Stop Weaponzing Biracial Children

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-22 13:36Z by Steven

Stop Weaponzing Biracial Children

Wear Your Voice: Intersectional Feminist Media
2017-03-16

Lara Witt
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Raising biracial or multiracial children isn’t a band-aid you can slap onto the festering wound that is racism.

Hi! It’s your local multiracial feminist here to remind you to stop weaponizing biracial and multiracial kids for the sake of making white supremacists angry. We have our own experiences, traumas and perceptions. We don’t simply exist to make people angry, so stop dehumanizing us as if we were grenades.

It’s been a common theme for a while now, and I remember hearing it countless times growing up: you have the best of both worlds and it’s people like you who will end racism! Cool. So, um, nope. It doesn’t work that way, in fact, it never has — and, very often, children with multiple ethnicities have identity issues and face a specific type of discrimination and racism.

I have always struggled with feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere: not white enough, not Kenyan enough, not Indian enough. I’m stuck at a crossroads where my understanding of blackness and whiteness is unique, and so it is rather alienating. I have dedicated my life to dismantling white supremacy, misogyny, colonialism and capitalism, but I don’t weaponize my racial identity to do so…

….It’s hard to ignore the underlying current of antiblackness when discussing bi-racial kids: when you want cute brown babies with European features and 3B curls, you’re talking about a dilution of blackness as a response to white supremacy, and frankly that doesn’t make sense. Frankly, I don’t want to be used as an example for your fetish of “exotic women.”…

Read the entire article here.

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AIA Evening Lecture: An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, United States on 2017-03-21 01:34Z by Steven

AIA Evening Lecture: An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins

Penn Museum
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Thursday, 2017-03-30, 18:00-19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Vanessa Davies, Visiting Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, speaks at this Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society lecture. Three prominent black writers of the early 20th century—W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pauline Hopkins—incorporated ancient Egyptian culture into their writings. Attacking a common theory of their day, DuBois and Garvey used ancient Egyptian culture to argue for the humanity of black people, marshaling evidence of Egypt’s glorious past to inspire black people in the Americas with feelings of hope and self-worth. They also engaged with the contemporary work of prominent archaeologists, a fact lost in most histories of Egyptology. Hopkins’ novel Of One Blood places the reality of the racial discrimination and the racial “passing” of her day against the backdrop of ancient Egypt. Like Du Bois, she advocates for the education of black Americans, and like Garvey, she constructs an African safe haven for her novel’s protagonist. Understanding these three writers’ treatments of ancient Egypt, Davies argues, provides a richer perspective on the history of the discipline of Egyptology. Reception with opportunity to meet the speaker follows.

For more information, click here.

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Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-03-19 22:52Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

University of North Carolina Press
May 2017
230 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3283-4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3282-7

Alisha Gaines, Assistant Professor of English
Florida State University

In 1948, journalist Ray Sprigle traded his whiteness to live as a black man for four weeks. A little over a decade later, John Howard Griffin famously “became” black as well, traveling the American South in search of a certain kind of racial understanding. Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people passing as black, and here Alisha Gaines constructs a unique genealogy of “empathetic racial impersonation”–white liberals walking in the fantasy of black skin under the alibi of cross-racial empathy. At the end of their experiments in “blackness,” Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness.

Complicating the histories of black-to-white passing and blackface minstrelsy, Gaines uses an interdisciplinary approach rooted in literary studies, race theory, and cultural studies to reveal these sometimes maddening, and often absurd, experiments of racial impersonation. By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, Gaines shows that there was, and still is, a faulty cultural logic that places enormous faith in the idea that empathy is all that white Americans need to make a significant difference in how to racially navigate our society.

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The Shadow of Lynching in Nella Larsen’s Passing

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-19 20:14Z by Steven

The Shadow of Lynching in Nella Larsen’s Passing

Women’s Studies: An inter-disciplinary journal
Published online: 2017-02-22
pages 1-22
DOI: 10.1080/00497878.2017.1285767

Kangyl Ko
Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

Since Deborah E. McDowell’s groundbreaking essay on the representation of black female sexuality in Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), many scholars have discussed how the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and sexuality unfolds throughout the novel. In her compelling reading of Passing, McDowell examines the hidden lesbian narratives beneath “the safe and familiar plot of racial passing” on which previous scholars have focused (xxx). McDowell’s excavation of the tale of sexual passing within the tale of racial passing has since inspired many scholars to further examine the novel’s exploration of black female sexuality, especially in terms of lesbian desire, and its appropriation and negotiation of the literary convention of the tragic mulatto—“the safe and familiar plot of racial passing,” as McDowell refers to it. The continuous trend in scholarship of Passing, whether it focuses on lesbian desire and/or the appropriation of the tragic mulatto narrative, links discussions of black female sexuality directly with racialized popular discourses about black female bodies in Jim Crow America. As a result, one of Larsen’s rhetorical and thematic threads that runs through her second novel has remained underexplored: lynching.

