Little White Lie

Posted in Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2014-07-23 23:41Z by Steven

Little White Lie

OTB Productions LLC
66 minutes

Lacey Schwartz, Producer/Director

Mehret Mandefro, Producer

James Adolphus, Co-Director

What defines our identity, our family of origin or the family that raises us? How do we come to terms with the sins and mistakes of our parents? Lacey discovers that answering those questions means understanding her parents’ own stories as well as her own. She pieces together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

At age of 18, she finally confronts her mother and learns the truth: her biological father was not the man who raised her, but a black man named Rodney with whom her mother had had an affair. Afraid of losing her relationship with her parents, Lacey doesn’t openly acknowledge her newly discovered black identity with her white family. When her biological father dies shortly before Lacey’s 30th birthday, the family secret can stay hidden no longer. Following the funeral, Lacey begins a quest to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and heal her relationship with the only father she ever knew.

Little White Lie, formerly called Outside the Box, is a feature documentary produced by Truth Aid in association with ITVS. The film will enter the festival circuit in 2014 and be broadcast on Independent Lens on PBS in 2015.

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Black American Indians seek to honor their mixed ancestry

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-07-23 21:49Z by Steven

Black American Indians seek to honor their mixed ancestry

Al Jazeera America

Naureen Khan

WASHINGTON — The soaring sound of “Wade in the Water,” a Negro spiritual once said to be used on the Underground Railroad, filled Plymouth Congressional United Church of Christ Saturday morning.

But on this particular Saturday, church-goers offered their respects to the Great Spirit, in addition to the Holy Spirit, looked on as a Native American drum processional wound its way through the aisle, and took part in a ceremonial tobacco offering.

At the first gathering of the newly created National Congress of Black American Indians, organizers and attendees came to unite and celebrate individuals of both African and Native American ancestry — a subject often fraught with complicated questions of race, identity and citizenship.

Although Native Americans and African-Americans have crossed paths, intermarried and formed alliances since pre-colonial times, often uniting in their common fight against slavery and dispossession, their shared history has been slow to be unearthed and brought into the light.

The formation and the first meeting of the NCBAI sought to remove the taboo of mixed ancestry and bring together those who could trace their ancestry to both communities. The gathering received endorsement and letters of support from Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray and Prince George County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.

“This has been a conversation that has been avoided and pushed aside, and folks who have wanted to have this conversation have been marginalized, subjugated, separated, downtrodden, stepped on,” said Jay Gola Waya Sunoyi, one of the founders of the National Congress. “But still we’re here.”…

Read the entire article here.

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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

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…

Read the entire article here.

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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


  • 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.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Creating positive out-group attitudes through intergroup couple friendships and implications for compassionate love

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology on 2014-06-23 02:34Z by Steven

Creating positive out-group attitudes through intergroup couple friendships and implications for compassionate love

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Published online before print: 2014-02-10
DOI: 10.1177/0265407514522369

Keith M. Welker
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Richard B. Slatcher, Associate Professor of Psychology
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Lynzey Baker
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Arthur Aron, Professor of Psychology
State University of New York, Stony Brook

Building personal relationships with out-group members is an important catalyst of positive intergroup attitudes. In a 2 × 2 experimental design, Caucasian and African American individuals and couples were randomly assigned to interact in either cross-race or same-race individual dyads and couple pairs. Participants completed pretest measures of race attitudes and engaged in a high self-disclosure closeness-induction task with an in-group or out-group race member in pairs of couples or individuals and completed measures of self-disclosure and intergroup attitudes. These results suggest that intergroup contact in the presence of romantic partners may be particularly effective for improving intergroup attitudes. We explore the implications of these results for developing compassionate love toward out-groups.

Read the entire article here.

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When Dad Wiped Away My Tears: Accepting a Child’s Vulnerability

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-06-18 08:28Z by Steven

When Dad Wiped Away My Tears: Accepting a Child’s Vulnerability

Psychology Today

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu Ed.D.
Stanford University

I thought summer camp would be endless fun. My two best friends were going and I wanted to go with them so badly I asked my dad to lie about my age so I could get in. I was seven and you were supposed to be eight. Dad liked my spunk, so he changed my birthday on the application and I got to go to the two-week overnight camp. On Father’s Day I always remember this story with gratitude and want to share it with you.

Camp Russell wasn’t quite what I had dreamed about. It wasn’t a rich kids’ camp, but the Boy’s Club camp and was full of tough kids from all over the city. I was scared and tried not to be noticed, but as the only Asian kid there I stood out everywhere I went. Kids would whisper to each other when I walked by or shout from a distance, “Hey Jap” or “Ching, Chong, Chinaman!” and everyone would laugh or pretend to speak Chinese. I didn’t know what to do. There were too many and they were too big to fight. So I pretended not to hear anything and no one approached me or threatened me. I was big for my age and I heard them joking that I knew karate…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Identity and Racism Collide in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-06-18 08:13Z by Steven

Black Identity and Racism Collide in Brazil

The Root

Dion Rabouin

The country’s complex history with race gains the spotlight as the World Cup attempts to address the recent wave of racist attacks against black players.

Before teams representing their countries from around the world arrived in Brazil, the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, took the opportunity to label 2014 the “anti-racism World Cup.”

