Collection of demographic data regarding multiracial identification.

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-10-22 23:08Z by Steven

Collection of demographic data regarding multiracial identification.

The New York City Council
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker
2014-11-25 (Passed 2016-11-13)

Int 0551-2014, Version A (2014-11-25)

A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to the collection of demographic data regarding multiracial identification

Proposed Int. No. 551-A would require the Department of Social Services, the Administration for Children’s Services, the Department of Homeless Services, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department for the Aging, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Department of Education, and any other agencies designated by the Mayor to provide to all persons served by the agency with a demographic information survey that contains an option for multiracial ancestry or ethnic origin. The bill would also require an annual review of all forms from the designated agencies, or any other agency designated by the Mayor, that collect demographic information, are completed by persons seeking services, and are within the administering agencies’ authority to amend. The bill would require all such forms to be amended to contain an option for multiracial ancestry or ethnic origin. Proposed Int. 551-A would also require reporting on the collected data.

Passed (50-0) on 2016-11-13. Enacted (Mayor’s Desk for Signature)

For more information, click here.

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Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-10-22 20:04Z by Steven

Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

University of Oklahoma Press
304 pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w illus., 2 maps, 18 tables
6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806154879

Robert C. Schwaller, Assistant Professor of History
University of Kansas, Lawrence

On December 19, 1554, the members of Tenochtitlan’s indigenous cabildo, or city council, petitioned Emperor Charles V of Spain for administrative changes “to save us from any Spaniard, mestizo, black, or mulato afflicting us in the marketplace, on the roads, in the canal, or in our homes.” Within thirty years of the conquest, the presence of these groups in New Spain was large enough to threaten the social, economic, and cultural order of the indigenous elite. In Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico, an ambitious rereading of colonial history, Robert C. Schwaller proposes using the Spanish term géneros de gente (types or categories of people) as part of a more nuanced perspective on what these categories of difference meant and how they evolved. His work revises our understanding of racial hierarchy in Mexico, the repercussions of which reach into the present.

Schwaller traces the connections between medieval Iberian ideas of difference and the unique societies forged in the Americas. He analyzes the ideological and legal development of géneros de gente into a system that began to resemble modern notions of race. He then examines the lives of early colonial mestizos and mulatos to show how individuals of mixed ancestry experienced the colonial order. By pairing an analysis of legal codes with a social history of mixed-race individuals, his work reveals the disjunction between the establishment of a common colonial language of what would become race and the ability of the colonial Spanish state to enforce such distinctions. Even as the colonial order established a system of governance that entrenched racial differences, colonial subjects continued to mediate their racial identities through social networks, cultural affinities, occupation, and residence.

Presenting a more complex picture of the ways difference came to be defined in colonial Mexico, this book exposes important tensions within Spanish colonialism and the developing social order. It affords a significant new view of the development and social experience of race—in early colonial Mexico and afterward.

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This mixed race family didn’t ‘see color.’ Then police said a white supremacist killed their son

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-10-21 20:05Z by Steven

This mixed race family didn’t ‘see color.’ Then police said a white supremacist killed their son

The Oregonian

Casey Parks

A banner hanging above the couch proclaims it a house divided.

“But only when it comes to football,” Natasha Bruce said.

When it came to race, the old wood house in Vancouver, Wash. was a safe space. She was the lightest in every family photograph, a white mom married to a black dad. Together, they raised four kids, each with their own mix of ethnicities and football allegiances.

“You can’t hate a race because you’re all of them,” Natasha Bruce told the kids. “Unless it’s red and gold or blue and green, we don’t see color.”

But other people do.

In August, their youngest died after a hit-and-run that prosecutors now consider a hate crime. Larnell Bruce Jr. was 19 years old, black and Latino. Police say a couple with ties to white supremacist gangs argued with Bruce outside a Gresham convenience store — and then chased him with their jeep as he walked away, running him down…

Read the entire article here.

