The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-12-18 01:00Z by Steven

The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences

People Magazine

Sandra Sobieraj Westfall

Barack and Michelle Obama (Gillian Laub)

The Obamas open up about raising their daughters, the impact of stereotypes, and what’s on the POTUS dance party playlist.

The protective bubble that comes with the presidency – the armored limo, the Secret Service detail, the White House – shields Barack and Michelle Obama from a lot of unpleasantness. But their encounters with racial prejudice aren’t as far in the past as one might expect. And they obviously still sting.

“I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” the first lady told People, laughing wryly, along with her husband, at the assumption that the first family has been largely insulated from coming face-to-face with racism.

“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of People.

In a 30-minute conversation, the president and Mrs. Obama candidly added their stories to the national discussion of race and racial profiling that was sparked by the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.

“There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” said the president, adding that, yes, it had happened to him…

Read the entire article preview here.

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When White People See Themselves With Black Skin, Something Interesting Happens

Posted in Articles, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2014-12-18 00:45Z by Steven

When White People See Themselves With Black Skin, Something Interesting Happens

The Huffington Post

Anna Almendrala, Healthy Living Editor

Macrina Cooper-White, Associate Science Editor

The antidote to racism partly lies in empathy, or the willingness to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” as the saying goes. But scientists from universities across Europe are taking the maxim one step further, providing people an opportunity to experience life in someone else’s skin by experimenting with virtual reality as a means of helping people shed racial stereotypes.

Researchers from London and Barcelona teamed up to discuss their recent experiments on virtual reality and race in an opinion piece for the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, published Dec. 15. The researchers found that if people got the chance to physically experience their own body with different skin colors (or ages and sexes), their unconscious biases against other racial groups could be diminished.

This isn’t merely a question of changing mentality or perception. The experience of “living” in different skin triggers sensory signals in the brain that allow it to expand its understanding of what a body can look like. This can “cause people to change their attitudes about others,” wrote the study’s co-researcher, Professor Mel Slater, a part-time professor of virtual environments at the University College London and research professor at the University of Barcelona…

Read the entire article here.

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EMERGE-ing Identities

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-17 21:56Z by Steven

EMERGE-ing Identities

Middle Ground: Exploring the spaces between structures of race, class, gender and nature.

Kaily Heitz

MERGE Mission Statement: “To provide a safe space for people of mixed heritage in which we may discuss issues of multi-ethnic identity and to raise awareness within the Claremont University Consortium community about the multi-ethnic experience.”

In the fall of 2010, I began my first semester of school at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Like my peers, I was shuttled between activity booths, clubs, activist organizations and affinity groups by an administration eager to help their students feel at home on campus. They were particularly keen on easing this transition for the more “diverse” quotient of the student body. As a result, I was sent a letter from the Black Student Affairs office [(OBSA)] that encouraged me to visit their center and indicated that I would be receiving a black student mentor. A mentor? I thought that this seemed unnecessary and a little impertinent, but I wasn’t about to turn down an offer of friendship so early in the game.

I met with my OBSA mentor over dinner later that week along with two other girls from my class. When our mentor saw us, she descended upon us like a mother hen coming to roost, telling us to call her mom and herding us protectively to a table near the windows. The other girls and I, who I noticed almost immediately were also mixed with light skin and curly hair, looked at one another sheepishly, each of us silently thinking, “What did we just sign up for?”

My fellow mentees, Katie Robinson and Sophie Howard, and I, became instant friends through our shared sense of unease with the enthusiastic induction to the black community that our “mother hen” had impressed upon us. The next week, we met up to discuss our initial perceptions about campus life and, more importantly, our struggles to identify as mixed race in a space that did not recognize us. We bemoaned the lack of an organized multi-ethnic presence at the Claremont Colleges and felt equally resentful toward OBSA for assuming that we wanted to be a part of an exclusively black community. “Well hey, what if we started our own club?” As fledglings in an entirely new environment, the idea seemed ambitious, but also amazingly simple. All we needed was a space and enough interest, which, from our interactions with other students, seemed to already be present.

The following semester, after a number of forms had been filled out and ads printed, we had a room booked and a steady following of a grand total of about five students. A few months after our first meeting, we had a name: MERGE, the Multi Ethnic and Racial Group Experience…

Read the entire article here.

