Blood Quantum – Why it Matters, and Why it Shouldn’t

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-03-03 15:03Z by Steven

Blood Quantum – Why it Matters, and Why it Shouldn’t

All Things Cherokee
2014-08-04

Christina Berry

“You’re an Indian? What part?”

That’s the universal question many mixed-blood American Indians are asked every day. How many times have you mentioned in passing that you are Cherokee to find your conversation interrupted by intrusive questions about percentage? How many times have you answered those questions? Well stop! That’s right — stop answering rude questions.

Have you ever been talking to someone who mentioned that they were part Hispanic, part African-American, part Jewish, part Italian, part Korean, etc.? Have you ever asked them what percentage? Hopefully your answer is no, because if your answer is yes, then you’re rude. It would be rude to ask someone what part Hispanic they are, but we accept that people can ask us what part Cherokee we are. This is a double standard brought about by our collective history as American Indians, and is one we should no longer tolerate…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production by Crystal S. Anderson (review)

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-02 20:40Z by Steven

Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production by Crystal S. Anderson (review)

Journal of Asian American Studies
Volume 18, Number 1, February 2015
pages 107-109
DOI: 10.1353/jaas.2015.0003

Edlie Wong, Associate Professor of English
University of Maryland

Anderson, Crystal S., Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013).

Afro-Asian comparative racialization studies have begun to change how we think about race and its multiple and contradictory meanings across different periods of U.S. history. Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production contributes to this important trend in thinking about comparative constructions of race and cross-racial antagonisms and alliances. Earlier work on Afro-Asian comparative racialization such as Vijay Prashad’s Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting (2001) and Bill Mullen’s Afro-Orientalism (2004) tended to emphasize the revolutionary—indeed, at times utopian—forms of anticolonial transpacific polyculturalism and political collaborations. Anderson’s volume explicitly builds upon and broadens this work. According to Anderson, Afro-Asian comparative racialization studies often favor anticapitalist critiques, taking the 1955 Bandung conference as the storied origins of the global alignment of the political struggles of African and Asian peoples. In contrast, her book offers a self-described cultural approach that emphasizes historical and ethnic specificity, disarticulating the homogenizing panethnicities implied in the term “Afro-Asian” to consider “the way the histories of individual ethnic groups may impact their interaction with one another” (37).

There is perhaps no more fitting figure for this study than the martial arts film star Bruce Lee, whose cross-racial and cross-ethnic appeal transformed him into an Afro-Asian cultural icon in the 1970s. Anderson’s volume stages a series of encounters between Lee’s signature films—one for each of the four chapters—and a range of post-1990s novels, films, and popular culture revealing the complexities of inter- and intraethnic Afro-Asian interactions. Anderson begins with the film Way of the Dragon (1972) and charts Lee’s emergence as a transnational and cross-cultural phenomenon. “Lee’s legacy,” she argues, “functions as a framework to interrogate the contemporary landscape” (5). In chapter 2, Lee’s Enter the Dragon (1973) facilitates an exploration of the limits and possibilities of interethnic male friendship in Frank Chin’s novel Gunga Din Highway (1994) and two mainstream Hollywood films, Rush Hour 2 (2001) and Unleashed (2005). In chapter 3, Lee’s The Chinese Connection (1972) allows Anderson to examine the theme of ethnic imperialism in Ishmael Reed’s satirical novel Japanese by Spring (1993) and the Japanese anime series Samurai Champloo (2004), while Lee’s The Big Boss (1971) frames the final chapter on intra- and interethnic conflict and solidarity in Paul Beatty’s novel White Boy Shuffle (1996) and the highly popular Matrix science fiction film trilogy (1999 (2003). These cultural case studies allow Anderson ample opportunity to engage in broader historical contextualization and considerations of Afro-Asian social dynamics. In the case of Rush Hour 2 and Unleashed, Anderson draws attention away from film reception to explore the historical underpinnings of their plots and characterizations, from Rush Hour 2’s eroticization of Chinese women and the 1875 Page Act equating all Chinese women with prostitutes to the economic exploitation of the Chinese coolie reformulated in Unleashed’s plot of human trafficking.

