Peggy McIntosh (1997: 291) describes White privilege as ‘an invisible package of unearned assets’. A discussion on the relative advantages and disadvantages of this analogy in advancing our understanding of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science on 2017-01-10 00:58Z by Steven

Peggy McIntosh (1997: 291) describes White privilege as ‘an invisible package of unearned assets’. A discussion on the relative advantages and disadvantages of this analogy in advancing our understanding of Whiteness

Medium
2017-01-08

J. J. Lindsley


Kanye West meets with Donald Trump at Trump Tower, December 2016. Credit: Observer.com at http://observer.com/2016/12/is-kanye-west-the-future-voice-of-trump-radio/

2013 essay revisited

The analogy put forward by McIntosh (1997) has a number of advantages. It is frequently assumed in social terms that whiteness is immutable. However, the experience of the white Irish in early twentieth-century USA suggests that ‘whiteness’ holds connotations beyond skin colour alone (Guteri, 2009). Similarly, the ‘one drop’ rule that was used to define African Americans in rules regarding segregation in the early Twentieth Century suggested that any individual with one African-American ancestor should be considered as non-white (Khanna, 2011). However, difficulties occur in this analogy when white privilege intersects with other forms (Smith, 2007). White privileges can combine with other foundations with the effect of a different set of advantages and disadvantages; be they represented through as social, economic, gender or sexuality. ‘The cumulative effect of these unseen privileges for whites sustains the current racial group disparity’ (Mallett & Swim, p.58). The questions posed by McIntosh’s (1997) analogy focus on whether we can consider the interactions between all prejudice in solely terms of maintaining white privileges, or whether other factors arise. Are the privileges gained by being ‘white’ and ‘male’ simply the cumulative effect of the assets of either category, or does being a non-white male involve a qualitatively different type of maleness? To examine these issues the following structure will be adopted. First, a discussion will be made of McIntosh’s (1997) analogy in understanding whiteness. The suggestions of McIntosh (1997) and Ignatiev (1997) for active resistance to whiteness will be scrutinised. Second, the contribution of Critical Race Theory (CRT) will be assessed. Third, the intersection of race with other factors, including definitions of race, poverty, and gender will be discussed. In the ensuing discussion, the following disclaimer is made: race and racial terms are understood as social constructs rather than biological facts, and the terms will be used purely as they are understood contextually. This must also be recognised of the term African-American which is used in the ensuing discussion…

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In the Name of the Mother: Italian Americans, African Americans, and Modernity from Booker T. Washington to Bruce Springsteen

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2017-01-04 02:21Z by Steven

In the Name of the Mother: Italian Americans, African Americans, and Modernity from Booker T. Washington to Bruce Springsteen

Dartmouth College Press
2017-01-03
296 pages
10 illus.
6 1/8 x 9 1/4″
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5126-0019-3
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5126-0018-6
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-5126-0020-9

Samuele F. S. Pardini, Associate Professor of Italian
Department of World Languages and Cultures
Elon University, Elon, North Carolina

A bracingly original dialogue on modernity, class, and difference in the 20th century

In the Name of the Mother examines the cultural relationship between African American intellectuals and Italian American writers and artists, and how it relates to American blackness in the twentieth century. Samuele Pardini links African American literature to the Mediterranean tradition of the Italian immigrants and examines both against the white intellectual discourse that defines modernism in the West. This previously unexamined encounter offers a hybrid, transnational model of modernity capable of producing democratic forms of aesthetics, social consciousness, and political economy. This volume emphasizes the racial “in-betweenness” of Italian Americans rearticulated as “invisible blackness,” a view that enlarges and complicates the color-based dimensions of American racial discourse. This strikingly original work will interest a wide spectrum of scholars in American Studies and the humanities.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • New World, Old Woman: Or, Modernity Upside Down
  • Rochester, Sicily: The Political Economy of Italian American Life and the Encounter with Blackness
  • Structures of Invisible Blackness: Racial Difference, (Homo)Sexuality, and Italian American Identity in African American Literature during Jim Crow
  • In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Gun: Modernity as the Gangster
  • In the Name of the Mother: The Other Italian American Modernity
  • The Dago and the Darky: Staging Subversion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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My President Is Biracial

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-28 00:20Z by Steven

My President Is Biracial

Multiracial Media: Voice of the Multiracial Community
2016-12-27

TaRessa Stovall
Atlanta, Georgia

Remember that 2008 post-election rap anthem?

