What’s Radical About “Mixed Race?”

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-04-17 20:44Z 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?…

For more information and to regisiter, click here.

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White Parents, Becoming a Little Less White

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-04-16 19:07Z by Steven

White Parents, Becoming a Little Less White

Motherlode: Living the Family Dynamic
The New York Times
2015-04-15

Jack Cheng


Amy Crosson

Former Gov. Jeb Bush made news recently because he checked “Hispanic” on a voter registration form. This is obviously ridiculous from a scion of the Bush family (and Mr. Bush has said he made a mistake). Yet, I understand, because the family he raised is not unlike mine.

A few years ago, in fact, my wife casually mentioned that she doesn’t consider herself 100 percent white any more. She has blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin, and as far back as anyone can remember, all of her ancestors have been Irish.

She was white when we were married. I know that because I’m Chinese and that made us an interracial couple. My wife jokes (I think she’s joking) that she married me in part because my increased melanin would protect her children from skin cancer.

She became less white when our son, and then our daughter, were born. I think the first bit of doubt surfaced the day we were on the subway with our newborn and a woman came up to my wife and said: “Oh, he’s so cute! When did you adopt him?” I was livid: Did it not occur to this woman that the father was sitting right next to his wife and child? It turned out that the woman really just wanted to talk about her own adopted granddaughter but somewhere in that moment my wife was identified as the mother of a nonwhite child…

…While it will take 18 years for that mixed race baby to vote, there is a parent in that family who suddenly has an altered perspective on the culture and policies of the United States. White mothers who realize that their sons will be victims of racial profiling, white fathers who suddenly feel a little squeamish about the fact that “Asian” is a category of pornography. There are white parents whose children look vaguely Middle Eastern and will face harder times getting onto airplanes…

Read the entire article here.

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Blaxicans (Black Mexicans) of California

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-04-10 19:34Z by Steven

Blaxicans (Black Mexicans) of California

African American – Latino World
2015-04-07

Bill Smith

This post is not about the black Mexicans who were historically born and raised in Mexico, but those born and raised in Los Angeles, California’s metropolitan area to Mexican and African-American parents.

According to the University of Southern California researcher Walter Thompson-Hernández, 80% of the Latinos in Los Angeles are of Mexican ancestry and either live in adjoining communities to African Americans or live alongside African Americans. Thus, there are more Blaxicans in the Los Angeles area than any other area…

Read the entire article here.

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Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-04-06 00:28Z by Steven

Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power

University of Arizona Press
2014
264 pages
10 photos, 3 illlustrations, 5 tables
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3090-8

Stefanie Wickstrom, Senior Lecturer of Political Science
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington

Philip D. Young (1936-2013), Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
University of Oregon

The Spanish word mestizaje does not easily translate into English. Its meaning and significance have been debated for centuries since colonization by European powers began. Its simplest definition is “mixing.” As long as the term has been employed, norms and ideas about racial and cultural relations in the Americas have been imagined, imposed, questioned, rejected, and given new meaning.

Mestizaje and Globalization presents perspectives on the underlying transformation of identity and power associated with the term during times of great change in the Americas. The volume offers a comprehensive and empirically diverse collection of insights concerning mestizaje’s complex relationship with indigeneity, the politics of ethnic identity, transnational social movements, the aesthetic of cultural production, development policies, and capitalist globalization, with particular attention to cases in Latin America and the United States.

Beyond the narrow and often inadequate meaning of mestizaje as biological and racial mixing, the concept deserves an innovative theoretical consideration due to its multidimensional, multifaceted character and its resilience as an ideological construct. The contributors argue that historical analyses of mestizaje do not sufficiently understand contemporary ways that racism, ethnic discrimination, and social injustice intermingle with current discourse and practice of cultural recognition and multiculturalism in the Americas.

Mestizaje and Globalization contributes to an emerging multidisciplinary effort to explore how identities are imposed, negotiated, and reconstructed. The chapter authors clearly set forth the issues and obstacles that indigenous peoples and subjugated minorities face, as well as the strategies they have employed to gain empowerment in the face of globalization.

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Dismantling the Racial Paradise

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-31 18:42Z by Steven

Dismantling the Racial Paradise

Stanford University Press Blog
March 2015

Tiffany Joseph, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Affiliated Faculty of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

How migration to and from the U.S. is transforming notions of race in Brazil.

I still remember my first trip to Brazil—I was amazed by the diversity of physical features I saw among the population, a continuous range of skin tones between what Americans think of as “white” and “black.” Everyone seemed to get along well; residential segregation levels were low and interracial couples, families and friend groups appeared to be the norm. It would have been easy to believe that Brazil was a racial paradise compared to the United States. However, as I learned Portuguese and spent more time in the country, I came to realize that Brazil was a country of racial contradictions.

