The Mestizo Concept: A Product of European Imperialism

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-04-06 01:52Z by Steven

The Mestizo Concept: A Product of European Imperialism

Onkwehón:we Rising: An Indigenouse Perspectic on Third Worldism & Revolution
2013-08-29

Jack D. Forbes, Professor Emeritus of Native American Studies
University of California, Davis

What is the concept of Mestizaje? What are its origins? What role does it have to play in the liberation, or rather the obstructing of the liberation, of occupied Abya Yala? These are important questions that face Our liberation movement, both here in Anówarakowa Kawennote, but also in Anawak and Tawantinsuyu, indeed all of occupied Abya Yala.

The well known radical onkwehón:we scholar Jack D. Forbes examines these questions in the following essay.

The terms mestizo and metis (as well as such comparable words a half-caste, half-breed, ladino, cholo, coyote, and so on) have been and are now frequently used in Anishinabe-waki (the Americas) to refer to large numbers of people who are either of mixed European and Anishinabe (Native American) racial background or who poses a so-called mixed culture.

In Canada, people of mixed European and Anishinabe background are ordinarily referred to as metis, that is, “mixed.” In the United States, terms such as half-breed, half-blood and quarter-blood are most commonly used but, mustee (derived from mestizo) and even mulatto have been used in the South. From Mexico through Argentina mestizo (“mixed”) is the standard term, but cholo, ladino, coyote, and other words are also commonly used. In Brazil, caboclo, mameluco and a variety of other terms are used, along with mestizo. The concept of mestizo has also been introduced into the United States scholarly literature and is becoming accepted among anthropologists and sociologists as a technical term replacing half-breed and similar words…

…The Mestizo Concept and the Strategy of Colonialism

One of the fundamental principles of the European invaders, and especially of the Spaniards, was to follow the policy of divide and conquer, or keep divided and control. This policy pitted native against native, and tribe against tribe, until Spanish control was established. Later this same policy prevented a common front of oppressed people from developing, by creating tensions and jealousies between the different sectors of the population…

…The concepts of mestizo, coyote, lobo, cholo, pardo, color quebrado, and many others, were invented by the Spaniards, and Spanish policy kept these categories alive throughout the colonial epoch. Were those concepts of any real objective value, apart from being useful to the ruling class? It is extremely doubtful if the differences between a coyote (three-quarters Anishinabe), a mestizo (one-half Anishinabe), a lobo (Anishinabe-African), a pardo (Anishinabe-African European), and so on were at all significant except in so far as the Spanish rulers sought to make them significant. It is true that there may have been cultural differences between natives and mixed-bloods speaking a native language and living in a native village, on the one hand, and Spanish-speaking person (of whatever ancestry) on the other hand. But those differences relate to political loyalty and culture and not directly to mestisaje as such…

Read the entire article here.

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Whiteness Without Complex?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-01 01:10Z by Steven

Whiteness Without Complex?

Anthropology While White
2014-03-06

Sarah Abel, Marie Curie Fellow
EUROTAST

A couple of weeks ago I attended an event called ‘Color Without Complex‘, featuring a public conversation between image activist Michaela Angela Davis and ethnographer and publisher Dr. Yaba Blay. The discussion revolved around Blay’s recent book and accompanying exhibition, (1)ne Drop, which looks at the faces and stories of individuals who identify as black, but do not necessarily fit with common prototypes of blackness in the US. By focusing on light-skinned individuals existing at the very outer periphery of blackness, the project tests the perceptual limitations and the social implications of the one drop rule in today’s post-segregation America – a country in which contemporary notions and benchmarks of ‘race’ are still rooted in cultural and legal traditions established under slavery, colonialism and Jim Crow segregation.

