“Virtues do not all belong to the whites”: The Portrayals of Americanization and Miscegenation in Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2016-05-02 23:23Z by Steven

“Virtues do not all belong to the whites”: The Portrayals of Americanization and Miscegenation in Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance

SEGue: Symposium for English Graduate Students
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
2016-04-23
18 pages

Jennifer Bradley
Villanova University

The works of Sui Sin Far, who is widely recognized as the first Asian-American writer, revolve around questions of identity that capture the dissenting voices surrounding Asian-American immigration. A biracial woman of Chinese and English descent, Sui Sin Far writes from a variety of perspectives in order to paint a picture of race relations between Chinese and Americans during a time of intense Sinophobia in the United States. This paper will consider how several of the stories in her collection Mrs. Spring Fragrance showcase central dilemmas of immigration and assimilation. Critics have examined Sui Sin Far’s portrayal of assimilation, but not through the comparative lenses of Americanization and miscegenation. Americanization entails the sharing and appreciation of American values, customs, and culture while miscegenation is characterized by the mixing and interbreeding of different races. In Mrs. Spring Fragrance, white characters tend to view Americanization favorably but regard miscegenation with horror and disgust. Moreover, biracial children of both Chinese and white descent are regarded with confusion and even repulsion. Through miscegenation, white identity mixes with, rather than dominates, Chinese identity. In Mrs. Spring Fragrance, Americanization is often encouraged by whites because it entails an effacement of Chinese heritage, but miscegenation is discouraged because it instead implies an equality of this same Chinese heritage. This paper will turn to the stories of “Mrs. Spring Fragrance,” “The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese,” and “Her Chinese Husband” to examine the contrasting portrayals of Americanization and miscegenation and their implications in forming American culture and society.

Read the entire paper here.

Tags: , , ,

The PEN Ten with Mat Johnson

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-01 20:28Z by Steven

The PEN Ten with Mat Johnson

PEN American Center
2015-03-17

Randa Jarrar

The PEN Ten is PEN America’s weekly interview series. This week, guest editor Randa Jarrar talks with Mat Johnson, the author of Pym and the graphic novel Incognegro. His upcoming novel, Loving Day, will be published by Spiegiel & Grau on May 26. Johnson is a Full Professor at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.

When did being a writer begin to inform your sense of identity?

Oh sweet lord, I don’t know. When people started to treat me with respect and stop reacting to me like I was a big goon asshole? That part’s nice. Not to be a twit and turn the question around just to show you how deep I am, but it’s kinda been the other way around. I already had an identity, writing allowed me to clear a place in the world for it to exist. I’m a 6’4”, 230 lbs guy who looks like a Latvian rugby player, but I’m actually a black man of biracial descent. On the page, with Incognegro and Pym, and this new one Loving Day, I created a place for myself, so the world can see me coming…

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever put into words?

This whole damn book I just wrote, Loving Day. I spent the first decades of my life overcompensating for my whitish appearance within the black community, rejecting mixed identity as an escape plan for self-hating blacks of mixed descent. Then as an adult, I slowly began seeing the merits of self-identifying as biracial, and eventually the need for it, despite larger ambivalence to it in the larger black community. So I was petrified to actually talk about this directly in my new novel. I know some old allies are not going to be happy. But art shouldn’t be about making people happy, or confirming their existing ideas. I had to say this, my truth. This book is my coming out as a mulatto

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , ,

Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America – Book Review

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-01 20:15Z by Steven

Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America – Book Review

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)
2016-04-04

Shauna Harris

Rockquemore, Kerry Ann and David L. Brunsma, Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America (Second Edition) (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007).

Beyond Black is a groundbreaking study that used both interview and survey data of young black/white individuals that sought to understand the meaning of being racially mixed in the United States by providing a theoretical and methodical analysis of racial identity for multiracial individuals in post-civil rights America.

Kerry Ann Rockquemore and David Brunsma document the comprehensive range of racial identities of individuals that have one Black and one White parent and provide a sociological explanation of the identity choices facing those who are racially mixed. The purpose of focusing on black/white racially mixed individuals stems from the fact these two groups still have the most social and spatial separation in the United States. Racial categorization among black/white individuals still poses continuing questions about how racially mixed individuals construct their identity and the constant use of the one-drop rule to identity multiracial individuals as black…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , , ,

A Refugee from His Race: Albion W. Tourgée and His Fight against White Supremacy

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United States on 2016-05-01 18:26Z by Steven

A Refugee from His Race: Albion W. Tourgée and His Fight against White Supremacy

University of North Carolina Press
2016-05-02
464 pages
9 halftones, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4696-2795-3

