Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing on 2015-07-02 01:33Z by Steven

Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

University of Massachusetts Press
2015-06-26

The recent controversy concerning Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity steered many readers to a 2008 UMass Press book by Baz Dreisinger, Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture, which explores cases in which legally white individuals are imagined, by themselves or by others, as passing for black.

Many news venues—the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, The Atlantic, and others—found their way to Dreisinger to ask her thoughts. The controversy, Dreisinger told the New York Times, “taps into all of these issues around blackface and wearing blackness and that whole cultural legacy, which makes it that much more vile.”

In The Atlantic, Dreisinger said “I think it’s critical to recognize the ways in which American whites have a long legacy of fetishizing blackness, whether they’re literally passing or not, but the ways in which their notions of blackness are based upon caricatures, and not characters. They’re based on idealized or cartoonish notions of what blackness is.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

The mythology of racial democracy in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2015-06-24 01:32Z by Steven

The mythology of racial democracy in Brazil

openDemocracy: free thinking for the world
2015-06-22

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Brazil’s government has taken important steps to combat racial inequalities over the past two decades. Afro-Brazilian populations nevertheless remain socially and economically excluded, continuing patterns that began with legal slavery.

Brazil has been in the news a great deal of late, especially in association with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The most popular images involve football, carnival, samba, sunny beaches, and tanned women in bikinis. Less well known is the history of slavery and racism, which continues to have a profound impact upon Brazilian society.

Brazil has the dubious distinction of having imported the largest number of enslaved Africans—more than five million—of all countries of the Americas. The slave trade from Africa to Brazil was outlawed in 1831, but an illegal trade continued until 1851 before being outlawed for a second time. In contrast, legal slavery persisted until 1888, making Brazil the last country to abolish slavery in the western hemisphere. Today, 53 percent of the Brazilian population self-identify as black or pardo (brown, or mixed race). These terms as established by the Census refer to colour and not ancestry.

Achieving the abolition of slavery in Brazil was a long and difficult process. Abolition in 1888 was preceded by laws that, theoretically at least, freed the children of enslaved women (1871) and slaves who reached the age of sixty (1885). There was already a large free black population when slavery was abolished, and both this population and newly freed slaves received little or no assistance from the Brazilian government. There was no distribution of land or provision of education, leaving established patterns of wealth, privilege and racial hierarchy in place. In 1891, a new constitution established that only males with high incomes had the right to vote. The illiterate population, the vast majority of whom were Afro-Brazilians, remained prohibited from voting. At the same time, the government continued to encourage European immigration as a means to replace the enslaved African workforce, whose numbers had decreased following the ban of the Atlantic slave trade to Brazil. Inspired by eugenic theories, the monarchy and later the Republican government, as well as Brazilian elites, believed that the arrival of massive numbers of Europeans would lead to miscegenation and eventually ‘whiten’ the majority black Brazilian population…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Black Mexicans face considerable hurdles

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-06-17 19:06Z by Steven

Black Mexicans face considerable hurdles

Compton Herald
2015-06-05

Alexis Okeowo

Mexicanos negros (black Mexicans) face considerable hurdles; Afro-Mexicans are marginalized and excluded to the point that it is impossible to find any mention of them in official records

The first town of freed African slaves in the Americas is not exactly where you would expect to find it — and it isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find either. First, it’s not in the United States. Yanga, on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, is a sleepy pueblito founded by its namesake, Gaspar Yanga, an African slave who led a rebellion against his Spanish colonial masters in the late 16th century and fought off attempts to retake the settlement. The second thing that is immediately evident to vistors who reach the town’s rustic central plaza: there are virtually no blacks among the few hundred residents milling around the center of town.

Mirroring Mexico’s history itself, most of Yanga’s Afro-Mexican population has been pushed to neighboring rural villages that are notable primarily for their deep poverty and the strikingly dark skin of their inhabitants. Mexico’s independence from Spain and new focus on building a national identity on the idea of mestizaje, or mixed race, drove African Mexicans into invisibility as leaders chose not to count them or assess their needs. Now many blacks want to fight back by improving the shoddy education and social services available to them and are petitioning for the constitution to recognize Afro-Mexicans as a separate ethnic group worthy of special consideration…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Exhibit: “AfroBrasil: Art and Identities”

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-12 02:55Z by Steven

Exhibit: “AfroBrasil: Art and Identities”

National Hispanic Cultural Center
Art Museum
1701 4th Street SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Friday, December 12, 2014 to mid-August, 2015; Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:00 MT; Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:00 MT

Brazil* hosted soccer’s World Cup in the summer of 2014, and soon will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. While many are familiar with these events and Brazil’s other achievements, they may be unaware of the cultural and ethnic complexity of this large South American country.

The largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, Brazil is home to the second largest population of African origin outside the African continent. Yet, despite its sporadic economic dynamism, its soccer prowess (who has not heard of Pelé, the “Black Pearl”?), the fame of its Carnaval, and the acclaim given the 1959 Oscar-winning French film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro), starring Afro-Brazilian actors, many aspects of its Afro-Brazilian identity, art, and culture have not received the status or attention they merit.