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Jewish tent widens as diversity grows

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2014-12-17 19:58Z by Steven

Jewish tent widens as diversity grows

The Chicago Tribune

Bonnie Miller Rubin, Reporter

Ellen Zemel (left) lends a hand for a symbolic lighting of a menorah for Hanukkah during a party for parents and children of Project Esther: The Chicago Jewish Adoption Network of the Jewish Child & Family Services, at the Elain Kersten Children’s Center in Northbrook. (Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune)

‘The tribe’ expands to include children of many ethnicities

Meira and Tyler Burnett look forward to their family’s annual Hanukkah party, when they will light the menorah and enjoy traditional potato pancakes, called latkes.

The siblings, ages 11 and 14, respectively, also will sing in the children’s choir at B’nai Yehuda Beth Shalom, where four of the eight participants are African-American — just like them.

“When I tell friends at school that I’m Jewish, they don’t believe me,” said Meira, at the Homewood synagogue. “But that’s what I am.”

The American Jewish population has always been overwhelmingly white, with Central or Eastern European roots — synonymous with matzo ball soup, bagels, Maxwell Street pushcarts and “Seinfeld” — and it’s common to hear Jewish people refer to themselves as members of “the tribe.”

But today, as Jews prepare to celebrate Hanukkah, the eight-day holiday that begins Tuesday, the tribe looks different, because of interracial marriages, adoptions and conversions. And while the white majority still holds true, experts say more racial and ethnic diversity can be found across the spectrum of Judaism.

“There’s more variety of narratives than ever before,” said Chava Shervington, president of The Jewish Multicultural Network. The Philadelphia-based organization started in 1997 with 20 families and has grown to more than 950 members and almost 3,000 Facebook followers, she said. Its tag line: “Because Jews come in all colors.”

The increase in diversity is difficult to quantify. The Chicago Jewish Population Study, conducted every decade by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, first asked about race in 2010. It found that 4 percent (or 5,600 Jewish households) are multiracial, including black, Hispanic, Asian and biracial members…

Read the entire article here or here.

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“The Double Curse of Sex and Color”: Robert Purvis and Human Rights

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-12-17 18:59Z by Steven

“The Double Curse of Sex and Color”: Robert Purvis and Human Rights

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Volume 121 [CXXI], Number 1-2, January/April 1997
pages 53-76

Margaret Hope Bacon (1921-2011)

In 1869 A NATIONAL WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE convention was held for the first time in Washington, D.C. The Fourteenth Amendment had recently been ratified and the Fifteenth was about to be introduced into Congress. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other women present used the opportunity to object to black men receiving the vote before women, both black and white, were enfranchised. Their arguments were countered by those of Frederick Douglass, Edward M. Davis, Dr. Charles Burleigh Purvis, and others, who maintained that the Southern black male needed the shield of suffrage to protect him from the reign of terror being visited upon him by former slave owners.

A tall slender man with fair skin and white hair rose at his seat and began to speak. Elizabeth Stanton invited him to come forward and address the convention from the platform. Robert Purvis of Philadelphia said that he was willing to wait for the vote for himself and his sons and his race until women were also permitted to enjoy it. It was important to him that his daughter be enfranchised, since she bore the double curse of sex and race. He chided his son, Dr. Charles Purvis, for holding a narrow position, and reminded him that his sister Hattie also deserved to be enfranchised.

Alone among the black men who had supported women’s rights in the antislavery movement, Robert Purvis remained an advocate of suffrage for women throughout the period of debate and schism over the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. In 1888 he was honored by Susan B. Anthony at the International Council of Women, meeting in Washington, D.C., for his courageous stand in 1869 in opposition to his own son.

Purvis’s advocacy of women’s rights was rooted in his deeply held convictions on human rights. He believed strongly that the struggle for equality for blacks could not be separated from that of women, of American Indians, of Irish nationalists demanding home rule, of all minorities. He objected to all associations based on color alone and rejected the term “African-American.” ‘There is not a single African in the United States,” he told a Philadelphia audience in 1886. “We are to the manner born; we are native Americans.”