Carolyn L. Karcher

During one of the darkest periods of U.S. history, when white supremacy was entrenching itself throughout the nation, the white writer-jurist-activist Albion W. Tourgée (1838-1905) forged an extraordinary alliance with African Americans. Acclaimed by blacks as “one of the best friends of the Afro-American people this country has ever produced” and reviled by white Southerners as a race traitor, Tourgée offers an ideal lens through which to reexamine the often caricatured relations between progressive whites and African Americans. He collaborated closely with African Americans in founding an interracial civil rights organization eighteen years before the inception of the NAACP, in campaigning against lynching alongside Ida B. Wells and Cleveland Gazette editor Harry C. Smith, and in challenging the ideology of segregation as lead counsel for people of color in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case. Here, Carolyn L. Karcher provides the first in-depth account of this collaboration. Drawing on Tourgée’s vast correspondence with African American intellectuals, activists, and ordinary folk, on African American newspapers and on his newspaper column, “A Bystander’s Notes,” in which he quoted and replied to letters from his correspondents, the book also captures the lively dialogue about race that Tourgée and his contemporaries carried on.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Digital Afterlife of Lost Family Photos

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-01 17:18Z by Steven

The Digital Afterlife of Lost Family Photos

On Photography
The New York Times Magazine
2016-04-26

Teju Cole


The backs of found photos from the writer’s “Mrs. X” collection. Credit Jens Mortensen for The New York Times

The photographs were Polaroids, taken between the 1970s and the 2000s. Zun Lee bought them at flea markets, at garage sales or on eBay. Most of them depicted African-Americans: people wearing stylish clothes, relaxing in the yard, celebrating birthdays. A few depicted people in prison uniforms. All the photographs had somehow been separated from their original owners and had become what Lee calls “orphaned Polaroids.”

Found photographs have long been important to artists like Lee. Photos taken by amateurs can sometimes acquire new value on account of their uniqueness, their age or simply the knowledge that they were once meaningful to a stranger. As part of a group, they can evoke a collector’s sensibility or tell us something about a historical period in a way professional photographs might not. For Lee, collecting found photographs of African-­Americans — a project he called “Fade Resistance” — had an additional and deeply personal meaning.

Lee was raised in Germany by Korean parents. In his 30s, his mother told him that the man who raised him was not his biological father. But because her relationship with that man, who was black, had been fleeting, she refused to tell her son more about him. This revelation, at once momentous and limited, changed Lee’s life. To make sense of his personal loss, and to explore his connectedness to black America, he took up photography. I became friends with Lee around the time he began making pictures of black fathers and their children in the Bronx and elsewhere; that project led to a book, “Father Figure,” for which I wrote a preface. Later, Lee began to collect the Polaroids — thousands of them — that ended up in “Fade Resistance.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

At Yale, a Right That Doesn’t Outweigh a Wrong

Posted in Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States, Women on 2016-05-01 00:45Z by Steven

At Yale, a Right That Doesn’t Outweigh a Wrong

The New York Times
2016-04-29

Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Peter V & C Vann Woodward Professor of History, African American Studies, and American Studies
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

NEW HAVEN — Yale made a grievous mistake this week when it announced that it would keep the name of an avowed white supremacist, John C. Calhoun, on a residential college, despite decades of vigorous alumni and student protests. The decision to name residential colleges for Benjamin Franklin and Anna Pauline Murray, a black civil rights activist, does nothing to redeem this wrong.

It is not a just compromise to split the difference between Calhoun and Murray; there should be no compromise between such stark contrasts in values. The decision to retain the Calhoun name continues the pain inflicted every day on students who live in a dormitory named for a man distinguished by being one of the country’s most egregious racists.

To be sure, there’s something noteworthy about the contrast between these two figures who now sit across campus from each other. Although they lived in different centuries, Calhoun in the 19th, and Murray in the 20th, in many ways, she lived in — and fought against — the world that he built.

Calhoun, a Yale graduate, congressman and the seventh vice president of the United States, owned dozens of slaves in Fort Hill, S.C. Murray grew up in poverty in Durham, N. C., as the granddaughter of an enslaved woman. Calhoun championed slavery as a “positive good”; Murray’s great-grandmother was raped by her slave master. Calhoun profited immensely from the labor of the enslaved people on his plantation; Murray was a radical labor activist in Harlem during the Great Depression

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2017 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference Call for Papers

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2016-04-30 22:30Z by Steven

2017 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference Call for Papers

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
2017-02-24 through 2017-02-26

Explorations in Trans (gender, gressions, migrations, racial) Fifty Years After Loving v. Virginia

Deadline: 2016-04-30
Notification: 2016-07-31
Presenters at the conference must be members. Registration/membership will be available in 2016. Details below.
Subject Fields: We welcome submissions from scholars from all fields, cultural workers, and activists.

The next major Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference will be held February 24-26, 2017, at University of Southern California and will be hosted by the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. The conference will include film screenings and a live performance showcase produced by Mixed Roots Stories.

