“So it’s just like a mixture. So I just really never know what to identify myself.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-02-06 22:17Z by Steven

“I don’t know if I’m like White, if I’m African American because I am from the Dominican Republic. I was born there,” she said. “My grandmother is like Black…her skin color is Black, but my grandfather was part Chinese…So it’s just like a mixture. So I just really never know what to identify myself.” —Nanyelis Diaz, Tampa, Florida

Naomi Prioleau, “Identity A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black,” WUSF News/WUSF Public Media, February 3, 2016. http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/identity-challenge-latinas-who-are-black.

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Black in the USSR: The children of Soviet Africa search for their own identity

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive on 2016-02-06 22:11Z by Steven

Black in the USSR: The children of Soviet Africa search for their own identity

The Calvert Journal
2016-02-04

Photography by Liz Johnson Artur


Photograph by Liz Johnson Artur

“When people ask me about my background I usually start by explaining how my mum is Russian, my dad is Ghanaian and that I was born in Bulgaria,” says the photographer Liz Johnson Artur. “It often becomes a long explanation.”

The explanation goes something like this. Along with many African students in the 1960s, Johnson’s Ghanaian father was given the chance to study in Eastern Europe as part of the Soviet Union’s efforts to expand its influence across the African continent during the Cold War. His time in Bulgaria studying biochemistry was cut short after four years when all Ghanaian students were expelled from the country following a confrontation between African students and the police. By then he’d already met Johnson Artur’s mother, who gave birth to their daughter in 1964, a few months after his departure.

Johnson Artur spent her childhood in Bulgaria and then Germany and has been based in Britain since 1990. Her father was unable to return to Bulgaria and is now settled in Ghana. She only met him for the first time in 2010. After doing so, she felt moved to start documenting the stories of other Russians of African and Caribbean origin. “Most black Russians that I met in Moscow and St Petersburg had also grown up without their fathers. Some had been fostered or grown up in children’s homes and had never met their mothers. But we all agreed that we felt Russian as well as African.”…

Read the entire photo-essay here.

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The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Letters, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2016-02-06 21:17Z by Steven

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

Alfred A. Knopf
2016-02-02
480 Pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0679446521
eBook ISBN: 978-1101946923

Patricia Bell-Scott, Professor of Child and Family Development and Women’s Studies
University of Georgia

Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

A groundbreaking book—two decades in the works—that tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States, whose ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.

Pauli Murray first saw Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, at the height of the Depression, at a government-sponsored, two-hundred-acre camp for unemployed women where Murray was living, something the first lady had pushed her husband to set up in her effort to do what she could for working women and the poor. The first lady appeared one day unannounced, behind the wheel of her car, her secretary and a Secret Service agent her passengers. To Murray, then aged twenty-three, Roosevelt’s self-assurance was a symbol of women’s independence, a symbol that endured throughout Murray’s life.

Five years later, Pauli Murray, a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer, wrote a letter to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt protesting racial segregation in the South. The president’s staff forwarded Murray’s letter to the federal Office of Education. The first lady wrote back.

Murray’s letter was prompted by a speech the president had given at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, praising the school for its commitment to social progress. Pauli Murray had been denied admission to the Chapel Hill graduate school because of her race.

She wrote in her letter of 1938:

“Does it mean that Negro students in the South will be allowed to sit down with white students and study a problem which is fundamental and mutual to both groups? Does it mean that the University of North Carolina is ready to open its doors to Negro students . . . ? Or does it mean, that everything you said has no meaning for us as Negroes, that again we are to be set aside and passed over . . . ?”

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Murray:

“I have read the copy of the letter you sent me and I understand perfectly, but great changes come slowly . . . The South is changing, but don’t push too fast.”

So began a friendship between Pauli Murray (poet, intellectual rebel, principal strategist in the fight to preserve Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, cofounder of the National Organization for Women, and the first African American female Episcopal priest) and Eleanor Roosevelt (first lady of the United States, later first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women) that would last for a quarter of a century.

