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.

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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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Slavery before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651-1884

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2015-01-18 02:42Z by Steven

Slavery before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651-1884

New York University Press
238 pages
April 2013
Hardback ISBN: 9780814785775
Paperback ISBN: 9781479802227

Katherine Howlett Hayes, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Minnesota

The study of slavery in the Americas generally assumes a basic racial hierarchy: Africans or those of African descent are usually the slaves, and white people usually the slaveholders. In this unique interdisciplinary work of historical archaeology, anthropologist Katherine Hayes draws on years of fieldwork on Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor to demonstrate how racial identity was constructed and lived before plantation slavery was racialized by the legal codification of races.

Using the historic Sylvester Manor Plantation site turned archaeological dig as a case study, Hayes draws on artifacts and extensive archival material to present a rare picture of northern slavery on one of the North’s first plantations. The Manor was built in the mid-17th century by British settler Nathaniel Sylvester, whose family owned Shelter Island until the early 18th century and whose descendants still reside in the Manor House. There, as Hayes demonstrates, white settlers, enslaved Africans, and Native Americans worked side by side. While each group played distinct roles on the Manor and in the larger plantation economy of which Shelter Island was part, their close collaboration and cohabitation was essential for the Sylvester family’s economic and political power in the Atlantic Northeast. Through the lens of social memory and forgetting, this study addresses the significance of Sylvester Manor’s plantation history to American attitudes about diversity, Indian land politics, slavery and Jim Crow, in tension with idealized visions of white colonial community.

Contents

  • List of Figures and Table
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue
  • 1 Tracing a Racialized History
  • 2 Convergence
  • 3 Building and Destroying
  • 4 Objects of Interaction
  • 5 Forgetting to Remember, Remembering to Forget
  • 6 Unimagining Communities
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author
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“Does it take work leaving your hair like that?” – We resist! Sou negra (I am a black woman)!” – The development of black identity for a negro-mestiça

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-01-15 18:22Z by Steven

“Does it take work leaving your hair like that?” – We resist! Sou negra (I am a black woman)!” – The development of black identity for a negro-mestiça

Black Women of Brazil
2015-01-15

We resist! Negra Soy (I am a black woman)!” (August, 2014) from Biscate Social Club

Lia Siqueira


Lia Siqueira

“Yes, it takes work. Prejudice beats us, but we resist.” That’s what I said when a lady on the bus asked: “Does it take work leave your hair like that?” I understood what she wanted to know. But what suffocated me at that moment needed to be said. I didn’t want to exchange secrets to give freshness and volume to the hair. I didn’t want to speak of aloe, bepantol (1) or the potential for a good hydration schedule. Until then, I had been giving the aesthetic responses to that type of question. Those responses were expected by those who had their curiosity aroused by my “petulant” hair. However, there comes a time that all we need to transcend the aesthetic question of resistance – to communicate the subversion of our blackness and assume responsibly, our place – to show what is most valuable was born from the roots on our heads. The intimacy of looking at our roots without relaxing, which infests them, and celebrating our heads, our ideas.

Cultivating a relationship of love with our black hair and taking from ourselves the most powerful us. I don’t mean some natural mix ups provoked by the texture of the curls. I speak of what makes it difficult for us, the looks, the ridicule, judgments, the racism…

…I am the daughter of a white woman and a black man. I was born of the mixture so hypocritically celebrated by the gringos in this our pseudo-racial democracy. I came into the world like this: mixed up in this being-not being black. With “morena” (brown/light brown) skin, in this Brazil where todas as gatas são “pardas” (all the cats are “brown”) (2), “toasted ones”, “mulatas”, “brown colored”, but not “negras”. In my home, I learned not to reject blackness or to whiten myself. I was loved with my curly hair, by my white mother – there I was me and I was secure. But socialization comes, it is inevitable. With it, we are run over by filters of prejudices. The incomprehension of classmates at school quickly became racism. As in the beginning of the poem by Victoria Eugenia Santa Cruz Gamarra, “Me gritaron negra” (they screamed negra at me), I retreated before the laughter because of my cabelo crespo (curly/kinky hair). Before the age of thirteen I was using straighteners and relaxers

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A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Métis

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation on 2015-01-15 00:59Z by Steven

A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Métis

Oxford University Press
1997-06-05
336 pages
1 linecut, 5 maps
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780195097115
Paperback ISBN: 9780195097122

Peter Bakker, Associate professor
Department of Aesthetics and Communication
Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

The Michif language—spoken by descendants of French Canadian fur traders and Cree Indians in western Canada—is considered an “impossible language” since it uses French for nouns and Cree for verbs, and comprises two different sets of grammatical rules. Bakker uses historical research and fieldwork data to present the first detailed analysis of this language and how it came into being.

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Tracking the First Americans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-01-11 00:25Z by Steven

Tracking the First Americans

National Geographic
January 2015

Glenn Hodges, Staff Writer

New finds, theories, and genetic discoveries are revolutionizing our understanding of the first Americans.

The first face of the first Americans belongs to an unlucky teenage girl who fell to her death in a Yucatán cave some 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. Her bad luck is science’s good fortune. The story of her discovery begins in 2007, when a team of Mexican divers led by Alberto Nava made a startling find: an immense submerged cavern they named Hoyo Negro, the “black hole.” At the bottom of the abyss their lights revealed a bed of prehistoric bones, including at least one nearly complete human skeleton.


Photograph by Paul Nicklen.  Set upside down to keep its teeth in place, the skull of a young woman found in an underwater cave in Mexico has put a face on the New World’s first inhabitants.

