394. Paper Session: New Issues in Race and Identity

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Law, Live Events, 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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Baby Gammy and the Sexual Politics of Mixed Race Asians

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive on 2015-02-28 02:29Z by Steven

Baby Gammy and the Sexual Politics of Mixed Race Asians

Multiracial Asian Families: thinking about race, families, children, and the intersection of mixed ID/Asian
2015-02-25

Sharon H. Chang

A couple years ago young Thai mother Pattaramon Chanbua agreed to be a surrogate for Australian couple David and Wendy Farnell. It was a disaster.

Last week Thailand legally banned commercial surrogacy, which is now a criminal offense.

The law comes after many abusive surrogacy arrangements exploiting Thai women over the years. But the Chanbua-Farnell surrogacy in particular expedited legislation after snowballing into an international scandal that garnered the attention of the world and spotlighted inescapably the controversial ethics and regulation (or lack thereof) of global surrogacy. Chanbua’s 2013 fertility treatment in Thailand was successful and she carried mixed race Asian/white twins Gammy and Pipah to delivery for the Farnells by the end of the year. But while Pipah was born healthy and typically developing, Gammy was born with Down’s Syndrome and severe health challenges. Shortly thereafter he was left behind with Chanbua when his Australian parents took his sister back to Australia without him. Gammy’s story was internationally publicized summer 2014 when Chanbua, aided by fundraisers, worked to crowdsource financing for his expensive medical care online. The tragic story coupled with a plethora of images of surrogate mom and left-behind infant living with disability exploded across the media, touching the shocked hearts of millions…

…Consider also, very importantly, that “who gets left with the consequences” is not just Asian diasporic women but a vulnerable population arising from the exploitation of Asian diasporic women — mixed race Asian diasporic children. It is of natural consequence that multiracial offspring would result from western dominance over Asian female bodies. Such children have historically often been the carnage left behind, “the casualties of war,” an afterthought quickly unremembered, swept under the rug and discarded. What is happening to Baby Gammy has happened before and keeps happening because global systems of sexual-political dominance are still in place. As I just wrote about last week thousands of Asian/white children have been abandoned throughout time by their white fathers; left impoverished, homeless, sick, sometimes crippled, susceptible to discrimination…

Read the entire article here.

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Controversial ruling in Spence unlikely to apply to many other estates cases

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 23:31Z by Steven

Controversial ruling in Spence unlikely to apply to many other estates cases

AdvocateDaily.com: Canada’s Legal News
2015-02-24

Lisa Laredo

The court decision in Spence v. BMO Trust Company, 2015 ONSC 615 (CanLII) has led to concerns about court interference and uncertainty in estate planning.

An Ontario court judge held a will to be invalid due to a perceived intolerance, based on witness testimony, that while the testator had in his will disinherited his daughter because they were “estranged” and had no relationship, he had actually disinherited her for having a mixed-race child.

It is recognized at law that provisions of a will that are discriminatory on protected human rights grounds (race, gender, etc.) have been deemed to be against public policy and can be found invalid…

Read the entire article here.

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Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 02:39Z by Steven

Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

The New York Times
2015-02-23

Andrew Pollack


The police in Columbia, S.C.,  released this sketch of a possible suspect based on DNA left at the crime scene. Parabon NanoLabs, which made the image, has begun offering DNA phenotyping services to law enforcement agencies.

There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going.

Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime.

It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to determine the physical characteristics of crime suspects from the DNA they leave behind, providing what could become a powerful new tool for law enforcement.

Already genetic sleuths can determine a suspect’s eye and hair color fairly accurately. It is also possible, or might soon be, to predict skin color, freckling, baldness, hair curliness, tooth shape and age.

Computers may eventually be able to match faces generated from DNA to those in a database of mug shots. Even if it does not immediately find the culprit, the genetic witness, so to speak, can be useful, researchers say…

…Law enforcement authorities say that information about physical traits derived from DNA is not permitted in court because the science is not well established. Still, the prospect of widespread DNA phenotyping has unnerved some experts.

Duana Fullwiley, an associate professor of anthropology at Stanford, said that she worried that use of such images could contribute to racial profiling. She noted that Dr. Shriver developed his system by analyzing the DNA and faces of people with mixed West African and European ancestry.

“This leads to a technology that is better able to make faces that are African-American,” she said. The image produced in the South Carolina case, Dr. Fullwiley added, “was of a generic young black man.”

Dr. Shriver said he initially studied people of mixed European and African ancestry, many of them from Brazil, because that made the analysis easier. His more recent research has involved people of many different ethnicities, he said…

Read the entire article here.

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The Kidnapping of Mollie Digby: Was the Fair-Haired Stranger Actually Mollie?

Posted in Articles, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 01:37Z by Steven

The Kidnapping of Mollie Digby: Was the Fair-Haired Stranger Actually Mollie?

All Things Crime
2015-02-20

Darcia Helle

In 1870, New Orleans was a city divided by politics, class, and race. The Civil War had left much of the south reeling, and now the government’s Radical Reconstruction attempted to force change by integrating the black population into the white-dominated hierarchy. Some whites rebelled, clinging to their Confederate roots, while others who supported the change suffered ridicule and disdain within their community. The atmosphere was tumultuous. Racism was not only openly practiced but encouraged.