The theme up for debate was colourism, a hot internet topic over the past nine months in particular, and the object of a number of recent documentaries, chat shows and news articles in the US. While social prejudice against people ‘of colour’ – as well as the pathological tendency of the Western media to showcase whiteness not only as the norm, but also as virtually the sole domain of beauty – are perhaps two of the most visible social legacies of colonialism throughout the Atlantic world and beyond, these recent debates are bringing to light skin colour prejudices within the black community. Whereas, historically, light coloured skin was prized and aspired to throughout the Americas as a path to social ascension and a means of escaping the stigma of blackness, in recent decades pan-Africanism and a multitude of black pride initiatives have caused a shift towards celebrating and embracing blackness as embodied by a dark-skinned, African ideal. Meanwhile, in some cases light-skinned blacks have become the target of double-edged prejudice: stigmatised by whites for being black, and ostracised by blacks for apparently aspiring to be white…

…And yet, I think it is worth mentioning that there was also a significant minority of white women among the audience who turned up to listen to the debate. Looking around the room, I wondered what had brought them there, like me, to listen from the sidelines into a conversation to which we were not party. In the Q&A session at the end, the (white) woman sat in front of me, holding hands tightly with her (black) husband, asked a question about healing through empathy [at 00:45:43]. Some minutes later, a young (white) woman a few rows further down asked the following question [at 01:05:05]:

“How would you defend, or maybe not necessarily defend, but how would you address a woman who is of colour, but appears to look as white as I do? How would you talk to her or address to her what her place is in relation to colourism, for example? How does colourism apply to her, because she looks white but she is a person of colour, and identifies with that?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Becoming a black woman: an identity in process

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-03-26 15:36Z by Steven

Becoming a black woman: an identity in process

Black Women of Brazil: The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent
2013-07-31

Fernanda Souza

“(…) We are born preta (black), mulata, parda, brown, roxinha (a little purple) among others, but becoming negra (black) (1) is an achievement.” (Lélia Gonzalez)

“How (does one) to form an identity around color and non self-acceptance of blackness by the majority whose future was projected in the dream of branqueamento (whitening)?” (Munanga, p. 137, 2004)

My entire life I saw myself as a parda (brown), morena, mulata, mestiça (mixed race), but never, under any circumstances, negra (black). Although having blacks uncles and cousins, besides my late grandmother being black, I didn’t not recognize as such because of not thinking my parents were black, because I believed in the idea that blacks were only those people who had darker skin and my father and my mother could be seen, even by themselves, as mestiços and not as negros. That’s where we have one of the great subtleties while one of the biggest problems for racial consciousness in the country: the mestiço. The mestiço, as an intermediate category between white and black, is a result of the long process of mestiçagem (racial mixture) that marks Brazil. Mestiço here should be understood primarily as someone who is the child of a interracial couple (in this case, I refer to the union between a black man/ white woman and white man/black woman) and can also, to facilitate understanding of the text, be understood as someone who, even though not being the son/daughter of an interracial couple but of black parents, having lighter skin and had/has difficulty in defining themselves as black. Again I reiterate: this extension of the concept of “mestiço” is only to help in the understanding of the text and not to have to use the term “non-white” because it encompasses other ethnic groups, such as indigenous and neither “pardos (browns)”, because I find it politically innocuous for a text that will discuss mainly mestiçagem and the difficulty of asserting a racial-ethnic identity.

Miscegenation constitutes the cornerstone of the myth of racial democracy, whose central idea is that we are mestiços, the result of interbreeding between the three races – white, Indian and Black – which occurred through a contact and a harmonious coexistence between the three – forgetting that this process started from the rape of black women enslaved by plantation masters and there is nothing harmonious about it – and, in this sense, here there doesn’t exist so much discrimination and racial prejudice and people recognize themselves first as Brazilian than from a racial-ethnic identity of the oppressed, because as the myth of racial democracy dissolves, it mitigates and obscures the tensions, conflicts and racial prejudices present in Brazil, as Kabengele Munanga (2004) pointed out…

Read the entire article here.

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Global Mixed Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-03-20 15:07Z by Steven

Global Mixed Race

New York University Press
March 2014
357 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780814770733
Paper ISBN: 9780814789155

Edited by:

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer
National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Stephen Small, Associate Professor of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent

Paul Spickard, Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of Black Studies, Asian American Studies, East Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Patterns of migration and the forces of globalization have brought the issues of mixed race to the public in far more visible, far more dramatic ways than ever before. Global Mixed Race examines the contemporary experiences of people of mixed descent in nations around the world, moving beyond US borders to explore the dynamics of racial mixing and multiple descent in Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Okinawa, Australia, and New Zealand.  In particular, the volume’s editors ask: how have new global flows of ideas, goods, and people affected the lives and social placements of people of mixed descent?  Thirteen original chapters address the ways mixed-race individuals defy, bolster, speak, and live racial categorization, paying attention to the ways that these experiences help us think through how we see and engage with social differences. The contributors also highlight how mixed-race people can sometimes be used as emblems of multiculturalism, and how these identities are commodified within global capitalism while still considered by some as not pure or inauthentic. A strikingly original study, Global Mixed Race carefully and comprehensively considers the many different meanings of racial mixedness.