Despite having seemingly more “cordial” interpersonal relations, Brazil has struggled with rampant social inequality, especially between lighter and darker Brazilians. While Brazilians espoused the beauty of its multiracial population, I was perplexed every time I passed stands full of Brazilian magazines and saw a sea of fair-skinned faces with blonde hair and blue eyes upheld as the ideal image of beauty. As a black American, I began to notice commonalities between the pervasiveness of structural racism in Brazil and the U.S. while being keenly aware of the different racial ideologies that characterized each nation’s history.

Brazil was once considered the global model for burying racial hatchets and fostering social inclusiveness, while the U.S. has garnered a reputation for being an overtly racist country. As the two largest countries in the Americas, both indelibly impacted by long histories of structural racism, Brazil and the U.S. have been the focus of countless comparative studies on race. And though the number of people traveling and migrating between each country has increased significantly in the last few decades, there are few accounts of how these migrations facilitated movement of race between these countries…

Read the entire article here.

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Deconstructing Pseudo-Scientific Anthropology: Anténor Firmin and the Reconceptualization of African Humanity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive on 2015-03-23 01:41Z by Steven

Deconstructing Pseudo-Scientific Anthropology: Anténor Firmin and the Reconceptualization of African Humanity

The Journal of Pan African Studies
Volume 7, Number 2, August 2014
pages 9-33

Gershom Williams, Adjunct Professor of African-American History and African-American Studies
Mesa Community College, Mesa, Arizona

“The science of inequality is emphatically a science of White people. It is they who have invented it, and set it going, who have maintained, cherished and propagated it, thanks to their observations and their deductions.” –Jean Finot, Race Prejudice (1907)

“A preponderance of (fossil) and genetic evidence has revealed, virtually beyond a doubt, that the same Europeans who created the idea of race and White supremacy are the genetic progeny of the very Africans they devalued.” –Salim Muwakkil, Chicago Tribune

Abstract

Euro-American ideas and assumptions regarding African innate inferiority and racial inequality are central to the pseudo-scientific ‘race myth’ of White supremacy. In their search to find an expedient explanation, rationalization and justification for the horrific holocaust of enslavement, Europeans and later White Americans developed the international thesis and concept of African biological and intellectual inferiority.

In this exploratory essay, I am endeavoring to present a critical review of the anti-racist, vindicationist tradition of African American and Haitian intellectuals who challenged, rejected and refuted the ‘scientific racism’ of Euro-American ethnologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists, historians, philosophers, and physicians.

In another essay that we discuss in the contents of this manuscript, anti-racist theorists Stepan and Gilman argue that those stigmatized and stereotyped by the ideology of ‘scientific racism’ published prolific counter narratives that remain obscured and unrecognized by the historians of mainstream science.

What did the men and women of African descent in the diaspora, categorized by the biological, medical and anthropological sciences as racially inferior have to say about the matter? How did they respond to the charges and claims made about them in the name of science? In seeking to provide credible answers to the latter questions, we are re-visiting the powerful and illuminating publications by Black American and Haitian writers of the pre-Antènor Firmin era which are viable proof of the vindicationist tradition inherent among diasporan Black intellectuals. This school or community of literate intellectuals boldly offers a passionate and consistent rhetoric of resistance to economic and psychological enslavement and the mis-education of their people.

This essay remembers and pays homage to those public intellectuals of the early and late nineteenth century who dared to disagree with popular opinion and proceeded to debate the dangerous discourse of race and the fallacy of White supremacy. Central to our narrative are the names and voices of David Walker, Lydia Maria Child, Frederick Douglass, Martin R. Delaney and George Washington Williams. All of the aforementioned writers preceded the publication of Haitian scholar and statesmen Joseph Antènor Firmin’s The Equality of the Human Races in 1885. Haitian anthropologist, Egyptologist, Pan-Africanist and politician J. Antènor Firmin did not rise out of an intellectual vacuum to conduct study and research for his massive and masterful manuscript.

As I attempt to demonstrate in this paper, there is a long standing pre and post Firmin intellectual tradition in the United States and Haiti during the early nineteenth and continuing throughout the twentieth century. Like many of the intellectuals already mentioned, Antènor Firmin (a descendant of the Haitian intellectual Maroons) obviously did not possess an inferiority complex. He was not intellectually intimidated by the dominant thinking and behavior of the advocates of racial ranking and hierarchy.

