Charles Chesnutt Racial Relation Progression Throughout Career

Posted in Biography, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-24 21:09Z by Steven

Charles Chesnutt Racial Relation Progression Throughout Career

Cleveland State University
May 2011
60 pages

Lindy R. Birney

Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree Master of English

Charles Chesnutt began his career with an ideology that race should not be a category in which to judge others. He felt that through literature he could help influence society and help create a less racial centric civilization. His career began with positive reviews from short story publications in multiple magazines. However, most critics and readers at the time did not know of Chesnutt’s racial background. It was not until his second collection of short stories that Chesnutt revealed the truth about his heritage. After his success with The Conjure Woman and The Wife of His Youth (both published in 1899), Chesnutt began to assert his political agenda more aggressively into his writing. His second novel The Marrow of Tradition (1901) received very poor reviews; critics were repulsed by Chesnutt’s revolutionary philosophies concerning the racial caste system. The poor reception of Chesnutt’s three novels forced him to retire from a literary career. Years later, during the Harlem Renaissance, a time of prolific African American writers, Chesnutt was disappointed in the baseness of black characters in literature. He scolded Harlem Renaissance writers for their lack of strong black characters, but Chesnutt’s short stories that were published in The Crisis also lacked the racial uplift that he so desperately sought. Chesnutt’s intensity of racial relation literature had dwindled over time and he left it to the next generation of writers to fulfill the social agenda that his literature was never able to achieve.

Read the entire thesis here.

Tags: , , , , ,

‘In Negroland we thought of ourselves as the Third Race’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-24 00:04Z by Steven

‘In Negroland we thought of ourselves as the Third Race’

The Guardian

Margo Jefferson

An extract from Negroland, Margo Jefferson’s memoir of growing up in postwar America’s emerging black elite

  • Margo Jefferson: ‘I was anxious about using the word Negro in a book title’

I was taught to avoid showing off.

I was taught to distinguish myself through presentation, not declaration, to excel through deeds and manners, not showing off.

But isn’t all memoir a form of showing off?

In my Negroland childhood, this was a perilous business.

Negroland is my name for a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty. Children in Negroland were warned that few Negroes enjoyed privilege or plenty and that most whites would be glad to see them returned to indigence, deference, and subservience. Children there were taught that most other Negroes ought to be emulating us when too many of them (out of envy or ignorance) went on behaving in ways that encouraged racial prejudice…

…In Negroland we thought of ourselves as the Third Race, poised between the masses of Negroes and all classes of Caucasians. Like the Third Eye, the Third Race possessed a wisdom, intuition, and enlightened knowledge the other two races lacked. Its members had education, ambition, sophistication, and standardised verbal dexterity.

If, as was said, too many of us ached, longed, strove to be be be be White White White White WHITE…

If (as was said) many of us boasted overmuch of the blood des blancs that for centuries had found blatant or surreptitious ways to flow, course, and trickle tepidly through our veins and arteries (cephalic, aortal, renal, femoral, jugular, subclavian, and superior mesenteric

If we placed too high a value on the looks, manners, and morals called the birthright of the Anglo-Saxon

White people wanted to be white just as much as we did. They worked just as hard at it. They failed just as often. They failed more often. But they could pass, so no one objected…

Read the extract here.

Tags: ,

Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-05-22 22:33Z by Steven

Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s

The New York Times

Cara Buckley, Culture Reporter

Janelle Monáe, left, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures,” which is slated for release in January. Credit Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox

ATLANTA — Taraji P. Henson hates math, and Octavia Spencer has a paralyzing fear of calculus, but that didn’t stop either actress from playing two of the most important mathematicians the world hasn’t ever known.

Both women are starring in “Hidden Figures,” a forthcoming film that tells the astonishing true story of female African-American mathematicians who were invaluable to NASA’s space program in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s.

Ms. Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a math savant who calculated rocket trajectories for, among other spaceflights, the Apollo trips to the moon. Ms. Spencer plays her supervisor, Dorothy Vaughan, and the R&B star Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson, a trailblazing engineer who worked at the agency, too.

Slated for wide release in January, the film is based on the book of the same title, to be published this fall, by Margot Lee Shetterly. The author grew up knowing Ms. Johnson in Hampton, Va., but only recently learned about her outsize impact on America’s space race…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama signs measure striking ‘oriental’ and ‘negro’ from federal law

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-21 23:26Z by Steven

Obama signs measure striking ‘oriental’ and ‘negro’ from federal law

The Hill

Jordan Fabian, White House Correspondent

President Obama has signed legislation striking outdated racial terms such as “Oriental” and “Negro” from federal laws.

