What it means to be Métis: University of Ottawa researcher sharpens our understanding of the term

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-06-25 22:53Z by Steven

What it means to be Métis: University of Ottawa researcher sharpens our understanding of the term

Research Matters
2017-06-01

Sharon Oosthoek


The University of Ottawa’s Brenda Macdougall brings her expertise in Métis and First Nations history to bear on how a group of people become a nation. (University of Ottawa)

Every second Thursday, we will be featuring an Ontario Research Chair (ORC) from one of the province’s universities. ORCs are university research professorships created to drive provincial research and develop excellence, to create world-class centres of research, and to enhance Ontario’s competitiveness in Canada’s knowledge-based economy. See previous profiles here.

More than a century after being hanged for treason, Métis leader Louis Riel still has the power to polarize Canadians along ethnic lines.

Riel was born in 1844 in a fur-trading community known as the Red River Settlement, near modern-day Winnipeg. He came to fame in the fight for Métis rights and culture as the newly-formed Canadian government sought to expand its reach into his people’s prairie homeland.

Riel remains today one of the most studied figures in Canadian history and his “blood line” is still a topic of heated discussion because he was of French and Dene heritage.

“People talk about Riel in fractions all the time—that he is 1/8 Indian and so more white than native” says Brenda Macdougall. “When we discuss him in this fashion, it not only undermines who Riel was, it undermines who we are.”

Macdougall is the province’s first Chair in Métis Research at the University of Ottawa, a position funded by an endowment from the government of Ontario and the University of Ottawa. As chair, and a Métis woman herself, she has thought deeply about what the term means.

Historically, it was the French word for a person of mixed European and Indian ancestry, much like the word half-breed meant “mixed” in English. But Macdougall says the term has evolved over time to mean something more profound: a people who share a history, culture, and geography…

Read the entire article here.

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The Old Problems of “New People”

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-06-22 14:29Z by Steven

The Old Problems of “New People”

New Republic
2017-06-22

Morgan Jerkins


Courtesy Riverhead Books.

Danzy Senna’s new novel examines the ambivalent privileges of passing.

Danzy Senna, New People, A Novel (New York: Riverhead, 2017)

It is 1996 in Brooklyn. The crime rate is on the decline, artists are fleeing Manhattan and its staggering rents for neighborhoods such as DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, immigrants are flocking to the borough, and you could still buy a brownstone for under $500,000. This is also the year of the Fugees’s iconic album The Score, Lil Kim’s Hardcore, Foxy Brown’s Ill Na Na, and Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt. The era was one of creativity, movement, and rapid innovation, making it fertile ground for the racial dynamics explored in Danzy Senna’s highly anticipated third novel, New People. In a decade when the country had witnessed the Rodney King beating, the Los Angeles Riots, and the O.J. Simpson trial, racial tension were at an all-time high. This is not the time to try and escape one’s race. But there are Black Americans whose trauma from decades of racism leads them to cultivate themselves into a world of the light-skinned elite, and a world where they hope they will be safer, more compatible with the American Dream.

This is the world in which we meet Maria Pierce and Khalil Mirsky, two light-skinned, mixed race black people who want it all and are on track to get it: a Brooklyn brownstone, a wedding at a lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard with nouveau soul food, a dog named Thurgood, and two children “with skin the color of burnished leather” and “hair the color of spun gold” named Indigo and Cheo. Maria and Khalil met at Stanford, where they fell in love over conversations about interracial dating and misogyny in hip-hop, Giovanni’s Room and Cosby episodes, chicken and waffles. Now, Khalil, a part-time technology consultant, is about to take advantage of the dot-com boom by creating an online community of black “modern tribalism” with his friend, while Maria spends her days finishing up her dissertation on the Jonestown Massacre. It’s perfect. Until it isn’t…

Read the entire review here.

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Stanford graduate student finds patterns in stories about multiracialism

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-22 00:55Z by Steven

Stanford graduate student finds patterns in stories about multiracialism

Stanford News
Stanford University, Stanford, California
2017-06-21

Alex Shashkevich


Vanessa Seals (Image credit: Margaret Sena)

English doctoral student Vanessa Seals studies contemporary American novels and memoirs about multiracial people’s experiences to examine the role families play in their search for identity.

Who am I? It’s a question many of us ask at some point in our lives.

Vanessa Seals, a doctoral student in English, is exploring how people of mixed race tackle this question and form their racial identities.

Seals read and analyzed more than 50 contemporary American novels and memoirs, largely written in the past two decades, about the experiences of multiracial people as part of her dissertation research. She found that mixed-race individuals represented in the literature almost always look to their family and relatives when trying to figure out who they are…

Read the entire article here.

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Biracial and Bisexual – Our Identities are Important.

