‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”?’ Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-23 19:51Z by Steven

‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”?’ Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage

The Huffington Post
The Blog
2014-11-21

A. B. Wilkinson, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Photograph: Ken Tanabe

One of the main characters in the award-winning film Dear White People is a mixed “black and white” college student who works to make sense of her life and relationships. The movie addresses several thought-provoking subjects, and the storyline around this character raises the question: Should people of mixed heritage have to choose one part of their ancestry over another?

From Nov. 13 to Nov. 15, over 600 people came together at DePaul University in Chicago to explore this question and other issues surrounding ideas of race, perceptions of racial mixture, and the experiences of mixed-heritage people. The goal of the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, titled “Global Mixed Race,” was to “bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines around the world to facilitate a conversation about the transnational, transdisciplinary, and transracial field of Critical Mixed Race Studies.”

As the number of people who identify as “mixed” increases, discussions around various topics concerning people of mixed ancestry are also expanding and challenging our perceptions of race and racism. Both critical mixed-race studies and films like Dear White People accomplish the same goal of furthering conversations regarding race — dialogues that we can engage in with friends, family, and those in our communities at large…

…CMRS Asks: Is There a “Global Mixed Race”?

Activists, artists, and scholars who compose critical mixed-race studies (CMRS) are complicating questions beyond “What are you?” and combating the myth of the “tragic mulatta/o.” In past decades, CMRS has expanded over a number of academic fields spanning several disciplines.

While CMRS has fought over the years to gain legitimacy within scholarly circles, one of its greatest attributes is that the coalition is not made up of solely academics but includes community activists, students, educators, families, visual artists, independent filmmakers, and others interested in the varied experiences of mixed-heritage peoples. Of course, not all these categories are mutually exclusive, as many of the activists, artists, etc., are also scholars.

Laura Kina and Camilla Fojas of DuPaul University organized the third CMRS conference, “Global Mixed Race,” which featured a variety of people telling their own stories, sharing the stories of others, and dissecting theories that surround notions of ethnoracial mixture.* In the opening keynote address, sociologist Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, co-editor of the book Global Mixed Race, explored the idea of a “mixed experience,” where she discussed the commonalities that people of mixed descent share widely across the globe.

King-O’Riain noted that people of mixed heritage have had to learn how to live and operate within their respective societies, often finding themselves ostracized by individuals within their local communities and battling exclusive national definitions of citizenship. King-O’Riain explained that people of mixed ancestry therefore have often had to skillfully create a flexible hybrid identity, one where they develop a keen ability to operate among several groups…

Read the entire article here.

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How far have we come in our acceptance of mixed race people?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-17 19:25Z by Steven

How far have we come in our acceptance of mixed race people?

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)
Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia
2014-11-14

Lin Taylor

What was once a shameful taboo with a deep, dark racist history is now the face of the modern world. But how far have we really come in our acceptance of mixed race people?

Estelle Griepink is not a celebrity.

But more often than not, the 22-year-old will get stopped on the streets of Indonesia and Malaysia, with passers-by eager to take her photo.

“I lived in Indonesia for a couple of months and I was stopped by people who wanted to take photos of me – and with me – quite frequently,” she said. “It’s happened in Malaysia, where my family lives, too.”

Her appeal? The fact that she is half Malaysian and half Dutch.

“I know this happens to people who are white too – blonde hair, blue eyes – but I felt there was something kind of creepy doing it to me as they would go on about how amazing it was that I was half Asian, half white.

“At the end of the day my ethnicity is completely out of my control, so I hardly think it is something to be congratulated on or celebrated for… like you’re a collector’s item.”

But with their mysterious, racially ambiguous ‘look’ and exotic heritage, it’s not hard to see why mixed race people like Griepink are so in demand…

…Racial hierarchy, racism and the ‘one-drop rule’

Dr Julie Matthews, an educator and sociologist at the University of Adelaide, believed the sexualisation and preference for mixed race people is inherently racist.