“My President is Black; in fact, he’s half White

So even in a racist mind he’s half right

Jay-Z and Young Jeezy’s “My President”

That’s what runs through my mind as I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ dissection of #POTUS44 in The Atlantic magazine. In “My President Was Black,” Coates, a Black thought leader and New York Times-bestselling author of Between the World and Me, riffs on President Obama in a potent, yet lacking, meditation on race, racism, and the identity politics of tightrope dancing as the leader of the free world.

In this and previous essays, Coates examines the kaleidoscopic nature of POTUS44’s racial identity through a strictly Black lens. As a result, he never quite grasps how the nuances and complexities of Obama’s Biraciality intersect with his governance as The First Black President.

The “my President is Biracial” concept not an easy equation to understand unless you are one of the folks whose lineage spills outside the narrow lines of identities limited to the constricting binary that is racial identity in the USA

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Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, United States on 2016-12-19 02:44Z by Steven

Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos

Oxford University Press
2017-05-01
280 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0190633691

Juliet Hooker, Associate Professor of Government and African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

  • The first book to simultaneously analyze U.S. African-American and Latin American political thinkers and their ideas about race.
  • Transforms understandings of prominent U.S. African-American and Latin American intellectuals through a hemispheric analysis.
  • Challenges political theory’s preoccupation with East/West comparisons by foregrounding the Americas.
  • Brings African-American and Latin American political thought into conversation and shows how each discipline was developed through transnational intellectual exchanges.
  • Maps a genealogy of racial thought in the Americas.

In 1845 two thinkers from the American hemisphere – the Argentinean statesman Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and the fugitive ex-slave, abolitionist leader, and orator from the United States, Frederick Douglass – both published their first works. Each would become the most famous and enduring texts in what were both prolific careers, and they ensured Sarmiento and Douglass’ position as leading figures in the canon of Latin American and U.S. African-American political thought, respectively. But despite the fact that both deal directly with key political and philosophical questions in the Americas, Douglass and Sarmiento, like African-American and Latin American thought more generally, are never read alongside each other. This may be because their ideas about race differed dramatically. Sarmiento advocated the Europeanization of Latin America and espoused a virulent form of anti-indigenous racism, while Douglass opposed slavery and defended the full humanity of black persons. Still, as Juliet Hooker contends, looking at the two together allows one to chart a hemispheric intellectual geography of race that challenges political theory’s preoccupation with and assumptions about East/West comparisons, and questions the use of comparison as a tool in the production of theory and philosophy.

By juxtaposing four prominent nineteenth and twentieth-century thinkers – Frederick Douglass, Domingo F. Sarmiento, W. E. B. Du Bois, and José Vasconcelos – her book will be the first to bring African-American and Latin American political thought into conversation. Hooker stresses that Latin American and U.S. ideas about race were not developed in isolation, but grew out of transnational intellectual exchanges across the Americas. In so doing, she shows that nineteenth and twentieth-century U.S. and Latin American thinkers each looked to political models in the ‘other’ America to advance racial projects in their own countries. Reading these four intellectuals as hemispheric thinkers, Hooker foregrounds elements of their work that have been dismissed by dominant readings, and provides a crucial platform to bridge the canons of Latin American and African-American political thought.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Race Theory and Hemispheric Juxtaposition
  • Part I : Ambas Américas
    • 1. “A Black Sister to Massachusetts”: Latin America and the Fugitive Democratic Ethos of Frederick Douglass
    • 2. “Mi Patria de Pensamiento”: Sarmiento, the United States, and the Pitfalls of Comparison
  • Part II: Mestizo Futurologies
    • 3. “To See, Foresee, and Prophesy”: Du Bois’ Mulatto Fictions and Afro-Futurism
    • 4. “A Doctrine that Nourished the Hopes of the Non-White Races”: Vasconcelos, Mestizaje’s Travels, and U.S. Latino Politics
    • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Book Reviews: Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist [Geiger Review]

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-12-18 02:21Z by Steven

Book Reviews: Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist [Geiger Review]

Comparative Civilizations Review
Volume 75, Number 75, Fall 2016
Article 11
pages 125-126

Pedro Geiger

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania University Press, 2012

The long and excellent book by Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis, of 338 pages, focuses on two related issues. One deals with racial questions in the USA and in Brazil, detailing their historical development.

