Black on the Rainbow

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Papers/Presentations, United States, Women on 2017-03-28 17:35Z by Steven

Black on the Rainbow

Pageant Press
254 pages

Dorothy Lee Dickens

This book tells the story of Hilda, a lovely Negro girl, who is given a choice of “passing” as white or remaining loyal to her race.

Read the entire book here.

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I’m A Mixed-Race Woman But Everyone Thinks I’m White — Which Hurts My Pride But Gives Me Privilege

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2017-02-12 21:29Z by Steven

I’m A Mixed-Race Woman But Everyone Thinks I’m White — Which Hurts My Pride But Gives Me Privilege


Danielle Campoamor

Source: Courtesy of Danielle Campoamor

“We can’t help you here,” was all the receptionist would tell me. I was 20 years old, living in Plainview, Texas, and trying to see a doctor — I was a week post-op from an invasive knee surgery, and my knee was red, swollen, painful, and starting to smell. I knew I needed to see a physician soon.

“Spell your last name for me again,” the receptionist asked. “C-A-M-P-O-A-M-O-R. Campoamor. You have my medical records,” I replied.

“I’m sorry, but we just can’t accommodate you,” was all the woman could manage to say.

“Look. I have insurance.”

“Oh,” she replied. “I’m sorry. I just assumed. Well, we can see you in an hour.”

“No, thanks.”

The woman — who couldn’t see me but identified my last name as Hispanic — assumed I didn’t have insurance. I knew it, she knew it, and in light of her racist assumption, I decided I would rather go to a hospital than sit in a comfortable doctor’s office. I waited, on crutches, for two hours at a local emergency room.

That story isn’t notable because I experienced discrimination. It’s notable because that was the first time I had ever experienced discrimination. In 20 years. While I am a Puerto Rican woman, I am very white-looking. Extremely white-looking, in fact. In high school my friends (most of whom were white) would call me the “tan white girl,” or the “Tropical Mexican.” It was in jest, to be sure, but the whitewashing of my ethnicity has been a constant throughout my life…

Read the entire article here.

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On Optimism and Despair

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations on 2016-12-22 02:28Z by Steven

On Optimism and Despair

The New York Review of Books

Zadie Smith

A talk given in Berlin on November 10 on receiving the 2016 Welt Literature Prize.

First I would like to acknowledge the absurdity of my position. Accepting a literary prize is perhaps always a little absurd, but in times like these not only the recipient but also the giver feels some sheepishness about the enterprise. But here we are. President Trump rises in the west, a united Europe drops below the horizon on the other side of the ocean—but here we still are, giving a literary prize, receiving one. So many more important things were rendered absurd by the events of November 8 that I hesitate to include my own writing in the list, and only mention it now because the most frequent question I’m asked about my work these days seems to me to have some bearing on the situation at hand.

The question is: “In your earlier novels you sounded so optimistic, but now your books are tinged with despair. Is this fair to say?” It is a question usually posed in a tone of sly eagerness—you will recognize this tone if you’ve ever heard a child ask permission to do something she has in fact already done…

…I realize as I write this that I have strayed some way from the happiness that should rightly attend accepting a literary prize. I am very happy to accept this great honor—please don’t mistake me. I am more than happy—I am amazed. When I started to write I never imagined that anyone outside of my neighborhood would read these books, never mind outside of England, never mind “on the continent,” as my father liked to call it. I remember how stunned I was to embark on my very first European book tour, to Germany, with my father, who had last been here in 1945, as a young soldier in the reconstruction. It was a trip filled, for him, with nostalgia: he had loved a German girl, back in 1945, and one of his great regrets, he admitted to me on that trip, was not marrying her and instead coming home, to England, and marrying first one woman and then another, my mother.

We made a funny pair on that tour, I’m sure: a young black girl and her elderly white father, clutching our guidebooks and seeking those spots in Berlin that my father had visited almost fifty years earlier. It is from him that I have inherited both my optimism and my despair, for he had been among the liberators at Belsen and therefore seen the worst this world has to offer, but had, from there, gone forward, with a sufficiently open heart and mind, striding into one failed marriage and then another, marrying both times across various lines of class, color, and temperament, and yet still found in life reasons to be cheerful, reasons even for joy.

He was, I realize now, one of the least ideological people I ever met: everything that happened to him he took as a particular case, unable or unwilling to generalize from it. He lost his livelihood but did not lose faith in his country. The education system failed him but he still revered it and placed all his hopes for his children in it. His relations with women were mostly disastrous but he did not hate women. In his mind he did not marry a black girl, he married “Yvonne,” and he did not have an experimental set of mixed-race children, he had me and my brother Ben and my brother Luke.

How rare such people are! I am not so naive even now as to believe we have enough of them at any one time in history to form a decent and tolerant society. But neither will I ever deny their existence or the possibility of lives like his. He was a member of the white working class, a man often afflicted by despair who still managed to retain a core optimism. Perhaps in a different time under different cultural influences living in a different society he would have become one of the rabid old angry white men of whom the present left is so afeared. As it was, born in 1925 and dying in 2006, he saw his children benefit from the civilized postwar protections of free education and free health care, and felt he had many reasons to be grateful…

Read the entire talk here.