Today, Afro-Brazilian art and identities saturate the core of Brazilian culture and society, but may not rise commensurately to the surface in galleries, museums, or the works of art historians. The artists, writers, musicians, and critics who do tackle Afro-Brazilian reality more often than not narrate; in doing so they include their personal experiences in a unique multi-racial and multi-ethnic nation-state. AfroBrasil: Art and Identities shows the multiple important ways in which Afro-Brazilian artists and their colleagues from other countries address the complexities of Brazil’s African heritage and its impact across frontiers and oceans.

Using a team approach, the exhibition has been curated to comprise four distinct, yet inter-related, sections, which can be visited in any order to make different connections and gain different perspectives…

…Photograph: Baianas (Praça de Sé, Salvador, Bahia), Paulo Lima, 2013, courtesy of the artist

*Brasil is spelled with an “s” in Portuguese and Spanish, with a “z” in English. Text and label materials in this exhibition use both spellings, depending on context.

For more information, click here.

Tags: ,

The beauty contest winner making Japan look at itself

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-06-05 14:05Z by Steven

The beauty contest winner making Japan look at itself

BBC News
2015-06-04

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, Tokyo Correspondent

At first sight even I am a little confused by Ariana Miyamoto. She is tall and strikingly beautiful. But the first thing that pops in to my head when I meet the newly crowned Miss Universe Japan is that she doesn’t look very Japanese.

In just two years here I have clearly absorbed a lot of the local prejudices about what it means to be “Japanese”.

My confusion lasts only until Ariana opens her mouth. Suddenly everything about her shouts out that she is Japanese, from the soft lilting tone of her voice, to her delicate hand gestures and demure expression.

Well of course she is. Ariana was born in Japan and has lived here all her life. She knows little of her father’s home back in Arkansas in the United States. But to many Japanese, and I really do mean many, Ariana Miyamoto is not Japanese. Not fully anyway.

Ariana is what is known in Japan as a “hafu”, taken from the English word “half”. To me the word sounds derogatory. But when I ask her Ariana surprises me by defending the term, even embracing it…

…Many people here genuinely believe Japanese are unique, even genetically separate from the rest of us.

When my (Japanese) wife got pregnant, one of her friends congratulated her with the words: “It’s not easy for us Japanese to get pregnant with a foreigner”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Of course this myth is complete nonsense. Japanese are an ethnic hotch-potch, the result of different migrations over thousands of years, from the Korean peninsula, China and South East Asia. But the myth is strong, and that makes being different here hard…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Expats Find Brazil’s Reputation For Race-Blindness Is Undone By Reality

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-05-23 20:24Z by Steven

Expats Find Brazil’s Reputation For Race-Blindness Is Undone By Reality

Parallels: Many Stories, One World
National Public Radio
2015-05-22

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

There is a joke among Brazilians that a Brazilian passport is the most coveted on the black market because no matter what your background — Asian, African or European — you can fit in here. But the reality is very different.

I’m sitting in café with two women who don’t want their names used because of the sensitivity of the topic. One is from the Caribbean; her husband is an expat executive.

“I was expecting to be the average-looking Brazilian; Brazil as you see on the media is not what I experienced when I arrived,” she tells me.

As is the case for many people from the Caribbean basin, she self-identifies as multiracial. The island where she is from has a mixture of races and ethnicities, so she was excited to move to Brazil, which has been touted as one of the most racially harmonious places in the world.

“When I arrived, I was shocked to realize there is a big difference between races and colors, and what is expected — what is your role, basically — based on your skin color,” she says…

Read the entire article here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

Tags: , ,

What’s Radical About “Mixed Race?”

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-19 19:29Z by Steven

What’s Radical About “Mixed Race?”

Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU
8 Washington Mews
New York, New York 10003
Phone: (212) 998-3700
Monday, 2015-04-20, 18:00-20:00 EDT (Local Time) | Free

Since the 1990s, mainstream media has heralded the growing population of self-identified “mixed race” people in the US and Canada as material proof of a post-racial era (a recent example: National Geographic‘s 2013 feature “The Changing Face of America,” whose title paraphrases a Time feature [at right] from two decades prior). Meanwhile, foundational multiracial activists and scholars like Maria Root claim a doubled oppression—racism via white supremacy and ostracizing from so-called “monoracial” people of color. A growing body of Critical Mixed Race Studies literature is challenging both positions, questioning the assumption that multiracial activism and scholarship is necessarily anti-racist.

Minelle Mahtani critically locates how an apolitical and ahistorical Canadian “model multiracial” upholds the multicultural claims of the Canadian settler state. Jared Sexton calls to task multiracial activists who leverage a mixed race identity in opposition to those who are “all black, all the time.”

