A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life by Allyson Hobbs (review) [Cutter]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2015-10-23 01:01Z by Steven

A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life by Allyson Hobbs (review) [Cutter]

African American Review
Volume 48, Number 3, Fall 2015
pages 381-383

Martha J. Cutter, Professor of English and Africana Studies
University of Connecticut

Hobbs, Allyson, A Chosen Exile: History of Racial Passing in American Life (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014)

The historian Allyson Hobbs opens her book A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life with an anecdote about a young child living on Chicago’s South Side in the late 1930s who is light enough to pass for white. Her parents (who are also light enough to pass) make the heart-wrenching decision to send her to live as a white person in Los Angeles, without them. She cries, pleads, and begs to stay with her parents, but they are adamant. Many years later when the father is dying the mother calls home the daughter, now a young woman who has married a white man and has had white children, but she refuses to return. This incident—sourced as “one of my family’s stories” (4)—seems an unusual way to begin a book titled A Chosen Exile, for the young girl’s exile is not chosen by any means. It is also a curiously ambiguous story. We may wonder (for example) why the parents do not go with the child, whether she has relatives in California to whom she is sent, and what age she is when this event occurs. This tantalizing story leaves a reader with more questions than it answers, and it belies the richness of Hobbs’s work in the book as a whole. Hobbs does not use this anecdote to elucidate some of the mysteries around passing or the difficulty of excavating the history of the racial passer, who disappears into whiteness. Instead, the story is deployed in support of the central argument of her book—that “racial passing is an exile” (4) and “the core issue of passing is not becoming what you pass for, but losing what you pass away from” (18). But how can we know that passing is “losing what you pass away from” based on this anecdote? In Hobbs’s book, the young girl is never heard from again. Perhaps she found freedom in her whiteness, or perhaps not. She might have had a permanent sense of exile, but this is never elucidated.

The use of this anecdote reflects a systemic flaw in Hobbs’s otherwise powerful and eloquent book. Her source material often opens up in provocative ways the can of worms that is racial passing, but then she sometimes forces those messy, squiggly worms back into a single “can”—the frame of family loss and exile. Hobbs makes the dubious claim that “historians and literary scholars have paid far more attention to what was gained by passing as white rather than to what was lost by rejecting a black racial identity” (11). To counter this tendency, she mines historical sources on passing “to discover a coherent and enduring narrative of loss” (24). At various points, she does acknowledge the shifting meaning of racial passing; for example, she states that “to pass as white varied and cannot be collapsed into a singular narrative” (15) and that “passing was by no means a static practice” (25). By the end of the book, her argument evolves into a more nuanced one: “Loss was a prerequisite of passing. But the losses that passing demanded were not all the same for those who passed. … For some, [passing] was undoubtedly a bitter bargain. But for others, the connection with oneself and one’s past had been lost long ago” (230). Hobbs here articulates some of the plural possibilities of passing—the way it can come to mean both conscription to a certain racial ideology and liberation from this very same ideology at one and the same time.

Hobbs’s book might have put forward from its start, then, a slightly more nuanced overarching framework. But in many ways this book is a very valuable resource for scholars interested in the history of passing, as well as students who may need a broad overview of the phenomenon. It examines the more-than-250-year history of passing in the United States, reaching back to the time of the American Revolution and forward to our current so-called “mulatto millennium,” or “Generation E.A.”—“ethnically ambiguous” (276). Most unique about the book is the wealth of source materials (much of which is…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Dating Partners Don’t Always Prefer “Their Own Kind”: Some Multiracial Daters Get Bonus Points in the Dating Game

Posted in Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2015-09-24 00:14Z by Steven

Dating Partners Don’t Always Prefer “Their Own Kind”: Some Multiracial Daters Get Bonus Points in the Dating Game

Council on Contemporary Families
Austin, Texas
2015-07-01

Celeste Vaughan Curington
Department of Sociology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ken-Hou Lin, Assistant Professor of Sociology
The University of Texas, Austin

Jennifer Hickes Lundquist, Professor of Sociology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

A briefing paper prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families by Celeste Curington, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Ken-Hou Lin, University of Texas at Austin, and Jennifer Lundquist, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Despite growing approval of interracial dating, researchers have long documented the existence of a racial hierarchy within the dating world, with white women and men the most preferred partners, blacks the least preferred, and Asians and Hispanics in between. But where do the growing numbers of biracial and multiracial individuals fit into this hierarchy? Do they too get ranked by descending shades of lightness?