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The Dilemma of Interracial Marriage: The Boston NAACP and the National Equal Rights League, 1912–1927

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-10-14 20:32Z by Steven

The Dilemma of Interracial Marriage: The Boston NAACP and the National Equal Rights League, 1912–1927

Historical Journal of Massachusetts
Volume 44, Number 1, Winter 2016

Zebulon Miletsky, Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

On a wintry evening on February 1, 1843, a group of Boston’s African American citizens gathered in the vestry of the African Baptist Church nestled in the heart of Boston’s black community on the north slope of Beacon Hill. The measure they were there to discuss was a resolution to repeal the 1705 Massachusetts ban on interracial marriage.  Led largely by white abolitionists, the group cautiously endorsed a campaign to lift the ban. Their somewhat reluctant support for this campaign acknowledged the complexity that the issue of interracial marriage posed to African American communities. In contrast, during the early twentieth century, black Bostonians attended mass meetings at which they vigorously campaigned against the resurgence of antimiscegenation laws led by the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and William Monroe Trotter’s National Equal Rights League (NERL). This change is indicative of both the evolution of thinking about the issue of interracial marriage and the dilemma that it had frequently represented for black Bostonians and their leaders.

Laws against interracial marriage were a national concern. In both 1913 and 1915 the U.S. House of Representatives passed laws to prohibit interracial marriage in Washington DC; however, each died in Senate subcommittees. In 1915 a Georgia Congressman introduced an inflammatory bill to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit interracial marriage. These efforts in the U.S. Congress to ban interracial marriage reflected widespread movements at the state level.

The 1913 bill (HR 5948) would have prohibited the “intermarriage of whites with negroes or Mongolians” in the District of Columbia and made intermarriage a felony with penalties up to $500 and/or two years in prison. The bill passed “in less than five minutes” with almost no debate, by a vote of 92–12. However, it was referred to a Senate committee and never reported out before the session expired. In 1915 an even more draconian bill was introduced (HR 1710). It increased penalties for intermarriage to $5,000 and/or five years in prison. The bill was first debated on January 11 and passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 238–60. However, it too was referred to a Senate committee and never reported out. African Americans and their allies throughout the nation closely followed the passage of both bills and organized strong opposition, particularly to the 1915 bill. Most likely, their protests were key to the bill’s defeat in the Senate. As several authors have pointed out: Although a symbolic victory [the 1913 and 1915 passage by the U.S. House of Representatives], a federal antimiscegenation policy was not produced. The District of Columbia would continue to be a haven for interracial couples from the South who wished to marry. Indeed, Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who would be at the center of the Loving v. Virginia (1967) Supreme Court case that struck down state-level anti-miscegenation laws, were married in the District of Columbia in 1958. Although the bill to ban interracial marriage in Washington, DC, was successfully defeated, by 1920 thirty states had anti-miscegenation laws on their books. (The term “miscegenationwas coined in 1863 and was derived from the Latin word miscere, meaning “to mix.”) As late as 1967, when the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in the aptly named Loving v. Virginia decision, sixteen states still enforced them.

This article examines the political struggle over the issue of interracial marriage and the dilemma it posed for the Boston branch of the NAACP, as well as the national organization. The NAACP and its Boston chapter constituted the principal opposition to these efforts. The author examines the struggle to defeat similar bills that would have criminalized intermarriage in Massachusetts in 1913 and a second attempt in 1927.

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Jane Doe v. State of Louisiana (1985)

Posted in Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Statements, United States on 2016-10-08 01:50Z by Steven

Jane Doe v. State of Louisiana (1985)

Justice Ward delivered the opinion of the Court.

This appeal is brought by several members of the Guillory family, children and grandchildren of Simea Fretty and Dominique Guillory, both deceased. Six of the appellants, Marie Bernice Guillory Rougeau, Armet Guillory Fontenot, Lucy Elizabeth Guillory Parker, Suzy Elizabeth Rita Guillory Phipps, Regina Rougeau, and Tex Adam Rougeau, contend that their birth certificates, issued between the years 1919 and 1941, erroneously designate their parents as “colored”, when in fact they were white. These appellants seek a mandamus that would compel the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources to correct the alleged error. Two of the appellants, Theresa Guillory Rougeau and Mildred Rougeau, were never issued birth certificates. They seek a mandamus compelling the state to issue delayed birth certificates designating their parents as white. The Trial Court found that the evidence presented by appellants was insufficient to justify a mandamus.

