bell hooks, Rethinking Everything, and Colorism – Hidden Power of Words Series, #13

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-11-23 20:50Z by Steven

bell hooks, Rethinking Everything, and Colorism – Hidden Power of Words Series, #13

Andrew Joseph Pegoda, A.B.D.
2014-11-22

Andrew Joseph Pegoda
Department of History
University of Houston, Houston, Texas

bell hooks continues to transform my thinking and understanding of all things related to critical theory and History. I have completely fallen in love with her conceptualization of the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.

Yesterday I was listening to this talk (which is excellent!) between hooks and Gloria Steinem, and the word “colorism” caught my attention. “Colorism” is not a word I had heard before, but it sounded intriguing. One of the things I love about learning is that you are always learning something new, and in this case, something that “makes so much sense.”

A search on Google does not reveal any substantial results, but the basic idea that colorism is discrimination based on the hue of a person’s skin (similar to but different than phenotype) was clear and is, potentially, a revolutionary concept for my thinking, writing, and teaching.

Given how much scholars in the Liberal Arts preach that race is a social construction, not a biological reality; that race does not exist but racism does exist, students frequently say, with full sincerity, how can we have racism if race does not exist. Or, they will say, “clearly we all have different skin colors, how do you “explain” that away.” For a while, I learned to frame this with the following explanation: No one is white or black, but they can be and are racialized as White or Black…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”?’ Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-23 19:51Z by Steven

‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”?’ Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage

The Huffington Post
The Blog
2014-11-21

A. B. Wilkinson, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Photograph: Ken Tanabe

One of the main characters in the award-winning film Dear White People is a mixed “black and white” college student who works to make sense of her life and relationships. The movie addresses several thought-provoking subjects, and the storyline around this character raises the question: Should people of mixed heritage have to choose one part of their ancestry over another?

From Nov. 13 to Nov. 15, over 600 people came together at DePaul University in Chicago to explore this question and other issues surrounding ideas of race, perceptions of racial mixture, and the experiences of mixed-heritage people. The goal of the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, titled “Global Mixed Race,” was to “bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines around the world to facilitate a conversation about the transnational, transdisciplinary, and transracial field of Critical Mixed Race Studies.”

As the number of people who identify as “mixed” increases, discussions around various topics concerning people of mixed ancestry are also expanding and challenging our perceptions of race and racism. Both critical mixed-race studies and films like Dear White People accomplish the same goal of furthering conversations regarding race — dialogues that we can engage in with friends, family, and those in our communities at large…

…CMRS Asks: Is There a “Global Mixed Race”?

Activists, artists, and scholars who compose critical mixed-race studies (CMRS) are complicating questions beyond “What are you?” and combating the myth of the “tragic mulatta/o.” In past decades, CMRS has expanded over a number of academic fields spanning several disciplines.

While CMRS has fought over the years to gain legitimacy within scholarly circles, one of its greatest attributes is that the coalition is not made up of solely academics but includes community activists, students, educators, families, visual artists, independent filmmakers, and others interested in the varied experiences of mixed-heritage peoples. Of course, not all these categories are mutually exclusive, as many of the activists, artists, etc., are also scholars.

Laura Kina and Camilla Fojas of DuPaul University organized the third CMRS conference, “Global Mixed Race,” which featured a variety of people telling their own stories, sharing the stories of others, and dissecting theories that surround notions of ethnoracial mixture.* In the opening keynote address, sociologist Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, co-editor of the book Global Mixed Race, explored the idea of a “mixed experience,” where she discussed the commonalities that people of mixed descent share widely across the globe.

King-O’Riain noted that people of mixed heritage have had to learn how to live and operate within their respective societies, often finding themselves ostracized by individuals within their local communities and battling exclusive national definitions of citizenship. King-O’Riain explained that people of mixed ancestry therefore have often had to skillfully create a flexible hybrid identity, one where they develop a keen ability to operate among several groups…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial divide: It’s a social concept, not a scientific one

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-11-23 17:43Z by Steven

Racial divide: It’s a social concept, not a scientific one

The Washington Post
2014-11-03

Nancy Szokan

Most scientists agree that race is not a biological concept.

As Wikipedia defines it, in an extremely lengthy and extravagantly footnoted entry that surely has been edited and re-edited many times, “Race is a social concept used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”

Yet race undoubtedly affects government policies, pervades our social interactions, creates alliances and sets off wars.

We are asked to specify our race (or races) on census forms, medical questionnaires, job applications, college applications, opinion surveys and so on — and the very act of asking the question, sometimes to be answered by just checking a box, can seem to imply that there is a clearly definable, provable answer.