Anderson organizes these cultural readings according to how each work constructs Afro-Asian cross-cultural dynamics along a broad “continuum of intercultural interactions” (3). At one end of this spectrum lies what she identifies as “cultural emulsion.” A concept drawn from Homi K. Bhabha’s theory of hybridity, cultural emulsion designates those instances where “cultures come together but do not mix in response to pressures to reinforce ethnic or national boundaries” (3). Against this more limited form of cultural distancing, Anderson counterpoises the concept of “cultural translation,” which “uses one ethnic culture to interpret another ethnic culture” and “recognizes more complex combinations of cultures” across national boundaries (35). This framework of emulsion and translation lends a somewhat static quality to Anderson’s detailed readings, and the most compelling of the case studies predictably land on the cultural translation end of the spectrum. For example, Anderson explores how Samurai Champloo’s uses of African American hip-hop and graffiti aesthetics transform animated tales of eighteenth-century Japan into social commentaries aimed at urban Japanese youth culture. Her reading of White Boy Shuffle emphasizes Beatty’s experimentation with Japanese aesthetics and his encoding of African American political disillusionment in the subplot of ritual suicide and…

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The Ins and Outs of Diversity in the Dominican Republic

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive on 2015-03-01 22:22Z by Steven

The Ins and Outs of Diversity in the Dominican Republic

Latina
2015-02-26

Cindy Rodriguez

In an attempt to debunk the stereotypes on what exactly a “Dominican looks like,” Twitter user UsDominicans809 posted a photo of a group of beautiful women (er, possibly models?) who are all super diverse in physical identity along with a sassy tweet.

“They’re all dominican; so next time somebody says “you don’t look dominican” tell that dumbass, we’re all unique,” as written by user UsDominicans809.

This comment accurately encompasses the identity struggle Latinos in the U.S. go through day in and day out which is why pieces like “Things You Shouldn’t Say To Latinos,” or Afro-Latinos and the often overlooked pale Latinas do so well. They reflect all the misconceptions that go with the Latino identity.

First, Latinos are not a race, it’s an ethnicity; but you knew that already. Latin America’s diverse racial demographics are the result of a mixed-race background from European, African and indigenous cultures.

But if you didn’t already know… race in the Dominican Republic is way more complicated than in the United States.

Here, you either fall under a handful of categories: Asian, Black, White, India, and so forth but, according to Public Radio International, Dominicans use an array of words to self-identify their degree of “blackness”, for lack of a better term, like: moreno, trigueno, and blanco-oscuro.

Which is odd because “more than 90 percent of Dominicans possess some degree of African descent — and that the very first rebellion of black slaves occurred here in 1522,” according to The Root. But, in the their federal census, most recently, 82 percent designated their race as “indio”, while only 4.13 percent designate themselves as black…

Read the entire article here.

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A Student Traveling Through Costa Chica Picked Up A Camera to Let Afro-Mexicans Tell Their Story

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Mexico on 2015-03-01 22:03Z by Steven

A Student Traveling Through Costa Chica Picked Up A Camera to Let Afro-Mexicans Tell Their Story

Remezcla
2015-02-25

Andrew S. Vargas

It’s Black History Month once again, and while it seems like every other day of the calendar year has been dedicated to some cause or another, the concept of Black history is particularly relevant to us as Latinos. With historically documented African populations from Buenos Aires up to Veracruz, including just about every country along the way, a new generation is starting to realize that our African heritage has been systematically erased from our national narratives over the centuries…

…One young filmmaker and anthropology student of Afro-Salvadoran descent, feeling sympathy for the plight of invisible Afro-Mexicans, took it upon himself to make a very independent documentary exploring Afro-Mexican identity in the coastal communities of La Costa Chica — a region spanning the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca that has the highest concentration of Afro-descendants in Mexico. Titled Así Somos: Afro Identities in the Coast, the short doc admittedly features an extremely raw and unpolished style, but director Andy Amaya does a fairly good job of letting his subjects speak for themselves as they reflect on experiences with discrimination, their Afro-linguistic heritage and labels like ‘negro’ vs. ‘afromexicano’…

Read the entire article here.

