How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-07-23 01:10Z by Steven

How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio
2014-07-19

Tanvi Misra

There’s a weekly trial on the Internet about who may be stealing culture from whom. Earlier this week, the defendants were Iggy Azalea and white gay men. A while back, it was Macklemore and the Harlem Shakers.

Now, we have come across a story from the Jim Crow era about cultural mimicry between people of color.

In mid-20th century America, the turban was a tool that people of color used for “confounding the color lines,” writes Manan Desai, board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive.

At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. In some places, if you could pass yourself off as something other than black, you could circumvent some amount of discrimination. People of color — both foreigners and African-Americans — employed this to their advantage. Some did it just to get by in a racist society, some to make a political statement, and others — performers and businessmen — to gain access to fame and money they wouldn’t have otherwise had…

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Why Mixed with White isn’t White

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-22 23:15Z by Steven

Why Mixed with White isn’t White

Hyphen: Asian America Unabrided
2014-07-22

Sharon H. Chang

When I wrote my first post for Hyphen, “Talking Mixed-Race Identity with Young Children,” I was deliberately blunt about race. I wrote about how I don’t tell my multiracial son, who presents as a racial minority, that he’s white — but I do tell him he’s Asian. While the essay resonated with many people, others made comments like this:

“Your child is as white as he is Asian… Why embrace one label and not the other?”

“Why is he Asian but not white? He has white ancestors as much as Asian ones. So if it’s OK to call him Asian, it’s OK to call him white. Or, if it’s not OK to call him white (because he’s not completely white) then it’s not OK to call him Asian, because he’s not completely Asian either.”

“Your child is neither white nor Asian. I once heard this description: When you have a glass of milk and add chocolate to it, you no longer have just a glass of milk and you no longer just have chocolate because you have created something completely different. A bi-racial or multi-racial child is not either/or.”

In the 1990s, psychologist and mixed-race scholar Maria P.P. Root wrote the famous “Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage,” stirred by her examination of mixed-race identity, interviews with hundreds of multiracial folk across the U.S., and the struggles multiracial people face in forming and claiming a positive sense of self. “I have the right not to justify my existence to the world,” it reads. “To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify. To create a vocabulary about being multiracial or multiethnic.”

Almost two decades later, these proclamations still ring so true. Some people are completely unwilling to honor my family’s choice to identify as mixed-race and Asian because it doesn’t align with their own ideas about how we should identify. The right of a mixed-race person to self-construct and self-define, even today, endures continual policing from people with their own agendas…

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Researchers discuss origins of Melungeon heritage at annual event

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2014-07-14 05:41Z by Steven

Researchers discuss origins of Melungeon heritage at annual event

WCBY.com (News 5)
Brisol, Virginia
2014-06-28

Olivia Caridi

BIG STONE GAP, Va. - Wayne Winkler discovered he was a Melungeon at 12 years old. His grandmother is a Melungeon. His father is, too.

“I had never heard the word, so I asked my relatives what a Melungeon is. I asked what it was, and I’ve spent all this time since then trying to answer the question,” Winkler says.

For Winkler and others of mixed-ethnic groups, attending the 18th annual Melungeon Union on Saturday was a way to get some answers.

Melungeon’s were first documented in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee in the 19th century. “They are basically a mixed-ethnic group of a combination of Native American, European American and African American,” Winkler says.

Researchers have attempted to document the meaning of Melungeon identity for years. Lisa Alther, an author, wrote books exploring the history. “I always heard growing up that we were Anglo-Saxon and Celtic here in the mountains, so the most fascinating thing for me is realizing that we are here in the mountains really a melting pot of the entire world,” Alther says…

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Smoking Trajectories Among Monoracial and Biracial Black Adolescents and Young Adults

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2014-07-13 07:02Z by Steven

Smoking Trajectories Among Monoracial and Biracial Black Adolescents and Young Adults

Journal of Drug Issues
Published online before print: 2014-07-11
DOI: 10.1177/0022042614542511