Posted in Articles, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-21 01:17Z by Steven

Biracial and Bisexual – Our Identities are Important.

Wear Your Voice: Intersectional Feminist Media
2017-06-07

Lara Witt, Senior Editor

When bisexuality isn’t being mischaracterized as being indecisive or greedy, it is being erased by cisgender, heterosexual folks which is partially why bisexual women face some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.

As someone who has written thousands of words about sexual assault and been vocal about being the victim of rape, I am not going to describe my pain or how I was raped – I am not here for a voyeuristic lens focused on violence inflicted upon my body – I am here because I want to discuss being bisexual and multiracial and how those two parts of my identity are pushed against in similar ways.

They take what they see as being a fracture within ourselves and exploit it to diminish our words. Sometimes, or oftentimes, this can bring up years of trauma. Multiracial or biracial identity and bisexuality are nuanced and complex, and can be difficult to navigate depending on how we are raised or what resources we have available to us…

Read the entire article here.

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No, Interracial Love is Not “Saving America”

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-06-14 01:25Z by Steven

No, Interracial Love is Not “Saving America”

Wear Your Voice: Intersectional Feminist Media
2017-06-12

Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda

This year is the 50th anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia, the famous Supreme Court case that officially overturned state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Predictably, this has been accompanied by a flurry of events, films, articles, and even songs celebrating this moment as a milestone in the history of America’s journey toward racial equality.

At a mixed race conference I recently attended, larger-than-life photographs of Richard and Mildred Loving, the white man and black woman whose relationship inspired the court case in 1965, adorned the walls. There and elsewhere, the Lovings were portrayed as “heroes” whose love valiantly overcame the racism of their time.

Just today, the New York Times proclaimed that interracial love was “saving America.”.

Statistics show that interracial marriages in the U.S. are on the rise, and this undoubtedly reflects a shift in attitudes toward race in the American population overall. However, there are several reasons why using interracial marriage as proof of racial progress in our society is not only misleading, but harmful.

First, state recognition of partnership often functions as a superficial symbol of progress, obscuring deeper issues of violence and inequality for the most marginalized members of a community. For example, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015, many heralded this as proof that queer people had finally been accepted into mainstream society…

Read the entire article here.

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On the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Marriage: When Race Isn’t the Only Difference

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 20:11Z by Steven

On the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Marriage: When Race Isn’t the Only Difference

Medium
2017-06-13

Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD, Independent Scholar & Researcher

[Rebecca Bodenheimer is the author of Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba]

Our story is not the Loving story. It is a tale of interracial love and marriage — like the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose journey was beautifully and poignantly represented in the 2016 Jeff Nichols film Loving — and yet, it’s so very different. Fifty years ago, the Lovings took on the state of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage in a landmark Supreme Court case, and on June 12, 1967, they won, hammering the final nail in the coffin of state prohibitions on interracial marriage. The Lovings were relatively similar in terms of background, including aspects of class, region, and language. The only thing that separated them was race. This is not to minimize the huge significance of racial difference, particularly in the 1950s South, but only to emphasize that in terms of other aspects of their identity, they were actually quite compatible with each other. One of the main messages I took away from the Loving movie was the gulf between the huge significance of race from a legal and social perspective, and its insignificance in the daily life of the Lovings. This story was not about a couple who set out to challenge a racist law, or even to take a stand on racial equality, at least not at first; rather it was about a man and woman in love, trying to do what was best for their family.

I am a white American woman married to a black Cuban man, and we have a mixed-race son. Despite the surface similarities between our story and that of the Lovings, especially as seen from an outsider’s perspective, I have always perceived our biggest divisions as related not to race, but rather to culture and class…

…I struggle with the potential perception of anti-blackness that identifying my son as mulato (or “mixed-race”) instead of “black” may present here in the U.S. On the other hand, doing so would erase the cultural specificity of racial categories in Cuba. Quite simply, my son would never be identified as black by his father or in Cuba. Ultimately, it will be up to him to decide how to identify himself, and unless it’s to claim he’s white, I have no skin in the game….

Read the entire article here.

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Does Growing Population of Multiracial Kids Portend a Future with Less Racism?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-06-13 18:02Z by Steven

Does Growing Population of Multiracial Kids Portend a Future with Less Racism?

WVTF Public Radio
Roanoke, Virginia
2017-06-13

Sandy Hausman, WVTF/RADIO IQ Charlottesville Bureau Chief


A growing number of families in this country include people of different races.
Credit NPR

Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that prevented people of different races from marrying in Virginia.  Now, one of every six newlyweds choose partners of a different race or ethnicity.  So does this mean America is on the road to ending racism?  And how do mixed race kids think of themselves.  Those questions puzzled a UVA alum whose new book offers intriguing answers.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl grew up in rural Virginia where race consciousness was strong.  Back then, the U.S. census bureau recorded only a handful of possible races for residents of the state.  Now, however, that has changed.

