It has become commonplace to acknowledge the following point, but it bears repeating anyway: The idea of racial classification, as we understand it now, stretches back only to Enlightenment Europe.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 23:15Z by Steven

It has become commonplace to acknowledge the following point, but it bears repeating anyway: The idea of racial classification, as we understand it now, stretches back only to Enlightenment Europe. I have stayed in inns in Germany that have been continuously operating longer than this calamitous thought. But even though we can trace race’s origins without much difficulty, it seems impossible — and worse than that, woefully naïve — even to speak of an end to such persistent and flattening thinking, thinking that has led to so much human suffering, precluded and squandered so much human potential. And yet I am convinced that we will never overcome the evils of racism as long as we fail first to imagine and then to conjure a world free of racial categorization and the hierarchies it necessarily implies.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, “My Family’s Life Inside and Outside America’s Racial Categories,” The New York Times Magazine, September 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/17/magazine/black-white-family-race.html.

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For someone so utterly unsentimental and sternly rational about race and blackness, he indulged his wife’s strange neoessentialist belief in “hybrid vigor”—that is, her belief that their daughter’s racial fusion of black and white represented the birth of a new, superior race.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 23:04Z by Steven

He [George Schuyler] was a man of contradictions. For someone so utterly unsentimental and sternly rational about race and blackness, he indulged his wife’s [Josephine Cogdell] strange neoessentialist belief in “hybrid vigor”—that is, her belief that their daughter’s racial fusion of black and white represented the birth of a new, superior race. With Schuyler’s help, his wife turned their only daughter into a social experiment, raising Philippa on a scientifically prepared diet of raw meat, unpasteurized milk, and castor oil, and keeping her in near isolation from other children. The child’s strange upbringing was both a raging success and a terrible failure. Philippa learned to read at two, became an accomplished pianist at four, and a composer by five. She was a child celebrity, a kind of black Shirley Temple with a high IQ who became the subject of scores of articles in publications such as Time, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and was roundly hailed as a genius. There is a poignant moment in Kathryn Talalay’s biography of Philippa Schuyler, Composition in Black and White, when Philippa is thirteen and her parents finally show her the detailed scrapbook they’ve been keeping about her upbringing and career—notes and articles they’ve been keeping diligently over the years. Philippa, rather than being touched, was horrified to realize, with sudden clarity, all the ways she’d been her parents’ social experiment and “puppet.” In the years that followed, she grew increasingly disillusioned with America, her own blackness, and the musical career of her youth. Like a character out of Black No More, she eventually changed her name and began to pass as white—as an Iberian-American named Filipa Montera. She spent most of her adult life overseas, still playing music, but less seriously, and trying to find herself in various romantic affairs. She eventually tried to reinvent herself as an international journalist and children’s advocate, and in 1967 she died in a helicopter crash while attempting to evacuate war orphans out of Vietnam.

Danzy Senna, “George Schuyler: An Afrofuturist Before His Time,” The New York Review of Books, January 19, 2018. https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/01/19/george-schuyler-an-afrofuturist-before-his-time/.

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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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Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-09-19 22:32Z by Steven

Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

gal-dem
2019-09-18

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff

The first time I met Emeli Sandé was on a wild night out. Age 19 and at the only hip-hop club night in Edinburgh, my friends and I were dancing when a group of men led us off the dancefloor and into a VIP area, where Emeli was socialising. As it turned out, one of those men was Emeli’s husband. We spent the night shimmying and doing shots and I remember wondering how she was going to get on stage the next day. It was a late one. But when, on the band’s invitation, we attended her concert, her voice soared across one of Edinburgh’s most opulent venues. “If someone can sing like that on a hangover,” I thought, “I have no choice but to stan”.

On this, our second meeting then, I feel obligated to bring up our first. “That was fun! I remember that night,” Emeli says. We’re sitting in a small, Ethiopian restaurant in Camden called The Queen of Sheba, settling down to eat a vast platter of injera with accompanying stews and sauces and talk about Emeli’s new album, Real Life. After a complimentary glass of Ethiopian honey wine, we settle straight in.

