Brown Theology, Critical Race Theory, and the Laws of Burgos

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2015-07-04 01:25Z by Steven

Brown Theology, Critical Race Theory, and the Laws of Burgos

Jesus for Revolutionaries
2015-06-29

Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

The fervent cries of Montesino soon reached the ears of King Ferdinand.   On March 20, 1512, the king ordered Governor Diego Columbus to silence Montesinos under penalty of repatriation to Spain (Hanke, 18).   On March 23, 1512, the Dominican Superior in Spain followed suit and likewise rebuked Montesinos and the rebellious monks for their irksome teaching.  Undeterred, Montesinos held his ground.  To break the impasse, both the colonists and Dominicans sent representatives to Spain to argue their positions before the royal court.  The colonists appointed a Franciscan monk, Alonso del Espinal; the Dominicans selected Montesinos.  (Hanke, 22, 23).  Bewildered by the long list of abuses perpetrated against the natives, King Ferdinand convened a group of theologians and royal officials to examine the situation and to create laws which addressed the purported injustices.

In support of the colonist’s position, Friar Bernardo de Mesa asserted that the Indians should be subject to servitude because of their laziness.  By forcing them to labor for Spaniards, de Mesa reasoned, it would “curb their inclinations and compel them to industry” (Hanke, 23).   Drawing from Aristotle, a second court preacher, Licentiate Gregorio argued that forced labor was justified because the Indians were “natural slaves.”

According to Aristotle in Book 1 of the Politics, some human beings are born “natural slaves” (Smith, 110; 1254a21-24).  Natural slaves lack reason and have an aptitude for manual labor (Smith, 110; Politics, 1260a12; 3.1280a33-34).  Moreover, Aristotle asserts, a slave may be properly regarded as part of his master’s own body.  (Smith, 110; Politics, 1254b20-23).   In drawing from Aristotle’s natural slavery argument, Gregorio initiated a line of twisted theological reasoning which would later be used to justify conquest and colonization of all of the Americas, as well the enslavement of millions of African slaves.   Because the diverse indigenous populations of North and South America were “natural slaves” some would argue, it was morally acceptable to conquer their lands and force them to labor for enlightened Europeans.  As “natural slaves,” moreover, West Africans were less than human and therefore could be captured, shipped, and sold to Spanish, Portuguese, and English settlers.

After meeting more than 20 times, the royal junta came to several seemingly contradictory conclusions:  1. The Indians were free political subjects; 2. They were entitled to humane treatment;  3.  Nonetheless, they could be subject to compulsory labor for Spaniards; and, 4. The Indians should be forced to live in close proximity to the Europeans in order to allow for more effective religious inculcation and instruction.  (Hanke, 23).   These principles became codified in the first racially discriminatory laws in the history of the Americas called the Laws of Burgos (Hanke, 24)

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Cross-country variation in interracial marriage: a USA–Canada comparison of metropolitan areas

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-03 19:44Z by Steven

Cross-country variation in interracial marriage: a USA–Canada comparison of metropolitan areas

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 38, Issue 9, 2015
pages 1591-1609
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2015.1005644

Feng Hou

Zheng Wu

Christoph Schimmele

John Myles

While black–white intermarriage is uncommon in the USA, blacks in Canada are just as likely to marry whites as to marry blacks. Asians, in contrast, are more likely to marry whites in the USA than in Canada. We test the claim that high rates of interracial marriage are indicative of high levels of social integration against Peter Blau’s ‘macrostructural’ thesis that relative group size is the key to explaining differences in intermarriage rates across marriage markets. Using micro-data drawn from the American Community Survey and the Canadian census, we demonstrate that the relative size of racial groups accounts for over two-thirds of the USA–Canada difference in black–white unions and largely explains the cross-country difference in Asian–white unions. Under broadly similar social and economic conditions, a large enough difference in relative group size can become the predominant determinant of group differences in the prevalence of interracial unions.