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Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa . . . & Their Friends

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United States on 2015-02-11 23:26Z by Steven

Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa . . . & Their Friends

Stone Bridge Press
2015-06-09
176 pages
7.50 x 9.25 inches
Trade Paper ISBN13: 9781611720228; ISBN10: 1611720222
Ebook ISBN13: 9781611725292; ISBN10: 1611725291

Gil Asakawa

A celebration of JA culture: facts, recipes, songs, words, and memories that every JA will want to share.

This entertaining compendium is a celebration of Japanese American history and heritage. While detailing favorite foods, customs, words, games, and holidays, it explores the painful history of immigration and WWII internment, with suggestions for connecting to your Japanese American community and passing on traditions across generations and into intermarried families. This revised edition has fresh interviews with Japanese Americans about their life experiences and explores contemporary Japanese pop culture like anime and J-pop, with information on traveling to visit your Japanese roots and lists of resources on the Web and social media.

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Settlers, Servants and Slaves: Aboriginal and European Children in Nineteenth-century Western Australia

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-02-11 15:53Z by Steven

Settlers, Servants and Slaves: Aboriginal and European Children in Nineteenth-century Western Australia

University of Western Australia Publishing
2002-08-31
246 pages
207 x 139 mm
ISBN: 978-1876268732

Penelope Hetherington

Settlers, Servants and Slaves documents the exploitation of both Aboriginal and European children by the settler elite of nineteenth-century Western Australia. In a struggling colony desperately short of labour, early settlers relied on the labour of children—their own and other people’s.

Convicted and neglected children from the poorest sections of this divided society were placed in institutions, where they were trained to become a useful part of the work force. Education services developed only slowly, and there was no system of secondary education provided by the government in the nineteenth century.

From the 1870s, Aboriginal children were widely ‘employed’, in a complex web of contract and apprenticeship law, in the pastoral and pearling industries in the North West. Often kidnapped by ‘blackbirders’, these children received no wages and had no opportunity to attend school.

Settlers, Servants and Slaves also shows how concern over ‘the problem’ of children of mixed descent in the last decade of the nineteenth century was to provide the rationale for infamous twentieth-century ‘solutions’: the removal of children from their parents and the establishment of Aboriginal Reserves.

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Scripts of Blackness: Race, Cultural Nationalism, and U.S. Colonialism in Puerto Rico

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Economics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-02-08 20:07Z by Steven

Scripts of Blackness: Race, Cultural Nationalism, and U.S. Colonialism in Puerto Rico

University of Illinois Press
February 2015
320 pages
6.125 x 9.25 in.
38 black & white photographs, 3 maps, 1 chart, 3 tables
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03890-7
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08045-6

Isar P. Godreau, Researcher and Former Director
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico, Cayey

Ideas of blackness, whiteness, and racial mixture in a Puerto Rican barrio

The geopolitical influence of the United States informs the processes of racialization in Puerto Rico, including the construction of black places. In Scripts of Blackness, Isar P. Godreau explores how Puerto Rican national discourses about race—created to overcome U.S. colonial power—simultaneously privilege whiteness, typecast blackness, and silence charges of racism.

Based on an ethnographic study of the barrio of San Antón in the city of Ponce, Scripts of Blackness examines institutional and local representations of blackness as developing from a power-laden process that is inherently selective and political, not neutral or natural. Godreau traces the presumed benevolence or triviality of slavery in Puerto Rico, the favoring of a Spanish colonial whiteness (under a hispanophile discourse), and the insistence on a harmonious race mixture as discourses that thrive on a presumed contrast with the United States that also characterize Puerto Rico as morally superior. In so doing, she outlines the debates, social hierarchies, and colonial discourses that inform the racialization of San Antón and its residents as black.

Mining ethnographic materials and anthropological and historical research, Scripts of Blackness provides powerful insights into the critical political, economic, and historical context behind the strategic deployment of blackness, whiteness, and racial mixture.

