Don’t Erase My Race: 4 Affirmations to Remember When Reclaiming Your Multi-Racial Identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-27 02:51Z by Steven

Don’t Erase My Race: 4 Affirmations to Remember When Reclaiming Your Multi-Racial Identity

Everyday Feminism

Aliya Khan, Contributing Writer

Source: “Navigating Two Different Cultures: A Pakistani Immigrant Girl’s Struggles,” The Brooklyn Ink, (May 16, 2013).

I was walking across campus, on my way to class, when a white man stopped me and asked, “Are you from Bahrain?”

“I’m sorry?” I asked, confused by his question.

“Bahrain? I have a friend who is studying here from there, and you look so similar to her.”

I have a lot of opinions about when and how it is appropriate to ask someone about their race, mostly formed by my early experiences watching my Pakistani father struggle to respond to questions just like that one. But that’s not what first entered my mind this time.

What first entered my mind was, “Oh, he doesn’t think I’m white.”

If I’m not being read as white, people describe me as “racially ambiguous.” Sometimes, my race is ignored completely. Other times, folks make assumptions about my origins, ranging from every continent of the world.

I never understood how or why people developed such diversely varied opinions about my race. Was it my name that gave it away? my skin tone? Did they mistake my Midwest accent for something more “exotic?”

The invalidation of my racial identity from others was confusing growing up. It was a constant reminder that I just didn’t quite fit in.

My experiences growing up with a Pakistani father did not match those of my White friends, but it was also clear that, as someone who was biracial, I didn’t fit in to any other category…

Read the entire article here.

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Pigmentocracies: Educational Inequality, Skin Color and Census Ethnoracial Identification in Eight Latin American Countries

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2015-02-27 02:28Z by Steven

Pigmentocracies: Educational Inequality, Skin Color and Census Ethnoracial Identification in Eight Latin American Countries

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
Available online: 2015-02-25
DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2015.02.002

Edward Telles, Professor of Sociology
Princeton University

René Flores
University of Washington

Fernando Urrea Giraldo, Professor of Sociology
Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia


  • We use two measures of race and ethnicity – ethnoracial self-identification as used by national censuses and interviewer –rated skin color to examine educational inequality in eight Latin American countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.
  • We find that inequality based on skin color is more consistent and robust than inequality based on census ethnoracial identification.
  • Census ethnoracial identification often provided inconsistent results especially regarding the afro-descendant populations of Colombia, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
  • Skin color inequality was particularly great in Bolivia and Guatemala.
  • Parental occupation, a proxy for class origins, is also robust and positively associated with educational attainment.
  • In other words, both class and race, especially as measured by skin color, predicts educational inequality in Latin America.

For the first time, most Latin American censuses ask respondents to self-identify by race or ethnicity allowing researchers to examine long-ignored ethnoracial inequalities. However, reliance on census ethnoracial categories could poorly capture the manifestation(s) of race that lead to inequality in the region, because of classificatory ambiguity and within-category racial or color heterogeneity. To overcome this, we modeled the relation of both interviewer-rated skin color and census ethnoracial categories with educational inequality using innovative data from the 2010 America’s Barometer from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and 2010 surveys from the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) for eight Latin American countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru). We found that darker skin color was negatively and consistently related to schooling in all countries, with and without extensive controls. Indigenous and black self-identification was also negatively related to schooling, though not always at a statistically significant and robust level like skin color. In contrast, results for self-identified mulattos, mestizos and whites were inconsistent and often counter to the expected racial hierarchy, suggesting that skin color measures often capture racial inequalities that census measures miss.

Read the entire article here.

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Our rising white-black multiracial population

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-27 02:07Z by Steven

Our rising white-black multiracial population

The Avenue / Rethinking Metropolitan America
The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program

The fastest growing racial group in the country is those who identify themselves as “two or more” races. Yet, perhaps most encouraging, as discussed in my book Diversity Explosion, is the rise in the population that identifies itself as both white and black. The racial divide in the United States has been so stark that it was not until the 2000 Census that federal statistics allowed multiracial status. For a long period in our history, persons were identified as black according to the “one drop” rule which stipulated that if they had any black ancestors, they could not be classified as white…

Recently, a clear sign of the softening of racial boundaries was the 2010 Census report that persons identifying as black and white were the largest biracial population at 1.8 million—more than double those identified in the previous census…

To read the entire article, click here.

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Controversial ruling in Spence unlikely to apply to many other estates cases

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 23:31Z by Steven

Controversial ruling in Spence unlikely to apply to many other estates cases Canada’s Legal News

Lisa Laredo

The court decision in Spence v. BMO Trust Company, 2015 ONSC 615 (CanLII) has led to concerns about court interference and uncertainty in estate planning.

An Ontario court judge held a will to be invalid due to a perceived intolerance, based on witness testimony, that while the testator had in his will disinherited his daughter because they were “estranged” and had no relationship, he had actually disinherited her for having a mixed-race child.