This album comes three years after her last outing, Long Live the Angels and seven years after her debut album catapulted the 32-year-old singer to fame. “This time it was really different. Like I built a studio in my house,” she says. “I finally had the freedom of ‘a room of one’s own’.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The untold story of wrestler Andrew Johnson’s dreadlocks

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2019-09-19 02:19Z by Steven

The untold story of wrestler Andrew Johnson’s dreadlocks

The Undefeated
2019-09-18

Jesse Washington

Buena wrestler Andrew Johnson returns to mat after dreadlock haircut incident
Andrew Johnson is pictured during his 120-pound bout at the Williamstown Duals on Jan. 5 in New Jersey, Johnson’s first time back on the wrestling mat since he was forced to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit his match on Dec. 19, 2018. Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media/Barcroft Media

How the high school athlete endured his infamous haircut

When Andrew Johnson walked into The Line Up barbershop last April, all eyes focused on him. Since that awful day in December when a referee had forced the 16-year-old Buena Regional High School wrestler to either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match, he felt as if the world was constantly watching him, especially in his small New Jersey town. Watching and whispering about things beyond his control.

Yo, that’s that kid who got his locs chopped by the white ref.

Andrew, who goes by Drew, sat down in Chris Perez’s chair. Perez has tended Drew’s hair since middle school. After a video of Drew’s shearing attracted a massive social media audience last December, he had reshaped Drew’s hair into shorter dreadlocks that radiated from his head.

But now Drew had a new problem. The night before, he had grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen and hacked at what remained of his dreads, then asked his little sister to finish the job. Drew loved his hair but was tired of it causing so much trouble. Tired of being treated differently and made into something he was not. Tired of looking in the mirror and seeing the referee, Alan Maloney, looking back.

Maloney already had a racist incident in his past before telling Drew that his hair was “unnatural” and giving him 90 seconds to cut it. What resulted was far more than a humiliating haircut for one high school student. It became a shared and painful experience for many who see how issues of identity, subjugation, power and freedom are intertwined in African American hair…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination, Tanya Katerí Hernández

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2019-09-18 19:24Z by Steven

Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination, Tanya Katerí Hernández

Political Science Quarterly
Volume 134, Number 2 (Summer 2019)
pages 351-352

Ann Morning, Associate Professor of Sociology
New York University

Multiracials and Civil Rights is a jewel. Relatively brief and always engaging, it presents a well-defined and well-motivated inquiry that simultaneously manages to speak to a much broader issue of deep importance. While legal scholar Tanya Katerí Hernández persuasively answers the immediate question of how multiracial people’s claims of racial discrimination are positioned and adjudicated in U.S. courts, she also provides real food for thought about the role of multiraciality in today’s racial order.

Multiracials and Civil Rights draws readers in with a puzzle: why do certain multiracial activists or scholars perceive existing antidiscrimination law as insufficient for their community’s needs? Is it indeed the case that mixed-race people’s claims of discrimination are not being adequately handled in the courts? Drawing on records for all such legal cases in the United States, in which an explicitly multiracial person alleged racial discrimination, Hernández argues persuasively that American courts do just fine by such complainants. If anything, they seem to be particularly solicitous of multiracials, treating their allegations with greater care and deference than those of other racial minorities. So where is the problem? For some multiracial advocates, it appears to lie in the courts’ pretty..

Read or purchase the review here.

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Public Thinker: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein on Dark Matter and White Empiricism

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-09-18 18:59Z by Steven

Public Thinker: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein on Dark Matter and White Empiricism

Public Books
2019-09-17

Lawrence Ware, Co-director of the Africana Studies Program; Teaching Assistant Professor and Diversity Coordinator in the Department of Philosophy
Oklahoma State University


Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Photograph by Lisa Longstaff

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is one of fewer than a hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Being part of an all too rare group has given her a glimpse into the way the world of physics works—through not just equations and experiments but also human social interactions. The child of grassroots political organizers, Prescod-Weinstein is a theoretical physicist and a self-taught Black feminist philosopher and scholar of science, technology, and society studies. She is also vocal about social problems within science and the way science contributes to problems in the larger world. I caught up with Dr. Chanda, as she is known to many on Twitter (@IBJIYONGI), via Skype, and what follows is a discussion that goes from dark matter to how whiteness operates in physics.

Lawrence Ware (LW): Can I ask you to explain to me, almost like I’m an eight-year-old, what you do?

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (CP): I think about the origin of spacetime and the origin of everything inside of spacetime. It’s the question of how we get from the beginning of the universe to us sitting in the rooms that we are sitting in now. How do we get from point A to point B? And does the universe even have a beginning? What happened at the very beginning?

LW: But I am still very confused about what you do. Help me understand.

CP: I just do math all day.

LW: How do you bring your interest in race and gender into conversation with what you do with physics, then?

CP: When I was 10 years old, I began getting really excited about theoretical physics. And I was really excited about doing theoretical physics specifically because I thought it would get me away from human problems. My parents were both activists; I spent my entire childhood hearing about the ways the world is messed up. I think I saw theoretical physics as an exit from having to worry about the human condition.

