We should have seen Trump coming

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-08 04:18Z by Steven

We should have seen Trump coming

The Guardian
2017-09-29

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Obama’s rise felt like a new chapter in American history. But the original sin of white supremacy was not so easily erased.

I have often wondered how I missed the coming tragedy. It is not so much that I should have predicted that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It’s just that I shouldn’t have put it past us. It was tough to keep track of the currents of politics and pageantry swirling at once. All my life I had seen myself, and my people, backed into a corner. Had I been wrong? Watching the crowds at county fairs cheer for Michelle Obama in 2008, or flipping through the enchanting photo spreads of the glamorous incoming administration, it was easy to believe that I had been.

And it was more than symbolic. Barack Obama’s victory meant not just a black president but also that Democrats, the party supported by most black people, enjoyed majorities in Congress. Prominent intellectuals were predicting that modern conservatism – a movement steeped in white resentment – was at its end and that a demographic wave of Asians, Latinos and blacks would sink the Republican party.

Back in the summer of 2008, as Obama closed out the primary and closed in on history, vendors in Harlem hawked T-shirts emblazoned with his face and posters placing him in the black Valhalla where Martin, Malcolm and Harriet were throned. It is hard to remember the excitement of that time, because I now know that the sense we had that summer, the sense that we were approaching an end-of-history moment, proved to be wrong.

It is not so much that I logically reasoned out that Obama’s election would author a post-racist age. But it now seemed possible that white supremacy, the scourge of American history, might well be banished in my lifetime. In those days I imagined racism as a tumour that could be isolated and removed from the body of America, not as a pervasive system both native and essential to that body. From that perspective, it seemed possible that the success of one man really could alter history, or even end it…

Read the entire article here.

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My mother passed for white for most of her life. Here’s what that taught me about racial identity.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Virginia on 2017-10-07 22:32Z by Steven

My mother passed for white for most of her life. Here’s what that taught me about racial identity.

Mic
2017-09-12

Gail Lukasik


Gail’s grandfather’s family that she never knew
Source: Gail Lukasik

Gail Lukasik, Ph.D. is a professional speaker, mystery novelist, and the author of the upcoming memoir, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing (Skyhorse; Oct. 17).

For the majority of my life, I believed I was a white woman. I had no reason to question my race or my racial heritage. Why would I? I had only to look in the mirror to know the veracity of my whiteness — or so I thought.

In 1995, while scrolling through the 1900 Louisiana census records looking for my mother’s father, Azemar Frederic of New Orleans, I made a startling discovery. Azemar Frederic and his entire family were classified as black. In that split second, everything I knew about myself changed. When I walked into the Illinois family history center, I was a white woman. When I left I didn’t know who I was. My sense of identity was shattered…

Read the entire article here.

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Still Processing: Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-10-07 21:32Z by Steven

Still Processing: Being Biracial

Still Processing
The New York Times
2017-10-05

Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham


Rashida Jones as Santamonica, the sister of Tracee Ellis Ross’s character on ABC’s “Black-ish.”
Credit Kelsey McNeal/Getty Images

For months, the two of us have been trying to figure out a way to have a conversation about the experience of being biracial. This week we just go for it. First, we talk about the cultural and historical suspicion America still has of black-white interracial romantic relationships. It gives us an excuse to revisit the reason “Get Out” has been one of the year’s major movies: It articulates the previously inarticulable about race. Then we consider the offspring of interracial coupling — whether the possibility of occupying two identities (or more) is a choice, a luxury or a delusion; and what fears, doubts or envy nonbiracial black Americans might feel about biracial black Americans. We drop in on Spike Lee’sSchool Daze” and the sitcom “Black-ish.” We consider our feelings about Rashida Jones, Drake and Vin Diesel. We unpack the writings of Zadie Smith and Barack Obama. And we kind of have to ask: Aren’t we all a little bit mixed?

Read the entire article here.

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Dorothy Roberts: What’s Race Got to Do with Medicine?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-10-07 21:14Z by Steven

Dorothy Roberts: What’s Race Got to Do with Medicine?

TED Radio Hour
National Public Radio
2017-02-10

Guy Raz, Host

About Dorothy Roberts’ TED Talk

Doctors often take a patient’s race into account when making a diagnosis—or ruling one out. Professor Dorothy Roberts says this practice is both outdated and dangerous.

About Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts is a social justice advocate and law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She directs the program on Race, Science, and Society in the Center for Africana Studies. Roberts is the author of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century.

So sometimes getting better results in medicine isn’t just about developing new technology or drugs. Sometimes getting better results is about looking at patients in a different way.

DOROTHY ROBERTS: Yes, exactly.

RAZ: This is Dorothy Roberts.