It is recognized at law that provisions of a will that are discriminatory on protected human rights grounds (race, gender, etc.) have been deemed to be against public policy and can be found invalid…

Read the entire article here.

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In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 22:48Z by Steven

In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

The New York Times

Maïa de la Baume

GRASSE, France — When Sophie Serrano finally held her daughter, Manon, in her arms after the newborn, suffering from jaundice, had been placed under artificial light, she was taken aback by the baby’s thick tufts of hair.

“I hadn’t noticed it before and it surprised me,” Ms. Serrano said in an interview at her home here in southern France, not far from the Côte d’Azur.

Ms. Serrano, now 39, was baffled again a year later, when she noticed that her baby’s hair had grown frizzy and that her skin color was darker than hers or her partner’s.

But her love for the child trumped any doubts. Even as her relationship unraveled, in part, she said, over her partner’s suspicions, she painstakingly looked after the baby until a paternity test more than 10 years later showed that neither she nor her partner were Manon’s biological parents. Ms. Serrano later found out that a nurse had accidentally switched babies and given them to the wrong mothers…

…Ms. Serrano’s love for Manon, she said, grew stronger after she learned that the girl was not her biological daughter. She also said that, after meeting the girl she had given birth to, she felt no particular connection with her.

“It is not the blood that makes a family,” Ms. Serrano said. “What makes a family is what we build together, what we tell each other. And I have created a wonderful bond with my nonbiological daughter.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 02:39Z by Steven

Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

The New York Times

Andrew Pollack

The police in Columbia, S.C.,  released this sketch of a possible suspect based on DNA left at the crime scene. Parabon NanoLabs, which made the image, has begun offering DNA phenotyping services to law enforcement agencies.

There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going.

Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime.

It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to determine the physical characteristics of crime suspects from the DNA they leave behind, providing what could become a powerful new tool for law enforcement.

Already genetic sleuths can determine a suspect’s eye and hair color fairly accurately. It is also possible, or might soon be, to predict skin color, freckling, baldness, hair curliness, tooth shape and age.

Computers may eventually be able to match faces generated from DNA to those in a database of mug shots. Even if it does not immediately find the culprit, the genetic witness, so to speak, can be useful, researchers say…

…Law enforcement authorities say that information about physical traits derived from DNA is not permitted in court because the science is not well established. Still, the prospect of widespread DNA phenotyping has unnerved some experts.

Duana Fullwiley, an associate professor of anthropology at Stanford, said that she worried that use of such images could contribute to racial profiling. She noted that Dr. Shriver developed his system by analyzing the DNA and faces of people with mixed West African and European ancestry.

“This leads to a technology that is better able to make faces that are African-American,” she said. The image produced in the South Carolina case, Dr. Fullwiley added, “was of a generic young black man.”

Dr. Shriver said he initially studied people of mixed European and African ancestry, many of them from Brazil, because that made the analysis easier. His more recent research has involved people of many different ethnicities, he said…

Read the entire article here.

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The Kidnapping of Mollie Digby: Was the Fair-Haired Stranger Actually Mollie?

Posted in Articles, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 01:37Z by Steven

The Kidnapping of Mollie Digby: Was the Fair-Haired Stranger Actually Mollie?

All Things Crime

Darcia Helle

In 1870, New Orleans was a city divided by politics, class, and race. The Civil War had left much of the south reeling, and now the government’s Radical Reconstruction attempted to force change by integrating the black population into the white-dominated hierarchy. Some whites rebelled, clinging to their Confederate roots, while others who supported the change suffered ridicule and disdain within their community. The atmosphere was tumultuous. Racism was not only openly practiced but encouraged.

Former United States Supreme Court Justice John Campbell, who resigned in order to join the Confederacy, illustrates this point well. He had this to say to his fellow New Orleanians: “We have Africans in place all about us, they are jurors, post office clerks, custom house officers & day by day they barter away their obligations and duties.”

By 1870, this self-appointed elite class had become the minority. Foreign born immigrants made up 75% of the city’s population. Prejudices went much deeper than skin color. Irish and German immigrants were considered lowlifes, their presence tolerated by the upper class only slightly more than the presence of African-Americans. This hostile environment made New Orleans one of the most dangerous places in America during the late 1800s.

Thomas and Bridgette Digby were two of the city’s Irish immigrants living in relative obscurity. They had fled their country during the mid-1800s, along with thousands of others known as the “Famine Irish”. By June of 1870, the couple had three children and were living in a working class section of New Orleans. Thomas drove a hackney cab, and Bridgette took in laundry and sewing from the wealthy residents. Nothing about them or their lives was remarkable at the time. Certainly nothing suggested that their names would be committed to history…

…The details of this case are too complicated and convoluted to share here. For a full account of this story, as well as fascinating details of the historical period, I highly recommend reading The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Rage, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era by Michael A. Ross. The short version of this story is that the outraged and outspoken media and citizens pushed the police department toward an arrest. In fact, they demanded nothing less…

Read the entire article here.