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Mixed Race Okinawans and Their Obscure In-Betweeness

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-07-03 19:30Z by Steven

Mixed Race Okinawans and Their Obscure In-Betweeness

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 35, Issue 6 (November 2014)
pages 646-661
DOI: 10.1080/07256868.2014.963531

Mitzi Uehara Carter

While critical mixed race studies and popular discourse of haafu (half) are proliferating in Japan, the case of mixed race people in Okinawa remains obscure within these studies as exceptional cases of non-serial mixed bodies. Locally mixed Okinawans have been used to demonstrate incompleteness of sovereignty in Okinawa yet globally have been hailed under the haafu boom as ‘bridge people’ under a liberalist ideology of difference, sometimes naturalizing and justifying the controversial US base presence. This paper centers on the lives of mixed Okinawans I interviewed. I analyze how they engage with various mixed race discourses, concepts of Okinawan difference, and security imaginaries. Through their stories, I suggest that in Okinawa, mixed race as situated transnationally ‘in-between’ circulates against rationales of modernity that are embedded in security narratives in ways that the haafu boom does not address and therefore encapsulates mixed Okinawans as obscure. I argue that despite this positioning, many mixed Okinawans have cautiously rooted themselves locally through language, fluctuating imaginaries of citizenship, and diasporic meanings of Okinawan belonging.

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Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

Posted in Articles, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery on 2015-07-03 18:18Z by Steven

Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

University of North Carolina Press
January 2016
Approx. 336 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-2341-2

David Wheat, Assistant Professor of History
Michigan State University

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the “Africanization” of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean.

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Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing on 2015-07-02 01:33Z by Steven

Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

University of Massachusetts Press
2015-06-26

The recent controversy concerning Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity steered many readers to a 2008 UMass Press book by Baz Dreisinger, Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture, which explores cases in which legally white individuals are imagined, by themselves or by others, as passing for black.

Many news venues—the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, The Atlantic, and others—found their way to Dreisinger to ask her thoughts. The controversy, Dreisinger told the New York Times, “taps into all of these issues around blackface and wearing blackness and that whole cultural legacy, which makes it that much more vile.”

In The Atlantic, Dreisinger said “I think it’s critical to recognize the ways in which American whites have a long legacy of fetishizing blackness, whether they’re literally passing or not, but the ways in which their notions of blackness are based upon caricatures, and not characters. They’re based on idealized or cartoonish notions of what blackness is.”…

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Obama sharpens his message on race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-07-02 01:26Z by Steven

Obama sharpens his message on race

The Hill
Washington, D.C.
2015-07-01

Mike Lillis

President Obama is taking a more aggressive approach to the issue of race, repeatedly offering sharp commentary as he confronts America’s oldest, deepest divide.

Black lawmakers, Obama’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill, have cheered the president’s newfound willingness to address race head-on.

But they also see a nation that’s still plagued by inequality, discrimination and, in some cases, overt racism — first black president or none…

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Misty Copeland is first black dancer to lead US ballet group

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-01 21:39Z by Steven

Misty Copeland is first black dancer to lead US ballet group

BBC News
2015-07-01


Misty Copeland has become a breakout star for ballet

The American Ballet Theatre has named Misty Copeland its principal dancer – the first time a black ballerina has held the prestigious role.

Ms Copeland, 32, made her debut this month, starring in Swan Lake in New York, one of the most coveted roles in ballet.

In recent years, Ms Copeland has found fame outside of the ballet world.

She has appeared in commercials and TV shows and wrote a best-selling memoir.

“We haven’t had a ballet dancer who has broken through to popular culture like this since Mikhail Baryshnikov,” said Wendy Perron, an author and former editor of Dance Magazine

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The Social Construction of Race

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:55Z by Steven

The Social Construction of Race

Jacobin
2015-06-25

Brian Jones

Race is a social fiction imposed by the powerful on those they wish to control.

The first friend I ever had was a little boy named Matt. We were maybe four or five years old. Matt came to me one day with a very serious look on his face and gave me a little talking-to. He explained to me: “Brian, you’re brown. And I’m peach.”

