My First Event at the Schomburg – “Resisting Limitations: AfroLatinos and Radical Identity”

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Live Events, United States on 2015-10-02 13:03Z by Steven

My First Event at the Schomburg – “Resisting Limitations: AfroLatinos and Radical Identity”

the colored boy

Alexander Hardy

So, I’m doing a thing at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture for Hispanic Heritage Month. But unlike the majority of the celebrations, lists of notable Latinos and mainstream media representations of people in and from Latin America, this will be a thoroughly Blackety Black affair.

Shoutout to melanin.

Here’s the what/why/who/when/how:

The history of America cannot be appropriately surveyed without considering the presence, influence, hardships, victories and contributions of people of African descent. Our bodies, our lives and our genius reflect and inspire greatness, yet textbooks, media depictions and cultural celebrations routinely minimize and erase our integral role in both society and art.

To commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month, AfroPanamanian writer and educator Alexander Hardy of has invited a diverse cast of AfroLatino storytellers to share stories of struggles, tragedies and progress towards/while affirming, celebrating, exploring, representing and growing to love and accept our wonderful Black and Brown selves in a world (and media environment) that studies and exploits our cultures and essence while ignoring and minimizing our presence and influence.

Resisting Limitation: AfroLatin@s and Radical Identities will showcase transformative, hilarious, tragic and insight-filled tales from powerful voices of the diaspora expressed through prose, poetry, song and art. This event aims to center and share Black and Brown narratives in a climate where such stories aren’t prominent or valued. Join us for a night of celebration, affirmation and exploration of the many iterations of AfroLatin@ identity and pride…

For more information, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.

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Obama and hip-hop: a breakup song

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2015-10-01 00:50Z by Steven

Obama and hip-hop: a breakup song

The Washington Post

Erik Nielson, Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts
University of Richmond

Travis L. Gosa, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Erik Nielson is an assistant professor of liberal arts at the University of Richmond. Travis L. Gosa is an assistant professor of Africana studies at Cornell University. Their book, “The Hip Hop & Obama Reader,” will be published in October.

In 2008, Barack Obama flipped the script on more than three decades of conventional wisdom when he openly embraced hip-hop — a genre typically viewed as politically radioactive because of its frequently controversial themes and anti-establishment ethos — in his campaign. Equally remarkable was the extent to which hip-hop artists and activists, often highly skeptical of national politicians, embraced him in return. As a result, for the first time it appeared we were witnessing a burgeoning relationship between hip-hop and national politics.

As we approach the 2016 election, however, this relationship is all but gone. Ironically, Obama — often called the first “hip-hop president” — largely is to blame.

This is especially disappointing in light of Obama’s 2008 run for office, when he encouraged artists such as Jay Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs to campaign for him, referenced rap music in his interviews and speeches, played rap at his events and openly contemplated a space for hip-hop in an Obama White House. In one of the lasting images of the campaign, Obama stood in front of an audience in Raleigh, N.C., and referenced Jay Z’s 2003 track “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” to raucous applause. In that moment, voters had every reason to believe that hip-hop indeed would have a seat at the table in an Obama administration…

Read the entire article here.

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Emmanuelle Saada. Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive on 2015-09-28 19:26Z by Steven

Emmanuelle Saada. Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies

The American Historical Review
Volume 118, Issue 2
pages 468-470
DOI: 10.1093/ahr/118.2.468

Gary Wilder, Associate Professor of Anthropology
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Emmanuelle Saada, Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2012. Pp. xv, 339. Cloth $81.00, paper $27.50, e-book $27.50.

In this carefully researched and sharply argued analysis of disputes over the status of abandoned mixed-race children (métis) in the French Empire, Emmanuelle Saada demonstrates how gendered racial logics came to subtend French republican law. Rather than seek to understand a supposed contradiction between metropolitan republicanism and colonial racism, Saada offers a persuasive account of France as an imperial republic organized partly around a form of republican racism that operated through families on embodied subjects. Drawing masterfully on archival history, legal scholarship, and political theory, she provides a welcome critique of works that treat colonial domination as mere violence as well as those that accept republican states’ own discourses about abstract universal legality being incompatible with racial particularity and concrete communities.

