The Harlem Renaissance’s Hidden Figure

Posted in Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2017-08-16 21:57Z by Steven

The Harlem Renaissance’s Hidden Figure

Ursinus College
English Summer Fellows Student Research
2017-07-21
23 pages

Jada A. Grice
Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania

This project will seek to look at the Harlem Renaissance’s hidden figure, Jessie Fauset. Jessie Fauset was born to an A.M.E. minister and his wife as one of ten children in Camden County, New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia. From there she got her college degree and began teaching all over the country. She has written four novels, There is Confusion, Plum Bun, The Chinaberry Tree, and Comedy: American Style, all of which I have read this summer. Each novel focuses on the early twentieth century black family. I will be analyzing these novels under the four themes of passing, acceptance, romance, and Paris/escape. I will also be mapping the characters in the novel on a QGIS system in order to indicate where the majority of the novel takes place and to see if certain characters have more movement than others. I will finally map Jessie Fauset’s life in order to see if her life parallels with the lives of her characters. Mapping consists of a close reading of the novel, identifying locations in the book, creating an [Microsoft] Excel spreadsheet, and plotting the spreadsheet onto an online map on QGIS.

Read the entire paper here.

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‘A Woman of Strange, Unfathomable Presence’: Ida Platt’s Lived Experience of Race, Gender, and Law, 1863-1939

Posted in Biography, Law, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2017-07-06 02:16Z by Steven

‘A Woman of Strange, Unfathomable Presence’: Ida Platt’s Lived Experience of Race, Gender, and Law, 1863-1939

Gwen Jordan
University of Illinois, Springfield

2017-05-08
52 pages

In 1894, Ida Platt became the first African-American woman lawyer in Illinois. She was one of only five black women lawyers in the country and the only one able to maintain a law practice. Throughout her thirty-three year career, Platt served as head of her household, providing for her mother and sisters, without marrying or having children. She accomplished these feats by employing a fluid racial identity, passing as white in her professional life, and by avoiding the dominant gender roles that excluded women from the masculine legal profession. In 1927, at the age of sixty-four, Ida Platt retired, married Walter Burke, a white man, and moved to England. Twelve years later, Ida Burke died. As is the practice in England, there was no race designation on her death certificate.

Platt’s choice to employ a fluid racial identity allowed her to pursue her career as a lawyer amidst a racist and sexist society that particularly discriminated against black women. She entered the law when Jim Crow was taking root, race lines were hardening, and elite, white, male lawyers were intensifying their opposition to women’s rise within the profession. Platt’s life and career offer insights into how law and the legal profession responded to the complexities of race and tender a new story of the lived experience of race as it intersects with gender. It suggests that Platt’s pragmatic strategy of changing her racial identity both contested and shaped the ways in which race, gender, and identity were constructed and represented in American society, as it exposed both the rigidity and permeability of these constructions.

Read the entire paper here.

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“Brown Babies” in Postwar Europe: The Italian Case

Posted in Europe, History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations on 2017-04-30 02:29Z by Steven

“Brown Babies” in Postwar Europe: The Italian Case

Max Weber Lecture No. 2016/03
European University Institute
2016
12 pages

Silvana Patriarca, Professor of History
Fordham University, New York, New York

The paper addresses the issue of the persistence of the idea of race in its close intersection with ideas of national identities in post-1945 Europe, by looking at the racialization of the children of European women and non-white Allied soldiers born on the continent during and right after the war. The case of Italy is closely examined through a variety of sources, some of which have only recently become available. Similarly to what happened in Great Britain and Germany, in Italy these children were considered a “problem” in spite of their small numbers. Because of their origin, but especially because of the color of their skin, they were often portrayed as alien to the (white) nation. Fantasies concerning their disappearance paralleled the elaboration of plans for their transfer to non-European countries. Italy, however, had its own specificity, namely the extensive role of the Catholic Church and more generally of the Catholic world in the “managing” of these children, as well as in shaping the self-representation of post-fascist Italy as a non-racist country. In fact Catholic racial paternalism was pervasive and underwrote the support that prominent Catholic figures gave to Italy’s attempt to hold on to the old colonies in the aftermath of the war.

Read the entire paper here.

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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
1952
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

Bustle
2017-02-07

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
2016-12-22

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
2016-04-23
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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