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of individuals who identified themselves to Census takers as being of two or more races increased by a third. These nine million individuals still represent less than three percent of the population. But studies predict that by the year 2050, nearly one in five Americans may claim a multiracial background. How will this affect dating and marriage patterns in the United States?

We recently completed a study of how multiracial daters fare in a mainstream online dating website. Using 2003-2010 data from one of the largest dating websites in the United States, we examined nearly 6.7 million initial messages sent between heterosexual women and men. Specifically, we looked into how often Asian-white, black-white, and Hispanic-white daters received a response to their messages compared to their monoracial counterparts…

Read the entire paper here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

394. Paper Session: New Issues in Race and Identity

Posted in Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-28 02:59Z by Steven

394. Paper Session: New Issues in Race and Identity

Crossing Borders: 2015 Annual Meeting
Eastern Sociological Society
Millennium Broadway Hotel
New York, New York
2015-02-26 through 2015-03-01

Sunday, 2015-03-01, 10:15-11:45 EST (Local Time)

Presider: Vilna Bashi Treitler, Baruch College, City University of New York

  • Blacks, Latinos, Jews and Foreigners are Taking Over: How Innumeracy About Groups Shapes Public Policy Charles A. Gallagher — La Salle Uinversity
  • Limited by the Color Line: How Hypodescent Affects Responses to Mixed-Race Identity Claims Casey Lorene Stockstill — University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Siblings: the Overlooked Agents of Racial Socialization of Black/White Biracial Youth Monique Porow — Rutgers University
  • The Mulata Identity: Race, Gender, and Nation Nicole Barreto Hindert — George Mason University
  • Resurrecting Slavery: Temporal Borders, Causal Logics and Anti-racism in France Crystal Fleming — State University of New York at Stony Brook

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

235. Paper Session: Racial Dynamics of Dating & Marriage

Posted in Live Events, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-27 01:56Z by Steven

235. Paper Session: Racial Dynamics of Dating & Marriage

Crossing Borders: 2015 Annual Meeting
Eastern Sociological Society
Millennium Broadway Hotel
New York, New York
2015-02-26 through 2015-03-01

Saturday, 2015-02-28, 08:30-10:30 EST (Local Time)

Presider: Erica Chito-Childs, City University of New York – Hunter College

  • The Role of Race in Dating Among Americans: How “Whiteness” Influences Perception of Interracial Relationships Jennifer Dejesus — Pace University, Andrea Voyer — Pace University
    University
  • Marriage Patterns among Multiracial Americans: Upward Amalgamation, Downward Amalgamation, Matching and Hyper-Matching Gregory Eirich — Columbia University, Gracelyn Bateman — Mindshare
  • Disappearing Difference, or The Illegibility of Multiracials in Interracial Relationships Melinda Mills — Castleton State College
  • Does Intermarriage Blur Boundaries? The Transformation of Racial and Ethnic Boundaries among Interracially and Inter-ethnically Married Filipino Americans and their Families Brenda Gambol — The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • They Don’t Want to Date Any Dark People Chong-suk Han — Middlebury College

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

279. Invited Thematic Session: Crossing Interracial Borders

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-27 01:35Z by Steven

279. Invited Thematic Session: Crossing Interracial Borders

Crossing Borders: 2015 Annual Meeting
Eastern Sociological Society
Millennium Broadway Hotel
New York, New York
2015-02-26 through 2015-03-01

Saturday, 2015-02-28, 12:00-13:30 EST (Local Time)

Organizer: Erica Chito-Childs, City University of New York – Hunter College

Presider: Erica Chito-Childs, City University of New York – Hunter College

  • Transracial Kin-scription: The Silent Engine of Racial Change? Kimberly McClain DaCosta — New York University
  • Emerging Patterns of Interracial Marriage and Immigrant Integration in the United States Daniel Lichter — Cornell University
  • Interracial Marriage in the U.S. and Brazil: Racial Boundaries in Comparative Perspective Chinyere Osuji — Rutgers University
  • A Global Look at Attitudes Towards “Mixed” Marriage Erica Chito-Childs — City University of New York – Hunter College

Discussant: Amy Steinbugler, Dickinson College

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Symposium S-H09: Understanding the Dynamics of Beliefs in Genetic and Racial Essences

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-26 20:34Z by Steven

Symposium S-H09: Understanding the Dynamics of Beliefs in Genetic and Racial Essences

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology
16th Annual Convention
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
Long Beach, California
2015-02-26 through 2015-02-28

Saturday, 2015-02-28, 15:30-16:45 PST (Local Time)
Room 202ABC
Chair:

Franki Kung
University of Waterloo

Co-Chair:

Melody Chao
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

The symposium presents research that transcends the static, and often negative, conceptualization of essentialism. Four papers present a dynamic view of essentialist beliefs and show that beliefs in genetic or racial essences could lead to both positive and negative social psychological outcomes in interpersonal, intergroup and clinical contexts.