As Robert Wald Sussman puts it in “The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea,” many if not most people would be surprised to learn that race is a social rather than a scientific construct. In his new book, Sussman, a professor of physical anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, explores how race emerged as a modern social construct, tracing its origins to the Spanish Inquisition and its legacy as a justification for Western imperialism and slavery…

Read the entire review here.

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Hispanic Or Latino? That Is The Question

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-19 17:08Z by Steven

Hispanic Or Latino? That Is The Question

Tell Me More
National Public Radio
2009-09-25

Michel Martin, Host

Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is being celebrated as Hispanic Heritage Month, but the some say the word “Hispanic” should be retired, and would rather be referred to as Latino. Host Michel Martin speaks to four Latinos with varying opinions on the subject — syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Afro-Latino Activist Roland Roebuck, “Ask a Mexican” columnist Gustavo Arellano and Tell Me More Planning Editor Luis Clemens.

I’m Michel Martin, and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. It’s time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what’s in the news and what’s on their minds. And this week, we’re going for a different kind of shape-up than we usually do, you know, switching it up a little bit.

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and to mark the occasion, we’ve decided to represent right here in the Barbershop. So sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, who writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune and CNN.com, Gustavo Arellano, who writes the syndicated column “Ask a Mexican,” community activist Roland Roebuck, and NPR editor Luis Clemens, our own. Welcome to you, and dare I say it? Hola…

…MARTIN: All right. And before we jump into other topics, I have to ask, this being Heritage Month, let’s start with the title itself. Whenever, you know, I have to choose, I always have this little moment, you know, why Hispanic versus Latino Heritage Month? Does it matter? Gustavo, I’m going to start with you because this is actually something you’ve written about and thought about a lot. So Hispanic versus Latino, why? Which?

Mr. ARELLANO: Which one? Honestly for me, it’s whatever people want to call themselves, whatever makes them more comfortable. Some people don’t like either of the labels. They want to call themselves Chicano or Boricua, or whatever their particular labels may be.

The reason why it’s called Hispanic Heritage Month is because it comes from the federal government deciding that hey, guess what? We’re all Hispanics, and this happened – the urban myth is that Richard Nixon was the godfather of Hispanics. That’s what Richard Rodriguez, the noted author said, but it was actually done during the Ford administration. And literally, it was done in the back room of some government hall where they took a poll. Should we call these people Latinos or Hispanic?

So Hispanic won. So in that case, that’s why I don’t like the term Hispanic. I don’t like the government telling me what I should call myself. I’d prefer Latino. But again, if you want to call yourself Hispanic, then God bless you. Or Dios bless you, right?

MARTIN: Okay, why do you prefer Latino?

Ms. ARELLANO: Just because it’s more out of, you know, out of eliminating the other part that I don’t like. So I don’t – I mean, I don’t like Hispanic only for that term, so I’ll use Latino. But me personally, I call myself Naranjedal(ph), a child of, you know, an orange-picker because I come from Orange County, California, and my grandparents were orange-pickers. So that’s what I would call myself, and that’s where – whenever I go across the country, that’s what I tell people I call myself. But, of course, only a very limited amount of people can call themselves that. So if I’m going to express brotherhood with the fellow people that were colonized by the Spaniards or the Portuguese, then I’ll just – I decide to call myself Latino.

MARTIN: Okay. Roland, what about you?

Mr. ROEBUCK: Well, this month should be called White Hispanic Heritage Month, because it allows an opportunity for white Hispanic to display their wares, and it also heightens the invisibility of Afro-Latinos that are seldom given a chance to participate in these national holidays. So we are invisible during the year, more so during White Hispanic Heritage Month.

MARTIN: Why do you say that? And for those who can’t – you consider yourself Afro-Latino.

Mr. ROEBUCK: Yes, yes. But just look at the events. Ever since Celia Cruz died, Roberto Clemente is not around, people are scrambling to find Afro-Latinos to be recognized because they concentrate on two areas.

MARTIN: Now, you prefer Latino, as opposed to – you don’t say Afro-Hispanic.

Mr. ROEBUCK: No. I say – if I’m going to use the Latino, it would be Afro-Latino because I want to acknowledge my Africanness, and I also want to recognize my cultural background, which is Puerto Rican. But I have to use both.

For me, Hispanic refers to white, Spanish-speaking individuals. So the whiter you are, the more inclined you will be to identify yourself as Hispanic. And this is prevalent throughout the Southern region of the United States. If you ask the average person on Columbia Road, do you consider yourself Hispanic? No. They will use a geographic identification…

Read the transcript here. Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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On The Cusp of Dual Identities #Dispatch: Afropean

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, United Kingdom on 2014-11-11 15:53Z by Steven

On The Cusp of Dual Identities #Dispatch: Afropean

Everywhere All The Time
2014-11-10

Bani Amor

Johny Pitts is a writer, photographer, and broadcast journalist interested in issues of Afro-European identity. He won a Decibel Penguin Prize for a short story included in the ‘The Map of Me'; a Penguin books anthology about mixed-race identity. He recently collaborated with author Caryl Phillips on a photographic essay for the BBC and Arts Council England dealing with London and immigration, and curates the online journal Afropean.com, for which he received the 2013 ENAR foundation (European Network Against Racism) award for a contribution to a racism free Europe. He currently hosts a youth travel show for the BBC and recently finished the first draft of a travel narrative about a five month trip through ‘Black Europe’, due to be released in 2015.