Saada begins with a political dilemma that was created for colonial administrators by the 1889 Nationality Law. It held that all children born on national territory to unknown parents were accorded French citizenship. Authorities feared that if this measure were to be applied automatically in the colonies, children whose filiation was uncertain and whose ways of life were more “native” than “French” would automatically become citizens. Alternatively, they worried that if this measure was ignored, biologically and culturally “French” children would be misclassified as natives and pose a potential threat to the colonial order. She argues that the entire system of colonial domination depended on social distance between “French” and “native” and legal distinction between “citizen” and “subject.” (The book provides an indispensable genealogy of these categories in the French Empire.) Administrators believed that immersion in the native milieu could lead métis to acquire dangerous social pathologies. Even worse was the fear that they could become “declassed”—socioculturally French but legally native subjects. This non-alignment of social identity and legal status risked undermining racial “dignity” and French “prestige” in the …

Read or purchase the review here.

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The Hip Hop & Obama Reader

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Barack Obama, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-09-17 01:23Z by Steven

The Hip Hop & Obama Reader

Oxford University Press
336 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199341801
Paperback ISBN: 9780199341818

Edited by:

Travis L. Gosa, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Erik Nielson, Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts
University of Richmond

  • Offers a comprehensive, scholarly analysis of the relationship between hip hop and politics in the era of Obama.
  • The first hip hop anthology to center on contemporary politics, activism, and social change.
  • Features contributions from distinguished scholars, award-winning journalists, and public intellectuals.

Barack Obama flipped the script on more than three decades of conventional wisdom when he openly embraced hip hop–often regarded as politically radioactive–in his presidential campaigns. Just as important was the extent to which hip hop artists and activists embraced him in return. This new relationship fundamentally altered the dynamics between popular culture, race, youth, and national politics. But what does this relationship look like now, and what will it look like in the decades to come?

The Hip Hop & Obama Reader attempts to answer these questions by offering the first systematic analysis of hip hop and politics in the Obama era and beyond. Over the course of 14 chapters, leading scholars and activists offer new perspectives on hip hop’s role in political mobilization, grassroots organizing, campaign branding, and voter turnout, as well as the ever-changing linguistic, cultural, racial, and gendered dimensions of hip hop in the U.S. and abroad. Inviting readers to reassess how Obama’s presidency continues to be shaped by the voice of hip hop and, conversely, how hip hop music and politics have been shaped by Obama, The Hip Hop & Obama Reader critically examines hip hop’s potential to effect social change in the 21st century. This volume is essential reading for scholars and fans of hip hop, as well as those interested in the shifting relationship between democracy and popular culture.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • About the Contributors
  • Foreword Tricia Rose, Brown University
  • Introduction: The State of Hip Hop in the Age of Obama / Erik Nielson, University of Richmond; Travis L. Gosa, Cornell University
    • 1. Message from the Grassroots: Hip Hop Activism, Millennials, and the Race for the White House / Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut
    • 2. It’s Bigger Than Barack: Hip Hop Political Organizing, 2004-2013 / Elizabeth Méndez Berry, New York University; Bakari Kitwana, Author and CEO, Rap Sessions
    • 3. “There Are No Saviors”: Hip Hop and Community Activism in the Obama Era / Kevin Powell, Author and Activist
    • 4. “Obama Nation”: Hip Hop and Global Protest / Sujatha Fernandes, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
    • 5. “Record! I am Arab”: Paranoid Arab Boys, Global Cyphers, and Hip Hop Nationalism / Torie Rose DeGhett, Columbia University
    • 6. Obama, Hip Hop, African American History, and “Historical Revivalism” / Pero G. Dagbovie, Michigan State University
    • 7. “Change That Wouldn’t Fill a Homeless Man’s Cup Up”: Filipino-American Political Hip Hop and Community Organizing in the Age of Obama / Anthony Kwame Harrison, Virginia Tech
    • 8. Obama/Time: The President in the Hip-Hop Nation / Murray Forman, Northeastern University
    • 9. One Day It Will All Make Sense: Obama, Politics and Common Sense / Charlie Braxton, Author and Activist
    • 10. “New Slaves”: The Soul of Hip-Hop Sold to Da Massah in the Age of Obama / Raphael Heaggans, Niagara University
    • 11. YouTube and Bad Bitches: Hip Hop’s Seduction Of Girls and The Distortion Of Participatory Culture / Kyra D. Gaunt, City University of New York
    • 12. A Performative Account of Black Girlhood / Ruth Nicole Brown, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    • 13. The King’s English: Obama, Jay Z, and the Science of Code Switching / Michael P. Jeffries, Wellesley College
    • 14. My President is Black: Speech Act Theory and Presidential Allusions in the Lyrics of Rap Music / James Peterson and Cynthia Estremera, Lehigh University
    • Afterword: When Will Black Lives Matter? Neoliberalism, Democracy, and the Queering of American Activism in the Post-Obama Era / Cathy J. Cohen, University of Chicago
  • Subject Index
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Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-09-16 21:13Z by Steven

Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico

Duke University Press
240 pages
11 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5945-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5945-6

Petra R. Rivera-Rideau, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Puerto Rico is often depicted as a “racial democracy” in which a history of race mixture has produced a racially harmonious society. In Remixing Reggaetón, Petra R. Rivera-Rideau shows how reggaetón musicians critique racial democracy’s privileging of whiteness and concealment of racism by expressing identities that center blackness and African diasporic belonging. Stars such as Tego Calderón criticize the Puerto Rican mainstream’s tendency to praise black culture but neglecting and marginalizing the island’s black population, while Ivy Queen, the genre’s most visible woman, disrupts the associations between whiteness and respectability that support official discourses of racial democracy. From censorship campaigns on the island that sought to devalue reggaetón, to its subsequent mass marketing to U.S. Latino listeners, Rivera-Rideau traces reggaetón’s origins and its transformation from the music of San Juan’s slums into a global pop phenomenon. Reggaetón, she demonstrates, provides a language to speak about the black presence in Puerto Rico and a way to build links between the island and the African diaspora.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. Reggaetón Takes Its Place
  • 1. Iron Fist against Rap
  • 2. The Perils of Perreo
  • 3. Loíza
  • 4. Fingernails con Feeling
  • 5. Enter the Hurbans
  • Conclusion. Reggaetón’s Limits, Possibilities, and Futures
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2015-09-16 18:13Z by Steven

Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?

Zócalo Public Square

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies
Arizona State University

Nitasha Sharma, Associate Professor of African-American Studies and Asian-American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

David A. Swanson, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Riverside

Lee A. Tonouchi (“Da Pidgin Guerilla”)

Roderick Labrador, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of Hawaii, Mānoa (also Director of the UCLA Hawaii Travel Study Program)

Maile Arvin, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of California, Riverside

Races, Ethnicities, and Cultures Mix More Freely Than Elsewhere in the U.S., But There Are Limits to the Aloha Spirit

Early in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segal, playing a guy who travels to Hawaii to get over a breakup, drunkenly pours out his feelings to two people in his hotel, a newlywed man and a bartender. The new husband encourages Segal to think there’s still hope for the relationship, but the bartender, Dwayne, has no sympathy for Segal’s sadness.

“You’ve gotta move on,” Dwayne says. “It’s that easy, I promise you it is. I lived in South Central. South Central. And I hated it. So I moved to Oahu. Now I can name you over 200 different kinds of fish!” He starts naming them.

The scene is hilarious, but it also hints at one of America’s fundamental Gordian knots—race—and the various ways we’ve tried to untie it. The story uses Los Angeles’ “South Central” neighborhood as a code word for a place where gangs are divided along color lines, racial tensions can erupt in violence, and residents feel stuck in the cycle. The implication is that Dwayne, who’s black, escaped all that by coming to Hawaii. He puts forth Hawaii as a paradise—a place where the only thing he has to worry about is learning how to pronounce Humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

Hawaii is one of America’s most diverse and happiest states. Some would contend people get along better here than almost anywhere else. But tossing different groups together also means there are frictions—ones that perhaps are too often are obscured by the sunshine and ukuleles in tourist guides.