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More than Just Friends? School Peers and Adult Interracial Relationships

Posted in Campus Life, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2016-11-25 17:06Z by Steven

More than Just Friends? School Peers and Adult Interracial Relationships

Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (Institute for the Study of Labor)
Bonn, Germany
Discussion Paper No. 10319 (October 2016)
40 pages

Luca Paolo Merlino, Associate Professor
Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

Max F. Steinhardt, Research Fellow
Helmut Schmidt University, IZA, LdA and CELSI

Liam Wren-Lewis, Associate Member
Paris School of Economics and INRA

This paper investigates the impact of individuals’ school peers on their adult romantic relationships. In particular, we consider the effect of quasi-random variation in the share of black students within an individual’s cohort on the percentage of adults’ cohabiting partners that are black. We find that more black peers leads to more relationships with blacks later in life. The results are similar whether relationships begun near or far from school, suggesting that the racial mix of schools has an important and persistent impact on racial attitudes.

Read the entire discussion paper here.

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The Effects of School Desegregation on Mixed-Race Births

Posted in Campus Life, Economics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-08-22 19:44Z by Steven

The Effects of School Desegregation on Mixed-Race Births

The National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER Working Paper No. 22480
Issued in August 2016
47 pages
DOI: 10.3386/w22480

Nora Gordon, Associate Professor
McCourt School of Public Policy
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Sarah Reber, Associate Professor of Public Policy
Luskin School of Public Affairs
University of California, Los Angeles

We find a strong positive correlation between black exposure to whites in their school district and the prevalence of later mixed-race (black-white) births, consistent with the literature on residential segregation and endogamy. However, that relationship is significantly attenuated by the addition of a few control variables, suggesting that individuals with higher propensities to have mixed-race births are more likely to live in desegregated school districts. We exploit quasi-random variation to estimate causal effects of school desegregation on mixed-race childbearing, finding small to moderate statistically insignificant effects. Because the upward trend across cohorts in mixed-race childbearing was substantial, separating the effects of desegregation plans from secular cohort trends is difficult; results are sensitive to how we specify the cohort trends and to the inclusion of Chicago/Cook County in the sample. Taken together, the analyses suggest that while lower levels of school segregation are associated with higher rates of mixed-race childbearing, a substantial portion of that relationship is likely due to who chooses to live in places with desegregated schools. This suggests that researchers should be cautious about interpreting the relationship between segregation—whether residential or school—and other outcomes as causal.

Read the paper here.

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“Virtues do not all belong to the whites”: The Portrayals of Americanization and Miscegenation in Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2016-05-02 23:23Z by Steven

“Virtues do not all belong to the whites”: The Portrayals of Americanization and Miscegenation in Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance

SEGue: Symposium for English Graduate Students
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
18 pages

Jennifer Bradley
Villanova University

The works of Sui Sin Far, who is widely recognized as the first Asian-American writer, revolve around questions of identity that capture the dissenting voices surrounding Asian-American immigration. A biracial woman of Chinese and English descent, Sui Sin Far writes from a variety of perspectives in order to paint a picture of race relations between Chinese and Americans during a time of intense Sinophobia in the United States. This paper will consider how several of the stories in her collection Mrs. Spring Fragrance showcase central dilemmas of immigration and assimilation. Critics have examined Sui Sin Far’s portrayal of assimilation, but not through the comparative lenses of Americanization and miscegenation. Americanization entails the sharing and appreciation of American values, customs, and culture while miscegenation is characterized by the mixing and interbreeding of different races. In Mrs. Spring Fragrance, white characters tend to view Americanization favorably but regard miscegenation with horror and disgust. Moreover, biracial children of both Chinese and white descent are regarded with confusion and even repulsion. Through miscegenation, white identity mixes with, rather than dominates, Chinese identity. In Mrs. Spring Fragrance, Americanization is often encouraged by whites because it entails an effacement of Chinese heritage, but miscegenation is discouraged because it instead implies an equality of this same Chinese heritage. This paper will turn to the stories of “Mrs. Spring Fragrance,” “The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese,” and “Her Chinese Husband” to examine the contrasting portrayals of Americanization and miscegenation and their implications in forming American culture and society.

Read the entire paper here.

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The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2016-02-17 20:18Z by Steven

The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians

National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Working Paper No. 21982
February 2016
58 pages
DOI: 10.3386/w21982

Brian Duncan, Professor of Economics
University of Colorado

Stephen J. Trejo, Professor of Economics
University of Texas, Austin

Because of data limitations, virtually all studies of the later-generation descendants of immigrants rely on subjective measures of ethnic self-identification rather than arguably more objective measures based on the countries of birth of the respondent and his ancestors. In this context, biases can arise from “ethnic attrition” (e.g., U.S.-born individuals who do not self-identify as Hispanic despite having ancestors who were immigrants from a Spanish-speaking country). Analyzing 2003-2013 data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), this study shows that such ethnic attrition is sizeable and selective for the second- and third-generation populations of key Hispanic and Asian national origin groups. In addition, the results indicate that ethnic attrition generates measurement biases that vary across groups in direction as well as magnitude, and that correcting for these biases is likely to raise the socioeconomic standing of the U.S.-born descendants of most Hispanic immigrants relative to their Asian counterparts.

Read the entire paper here.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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