“We’ve sexualised or pornographied mixed race. It’s a very narrow line between exoticisation and sexualisation, fetishisms – where you turn all non-white people into people who exist simply into your own pleasure.”

She said that a person who is half white is more “palatable” and acceptable in society – an idea, she believed, is steeped in racism and prevalent since colonisation.

“Colonialism has circulated the idea that white is best. White is at the top of a kind of hierarchy of humanity… If you believe there is a hierarchy of races, which is what racism is about, a little bit of white is more palatable,” said Dr Matthews, 58, who is half Japanese and half English.

“You can get rid of the fear, and horror and the anger of race by adding a bit of whiteness.”

A pertinent example of this was the treatment of half-Aboriginal children and the Stolen Generation. Between the late 1800s and the 1970s, the Australian government forcibly removed Aboriginal children with a white parent from their community, placing them in non-Indigenous foster homes or state-run institutions. It was hoped that mixed race children would ‘assimiliate’ into white Australian society and cut ties with their black ancestry.

Sociologist Professor Reginald Daniel from the University of California added that across all racial groups, blackness is the one identity that is the most complicated.

“When it comes to blackness, there is one frontier that is the most complicated,” he told SBS. “There is no ambiguity about who’s black no matter what you look like, no matter what your ancestry because of the ‘one drop rule’ way back to, at least informally, in slavery, and then formally in law.”

A term mainly used in the US, the one-drop rule is the idea that even ‘one drop’ of blackness in your ancestry precludes you from being truly white, and therefore ‘lower’ on the racial hierarchy (with whiteness being at the top of the scale).

“There was a time when [an interracial] couple would have been – in parts of the United States – lynched by the [Ku Klux] Klan. Those kinds of attitudes had very serious consequences in terms of physical harm. And that does still happen. There are numerous hate crimes directed at interracial couples and mixed race people. And that pattern has not gone. It’s a reflection of that deep long racist history,” said Professor Daniel, whose own multiracial identity includes African, European, Asian, Arab, and Native American origins.

As a result of such entrenched racism, Professor Daniel said identifying as a multiracial person was often “fraught with conflict”, especially if the individual had a black ancestor.

“There was not a lot of mixed race people in the past in terms of identity – even if they existed they didn’t embrace that identity. So it was an identity that was fraught with a lot of conflict, in a sense that, well, how do you form an identity that’s so totally different from everything and everyone around you?”

It’s a sentiment that Tony Ryder, 25, knows all too well.

With an Italian father and an Aboriginal mother, Ryder told SBS he grew up hiding his Noongar and Yamatji ancestry because of the racism he endured in his hometown of Perth.

“Everyone’s experience is different I suppose, but for me, you know, you get called b**ng, c**n, every name under the sun… Where I went to high school, being Aboriginal isn’t celebrated – you just get made fun of.”

But when Mr Ryder did start embracing his Aboriginal heritage, he said he struggled to find acceptance within the community because of his lighter skin.

“People need to start realising that Indigenous people don’t all look the same…We are a diverse people just like any other race. Years and years of genocide and forced assimilation does not mean that we are all going to be black-skinned and living in the desert.”…

Read the entire article here.

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To Tell the Truth: Alumna’s new film about family secrets to show at Boston film festival (video)

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2014-11-16 23:54Z by Steven

To Tell the Truth: Alumna’s new film about family secrets to show at Boston film festival (video)

Harvard Law Today
Alumni Focus
2014-11-12

Lewis Rice

Lacey Schwartz ’03 will return to Cambridge this weekend to speak about her new documentary “Little White Lie,” showing Saturday Nov. 15 and 17 as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. The film traces her personal story of being raised as a white Jewish girl in Woodstock, N.Y., only to find out as a young adult that her biological father was an African-American man with whom her mother had an affair (a family friend who died nearly ten years ago). In an interview with Harvard Law Today, she spoke about family secrets, the universal appeal of her story, and the power of film to reveal truths—including at Harvard Law School…

Read the entire interview here.

