were about to witness. The day of the performancealso happened to be “Loving Day”, an annual celebration ofthe anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision “Loving v. Virginia” which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. The decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages, although not necessarily all “black/white” ones, and it is commemorated annually on what is now Loving Day, June the 12th…

Read the entire review here.

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Race: More Than Skin Deep

Posted in Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2014-05-29 02:42Z by Steven

Race: More Than Skin Deep

HuffPost Live
2014-05-28

Alyona Minkovski, Host

Multiracial people are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., but for these Americans, race isn’t a black and white issue. HuffPost Live explores the experience of multiracial Americans and how outward appearance shapes their identities.

Guests:

  • Alexi Nunn Freeman (Denver, Colorado) Director of Public Interest & Lecturer, Legal Externship Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Jenee Desmond-Harris @jdesmondharris (Washington, D.C.) Writer, The Root
  • Stephanie Troutman @KittyKahlo (Boone , North Carolina) Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies, Berea College
  • Zebulon Miletsky @zebulonmiletsky (Stony Brook, New York) Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Stony Brook Univesity

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Beyond Biracial: When Blackness Is a Small, Nearly Invisible Fraction

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2014-05-13 21:29Z by Steven

Beyond Biracial: When Blackness Is a Small, Nearly Invisible Fraction

The Root
2014-05-12

Jenée Desmond-Harris, Senior Staff Writer and White House Correspondent

In the past, these Americans would have been labeled “quadroons” or “octoroons.” Today their options are so much broader. What can they teach us about race in 2014 and in the future?

Stephanie Troutman, a 36-year-old professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., has a white mother and a black father. She has her own family’s racial elevator speech down to a single sentence: “I’m a mixed woman who has a child with a black man and a child with a white man.” Her 7-year-old son, Rex, is unambiguous when it comes to his racial identity and “very pro black,” even protesting when he’s described as merely “brown,” she says.

With her 11-year-old daughter, Melora—whose pale, golden-hued skin; light eyes; and long, copper-colored hair prompt strangers to ask if she’s “Mediterranean” or “Arab”—things aren’t as simple.

“For now I’ve told her that she’s a person of color. That’s the best way I can explain it. I want to take it away from black and white because those are weird options for her,” Troutman says. “But I always kind of knew that I’d have a kid who looked white, and I was right. When Melora was born, my friends were like, ‘How did her dad’s white hippie granola genes completely beat out your biracial genes?’ ”

Despite those biracial genes, Troutman realized as a teen that most people see her as “just light skinned” (in other words, black). That hit home one day in the mid-1990s when, in a classically tragic black-identity-forming moment, a Florida stranger yelled “nigger” at her from a passing car.

“At first I was like, ‘Damn, that’s kind of messed up. Who are they yelling at?’ And then I realized I was the only person on the street.”

Given the way she’s perceived, Troutman is “willing to talk about the biracial thing”—her own mixed heritage—in certain contexts, but most of the time, she says, “I don’t think there’s anything new or interesting about it.”

What is interesting to Troutman is the experience of her preteen daughter, who, if you’re doing the crude math, is one-quarter black. She’s the kind of person who would have been called a “quadroon” when that “one-drop rule“-inspired term appeared on census forms between about 1850 and 1920, alongside its also-retired relatives, “octoroon” (one-eighth black) and mulatto (one-half).

Of course, as Zebulon V. Miletsky, a visiting assistant professor of Africana studies at Stony Brook University whose research interests include the history of the mixed-race experience, explains, “A lot of times, the people who took the census would sort of guess those things.”…

…Attention to Americans who have both black- and white-identified parents peaked during what Miletsky calls the “biracial boom” of the 1990s. They found celebrity touchstones in the likes of Mariah Carey and Halle Berry; validation from support organizations; and—in the ultimate victory for those whose rallying cry was “Don’t put me in a box!“—the creation in 2000 of a new, multiracial census category. With that, says Ralina L. Joseph, author of Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial, came the fading of the “tragic mulatto” stereotype and the emergence of the “millennium mulatto,” along with an accompanying sense of legitimacy…

Read the entire article here.

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About Biracials Learning About African-American Culture or B.L.A.A.C.

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-08-18 20:25Z by Steven

About Biracials Learning About African-American Culture or B.L.A.A.C.

Biracials Learning About African-American Culture or B.L.A.A.C.
2013-06-18

Zebulon Miletsky, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

The idea for this blog came from several discussions with students and young people who come from mixed-race backgrounds, especially so-called “white and black” biracials who, for whatever reason, grew up without learning very much about African-American life, history or culture. Whether they be trans-racially adopted, grew up in a home without the biological black parent or were perhaps raised in an area without many black people, the probability for people of mixed race descent to grow up without a solid, positive grounding in the black experience is much higher for reasons that will become fairly obvious. Not so obvious at times, however, is the more complicated truth of racism in America, a past deeply rooted in the ugly practice of white supremacy and centuries of stigmatization of African-American culture, heritage and contributions. This phenomenon, known to some scholars as “Anti-blackness”, has done more to confuse and ultimately divide than perhaps any other factor…

Read the entire article here.

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