Download the CMRS 2017 Call For Papers [PDF]

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. As a commemoration to Loving’s golden anniversary coupled with the geographic location of California, this conference provides an excellent site to examine critical mixed race issues. With a focus on the root word “Trans” this conference aims to explore interracial encounters relating, but not limited to, transpacific Asian migration, transnational migration from Latin America, transracial adoption, transracial/ethnic identity, interracial marriage from a transregional perspective, the intersections of trans (gendered) and mixed race identity, and mixed race transgressions of race, citizenship, and nation.

The intersections of transmigration/national/regionalism with respect to miscegenation are clear in light of varying marriage proscriptions across geographical regions within the continental United States. California enacted its anti-miscegenation law in 1850, forbidding whites (this category included Mexicans) from marrying blacks, Filipinos, and Asians. Twelve states additionally prohibited intermarriage with Asians, nine prohibited intermarriage with Filipinos, and some prohibited intermarriage with American Indians. Intermarriage with “Hindus” was prohibited in Arizona. Oregon prohibited whites from marrying Native Hawaiians or Kanakas; and Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law forbade intermarriage with anyone of non-Caucasian strain. During Reconstruction, rampant fears of hypersexualized Chinese men marrying white women underscored the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Even following World War II soldiers faced dilemmas as Congress enacted restrictions regarding non-citizen wives entering the U.S that affected the mixed race children of these interracial unions whose occupancy within an interstitial racial space remains a confusing and complex reality in 21st century America. It was not until 1948 that anti-miscegenation laws were abolished in California.

As this conference commemorates the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia with a focus on “Trans” issues relating to interracial encounters, participants from all fields are invited to present new insights, which will contribute to a broader and deeper understanding in Critical Mixed Race Studies

For more information, click here. Additional Questions? Contact us at: cmrsmixedrace@gmail.com.

Tags: , , ,

Jews of Color National Convening

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-30 21:07Z by Steven

Jews of Color National Convening

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)
130 West 30th Street
New York, New York 10001
2016-05-01 Through 2016-05-03

Recent events have moved the struggle for racial justice and inclusion in America to the forefront of public consciousness. Jews of Color occupy a unique space within that struggle, living at the intersection of multiple communities and identities. We come together this spring as Jews and as People of Color to celebrate our diversity and build our strength as a community. We want to build a world in which our Jewishness thrives; a world where we are valued as leaders within the Jewish community; a world where our identities as People of Color are supported by Jewish communities committed to the fight against racism.

The convening will include music and art, content for families and children,, community building, and workshops, trainings and other sessions on building our power to fight for ourselves and our communities.

About the Presenting Sponsors:

This event is presented and sponsored by the Jewish Multiracial Network and Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) It is co-sponsored by Bend The Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and supported by The Ford Foundation

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , ,

Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 19:47Z by Steven

Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-28

Keren Soffer Sharon
Queens, New York

As a Mizrahi Jew organizing for justice in my city, I initially questioned whether I had a role to play in the upcoming National Jews of Color Convening. Even though I co-founded the Mizrahi Caucus at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice [JFREJ], I still doubted whether I — a half-Iraqi Jew who has been racialized as white in this country — had any right showing up at this thing. And I sure as hell questioned whether I had any right to lead.

But my discomfort showed me precisely what our movement stands to gain when we collectively identify as Jews of Color, Sephardim, and Mizrahim in our intersectional struggles for the liberation of all people.

I began organizing at JFREJ as a self-identified white person, interested in moving past my immobilizing guilt over racial privilege into accountable action to transform the systems that exploit low-income folks, people of color, and immigrants in my city. It was through finding a Jewish Left community that is committed to ending racism in all of its forms that I came into a deeper understanding of how I can do that work as a mixed-race Mizrahi Jew, who is both white and Arab at once…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

“Diversity” Won’t Challenge Jewry’s Role in White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 19:36Z by Steven

“Diversity” Won’t Challenge Jewry’s Role in White Supremacy

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-27

Mark Tseng Putterman
New York, New York

In addition to my own mother, “Linda” was the only other Asian American woman at the Reform synagogue I grew up attending. It was a friendly, liberal, and white Jewish space in our affluent New England suburb, a space where I often felt welcome while always, at some level, aware that I could count the number of people of color in our synagogue on one hand. That didn’t stop my indomitable mother from becoming more and more invested in our Jewish community. But amidst her drive and commitment to her adopted community was a twinge of cynicism: when she became our temple’s president, she joked that she only did it so that people would finally stop confusing her with Linda.

I wonder — would our temple peers have been better able to decipher my mother’s “foreign” face  if there were simply more of us? Would a more diverse congregation have prepared our white, liberal, and colorblind community to address the realities of racism for Jewish youth of color like myself? To prepare my youth leader to unpack why El Al security singled me out for questioning during my 9th grade trip to Israel? Or to provide my white Jewish peer with the language with which to challenge the Hasidic man who questioned her of my presence on our flight there?…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,