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Little White Lie at DOC NYC

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos on 2014-11-16 21:56Z by Steven

Little White Lie at DOC NYC

DOC NYC
2014-11-13 through 2014-11-20
New York, New York

Showtimes

IFC Center
323 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10014
(212) 924-7771

Sunday, 2014-11-16, 19:00 EST (Local Time)
Wednesday, 2014-11-19, 10:45 EST (Local Time)

Official Site: http://www.littlewhiteliethefilm.com
Producer: Lacey Schwartz, Mehret Mandefro
Cinematographer: James Adolphus
Editor: Toby Shimin, Erik Dugger
Music: Kathryn Bostic
Running Time: 66
Language: Englsih
Country: USA

Growing up in an upper-middle-class Jewish household, Lacey Schwartz knew she looked different from the rest of her family, but her darker complexion and curly hair were brushed off as traits inherited from her Sicilian grandfather. When she finally begins to dig deeper, Lacey uncovers unspoken family secrets and willful denial that cuts to the core of her very sense of self, inspiring an intriguing re-evaluation and redefinition of identity.

Filmmaker is expected to be in person for both screenings.

For more information, click here.

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‘Fourteen Frames’ aims to create discussions on race, identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, United States, Videos on 2014-11-15 17:41Z by Steven

‘Fourteen Frames’ aims to create discussions on race, identity

The Daily Northwestern
Evanston, Illinois
2014-11-11

Shane McKeon, Reporter

A group within Global Engagement Summit launched a Tumblr page and physical gallery profiling 14 Northwestern students and their experiences with race and identity.

“Fourteen Frames” opened at Norris University Center on Nov. 5, the same day the Tumblr page went live with supplemental videos of some of the gallery’s subjects. The OpenShutter Project, a group within GES that focuses on discussing social change through art and visual media, organized the exhibit.

The page contains links to short videos of some of the students, who discuss what race and identity mean to them. In addition, other students can submit their own views on race through a text field linked on the page.

Medill junior Kalina Silverman, co-founder and co-president of the Mixed Race Student Coalition, was featured in the gallery and said it is important to discuss race on college campuses.

“Race is a tricky phenomenon to navigate on campus, especially when you grow up defining yourself a certain way,” Silverman said. “Then you come to campus and your philosophies and political views are also swayed as you learn more and more. It’s up to you to choose how to define yourself, and that can be very tricky.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on Growing Up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Race, and What It Takes to Do a One-Woman Show

Posted in Articles, Arts, Census/Demographics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-15 12:50Z by Steven

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on Growing Up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Race, and What It Takes to Do a One-Woman Show

Phoenix New Times
2014-10-30

Zaida Dedolph

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni stars in a one-woman show written by her and produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni wants to talk about race in America — and she’s got an idea of where she wants to start. The writer-actor-director-producer extraordinaire will bring her one-woman show, One Drop of Love, to Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, November 1.

Inspired by her own experiences with race, family, and reconciliation, One Drop of Love endeavors to explore these concepts in a funny, relatable way. In addition to giving two performances, Cox DiGiovanni will be hosting a panel discussion and community dialogue on Thursday, October 31, at the Arizona Opera Center. We spoke with the creative about her performance, her history, and her first-ever visit to Arizona.

Zaida Dedolph: Fanshen, you seem to wear a lot of hats. Where did you learn to do all of these things?

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni: I mostly see myself as an actor — that’s why I moved to Los Angeles and what I’ve been pursuing for the longest time in a creative capacity. I’ve known I wanted to be an actor since I was very young, but at the mean time I had all these other interests. So I joined the Peace Corps in West Africa and that got me into teaching, so I balanced teaching and acting.