Bani Amor: Tell us about yourself. How would you describe your work and the impetus behind it?

John: Well, I hold American and British passports, I was raised between London and Sheffield, in the UK. My Father is black, my mother is white, and I was born on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius, so even my star sign dual! So I identify with W.E.B DuBois’ double consciousness stuff. I feel as though I kind of grew up in that liminal terrain between cultures, races and spaces, and I suppose my work is all about trying to find some kind of coherence in that liminal space. Instead of seeing myself as half-this or mixed-that, I try to solidify the cultural ground I walk on as something whole. And that is where this term ‘Afropean’ comes in.

It is a platform to engage with-and acknowledge the duality of- my influences, whilst bringing them together as something new. I didn’t create the term Afropean, so in a way I’m working off the backs of a Generation X who came of age in the 90’s. People like Neneh Cherry, Zap Mama, Stephen Simmonds, Les Nubians… artists and musicians who brought forth new aesthetics that were a mix of African and European influences. The word was being used, but it hadn’t really entered the popular lexicon, so I snapped up afropean.com and tried to create a community around that. See if there was a way for Afro-Europeans to get a sense of themselves in the same way I feel African Americans did…

Read the entire interview here.

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Four Statements on the Race Question

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Social Science on 2014-11-09 22:18Z by Steven

Four Statements on the Race Question

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
1969
54 pages

Foreword

This booklet reproduces the texts of four statements on the race question prepared by groups of experts brought together by Unesco in 1950, 1951, 1964 and 1967, as part of its programme to make known the scientific facts about race and to combat racial prejudice. The names and qualifications of the experts responsible for the preparation of each of the statements are given at the end of each.

The statements are preceded by two essays, one by Professor Hiernaux, biologist, University of Brussels (Belgium), the other by Professor Banton, sociologist, University of Bristol (United Kingdom), on the four statements and the relationships among them. The views expressed in the essays are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Unesco.

Contents

  • Biological aspects of the racial question by Jean Hiernaux
  • Social aspects of the race question by Michael Banton
  • I. Statement on race, Paris, July 1950
  • II. Statement on the nature of race and race differences, Paris, June 1951
  • III. Proposals on the biological aspects of race, Moscow, August 1964
  • IV. Statement on race and racial prejudice, Paris, September 1967

Read the entire booklet here.

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AAPA Statement on Biological Aspects of Race

Posted in Anthropology, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Statements on 2014-11-09 21:27Z by Steven

AAPA Statement on Biological Aspects of Race

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 101, Issue 4, December 1996
pages 569–570
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1331010408

PREAMBLE

As scientists who study human evolution and variation, we believe that we have an obligation to share with other scientists and the general public our current understanding of the structure of human variation from a biological perspective. Popular conceptualizations of race are derived from 19th and early 20th century scientific formulations. These old racial categories were based on externally visible traits, primarily skin color, features of the face, and the shape and size of the head and body, and the underlying skeleton. They were often imbued with nonbiological attributes, based on social constructions of race. These categories of race are rooted in the scientific traditions of the 19th century, and in even earlier philosophical traditions which presumed that immutable visible traits can predict the measure of all other traits in an individual or a population. Such notions have often been used to support racist doctrines. Yet old racial concepts persist as social conventions that foster institutional discrimination. The expression of prejudice may or may not undermine material well-being, but it does involve the mistreatment of people and thus it often is psychologically distressing and socially damaging. Scientists should try to keep the results of their research from being used in a biased way that would serve discriminatory ends.

POSITION

We offer the following points as revisions of the 1964 UNESCO statement on race:

  1. All humans living today belong to a single species, Homo sapiens, and share a common descent. Although there are differences of opinion regarding how and where different human groups diverged or fused to form new ones from a common ancestral group, all living populations in each of the earth’s geographic areas have evolved from that ancestral group over the same amount of time. Much of the biological variation among populations involves modest degrees of variation in the frequency of shared traits. Human populations have at times been isolated, but have never genetically diverged enough to produce any biological barriers to mating between members of different populations.
  2. Biological differences between human beings reflect both hereditary factors and the influence of natural and social environments. In most cases, these differences are due to the interaction of both. The degree to which environment or heredity affects any particular trait varies greatly.
  3. There is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogenous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past

Read the entire statement here.

