“What are you?”: Embracing a mixed-roots identity

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-20 01:18Z by Steven

“What are you?”: Embracing a mixed-roots identity

The Pitt News
2017-11-12

Erica Brandbergh, Columnist


(Illustration by Raka Sarkar | Senior Staff Illustrator)

I once asked my dad, out of curiosity, whether he put Caucasian, Asian or both on surveys that ask about his race. He paused for a bit and said he didn’t know. I asked if he identified with one more than the other, and he was unsure of that as well.

My dad is half-Japanese. He was born on an American Army base in Okinawa and came to the United States at a young age with my grandparents and his siblings. His mom — who we call “Oba” — is from southwestern Japan. My Oba never taught my father Japanese, so I never learned much beyond the basics that she taught me when she was my kindergarten teacher.

Despite my diminished interaction with my non-white heritage, it was clear from my experiences growing up as someone with only one-quarter Asian ancestry that white society at large didn’t consider me fully one of its own. That reality is even more pronounced for people who are half non-white, like my father, or even more…

Read the entire article here.

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The Afro-Turks: Turkey’s Little-known Black Minority Reclaims Its Past

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2017-11-13 02:33Z by Steven

The Afro-Turks: Turkey’s Little-known Black Minority Reclaims Its Past

Haaretz
2017-10-26

Davide Lerner and Esra Whitehouse


An Afro-Turk farmer, Gungor Delibas, whose family is originally from Sudan, with a picture of her and her Turkish husband, in Haskoy, Turkey, October 2017. Davide Lerner

IZMIR, Turkey – Dotted along Turkey’s Aegean coastline are a smattering of villages that the country’s Afro-Turks call home.

“The first generation suffers, the second generation denies and the third generation questions,” reads the opening line of Mustafa Olpak’s book, the first and the last autobiographical and introspective study of Turkey’s dwindling black minority. Olpak coined the term Afro-Turk and founded the movement to help resurrect their identity, but the history of the estimated 1.3 million people who were forced into slavery and shipped from Africa to the territories controlled by the Ottoman Empire remains little more than a footnote of Turkish history.

While “the library of the Congress of the United States of America has over 600 personal accounts of African-American slaves, none could be found in Ottoman archives,” notes Turkish historian Hakan Erdem in his commentary to Olpak’s book. Before his death last year, Olpak had dreamed of delivering a copy of his book to former U.S. President Barack Obama, and had even traveled to Istanbul’s airport in a hopeless attempt to meet him as he landed for a state visit.

Today the number of Afro-Turks is estimated at only a few tens of thousands. Many still live in the villages of Haskoy, Yenicifler and Yenikoy, near Izmir, while some reside in rural areas around Ayvalik, Antalya and Adana, as well as in Istanbul. Most were first brought to Turkey to work as domestic servants or in the tobacco and cotton fields along the Aegean Sea; they settled near Izmir once they were freed. Although the slave trade was officially made illegal in 1857 following pressure from Britain and other European powers, it took until the beginning of the 20th century to eliminate the practice altogether and to liberate those who were owned by Ottoman families since before the slave trade was outlawed.

In Izmir, the state provided safe houses for former slaves as well as assistance to integrate them into the labor market; whole villages and neighborhoods inhabited by the Afro-Turks were dubbed “Arap” areas – the Turkish word for Arab, which is still used as slang to refer to black people…

Read the entire article here.

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Jennifer Roth-Gordon on her new book, Race and the Brazilian Body

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews on 2017-11-13 00:52Z by Steven

Jennifer Roth-Gordon on her new book, Race and the Brazilian Body

CaMP Anthropology
2017-09-04

Interview by: Ilana Gershon, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Indiana University, Bloomington

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

If you were at a wedding, and the person at your table happened to be a scholar of African-American experiences of the Jim Crow South who wanted to know a bit about your book, what would you say?

Can the person sitting next to the Jim Crow scholar at our table be someone who witnessed the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville? I think I might open by saying to them that I study race relations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a context which is both very similar and very different from the ones that they are immersed in. My book is an investigation into how we can watch people draw on and perpetuate racial hierarchy in daily conversations and interactions, in a national context where noticing racial difference is (and has long been) taboo. These racial ideas – about the superiority of whiteness and the inferiority of blackness – are the same ideas that were legalized in the Jim Crow South and that white people marched to uphold just a few weeks ago, in defense of statues meant to keep nonwhite people “in their place.” I can point to very little that changes, over time or across national boundaries, in the civilized/uncivilized and upstanding/dangerous distinctions between what whiteness and nonwhiteness are thought to represent.

