In Search of the Slave Who Defied George Washington

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-09-08 13:02Z by Steven

In Search of the Slave Who Defied George Washington

The New York Times
2017-02-06

Jennifer Schuessler


Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the author of “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge,” at George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon, Va.
Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

MOUNT VERNON, Va. — The costumed characters at George Washington’s gracious estate here are used to handling all manner of awkward queries, whether about 18th-century privies or the first president’s teeth. So when a visitor recently asked an African-American re-enactor in a full skirt and head scarf if she knew Ona Judge, the woman didn’t miss a beat.

Judge’s escape from the presidential residence in Philadelphia in 1796 had been “a great embarrassment to General and Lady Washington,” the woman said, before offering her own view of the matter.

“Ona was born free, like everybody,” she said. “It was this world that made her a slave.”

It’s always 1799 at Mount Vernon, where more than a million visitors annually see the property as it was just before Washington’s death, when his will famously freed all 123 of his slaves. That liberation did not apply to Ona Judge, one of 153 slaves held by Martha Washington.

But Judge, it turned out, evaded the Washingtons’ dogged (and sometimes illegal) efforts to recapture her, and would live quietly in New Hampshire for another 50 years. Now her story — and the challenge it offers to the notion that Washington somehow transcended the seamy reality of slaveholding — is having its fullest airing yet…

Ms. Dunbar, the author of “Never Caught,” first came across Ona Judge in the late 1990s, when she was a graduate student at Columbia researching free black women in Philadelphia. One day in the archives, she noticed a 1796 newspaper ad offering $10 for the return of “a light Mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy hair” who had “absconded” from the president’s house.

“I said to myself: ‘Here I am, a scholar in this field. Why don’t I know about her?’” Ms. Dunbar recalled…

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The First White President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-09-08 01:17Z by Steven

The First White President

The Atlantic
October 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates


Jesse Draxler; Photo: David Hume Kennerly / Getty

The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers

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Racism is real, race is not: a philosopher’s perspective

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Oceania, Philosophy, Social Science on 2017-09-07 02:31Z by Steven

Racism is real, race is not: a philosopher’s perspective

The Conversation
2017-08-31

Adam Hochman, Lecturer in Philosophy
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


from www.shutterstock.com

There are no races – biological or social – only racialised groups.

We live in a richly diverse country, populated by Indigenous Australians, recent immigrants, and descendants of relatively recent immigrants. Some feel threatened by this diversity; some relish it.

Most of us, I think, are unsure quite how to talk about it.

We have many words to describe diversity. We ask people about their ancestry, their ethnicity, and – most awkwardly – their “background”. We seem least comfortable asking people about their “race”, and with good reason.

Racial classification has been used to justify some of the most heinous crimes of modernity, including those committed on our own shores. Asking people about their “race” can make you sound a bit, well, racist…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Twitter Asks Rachel: Racial Identity Theft in “Post-Racial” America

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-06 04:41Z by Steven

Black Twitter Asks Rachel: Racial Identity Theft in “Post-Racial” America

Howard Journal of Communications
Published online: 2017-08-18
pages 1-17
DOI: 10.1080/10646175.2017.1354789

Leslie Stevens
Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies
University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

Nicole Maurantonio, Associate Professor
Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies
University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

On Monday, June 15, 2015, Rachel Dolezal resigned from her post as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People amid allegations that she had been lying about her race. Dolezal, her White parents claimed, had been “presenting herself as a black person when she is not.” This article explores Black Twitter’s response to Dolezal’s “outing” as a White woman with particular emphasis on the #AskRachel hashtag, to which users posted a series of questions intended to discern Dolezal’s “true” racial identity. Although the hashtag has been alternately praised for its wit and critiqued for its cruelty, this article suggests that both critiques underestimate the hashtag’s significance. This article argues that the hashtag provided a site for the articulation, contestation, and negotiation of Blackness, capturing larger cultural anxieties surrounding racial identity in a “post-racial” United States.

Read the entire article here.

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The Day My Daughter Rejected My Blackness

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-06 04:04Z by Steven

The Day My Daughter Rejected My Blackness

The Huffington Post
2017-05-04

Theresa Sutton, Contributor

To be a black woman in 2017 is a lot of things. And none of them are easy.

“Mommy, I don’t want to be black like you.”

It came so unexpectedly, in the bath and beauty department of Target, while I was precariously perched on one foot attempting to get the last Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie from the shelf overhead.

Almost instantly, I could feel the eyes of strangers upon me. It was as though a spotlight had suddenly appeared overhead, and dozens of shoppers spontaneously generated behind me, all eager to see how I would screw up this moment…

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Edith Eaton’s Expanding Oeuvre

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-09-06 03:28Z by Steven

Edith Eaton’s Expanding Oeuvre

American Periodicals: A Journal of History & Criticism
Volume 27, Number 1, 2017
pages 6-10

Mary Chapman, Professor of English
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Since the early 1980s, when S. E. Solberg published a short checklist of twenty-two works of fiction and journalism by Chinese American author Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), our knowledge of her oeuvre has grown considerably. By 2007, through the efforts of Annette White-Parks and Amy Ling, as well as Dominika Ferens and Martha Cutter, Eaton’s oeuvre included about one hundred works of fiction, poetry, and journalism, many of which addressed the experiences of diasporic Chinese in North America. In the past ten years, I have discovered more than one hundred fifty texts by Eaton, some of which are collected in Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton.1 Eaton’s expanded oeuvre demonstrates that she was a much more complicated author than formerly believed, a writer who worked in a range of genres and styles, addressed numerous themes beyond the Chinese diaspora, and published in a wide assortment of turn-of-the-century magazines and newspapers in three national contexts: the United States, Canada, and Jamaica.