ROBERTS: Professor of Africana studies and law and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

RAZ: About 15 years ago, Dorothy had an experience when she was pregnant with her fourth child.

ROBERTS: I was 44 years old when I had him, and I was considered to be a high-risk, high-maternal age.

RAZ: So her doctor had her sign up for a clinical trial.

ROBERTS: That involved a genetic test.

RAZ: And one of the first questions she was asked was about her race.

ROBERTS: They just asked me to check the box. And my question is, why use race?

RAZ: In other words, why use race when it doesn’t tell us anything about our genes? Here’s Dorothy Roberts on the TED stage…

Listen to the entire interview here. Download the interview (00:09:27) here. Read the transcript here.

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Ijeoma Oluo: ‘I am drowning in whiteness’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-10-07 20:47Z by Steven

Ijeoma Oluo: ‘I am drowning in whiteness’

KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio
Seattle, Washington
2017-10-01

Ijeoma Oluo


Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Hi, I am Ijeoma Oluo, and I am a mixed race black woman who was raised by a white mother in this very white city.

I have a Ph.D. in whiteness, and I was raised in “Seattle nice.” I was steeped in the good intentions of this city and I hate it.

I love this city. I love you guys. Also, I hate it. I really do…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story (00:10:24) here.

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Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-29 02:52Z by Steven

Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

London Evening Standard
2017-08-14

Veronica Lee


Impassioned: Natasha Marshall performs in Half Breed Rebecca Need-Menear

Natasha Marshall gives an impassioned performance in a semi-autobiographical show, writes Veronica Lee

“I am that mixed-race kid, 50/50. I’m about as black as it goes round here,” 17-year-old Jaz says in Natasha Marshall’s semi-autobiographical piece about being the only non-white girl growing up in a small English village.

Jaz, who lives with her white grandmother in the West Country, dreams of going to drama school while her best friend, Brogan, whose main ambition in life is to have a baby, talks of London as if it were Mars.

But they’re tight, these two, kindred spirits brought together by both having spent time in the care system, and Brogan, despite not being able to fathom why her friend is doing it, is as determined as Jaz that her Shakespeare audition speech will be perfect…

Read the entire review here.

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

Read the entire article here.

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Notes on a Lifetime of Passing

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-27 04:20Z by Steven

Notes on a Lifetime of Passing

The New Yorker
2017-09-22

Trey Ellis, Associate Professor
Graduate School of the Arts
Columbia University, New York, New York


How do we remember how we crafted ourselves to an audience the last time we met? Luckily, I’ve had years of practice.
Photograph by Universal History Archive / UIG via Getty

Thanks to my parents transplanting me often from one ethnic mix to another, I’ve become something of a code-switching connoisseur.

I share the head of the table in the conference room in Columbia’s Faculty House with a distinguished professor from the University of Southern California. We are the featured guests for the latest Columbia University Seminar, a prestigious academic lecture series that has been running continuously since 1945. I am the invited “respondent/discussant” for the presentation of the Dartmouth professor Mark Williams’s paper “Passing for History: Humor and Early Television Historiography.” All the serious, eminent professors and doctoral candidates lining each side of the table nod and take notes when Williams references visual and televisual “indexicality.”

As soon as he finishes, we clap, and immediately the array of eyes home in on my own. Outwardly, I spend a lot of time thanking everyone who can possibly be thanked. Inwardly, I obsess about my lowly and decades-old B.A., my ignorance of the word “indexicality,” and how one of the assembled Illuminati at any moment, surely, in the middle of my talk, will burst to his feet and shout, like Congressman Joe Wilson at Barack Obama’s 2009 State of the Union address, “You lie!

See, I’m not a real professor, but I play one in arts school.

I was invited to respond that night because I’d written a screenplay about the period discussed, and because, thirty years earlier, soon after graduating college, I had written an essay called “The New Black Aesthetic,” which over the years has allowed me a back-door entrance into proper academic conferences such as this one. My actual job, teaching screenwriting as an associate professor of professional practice in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, is technically academic, but really arts-academic, which is to say academic-adjacent. Nevertheless, as I enter my tenth year of passing for a real professor, I find myself less and less inclined to correct those who mistakenly call me one.

You see, passing is like that. The real Harvard Business School professor and TED Talk rock star Amy Cuddy’s advice to “fake it till you become it” is a corollary to long-term passing. Or, as the veteran screenwriter William Goldman phrased it in the title of his second acidic Hollywood memoir, “Which Lie Did I Tell?”..

