A young playwright’s quest to ask difficult questions about race, class and gender

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-03 03:07Z by Steven

A young playwright’s quest to ask difficult questions about race, class and gender

The Los Angeles Times
2016-12-02

Margaret Gray

Leah Nanako Winkler’s new play “Kentucky” is a comedy about a Japanese American woman raised in the South. Like her protagonist Hiro, Winkler is half-Japanese and grew up in Kentucky. Like Hiro, she left  for New York and didn’t return for years. And like Hiro, Winkler found her sister’s embrace of evangelical Christianity puzzling and alarming.

“It was like she’d joined a cult,” recalls Winkler, who clarifies that she wasn’t entirely like the Hiro of her play.

“I didn’t actually try to stop my sister’s wedding,” she says with a laugh.

Speaking from the dressing room at East West Players’ theater in downtown L.A., where the West Coast premiere of “Kentucky” runs through Dec. 11, Winkler says the new work is “circumstantially autobiographical.”…

…Born in Japan, Winkler spent some of her childhood there before moving to Kentucky. She won’t say how old she was at the time. “I don’t like to answer that question because there’s a lot of judgment placed on that,” she says. “There’s a big difference if I say 2 or if I say 12. People like to peg you on how Japanese or how American you are, when you’re mixed race.”

She will say that she was old enough to experience “a double identity crisis.”

“In Japan I was a child model because of my Western looks,” she says. “I was considered gaijin, which means foreigner. But in America I was the girl from Japan.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A Picture of Her ‘Kentucky’ Home

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-03 02:58Z by Steven

A Picture of Her ‘Kentucky’ Home

The Rafu Shimpo: Los Angeles Japanese Daily News
2016-11-27

Mikey Hirano Culross


Leah Nanako Winkler was born in Japan, raised in Lexington, Kentucky, and now lives in New York City.

Leah Nanako Winkler arrived more than flustered, bounding into a dressing room at East West Players after having endured what should have been a 20-minute trek from Universal City to Little Tokyo.

Ms. Winkler, meet the 101.

The evening’s performance of her new play, “Kentucky,” was barely 90 minutes from curtain, and Winkler had plenty of tasks beforehand, including a quick chat with The Rafu.

Now a hard-studying MFA student in Brooklyn, Winkler has composed an honest look at family, with all its glory as well as warts, drawing on her experiences growing up in Lexington, Kentucky.

Her play follows Hiro, a woman on the verge of big-city career success whose homecoming is driven by the desire to dissuade her born-again sister from entering into a marriage that Hiro finds unsavory. Dealing with her family’s southern leanings, her own misgivings and a talking cat, Hiro’s mission is derailed into a completely unplanned direction.

“For me it was important to see a mixed-race family on stage and not seen through rose-colored glasses, that they have their faults, that they’re not perfect,” Winkler explained…

Read the entire article here.

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Colorism and interracial dating bring the “ish” in Black-ish into focus

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-12-03 02:04Z by Steven

Colorism and interracial dating bring the “ish” in Black-ish into focus

A.V. Club
2016-12-01

Ashley Ray-Harris, Contributor


Marcus Scribner (left) and Annelise Grace

“A black woman would know”

This Black-ish review is late. It’s incredibly late because this was a complex episode to approach. As soon as the cold open ended with Bow’s disdainful expression as she saw Junior’s white girlfriend, my phone started going off. My mom texted, “Wow, they’re really gonna do this?” From a distance, “Being Bow-racial” may seem like a problematic, racist, weird episode of Black-ish. Why would Bow—an educated, wealthy, tolerant doctor—care that her son is dating a white girl? But, in reality, the episode addresses some of the most guarded, internal secrets within the black community—colorism, interracial dating, the black man’s fear of white women, and everyone’s fear of black women. “Being Bow-racial” is Black-ish finally addressing the “ish” that looms heavily over its title and the results are stellar.

“Being Bow-racial” is an episode that feels incredibly personal to me, which might make it difficult to be objective, but it’s truly a story I’ve never seen given such attention on broadcast TV. The second Junior introduced Megan, I found myself making the same face as Bow for the same reasons—she’s white. This isn’t because Bow and I are racists, in fact, the episode does an amazing job of pointing out that Bow’s issue is an internal issue that stems from her own conflicting feelings and uncertainty around her blackness. Yet, If you’re not familiar with colorism in the black community or tropes like the tragic mulatto, you might not understand how deeply these factors actually affect black women…

Read the entire article here.

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Secrets and Lies

Posted in Articles, Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-03 00:14Z by Steven

Secrets and Lies

Ms. Magazine blog
Ms. Magazine
2016-05-17

Gail Lukasik

The following is an excerpt from White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Identity.