Brazil also suffers from incredibly high levels of structural racism that almost always exceed statistics from the present-day U.S. (from racial gaps in education levels, income, and where people live, to what scholars have called a black genocide of thousands of Afro-descended youth killed by police each year). Despite these national similarities, Brazil has long used incidents like Charlottesville (such as the Civil War, lynchings, the LA riots and Rodney King beating, Ferguson, and so on) to define themselves in contrast to the violent history and aggressive nature of race relations in the U.S. Though they are now more aware of racism than ever before, many Brazilians continue to take pride in their reputation for racial mixture and racial tolerance. While most would admit that Brazil is not (and has never been) a “racial democracy,” there is a strong belief that inequality in Brazil is socioeconomic, rather than racial.

My book seeks to explain the “comfortable racial contradiction” that surrounds Rio residents with signs of blackness and whiteness but discourages them from describing what they see in racial terms. It’s not a contradiction that is “comfortable” for all, but I argue that this contradiction is surprisingly easy to live within, even as it may be hard to unravel and explain – in the same way that we now have to contemplate what it means to live in a “colorblind” America that has people on both ends of the political spectrum loudly proclaiming that race matters. I study how racial ideology allows us to live in societies that promote themselves as tolerant and equal, even as we are daily surrounded by (and participating in) profoundly racially unequal and unjust circumstances. Laws and torches are not the only ways to maintain white supremacy, and swastika-flag bearers are not the only ones who keep systems of racial hierarchy in place…

Read the entire interview here.

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Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-11-12 23:03Z by Steven

Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro

University of North Carolina Press
December 2016
248 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520293793
Paperback ISBN: 9780520293809
Adobe PDF E-Book ISBN: 9780520967151
ePUB Format ISBN: 9780520967151

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Arizona

Based on spontaneous conversations of shantytown youth hanging out on the streets of their neighborhoods and interviews from the comfortable living rooms of the middle class, Jennifer Roth-Gordon shows how racial ideas permeate the daily lives of Rio de Janeiro’s residents across race and class lines. Race and the Brazilian Body weaves together the experiences of these two groups to explore what the author calls Brazil’s “comfortable racial contradiction,” where embedded structural racism that privileges whiteness exists alongside a deeply held pride in the country’s history of racial mixture and lack of overt racial conflict. This linguistic and ethnographic account describes how cariocas (people who live in Rio de Janeiro) “read” the body for racial signs. The amount of whiteness or blackness a body displays is determined not only through observations of phenotypical features—including skin color, hair texture, and facial features—but also through careful attention paid to cultural and linguistic practices, including the use of nonstandard speech commonly described as gíria (slang).

Vivid scenes from daily interactions illustrate how implicit social and racial imperatives encourage individuals to invest in and display whiteness (by demonstrating a “good appearance”), avoid blackness (a preference challenged by rappers and hip-hop fans), and “be cordial” (by not noticing racial differences). Roth-Gordon suggests that it is through this unspoken racial etiquette that Rio residents determine who belongs on the world famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon; who deserves to shop in privatized, carefully guarded, air conditioned shopping malls; and who merits the rights of citizenship.

Contents

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  • 1. BRAZIL’S “COMFORTABLE RACIAL CONTRADICTION”
  • 2. “GOOD” APPEARANCES: RACE, LANGUAGE, AND CITIZENSHIP
  • 3. INVESTING IN WHITENESS: MIDDLE-CLASS PRACTICES OF LINGUISTIC DISCIPLINE
  • 4. FEARS OF RACIAL CONTACT: CRIME, VIOLENCE, AND THE STRUGGLE OVER URBAN SPACE
  • 5. AVOIDING BLACKNESS: THE FLIP SIDE OF BOA APARENCIA
  • 6. MAKING THE MANO: THE UNCOMFORTABLE VISIBILITY OF BLACKNESS IN POLITICALLY CONSCIOUS BRAZILIAN HIP-HOP
  • CONCLUSION: “SEEING” RACE
  • NOTES
  • REFERENCES
  • INDEX
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Steeped in Heritage: The Racial Politics of South African Rooibos Tea

