Longtime professor Martha Jones reflects on her time at the University

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-05-23 22:54Z by Steven

Longtime professor Martha Jones reflects on her time at the University

The Michigan Daily
2017-05-22

Riyah Basha, Daily News Editor


Courtesy of Martha Jones

In her 15 years at the University of Michigan, History Prof. Martha Jones has invested much of herself into the campus community — and the return has not disappointed. As a co-director of the Law School’s program in Race, Law and History, former associate chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and, most recently this winter, her work as a Presidential Bicentennial professor with the landmark Stumbling Blocks exhibit — Jones has become somewhat of a stalwart in convening campus around issues of race and social justice.

Jones arrived in Ann Arbor the day before 9/11, and — from the battle over affirmative action and Proposal 2 to Obama to Trump to the University’s contentious celebration of its 200th year — took part in molding the University in the years thereafter. This summer, though, Jones will relocate to Baltimore to join the history department at Johns Hopkins University. She joined the Daily for an exit interview of sorts, to reflect on her career at the University and the lessons she’s taken from this year, and decade, of powerful turbulence…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Uproar Over ‘Transracialism’

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Philosophy, United States on 2017-05-18 19:53Z by Steven

The Uproar Over ‘Transracialism’

The New York Times
2017-05-18

Rogers Brubaker, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles


Rachel Dolezal in 2015. The controversy over her choice to identify as black has lingered.
Credit Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review, via Associated Press

Rogers Brubaker is a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author, most recently, of “Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities.”

The world of academic philosophy is ordinarily a rather esoteric one. But Rebecca Tuvel’s article “In Defense of Transracialism,” published in the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia this spring, has generated a broad public discussion.

Dr. Tuvel was prompted to write her article by the controversy that erupted when Rachel Dolezal, the former local N.A.A.C.P. official who had long presented herself as black, was revealed to have grown up white. The Dolezal story broke just 10 days after Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair debut, and the two discussions merged. If Ms. Jenner could identify as a woman, could Ms. Dolezal identify as black? If transgender was a legitimate social identity, might transracial be as well? Dr. Tuvel’s article subjected these public debates to philosophical scrutiny.

The idea of transracialism had been rejected out of hand by the cultural left. Some worried — as many cultural conservatives indeed hoped — that this seemingly absurd idea might undermine the legitimacy of transgender claims. Others argued that if self-identification were to replace ancestry or phenotype as the touchstone of racial identity, this would encourage “racial fraud” and cultural appropriation. Because race has always been first and foremost an externally imposed classification, it is understandable that the idea of people declaring themselves transracial struck many as offensively dismissive of the social realities of race…

Read the entire article here.

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Rachel Dolezal, Luvvie and the boundaries of Blackness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-18 16:49Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal, Luvvie and the boundaries of Blackness

San Diego City Beat
2017-05-01

Minda Honey


Minda Honey

Just because I’m biracial, that doesn’t mean I didn’t put in the work

I sat nearly knee-to-knee with my professor in his cramped office. Pulled up on his computer was my latest essay. I was trying, rather unsuccessfully, to write about my experience growing up Black and Filipino in Kentucky. I wrote about my mother, born and raised in Manila by her mother. About her Black father who lived in California. About my mother’s skin, pale as cashews and lighter than my own. I wrote about what it was like for her to marry a Black man and move to the U.S. only to be confronted, through her children, with the same racism that had plagued her much darker siblings their entire lives.

My professor wanted to know, “Why now?” Why was I writing about all of this now? Was it because identity politics were in vogue?…

Read the entire article here.

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Intermarriage in the U.S. 50 Years After Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Reports, United States on 2017-05-18 16:34Z by Steven

Intermarriage in the U.S. 50 Years After Loving v. Virginia

Pew Research Center
2017-05-18

Gretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher

Anna Brown, Research Analyst

One-in-six newlyweds are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity

In 2015, 17% of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.2 In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states.

More broadly, one-in-ten married people in 2015 – not just those who recently married – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. This translates into 11 million people who were intermarried. The growth in intermarriage has coincided with shifting societal norms as Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities, even within their own families.

The most dramatic increases in intermarriage have occurred among black newlyweds. Since 1980, the share who married someone of a different race or ethnicity has more than tripled from 5% to 18%. White newlyweds, too, have experienced a rapid increase in intermarriage, with rates rising from 4% to 11%. However, despite this increase, they remain the least likely of all major racial or ethnic groups to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity.

Asian and Hispanic newlyweds are by far the most likely to intermarry in the U.S. About three-in-ten Asian newlyweds3 (29%) did so in 2015, and the share was 27% among recently married Hispanics. For these groups, intermarriage is even more prevalent among the U.S. born: 39% of U.S.-born Hispanic newlyweds and almost half (46%) of U.S.-born Asian newlyweds have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity…

Read the entire article here. Read the entire report here.