Contents

  • Global Mixed Race: An Introduction / Stephen Small and Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Part I: Societies with Established Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 1. Multiraciality and Census Classification in Global Perspective / Ann Morning
    • 2. “Rider of Two Horses”: Eurafricans in Zambia / Juliette Bridgette Milner-Thornton
    • 3. “Split Me in Two”: Gender, Identity, and “Race Mixing” in the Trinidad and Tobago Nation / Rhoda Reddock
    • 4. In the Laboratory of Peoples’ Friendship: Mixed People in Kazakhstan from the Soviet Era to the Present / Saule K. Ualiyeva and Adrienne L. Edgar
    • 5. Competing Narratives: Race and Multiraciality in the Brazilian Racial Order / G. Reginald Daniel and Andrew Michael Lee
    • 6. Antipodean Mixed Race: Australia and New Zealand / Farida Fozdar and Maureen Perkins
    • 7. Negotiating Identity Narratives among Mexico’s Cosmic Race / Christina A. Sue
  • Part II: Places with Newer Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 8. Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed-Race American Okinawans, 1945–1972 / Lily Anne Yumi Welty
    • 9. The Curious Career of the One-Drop Rule: Multiraciality and Membership in Germany Today / Miriam Nandi and Paul Spickard
    • 10. Capturing “Mixed Race” in the Decennial UK Censuses: Are Current Approaches Sustainable in the Age of Globalization and Superdiversity? / Peter J. Aspinall and Miri Song
    • 11. Exporting the Mixed-Race Nation: Mixed-Race Identities in the Canadian Context / Minelle Mahtani, Dani Kwan-Lafond, and Leanne Taylor
  • Global Mixed Race: A Conclusion / Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Bibliography
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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Being “Nesian”: Pacific Islander Identity in Australia

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Media Archive, Oceania on 2014-03-20 02:45Z by Steven

Being “Nesian”: Pacific Islander Identity in Australia

The Contemporary Pacific
Volume 26, Number 1, 2014
pages 126-154
DOI: 10.1353/cp.2014.0013

Kirsten McGavin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Anthropology
University of Queensland, Australia

Pacific Islanders in Australia use the terms “Islander” and “Pacific Islander” in many ways and in different circumstances to define themselves and others. Through invoking discourses including these terms, Pacific Islanders both consciously draw on “panethnicity” and subconsciously strengthen and support their localized identities. In this way, Pacific Islanders blur the ethno-cultural and sociopolitical boundaries that traditionally separate groups with connections across a diverse range of countries. Indeed, diasporic settings give rise to transnationalist sentiment and actions and serve to strengthen panethnic identity. Using insider and auto-anthropology and ethnographic research techniques, I draw on my experiences as an Australian of Pacific Islander descent and use examples drawn from my involvement in formalized community groups, cultural events, and social functions. In doing so, I argue that the expression of Islander and Pacific Islander identity is entwined with ideas about “race,” place, stereotypes, and behavior that highlight the dynamic ethnogenesis of this group.

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‘Mixed race’, ‘mixed origins’ or what? Generic terminology for the multiple racial/ethnic group population

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-03-11 21:46Z by Steven

‘Mixed race’, ‘mixed origins’ or what? Generic terminology for the multiple racial/ethnic group population

Anthropology Today
Volume 25, Issue 2 (April 2009)
pages 3-8
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00653.x

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

A broad range of terms have been proposed and debated for the ‘mixed race’ population. Dissatisfaction with ‘mixed race’, the term most widely used but contested on the grounds that it references the now discredited concept of ‘race’, has led to the search for an alternative. In 1994 the Royal Anthropological Institute advocated ‘mixed origins’; despite subsequent further efforts, this alternative has gained little momentum. ‘Mixed race’ now competes with terms such as ‘mixed heritage’, ‘dual heritage’, and ‘mixed parentage’ amongst data users.  However, research indicates that the term of choice of most respondents in general population and student samples of this population group is ‘mixed race’, other terms – including ‘mixed origins’ – attracting little support.  Given its dominance, it is premature to argue that the term ‘mixed race’ should be replaced by candidates that are not self-descriptors.