As an alternative to their suit for mandamus, appellants challenged the constitutionality of former La. R.S. 42:267 which provided that a person having one-thirty second or less of Negro blood shall not be described or designated as “colored” by any state official. The Trial Court rejected the constitutional challenge solely on the grounds that 42:267 was held constitutional in State ex rel. Plaia v. Louisiana State Board of Health (1974).

We affirm the Trial Court judgment…

…As to the six appellants who presently have birth certificates, we find that they failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that their parents’ racial designations are incorrect. Expert testimony indicated that the very concept of the racial classification of individuals, as opposed to that of a group, is scientifically insupportable. Individual racial designations are purely social and cultural perceptions, and the evidence conclusively proves those subjective perceptions were correctly recorded at the time appellants’ birth certificates were issued. There is no proof in the record that Simea or Dominique Guillory preferred to be designated as white. They might well have been proud to be described as colored. Indeed, we have no evidence that during their lifetimes they objected to the racial designations in dispute in this case. Accordingly, we hold that the defendant state officers have no legal duty to alter the birth certificates…

Read the entire opinion here.

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For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race

Posted in Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-09-29 20:17Z by Steven

For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race

Parallels: Many Stories, One World
National Public Radio

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

When the test scores came out, Lucas Siqueira, 27, was really excited. His high mark on the Foreign Service exam earned him a coveted position at Brazil’s highly competitive Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“They hire 30 diplomats a year and thousands of people sign up,” he says in fluent English from his home in Brasilia, the capital.

It was, he says, a great day.

Siqueira considers himself to be mixed race, known in Brazil as pardo, or brown.

“I consider myself to be a very typical Brazilian and I’ve always been very proud of it. In my dad’s family, my grandfather is black, my grandmother has Indian and white roots. And on my mother’s side they are mostly white, mostly Portuguese,” he said.

How he defines himself matters because he was required to self-identify on his application. In 2014, the government introduced a quota system for federal jobs. The affirmative action regulations require that 20 percent of all government positions be filled by people of color — either black or mixed race.

Lucas Siqueira identified himself as mixed race on his application for a job at Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government decided he wasn’t, and his case is still on hold. As part of the affirmative action program in Brazil, state governments have now set up boards to racially classify job applicants.
Courtesy of Lucas Siqueira

The problem came once the announcement of the appointments was made public…

Wide disparities

The legacy of the period can still be felt today. Even though the majority of the population is of African descent, only 5 percent of Afro-Brazilians were in higher education as recently as 10 years ago. Because of affirmative action, that number is now 15 percent. Vaz says these are hard won gains, but there is a long way to go.

“Only 5 percent of executives are black in Brazil, politicians, diplomats, all things, so the black people don’t access the space of power in my country. This is the real issue we have,” he says.

In the U.S., race is still largely determined by parentage because of the history of the “one drop rule,” where white institutions historically deemed a person black if they had even one drop of black blood.

In Brazil, he says, the criteria is different. Skin tone matters more than race, because so much of the population is mixed…

Read the entire story here. Download the story here.

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Virginia’s Indian tribes clear another hurdle toward federal recognition

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2016-09-18 21:24Z by Steven

Virginia’s Indian tribes clear another hurdle toward federal recognition

The Washington Post

Jenna Portnoy, Reporter

A House committee has advanced a bill that would give federal recognition to six Indian tribes in Virginia, bringing them one step closer to the end of a multi-year fight for acknowledgment of their place in the nation’s history.

Legislation granting federal recognition of the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Monacan and Nansemond tribes can now go to a full vote in the House and Senate, where it has stalled in the past.

The House Natural Resources Committee voted 23 to 13 last week to recognize the Virginia tribes as part of a package of bills that, if successful, will give Congress the ultimate authority to recognize tribes. The executive and judicial branches currently hold that authority…

There are more than 500 federally recognized Indian tribes, and many had to navigate an expensive and time-consuming administrative process through the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Federal recognition confers certain benefits on tribes; they become eligible for housing, education and health-care funding. Indian tribes need to meet several criteria and must rely on historical documentation…

Read the entire article here.