Racial problems were established in both countries by the encounter of the European colonization with the prior Colombian population and by the colonial introducing of African slaves in the American continent. The book deals with the behavior and the perceptions of the racial issue by the different social sectors of the American and of the Brazilian societies, and with the evolution of the legal policy measures taken by both states in regard to it. Brazil has earned the reputation of being a racial democracy for the reason of not having had legalized social barriers based in race. However, discrimination among sectors of the population existed and still exists there.

The opportunity of dealing with racial questions was taken by the author to cover with accurate studies the full Brazilian history. Based on a large and good bibliography, he discusses a wide variety of themes, comparing interpretations of known Brazilian historians, like the ones made by the Marxian Caio Prado Júnior with the ones made by the Weberian Raymundo Faoro, or describing cultural traits brought by the slaves (like their religions), how they influenced Brazilian culture, and how they were treated by the government institutions.

The second theme of the book deals with the Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis (1839- 1908) an icon of Brazil’s literature and the founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. The linkage between the two themes treated in the book is the fact that, like Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis had an African ancestry…

Read the entire review here.

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A Comic’s Secret Southern Story

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-17 20:20Z by Steven

A Comic’s Secret Southern Story

Below The Line
Garden & Gun
2016-12-13

CJ Lotz


A panel from “Krazy Kat.” Courtesy Krazy

Before “The Far Side,” “Calvin and Hobbes,” or even Mickey Mouse, one cartoon stole the show. From 1913 to 1944, a panel called “Krazy Kat” ran in newspapers across the country and counted “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz and the poet E.E. Cummings among its fans. The strip featured beautiful backgrounds and simply sketched cat and mouse characters that switched between philosophical dialog and slapstick situations—the mouse was forever trying to hit the cat with a brick. But the New Orleans-born artist behind the drawings, George Herriman, was a private man whose life was a mystery. That is until now, with the release of the illustrator’s biography, Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White.

Author Michael Tisserand (also a New Orleanian) spent ten years researching this thorough work that chronicles not only the career of the twentieth century Southern artist, but Herriman’s big secret: He was born to a prominent Creole family in New Orleans and spent his adult years “passing” for white at the newspapers where he worked in New York and Los Angeles. At the time, living as a black man would have threatened his livelihood, his home, and his relationships. We spoke with Tisserand about Herriman’s complicated story and what it means to honor the artist’s legacy today…

Read the entire interview here.

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Feeling Cosmopolitan: Strategic Empathy in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, F.M.C.

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-16 01:42Z by Steven

Feeling Cosmopolitan: Strategic Empathy in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, F.M.C.

MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States)
Published online: 2016-12-10
DOI: 10.1093/melus/mlw046

Alexa Weik von Mossner, Assistant Professor
University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria

“By modern research the unity of the human race has been proved,” asserts Charles W. Chesnutt in “The Future American” (122). As a black American who was light-skinned enough to pass for white, Chesnutt deeply believed in monogenesis and in the universality of the human experience. It is therefore unsurprising that the racial identities of his fictional characters are often fluid and that many of them display a distinctly cosmopolitan attitude, affirming a common and equal humanity. Matthew Wilson reminds us that while Chesnutt chose to live as an African American in a society that forced its members into clear-cut racial groups, in his writing he “strove for a universal subject position that he perceived as outside of race” (Whiteness xvii). A typical example is Paul Marchand, F.M.C. (1998), one of Chesnutt’s late and long unpublished novels, in which a fair-skinned black man learns that he is biologically white and finds himself faced with the question of whether he should embrace a white identity and abandon his mixed-race wife and children. It has been argued, for example by William Ramsey, that the political efficacy of the novel suffers precisely from Chesnutt’s universalist desire to “exalt humanity above race” (Chesnutt, “Race Problem” 199) because such desire “can restrict the constructive, necessary black social agency that Chesnutt himself agitated for” (Ramsey 39). Even more detrimental in the eyes of many critics is the utter lack of realism in Chesnutt’s celebration of a universal humanism that leads his idealized protagonist to forsake his newly acquired privileges in favor of his mixed-race family and a more authentic and honest life abroad.