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There Is No Such Thing as Race

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-11-09 21:12Z by Steven

There Is No Such Thing as Race

Newsweek
2014-11-08

Robert Wald Sussman, Professor of Physical Anthropology
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

In 1950, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a statement asserting that all humans belong to the same species and that “race” is not a biological reality but a myth. This was a summary of the findings of an international panel of anthropologists, geneticists, sociologists, and psychologists.

A great deal of evidence had accumulated by that time to support this conclusion, and the scientists involved were those who were conducting research and were most knowledgeable about the topic of human variation. Since that time similar statements have been published by the American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and an enormous amount of modern scientific data has been gathered to justify this conclusion…

…In my book, The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea, I have not dwelt upon all of the scientific information that has been gathered by anthropologists, biologists, geneticists, and other scientists concerning the fact that there are no such things as human biological races. This has been done by many people over the past fifty or so years.

What I do is describe the history of our myth of race and racism. As I describe this history, I think that you will be able to understand why many of our leaders and their followers have deluded us into believing these racist fallacies and how they have been perpetuated from the late Middle Ages to the present.

Many of our basic policies of race and racism have been developed as a way to keep these leaders and their followers in control of the way we live our modern lives. These leaders often see themselves as the best and the brightest. Much of this history helped establish and maintain the Spanish Inquisition, colonial policies, slavery, Nazism, racial separatism and discrimination, and anti-immigration policies.

Although policies related to racism seem to be improving over time, I hope to help clarify why this myth still exists and remains widespread in the United States and throughout Western Europe by describing the history of racism and by exploring how the anthropological concepts of culture and worldview have challenged and disproven the validity of racist views…

Read the entire article here.

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The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and Dominican National Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2014-11-09 17:51Z by Steven

The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and Dominican National Identity

University Press of Florida
2014-03-24
224 pages
6×9
Cloth ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-4919-9

April J. Mayes, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies
Pomona College, Claremont, California

The Dominican Republic was once celebrated as a mulatto racial paradise. Now the island nation is idealized as a white, Hispanic nation, having abandoned its many Haitian and black influences. The possible causes of this shift in ideologies between popular expressions of Dominican identity and official nationalism has long been debated by historians, political scientists, and journalists.

In The Mulatto Republic, April Mayes looks at the many ways Dominicans define themselves through race, skin color, and culture. She explores significant historical factors and events that have led the nation, for much of the twentieth century, to favor privileged European ancestry and Hispanic cultural norms such as the Spanish language and Catholicism.

Mayes seeks to discern whether contemporary Dominican identity is a product of the Trujillo regime—and, therefore, only a legacy of authoritarian rule—or is representative of a nationalism unique to an island divided into two countries long engaged with each other in ways that are sometimes cooperative and at other times conflicted. Her answers enrich and enliven an ongoing debate.

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Mestizo Genomics: Race Mixture, Nation, and Science in Latin America

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico on 2014-11-09 17:49Z by Steven

Mestizo Genomics: Race Mixture, Nation, and Science in Latin America

Duke University Press
April 2014
320 pages
4 photos, 2 tables, 6 figures
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5648-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5659-2

Edited by:

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Carlos López Beltrán, Researcher
Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, Coyoacán, México, D.F.

Eduardo Restrepo
Universidad Javeriana, Estudios Culturales

Ricardo Ventura Santos
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

In genetics laboratories in Latin America, scientists have been mapping the genomes of local populations, seeking to locate the genetic basis of complex diseases and to trace population histories. As part of their work, geneticists often calculate the European, African, and Amerindian genetic ancestry of populations. Some researchers explicitly connect their findings to questions of national identity and racial and ethnic difference, bringing their research to bear on issues of politics and identity.

Based on ethnographic research in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, the contributors to Mestizo Genomics explore how the concepts of race, ethnicity, nation, and gender enter into and are affected by genomic research. In Latin America, national identities are often based on ideas about mestizaje (race mixture), rather than racial division. Since mestizaje is said to involve relations between European men and indigenous or African women, gender is a key factor in Latin American genomics and the analyses in this book. Also important are links between contemporary genomics and recent moves toward official multiculturalism in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. One of the first studies of its kind, Mestizo Genomics sheds new light on the interrelations between “race,” identity, and genomics in Latin America.

Contributors: Adriana Díaz del Castillo H., Roosbelinda Cárdenas, Vivette García Deister, Verlan Valle Gaspar Neto, Michael Kent, Carlos López Beltrán, María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Eduardo Restrepo, Mariana Rios Sandoval, Ernesto Schwartz-Marín, Ricardo Ventura Santos, Peter Wade

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