Trenette T. Clark, Assistant Professor of Social Work
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Anh B. Nguyen, Cancer Prevention Fellow
Science of Research and Technology Branch (SRTB)
Behavioral Research Program (BRP)
National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland

Emanuel Coman
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Cigarette-smoking trajectories were assessed among monorace Blacks, Black–American Indians, Black–Asians, Black–Hispanics, and Black–Whites. We used a subsample of nationally representative data obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The sample consisted of adolescents who were in Grades 7 to 12 in 1994, and followed across four waves of data collection into adulthood. Wave 4 data were collected in 2007-2008 when most respondents were between 24 and 32 years old. Respondents could report more than one race/ethnicity. Poisson’s regression was used to analyze the data. We found distinct smoking trajectories among monorace and biracial/ethnic Blacks, with all groups eventually equaling or surpassing trajectories of Whites. The age of cross-over varied by gender for some subgroups, with Black–American Indian males catching up earlier than Black–American Indian females. Black–White females smoked on more days than monorace Black females until age 26 and also smoked more than Black–White males between ages 11 and 29 years. Black–Hispanic males smoked on more days than Black–Hispanic females from ages 11 to 14. The results of the interaction tests also indicated different smoking trajectories across socioeconomic status (SES) levels among White, Black, and Black–White respondents. Significant heterogeneity was observed regarding smoking trajectories between monorace and biracial/ethnic Blacks. Knowledge of cigarette-smoking patterns among monorace and biracial/ethnic Black youth and young adults extends our understanding of the etiology of tobacco use and may inform interventions.

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Ghosts of Camptown

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive on 2014-07-13 06:41Z by Steven

Ghosts of Camptown

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic LIterature of the United States
Volume 39, Issue 3 (Fall 2014)
pages 49-67
DOI: 10.1093/melus/mlu025

Grace Kyungwon Hong, Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

This essay engages the deployment of form in Heinz Insu Fenkl’s Memories of My Ghost Brother (1996), focusing in particular on its strategy of embedding fantastical stories within its narrative structure and on the ways in which the mystical or magical tone of these stories pervades the narrative, establishing a frame seemingly incongruous with the memoir’s setting within a military camptown in South Korea. If a classically realist tone and linear narrative arc are the formal expressions of nationalist culture, the autobiographical novel’s departure from these formal strategies, I argue, is necessary to convey the complex juridical status of the camptown. Through a curious excess of state sovereignty, because they are simultaneously under both US and South Korean sovereignty, the camptown and its residents are subject to abandonment by both nation-states, producing a heightened vulnerability to death. Accordingly, such complex relationships to sovereignty demand a narrative form organized around a complex and divided subject unlike the possessive individual at the center of traditional autobiographies, a divided subject formed around an ethics in which no one is blameless and everyone is complicit.

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Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. [Cannon]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-11 06:58Z by Steven

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. [Cannon]

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic LIterature of the United States
Volume 39, Issue 3 (Fall 2014)
pages 207-209
DOI: 10.1093/melus/mlu028

Sarita Cannon, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature
San Francisco State University

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. 248 pages. $84.95 cloth; $23.95 paper.

Ralina L. Joseph’s timely book about representations of multiracial black women in popular culture makes a significant contribution to the growing field of critical mixed-race studies. Drawing on research in various fields, Joseph closely reads four texts produced between 1998 and 2008: Showtime’s television series The L Word (2004-09), Danzy Senna’s coming-of-age novel Caucasia (1998), Alison Swan’s independent film Mixing Nia (1998), and the reality competition show America’s Next Top Model (2003-present). Joseph examines representations of black mixed-race subjectivity in these texts through two tropes: the new millennium mulatta and the exceptional multiracial. These two very different archetypes of multiracial identity are nonetheless linked by a common desire to transcend blackness, a proposition that Joseph argues is deeply troubling in twenty-first-century America, where, although many proclaim that affirmative action is no longer necessary, structural inequalities between blacks and whites remain entrenched.