Drawing on letters, journals, diaries, published and unpublished manuscripts, and interviews, Patricia Bell-Scott gives us the first close-up portrait of this evolving friendship and how it was sustained over time, what each gave to the other, and how their friendship changed the cause of American social justice.

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Identity A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black

Posted in Articles, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 21:04Z by Steven

Identity A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black

WUSF News
WUSF Public Media
Tampa, Florida
2016-02-03

Naomi Prioleau


Evelin Diaz is Afro-Dominican and a Spanish teacher’s assistant at Lennard High School in Ruskin.
Naomi Prioleau/WUSF

When people think of famous Latina women, Jennifer Lopez or Sofia Vergara come to mind.

Not Zoe Saldana or Rosario Dawson.

The difference between these pairs of Latina actresses isn’t one of talent or fame. Saldana and Dawson also happen to identify as Black – a reality some Tampa-area Afro-Latinas say is difficult to navigate.

“People respect our (Latino) community but for the Afro-Latinas, people just like to group us as Black and stuff and want to deny that we’re Spanish,” said University of South Florida student Jessica Roberts, who is Puerto Rican and Dominican. And Black.

Roberts said she doesn’t speak Spanish, and as a result is told that she’s not “truly” Latina. People say she should only identify as Black…

…However, it’s not so easy to break down the number of Afro-Latinos here – or elsewhere. The U.S. Census doesn’t currently give the option for Latinos to identify as another race, meaning even if someone is Afro-Latino or Asian-Latino, they can only mark Latino.

USF sociology professor and author Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman said the inability to count Afro-Latinos isn’t the big problem. Latinas who are also Black struggle to find acceptance in both the Latino and Black communities, as well as with themselves…

Read and listen to the story here. Download the story (00:04:19) here.

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Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-02-06 20:46Z by Steven

Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

University of Washington Press
June 2016
176 pages
1 bandw illus, 2 tables
6 x 9 in
Paperback ISBN: 9780295998503
Hardcover ISBN: 9780295998077

Andrew J. Jolivette, Professor and chair of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

The first book to examine the correlation between mixed-race identity and HIV/AIDS among Native American gay men and transgendered people, Indian Blood provides an analysis of the emerging and often contested LGBTQtwo-spirit” identification as it relates to public health and mixed-race identity.

Prior to contact with European settlers, most Native American tribes held their two-spirit members in high esteem, even considering them spiritually advanced. However, after contact – and religious conversion – attitudes changed and social and cultural support networks were ruptured. This discrimination led to a breakdown in traditional values, beliefs, and practices, which in turn pushed many two-spirit members to participate in high-risk behaviors. The result is a disproportionate number of two-spirit members who currently test positive for HIV.

Using surveys, focus groups, and community discussions to examine the experiences of HIV-positive members of San Francisco’s two-spirit community, Indian Blood provides an innovative approach to understanding how colonization continues to affect American Indian communities and opens a series of crucial dialogues in the fields of Native American studies, public health, queer studies, and critical mixed-race studies.

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I thought I was a gorgeous kid until I learned I was just ‘pretty, for a black girl’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 20:41Z by Steven

I thought I was a gorgeous kid until I learned I was just ‘pretty, for a black girl’

The Guardian
2016-02-04

Rebecca Carroll

My white birthmother told me that the idea that I was gorgeous was a fiction inflicted upon me out of a sense of white liberal guilt

When I was a little girl, I thought that I was gorgeous. Maybe I kind of was; maybe all little kids think they are, until they don’t. But growing up black in an all-white town, I was also a generally accepted kind of pretty: white adults saw my blackness as an addition to my cuteness; their white children stared at my brown skin and afro with genuine wonder as opposed to judgement and fear. I wasn’t ugly, so it was OK to stare.

It wasn’t until I was 10 that it occurred to me that I wasn’t pretty-pretty, after my fifth grade teacher told me that I was “pretty, for a black girl”. After that, I knew I was beautiful with a caveat; I was attractive with an asterisk. The precocious and outgoing girl that I had been, who loved to pose and perform and tell stories and make art, became emotionally fluent in the art of self-doubt…

Read the entire article here.