A bold and brilliant thinker, he re-envisioned and re-conceptualized the image and pre-colonial cultural heritage of African descended people. Lastly, my essential purpose in presenting this paper is to convey to the reader(s) that prior to the invention and propagation of the ‘race myth’, the concept and belief in Black inferiority was non-existent.

As classicist historian Frank M. Snowden Jr. writes in his iconic text, Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks, “…Nothing comparable to the virulent color prejudice of modern times existed in the ancient world. This is the view of most scholars who have examined the evidence and who have come to conclusions such as these: The ancients did not fall into the error of biological racism; Black skin color was not a sign of inferiority…” (Snowden 1983: 63) By confronting and deconstructing the multitude of racial myths and stereotypes fashioned by Euro-Americans centuries ago, Antènor Firmin and others who believed in liberty, equality and fraternity could dismantle and destroy the foundational pillars of scientific racism. It is indeed instructive to remember what anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits stated a half century ago. “…The myth of the Negro (African) past is one of the principal supports of race prejudice in this
country…”

Read the entire article here.

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“General Heads,” Great Minds, and the Genesis of Scientific Racism

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2015-03-23 01:02Z by Steven

“General Heads,” Great Minds, and the Genesis of Scientific Racism

Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
Volume 15, Number 2, Spring 2015
pages 112-118

Robin Runia, Assistant Professor of English
Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana

It is commonly presum’d that the Heat of the Climate wherein they live, is the reason, why so many Inhabitants of the Scorching Regions of Africa are Black; and there is this familiar Observation to Countenance this Conjecture, That we plainly see that Mowers, Reapers, and other Countrey-people, who spend the most part of the Hot Summer dayes expos’d to the Sun, have the skin of their Hands and Faces, which are the parts immediately Expos’d to the Sun and Air, made of a Darker Colour than before, and consequently tending to Blackness; And Contrarywise we observe that the Danes and some other people that Inhabit Cold Climates, and even the English who feel not so Rigorous a Cold, have usually Whiter faces than the Spaniards, Portugalls and other European Inhabitants of Hotter Climates. But this Argument I take to be far more Specious than Convincing. (153–54)

There is another Opinion concerning the Complexion of Negroes, that . . . the Blackness of Negroes [is] an effect of Noah’s Curse ratify’d by God’s, upon Cham; But though I think that even a Naturalist may without disparagement believe all the Miracles attested by the Holy Scriptures, yet in this case to flye to a Supernatural Cause, will, I fear, look like Shifting off the Difficulty, instead of Resolving it; for we enquire not the First and Universal, but the Proper, Immediate, and Physical Cause of the Jetty Colour of Negroes; And not only we do not find expressed in the Scripture, that the Curse meant by Noah to Cham, was the Blackness of his Posterity, but we do find plainly enough there that the Curse was quite another thing, namely that he should be a Servant of Servants, that is by an Ebraism, a very Abject Servant to his Brethren. . . . Nor is it evident that Blackness is a Curse, for Navigators tell us of Black Nations, who think so much otherwise of their own condition, that they paint the Devil White. Nor is Blackness inconsistent with Beauty, which even to our European Eyes consists not so much in Colour, as an Advantageous Stature, a Comely Symmetry of the parts of the Body, and Good Features in the Face. So that I see not why Blackness should be thought such a Curse to the Negroes, unless perhaps it be, that being wont to go Naked in those Hot Climates, the Colour of their Skin does probably, according to the Doctrine above deliver’d, make the Sunbeams more Scorching to them, than they would prove to a people of a White Complexion. (159–60)

Greater probability there is, That the Principal Cause (for I would not exclude all concurrent ones) of the Blackness of Negroes is some Peculiar and Seminal Impression. (161)

—Robert Boyle, Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664)

The above extracts present Robert Boyle’s delineation of racialized difference, as produced and evaluated by the Royal Society; this delineation, production, and evaluation is the lifeblood of Cristina Malcolmson’s Studies of Skin Color in the Royal Society. Exploring the development of the modern notion of race within the context of colonialism, Malcolmson argues that “the attention to skin color in the Royal Society allowed racialization to develop and eventually flourish within the practices of the new science” (7). Specifically, attention to the imbrication of this process within institutional and economic commitments to British imperial dominance helps to fill in the gaps between an attention to skin color, consideration of its causes, and the dehumanization and subjugation of non-European individuals. Malcolmson’s focus on the Royal Society’s activities and publications and on Margaret Cavendish’s and Jonathan Swift’s reactions to them provides an important and nuanced contribution to the recent scholarship in this area as well as a call for additional work to be done.