Eschewing an apolitical “celebration” of mixed race, this panel examines the movement’s implications for multiracial coalition and the future of race in the US and Canada, asking: does the multiracial movement challenge—or actually reinforce—the logics of structural racism?…

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-13 22:06Z by Steven

The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Indian Country Today Media Network
2015-04-25

Duane Champagne, Professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies; Professor of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Countries with indigenous nations usually also have mixed-blood nations composed of people of indigenous descent and other nations or races. In an increasingly shrinking world where ethnicity is a quantity in flux, it is sometimes difficult to get a handle on how they relate to one another. The two groups would seem to be natural allies. But the reality isn’t that simple.

To begin with, much depends on the relations of the mixed bloods to the larger nation state. Take Canada, where the mixed-blood community is called Métis, a French word meaning—well, mixed blood. The Métis historically have had friendly relations with Indian communities. But currently they claim their own history and culture, a hybrid of European and indigenous community. Some Métis identify and live with tribal communities, while others do not. These separatists believe themselves to be a distinct nation or ethnic group from the indigenous nations and from Canada. Métis communities in Canada have separate land claims and negotiations with the Canadian government.

Meanwhile, in Latin and South America, as well as in Africa, people of mixed blood usually do not strongly identify with indigenous nations. They tend to reject indigenous ways in favor of national culture. Mestizos, for instance, are persons of indigenous ancestry who have taken up national culture and do not live in or engage with members of indigenous tribal communities.

This disengagement, in fact, can be quite vehement. Mestizo nations like Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and many others segregate their indigenous communities and maintain hostile and repressive political and cultural relations over indigenous nations. As for assimilated Mestizos, they can generally be relied on to embrace the values and lifestyles of modern market economies and broad national culture while openly rejecting their indigenous counterparts.

In the United States, the situation is particularly complex because there is no official designation of a mixed-blood nation…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-10 23:58Z by Steven

The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege

Ashgate
May 2015
186 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4724-5307-5
eBook PDF ISBN: 978-1-4724-5308-2
eBook ePUB ISBN: 978-1-4724-5309-9

Elaine Marie Carbonell Laforteza, Lecturer in Cultural Studies
Macquarie University, Australia

Investigating the emergence of a specific mestiza/mestizo whiteness that facilitates relations between the Philippines and Western nations, this book examines the ways in which the construction of a particular form of Philippine whiteness serves to deploy positions of exclusion, privilege and solidarity.

Through Filipino, Filipino-Australian, and Filipino-American experiences, the author explores the operation of whiteness, showing how a mixed-race identity becomes the means through which racialised privileges, authority and power are embodied in the Philippine context, and examines the ways in which colonial and imperial technologies of the past frame contemporary practices such as skin-bleaching, the use of different languages, discourses of bilateral relations, secularism, development, and the movement of Filipino, Australian and American bodies between and within nations.

Drawing on key ideas expressed in critical race and whiteness studies, together with the theoretical concepts of somatechnics, biopolitics and governmentality, The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race sheds light on the impact of colonial and imperial histories on contemporary international relations, and calls for a ‘queering’ or resignification of whiteness, which acknowledges permutations of whiteness fostered within national boundaries, as well as through various nation-state alliances and fractures. As such, it will appeal to scholars of cultural studies, sociology and politics with interests in whiteness, postcolonialism and race.

Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Series Editor’s Preface
  • 1. Introduction: the Routes of Mestiza Whiteness
  • 2. The Use and Limits of Colonial Mentality
  • 3. Providing a New Framework: Tracking Colonialism and Imperialism
  • 4. Somatechnologies of the Mestiza/o Self: Skin Colour and Language
  • 5. Mestiza/o Whiteness and Anglo-Australian Whiteness: Post-9/11 Somatechnologies of State and Secularism
  • 6. The Biopolitical Fracture: Deportation and Detention
  • 7. Bearing Witness to Racialised Norms: Challenges and Queer Interventions
  • Epilogue: To Remember and to Re-member
  • References
  • Index
Tags: , , , ,

Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania on 2015-04-24 20:23Z by Steven

Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities

Auckland University Press
January 2008
238 pages
Illustrations
210 x 148 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781869403997

Manying Ip, Professor of Asian Studies
University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Being Maori-Chinese uses extensive interviews with seven different families to explore historical and contemporary relations between Māori and Chinese, a subject which has never been given serious study before. A full chapter is given to each family which is explored in depth often in the voices of the protagonists themselves.

This detailed and personal approach shows how in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Māori and Chinese, both relegated to the fringes of society, often had warm and congenial bonds, with intermarriage and large Māori-Chinese families. However in recent times the relationship between these two rapidly growing groups has shown tension as Māori have gained confidence in their identity and as increased Asian immigration has become a political issue. Being Maori-Chinese provides a unique and fascinating insight into cross-cultural alliances between Asian and indigenous peoples, revealing a resilience which has endured persecution, ridicule and neglect and offering a picture of New Zealand society which challenges the usual Pākehā-dominated perspective.

Today’s Māori-Chinese, especially younger members, are increasingly reaffirming their multiple roots and, with a growing confidence in the cultural advantages they possess, are playing important roles in New Zealand society.

Tags: , ,