…So, at that Columbia seminar, despite my terror of being outed, the subject of the discussion was delicious to me. Thanks to Professor Williams’s work and exhaustive research by the rock critic R. J. Smith, I learned about Korla Pandit, a.k.a. Cactus Pandi, a.k.a. Juan Rolando, a.k.a. John Roland Redd. Pandit was a kitsch fixture of Los Angeles television in the nineteen-fifties, a mesmerizing, bejewelled-turbaned Indian swami in a sharp Western suit. For fifteen minutes every evening, first locally and then nationally, he wordlessly seduced the camera, swaying and staring, almost as unblinking as the lens, while effortlessly noodling on his Hammond organ or a piano, no sheet music, never looking down, as fluid Orientalist melodies undulated from the keyboards as if Pandit were about to conjure endless ranks of grinning, dancing cobras.

Housewives swooned before his image: exotically light-brown, crowned in his tight bejewelled turban, never, ever speaking. The ultimate mystery man, from 1948 to 1953 Pandit was becoming fabulously famous. Then, after a contract dispute with his syndicator, he was replaced by another keyboard player who went on to use the very same sets, only this guy was always smiling instead of cool and smoky, in a white tie and tails, a lit candelabra reflected in the black gloss of the grand piano’s lid. Pandit resented Liberace for the rest of his life.

Both of them were passing. Liberace as straight when he was gay, Korla as an Indian when he was a black St. Louisan, born John Roland Redd. Redd had moved to Hollywood in the nineteen-thirties, and, like all black musicians, had to scrounge for gigs, since he was barred from the union. He then simply changed his name to Juan Rolando and started playing all over town. A few years later, his identity crossed the South Pacific to become Korla Pandit, a New Delhi-born musical prodigy, classically trained at the University of Chicago. The prodigy part was true: he was a brilliant and sought-after pianist for radio and high-profile Hollywood gigs. In the nineteen-forties, he and his white, blond wife (they married in Tijuana, where interracial marriages were legal) regularly partied with Errol Flynn and Bob Hope

Read the entire essay here.

This essay appears in the forthcoming collection of essays “We Wear the Mask.”

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Mixed Remix: Mixed race voices in Hip Hop and the Complex Territory of Hip Hop Masculinity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2017-09-27 03:45Z by Steven

Mixed Remix: Mixed race voices in Hip Hop and the Complex Territory of Hip Hop Masculinity

September 2017

Wayne Martin Freeman, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Ethnic Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder

With its multicultural origins and ethos, as well as concerns with race and racial justice, Hip Hop music and culture has been at the forefront of describing and critiquing the latest forms of racial struggle and racial formations. Hip Hop continues to serve as a “political battlefield” with rap as an important sounding board or counterpublic sphere, one that includes multiple philosophies regarding mixed race identities and multiraciality. However, the male, heterosexual, centeredness of Hip Hop also means that most of its louder voices are invested in particular conceptions of masculinity, often characterized by performances of hypermasculinity. Through analysis of rap songs and albums, this paper explores the diversity of philosophies regarding mixed race identities and multiraciality found in rap music, as well as theorizes upon the unique intersections of mixed race identities and Hip Hop hypermasculinity.

Read the entire article here (by permission of the author).

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Virginia Officials, Hidden Figures Author Join NASA in Honoring Legacy of Famed Mathematician; Live on NASA Television

Posted in Articles, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Virginia, Women on 2017-09-22 15:48Z by Steven

Virginia Officials, Hidden Figures Author Join NASA in Honoring Legacy of Famed Mathematician; Live on NASA Television

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Langley
Media Advisory M17-105

Karen Northon
Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
202-358-1540

Mike Finneran
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
757-864-6110

2017-09-07


The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Credits: NASA

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and author Margot Lee Shetterly are among the dignitaries honoring Katherine Johnson, former NASA employee and central character of the book and movie Hidden Figures, at 1 p.m. [EDT] Sept. 22 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

They will join Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and Langley Center Director David Bowles in cutting the ribbon to officially open the center’s new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, a state-of-the-art lab for innovative research and development supporting NASA’s exploration missions.

The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Media wishing to attend must contact Michael Finneran of the Langley communications office at 757-864-6110 or michael.p.finneran@nasa.gov.

Johnson, 99, will attend and participate in photo opportunities, but will not be available for interviews. A prerecorded message from her will be aired during the ceremony and a statement will be read.

Johnson was a “human computer” at Langley who calculated trajectories for America’s first spaceflights in the 1960s. The retired mathematician was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2015. Her contributions and those of other NASA African-American human computers are chronicled in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, based on Lee-Shetterly’s book of the same name. She worked at Langley from 1953 until she retired in 1986.

For more about Johnson, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) is a $23-million, 37,000-square-foot, energy efficient structure that consolidates five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis. Much of the work now done by wind tunnels eventually will be performed by computers like those at the CRF.

For more information about Langley Research Center, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/langley

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