As an actor, especially in LA, I started to notice that I wasn’t booking but I also was auditioning for things that I didn’t feel good about or proud of, so it was hard to bring my all to an audition when I felt like the roles were demeaning or just not me. As much as I think it’s good to stretch as an actor, it’s also good to know that you’ve got at least a base that you can work from. So I started to learn about writing.

It helps that I grew up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and was incredibly fortunate to watch them take a story that they believed in, then write that story, and write themselves into lead roles in that story, and then turn it into Good Will Hunting. So I had some people close to me to model the fact that I could write characters that I could feel good about and be proud of.

I started learning about writing, did some stand-up, wrote a couple feature-length screenplays, so now I had this writing and some characters I was proud of, but then I asked “what’s next, how do I get these characters out there?” and realized I needed to learn how to produce as well. I joined a program in Los Angeles called Project Involve [a faction of Film Independent that works to support filmmakers from backgrounds that are not frequently represented in the film industry] and learned a little more about producing.

My husband was researching MFA schools and found the most affordable one in the country was at California State University [at] Los Angeles, so I followed him into the program. That’s where I really learned hands on producing. One Drop of Love was my thesis for the MFA program, so I got to put all the things that I learned together. That’s how I ended up producing and performing and writing…

..ZD: When it comes to the American discussion of race, what issues do you think we are focusing too much attention on? Which ones do you think we should be paying more mind to?

FCD: I hope people walk away from the show [understanding] that we tend to focus too much on our differences when it comes to race. In the show I try to make it clear that race doesn’t exist genetically, and yes, we’ve all kind of come to a place where we believe in it culturally and politically, but genetically there is zero difference, as was proven by Human Genome Project.

In the show, I take the racial categories from the first U.S. Census in the 1790s. It had three racial categories and has been changed 24 times since then, now there are so many racial categories on the census. Anything that can change that easily can’t have any real, strong bearing on anything! Unfortunately, we’ve let it become so important.

I hope people will focus less on what our differences in race are and focus on what we all have in common, which is that none of us want racism. We created race to oppress people, so let’s not focus on these differences and instead focus on where we can unify…

Read the entire interview here.

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Perceptions of Mixed-Race: A Study Using an Implicit Index

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-11-12 21:38Z by Steven

Perceptions of Mixed-Race: A Study Using an Implicit Index

Journal of Black Psychology
Published online before print: 2014-11-12
DOI: 10.1177/0095798414550248

Barlow Wright, Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Brunel University London, England

Michael Olyedemi
Brunel University London, England

Stanley O. Gaines Jr., Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Brunel University London, England

The psychology of race is in its infancy, particularly in the United Kingdom and especially regarding mixed-race. Most use untimed explicit indexes and qualitative/self-report measures. Here, we used not only explicit responses (participants’ choice of response categories) but also implicit data (participants’ response times, RT). In a Stroop task, 92 Black, White, and mixed-race participants classified photographs of mixed-race persons. Photos were accompanied by a word, such as Black or White. Participants ignored the word, simply deciding whether to categorize photos as White or Black. Averaged across three different instructional sets, White participants categorized mixed-race slightly to the White side of the center point, with Black participants doing the converse. Intriguingly, mixed-race participants placed mixed-race photos further toward Black than did the Black group. But for RT, they now indicated midway between White and Black participants. We conclude that at the conscious (key-press) level, mixed-race persons see being mixed-race as Black, but at the unconscious (RT) level, their perception is a perfect balance between Black and White. Findings are discussed in terms of two recent theories of racial identity.

Read or purchase the article here.