In 1995 when I discovered my mother’s black heritage, she made me promise never to tell her secret until she died. I kept her secret for 17 years. Nine months after her death in 2015, I appeared on PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow and revealed to 1.5 million people that my mother had passed for white. Three days later the family she never knew found me. “Secrets and Lies” recounts the stories my mother told me about her life in New Orleans before she came north to marry my father. After I uncovered her racial secret, I realized her stories held clues to her racial identity and the hardships she endured as a mixed race woman in Jim Crow south.

Parma, Ohio

When I was a young girl my mother would tell me about her life in New Orleans before she came north to Ohio to marry my father. Each story so carefully fashioned, so artfully told I never questioned their validity. It was one of the rare times I’d be allowed to sit on my parents’ double bed in the cramped downstairs bedroom that faced the street, its north window inches from the neighbor’s driveway where a dog barked sometimes into the night.

The room was pristine with its satiny floral bedspread, crisscrossed white lacy curtains and fringed shades. Area rugs surrounded the bed like islands of color over the amber shag carpet. A large dresser held my mother’s perfumes neatly arranged on a mirrored tray. An assortment of tiny prayer books rested on a side table beside a rosary. Over the bed was a painting of a street scene that could be Paris or New Orleans, colorful and dreamy. A similar painting hung in the living room.

It wasn’t until I married and left home that my father was banished to the other first floor smaller bedroom, even then he was an interloper in this feminine domain. His clothes were exiled to the front hall closet where he kept his rifle. On story days the room was a mother-daughter cove of confidences where my mother came as close as she ever would to telling me who she was, dropping clues like breadcrumbs that would take me decades to decipher. As I grew older, she confided intimacies of her marital life best shared with a mother or a sister. I was the substitute for the family left behind in New Orleans…

Read the entire excerpt here.

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Review: “Krazy” by Michael Tisserand

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-02 23:44Z by Steven

Review: “Krazy” by Michael Tisserand

Know Louisiana: The Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana and Home of Louisiana Cultural Vistas
2016-12-02 (Winter 2016)

Lydia Nichols

There is nothing more American than passing, the act of projecting a racial identity other than that assigned. At no other time and place in American history have necessity and opportunity so dramatically conspired to create the possibility for passing as in late 19th century New Orleans. Reconstruction had failed to establish equitable institutions for those whom the Constitution had denied 2/5 of their personhood; and by 1877, the Southern Democrats (former Confederates) had reclaimed political and social dominion over the state. As W.E.B Du Bois writes in Black Reconstruction, Louisiana’s government was to be “a government of white people, made and to be perpetuated for the exclusive political benefit of the white race.” Though identifying as neither white nor black, New Orleans’ Afro-Creoles, who had enjoyed relative mobility prior to the Civil War, were kicked out of schools and churches, cut off from quality education, and pushed to “colored cars.” It became clear that hybridity was no longer acknowledged or welcome. Well-educated, multilingual and able to pass for white, unknown numbers of Creoles left to seek whatever security their ambiguity would allow. Among them was George Joseph Herriman, a ten-year old boy who in time would become a white man and a pioneering cartoonist.

Michael Tisserand provides a painstakingly well-researched analysis of Herriman’s life and work in Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White (HarperCollins, 2016). Herriman, a man of diverse interests and experiences, created comics laden with allusions to classical literature and philosophy; written in immigrant, black and southern vernaculars; and often incorporating foreign languages. The most famous and longest-running of his comics was Krazy Kat, a gender non-conforming, color-changing cat in the southwestern desert who regularly drops philosophical gems in his own dialect of English…

Read the entire review here.

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Edit desk: Passing is a choice

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-12-02 23:24Z by Steven

Edit desk: Passing is a choice

The Brown and White: All The Lehigh news first since 1894
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
2016-11-29

Gaby Morera, Managing Editor

Once I was complaining about the challenges of being Hispanic in America to a friend of mine.

I can’t even remember what I was saying, but I remember the person’s response clearly. She said, “Do you think you make it harder on yourself because you call attention to the fact that you’re Hispanic?”

I find that question problematic for many reasons. But in that moment, I ignored it. I didn’t say anything, and when I got home I thought to myself, “How do I call attention to the fact that I’m Hispanic? And why would that be a bad thing?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Patrick Wolfe: Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Posted in Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2016-12-01 02:24Z by Steven

Patrick Wolfe: Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

New Books Network
2016-11-07

Lynette Russell, Professor
Monash University, Australia

Aziz Rana, Professor of Law
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Widely known for his pioneering work in the field of settler colonial studies, Patrick Wolfe advanced the theory that settler colonialism was, “a structure, not an event.” In early 2016, Wolfe deepened this analysis through his most recent book, Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race (Verso Books, 2016) which takes a comparative approach to five cases in: Australia, Brazil, Europe, North America, and Palestine/Israel. Just as settler colonialism grew through institutionalized structures of Indigenous elimination, categorical notions of race grew through purpose-driven (and context-specific) exploitation, classification and separation. In Traces of History, the machinery and genealogy of race are as present in land relations as they are in legal precedents.