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Commentary: Puerto Rican: If you’re a shade darker, you face discrimination

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-18 01:11Z by Steven

Commentary: Puerto Rican: If you’re a shade darker, you face discrimination

Orlando Sentinel
2017-05-04

Pura Delgado
Orlando, Florida


In Miami, the Rev. Alphonso Jackson, left, from the Second Baptist Church and the Rev. Jeremy Upton from Refuge Church explain to children why state Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Senate. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

State Sen. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican, apologized recently for racist comments toward African-American lawmakers. It was offensive and disheartening that we now have lawmakers freely speaking to colleagues using such disgusting words. Artiles had the nerve to dismiss his racist and sexist conduct to partisan motives: He was not happy because his bills weren’t moving, and he thought that because his community is diverse that gives him the right to insult and degrade.

Artiles apologized on the Senate floor and later resigned. We can only hope that his apology was sincere…

Read the entire article here.

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Too pretty to play? Stephen Curry and the light-skinned black athlete

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-17 02:16Z by Steven

Too pretty to play? Stephen Curry and the light-skinned black athlete

The Conversation
2017-04-30

Ronald Hall, Professor of Social Work
Michigan State University


Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry walks off the court after a game against the Denver Nuggets in February. USA Today Sports/Reuters

During a recent interview, Golden State Warriors Draymond Green discussed why players around the league have long doubted or dismissed the talents of his superstar teammate, Stephen Curry. But it was Green’s last point, mentioned almost as an aside – “And of course, Steph is light-skinned so [players] want to make him out to be soft” – that got the most attention.

To white Americans, the relationship between skin color and toughness or masculinity might not be obvious. They might associate skin color with race or with attractiveness. But toughness? Not so much.

My first book, published in 1992, referred to skin color as “The Last Taboo Among African Americans.” It explored how African-Americans, within their community, grapple with prejudices that stem from their various shades of skin colors. If you’re black, depending on the shade of your skin, other black people might think of you as “high yella” or “red-boned,” a “white wanna-be” or just not “black enough.”…

..After the first African slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, a population of mixed-race blacks emerged. Their masters and fellow slaves celebrated their exotic features – not quite African, but not exactly white. The women were called “fancy girls” and paraded at quadroon balls, events for wealthy white men to meet and mingle with them. Lighter-skinned black men, meanwhile, were dubbed “run ‘round men” because, with their fairer skin, they could supposedly have their pick of any woman in the black community…

Read the entire article here.

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Shaping a child’s race identity: Black, white, or other?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-17 01:28Z by Steven

Shaping a child’s race identity: Black, white, or other?

Chinook Observer
Long Beach, Washington
2017-05-09

Ruth Elaine Jutila Chamberlin


Lindsay Chamberlin was photographed near the time of her adoption. FAMILY PHOTO

We sat in straight chairs, waiting to meet our daughter. Burt held Jordan, age two, and Jamie, 13 months, while I jittered solo, eager to hold the baby. “Eager” doesn’t come close. I was afire. Atingle!

Here’s what we knew (no photos available): Eight months old. African-American/Irish-American. Foster child, next county. We wanted her! But were we, a white couple, the right parents for this child? Adoption workers would watch us interact with the baby and decide, yes or no.

The caseworker came in, carrying Lindsey (we’d already named her, hoping to adopt her). I was stunned! My imaginary Lindsey was a shy, pint-sized, brown-skinned baby. The real one was big for her age, light-skinned, calm, and forceful.

Lindsey was in charge of the meeting. She shot us piercing looks. Dear child! First she lost her birthmom, her familiar voice and heart rhythms. Lindsey grieved. Another mom took her. Everything changed. Lindsey grieved more. But she was brave. She learned to roll over, sit and creep, eat solid food, looking to that mom for praise and safety. Now SHE’S gone? NOT FAIR! No one asked ME!…

Read the entire article here.

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Samosa Caucus: Indian Americans in US Congress are emerging as a power bloc

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2017-05-14 22:41Z by Steven

Samosa Caucus: Indian Americans in US Congress are emerging as a power bloc

Hindustan Times
New Delhi, India
2017-05-14

Yashwant Raj, U.S. Correspondent


Potentially presidential: Congresswoman Kamala Harris. (File photo)

A new power bloc rises in the US. Can an Indian American some day be president of the United States?

As the young Congressman peered intently at the faces of Indian Americans around him in a small, crowded hall inside the Indian embassy in downtown DC, he felt a rush of emotion; he felt beholden to them. “I stand on your shoulders to be in the United States Congress,” he said, tapping the podium, as was his habit, with his pen. “Please visit me in our office; my office is your office, and anything you need on any issue, you come to us and we will help you. Pramila, me, Ami, Ro and everyone else – we are at your service.” He calls them the “Samosa Caucus”.

That was Raja Krishnamurthi, one of five Indian Americans elected to the US Congress that started its 115th two-year term in 2017. The three he mentioned by their first names were Pramila Jayapal, Ami Bera and Ro Khanna – all elected to the House of Representatives – and Kamala Harris, the one he missed, is the fifth of the group and the first American of Indian descent elected to the Senate.

