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…

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Misty Copeland, a Ballerina With Real Acting Chops

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-05-14 18:47Z by Steven

Misty Copeland, a Ballerina With Real Acting Chops

The New York Times
2017-05-09

Gia Kourlas


As Misty Copeland gets older, she seeks even more depth in her acting.
Credit Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

Misty Copeland isn’t one of those principals who step onstage a few times a season. She dances. A lot.

“It’s crazy how I took jumping for granted all these years,” Ms. Copeland, 34, said as she stretched out on the floor between rehearsals at American Ballet Theater’s studios. Stella Abrera, a fellow principal, nodded in agreement. “What did you just do?” she asked.

“Kitri,” Ms. Copeland replied.

“Ouch,” Ms. Abrera said.

This season — Ms. Copeland’s second year as a principal — is a killer that includes her debut as Kitri in “Don Quixote” on Tuesday, May 16, and her New York debut as Giselle on May 26. As the company’s artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, put it, it’s symbolic because “she’s taking the mantle of the classics on.”…

…During a rehearsal the night before a performance in Washington earlier this year, Ms. Copeland described how after her first fouetté, she felt a pop in her neck and a warm sensation travel down her spine. “Even just approaching the fouettés,” she said, “it was like something tensed up in me and made that happen.”

So she reached out to a sports psychologist in California. “I spent 10 hours with this guy nonstop, talking about my feelings about myself in connection to my career and how I feel people are judging me,” she said. “Especially when it comes to that role, and what it means to be a black woman doing it. I’m trying to get to the root of all of it, and just be like as pure as I can be when I go out there and not carry all that baggage.”…

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Opinion: ‘You’re not a true Asian’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-14 18:30Z by Steven

Opinion: ‘You’re not a true Asian’

CU Independent
Boulder, Colorado
2017-05-04

Hayla Wong, Head Opinion Editor


Olivia Munn, who is half-Asian and half-white. (Courtesy: Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Opinions do not necessarily represent CUIndependent.com or any of its sponsors.

“But you’re not a true Asian,” people say when I try to assert an Asian identity.

I never gave these comments too much significance because yeah, it’s true. I’m half and half, Taiwanese and white, hapa, mixed. I’m not white. I’m not Asian.

But why do my friends feel it necessary to police my identity?…

Read the entire article here.

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Privileging Kinship: Family and Race in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Slavery on 2017-05-12 02:36Z by Steven

Privileging Kinship: Family and Race in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Volume 14, Number 4, Fall 2016
pages 688-711
DOI: 10.1353/eam.2016.0025

Daniel Livesay, Assistant Professor of History
Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California

During the long eighteenth century, elite free people of color in Jamaica petitioned the government for exemptions to some of the island’s laws against those with African ancestry. In making these appeals, they highlighted advanced social and financial positions that put them above the average Jamaican of color. But perhaps most important, these petitions noted familial relations to white men on the island. These kinship connections were central in determining if a free person of color was deserving enough to receive “privileged” rights. In bestowing these privileges, Jamaican officials demonstrated that one’s racial status on the island was determined, in part, by familial linkages to white colonists. Although only a fraction of mixed-race Jamaicans gained these legal exemptions, the practice nevertheless reveals how important family relation was in constructing racial identities, even in a place built on racialized oppression and slavery.

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Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-11 02:01Z by Steven

Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count

Science
2017-05-09

Jeffrey Mervis


John Thompson will leave the Census Bureau on 30 June. U.S. Census Bureau

John Thompson is stepping down next month as director of the U.S. Census Bureau. His announcement today comes less than 1 week after a congressional spending panel grilled him about mounting problems facing the agency in preparing for the 2020 decennial census. And Thompson’s pending retirement is weighing heavily on the U.S. statistical community.

Thompson is leaving halfway through a 1-year extension of a term that expired last December. His departure will create what a 2011 law was expressly designed to avoid—a leadership vacuum during a crucial time in the 10-year life cycle of the census, the nation’s largest civilian undertaking. The immediate concern is who the Trump administration will appoint, and how soon it will act…

Ken Prewitt, who led the agency from 1998 to 2001, worries that a long delay in naming a well-qualified replacement for Thompson could be the first step of a long, steep decline in the quality of the federal statistic system, which spans 13 agencies. “That system is fragile, and it wouldn’t take much to damage it severely,” says Prewitt, a professor of social affairs at Columbia University. “My real fear is that they don’t care enough to do a good job with the 2020 census. And then after doing a bad job, they decide to let the private sector take over.”…

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Profiles in the Diaspora: Re-thinking Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, the Afro-Puerto Rican Father of the Global African Diaspora

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-11 01:47Z by Steven

Profiles in the Diaspora: Re-thinking Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, the Afro-Puerto Rican Father of the Global African Diaspora

Okay Africa: International Edition
2017-05-06

David Pastor


Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

Editor’s Note: In the inaugural edition of our Weekend Reading series, journalist David Pastor reviews new work on the legendary black scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg that helps reinstate his Puerto Rican identity.

NEW YORK CITYArturo Schomburg, namesake of the renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black History in Harlem, is said to have identified as an afro-borinqueño, a Puerto Rican of African descent. Yet there has been a delay in acknowledging this ethnic component of his racial identity—his legacy so closely tied to the Harlem Renaissance, black history and culture.