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“If You Is White, You’s Alright. . . .” Stories About Colorism in America

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-16 01:30Z by Steven

“If You Is White, You’s Alright. . . .” Stories About Colorism in America

Washington University Global Studies Law Review
Volume 14, Issue 4: Global Perspectives on Colorism (Symposium Edition) (2015)
pages 585-607

Kimberly Jade Norwood, Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law; Professor of African & African American Studies
Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri

Colorism, a term believed to be first coined in 1982 by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, was defined by her to mean the “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color.” It is not racism although there is a clear relationship. A clear example of racism would involve a business that refuses to hire black people. Colorism would not preclude the hiring of a black person, but there would be a preference for a black person with a lighter skin tone than a darker skinned person. From this example one can see too that colorism can not only occur within same-raced peoples but also across races. Colorism also is often gendered. Because of its unique relationship to who and what is beautiful, it has a tendency, although not exclusively, to affect and infect women more than men.

Although my first experience with colorism occurred very early in life, it never went away or otherwise resolved itself. Rather, it grew with me. And in many ways, I grew to understand that the color hierarchy was simply the way of the world. I would eventually marry and have children of my own. And through those children, I would again see colorism grow and sting. I knew that, some day, one day when I had time, I would spend time discussing, highlighting and helping to eradicate colorism. This paper offers some of my experiences with colorism and my continued growth in understanding its complexities.

Read the entire article here.

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Japan’s Under-Researched Visible Minorities: Applying Critical Race Theory to Racialization Dynamics in a Non-White Society

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-08-15 23:08Z by Steven

Japan’s Under-Researched Visible Minorities: Applying Critical Race Theory to Racialization Dynamics in a Non-White Society

Washington University Global Studies Law Review
Volume 14, Issue 4: Global Perspectives on Colorism (Symposium Edition) (2015)
pages 695-723

Debito Arudou

Critical Race Theory (CRT), an analytical framework grounded in American legal academia, uncovers power relationships between a racialized enfranchised majority and a disenfranchised minority. Although applied primarily to countries and societies with Caucasian majorities to analyze White Privilege this Article applies CRT to Japan, a non-White majority society. After discussing how scholarship on Japan has hitherto ignored a fundamental factor within racialization studies—the effects of skin color on the concept of “Japaneseness”—this Article examines an example of published research on the Post-WWIIkonketsuji problem.” This research finds blind spots in the analysis, and re-examines it through CRT to uncover more nuanced power dynamics. This exercise attempts to illustrate the universality of nation-state racialization processes, and advocates the expansion of Whiteness Studies beyond Caucasian-majority societies into worldwide Colorism dynamics in general.

Read the entire article here.

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Remapping Race on the Human Genome: Commercial Exploits in a Racialized America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-08-06 14:52Z by Steven

Remapping Race on the Human Genome: Commercial Exploits in a Racialized America

January 2017
310 pages
6.125 x 9.25
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4408-3063-1
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4408-3064-8

Judith Ann Warner, Professor of Sociology
Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas

Do the commercial applications of the human genome in ancestry tracing, medicine, and forensics serve to further racialize and stereotype groups?

This book explores the ethical debates at the intersection of race, ethnicity, national origin, and DNA analysis, enabling readers to gain a better understanding of the human genome project and its impact on the biological sciences, medicine, and criminal justice.

Genome and genealogical research has become a subject of interest outside of science, as evidenced by the popularity of the genealogy research website that helps individuals discover their genetic past and television shows such as the celebrity-focused Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.. Applications of DNA analysis in the area of criminal justice and the law have major consequences for social control from birth to death. This book explores the role of DNA research and analysis within the framework of race, ethnicity, and national origin—and provides a warning about the potential dangers of a racialized America.

Synthesizing the work of sociologists, criminologists, anthropologists, and biologists, author Judith Ann Warner, PhD, examines how the human genome is being interpreted and commonly used to affirm—rather than dissolve—racial and ethnic boundaries. The individual, corporate, and government use of DNA is controversial, and international comparisons indicate that regulation of genome applications is a global concern. With analysis of ancestry mapping business practices, medical DNA applications, and forensic uses of DNA in the criminal justice system, the book sheds light on the sociological results of “remapping race on the human genome.”


  • Provides historical background on the human genome in the modern context of the social construction of race and ethnicity
  • Examines the use of overlapping racial-ethnic and geographical origin categories to situate ancestry, health risk, and criminal profiles in a stereotyped or discriminatory manner
  • Argues for a re-examination of genome research to avoid racialization
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