So what’s the actual nature of racial relations in Hawaii? And what can the rest of us learn from it? In advance of the “What It Means to Be American” event “What Can Hawaii Teach America About Race?,” we asked a variety of experts on and off the islands that same question…

Read the entire article here.

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Grits and Sushi: Mitzi Uehara Carter muses on being black and Okinawan

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2015-09-11 18:20Z by Steven

Grits and Sushi: Mitzi Uehara Carter muses on being black and Okinawan

Metropolis Magazine

Baye Mcneil

Mitzi Uehara Carter

Though Mitzi Uehara Carter was born on the opposite side of the Pacific, she’s kept herself anything but distant from her hereditary home. This Texas-native daughter of an African-American father and an Okinawan mother is currently a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at UC Berkeley, where she has recently completed her doctoral dissertation. She’s spent years doing research, including a year of field work collecting the personal stories of Okinawan families. In 2010, she started the blog Grits and Sushi to chronicle her musings on Okinawa, race, militarization, and blackness.

“I started the blog so I could have a place to think about my anthropological work and my personal life and experiences. It was a good way for me to merge those two worlds,” Uehara Carter explains. “Anthropology studies at Berkeley can be very intense and theoretical, so I wanted my blog to be a place where I could reflect on some of the field work I was doing in Okinawa, and have a landing page where I could also engage with other people dealing with similar questions about their lives, their identities, and about race.”

Grits and Sushi has since grown into a resource, an open journal, and a communal space, attracting readers from around the globe interested in things black and Okinawan, including interracial marriages, mixed-race citizens, and issues surrounding American military bases in Okinawa…

“I created these forums where I brought together black military personnel, Okinawan activists, and residents of Okinawa to have a conversation, a kind of ‘talk-story’,” she says, explaining the Okinawan term, “yuntaku.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-28 16:42Z by Steven

Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign

National Public Radio

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

My parents are Cuban and Panamanian. I grew up in Miami. I travel broadly in Latin America but reside in Brazil, which speaks Portuguese, not Spanish.

So what am I?

This may seem an irrelevant question to many, but as the American presidential season kicks into high gear there’s been a lot of confusion about how to refer to people alternately called Hispanics or Latinos.

Donald Trump, who’s made immigration central to his campaign, has sometimes used the catchall phrase “the Mexicans.” And his verbal confrontation this week with Spanish-language broadcaster Jorge Ramos — a Mexican-American — lit up social media.

I feel the need to jump into the fray because it will save me from writing lengthy corrections to others on my Facebook feed. Now, I’ll just be able to post this link. There are a lot of misconceptions out there.

Latino And Hispanic Don’t Refer To Race Or Color: As in the U.S., there are many races in Latin America owing to the history of the region. The indigenous peoples of the region were conquered and colonized by white Europeans, who then forcibly imported millions of black Africans and enslaved them. In Brazil, you also have a huge Japanese community, and there are many Chinese descendants in Peru. One of Peru’s former presidents was of Japanese descent…

Read the entire article here.

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Dark-Skinned Or Black? How Afro-Brazilians Are Forging A Collective Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-08-13 02:19Z by Steven

Dark-Skinned Or Black? How Afro-Brazilians Are Forging A Collective Identity

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, South America Correspondent

Sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina have German, Italian, African and indigenous ancestry. (Lourdes Garcia-Navarro/NPR)

If you want to get a sense of how complex racial identity is in Brazil, you should meet sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina. Both have the same mother and father. Francine, 28, is blond with green eyes and white skin. She wouldn’t look out of place in Iceland. But Fernanda, 23, has milk chocolate skin with coffee colored eyes and hair. Francine describes herself as white, whereas Fernanda says she’s morena, or brown-skinned.

“We’d always get questions like, ‘How can you be so dark skinned and she’s so fair?'” Fernanda says. In fact, the sisters have German, Italian, African and indigenous ancestry. But in Brazil, Fernanda explains, people describe themselves by color, not race, since nearly everyone here is mixed.