Then, when I was in high school, I became aware that I might stand out in my classes, because my background was a little bit different from that of the typical physicist. I was aware that there weren’t a lot of Black women in physics. I had never heard of one. This generation might have a very different experience now, because of Hidden Figures, but there was nothing like that when I was in high school.

So I thought I would just stand out, but I didn’t really think much of it. I had no intention to go into college thinking about race or gender or anything like that. And then I started experiencing racism and sexism in physics environments and started trying to make sense of it. That was how it started to come together…

Read the entire interview here.

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Call for Papers “Mixedness and Indigeneity in the Pacific”

Posted in Forthcoming Media, History, Oceania, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2019-09-18 01:47Z by Steven

Call for Papers “Mixedness and Indigeneity in the Pacific”

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies
2019-07-04

Guest Editors:

Zarine L. Rocha
National University of Singapore

Teena Brown Pulu, Senior Lecturer
Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies

This special issue is seeking papers that address what it means to be mixed–racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically–from indigenous points of view in the Pacific. Indigenous understandings of identity and belonging are crucial in developing and critiquing the current scholarship around mixed race. The nations and territories in the Pacific region, Oceania, encompass diverse ethnic groups and histories affected by different forms and timelines of colonialism, yet the enduring identity is one of indigenous cultures, histories, and languages. Mixedness can be theorized and experienced in different ways and structured in discrete forms of classification and language around mixing and social/cultural acceptance or the stigmatization of certain heritages. As Kukutai and Broman (2016) emphasize, indigenous cultures across the Pacific are by no means homogenous, and historical understandings of race and ethnicity have been influenced by colonial histories. Linnekin and Poyer (1990) suggest that while kinship/community groups have always been essential to indigenous societies, organization along racial/ethnic lines was non-existent prior to colonialism, meaning that understandings of mixedness similarly shifted and changed over time. Writings by Pacific artists and researchers of mixed race, mixed blood, echo and evoke Teresia Teaiwa’s poem:

My identity
is not
a problem
a mystery
soluble
a contract
a neophyte
an interest rate

Mixed blood:
resolves
solves
dissolves
negotiates
initiates
appreciates
And still they ask me HOW?

This special issue explores what mixedness has meant in the Pacific and how it is expressed in, or alongside, present-day identity formations of indigeneity and indigenous conceptions of belonging. What does it mean to be mixed in the Pacific and how does it relate to belonging to a people and place from an indigenous perspective? These papers will provide key theoretical contributions, enriching Critical Mixed Race Studies, shifting away from the dominant (often Western-centric) perspectives, privileging indigenous knowledge, research and histories.

We are looking for context-specific studies situated inside independent states and territories of the Pacific region, Oceania, which can provide a history of intermixing and an in-depth understanding of how mixedness is understood in relation to indigeneity. States and territories of interest include, but are not restricted to: (a) the Melanesian sub-regionTimor-Leste, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji; (b) the Polynesian sub-regionTonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Niue, French Polynesia; (c) the Micronesian sub-region Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia,Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Nauru, Kiribati.

Feel welcome to submit a brief abstract of your proposed paper (250 words) to JCMRS by October 1, 2019.

Submission Deadline: October 1, 2019

If we accept your abstract, you will be informed of the deadline for submission of your article manuscript, which should should range between 15-30 double-spaced pages, Times New Roman 12-point font, including notes and works cited, must follow the Chicago Manual of Style, as well as include your abstract. Manuscripts will be peer reviewed to determine their suitability for publication.

Please submit your abstract to: rdaniel@soc.ucsb.edu.

Please address all other inquiries to: socjcmrs@soc.ucsb.edu.

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Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-09-18 01:46Z by Steven

Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Wayne State University Press
2019-08-26
352 pages
7 black-and-white photos
Size: 6×9
Paperback ISBN: 9780814345801
Ebook ISBN: 9780814345818

Shonda Buchanan, Literary Editor
Harriet Tubman Press

Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, alcoholism, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society’s ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance.

Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn’t know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe—a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed—and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse. Ultimately, Buchanan’s nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America’s early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins.

Black Indian doesn’t have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American’s multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family’s history as it can go—sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan’s search for hers will resonate with anyone who has wondered “maybe there’s more than what I’m being told.”

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Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Philosophy on 2019-09-18 01:45Z by Steven

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

W. W. Norton
2019-10-15
192 pages
5.5 × 8.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-60886-1

Thomas Chatterton Williams

A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics.

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations—but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

“It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,” Williams writes. “It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.” Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time.

Note from Steven F. Riley: See Chatterton Williams’ article “Black and Blue and Blond” in the Volume 91, Number 1 (Winter 2015) edition of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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