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I’m protective of my blackness because I had to find it myself

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 20:36Z by Steven

I’m protective of my blackness because I had to find it myself

The Guardian
2015-11-12

Rebecca Carroll

I was dogged in my determination to evolve outside the narrow margins of the small white world of my beginning and into another more racially familiar one

I spent the first 20 years of my life internalizing white beauty standards, intellectual values and cultural sensibilities. By the time I was a freshman in high school I had, like many of my white female peers, embarked upon an ongoing war with my body. I was never diagnosed as anorexic or bulimic, but I intermittently starved myself and took laxatives in an effort to be skinny and hipless without any sense whatsoever that my curves might be considered a thing of beauty in black culture.

I abandoned my 11-year-old crush on Michael Jackson (with whom I became almost preternaturally smitten after seeing him in The Wiz) in favor of the young white male stars that adorned the covers of Tiger BeatRick Springfield, Lief Garrett, Rob Lowe. I was guided by college counselors to consider New England state schools and maybe long-shot universities – historically black colleges and universities were not on anyone’s radar…

…It took a long time to find my blackness, find my people and my relationship to black culture, despite my own (albeit limited) self-awareness regarding race at a very young age. “I am a black child” reads the first sentence of a short personal essay I wrote when I was eight or nine years old…

Read the entire article here.

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Is It Time To Stop Using Race In Medical Research?

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-02-06 19:47Z by Steven

Is It Time To Stop Using Race In Medical Research?

Shots: Health News from NPR
National Public Radio
2016-02-05

Angus Chen

Genetics researchers often discover certain snips and pieces of the human genome that are important for health and development, such as the genetic mutations that cause cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. And scientists noticed that genetic variants are more common in some races, which makes it seem like race is important in genetics research.

But some researchers say that we’ve taken the concept too far. To find out what that means, we’ve talked to two of the authors of an article published Thursday in the journal Science. Sarah Tishkoff is a human population geneticist and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Dorothy Roberts is a legal scholar, sociologist and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Africana Studies department. This interview has been edited for length and clarity…

Read entire interview here.

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Yale French Studies, Number 128: Revisiting Marie Vieux Chauvet: Paradoxes of the Postcolonial Feminine

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2016-02-06 19:38Z by Steven

Yale French Studies, Number 128: Revisiting Marie Vieux Chauvet: Paradoxes of the Postcolonial Feminine

Yale University Press
2016-01-05
168 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Paper ISBN: 9780300214192

Edited by:

Kaiama L. Glover, Associate Professor of French
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, New York

Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, Assistant Professor of Caribbean and Postcolonial Literatures in French
City College of New York

This issue considers the oeuvre of Haitian writer Marie Vieux-Chauvet (1916–1973) as a prism through which to examine individual and collective subject formation in the postcolonial French-writing Caribbean, the wider Afro-Americas, and beyond. While both Vieux-Chauvet and her corpus are situated in the violent space of mid-twentieth century Haiti, her work articulates the obstacles to claiming legitimized human existence on a global scale. The contributors to this interdisciplinary volume examine Vieux-Chauvet’s positioning within the Haitian public sphere, as well as her broader significance to understanding gendered and racialized postcolonial subjectivities in the twenty-first century.

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Saving the Race: Conversations on Du Bois from a Collective Memoir of Souls

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 19:18Z by Steven

Saving the Race: Conversations on Du Bois from a Collective Memoir of Souls

Harlem Moon (an imprint of Broadway Books)
2004
224 pages

Edited by: Rebecca Carroll

W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk is one of the most influential books ever published in this country. In it, Du Bois wrote that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” a prophecy that is as fresh and poignant today as when it first appeared in print in 1903. Now, one hundred years after The Souls of Black Folk was first published, Saving the Race reexamines the legacy of Du Bois and his “color line” prophecy from a modern viewpoint. The author, Rebecca Carroll, a biracial woman who was reared by white parents, not only provides her own personal perspective, but she invites eighteen well-known African Americans to share their ideas and opinions about what Du Bois’s classic text means today.

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