The declaration came after a wave of racist incidents in soccer around the world targeting black players, many of whom are Brazilian. While it’s a well-intentioned gesture and a particularly important one for a World Cup being hosted in the country that’s home to the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa, Brazil has a complex past and present when it comes to race.

That complexity can perhaps best be illustrated by the fact that many black Brazilians don’t think of themselves as black. Brazilian soccer star Neymar is a great example. Asked during an interview in 2010 if he had ever experienced racism, his response was, “Never.” He added, “Not inside nor outside of the soccer field. Even more because I’m not black, right?”

This denial of blackness may seem confusing to many Americans, because despite his long, straightened and occasionally blond hair, Neymar is clearly black. (Take a look at a picture of young Neymar with his family.) But for Brazilians, being black is very different from what it is in the United States.

“The darker a person is in Brazil, the more racism she or he is going to suffer. Light-skinned black people don’t identify as black most of the time,” says Daniela Gomes, a black Brazilian activist who is currently pursuing a doctorate in African Diaspora studies at the University of Texas. “A lot of people choose to deny their blackness. They don’t believe they are black, but they suffer racism without knowing why.”

Gomes calls it a “brainwash” that Brazilians go through in a country that likes to hold itself up as a model for racial harmony. But she also points to differences in the histories of the United States and Brazil. “We never had segregation, we never had the one-drop rule, we never had those kinds of things that are so normal for an African American,” she said. “What happened in Brazil was the opposite.”

Integration and miscegenation were actually government policy in Brazil. Around the time that slaves were freed, in 1888, the government sought to whiten its population through the importation of European immigrants. This idea was made law by Decree 528 in 1890 and opened the country’s borders to foreign immigrants, except for those from Africa and Asia…

Read the entire article here.

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One Drop of Love – a performance by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni at the Brooklyn Historical Society

Posted in Arts, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-10 20:59Z by Steven

One Drop of Love – a performance by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni at the Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society
Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
2014-06-12, 19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations and the Brooklyn Historical Society is delighted to host One Drop of Love, a multimedia solo performance by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni that incorporates performance, film, photographs, and animation to tell the story of how the notion of ‘race’ came to be in the U.S.

One Drop of Love asks audiences to consider: how does our belief in ‘race’ affect our most intimate relationships? The show travels near and far, in the past and present to explore family, race, love and pain – and a path towards reconciliation. Audiences go on a journey from the 1700s to the present, to cities all over the U.S and to West and East Africa, where both the narrator and her father spent time in search of their racial roots.

One Drop of Love is produced by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck, Chay Carter and Matt Damon. For more information, visit:

This event is co-sponsored by, and

For more information, click here.

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The Perceptions of Race That Hinge on Stress

Posted in Articles, Economics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2014-06-10 20:57Z by Steven

The Perceptions of Race That Hinge on Stress

The Atlantic

Olga Khazan, Associate Editor

A new study found that when resources were scarce, white people had different definitions of “black” and were less generous toward people with darker skin tones than toward people with lighter skin.

The Labor Department said on Friday that employers hired 217,000 workers last month, bringing the job market back to 2008 levels.

It took more than four years to get back to this point after the recession wiped out more than 8.7 million jobs in just two years. And most economists think we’re not out of the woods yet: As my colleague Derek Thompson points out, the labor force participation rate is still at a multi-decade low.

But according to a new study, jobs and wealth weren’t the only things we lost in the recession. All of those economic woes might have also influenced how people perceive other races and have made people less generous toward those who look different from them.

For a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, David Amodio, a psychology professor at New York University and Amy Krosch, a graduate student, performed a series of experiments that showed that their predominantly white study subjects tended to view biracial people as “more black” when they were primed with economic scarcity, and that the subjects were stingier toward darker-complexioned people overall…

Read the entire article here.

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Economic scarcity alters the perception of race

Posted in Articles, Economics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-06-10 20:39Z by Steven

Economic scarcity alters the perception of race

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Published online before print on 2014-06-09
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1404448111

Amy R. Krosch
New York University

David M. Amodio, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science
New York University


Racial disparities on socioeconomic indices expand dramatically during economic recession. Although prior explanations for this phenomenon have focused on institutional causes, our research reveals that perceived scarcity influences people’s visual representations of race in a way that may promote discrimination. Across four studies, scarce conditions led perceivers to view Black people as “darker” and “more stereotypically Black” in appearance, relative to control conditions, and this shift in perception under scarcity was sufficient to elicit reduced resource allocations to African American recipients. These findings introduce a “motivated perception” account for the proliferation of racial and ethnic discrimination during times of economic duress.


When the economy declines, racial minorities are hit the hardest. Although existing explanations for this effect focus on institutional causes, recent psychological findings suggest that scarcity may also alter perceptions of race in ways that exacerbate discrimination. We tested the hypothesis that economic resource scarcity causes decision makers to perceive African Americans as “Blacker” and that this visual distortion elicits disparities in the allocation of resources. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that scarcity altered perceptions of race, lowering subjects’ psychophysical threshold for seeing a mixed-race face as “Black” as opposed to “White.” In studies 3 and 4, scarcity led subjects to visualize African American faces as darker and more “stereotypically Black,” compared with a control condition. When presented to naïve subjects, face representations produced under scarcity elicited smaller allocations than control-condition representations. Together, these findings introduce a novel perceptual account for the proliferation of racial disparities under economic scarcity.

Read or purchase the article here.

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