All of that is to say, collecting demographic information in Brazil has been really tricky. The latest census, taken in 2010, found for the first time that Brazil has the most people of African descent outside Africa. No, this doesn’t mean that Afro-Brazilian population suddenly, dramatically increased. Rather, the new figures reflect changing attitudes about race and skin color in Brazil…

…”We should see the history of Brazil as a history of racial inequality,” Heringer says — and that’s a fairly new idea. For a long time, Brazilians have believed in what’s been called “the myth of racial democracy,” she explains. Part of that myth-building was a controversial survey that the government conducted the 1970’s. It asked people to describe their skin color, and the answers varied a lot. All together, respondents used at least 134 different terms

Read the article here. Listen to the story (00:05:38) here. Download the story here.

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Brazil’s colour bind

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, Videos on 2015-08-03 01:46Z by Steven

Brazil’s colour bind

The Globe and Mail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Stephanie Nolen, Latin America Correspondent

Brazil is combating many kinds of inequality. But one of the world’s most diverse nations is still just beginning to talk about race

When Daniele de Araújo found out six years ago that she was pregnant, she set out from her small house on a dirt lane in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and climbed a mountain. It is not a big mountain, the green slope that rises near her home, but the area is controlled by drug dealers, so she was anxious, hiking up. But she had something really important to ask of God, and she wanted to be somewhere she felt that the magnitude of her request would be clear.

She told God she wanted a girl, and she wanted her to be healthy, but one thing mattered above all: “The baby has to be white.”

Ms. de Araújo knows about the quixotic outcomes of genetics: She has a white mother and a black father, sisters who can pass for white, and a brother nearly as dark-skinned as she is – “I’m really black,” she says. Her husband, Jonatas dos Praseres, also has one black and one white parent, but he is light-skinned – when he reported for his compulsory military service, an officer wrote “white” as his race on the forms.

And so, when their baby arrived, the sight of her filled Ms. de Araújo with relief: Tiny Sarah Ashley was as pink as the sheets she was wrapped in. Best of all, as she grew, it became clear that she had straight hair, not cabelo ruim – “bad hair” – as tightly curled black hair is universally known in Brazil. These days, Sarah Ashley has tawny curls that tumble to the small of her back; they are her mother’s great joy in life. The little girl’s skin tone falls somewhere between those of her parents – but she was light enough for them to register her as “white,” just as they had hoped. (Many official documents in Brazil ask for “race and/or colour” alongside other basic identifying information.)

Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres keep the photos from their 2005 wedding in a red velvet album on the lone shelf in their living room. The glossy pictures show family members of a dozen different skin colours, arm in arm, faces crinkled in stiff grins for the posed portraits. There are albums with similar pictures in living rooms all over this country: A full one-third of marriages in Brazil are interracial, said to be the highest rate in the world. (In Canada, despite hugely diverse cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the rate is under five per cent.) That statistic is the most obvious evidence of how race and colour in Brazil are lived differently than they are in other parts of the world.

But a range of colours cannot disguise a fundamental truth, says Ms. de Araújo: There is a hierarchy, and white is at the top.

Many things are changing in this country. Ms. de Araújo left school as a teenager to work as a maid – about the only option open to a woman with skin as dark as hers – but now she has a professional job in health care and a house of her own, things she could not have imagined 15 years ago. Still, she says, “This is Brazil.” And there is no point being precious about it. Black is beautiful, but white – white is just easier. Even middle-class life can still be a struggle here. And Sarah Ashley’s parents want her life to be easy.

Brazil’s history of colonialism, slavery and dictatorship, followed by tumultuous social change, has produced a country that is at once culturally homogenous and chromatically wildly diverse. It is a cornerstone of national identity that Brazil is racially mixed – more than any country on Earth, Brazilians say. Much less discussed, but equally visible – in every restaurant full of white patrons and black waiters, in every high rise where the black doorman points a black visitor toward the service elevator – is the pervasive racial inequality…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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