“Now we have 63 possible racial categories,”  Strmic-Pawl says.

And looking at the younger members of our population, the assistant professor of sociology was startled by the number of kids who don’t fit neatly into a single racial category…

[Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl is the author of Multiracialism and Its Discontents: A Comparative Analysis of Asian-White and Black-White Multiracials.]

Read the entire story here. Listen to the story (00:02:14) here.

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A Long, Long Look at Obama’s Life, Mostly Before the White House

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-06-13 17:30Z by Steven

A Long, Long Look at Obama’s Life, Mostly Before the White House

Books of The Times
The New York Times
2017-05-01

Michiko Kakutani, Chief Book Critic

RISING STAR
The Making of Barack Obama

By David J. Garrow
1,460 pages. William Morrow. $45.

Rising Star,” the voluminous 1,460-page biography of Barack Obama by David J. Garrow, is a dreary slog of a read: a bloated, tedious and — given its highly intemperate epilogue — ill-considered book that is in desperate need of editing, and way more exhausting than exhaustive.

Many of the more revealing moments in this volume will be familiar to readers of Obama’s own memoir, “Dreams From My Father”; a host of earlier books about Obama and his family; and myriad profiles of the former president that have appeared in newspapers and magazines over the years. Garrow has turned up little that’s substantially new — save for identifying and interviewing an old girlfriend from Obama’s early Chicago years, who claims that by 1987, “he already had his sights on becoming president.”

In the absence of thoughtful analysis or a powerful narrative through line, Garrow’s book settles for barraging the reader with a cascade of details — seemingly in hopes of creating a kind of pointillist picture. The problem is that all these data points never connect to form an illuminating portrait; the book does not open out to become the sort of resonant narrative that Robert A. Caro and Ron Chernow have pioneered, in which momentous historical events are deftly recreated, and a subject’s life is situated in a time and a place. Instead, Garrow has expended a huge amount of energy — his bibliography, including interviews with more than a thousand people, runs to 35 pages — on giving us minutely detailed accounts of early chapters of Obama’s life, like his years at Harvard Law School, his time in Chicago as a community organizer, and his work in the Illinois State Senate. Garrow gets to Obama’s presidency only in an epilogue…

…It’s odd that Garrow should seize on one former lover’s anger and hurt, and try to turn them into a Rosebud-like key to the former president’s life, referring to her repeatedly in his epilogue. He even tries to turn her perception — about Obama’s having willed himself into being — into a pejorative, when the act of self-invention, as other biographers have noted, was the enterprising and existential act of a young man who essentially had been abandoned by both his black father and white mother, and who found himself caught between cultures and trying, as he wrote in “Dreams,” “to raise myself to be a black man in America.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Mildred and Richard’s Sacrifice is Our Obligation

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Virginia on 2017-06-13 17:11Z by Steven

Mildred and Richard’s Sacrifice is Our Obligation

The Multiracial Activist
June 13, 2017

James Landrith, Founder and Publisher

50 years ago yesterday, Mildred Loving decided that the Commonwealth of Virginia was wrong to keep her and her husband away from their home and family. She decided that it was unacceptable for Judge Leon Bazile’s racist conservative Christian defense of the law to have the last word. She wanted to live with her husband in the community where they both grew up. What she wanted was far from unreasonable, unless of course, you were a white racist cop or judge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then, you had a magical divine sanction to ruin other people’s lives via the abhorrent Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

In his January 22, 1965 refusal to vacate the 1959 felony conviction of Mildred and Richard, Judge Bazile wrote,:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his [arrangement] there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Take a moment to clean up the vomit from your chin…

Read the entire article here.

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Please Don’t Ever Call Me Or My Family ‘Basically White’

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 17:00Z by Steven

Please Don’t Ever Call Me Or My Family ‘Basically White’

TIME
2017-06-12

Rasika W. Boice

Her blue eyes are childhood summers doing backward dives into the pool and boogie boarding with reckless abandon on the crests of chilly New England waves — I have the scars on my upper thighs to prove it. I’d happily drown in her piercing indigos, so different from my deep browns.

“She has your eye shape,” some say, looking from her to me, from me to her. They struggle to make the connection. The colors don’t match, not only of our eyes but also of our skin, she more of a latte to my coffee with skim.

As I help her up the slide at the playground, I wonder how many question if I’m her mother or nanny. And on bad days, I hope they decide nanny. That way, she’ll be safe from the ones who yell “Go home!” and “You don’t belong here!” Or worse…

Read the entire article here.

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