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From Behind the Counter: Poems From a Rural Jamaican Experience

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Poetry on 2015-02-01 21:19Z by Steven

From Behind the Counter: Poems From a Rural Jamaican Experience

Ian Randle Publishers
2000-09-05
216 pages
5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-9768123879

Easton Lee

Photographs by Owen Minott

Easton Lee was born to a Chinese father and a Jamaican mother of mixed racial heritage in the 1930s at Wait-a-bit, Trelawny, Jamaica. The family lived in several villages and towns as his parents ‘moved shop’ in search of a livelihood. Life was different then – no television, no telephones, inadequate road systems, no radio. The life of rural communities revolved and evolved around the church, the school and the village shop. The majority of these shops were owned and operated by Chinese families. Lee recalls that many evenings during his elementary schooldays were spent under the counter of his parents’ shop so he could be near to his mother as she attended to customers and helped him with homework. Customers, unaware of his presence, often discussed the village happenings and their private business in the most intimate details, giving him insight and information not otherwise available. His mother who was born at the turn of the century, fed him with stories and legends she had gleaned from her older relatives. An avid reader and a great storyteller, she often entertained her children and their friends with fascinating tales she had read or had heard in her childhood. His attention later turned to his Chinese heritage with his father and other Chinese relatives providing the link to that source. He found to his amazement that those teachings were not all that different from those of other sources, and in some instances were identical. This lively interest in and knowledge of Jamaican folklore which began in his schooldays was broadened and enhanced when, in adulthood, he went to work with Jamaica Social Welfare Commission, now the Social Development Commission, in a job which took him to every corner of the country.

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The Multiple Meanings of Coloured Identity in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, South Africa on 2015-01-28 23:17Z by Steven

The Multiple Meanings of Coloured Identity in South Africa

Africa Insight
Volume 42, Number 1 (2012)

Theodore Petrus, Lecturer
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Wendy Isaacs-Martin, Political & Governmental Studies Fellow
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

In post-1994, South African identity has taken centre stage in debates about diversity and its impact in a multicultural society. The coloured people of South Africa seem to have the most at stake in such debates due to the perceived ambiguity of their and others’ perceptions of their identity. This article interrogates the symbology of colouredness by providing a symbolic interpretation of the meanings of the symbols of coloured identity. Through the engagement with relevant literature, the article seeks to identify the symbols of coloured identity and the multivocality of these symbols. Our argument is that a symbological approach to coloured identity opens up possibilities for a variety of meanings that move beyond the historically inherited stereotypical associations with the identity.

Log-in to read the article here.

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Race in Contemporary Brazil: From Indifference to Inequality

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2015-01-26 02:08Z by Steven

Race in Contemporary Brazil: From Indifference to Inequality

Pennsylvania State University Press
1999
304 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9
1 illustration
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-01905-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-01906-2

Edited by: Rebecca Reichmann

Brazil’s traditionally agrarian economy, based initially on slave labor and later on rural labor and tenancy arrangements, established inequalities that have not diminished even with industrial development and urban growth. While fertility and infant mortality rates have dropped significantly and life expectancy has increased during the past thirty years, the gaps in mortality between rich and poor have remained constant. And among the poor of different races, including the 45 percent of Brazil’s population identified as preto (“black”) or pardo (“brown”) in the official census, persistent inequalities cannot be explained by the shortcomings of national economic development or failure of the “modernization” process.

Reichmann assembles the most important work of Brazilians writing today on contemporary racial dynamics in policy-relevant areas: the construction of race and color classification systems, access to education, employment and health, racial inequalities in the judiciary and politics, and black women’s status and roles. Despite these glaring social inequalities, racial discrimination in Brazil is poorly understood, both within and outside Brazil.

The still-widespread notion of harmonious “racial democracy” in Brazil was first articulated by anthropologist Gilberto Freyre in the 1930s and was subsequently reinforced by the popular media, social observers, and scholars. By giving voice to Brazilians’ own interpretations of race, this volume represents an essential contribution to the increasingly international debates about the African diaspora and comparative constructions of race.

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