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2017-11-09 03:16Z by Steven

Steeped in Heritage: The Racial Politics of South African Rooibos Tea

Duke University Press
2017-10-27
272 pages
3 illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8223-6993-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6993-6

Sarah Ives, Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer
Stanford University

South African rooibos tea is a commodity of contrasts. Renowned for its healing properties, the rooibos plant grows in a region defined by the violence of poverty, dispossession, and racism. And while rooibos is hailed as an ecologically indigenous commodity, it is farmed by people who struggle to express “authentic” belonging to the land: Afrikaners who espouse a “white” African indigeneity and “coloureds,” who are characterized either as the mixed-race progeny of “extinct” Bushmen or as possessing a false identity, indigenous to nowhere. In Steeped in Heritage Sarah Ives explores how these groups advance alternate claims of indigeneity based on the cultural ownership of an indigenous plant. This heritage-based struggle over rooibos shows how communities negotiate landscapes marked by racial dispossession within an ecosystem imperiled by climate change and precarious social relations in the post-apartheid era.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. The “Rooibos Revolution”
  • 1. Cultivating Indigeneity
  • 2. Farming the Bush
  • 3. Endemic Plants and Invasive People
  • 4. Rumor, Conspiracy, and the Politics of Narration
  • 5. Precarious Landscapes
  • Conclusion. “Although There Is No Place Called Rooibos”
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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Declared Defective: Native Americans, Eugenics, and the Myth of Nam Hollow

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2017-11-06 20:45Z by Steven

Declared Defective: Native Americans, Eugenics, and the Myth of Nam Hollow

University of Nebraska Press
May 2018
246 pages
9 photographs, 1 illustration, 3 maps, 2 tables, 8 charts, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0200-0

Robert Jarvenpa, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
State University of New York, Albany

Declared Defective is the anthropological history of an outcast community and a critical reevaluation of The Nam Family, written in 1912 by Arthur Estabrook and Charles Davenport, leaders of the early twentieth-century eugenics movement. Based on their investigations of an obscure rural enclave in upstate New York, the biologists were repulsed by the poverty and behavior of the people in Nam Hollow. They claimed that their alleged indolence, feeble-mindedness, licentiousness, alcoholism, and criminality were biologically inherited.

Declared Defective reveals that Nam Hollow was actually a community of marginalized, mixed-race Native Americans, the Van Guilders, adapting to scarce resources during an era of tumultuous political and economic change. Their Mohican ancestors had lost lands and been displaced from the frontiers of colonial expansion in western Massachusetts in the late eighteenth century. Estabrook and Davenport’s portrait of innate degeneracy was a grotesque mischaracterization based on class prejudice and ignorance of the history and hybridic subculture of the people of Guilder Hollow. By bringing historical experience, agency, and cultural process to the forefront of analysis, Declared Defective illuminates the real lives and struggles of the Mohican Van Guilders. It also exposes the pseudoscientific zealotry and fearmongering of Progressive Era eugenics while exploring the contradictions of race and class in America.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Tables
  • Series Editors’ Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Menace in the Hollow
  • 1. Native Americans and Eugenics
  • 2. Border Wars and the Origins of the Van Guilders
  • 3. A “New” Homeland and the Cradle of Guilder Hollow
  • 4. From Pioneers to Outcastes
  • 5. The Eugenicists Arrive
  • 6. Deconstructing the Nam and the Hidden Native Americans
  • 7. Demonizing the Marginalized Poor
  • Conclusion: The Myth Unravels
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Identity Politics of Difference: The Mixed-Race American Indian Experience

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-10-17 02:36Z by Steven

Identity Politics of Difference: The Mixed-Race American Indian Experience

University Press of Colorado
2017-08-15
168 pages
1 table
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-543-7

Michelle R. Montgomery, Assistant Professor
School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, American Indian Studies, and Ethnic, Gender & Labor Studies
University of Washington, Tacoma

In Identity Politics of Difference, author Michelle R. Montgomery uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine questions of identity construction and multiracialism through the experiences of mixed-race Native American students at a tribal school in New Mexico. She explores the multiple ways in which these students navigate, experience, and understand their racial status and how this status affects their educational success and social interactions.