They are all Democrats, relatively young – with Bera, Harris and Jayapal the oldest, at 51 – and brimming with hope, plans and ambition. They made history in the past election by winning in record numbers. They are now caucusing as a group in the US legislature in the tradition of India Caucus, the Black Caucus and various other groupings, which, however, are officially recognised as such.

The Samosa Caucus is not there yet, but a beginning has been made…

Read the entire article here.

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Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia by David Pomfret (review)

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive on 2017-05-14 22:16Z by Steven

Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia by David Pomfret (review)

The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 2017
pages 271-273

Molly J. Giblin, Instructor
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia.
By David Pomfret.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015. 416pp. Cloth $65.

While colonial cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, Saigon, and Hanoi were home to relatively small numbers of Europeans in comparison to the settler colonies of Algeria, Australia, or New Zealand, David Pomfret’s Youth and Empire argues that childhood in these spaces served as a touchstone upon which regimes of race and hierarchies of power were negotiated. Pomfret’s sociocultural history explores the role of childhood in British and French colonial urban centers in Asia. Because youth epitomized both the physical and figurative vulnerability of Europeans in the tropics, attempts to regulate childhood mirrored the efforts of French and British colonial authorities to safeguard the future of a European project in the East. Colonial subjects used childhood, children, and child-rearing to delineate boundaries of identity, thus bringing together everyday life and high-level policymaking.

Pomfret builds upon work by such scholars as Ann Laura Stoler, Elizabeth Buettner, Julia Clancy Smith, and Frances Gouda, who have articulated how imperial authority pivoted around constellations of sex, gender, domesticity, and the family. He unites the children of the colonized and of colonizers within a single but capacious analytical framework that allows him to contrast the productive (but potentially dangerous) malleability of the European child with the perpetual infantilization of Asian colonial subjects. Pomfret examines how childhood itself was at the fulcrum of the European colonial project in Asia because it worked in tandem with parallel hierarchies of race, gender, and civilization. The scope of the project—stretching between two empires and across spaces within them—creates a challenge that Pomfret rises to meet. He recognizes that conceptions of childhood were constructed and shifting within Europe as well as in its overseas territories. Nonetheless, he manages to draw broad conclusions across imperial lines while pointing to moments of divergence, showing how local cultures weighed differently upon the demands of colonial prestige, expectations of age, and racial seclusion. In an anthropologically informed argument, he demonstrates that confluences in policy and perception were due in part to cross-cultural perceptions of youth, but more importantly, grew out of pan-imperial conversations about whiteness, race, and cultural hygiene.

Pomfret’s wide-ranging study is based upon artful readings of published and archival sources that span the globe and two centuries of colonial history. Because Pomfret evaluates childhood from the standpoint of colonial management, potential paths of inquiry remain somewhat underdeveloped. Perhaps due to constraints of language, most of Pomfret’s historical informants are European. He demonstrates that “local pressures ensured that colonial childhoods developed quite different meanings and parameters on the ground” (53). However, such pressures seem to be grounded in administrative exigencies or national prejudices. What of indigenous ones? While he does attempt to draw indigenous voices out of European sources and is alert to trans-racial physical and emotional connections expressed within them, only in the last third of the book does the reader encounter substantive discussions of any of the non-European participants involved in ordering childhood. Though he refers many times to interaction with Asian wives, amahs, wet nurses, students, and medical practitioners, they are for the most part spectral, serving as foils against which the subjectivities of European childhood were assembled. His sophisticated analysis of the twin discourses of childhood and infantilization becomes somewhat muted by too-neat distinctions between early assimilationist and later associationist French policy, and he overly insists on the pervasiveness of the “decivilizing” critiques that Europeans leveled against Chinese in the nineteenth century (28). Moreover, Pomfret’s tendency to ventriloquize Asian responses risks replicating the discourses that he claims to analyze. Likewise, Pomfret’s multicentered approach shows how people and ideas moved across imperial spaces. Yet he does not linger upon existing codes of kinship (Confucian and otherwise) that would likely have coexisted in the multiethnic cities of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Pomfret does touch upon widespread European ideas about the antiquity of East Asian cultures. However, he argues, that narrative contributed to an emphasis on how cultural failings (such as a lack of…

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The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-14 19:20Z by Steven

The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey

TIME
2017-05-12

Haley Sweetland Edwards


John Thompson, Director, U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau

In a week dominated by President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, you could be forgiven for missing the imminent departure of another, less prominent federal official.

Yet the news this week that John H. Thompson, the director of the Census Bureau, has abruptly resigned is arguably as consequential to the future of our democracy. That’s because the Census Bureau, while less flashy than the FBI, plays a staggeringly important role in both U.S. elections and an array of state and federal government functions.

“At the very heart of the Census is nothing less than political power and money,” said Terri Ann Lowenthal, who served as the staff director of the House census oversight subcommittee before becoming a consultant on census policy and operational issues. “It is the basis, the very foundation, of our democracy and the Constitution’s promise of equal representation.”

The results of the decennial Census—the next will be in 2020—will determine how state and federal political districts are drawn; which Americans are “counted” for representation; and how federal dollars, many of which are allocated on a per capita basis, are spent…

Read the entire article here.

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