Read the entire article here.

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Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2014-02-23 22:48Z by Steven

Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race

University of California, San Diego
2013
320 pages

Maile Renee Arvin

A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnic Studies

This dissertation analyzes how scientific knowledge has represented the Polynesian race as an essentially mixed, “almost white” race. Nineteenth and twentieth century scientific literature—spanning the disciplines of ethnology, physical anthropology, sociology and genetics—positioned Polynesians as the biological relatives of Caucasians. Scientific proof of this relationship allowed scientists, policymakers, and popular media to posit European and American settler colonialism in the Pacific as a peaceful and natural fulfillment of a biological destiny. Understanding knowledge as an important agent of settler colonial possession—in the political as well as supernatural, haunting connotations of that word— this project seeks to understand how Polynesians (with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians) have been bodily “possessed,” along with the political and economic possession of their lands. Thus, the project traces a logic of “possession through whiteness” in which Polynesians were once, and under the salutary influence of settler colonialism, will again be white.

The project’s analysis coheres around four figures of the “almost white” Polynesian race: the ancestrally white Polynesian of ethnology and Aryanism (1830s- 1870s), the Part-Hawaiian of physical anthropology and eugenics (1910s-1920s), the mixed-race “Hawaiian girl” of sociology (1930s-1940s), and the mixed-race, soon-to-be white (again) Polynesian of genetics, whose full acceptance in Hawaiʻi seemed to provide a model of racial harmony to the world (1950s). Rather than attempting to uncover “racist” scientific practices, the project reveals how historical scientific literature produced knowledge about the Polynesian race that remains important in how Native Hawaiians are recognized (and misrecognized) in contemporary scientific, legal and cultural spheres.

In addition to the historical analysis, the project also examines contemporary Native Hawaiian responses to the logic of possession through whiteness. These include regenerative actions that radically displace whiteness, such as contemporary relationship building between Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. At the same time, other regenerative actions attempt to reproduce Native Hawaiian-ness with a standard of racial purity modeled on whiteness, including legal fights waged over blood quantum legislation. Overall, the project provides a scientific genealogy as to how Polynesians have been recognized as “almost white,” and questions under what conditions this possessive recognition can be refused.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Signature Page
  • Dedication
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Vita
  • Abstract of the Dissertation
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The Polynesian Problem and its Genomic Solutions
    • Part 1: Defining the Polynesian Problem
      • 1.1.1: From Who to Whose: Origins, Identity, and Possession of the Indigenous Pacific
      • 1.1.2: Polynesia Through the Christian Lens of Degeneration
      • 1.1.3: Heirlooms of the Aryan Race
    • Part 2: (Un)Mapping Humanity: Genetic Sameness and Mixture in the Pacific
      • 1.2.1: Genetically “Solving” the Polynesian Problem
      • 1.2.2: The Hawaiian Genome Project
  • Chapter 2: “Still in the Blood”: Past and Present Configurations of the “Part-Hawaiian”
    • Part 1: Eugenic Thinking About Native Hawaiian Betterment
      • 2.1.1: Eugenics Pedagogy in Hawaiʻi: Uldrick Thompson’s Hopes for the Hawaiian “Remnant”
      • 2.1.2: Sullivan’s “Two Types” of Polynesians
    • Part 2: Leveraging Blood and Whiteness
      • 2.2.1: Polynesian Blood and the Pre-requisite of Whiteness
      • 2.2.2: Calling the Law on “Native Hawaiians with a Capital N”
  • Chapter 3: Re-envisioning “Hybrid” and “Hapa”: Race, Gender and Indigeneity in Hawaiʻi as Racial Laboratory
    • Part 1: Hybrid Hawaiian Types: Native Hawaiian Women in Hawaiʻiʻs Racial Laboratory
      • 3.1.1: The Racial Laboratory of Romanzo Adams and the Chicago School of Sociology
      • 3.1.2: Hybrid Hawaiian Girls
    • Part 2: Hapa and Whole
      • 3.2.1: Kip Fulbeck’s Vision of Hapa as a “Whole” New Race
      • 3.2.2: Re-constellations of Asian Settlers, Haoles Settlers, and Native Hawaiians
  • Chapter 4: Beyond Recognition: Native Hawaiians, Human Rights, and Global Indigenous Identities
    • Part 1: Polynesia and Hawaiʻi in the Science of Race After World World II
      • 4.1.1: The Polynesian Problem as Anti-Racist Example
      • 4.1.2: “Tropical Democracy” and the Science of Stabilizing Mixed Race
    • Part 2: Reframing Recognition: Indigenous Rights and Relationships in Oceania and Beyond
      • 4.2.1: Polynesian / Pacific / Pacific Islander
      • 4.2.2: Indigenous / Non-Self-Governing Territory
      • 4.2.3: Native American / Alaska Native / Idle No More
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Hawai’i's Interracial History, Culture, and Tradition: Construction and Deconstruction (Sawyer Seminar VIII)