However, Chesnutt’s reliance on romantic idealization and other sentimental narrative strategies is in fact crucial for the political charge of his novel, which he conceived in the early 1920s. As…

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Prism of Race: W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and the Colored World of Cedric Dover [Silkey Review]

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-16 01:23Z by Steven

The Prism of Race: W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and the Colored World of Cedric Dover [Silkey Review]

Journal of American History
Volume 103, Issue 3, December 2016
pages 822-823
DOI: 10.1093/jahist/jaw452

Sarah L. Silkey, Associate Professor of History
Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

The Prism of Race: W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and the Colored World of Cedric Dover By Nico Slate. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xviii, 246 pp. $90.00.)

Nico Slate explores the evolution of twentieth-century “colored cosmopolitanism,” an intellectual movement to unify the “colored world” around shared experiences of exploitation and oppression, through the lens of Cedric Dover’s transnational intellectual and artistic circles (pp. 17, 19). Observing how African Americans represented “a racial minority within the United States but a racial majority within the colored world,” Dover (1904–1961), a scholar and Indian nationalist of mixed-race ancestry from Calcutta, advocated “colored solidarity” as a tool for antiracist, anti-imperialist activism to achieve social justice on a global scale (p. 141). Seeking inspiration and friendship from African American intellectuals, Dover taught at Fisk…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-12-15 01:20Z by Steven

Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White

HarperCollins
2016-12-06
560 pages
Trimsize: 6 in (w) x 9 in (h) x 1.679 in (d)
Hardcover ISBN: 9780061732997
E-book ISBN: 9780062098054

Michael Tisserand

In the tradition of Schulz and Peanuts, an epic and revelatory biography of Krazy Kat creator George Herriman that explores the turbulent time and place from which he emerged—and the deep secret he explored through his art.

The creator of the greatest comic strip in history finally gets his due—in an eye-opening biography that lays bare the truth about his art, his heritage, and his life on America’s color line. A native of nineteenth-century New Orleans, George Herriman came of age as an illustrator, journalist, and cartoonist in the boomtown of Los Angeles and the wild metropolis of New York. Appearing in the biggest newspapers of the early twentieth century—including those owned by William Randolph Hearst—Herriman’s Krazy Kat cartoons quickly propelled him to fame. Although fitfully popular with readers of the period, his work has been widely credited with elevating cartoons from daily amusements to anarchic art.

Herriman used his work to explore the human condition, creating a modernist fantasia that was inspired by the landscapes he discovered in his travels—from chaotic urban life to the Beckett-like desert vistas of the Southwest. Yet underlying his own life—and often emerging from the contours of his very public art—was a very private secret: known as “the Greek” for his swarthy complexion and curly hair, Herriman was actually African American, born to a prominent Creole family that hid its racial identity in the dangerous days of Reconstruction.

Drawing on exhaustive original research into Herriman’s family history, interviews with surviving friends and family, and deep analysis of the artist’s work and surviving written records, Michael Tisserand brings this little-understood figure to vivid life, paying homage to a visionary artist who helped shape modern culture.

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When Labels Don’t Matter: George Herriman and Krazy Kat

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-15 01:19Z by Steven

When Labels Don’t Matter: George Herriman and Krazy Kat

The Beat
2016-12-14

Heidi MacDonald, Editor-In-Chief

We’ve been writing a bit about Michael Tisserand’s comprehensive new biography of George Herriman, Krazy: A Life in Black and White, but last night I got to hear him talk about it at one of the stops on his mini tour. Tisserand presented a slideshow on the book for the first time, and it will be presented again on Thursday at Princeton’s Labyrinth Books with Patrick “Mutts” McDonnell along for the ride – an event I highly recommend if you are into Herriman, Krazy Kat or comic strip history. Or really, just history…

…Tissarand has done a ton of research on the book, but the key element is defining Herriman’s own heritage as a Creole man from New Orleans whose family moved to Los Angeles when he was only 10 so that they could pass for white in a world of Jim Crow laws and blatant racism. Tisserand suggests that Krazy Kat’s gender fluid subtext was his own commentary on race, and in the talk he quoted several strips that allude to Krazy’s never pinned down gender and color swapping – “inferiority complexion” Krazy says in one strip…

Read the entire article here.

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