Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-28 16:42Z by Steven

Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign

National Public Radio

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

My parents are Cuban and Panamanian. I grew up in Miami. I travel broadly in Latin America but reside in Brazil, which speaks Portuguese, not Spanish.

So what am I?

This may seem an irrelevant question to many, but as the American presidential season kicks into high gear there’s been a lot of confusion about how to refer to people alternately called Hispanics or Latinos.

Donald Trump, who’s made immigration central to his campaign, has sometimes used the catchall phrase “the Mexicans.” And his verbal confrontation this week with Spanish-language broadcaster Jorge Ramos — a Mexican-American — lit up social media.

I feel the need to jump into the fray because it will save me from writing lengthy corrections to others on my Facebook feed. Now, I’ll just be able to post this link. There are a lot of misconceptions out there.

Latino And Hispanic Don’t Refer To Race Or Color: As in the U.S., there are many races in Latin America owing to the history of the region. The indigenous peoples of the region were conquered and colonized by white Europeans, who then forcibly imported millions of black Africans and enslaved them. In Brazil, you also have a huge Japanese community, and there are many Chinese descendants in Peru. One of Peru’s former presidents was of Japanese descent…

Read the entire article here.

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Dark-Skinned Or Black? How Afro-Brazilians Are Forging A Collective Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-08-13 02:19Z by Steven

Dark-Skinned Or Black? How Afro-Brazilians Are Forging A Collective Identity

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

Sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina have German, Italian, African and indigenous ancestry. (Lourdes Garcia-Navarro/NPR)

If you want to get a sense of how complex racial identity is in Brazil, you should meet sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina. Both have the same mother and father. Francine, 28, is blond with green eyes and white skin. She wouldn’t look out of place in Iceland. But Fernanda, 23, has milk chocolate skin with coffee colored eyes and hair. Francine describes herself as white, whereas Fernanda says she’s morena, or brown-skinned.

“We’d always get questions like, ‘How can you be so dark skinned and she’s so fair?'” Fernanda says. In fact, the sisters have German, Italian, African and indigenous ancestry. But in Brazil, Fernanda explains, people describe themselves by color, not race, since nearly everyone here is mixed.

All of that is to say, collecting demographic information in Brazil has been really tricky. The latest census, taken in 2010, found for the first time that Brazil has the most people of African descent outside Africa. No, this doesn’t mean that Afro-Brazilian population suddenly, dramatically increased. Rather, the new figures reflect changing attitudes about race and skin color in Brazil…

…”We should see the history of Brazil as a history of racial inequality,” Heringer says — and that’s a fairly new idea. For a long time, Brazilians have believed in what’s been called “the myth of racial democracy,” she explains. Part of that myth-building was a controversial survey that the government conducted the 1970’s. It asked people to describe their skin color, and the answers varied a lot. All together, respondents used at least 134 different terms

Read the article here. Listen to the story (00:05:38) here. Download the story here.

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Brazil’s colour bind

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, Videos on 2015-08-03 01:46Z by Steven

Brazil’s colour bind

The Globe and Mail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Stephanie Nolen, Latin America Correspondent

Brazil is combating many kinds of inequality. But one of the world’s most diverse nations is still just beginning to talk about race

When Daniele de Araújo found out six years ago that she was pregnant, she set out from her small house on a dirt lane in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and climbed a mountain. It is not a big mountain, the green slope that rises near her home, but the area is controlled by drug dealers, so she was anxious, hiking up. But she had something really important to ask of God, and she wanted to be somewhere she felt that the magnitude of her request would be clear.

She told God she wanted a girl, and she wanted her to be healthy, but one thing mattered above all: “The baby has to be white.”

Ms. de Araújo knows about the quixotic outcomes of genetics: She has a white mother and a black father, sisters who can pass for white, and a brother nearly as dark-skinned as she is – “I’m really black,” she says. Her husband, Jonatas dos Praseres, also has one black and one white parent, but he is light-skinned – when he reported for his compulsory military service, an officer wrote “white” as his race on the forms.

And so, when their baby arrived, the sight of her filled Ms. de Araújo with relief: Tiny Sarah Ashley was as pink as the sheets she was wrapped in. Best of all, as she grew, it became clear that she had straight hair, not cabelo ruim – “bad hair” – as tightly curled black hair is universally known in Brazil. These days, Sarah Ashley has tawny curls that tumble to the small of her back; they are her mother’s great joy in life. The little girl’s skin tone falls somewhere between those of her parents – but she was light enough for them to register her as “white,” just as they had hoped. (Many official documents in Brazil ask for “race and/or colour” alongside other basic identifying information.)

Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres keep the photos from their 2005 wedding in a red velvet album on the lone shelf in their living room. The glossy pictures show family members of a dozen different skin colours, arm in arm, faces crinkled in stiff grins for the posed portraits. There are albums with similar pictures in living rooms all over this country: A full one-third of marriages in Brazil are interracial, said to be the highest rate in the world. (In Canada, despite hugely diverse cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the rate is under five per cent.) That statistic is the most obvious evidence of how race and colour in Brazil are lived differently than they are in other parts of the world.