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Metis actress Tantoo Cardinal to receive lifetime achievement award

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2015-02-24 01:19Z by Steven

Metis actress Tantoo Cardinal to receive lifetime achievement award

CTV News

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — As Metis actress Tantoo Cardinal prepares to receive a lifetime achievement award, she remembers what originally inspired her to begin acting more than 40 years ago: anger.

“It wasn’t about a career at all — it was about having a voice,” the Edmonton-raised 64-year-old said in a telephone interview this week.

“I don’t know if people really can appreciate what that experience is — of attempted genocide, generations and generations and generations where your language is outlawed, your creativity is outlawed, anything you think or say or do is actually outlawed…

Read the entire interview here.

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The white man who pretended to be black

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-23 21:45Z by Steven

The white man who pretended to be black

The Telegraph

Tim Stanley

With the release of the movie Selma, a lot of Americans are asking how far race relations have really come in the United States. On the one hand, the movie depicts the success of the Sixties civil rights crusade – its victory confirmed by Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

On the other hand, the recent deaths of young black men at the hands of white cops and vigilantes, and the resulting race riots, suggest that a lot of things haven’t changed at all. Whites may ask, “Why are working-class blacks angry? They have the right to vote and an African-American president – everything Martin Luther King Jr fought for.”

But some of the apparent triumph of black civil rights is a veneer. Racism isn’t just about law but about attitudes. Attitudes that are hard to change because of the gulf of understanding between different communities.

Can a white person ever really understand how a black person sees the world? Back in 1959, six years before Martin Luther King marched for civil rights in Selma, one man tried. A white Texan writer called John Howard Griffin walked into a doctor’s office in New Orleans and asked him to turn his skin colour black. Griffin took oral medication and was bombarded with ultraviolet rays; he cut off his hair to hide an absence of curls and shaved the back of his hands. Then he went on a tour of the Deep South.

The result was a bestselling book called Black Like Me, which is still regarded as an American classic. Griffin wanted to test the claim that although the southern United States was segregated it was essentially peaceful and just – that the two races were separate but equal…

Read the entire article here.

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Fresh Off the Boat Is Not Science Fiction

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-23 21:15Z by Steven

Fresh Off the Boat Is Not Science Fiction

David Shih

David Shih, Associate Professor of English
University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

I have always known that moment of disappearance and the even uglier truth is that I have long treasured it. That always honorable-seeming absence. It appears I can go anywhere I wish. Is this my assimilation, so many years in the making? Is this the long-sought sweetness? —Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker

Lost amid the well-deserved fanfare accompanying the premiere of ABC’s new prime-time comedy Fresh Off the Boat was the launch of another major-studio show featuring an Asian American family. Like Eddie Huang’s brainchild, it is a big-budget vehicle as well, with stars such as Olivia Munn, George Takei, Bill Nye, Mark Hamill, and Adrian Grenier lending their talents to its production. However, unless you are like me, a parent or caregiver to a preschool-aged child, you may not know what I’m talking about. Miles from Tomorrowland is an animated series for Disney Junior that made its debut only a few days after that of Fresh Off the Boat. (Disney-ABC owns both titles.) In this blog entry I will discuss these new shows, particularly how they represent extant and potential relationships between Asian Americans and other racial groups, particularly white people. What does it mean that traditional and social media have christened Fresh Off the Boat as the “Asian American” show, while the publicity for Miles from Tomorrowland makes no mention of race? The latter is a “postracial” narrative while the former is decidedly “racial” in its intent and reception.

Miles from Tomorrowland chronicles the planet-hopping adventures of a family of four, members of an institution familiar to anyone who has visited the Magic Kingdom–the “Tomorrowland Transit Authority.” The star of the show is Miles Callisto, an intrepid young boy who learns about science while solving problems with his creative use of technology. His mother, Phoebe, is the captain of their spaceship. Father Leo and sister Loretta round out the foursome. With the exception of Leo, who is white, the other Callistos are of Asian descent. To be clear, nothing from the official publicity for Miles from Tomorrowland overtly states that Phoebe is an Asian American. The voice actor for Phoebe is the well-regarded Olivia Munn, whose mother is Chinese. Just to be sure, I contacted the creator of the show, Sascha Paladino. Paladino told me that Miles is Chinese American. Moreover, Paladino revealed, later episodes of the show will explore Miles’ Chinese heritage. Targeted at preschoolers, the show is a developmentally-appropriate multicultural narrative: the star is a mixed-race boy who maintains a connection to his ethnic identity, and the Asian American characters do not exhibit any stereotypical behaviors. It promises to honor cultural diversity while understanding it as no barrier to social potential. My mixed-race son loves it, and I’m glad that there is once again an animated protagonist who shares his heritage…

Read the entire article here.

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