Following Grace Elizabeth Hale’s formulation of lynching as “cultural form” that “existed as both physical practice and as written and photographic representations” (360), I read Passing as a discursive platform where Larsen explores and challenges not only the dominant white lynching narrative, but also its counter-lynching narrative created by black male writers. As an iconic “cultural form” of Jim Crow America, lynching played a crucial role in defining and shaping interracial relations in the United States. Within criticism, lynching as a form of physical violence and a discourse has been addressed largely in terms of the black male body alone. However, black women were victims of lynching as well. They were “routinely lynched, burned, and summarily mutilated” (Wiegman 84)…

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Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-03-19 15:45Z by Steven

Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity

Conversations with Tyler
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
2017-03-15

Tyler Cowen, Host and Professor of Economics
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia


Credit: Caren Louise Photographs

Journalist, author, and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell joins Tyler for a conversation on Joyce Gladwell, Caribbean identity, satire as a weapon, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, Harvard’s under-theorized endowment, why early childhood intervention is overrated, long-distance running, and Malcolm’s happy risk-averse career going from one “fur-lined rat hole to the next.”

Listen to the interview (01:32:11) here. Read the transcript here.

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The Horror of Smug Liberals

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-19 15:12Z by Steven

The Horror of Smug Liberals

The New York Times
2017-03-18

Frank Bruni


Ben Wiseman

Oh, those smooth-talking, self-congratulating white liberals. Listen to them moon over Barack Obama. Look at how widely they open their arms to a black visitor. Don’t be duped. They’re wolves in L. L. Bean clothing. There’s danger under the fleece.

That’s a principal theme in the most surprising movie hit of the year so far, “Get Out,” whose box office haul in America crossed the $100 million mark last weekend. Heck, that’s the premise.

The black protagonist heads with his white girlfriend from an apartment in the city to a house in the woods, where he’s gushingly welcomed by her parents. But their retreat is no colorblind Walden, not if you peek into the basement. I won’t say what’s down there. I don’t want to spoil the fun or sully the chill.

Besides, I’m less fascinated by the movie’s horrors than by its reception. The most ardent fans of “Get Out,” many of them millennials, don’t just recommend it. They urge it, framing it as a “woke” tribe’s message to the slumbering masses, a parable of the hypocrisy that white America harbors and the fear with which black Americans move through it…

…But the movie’s African-American writer and director, Jordan Peele, conceived and began developing it well before the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency came into focus. He wasn’t responding to stark examples of racism like that infamous tweet last week in which Representative Steve King, the Iowa Republican, warned against trying to “restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” …

…“Get Out” is being categorized as a horror movie, though Peele prefers the neologism “social thriller,” and it’s more eerie than violent, with superb pacing that critics are rightly praising. It’s also a reminder that the best horror movies are intensely topical, putting a fantastical, grotesque spin on the tensions of their times…

Read the entire article here.

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Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, And The Normalization of Slave Rape Narratives

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2017-03-19 01:34Z by Steven

Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, And The Normalization of Slave Rape Narratives

black youth project
2017-02-23

Elizabeth Adetiba

I am not the same person now as I was when I was 14—and thank God for that. I was remarkably naive and unbearably insecure, and stuck in an environment that did nothing but exacerbate those complex internal struggles that are so typical of adolescence.

So imagine my outrage upon being continuously confronted with articles that insist on describing the affairs between Thomas Jefferson and a fourteen year-old enslaved Sally Hemings (simultaneously his slave and wife’s half-sister) as a ‘relationship.’ I cannot fathom, at fourteen, being denied the liberty to reject the sexual advances of a 44 year-old man (and not just any man, but a man who would become the President of the United States) only to have historians and writers skip over the imbalanced power dynamics and categorize it as a ‘relationship.’…

Read the entire article here.

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The Signifyin(g) Saint: Encoding Homoerotic Intimacy in Black Harlem

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Gay & Lesbian, History, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Religion on 2017-03-15 01:36Z by Steven

The Signifyin(g) Saint: Encoding Homoerotic Intimacy in Black Harlem

Black Perspectives
2017-03-14

James Padilioni Jr, Ph.D Candidate and Teaching Fellow in American Studies (Africana-affiliated)
College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

On June 25, 1942, Edward Atkinson arrived at 101 Central Park West to sit for a photo shoot in the home studio of Carl Van Vechten. Van Vechten, author of the infamous 1926 novel Nigger Heaven, was a white patron of the Harlem Renaissance and amateur photographer who took hundreds of photographs of Black Harlem’s who’s who such as Paul Robeson, Billie Holiday, and James Weldon Johnson. Atkinson, an off-Broadway actor no stranger to playing a role, transformed himself into Martin de Porres (1579-1639), a Peruvian friar who became the first Afro-American saint when the Vatican canonized him in 1962 as the patron of social justice. I trace Martin’s iconography and ritual performances across Black communities in Latin and Anglo America to reveal the historical relations of power that structure and materialize the networks harnessed by Black peoples to mobilize resources in their varied yet persistent efforts to create meaningful lives out of the fragments of the Middle Passage

Read the entire article here.