But a range of colours cannot disguise a fundamental truth, says Ms. de Araújo: There is a hierarchy, and white is at the top.

Many things are changing in this country. Ms. de Araújo left school as a teenager to work as a maid – about the only option open to a woman with skin as dark as hers – but now she has a professional job in health care and a house of her own, things she could not have imagined 15 years ago. Still, she says, “This is Brazil.” And there is no point being precious about it. Black is beautiful, but white – white is just easier. Even middle-class life can still be a struggle here. And Sarah Ashley’s parents want her life to be easy.

Brazil’s history of colonialism, slavery and dictatorship, followed by tumultuous social change, has produced a country that is at once culturally homogenous and chromatically wildly diverse. It is a cornerstone of national identity that Brazil is racially mixed – more than any country on Earth, Brazilians say. Much less discussed, but equally visible – in every restaurant full of white patrons and black waiters, in every high rise where the black doorman points a black visitor toward the service elevator – is the pervasive racial inequality…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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This Instagram Project is Giving a Voice to the “Blaxican” Experience

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-02 02:15Z by Steven

This Instagram Project is Giving a Voice to the “Blaxican” Experience


Yara Simón

The history of race in the United States is often told in terms of black and white, a binary that leaves many out of the equation. “Blaxican” researcher Walter Thompson-Hernandez is trying to expand the conversation, with a project that features people who, like him, are African-American and Mexican. As part of a research project for the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC, where he works, he began interviewing people of “Blaxican” identity. The personal stories inspired him to take his project beyond academia and onto social media. So he started Blaxicans of L.A. on Instagram to share what he was seeing firsthand.

Blaxicans are dual minorities,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “We represent two of the largest ethnic minority groups. And I think because Blaxicans represent two of the most aggrieved groups in Los Angeles, it’s important to understand that certain sets of issues and challenges that have been traditionally labeled as African American or Latino, ultimately, do not exist for people who self-identify as Blaxicans.” They are affected by both the killings of unarmed black men by police and mass deportations…

Read the entire article here.

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Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2015-08-01 01:42Z by Steven

Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba

University Press of Mississippi
328 pages
6 x 9 inches, 14 b&w illustrations, 1 map, 3 tables, glossary, bibliography, index
Hardback ISBN: 9781628462395

Rebecca M. Bodenheimer

A study of how notions of place and race inform the identities and performances of musicians in contemporary Cuba

Derived from the nationalist writings of José Martí, the concept of Cubanidad (Cubanness) has always imagined a unified hybrid nation where racial difference is nonexistent and nationality trumps all other axes identities. Scholars have critiqued this celebration of racial mixture, highlighting a gap between the claim of racial harmony and the realities of inequality faced by Afro-Cubans since independence in 1898. In this book, Rebecca M. Bodenheimer argues that it is not only the recognition of racial difference that threatens to divide the nation, but that popular regional sentiment further contests the hegemonic national discourse. Given that the music is a prominent symbol of Cubanidad, musical practices play an important role in constructing regional, local, and national identities.

This book suggests that regional identity exerts a significant influence on the aesthetic choices made by Cuban musicians. Through the examination of several genres, Bodenheimer explores the various ways that race and place are entangled in contemporary Cuban music. She argues that racialized notions which circulate about different cities affect both the formation of local identity and musical performance. Thus, the musical practices discussed in the book—including rumba, timba, eastern Cuban folklore, and son—are examples of the intersections between regional identity formation, racialized notions of place, and music-making.

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Breaking the silence on Afro-Cuban history

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2015-07-26 23:51Z by Steven

Breaking the silence on Afro-Cuban history

Daily Kos

Denise Oliver Velez

The news of the re-opening of Cuba’s embassy in the U.S., and America’s embassy in Cuba, was covered worldwide this past week, garnering particular interest in the Caribbean and Latin America, and in Cuban-American communities in the U.S., in stories like this: Cuba opens Washington embassy, urges end to embargo:

The Cuban flag was raised over Havana’s embassy in Washington on Monday for the first time in 54 years as the United States and Cuba formally restored relations, opening a new chapter of engagement between the former Cold War foes.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez presided over the reinauguration of the embassy, a milestone in the diplomatic thaw that began with an announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17.

Underscoring differences that remain between the United States and Communist-ruled Cuba, Rodriguez seized the opportunity to urge Obama to use executive powers to do more to dismantle the economic embargo, the main stumbling block to full normalization of ties. For its part, the Obama administration pressed Havana for improvement on human rights.

But even with continuing friction, the reopening of embassies in each others’ capitals provided the most concrete symbols yet of what has been achieved after more than two years of negotiations between governments that had long shunned each other.

Watching the symbolic event, which has been a long time coming, I couldn’t help but notice the three young men chosen to raise the Cuban flag, and I feel sure that their selection was purposeful, making a Cuban statement about who Cubans are racially.

Cubans are very aware of U.S. racial strife, historically and in the present day, and Fidel Castro has had a very particular relationship with the African-American community.