The value of this volume lies in Malcolmson’s thorough presentation of compelling evidence and insightful close readings that expose the Royal Society’s complicity in the spread of racialized discourse and racist thought. In addition, Malcomson’s original contributions to scholarship on the historical construction of race include her critique of polygenesis as inherently racist and her methodical…

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Fifteen Projects Selected for Tribeca Film Institute All Access Grants

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-22 20:53Z by Steven

Fifteen Projects Selected for Tribeca Film Institute All Access Grants

Filmaker
2015-03-19

Scott Macaulay, Editor-in-chief

Fifteen works — scripted, documentary and interactive — were selected today for the Tribeca Film Institute‘s All Access program, which offers grant monies and other non-monetary support to projects by creators from statistically underrepresented communities. The projects were chosen from a submission pool of 710 entries. In addition to the 15 projects, two filmmakers from the LGBT community were chosen to take part in TFI Network Market, a one-on-one industry meeting forum, with their feature films. They are Ingrid Jungermann, a 25 New Face appearing with her project Women Who Kill, and Hernando Bansuelo, with Martinez, CA.

The complete list of selected projects, from the press release, is below…

So Young So Pretty So White: Directed by Chanelle Aponte Pearson and Terence Nance; produced by Yaba Blay and Michelle Serieux. Weaving together the lives of several compelling men and women from across the globe, the film is a window into the world of skin bleaching, unveiling what drives people to lighten their skin and the complex factors that make it difficult to stop…

Read the entire article here.

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The Evolution of the Idea of Race: From Scientific Racism to Genomics

Posted in Anthropology, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-03-20 00:40Z by Steven

The Evolution of the Idea of Race: From Scientific Racism to Genomics

Oxford University Press Webinar
Oxford University Press
Friday, 2015-03-20, 18:00-19:00Z, 14:00-15:00 EDT

Join Oxford University Press on Friday, March 20th for a Webinar featuring Tanya Golash-Boza.

Tanya Golash-Boza is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Mereced, and the author of the acclaimed textbook, Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach.

In 1735, Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus divided the world into four groups: Americanus, Asiaticus, Europeanus, and Africanus. In the 1850s, Samuel George Morton measured human skulls to prove European superiority. His successor, Paul Broca, compared brain sizes. Psychologist R. M. Yerkes used IQ tests to the same end in the early 20th century, as did Herrnstein and Murray in the late 20th century. Today, scientists use genomics to prove there are biological differences between the races. What has changed and what has not? In this webinar, we will develop a sociological analysis of the evolution of the idea of race and of the persistence of racism.

For more information, click here.

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The Culture of Curls: What Hair Really Means in Mixed Race Societies

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, South Africa on 2015-03-16 02:13Z by Steven

The Culture of Curls: What Hair Really Means in Mixed Race Societies

The Yale Globalist
2013-12-24

Isidora Stankovic
Timothy Dwight College
Yale University

Look through any fashion magazine and you might notice something puzzling. Almost without exception, models of every race have the same sleek, straightened hair. The message from these media sources seems clear: these painstakingly smooth hairstyles are simply better. Women around the world have taken this message to heart and adopted straightened hair as a beauty ideal, but for some women, hair texture means something more. In societies with large mixed race populations, hair extends beyond beauty and becomes a factor that reveals ethnic heritage and even socioeconomic background. According to Professor Roberto González Echevarría, Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literatures at Yale University, “hair is a fashion statement as well as a statement of ethnicity.” Curls and kinky hair are loaded with stigma in many countries, in part because they represent the effects of historical interactions between different ethnic groups.

The legacy of European colonialism echoes strongly in Cuba, and has been influential in shaping race relations, social structure, and the identities of mixed-race individuals. Professor González Echevarría explains that Spaniards brought a relatively small number of African slaves to Cuba in the 16th century to replace the annihilated labor force. In the 19th century, the number of African slaves on the island grew as the country invested in the sugar industry. Interactions with white Europeans and black slaves created a significant mixed-race population, and the growth of this group has made it increasingly difficult to identify people as either black or white and produced a change in categorization of individuals. Thus, hair has become an important tool for labeling and social stratification. According to González Echevarría, “There are many gradations of mulatto in Cuba, and some are gauged by how kinky their hair is.” He adds that Cubans can be prejudiced against kinky hair, noting that to have kinky hair is to “tener pelo malo,” or “to have bad hair.” They may call the hair of black individuals “pasa,” and women of European origin even refer to their hair as “pasa” when they are having a bad hair day, often saying “tengo la pasa alborotada” (“I have messy/wild hair”)…

Read the entire article here.

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