Purvis’s position on human rights undoubtedly stemmed in part from his own mixed-race background. His grandmother, Dido Badaracka, was born in Morocco. Purvis described her as a “full-blooded Moor of magnificent features and great beauty. She had crisp hair and a stately manner.” In approximately 1766, at the age of twelve, she was captured by a slave trader along with an Arab girl. The two had been enticed to go a mile or two out of the city where they lived to see a deer that had been caught. They were seized, loaded on the backs of camels, and carried to a slave market on the coast. Here they were loaded onto a slaver and transported to Charleston, South Carolina. At the slave market in Charleston, Dido was bought by a kind white woman, named Day or Deas, who educated her, treated her as a companion, and left instructions that she was to be freed when the woman died, nine years later, in 1775…

Read the entire article here.

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Anomaly dir. by Jessica Chen Drammeh (review)

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-17 18:25Z by Steven

Anomaly dir. by Jessica Chen Drammeh (review)

African Studies Review
Volume 57, Number 3, December 2014
pages 274-275

Manouchka Kelly Labouba, USC Provost’s PhD Fellow
Critical Studies School of Cinematic Arts
University of Southern California

Anomaly is a personal documentary featuring mixed-raced people who discuss the complexities and challenges of defining their identity across the different races and cultures they belong to. They talk about the limitations and prejudices of the mainstream approach to race, which makes individuals like them feel like misfits. The director, Jessica Chen Drammeh, is a biracial Asian-Caucasian woman. She introduces herself as “unidentified,” and calls herself an “anomaly,” because she is “difficult to classify,” as she does not fit into any of the six ethnic and racial categories officially recognized in the U.S. Hence, Drammeh and her participants explain how they have learned to deal with people’s preconceptions, reticence, and narrow-mindedness about their racial mixture. They explain how being of mixed-raced heritage ultimately renders them both invisible and hypervisible. They are invisible because their multiracial background tends to be unacknowledged, as they feel socially compelled to identify with one race only. Yet they are also hypervisible because their distinctness is so apparent. Eventually all of Drammeh’s subjects share how they have come to terms with their multiracial identity and developed a sense of pride about their genetic makeup, which they consider makes them culturally rich.

Although the documentary does not specifically focus on multiracial Americans of African descent, the film does feature one biracial Congolese-American, a young man named Pete [Shungu]. He is a saxophonist who plays jazzy melodies with a big uncombed Afro hairstyle. His parents separated when he was ten, and he grew up in New Jersey with his Caucasian mother. She appears in the film and talks about how she would dress up in a Congolese outfit, put a baby doll on her back, and come to Pete’s class to talk about the Congo and its customs. Pete was proud of her and loved that none of his friends had a problem with his white mother dressing in African clothes. His mother explains how she felt that it was important for her to understand the culture of Pete’s father, as well as for Pete and his brother to understand their own culture. In a poem titled “Third-Eye Identity,” Pete describes how being multiracial has helped him become more open-minded. He explains how “his roots extend far beyond the places he lived in,” making him a “complex individual, not just a category.” Yet because of the way race is perceived in society, denying his blackness and identifying only as multiracial would be unrealistic. Only in his senior year in college, having enrolled in a course on the subject of mixed-race heritage, is he finally comfortable identifying himself as multiracial.

In the 2010 U.S. Census more than 9 million Americans identified themselves as multiracial, making them one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country. Thus Drammeh’s documentary is a valuable contribution in what should be a national effort to perceive and acknowledge this segment of the population, as well as understand what these individuals experience as minorities. Many movies have thematized the moral barriers and societal challenges faced by interracial couples in America, such as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (dir. Stanley Kramer, 1967), Jungle Fever (dir. Spike Lee, 1991), Mississippi Masala (dir. Mira Nair, 1991), and the documentary The Loving Story (dir. Nancy Buirski, 2011), about Richard and Mildred Loving, whose Supreme Court ruling in 1967 put an end to antimiscegenation laws. However, few films have focused on how the offspring of such relationships are integrated in U.S. society. Though Drammeh’s documentary does not try to fill that void on its own, it does give an insight into what many have called “the changing face” of America.

However, Drammeh’s work unfortunately does not tackle its subject matter in the most effective manner. The film resembles more a student project on this assigned theme, rather than a documentary targeted at a broad audience. As a filmmaker, she chooses to intertwine extensive personal interviews with poems and songs by the participants, on the one hand, and with a few contributions by scholars, on the other. By doing so, she makes her movie slightly too personal and informal, which eventually diminishes…

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How America will look in 2060, in 7 graphs

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-17 16:22Z by Steven

How America will look in 2060, in 7 graphs

The Washington Post

Philip Bump

The Census Bureau recently released its 2014 population projections, gaming out the next 45 years of population growth and changes in the United States. For those of us who pay particular attention to the composition of the population (because we are single-mindedly obsessed with the composition of the electorate that results), this is a bonanza of things to pore over. So let’s pore.