To locate uncollected works by Eaton, I took inspiration from the impressive detective work of White-Parks and Diana Birchall,2 who wrote biographies of Eaton and her sister Winnifred (Onoto Watanna), respectively, as well as from Ferens’s recovery of Eaton’s Jamaican journalism. To begin, I developed a list of periodicals and newspapers in which Eaton published or to which she submitted work, based on information about twenty-four periodicals provided in the acknowledgments of her only book, Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912):

I have to thank the Editors of The Independent, Out West, Hampton’s, The Century, Delineator, Ladies’ Home Journal, Designer, New Idea, Short Stories, Traveler, Good Housekeeping, Housekeeper, Gentlewoman, New York Evening Post, Holland’s, Little Folks, American Motherhood, New England, Youth’s Companion, Montreal Witness, Children’s, Overland, Sunset, and Westerner magazines, who were kind enough to care for my children when I sent them out into the world, for permitting the dear ones to return to me to be grouped together within this volume.3

Inspired by Jean Lee Cole’s recovery of periodical works by Winnifred Eaton, I also scoured Eaton’s autobiographical writings, correspondence with editors, and reviews of and introductions to her periodical publications for any mention of publications to which she may have submitted work.4 Eaton’s reference in “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian” to “local [Montreal] papers” that gave her a “number of assignments, including most of the local Chinese reporting,”5 for example, prompted me to consult late 1880s and 1890s issues of the Montreal Star, Montreal Witness, and Montreal Gazette. In “A Word from Miss Eaton” in the Westerner, Eaton mentions publishing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.6 The literary editor of the Westerner also notes in his preamble to “A Word from Sui Sin Far” that Eaton’s works had appeared in Woman’s Home Companion.7 Eaton’s correspondence with Land of Sunshine editor Charles Lummis and Century editor Robert Underwood Johnson, as well as a letter that Los Angeles Express editor Samuel Clover wrote to Johnson, also mention periodicals to which Eaton submitted fiction.8 To this list of publications, I added Fly Leaf, Lotus, the Chautauquan, and the Boston Globe—publications in which White-Parks and Ling had located works by Eaton—as well as Metropolitan Magazine, Gall’s News Letter, and Leslie’s Weekly—periodicals in which Cutter, Ferens, and June Howard had located additional texts.9

I then searched as many issues of these publications as possible for relevant years, in either digitized or paper form. Given the brevity of Eaton’s career (twenty-six years between 1888 and her death in 1914), looking through bound volumes or tables of contents for key years of nondigitized (and sometimes short-lived) monthly magazines was not arduous. Comprehensive searches of nondigitized daily newspapers were more challenging, however, so I searched the Los Angeles Express, Montreal Star, Montreal Gazette, Montreal Witness, Chicago Evening Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and New York Evening Post for only particular periods during which Eaton was likely to…

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Talking the Talk: Linguistic Passing in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-06 02:41Z by Steven

Talking the Talk: Linguistic Passing in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S.
Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2017
pages 156-176

Melissa Dennihy, Assistant Professor of English
Queensborough Community College, City University of New York, Bayside, New York

Danzy Senna’s 1998 novel Caucasia, set in 1970s New England, follows the breakup of the mixed-race Lee family: African American father Deck, white mother Sandy, and biracial daughters Cole and Birdie. When Deck and Sandy separate following the latter’s involvement in a risky political plot, darker-skinned sister Cole moves with Deck to Brazil, while protagonist Birdie goes undercover with Sandy, passing as white to help her mother dodge the FBI. Birdie’s passing has led critics to categorize Caucasia as a contemporary passing novel, situated within a long tradition of US passing literature established by works such as James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) and Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929).1 However, white is not the only passing identity assumed by Caucasia’s protagonist, and the multiple forms of passing Birdie and other characters undertake throughout the novel suggest that racial identity—how one constructs one’s race and how one’s race is constructed by others—continuously shifts by context. Passing is not portrayed as a permanent crossing of the color line in this text but as an ongoing series of acts involving regular adjustments in one’s performance of racial identity. Characters pass not just for white but for multiple racial and ethnic identities, including different versions of Blackness and whiteness.