Even during his lifetime, there were misconceptions concerning Arturo Schomburg and his intersectional background, including assertions that he had forgotten his native tongue; lost his culture, his interest in Puerto Rico, etc. Later, conflicting, often simplified views on Schomburg emerged and characterized him almost exclusively as a black scholar whose Puerto Rican identity had seemingly diminished upon his integration into the African-American community…

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SAS Researchers Probe Racial Passing, Identity Based on Two Novels

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-05-11 01:18Z by Steven

SAS Researchers Probe Racial Passing, Identity Based on Two Novels

American University of Nigeria
2017-05-01

Nelly Ating

The modern-day issues of “racial passing” and “identity,” dominated the April 20 SAS research seminar presented by Dr. Agatha Ukata and Dr. Brian Reed of the English & Literature department.

The duo’s research probes the phenomenon in “Being and Not Being:  How Society Negotiates Humanity.”  This is a study based on Nella Larsen, and Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, and on Isidore Okpewho’s Call Me by My Rightful Name.

This work will be presented at the African Literature Association conference at Yale University in June.

Leading the discussion, Dr Ukata said that despite disparity in the years of publication of the novels, it is astonishing to see the recurrence of “racial passing” in this era…

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The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-10 18:36Z by Steven

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

WBUR 90.9 FM
Boston, Massachusetts
2017-05-02

John Vercher


I’m raising my sons to be proud of their blackness, writes John Vercher. But they’ll benefit from their lighter skin. (Ayo Ogunseinde/Unsplash)

I used to make fun of my Pop’s Afro. Then, as now, he took meticulous care of it. I remember with such clarity the way he used to trim it in the mirror of our basement bathroom. The way he leaned over the sink to wash it, neck craned under the faucet to keep the shampoo from running in his eyes. The way he styled and shaped it to geometric perfection. That Afro was the epitome of cool.

Except to me. His natural, his turtlenecks under his leather jackets, his ankle-high leather boots, made him a walking anachronism. An outdated Richard Roundtree; Shaft in the wrong time.

I envied that hair, though I didn’t know it at the time. I still do. Not only for myself but also for my sons. I am a biracial black man, but I was not blessed with my father’s good hair. His loose curls plus my mother’s arrow-straight locks left me with a shock more Prince than Angela Davis; skin more Dwayne Johnson than Wesley Snipes. A child of the 70s, my parents let my hair grow long and wavy and so I heard that question, as early as grade school; the question that dogged me through high school, followed me to college, nipped at my heels through adulthood, until I shaved my thinning hair:

“What are you, exactly?”…

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Albanez: Exploring my mixed-race identity at NU has been invaluable experience

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-10 17:42Z by Steven

Albanez: Exploring my mixed-race identity at NU has been invaluable experience

The Daily Northwestern
2017-05-09

Andrea Albanez, Op-Ed Contributor

In 2011, The New York Times published an article about how many young Americans were no longer defining themselves as one single race, but rather beginning to cast themselves under multiple races or calling themselves “mixed-race.” According to the article, “the crop of students moving through college right now includes the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States.”

I identify as a mixed-race American. I encompass an array of nationalities that define who I am biologically: Filipino from my mother’s side and Mexican, Portuguese, French and German from my father’s side. I have met many students and peers just within my first year at Northwestern that share this commonality of mixed-race background along with me. Yet though identifying as mixed is so common now, how a mixed-race individual can identify themselves in society is still a difficult feat to overcome.

As I am a makeup of 5 different races, I myself have only identified closely with two out of my five races: Filipino and Mexican, which makes up 75 percent of my overall racial identity. This is prominently because my parents shared those two ethnicities’ cultures and practices more so than those of French, Portuguese and German, which they had lesser affinities with. Because of this, I have solely defined Filipino and Mexican as my ethnicities. Yet even so, I still do not feel as strong of a connection to my ethnicities as I wish or hope to be…

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The Manner of Blackness in Nella Larsen’s Passing

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-05-06 02:06Z by Steven

The Manner of Blackness in Nella Larsen’s Passing

Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Volume 100, Number 2, 2017
pages 112-142

Michael A. Istvan Jr., Lecturer in Philosophy
Texas State University

Commentators have suggested that Nella Larsen’s Passing rejects the view that there is some sort of black essence. This article challenges this reading. Since Irene is the most vocal advocate of an essence in respect to which all blacks are homogenous, much of the evidence for thinking that Passing is skeptical about such an essence amounts to evidence for not trusting Irene’s judgment in general, and for not trusting her judgment on this matter in particular. My arguments, then, will often involve explaining why Passing is not leading the reader to mistrust Irene’s judgment on this matter. Now, what exactly is meant by a black essence is, explicitly in this book, mysterious. Nevertheless, this article intends to shed some light on how Passing understands the nature of this something, this je ne sais quoi, peculiar to blacks. My tentative interpretation is that this something is an intangible and indefinite manner of being that is neither a conscious choice nor an inborn fact of biology, but rather a given of culture. This article takes this, in effect, blackness manner to be, so Passing seems to indicate, a function of one’s belief that one is black in a milieu of pervasive anti-black prejudice. Passing thus has something to offer those today who struggle to adjudicate between a pull towards essentialism and a pull towards constructionism. What Passing emphasizes in this discussion is the possibility that, in addition to biological and societal influences, one’s mind state is a crucial ingredient to one’s racial identity.

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