The Implications of Cultural Essentialism on Interpersonal Conflicts in Inter- vs. Intracultural Contexts

Franki Yk Hei Kung
University of Waterloo

Melody M. Chao
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Donna Yao
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Ho-ying Fu
City University of Hong Kong

Although psychological essentialism has been shown to influence a wide range of psychological processes in intergroup contexts, little is known about its impact on managing interpersonal conflicts in intracultural and intercultural settings. The current research aims to address this question. Findings across three studies (N=387) revealed that individuals who endorse essentialist beliefs less were more likely to trust their interaction partner in intercultural than intracultural conflict situations. This increased trusting relationship, in turn, could lead to more integration of ideas and both better individual and joint outcomes in face-to-face dyadic intercultural negotiations. The current study unveils when and how essentialist beliefs influence individuals’ ability to function effectively in intercultural and intercultural contexts. Implications of the findings in advancing our understanding of intercultural competence will be discussed.

To be Essentialist or Not: The Positive and Negative Ramifications of Race Essentialism for Multiracial Individuals

Kristin Pauker
University of Hawaii

Chanel Meyers
University of Hawaii

Jon Freeman
New York University

Research documents the many negative implications of race essentialism for intergroup relations, ranging from increased stereotyping to less motivation to cross racial boundaries. This research has primarily examined such negative implications from the perspective of White perceivers. Two studies (N=138) explored positive and negative ramifications of adopting essentialist beliefs about race for racial minorities, specifically multiracial individuals. We hypothesized that adopting less essentialist beliefs may aid multiracial individuals in flexibly adopting the framework of multiple identities with positive consequences for their face memory, but may result in negative consequences for their racial identity. Results indicated that multiracial individuals with less essentialist views could readily adopt the lens of primed monoracial identities and exhibited preferential memory for identity-prime relevant faces. However, when it came to their own racial identification, more essentialist views appeared to be beneficial—as it was associated with higher identity integration and greater pride in a multiracial identity.

Folk Beliefs about Genetic Variation Predict Avoidance of Biracial Individuals

Jason E. Plaks
University of Toronto

Sonia K. Kang
University of Toronto

Alison L. Chasteen
University of Toronto

Jessica D. Remedios
Tufts University

Laypeople’s estimates of the amount of genetic overlap between vs. within racial groups vary widely. While some believe that different races are genetically similar, others believe that different races share little genetic material. These studies examine how beliefs about genetic overlap affect neural and behavioral reactions to racially-ambiguous and biracial targets. In Study 1, we found that the low overlap perspective predicts a stronger neural avoidance response to biracial compared to Black or White targets. In Study 2, we manipulated genetic overlap beliefs and found that participants in the low overlap condition explicitly rated biracial targets more negatively than Black targets. In Study 3, this difference extended to distancing behavior: Low overlap perceivers sat further away when expecting to meet a biracial person than when expecting to meet a Black person. These data suggest that a priori assumptions about human genetic variation guide perceivers’ reactions to racially-ambiguous individuals.

Genetic Attributions Underlie People’s Attitudes Towards Criminal Responsibility and Eugenics

Steven J. Heine
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia

Benjamin Y. Cheung
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia

People are essentialist thinkers – they are attracted to the idea that hidden essences make things as they are. When most people encounter genetic concepts they think of these as essences, and they then think about related phenomena as immutable, determined, homogenous and discrete, and natural. I will discuss experimental research that demonstrates how encounters with information about genetic causes leads people to view two highly politicized topics in quite different terms. Specifically, in contrast to those who were exposed to arguments about experiential causes, people who encountered genetic attributions of violent behavior were more open to defenses appealing to mitigated criminal responsibility, and genetic attributions of intelligence lead people to be more supportive of eugenic policies.