Nava reported the discovery to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, which brought together an international team of archaeologists and other researchers to investigate the cave and its contents. The skeleton—affectionately dubbed Naia, after the water nymphs of Greek mythology—turned out to be one of the oldest ever found in the Americas, and the earliest one intact enough to provide a foundation for a facial reconstruction. Geneticists were even able to extract a sample of DNA.


Photograph by Timothy Archibald. Re-Creation: James Chatters, Applied Paleoscience; Tom McClelland.  Divers who discovered her bones named her Naia. A facial reconstruction reveals that the first Americans didn’t look much like later Native Americans, though genetic evidence confirms their common ancestry.

Together these remnants may help explain an enduring mystery about the peopling of the Americas: If Native Americans are descendants of Asian trailblazers who migrated into the Americas toward the end of the last ice age, why don’t they look like their ancient ancestors?

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Naia Reborn: See the Surprising Face of a First American

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation on 2015-01-10 23:59Z by Steven

Naia Reborn: See the Surprising Face of a First American

NBC News
2015-01-05

Alan Boyle, Digital’s Science Editor


Timothy Archibald / National Geographic

Researchers and artists have reconstructed the face of a teenage girl who lived 12,000 years ago in Mexico, and it’s not the kind of face a person might typically associate with Native Americans.

The remains of the girl, nicknamed Naia (after the Greek term for a water nymph), were recovered from an underwater cave on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Naia is regarded as one of the earliest known residents of the Americas — but her skull has a shape associated with African or South Pacific populations rather than the typical Siberian look.

Despite that different look, researchers say Naia is genetically related to Native Americans who came to America later, from Siberia via the Beringia land bridge

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The New Creole Movement

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-09 18:12Z by Steven

The New Creole Movement

Jambalaya Magazine & Clothing
2015-01-08

Julia Dumas

There is a movement brewing. It is a movement with a mission to reclaim Louisiana Creole culture.

Many Louisianians have been scarred by a painful past full of racism and colorism. Darker people were banned from claiming Creole heritage, if unable to pass the brown paper bag test. Lighter Creoles of Color who closely identified with their African roots consciously chose not to claim Creole heritage, as a means not to seem separate. This left an impression that the only true Creoles were of primarily European descent. Our internal struggle with race and color has done a great injustice to us as a people.

As many Louisiana Creoles migrate across the country and the world, we have discovered how truly unique our culture is. I believe this is why there is a cultural revival brewing. We proudly live our culture, but refuse to name it. Before we can all proudly reclaim our Creole heritage, we must first answer some basic questions…

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The fluidity of race

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-01-02 20:18Z by Steven

The fluidity of race

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
May 2012
221 pages
DOI: 10.7282/T3FN154X

Nicholas Trajano Molnar, Assistant Professor
Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies
Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This study is an examination of the American mestizos who lived in the Philippines from 1900 to 1955. No scholarly studies exist that analyze and historicize this group, but this is understandable, as the population of the American mestizos compared to the overall Filipino population is miniscule, never exceeding 20,000 individuals at any one time. Despite their small numbers, the American mestizos were a matter of social concern for the Philippine state and the expatriate Americans and Filipino nationalists who resided there. Various actors in the Philippines carried their own imposed racializations of the group that changed over time, ranging from American expatriates who emphasized the group’s “American” blood to Filipino nationalists who embraced them as Filipinos.

This study will demonstrate that the boundaries of race have been constantly shifting, with no single imposed or self-ascribed American mestizo identity coalescing. American mestizo racial definitions and constructs are historically and regionally specific, complicating conventional scholarly assumptions and requiring a historically grounded approach to the understanding of race and ethnicity. This study makes theoretical contributions to the study of race in the United States and its former colonies. Contemporary literature seeks to explain by what means racial identity is created and maintained. My study, however, seeks to explore racial formation from another angle, exploring why a distinct group identity never coalesced among the American mestizos despite the presence of similar economic, historical, and social forces that have clearly led to racial formation in other groups.

The concept of the American mestizo and the fluid Philippine racial framework challenged static American notions of race. I argue that contact with the Philippines led to an assimilation of Filipino racial ideas among American expatriates, who in turn created their own colonialized concepts of race and nationality, demonstrating that under certain historical conditions, American concepts of race had room to bend. Tracking the transmittal of these hybridized ideas, and their transformations and various interpretations at each venue, allows us to gain insight into the malleability of Philippine and American notions of nation and race, and into the larger processes of racial construction overall.

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White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2014-12-24 17:50Z by Steven

White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier

The New York Times
2014-12-24

Carl Zimmer

In 1924, the State of Virginia attempted to define what it means to be white.

The state’s Racial Integrity Act, which barred marriages between whites and people of other races, defined whites as people “whose blood is entirely white, having no known, demonstrable or ascertainable admixture of the blood of another race.”

There was just one problem. As originally written, the law would have classified many of Virginia’s most prominent families as not white, because they claimed to be descended from Pocahontas.

So the Virginia legislature revised the act, establishing what came to be known as the “Pocahontas exception.” Virginians could be up to one-sixteenth Native American and still be white in the eyes of the law.

People who were one-sixteenth black, on the other hand, were still black.

In the United States, there is a long tradition of trying to draw sharp lines between ethnic groups, but our ancestry is a fluid and complex matter. In recent years geneticists have been uncovering new evidence about our shared heritage, and last week a team of scientists published the biggest genetic profile of the United States to date, based on a study of 160,000 people…

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