Or, actually, let’s first detour. The data collected by the Bureau has changed substantially over time, at first documenting only the white and slave populations of the newly united states. In 1820, the government started collecting data on resident foreigners as immigration increased. By 1870, the Bureau counted whites, blacks, Chinese, Indian (Native American), and people of mixed black and white descent. In 1890, it broke out mixed-race Americans into more categories; in 1930, there were 10 different options.

Today there are five categories of race, per a 1997 directive: “American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.” There’s an additional delineation of ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino, and not.

That background is useful because the Bureau’s projections through 2060 includes a look at foreign-born-versus-native-born residents and Hispanic-versus-non-Hispanic residents, which are not the same thing. But we get ahead of ourselves. Back to poring…

Read the entire article here.

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New Projections Point to a Majority Minority Nation in 2044

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-17 16:05Z by Steven

New Projections Point to a Majority Minority Nation in 2044

Brookings Instituion
Washington, D.C.

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow
Metropolitan Policy Program

New population projections released this week by the Census Bureau indicate that the U.S. population will become “majority minority” in 2044. At that time, whites will make up 49.7 percent of the population compared with 25 percent for Hispanics, 12.7 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians and 3.7 for percent multiracial persons. This tipping point will result from two countervailing trends that are projected to continue between now and 2060:…

…These trends underscore the minority driven demographic transformation analyzed in my book Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, which outlines the challenges and opportunities associated with a nation whose youthful, growing minority population is juxtaposed against an aging, slow-growing, and soon to be declining, white population.

Read the entire article here.

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On Being Non-White, But Passing Terribly Well

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Passing, United States on 2014-12-17 15:30Z by Steven

On Being Non-White, But Passing Terribly Well

Everyday Feminism

Patricia Gutierrez
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

“Psst… Hey, Patty! You speak Spanish? Ignoring me? Hey! You speak Spanish?”

P.E., third period, seventh grade.

Every time Ricardo saw me, he would ask me the same question.

At first, I would answer yes, but he would always get me back with a “Nah, prove it. Say something.” I never did.

I would often imagine myself yelling, “¡Que sí, güey! ¿Ya cuántas veces te tengo que decir, pues? Pinche metiche,” but in reality, my face would blush and my hands would sweat in frustration such so that I’d slip while trying to do a pushup.

I stopped talking to most kids at school when I moved to a new district at five (also when I was given a “new” name by my white teacher who pronounced it wrong; I didn’t have the voice to correct anyone until two years ago), and I didn’t really start again until high school. I wasn’t going to open up for Ricardo.

But Ricardo wasn’t the first person to demand proof, to demand to know why my last name and my appearance didn’t make sense to them (“Pues, es que mi familia es de Nayarit y Jalisco.” “Aaah, bueno, por eso.”), and he wouldn’t be the last….

Read the entire article here.

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Caught in the Middle: Defensive Responses to IAT Feedback Among Whites, Blacks, and Biracial Black/Whites

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-16 21:48Z by Steven

Caught in the Middle: Defensive Responses to IAT Feedback Among Whites, Blacks, and Biracial Black/Whites

Social Psychological and Personality Science
Published online before print: 2014-12-15
DOI: 10.1177/1948550614561127

Jennifer L. Howell
Department of Psychology
University of Florida

Sarah E. Gaither, Provost’s Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Scholar
Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Kate A. Ratliff, Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Florida

This study used archival data to examine how White, Black, and biracial Black/White people respond to implicit attitude feedback suggesting that they harbor racial bias that does not align with their self-reported attitudes. The results suggested that people are generally defensive in response to feedback indicating that their implicit attitudes differ from their explicit attitudes. Among monoracial White and Black individuals, this effect was particularly strong when they learned that they were implicitly more pro-White than they indicated explicitly. By contrast, biracial Black/White individuals were defensive about large discrepancies in either direction (more pro-Black or more pro-White implicit attitudes). These results pinpoint one distinct difference between monoracial and biracial populations and pave the way for future research to further explore how monoracial majority, minority, and biracial populations compare in other types of attitudes and responses to personal feedback.

Read or purchase the article here.

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