One of Joseph’s central claims in Transcending Blackness is that popular representations of black mixed-race women fall into one of two categories. The new millennium mulatta is, in many ways, a revision of the tragic mulatta figure, made popular in films such as The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Imitation of Life (1959). According to Joseph, the new…

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Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference by Anne Pollock (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2014-07-11 06:52Z by Steven

Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference by Anne Pollock (review)

Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Volume 88, Number 2, Summer 2014
pages 393-395
DOI: 10.1353/bhm.2014.0025

Lundy Braun, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Africana Studies
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Anne Pollock, Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012).

Science and technology studies (STS) scholar Anne Pollock’s Medicating Race uses the lens of “durable preoccupations” to explore the racialization of different categories of heart disease from the early twentieth century when cardiology emerged as a medical specialty. The book is a useful reminder that the intense and sometimes vitriolic debate over BiDil, a medication for heart failure and the first race-based drug, is but one moment—though a very public one—in a long history of the mobilization of race in cardiology. Drawing on rich and varied sources, including archival materials, scientific articles, interviews, and professional conferences, Pollock extends prior analyses of BiDil to examine the intersection of race with the numerous epistemological debates that characterize the history of heart disease. Why, Pollock asks, has race proved so resilient in the history of heart disease, despite relentless critique?

This deeply theorized account tracks “epistemologically eclectical” racial preoccupations as they travel among the social worlds of science, the clinic, and the pharmaceutical industry. Weaving together three main themes—the role of heart disease research in constituting Americanness, the persistence of racial categorization throughout this history, and the social and political dimensions of health disparities activism—Pollock argues that the durability of race in theories of heart disease is a dynamic biosocial process enmeshed in ambiguous and changing classifications of both disease and race and the persistence of unequal access to power, resources, and treatment. As Pollock writes, “Preoccupations with racial differences always exceed the data itself” (p. 19).

Beginning with early twentieth-century beliefs about infectious etiologies of heart disease, racial discourses shaped the emergence and professionalization of cardiology in complex ways. So deeply entrenched were ideas of syphilitic heart disease in blacks, for example, that Booker T. Washington’s death from arteriosclerosis in 1915 remained a matter of dispute until the 2000s. For African American physicians committed to providing medical care to their neglected communities, engagement with black heart disease also provided them with access to the modern technologies of scientific medicine, albeit limited. As others have shown with diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer, discourses of modernity, stress, and civilization were central to the whitening of coronary heart disease by midcentury.

Particularly fascinating is Pollock’s detailed examination of the complicated relationship between the famed Framingham Heart Study organized in 1948 and the Jackson Heart Study organized in 2000. Framingham researchers constructed their population as both white and normal through changing coding practices, categorizations, computerization, and data analysis, all of which cohered to produce hypertension as a distinct disease category. Modeled on Framingham, the Jackson Heart Study recruited only self-identified blacks, constructing a population that was simultaneously representative and different. Unlike the Framingham investigators, the Jackson investigators incorporated the social dimensions of health disparities, in addition to lifestyle and genetics, into the study design. In chapter 3, Pollock traces the complexity of social processes that produced African American hypertension as a distinctive disease category—and the consequent emergence of the category of African American itself as a risk factor for heart disease. Moving to “durable preoccupations” in contemporary race science in later chapters, Medicating Race analyzes the debates about the salt-slavery hypothesis of hypertension, thiazide diuretics, and BiDil.

While arguing throughout the book for careful attention to biology in any constructivist analysis, for this reader Pollock underestimates the consequences of genetic essentialism and market imperatives in medicine. Yet, in making explicit the tensions in democracy embedded in the historical debates over black heart disease, this book provides fresh insight into a key aspect of the dilemma of difference: when and how to use race in contemporary research. Despite at least a decade of careful social and scientific scrutiny, the academic and public debate about race and race science is not, nor can it be, settled as long as race remains such a salient marker of inequality in U.S. society.