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Memories of race: representations of mixed race people in girls’ comic magazines in post-occupation Japan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-03-14 23:18Z by Steven

Memories of race: representations of mixed race people in girls’ comic magazines in post-occupation Japan

Sayuri Arai

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
2016-11-30

As the number of mixed race people grows in Japan, anxieties about miscegenation in today’s context of intensified globalization continue to increase. Indeed, the multiracial reality has recently gotten attention and led to heightened discussions surrounding it in Japanese society, specifically, in the media. Despite the fact that race mixing is not a new phenomenon even in “homogeneous” Japan, where the presence of multiracial people has challenged the prevailing notion of Japaneseness, racially mixed people have been a largely neglected group in both scholarly literature and in wider Japanese society.

My dissertation project offers a remedy for this absence by focusing on representations of mixed race people in postwar Japanese popular culture. During and after the U.S. Occupation of Japan (1945-1952), significant numbers of racially mixed children were born of relationships between Japanese women and American servicemen. American-Japanese mixed race children, as products of the occupation, reminded the Japanese of their war defeat. Miscegenation and mixed race people came to be problematized in the immediate postwar years.

In the 1960s, when Japan experienced the postwar economic miracle and redefined itself as a great power, mixed race Japanese entertainers (e.g., models, actors, and singers) became popular. This popularity of multiracial entertainers created a konketsuji boom (mixed-blood boom) in Japanese media and popular culture. As such, the images and stereotypes of racially mixed people shifted considerably from the 1950s into the 1970s.

Through a close textual analysis of representations of mixed race stars and characters in major Japanese girls’ comic magazines published during the 1950s and 1960s, my dissertation illuminates the ways in which the meanings of mixed race people shifted from strongly negative to ambivalent, or even positive, in the context of postwar economic growth. Closely looking at the changing U.S.-Japan relations in the aftermath of World War II and in the Cold War context, this project provides insight into the ways in which memories of World War II and of the U.S. Occupation are reconstructed through representations of mixed race people in Japanese media and popular culture in postwar Japan.

As this dissertation project suggests, girls’ comic magazines are one of the few pivotal spaces where issues of race mixing in postwar Japan are allowed to be openly and regularly discussed, and where a wide range of multiracial people are portrayed in imaginative ways. As I argue, in the early post-occupation years, the overrepresentation of Black-Japanese occupation babies in girls’ comic magazines inadvertently contributed to foisting the blame of the former Western Occupation onto Black bodies and to reconstructing the image of the West.

Subsequently, during the 1960s, the whiteness of mixed race stars and characters, glorified in consumerist media culture, greatly contributed to overshadowing the image of the West as the former enemy and to dissociating racially mixed people from the stigma of being “occupation babies,” intimately entangled with the memory of Japan’s defeat in World War II.

My dissertation demonstrates that representations of racially mixed people in girls’ comic magazines played a crucial role in remaking the meanings of mixed race Japanese and reconstructing memories of World War II and the U.S. Occupation, in part because girls’ comic magazines have elaborated a distinct aesthetics, ethics, and worldview shaped within girls’ culture.

Login to read the dissertation here.

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Passing Before ‘Passing’: The Ambivalent Identity of the Narrator in Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-14 18:59Z by Steven

Passing Before ‘Passing’: The Ambivalent Identity of the Narrator in Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man

European Scientific Journal
Volume 13, Number 5 (2017)
DOI: 10.19044/esj.2017.v13n5p1

Bassam M. Al-Shraah, Teaching Associate
School of Linguistics and Language Studies
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man is considered by many as an early seminal censure and commentary on the contested racial issue of African American in the United States of America. This paper argues that the ‘invisible’ protagonist of the Novel has passed for white as early as his childhood years. The narrator relinquishes his black identity for the conveniences and supremacy that the white identity entails. This paper brings to question the credibility of narrative in the novel; also, it proves that the narrator contradicts himself. The invisible narrator appears not to have a firm stance regarding the atrocities suffered by his own people—African Americans. People of color in the United States were caught between two cultures, identities, and lives. The un-named narrator has taken the least troubled road. He announces his passing for white at the end of the novel. This study contends that he has done so long time ago before he literally announces his passing.

Read the entire article here.

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