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On The Cusp of Dual Identities #Dispatch: Afropean

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, United Kingdom on 2014-11-11 15:53Z by Steven

On The Cusp of Dual Identities #Dispatch: Afropean

Everywhere All The Time
2014-11-10

Bani Amor

Johny Pitts is a writer, photographer, and broadcast journalist interested in issues of Afro-European identity. He won a Decibel Penguin Prize for a short story included in the ‘The Map of Me'; a Penguin books anthology about mixed-race identity. He recently collaborated with author Caryl Phillips on a photographic essay for the BBC and Arts Council England dealing with London and immigration, and curates the online journal Afropean.com, for which he received the 2013 ENAR foundation (European Network Against Racism) award for a contribution to a racism free Europe. He currently hosts a youth travel show for the BBC and recently finished the first draft of a travel narrative about a five month trip through ‘Black Europe’, due to be released in 2015.

Bani Amor: Tell us about yourself. How would you describe your work and the impetus behind it?

John: Well, I hold American and British passports, I was raised between London and Sheffield, in the UK. My Father is black, my mother is white, and I was born on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius, so even my star sign dual! So I identify with W.E.B DuBois’ double consciousness stuff. I feel as though I kind of grew up in that liminal terrain between cultures, races and spaces, and I suppose my work is all about trying to find some kind of coherence in that liminal space. Instead of seeing myself as half-this or mixed-that, I try to solidify the cultural ground I walk on as something whole. And that is where this term ‘Afropean’ comes in.

It is a platform to engage with-and acknowledge the duality of- my influences, whilst bringing them together as something new. I didn’t create the term Afropean, so in a way I’m working off the backs of a Generation X who came of age in the 90’s. People like Neneh Cherry, Zap Mama, Stephen Simmonds, Les Nubians… artists and musicians who brought forth new aesthetics that were a mix of African and European influences. The word was being used, but it hadn’t really entered the popular lexicon, so I snapped up afropean.com and tried to create a community around that. See if there was a way for Afro-Europeans to get a sense of themselves in the same way I feel African Americans did…

Read the entire interview here.

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‘One Drop of Love’ star Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni talks race, family and more

Posted in Articles, Arts, Census/Demographics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-11-06 21:37Z by Steven

‘One Drop of Love’ star Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni talks race, family and more

The Tampa Bay Times
St. Petersburg, Florida
2014-11-05

Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer

It’s been an interesting year in race relations for America. In just over 10 months, there have been communities violently protesting loss of due process, NBA owners losing their teams over racist remarks and anti-immigration zealots blockading school buses full of brown children because they were presumed to be foreign.

It’s a climate — not of change, as was promised by the election of President Barack Obama, but of an overwhelming dedication to fight change.

“People believe in race so strongly they’re faithful to it. Race is like a religion to us,” said Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, writer and performer of One Drop of Love, a one-woman multimedia show coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts Saturday night.

As a woman with parents who identify themselves as different races — her father is black and her mother is white — Cox DiGiovanni says she has the had the privilege to move between two different spheres of American society and decide for herself how she would be defined.

“The way I identify myself is as a culturally mixed woman searching for racial answers,” she said. “I care about justice and that’s more important than racial identity.”…

Read the entire article here.

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BEING a mixed-race black person…

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-11-06 20:21Z by Steven

BEING a mixed-race black person…

Max News: ‘View from the Bottom’ Magazine of Kevin Maxwell
London, United Kingdom
2014-11-05

Kevin Maxwell

I was talking with a black woman earlier, and we happened to get on to the subject of race – something close to my skin, literally.

She said that a lot of mixed-race people only identified as black, when they had experienced racism. I thought, how true.

Prior to my own challenges against racism within the police, I’m unsure how I described myself. I mean, the Government gave me labels on forms like mixed-race because I have a white mother and black father – but, I was just me.

It was the Metropolitan Police which ironically got me to look closer under my skin, at my race and identity.

I wrote in The Nubian Times for the recent Black History Month that, in my challenges against discrimination within Scotland Yard the Met said I wasn’t black (enough) to be discriminated against.

I was like, this is just stupid.

The first thing people see when they meet me is my black skin, and it’s how I identify anyhow too – which, is what is important…

Read the entire article here.

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