Posted in Anthropology, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Oceania on 2014-02-21 08:58Z by Steven

Hawai’i's Interracial History, Culture, and Tradition: Construction and Deconstruction (Sawyer Seminar VIII)

University of Southern California, University Park Campus
Doheny Memorial Library
East Asian Seminar Room (110C)
Friday, 2014-02-28, 09:00-13:00 PST (Local Time)

How are islands connectors of flows of peoples and culture? What types of constructions and deconstructions of race and identity have influenced Hawai’i's interracial history? How might the past impact the future of racial/ethnic relations on the Hawaiian islands?

PRESENTERS

“Hybrid” and “Hapa”: Challenging the Construction of Hawai‘i as America’s Racial Laboratory

Maile Arvin, University of Santa Cruz, California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow; Ph.D. UC San Diego
Author of Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race (2013).

“Chinese-Hawaiian Hybrids,” “Hapa Haoles,” and Other Categories: Mixed Race and Racial Consciousness Across the Native-Settler Divide in Territorial Hawai‘i

Christine Manganaro, Assistant Professor
Maryland Institute College of Art
Author of Assimilating Hawai‘i: Racial Science in a Colonial Laboratory, 1919-1959 (forthcoming)

Respondent:

Duncan Williams, Associate Professor of Religion
University of Southern California

For more information, click here.

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Color Without Complex: A Conversation w/ Michaela Angela Davis & Dr. Yaba Blay

Posted in Anthropology, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-02-18 03:34Z by Steven

Color Without Complex: A Conversation w/ Michaela Angela Davis & Dr. Yaba Blay

New York University, Washington, D.C.
Abramson Family Auditorium
1307 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Tuesday, 2014-02-18, 18:30 EST (Local Time)

Michaela Angela Davis

Yaba Blay, Ph.D., Professor of Africana Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What exactly is Blackness? What does it mean to be Black? Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness? Who determines who is Black and who is not? Who’s Black, who’s not, and who cares? This discussion seeks to challenge narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality.

Video streaming by Ustream

For more information, contact: NYU Washington DC Events at nyuwashingtondcevents@nyu.edu or 202-654-8300.

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Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United States, Virginia on 2014-02-16 21:54Z by Steven

Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District

New York University Press
July 2014
208 pages
10 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9780814762882
Paper ISBN: 9780814763483

Mieka Brand Polanco, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

In Historically Black, Mieka Brand Polanco examines the concept of community in the United States: how communities are experienced and understood, the complex relationship between human beings and their social and physical landscapes—and how the term “community” is sometimes conjured to feign a cohesiveness that may not actually exist. Drawing on ethnographic and historical materials from Union, Virginia, Historically Black offers a nuanced and sensitive portrait of a federally recognized Historic District under the category “Ethnic Heritage—Black.” Since Union has been home to a racially mixed population since at least the late 19th century, calling it “historically black” poses some curious existential questions to the black residents who currently live there. Union’s identity as a “historically black community” encourages a perception of the town as a monochromatic and monohistoric landscape, effectively erasing both old-timer white residents and newcomer black residents while allowing newer white residents to take on a proud role as preservers of history. Gestures to “community” gloss an oversimplified perspective of race, history and space that conceals much of the richness (and contention) of lived reality in Union, as well as in the larger United States. They allow Americans to avoid important conversations about the complex and unfolding nature by which groups of people and social/physical landscapes are conceptualized as a single unified whole. This multi-layered, multi-textured ethnography explores a key concept, inviting public conversation about the dynamic ways in which race, space, and history inform our experiences and understanding of community.

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