Montgomery contextualizes students’ representations of their racial identity choices through the compounded race politics of blood quantum and stereotypes of physical features, showing how varying degrees of “Indianness” are determined by peer groups. Based on in-depth interviews with nine students who identify as mixed-race (Native American–White, Native American–Black, and Native American–Hispanic), Montgomery challenges us to scrutinize how the category of “mixed-race” bears different meanings for those who fall under it based on their outward perceptions, including their ability to “pass” as one race or another.

Identity Politics of Difference includes an arsenal of policy implications for advancing equity and social justice in tribal colleges and beyond and actively engages readers to reflect on how they have experienced the identity politics of race throughout their own lives. The book will be a valuable resource to scholars, policy makers, teachers, and school administrators, as well as to students and their families.

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The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-09-07 20:54Z by Steven

The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation

Harvard University Press
September 2017
256 pages
4-3/8 x 7-1/8 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780674976528

Stuart Hall (1932–2014), Professor of Sociology
Open University

Edited by:

Kobena Mercer, Professor of History of Art and African American Studies
Yale University

Foreword by:

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor; Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

In The Fateful Triangle—drawn from lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1994—one of the founding figures of cultural studies reflects on the divisive, often deadly consequences of our contemporary politics of identification. As he untangles the power relations that permeate categories of race, ethnicity, and nationhood, Stuart Hall shows how old hierarchies of human identity in Western culture were forcefully broken apart when oppressed groups introduced new meanings to the representation of difference.

From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the concept of race stressed distinctions of color as fixed and unchangeable. But for Hall, twentieth-century redefinitions of blackness reveal how identities and attitudes can be transformed through the medium of language itself. Like the “badge of color” W. E. B. Du Bois evoked in the anticolonial era, “black” became a sign of solidarity for Caribbean and South Asian migrants who fought discrimination in 1980s Britain. Hall sees such manifestations of “new ethnicities” as grounds for optimism in the face of worldwide fundamentalisms that respond with fear to social change.

Migration was at the heart of Hall’s diagnosis of the global predicaments taking shape around him. Explaining more than two decades ago why migrants are the target of new nationalisms, Hall’s prescient vision helps us to understand today’s crisis of liberal democracy. As he challenges us to find sustainable ways of living with difference, Hall gives us the concept of diaspora as a metaphor with which to enact fresh possibilities for redefining nation, race, and identity in the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  • Introduction by Kobena Mercer
  • 1. Race—The Sliding Signifier
  • 2. Ethnicity and Difference in Global Times
  • 3. Nations and Diasporas
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Editor’s Acknowledgments
  • Index
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Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Teaching Resources on 2017-08-27 02:56Z by Steven

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

HighWater Press (an imprint of Portage and Main Press)
September 2016
240 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1553796800

Chelsea Vowel

Delgamuukw. Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Status. TRC. RCAP. FNPOA. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius. The Great Peace

Are you familiar with the terms listed above? In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel, legal scholar, teacher, and intellectual, opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. In 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present, through five categories – Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence; and Land, Learning, Law, and Treaties. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.

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South Boston: Growing Up Southie

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-30 23:06Z by Steven

South Boston: Growing Up Southie

Detour
Boston, Massachusetts
2017-07-29

Narrators:

Jennifer J. Roberts

Pat Nee

Jennifer J. Roberts and ex-gangster Pat Nee take you to their ‘hood’ for a surprising story of growing up Black in Southie.

Southie – it’s got a bit of a reputation. Gangsters, busing desegregation; but most of all, the type of close knit Irish community that gave rise to it all. Although her family came here from Ireland in the 1800’s, Jennifer J. Roberts looked different from almost everyone in this neighborhood. Though she never knew him, her grandfather was black. In this Detour, Jennifer will show you Southie as only someone who knows it as both an insider and outsider can. She’ll take you to a diner that’s as quintessential Southie as it gets, and introduce you to the surrogate father who took her under his wing – the notorious criminal Irishman, Pat Nee. As she shows you the most poignant places of her youth, where navigating identity in the racially charged era of the Boston Busing Crisis was a constant, you’ll see how friends, enemies, and unlikely allies can be as much of a home as any house with a roof… Because people in Southie may seem a little rough around the edges, but they’re always willing to lend a hand if you get into any trouble. And by the end of your journey, you’ll come to see that like Jennifer herself, South Boston isn’t just one thing.

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