In this sense, Senna’s novel challenges views of passing as an act in which one gives up who one “really” is to “become” white. Instead, Caucasia portrays passing as a tool used when one has a specific goal or outcome in mind: passing for white is not a permanent adoption of whiteness but a performance of it, used to access privileges, opportunities, or advantages. This is an important point since, long after we have acknowledged that race is not biological but socially constructed, some recent scholarship continues to portray passing as a masking of one’s “true” self or race. Valerie Rohy writes, for example, that “the term passing designates a performance in which one presents oneself as what one is not” (219).2 The phrase “what one is not” suggests an originary self, whereas I use the term passing not to imply an authentic self hidden under a false identity but to suggest that racial identity is multifaceted and varied, involving continual reconstructions of the self in different contexts. To read Caucasia’s Birdie as a black girl who fakes it while passing as white overlooks the fact that Birdie must learn to pass for black as well as white; neither racial performance comes naturally to her. Learning to perform both whiteness and Blackness helps Birdie recognize the possibility of passing for both—and other—racial/ethnic identities: passing is not a singular transition from black to white but a series of multidirectional, continual crossings into and out of different racial identities as circumstances allow or require.

However, what is most notable about Senna’s passing story is not its multiple acts of passing in different directions but that they do not always depend solely or even primarily on physical appearance. Set in a post-civil rights United States no longer structured by the color line of the Jim Crow era, Senna’s novel presents racial identity as constructed through more than just the physical realm: the text’s protagonist learns to claim both Blackness and whiteness by modifying not only her appearance but also her use of language. The linguistic is a critical factor in facilitating successful passing in Caucasia, calling attention away from physical attributes in determining who can claim a certain racial identity. The novel’s portrayal of what I call linguistic passing—situationally altering one’s way of speaking, in addition to or instead of altering appearance, to pass as a member of or gain insider status within a particular racial group—broadens traditional understandings of passing by shifting emphasis from the physical and visual to the linguistic and audible. If one can talk the talk convincingly enough, Caucasia suggests, one can gain access to groups or opportunities one might otherwise be excluded from or…

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A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-05 16:59Z by Steven

A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Afropunk
2017-08-30

Eye Candy

Two African American sisters grow up in racially charged 1960s Georgia, but one is born with fair skin. And when schools integrate in their small town, she decides to change her destiny—by passing for white.

Set in modern day and 1960s rural Georgia, “Across The Tracks” follows two black sisters—one dark skinned, the other light skinned—as they both navigate the desegregation of their school and make choices that will change them forever. Shot by director/cinematographer Mike Cooke in the small town of Arlington, GA. and co-written by Kimberly James, “Across the Tracks” is a story so resonate with and relevant to the black experience even now you’ll wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner…

Read the entire article here.

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Tips To Make Mixed Kids Feel Like They Belong

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2017-09-05 00:32Z by Steven

Tips To Make Mixed Kids Feel Like They Belong

Just Analise
2017-08-23

Analise Kandasammy

Being a parent is the toughest job in the world. In fact, it’s the toughest job in the world which doesn’t have a retirement age.

So I’m putting it out there. I am not a parent and it is not my intention to tell people how to be better parents. In fact, I dislike judging people’s parenting styles (although I have from time to time because I’m not perfect). But what I do know is what it is like to be a mixed race kid trying to figure out where to belong in this world and trying to figure it out with no guidance.

I know that you think that by ignoring ethnicity altogether it might be better for your kid. After all, you are teaching him/her to love and respect all people, but it also does a disservice not to educate them about society and how to navigate the judgemental comments and intrusive questions of others. When you teach them how to to do this, you are teaching them to not absorb what people think and to not focus on it. When you teach them how to do this, you are teaching them self love and how to be a leader and an educator of others…

Read the entire article here.

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Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-05 00:20Z by Steven

Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista

The New York Times Magazine
2017-08-31

Jazmine Hughes


Elaine Welteroth
Credit Erik Madigan Heck for The New York Times

The editor in chief has taken on a seemingly impossible task: reinventing the glossy magazine for a hyperempathetic generation.

If you are, like me, a person with no sense of style and a stomach paunch, you might understand why dressing for a fashion show would be a psychological challenge. The day before my first one, I begged my best-dressed co-worker to chaperone my visit to a fast-fashion outlet. I’d coveted a pleated gold-foil skirt I’d seen on the store’s website. My co-worker had approved the skirt on the model. I tried it on. She did not approve it on me. In person, the gold foil looked cheap, the waistband of the skirt unflattering. Instead, she picked out a rose-colored accordion skirt that I would never have thought to buy. I put it on the next morning. Four hours later, I spilled steak juice all down my front.

Maybe another person would have given up at that point, but I was on my way to meet Elaine Welteroth, the editor in chief of Teen Vogue. Hired at 29, she is the youngest-ever editor in chief of a Condé Nast publication, and only the second black woman to hold the title there. Since taking over the magazine last year, she has become a personality of sorts, appearing as herself on ABC’s ‘‘black-ish’’ and being photographed cuddled up to celebrities: the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, the actors Gabrielle Union and Aja Naomi King. As I headed to the Coach fall show this February, I found myself growing increasingly nervous to meet her. It wasn’t that she was famous, really. But I spent a significant portion of my adolescence fantasizing about running my own teen magazine, and, like her, I am a young, black New York-based editor with curly hair and myopia. She was famous to me…

Read the entire article here.

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