Follow me below for more…

Read the entire article here.

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“We Are Not Racists, We Are Mexicans”: Privilege, Nationalism and Post-Race Ideology in Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2015-07-26 02:42Z by Steven

“We Are Not Racists, We Are Mexicans”: Privilege, Nationalism and Post-Race Ideology in Mexico

Critical Sociology
Published online before print 2015-06-18
DOI: 10.1177/0896920515591296

Mónica G. Moreno Figueroa, Lecturer in Sociology
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Emiko Saldívar, Associate Project Scientist
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Barbara

This article analyses the conflicting understandings surrounding the recognition of anti-black racism in Mexico, drawing from an analysis of the 2005 controversy around Memín Pinguín. We ask what is at stake when opposition arises to claims of racism, how racial disavowal is possible, and how is it that the racial project of mestizaje (racial and cultural mixture) expresses a form of Mexican post-racial ideology. We argue that the ideology of mestizaje is key for unpacking the tensions between the recognition and disavowal of racism. Mestizaje solidifies into a form of nationalist denial in moments when racism is openly contested or brought up. It becomes a concrete strategy of power that is mobilized to simplify or divert attention in particular moments, such as with the Memín Pinguín controversy, when the contradictions within the social dynamic are revealed and questioned. Here is where Mexico’s “raceless” ideology of mestizaje overlaps with current post-racial politics. We explore state, elite and popular reactions to the debate to discuss how such public displays reflect an invested denial of race and racism while, at the same time, the racial status quo of mestizaje is reinforced. This, we argue, is the essence of post-racial politics in Mexico.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Q&A “Blaxicans of L.A.”: capturing two cultures in one

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-23 02:34Z by Steven

Q&A “Blaxicans of L.A.”: capturing two cultures in one

The Los Angeles Times

Ebony Bailey

When race in this country is often discussed in black and white, where do those who don’t quite fit the dime fall?.

Walter Thompson-Hernandez, a researcher with the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC, is attempting to answer that question with the help of his full-frame Nikon camera.

Two years ago, he began a research project on “Blaxican” identity, interviewing individuals of African American and Mexican descent like himself. He thought it was important to share his research with audiences outside academia, so he started a project on Instagram called Blaxicans of L.A., capturing portraits of Blaxicans and their families…

Read the entire article here.

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Story of Steain Family by Tim Steains

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-07-22 19:37Z by Steven

Story of Steain Family by Tim Steains

Nikkei Australia: Japanese Diaspora in Australia

Tim Steains

L to R – Sophie, Satsuki, Chris, Tim

My name is Timothy Kazuo Steains, I am of Okinawan and white Australian descent, and am 26 years old. I was born in Australia and have always lived here. As a child I attended Konomi Yōchien, and the Sydney Japanese School. I speak conversational Japanese, and have a modest repertoire of enka that I like to sing at karaoke.

My parents (Satsuki and Chris Steains) met through Buddhism. My mother has lived in Australia for almost 40 years, she’s from Ginowan in Okinawa. My father grew up in Newcastle.

My PhD work in Cultural Studies at Sydney University focuses on representations of Japan in contemporary Australian literature and cinema (and probably other media as well). I’m interested in Australian perceptions of Japan, Asian-Australian and Japanese-Australian interconnections, as well as Asian Australian and Japanese Australian mixed race. Broadly speaking my work uses postcolonial, multicultural, and transnational approaches.

My work started with an oppositional attitude towards white Australian representations of Japan. I examined Orientalist perceptions of Japan (take for example the feminisation of Hiromitsu in Japanese Story), the persistence of stereotype, and the marginalisation and exclusion of Asian Australian voices. I used critical race approaches that have helped me to understand my place in discussions of race and multiculturalism in Australia. While this attitude still informs my work to a significant extent, I’ve also been trying to broaden my approach in various ways…

Read the entire article here.

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Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Latino Studies, Monographs, Texas, United States on 2015-07-20 01:23Z by Steven

Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City

University of California Press
November 2015
320 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780520282575
Paperback ISBN: 9780520282582

Tyina Steptoe, Assistant Professor of History
University of Arizona

Beginning after World War I and continuing throughout the twentieth century, Houston was transformed from a black-and-white frontier town into one of the most ethnically and racially diverse urban areas in the United States. Houston Bound draws on social and cultural history to show how, despite Anglo attempts to fix racial categories through Jim Crow laws, converging migrations—particularly those of Mexicans and Creoles—complicated ideas of blackness and whiteness and introduced different understandings about race. This migration history is also a story about music and sound, tracing the emergence of Houston’s blues and jazz scenes in the 1920s as well as the hybrid forms of these genres—like zydeco and Tejano soul—that arose when migrants forged shared social space and carved out new communities and politics. Houston’s location on the Gulf Coast, poised between the American South and the West, yields a particularly rich examination of how the histories of colonization, slavery, and segregation produced divergent ways of thinking about race.

This interdisciplinary book provides both an innovative historiography about migration and immigration in the twentieth century and a critical examination of a city located in the former Confederacy.

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