For more information click here and go to page 125.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fluidity of Race: “Passing” in the United States, 1880-1940

Posted in Census/Demographics, Economics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2015-01-20 20:05Z by Steven

The Fluidity of Race: “Passing” in the United States, 1880-1940

The National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER Working Paper No. 20828
January 2015
76 pages
DOI: 10.3386/w20828

Emily Nix
Department of Economics
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Nancy Qian, Associate Professor of Economics
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

This paper quantifies the extent to which individuals experience changes in reported racial identity in the historical U.S. context. Using the full population of historical Censuses for 1880-1940, we document that over 19% of black males “passed” for white at some point during their lifetime, around 10% of whom later “reverse-passed” to being black; passing was accompanied by geographic relocation to communities with a higher percentage of whites and occurred the most in Northern states. The evidence suggests that passing was positively associated with better political-economic and social opportunities for whites relative to blacks. As such, endogenous race is likely to be a quantitatively important phenomenon.

Read or purchase the paper here.

Tags: , , , ,

Beyond Zebra – presented at National Association of Social Workers 2014 National Conference

Posted in Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, Social Work on 2015-01-19 01:16Z by Steven

Beyond Zebra – presented at National Association of Social Workers 2014 National Conference

Slideshare
2014-07-31

Carlos Hoyt

Read the presentation transcript here.

Tags: ,

Sense About Genetic Ancestry Testing

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations on 2015-01-05 02:10Z by Steven

Sense About Genetic Ancestry Testing

Sense About Science: Science and Evidence in the Hands of the Public
London, United Kingdom
2013-03-07
3 pages

Tabitha Innocent

Many companies now offer to tell you about your ancestors from a DNA test. Adverts for these tests can give the impression that your results are unique and that the tests will tell you about your specific personal history, but the very same history that you receive could equally be given to thousands of other people. Conversely, the results from your DNA tests could be matched with all sorts of different stories to the one you are given: you cannot look at DNA and read it like a book or a map of a journey. This guide will help explain why, and what it is exactly that genetic ancestry companies are offering.

There are now many companies which offer to tell you about your ancestors from a DNA test. You send off a sample of your DNA and £100–£200 ($150–300), and in return you receive a report. The results of these tests may find a connection with a well-known historical figure. They might tell you whether you are descended from groups such as Vikings or Zulus, where your ancient relatives came from or when they migrated.

Adverts for these tests give the impression that your results are unique and that the tests will tell you about your specific personal history. But the very same history that you receive could equally be given to thousands of other people. Conversely, the results from your DNA tests could be matched with all sorts of different stories to the one you are given.

It is well known that horoscopes use vague statements which recipients think are more tailored than they really are (referred to as the ‘Forer effect’). Genetic ancestry tests do a similar thing, and many exaggerate far beyond the available evidence about human origins. You cannot look at DNA and read it like a book or a map of a journey. For the most part these tests cannot tell you the things they claim to – they are little more than genetic astrology…

Read the entire paper here.

Tags: , , ,

Racial Passing and the Raj

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing on 2015-01-02 03:10Z by Steven

Racial Passing and the Raj

American Historical Association
129th Annual Meeting
New York, New York
2015-01-02 through 2015-01-05

Saturday, 2015-01-03, 15:10 EST (Local Time)
Park Suite 3 (Sheraton New York)

Uther Charlton-Stevens
Volgograd State University, Volgograd, Russia

Racial passing is a subject that has attracted much attention in the historiography of the Americas, as well as other settings such as South Africa. It has hitherto been overlooked in the South Asian context. Mixed race groups in South Asia have until recently also been largely neglected by historians, while attracting more attention from geographers and anthropologists.

Mixed race groups such as Anglo-Indians have been perceived as marginal, despite existing on the fault line of constructed racial difference. In many ways they embody the colonial connection and the transnational most tangibly, and through their mere presence make problematic the binary of ruler and ruled, colonizer and colonized. The British perceived not only those of mixed race but also poor whites of Indian domicile as undermining their racial prestige in the eyes of their Indian subjects, treating the two groups as essentially one class. However the socio-racial and class-based hierarchies which the British sought to erect and to police motivated widespread attempts at transgression, resulting in widespread passing in hopes of upward mobility along the spectrum from Indian Christians to mixed-race Anglo-Indians to supposedly unmixed Domiciled Europeans and even into the ranks of the British population, such as those who came out to take senior positions on the railways. This world of racial mixing and transgression was one which the British found unsettling and which later Indian Hindu nationalists, concerned with concepts of purity, also had reasons to overlook. Exploring racial passing across the boundaries erected by the Raj should yield us far greater insight into the nature of race in late colonial India and the lasting impact of the imperial presence.

Tags: , , ,