Wolfe ties together a transnational pattern of labor substitution and slavery, Indigenous land dispossession, and the inception of racial categories which continue to normalize these historical processes into the present. While the Indigenous/settler relationship is binary across societies, Wolfe posits, the seemingly fixed concepts of race it produces are, actually, widely varied. Bearing strong threads of influence by Said, DuBois, Marx, and countless Indigenous and Aboriginal scholars, Wolfe lays down a model for drawing connections across these cases, while simultaneously acknowledging that as with any ongoing process, there remain pathways for optimism and change.

Patrick Wolfe passed away in February 2016 shortly after the publication of Traces of History. The following interview is with Dr. Lynette Russell and Dr. Aziz Rana, two of Wolfe’s many colleagues and thought partners both impacted by and familiar with his work. Prompted by the release of Traces of History and Wolfe’s untimely passing soon after, the interview recorded here engages the book as a platform for broader discussion about the substance of Wolfe’s intellectual pursuits, integrity, commitments and the creativity and challenges borne of them…

Listen to the interview (00:48:39) here. Download the interview here.

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Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2016-12-01 00:12Z by Steven

Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Verso Books
January 2016
306 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781781689172
Hardback ISBN: 9781781689165
Ebook ISBN: 9781781689196

Patrick Wolfe

Traces of History presents a new approach to race and to comparative colonial studies. Bringing a historical perspective to bear on the regimes of race that colonizers have sought to impose on Aboriginal people in Australia, on Blacks and Native Americans in the United States, on Ashkenazi Jews in Western Europe, on Arab Jews in Israel/Palestine, and on people of African descent in Brazil, this book shows how race marks and reproduces the different relationships of inequality into which Europeans have coopted subaltern populations: territorial dispossession, enslavement, confinement, assimilation, and removal.

Charting the different modes of domination that engender specific regimes of race and the strategies of anti-colonial resistance they entail, the book powerfully argues for cross-racial solidarities that respect these historical differences.

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Evolution of interracial marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2016-11-30 23:58Z by Steven

Evolution of interracial marriage

WSLS-TV 10
Roanoke, Virginia
2016-11-22

Brie Jackson, Anchor/Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – The story of one Virginia couple whose love for one another changed history is being shown on the big screen nationwide including the Grandin Theatre.

Loving” tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving. He was white, she was black and Native American. Decades ago, their marriage was against the law in Virginia and several other states. Their love story broke barriers for interracial couples.

In 1958, the couple married in Washington, D.C. where it was legal, but returned home to Virginia and were arrested. A judge sentenced the couple to prison unless they left the commonwealth for 25 years. They did, but returned to the state five years later and were jailed again. Eventually their case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the court ruled the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

That 1967 decision paved the way for others to marry who they love regardless of race.

“The bottom-line, if you love someone it does not matter the color of your skin,” said Pamela Casey.

Pamela and Corwin Casey’s love story begins in 1980 when Corwin was an activities director at a children’s home in North Carolina. Pamela said they met on her first day. She arrived as a volunteer from her church in Ohio

Read the entire article here.

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The Distinction Between Slavery and Race in U.S. History

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-11-30 21:04Z by Steven

The Distinction Between Slavery and Race in U.S. History

African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)
2016-11-27

Patrick Rael, Professor of History
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

The history of the Electoral College is receiving a lot of attention. Pieces like this one, which explores “the electoral college and its racist roots,” remind us how deeply race is woven into the very fabric of our government. A deeper examination, however, reveals an important distinction between the political interests of slaveholders and the broader category of the thing we call “race.”

“Race” was indeed a critical factor in the establishment of the Constitution. At the time of the founding, slavery was legal in every state in the Union. People of African descent were as important in building northern cities such as New York as they were in producing the cash crops on which the southern economy depended. So we should make no mistake about the pervasive role of race in the conflicts and compromises that went into the drafting of the Constitution.

Yet, the political conflicts surrounding race at the time of the founding had little to do with debating African-descended peoples’ claim to humanity, let alone equality. It is true that many of the Founders worried about the persistence of slavery in a nation supposedly dedicated to universal human liberty.  After all, it was difficult to argue that natural rights justified treason against a king without acknowledging slaves’ even stronger claim to freedom. Thomas Jefferson himself famously worried that in the event of slave rebellion, a just deity would side with the enslaved…

Read the entire article here.

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