Former United States Supreme Court Justice John Campbell, who resigned in order to join the Confederacy, illustrates this point well. He had this to say to his fellow New Orleanians: “We have Africans in place all about us, they are jurors, post office clerks, custom house officers & day by day they barter away their obligations and duties.”

By 1870, this self-appointed elite class had become the minority. Foreign born immigrants made up 75% of the city’s population. Prejudices went much deeper than skin color. Irish and German immigrants were considered lowlifes, their presence tolerated by the upper class only slightly more than the presence of African-Americans. This hostile environment made New Orleans one of the most dangerous places in America during the late 1800s.

Thomas and Bridgette Digby were two of the city’s Irish immigrants living in relative obscurity. They had fled their country during the mid-1800s, along with thousands of others known as the “Famine Irish”. By June of 1870, the couple had three children and were living in a working class section of New Orleans. Thomas drove a hackney cab, and Bridgette took in laundry and sewing from the wealthy residents. Nothing about them or their lives was remarkable at the time. Certainly nothing suggested that their names would be committed to history…

…The details of this case are too complicated and convoluted to share here. For a full account of this story, as well as fascinating details of the historical period, I highly recommend reading The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Rage, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era by Michael A. Ross. The short version of this story is that the outraged and outspoken media and citizens pushed the police department toward an arrest. In fact, they demanded nothing less…

Read the entire article here.

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Once White in America

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-17 19:47Z by Steven

Once White in America

Nation of Change
2015-02-16

Jane Lazarre

Jane Lazarre provides a very intimate post-Ferguson view of what it means to her to raise her two black sons in the “afterlife of such a world.” Are we living in a world of American barbarism?

For Adam and Khary

Black bodies
swingin’ in
the summer
breeze
strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees

It was 1969 and 1973, both times in early fall, when I first saw your small bodies, rose and tan, and fell in love for the second and third time with a black body, as it is named, for my first love was for your father. Always a word lover, I loved his words, trustworthy, often not expansive, sometimes even sparse, but always reliable and clear. How I — a first-generation Russian-Jewish girl — loved clarity! Reliable words — true words, measured words, filled with fascinating new life stories, drawing me down and in. The second and third times I fell in love with black bodies I became a black body, not Black, but black in a way I’d say without shame and some humor, for mine is dark tan called white. But I am the carrier, I am the body who carried them, released on a river of blood.

Am I black in a cop’s hands when he is pushing, pressing hard for dope or a gun or a rope or a knife or a fist?  I am not a black body, yet my body is somehow, somewhere, theirs — Trayvon’s, Emmett’s, thousands more at the end of a rope’s tight murderous swing, black as a night stick splits my head, shatters my chest, black as a boy not yet a man walking toward a man with a gun, suddenly shot dead, a just-become man walking down the stairs toward a gun, black as a tall man, a big man, looking strong but pleading for his breath, killed by choking arms and bodies piled on top of his head.

Walking the sidewalks of my city in the morning, I dodge white dads’ bikes daily, their little toddlers strapped into a back seat, and I don’t mind as riding in the street or wide, traffic-filled avenues does seem a dangerous way to get to nursery school. Later in the morning, when I am still walking, the white fathers or mothers bike by me again, now with the back seats empty. I look around for police, wondering if there will be a ticketing for riding on the sidewalk, since no child’s safety is at stake.  No cops in sight. My great-nephew, young and black and not fully grown, was stopped and handcuffed by police a month ago for riding his bike on the sidewalk,  his often glazed eyes glazing more deeply now…

Read the entire article here.

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Checking Boxes: A close look at mixed-race identity and the law

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-05 21:21Z by Steven

Checking Boxes: A close look at mixed-race identity and the law

Macomb County Leagal News
Mt. Clemens, Michgan
2015-02-05

Jenny Whalen, ‎Web Communications Specialist
School of Law
University of Michigan

Professor Martha S. Jones has long struggled with the idea of checking more than one box. Her reluctance to do so has been influenced by a lifetime of changing perceptions about her own identity. Born to an interracial couple a decade before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the legality of such a relationship in Loving v. Virginia, Jones, who co-directs the Program in Race, Law & History at U-M, crossed the color line at birth.

As the featured speaker for Michigan Law’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture last month, Jones reflected on her mixed-race experience to open up an understanding of how legal culture has wrestled with the idea that Americans might check more than one box of racial identity.

“Today I’m going to be asking myself, ‘How does it feel to be a problem?’” Jones said, looking to address the same question contemporaries of W.E.B. Du Bois asked him at the dawn of the 20th century.

For Jones, the answer to this question starts with Loving v. Virginia

Read the entire article here. View Professor Jones’ presentation here.