I don’t remember saying anything back, but I think in my mind I was like “Okay. . . ? Well these Legos aren’t going to build themselves.”

Matt was trying to do me a favor. He was trying to introduce me to the very bizarre and peculiar rules that we all know as grownups — very important things to understand. If you didn’t understand them, you’d find American life and society very strange. You’d do things you shouldn’t do, go places you shouldn’t go. You’d mess up if you didn’t understand the particular rules that govern the ideology of race in the United States.

Sometimes when you go outside of the American context you begin to appreciate how particular and unique these rules are. I remember reading about a (probably apocryphal) interview with the former dictator of Haiti, Papa Doc Duvalier, who referred to the “white majority population” of Haiti. The American journalist interviewing him didn’t understand, so they had to define to each other what makes somebody white or black. The American journalist explained that in the US, one metaphorical drop of black blood designates someone as black. And Duvalier replied, “Well, that’s our definition of white.”

The whole idea of this talk — if you take away nothing else — is this: the whole thing is made up. That’s it. And you can make it up different ways; and people have and do. And it changes. And it has nothing to do with biology or genetics. There’s a study of several decades of census records that found that twice as many people who call themselves white have recent African ancestry as people who call themselves black.

This is not just a matter of folksy beliefs, or prejudice, or wrong ideas, though those things are all in the mix. This is a matter of law…

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Race in Rhode Island: Is race just an invention?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:34Z by Steven

Race in Rhode Island: Is race just an invention?

The Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island
2015-06-27

Paul Edward Parker

Classifications were created to divide people, say educator, historian.

When you ask “What is race?” don’t expect a simple answer.

And, when you consider Latinos — Are they a race or an ethnicity? — plus America’s ever growing multiracial identity, that complicated answer grows even more complex.

The apparently simple concept of race eludes easy definition, even though we have been counting people by race in Rhode Island as far back as 1774.

The federal government took up the practice in 1790, the year that Rhode Island became the 13th and final original state to ratify the Constitution.

Despite that long history of sorting people into racial categories, experts say it has little basis in science. It’s more about sociology and politics.

“Race is not a biological construct. It’s a social construct,” said Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, a retired Rhode Island College professor who, for nearly 40 years, taught classes on the anthropology of racism. “There’s a belief that it’s scientific,” she added. “It’s impossible to classify humans scientifically into race.”…

What about Latino?

Along with “What is race?” those who count Americans by categories have to ask: “Is Hispanic or Latino a race?”

The Census Bureau has said no, Hispanic origin is in addition to race. Someone who identifies as Hispanic or Latino also will belong to one or more of the five racial groups.

But two-thirds of American Latinos disagree, Lopez said. They have told Pew that Latino is part of their racial identity.

“I’m not white, and I’m not black,” said Anna Cano Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University in Providence. “I choose to be Latina.”

But Morales concedes racial and ethnic identity is not simple. “This is an incredibly complex set of questions,” she said…

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Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-01 19:32Z by Steven

Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Pew Research Center
2015-06-17

Jens Manuel Krogstad, Writer/Editor, Hispanic Trends Project

The number of multiracial Americans is growing nationwide, but in Hawaii, it’s nothing new. The Rainbow State – with its history of attracting immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world to work as farm laborers – stands far above the rest, with nearly one-in-four residents (24%) identifying as multiracial, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. The next most-multiracial states are far behind: Alaska (8%) and Oklahoma (7%).

Here’s another way to look at how much Hawaii stands out: In terms of total population, Hawaii is one of the smallest (1.4 million people), ranking 40th out of 50 states. But when ranking states with the highest total multiracial population, the state ranks sixth, with more than 330,000.

A new Pew Research survey found that the number of multiracial Americans may be higher than the estimates from Census, which has estimated that 3% of the overall U.S. population – and 2.1% of the adult population – is multiracial. But taking into account how adults describe their own race as well as the racial backgrounds of their parents and grandparents – which the census does not do – Pew Research estimates that 6.9% of the U.S. adult population could be considered multiracial…

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