This theoretically sophisticated book does an excellent job of making many familiar STS concepts relevant to medical history. Placing current arguments over race and heart disease in a broad historical context, Pollock adds valuable nuance to the historiography of race and heart disease and their material-semiotic natures. For all its semiotic ambiguity, heart…

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Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, South Africa on 2014-07-11 06:11Z by Steven

Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Media Culture & Society
Published online before print: 2014-07-08
DOI: 10.1177/0163443714536076

Tanja Estella Bosch
University of Cape Town, South Africa

In South Africa, listeners often believe that radio stations deliberately constitute their audiences in terms of race. This article further explores this notion using commercial music station Good Hope FM as a case study. Radio creates a textured soundscape that is experienced as part of the material culture of the home; it contributes to the creation of domestic environments and it can help maintain and establish identities. These assertions are explored further through interviews with listeners. Mediated experience has long influenced self-identity, and this study explores popular conceptualizations of GHFM as a ‘coloured’ or mixed-race radio station, through these listener interviews, conducted in the home. The article explores the possibility that the symbolic arrangement of broadcast music and talk elements in one ensemble, embody and expresses group self-consciousness; and that the cultural consumption of GHFM leads to the formulation of an imagined identity based on ethnicity. Consumption of radio station content becomes a dialectical identity-forming process played out through tuning in. While GHFM listeners re-articulate normative discourses of identity and old apartheid constructions in their reflections on their media consumption, the article shows the act of tuning in as a critical part of their dialectical identity-forming process.

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Essentializing Ethnicity: Identification Constraint Reduces Diversity Interest

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-10 20:56Z by Steven

Essentializing Ethnicity: Identification Constraint Reduces Diversity Interest

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Available online: 2014-07-10
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2014.07.001

Tiane L. Lee
University of Maryland, College Park

Leigh S. Wilton
Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Virginia S.Y. Kwan, Associate Professor of Psychology
Arizona State University

Highlights

  • We primed essentialism with instruction to “Check One”, rather than “Check All”, ethnicities.
  • Minorities reduced diversity engagement, distancing from activities that express background.
  • Essentialist European-Americans showed less interest in intergroup friendship.
  • Interaction with chronic essentialist beliefs replicated in a non-race-related context.

The present research investigates the effects of a subtle essentialist cue: restricting individuals to identify with only one ethnicity. Although this constraint is mundane and commonly used in everyday life, it sends a message of essentialized group differences. Three studies illustrate the harmful impact of this essentialist cue on diversity. Studies 1a and 1b show that it decreases Asian-Americans’ desire to participate in ethnicity-related activities. Study 2 reveals that it reduces essentialist European-Americans’ desire for friendship with a minority target. Study 3 illustrates the mechanism through which an essentialist cue reduces intergroup contact, with perceivers’ chronic beliefs moderating this effect. Together, these findings demonstrate the powerful impact of the seemingly small act of how we ask people to identify with an ethnic group.

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ARC Introduces Tiana Reid as Junior Arts Writer

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-10 20:25Z by Steven

ARC Introduces Tiana Reid as Junior Arts Writer

ARC: Art. Recognition. Culture.
2014-02-03

Tiana Reid

I laboured for quite some time over what to write as my introduction to joining ARC Magazine’s team as Junior Arts Writer. How to approach the unstarted?

I was thinking first of preparing a brief manifesto-like document. That was one approach that could explicate the nuts and bolts of how I see the world. And in a few paragraphs or less! Perhaps, drawing on the words of Singapore artist Heman Chong and Sweden-based artist Anthony Marcellini’s 2013 video collaboration, I would mock up plots for things to come.

Another approach would be a biography. You know, “I was born in Toronto. I went to school at McGill. I have my M.A. in African-American Studies at Columbia. I live in Brooklyn.” I would likely pause on my non-art history background and explore my academic interest in visual culture against my permanent and affected interest as a writer in reading and speculation. When it comes to the former, my master’s thesis illuminated the shared yet dissimilar aesthetic practices of poet Natasha Trethewey and conceptual artist Adrian Piper. My thesis used ‘mixed-race’ studies as a vexed entryway to trouble claims to a speculative hybrid future, and argued that the desire and alleged ability to see a mythical (post)-racially hybrid body is intimately connected to the disavowal of black life and histories of violence…

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