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EIHS Lecture: “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Slave Law and the History of Women in Slavery”

Posted in History, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2015-02-04 18:42Z by Steven

EIHS Lecture: “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Slave Law and the History of Women in Slavery”

Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies
University of Michigan
1014 Tisch Hall
435 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1003
2015-02-05, 16:00-18:00 CST (Local Time)

Jennifer L. Morgan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, History
New York University

In 1662, legislators in the Virginia Colony passed a law that determined that, in the matter of sex between free English men and “negro women,” the legal condition of the child should follow that of the mother. Long understood as the law that codified hereditary racial slavery, this code reassured slaveowning settlers that, in the matter of enslaved people, enslaveability devolved through the mother: Partus Sequitur Ventrem or, literally, “offspring follows belly.” In this paper I ask how this legislative intervention might have been perceived by enslaved women and men in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English Atlantic.

Jennifer L. Morgan is the author of Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in colonial America. She is currently a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton where she is at work on a project that considers colonial numeracy, racism, and the rise of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic, tentatively titled Accounting for the Women in Slavery. She is Professor of History in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Department of History at New York University and lives in New York City.

Free and open to the public…

For more information, click here.

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The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era [Tejada Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-03 21:56Z by Steven

The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era [Tejada Review]

Washington Independent Review of Books
2015-01-15

Susan Tejada

When a Crescent City toddler goes missing, the tensions of the post-Civil War South are exposed.

Ross, Michael A., The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

The case was combustible. Two mixed-race women, abetted by the son of one of them, stood accused of kidnapping a blonde, blue-eyed white baby girl in New Orleans in 1870. How did it end? Author Michael Ross expertly keeps readers in suspense as he weaves this true tale of crime, culture, politics, and colorful Southern characters — including a riverboat captain, “mulatresses,” and a precedent-setting Afro-Creole detective.

The case began on the afternoon of June 9, 1870, when Bridgette Digby sent her 10-year-old son, Georgie, and toddler daughter Mollie outside to play under the supervision of a teenage babysitter. Two stylish, fair-skinned African-American women happened to be strolling by. As they stopped to admire Mollie, a fire broke out a few blocks away, and the excited babysitter asked Georgie to hold his sister while she ran to watch the fire.

“No bubby, I will take the baby,” one of the women said. The women asked Georgie to lead them to the home of a certain neighbor. Once there, they told Georgie it was the wrong house, and then sent him to the market to buy a treat for his sister. A heart-stopping shock awaited Georgie when he came out of the market. The women were gone, and so was his baby sister…

Read the entire review here.

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The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era

Posted in Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-02-03 21:24Z by Steven

The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era

Oxford University Press
2014-10-14
320 Pages
30 half-tones
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199778805

Michael A. Ross, Associate Professor of History
University of Maryland

  • Offers a glimpse into the volatile racial world of Reconstruction era New Orleans
  • Guides readers through one of the first sensationalized kidnapping trials of the late 19th Century
  • Offers fresh insights on the complexities and possibilities of the Reconstruction era

In June 1870, the residents of the city of New Orleans were already on edge when two African American women kidnapped seventeen-month-old Mollie Digby from in front of her New Orleans home. It was the height of Radical Reconstruction, and the old racial order had been turned upside down: black men now voted, held office, sat on juries, and served as policemen. Nervous white residents, certain that the end of slavery and resulting “Africanization” of the city would bring chaos, pointed to the Digby abduction as proof that no white child was safe. Louisiana’s twenty-eight-year old Reconstruction governor, Henry Clay Warmoth, hoping to use the investigation of the kidnapping to validate his newly integrated police force to the highly suspicious white population of New Orleans, saw to it that the city’s best Afro-Creole detective, John Baptiste Jourdain, was put on the case, and offered a huge reward for the return of Mollie Digby and the capture of her kidnappers. When the Associated Press sent the story out on the wire, newspaper readers around the country began to follow the New Orleans mystery. Eventually, police and prosecutors put two strikingly beautiful Afro-Creole women on trial for the crime, and interest in the case exploded as a tense courtroom drama unfolded.

In The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case, Michael Ross offers the first full account of this event that electrified the South at one of the most critical moments in the history of American race relations. Tracing the crime from the moment it was committed through the highly publicized investigation and sensationalized trial that followed, all the while chronicling the public outcry and escalating hysteria as news and rumors surrounding the crime spread, Ross paints a vivid picture of the Reconstruction-era South and the complexities and possibilities that faced the newly integrated society. Leading readers into smoke-filled concert saloons, Garden District drawing rooms, sweltering courthouses, and squalid prisons, Ross brings this fascinating era back to life.

A stunning work of historical recreation, The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case is sure to captivate anyone interested in true crime, the Civil War and its aftermath, and the history of New Orleans and the American South.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Ch 1 A Kidnapping in the Back of Town
  • Ch 2 Detective John Baptiste Jourdain and His World
  • Ch 3 A Trace of a Missing Child?
  • Ch 4 A Knock at the Digbys’ Door
  • Ch 5 The Arrest of the Alleged Accessories
  • Ch 6 The Woman in the Seaside Hat
  • Ch 7 The Recorder’s Court
  • Ch 8 A Highly Unusual Proceeding
  • Ch 9 Unveiling the Mystery
  • Ch 10 The Case “That Excited All New Orleans”
  • Afterword and Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
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