Obama signed the bill without fanfare on Friday along with six other pieces of legislation, the White House said…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Dreaming Black/Writing White: The Hagar Myth in American Cultural History

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-05-21 23:06Z by Steven

Dreaming Black/Writing White: The Hagar Myth in American Cultural History

University Press of Kentucky
224 pages
6 x 9 photos
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8131-2143-7

Janet Gabler-Hover, Professor of English
Georgia State University

Winner of the SAMLA 2001 Book Award

Hagar, the Old Testament Egyptian heroine who bore Abraham’s son at the behest of Sarah, was traditionally regarded as an African. Yet the literature and paintings of the nineteenth century depicted Hagar as white. During this period, she became a popular subject for writers and artists, with at least thirteen novels published between 1850 and 1913 taking Hagar as their theme. Dreaming Black/Writing White examines how, for white feminists, Hagar became a liberating symbol to empower their own rebellion against patriarchal restrictions. Hagar’s understood blackness allowed her to represent a combination of sexual passion and artistic creativity that empowered women in the process of taking on male roles of economic power in American society. Because of Hagar’s ethnic complexity, she stands as an ironically positive figure at the center of several southern proslavery women’s novels such as The Deserted Wife, Hagar the Martyr, and The Modern Hagar. Through the persona of Hagar, women novelists felt free to create heroines whose suggestive blackness allowed readers to imagine themselves in rebellion against a restrictive patriarchy, but whose recoverable whiteness provided a safety hatch through which blackness could be disavowed. By exploring these complex and often contradictory depictions, Janet Gabler-Hover contends that the figure of Hagar is central to the canonized romance of nineteenth-century New England literature. The book also affirms Toni Morrison’s claim that blackness—indeed black womanness—lies at the heart of the white literary imagination in America.

Tags: , ,

Mixed-Race Mixtape Explores Identity Through Hip-Hop Theater at UCI

Posted in Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-21 22:05Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Mixtape Explores Identity Through Hip-Hop Theater at UCI

OC Weekly
Fountain Valley, California

Gabriel San Roman

If Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can tweet a picture of himself eating a taco bowl while declaring “I love Hispanics,” the national discussion around race has gotten soggier than the bottom of his bowl. Thankfully, Andrew “Fig” Figueroa is coming to UC Irvine this week to elevate the debate with Mixed-Race Mixtape, a much needed dose of hip-hop theater. Born to a Mexican dad and a white mom, Fig explores the intricacies of his own identity through song and stage.

“It’s funny because I was always aware that I had one parents who was Mexican and one that was white European, but I never dealt with the stress and confusion that I do now as an adult,” says Fig, who grew up in Irvine. “My white mother not only spoke perfect Spanish, but also had lived in Mexico for 15 years. So, we took pride in being a Mexican household.” It wasn’t until he moved out of Irvine that he realized all the issues he had that would later inform Mix-Raced Mixtape.

The one-night only production is a blend itself, incorporating hip-hop music, theater and spoken word elements together. The end result takes the audience through his experience of growing up as “ambiguously brown” as, say, Saved By the Bell’s A.C. Slater. Whether talking about encounters with police, family or school teachers, Fig’s bridging of both worlds becomes a balancing act. The feat is often wrought with subtle and not-so-subtle jabs along the fault lines of race and class…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Cinematic Identity: Anatomy of a Problem Film

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-05-21 00:59Z by Steven

Cinematic Identity: Anatomy of a Problem Film

University of Minnesota Press
200 pages
24 b&w photos, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN 978-0-8166-3412-5
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8166-3411-8

Cindy Patton, Canada Research Chair in Community Culture and Health
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Though largely forgotten today, the 1949 film Pinky had a significant impact on the world of cinema. Directed by Elia Kazan, the film was a box office success despite dealing with the era’s most taboo subjects—miscegenation and racial passing—and garnered an Academy Award nomination for its African American star, Ethel Waters. It was also historically important: when a Texas movie theater owner showing the film was arrested for violating local censorship laws, his case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the censorship ordinance unconstitutional.

In Cinematic Identity, Cindy Patton takes Pinky as a starting point to meditate on the critical reception of this and other “problem films” of the period and to explore the larger issues they raise about race, gender, and sexuality. Films like Pinky, Patton contends, helped lay the groundwork for a shift in popular understanding of social identity that was essential to white America’s ability to accept the legitimacy of the civil rights movement.

The production of these films, beginning with Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947, coincided with the arrival of the Method school of acting in Hollywood, which demanded that performers inhabit their characters’ lives. Patton historicizes these twin developments, demonstrating how they paralleled, reflected, and helped popularize the emerging concept of the liberal citizen in postwar America, and in doing so illustrates how the reception of projected identities offers new perspectives on contemporary identity politics, from feminism to the gay rights movement.

Tags: , ,

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Omaris Zunilda Zamora

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-20 21:50Z by Steven

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Omaris Zunilda Zamora


Raquel Reichard, Politics & Culture Editor

Black and Latina/Chicana feminisms are life-affirming for countless women of color, but in both movements, AfroLatinas are left at the periphery, if acknowledged at all. This week’s #WCW Omaris Zunilda Zamora wants to change that.

The Chicago-born, New York-livin’ dominicana is a literary scholar who looks to AfroLatina knowledge producers to help bridge the gap between theory and practice. When she’s not teaching at Brooklyn College or completing her Ph.D. in Afro-Latino Cultural & Literary Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Zamora is bringing her AfroLatina feminism to the interwebs.

Ahead, learn how this mujer arrived at her AfroLatina feminist thought and how she uses it to crush the anti-Black, xenophobic, classist patriarchy.

Can you tell our readers a little more about your work as a scholar?

As an AfroLatina and Dominican literary scholar, my work looks to bridge the gap between theory and practice by first acknowledging AfroLatina women as knowledge producers. Our knowledge is informed through our bodies and the relationships that we have with ourselves and other women in our communities. The idea is that our bodies as Black women take up space in a very particular way. Furthermore, I look at the narratives and stories by transnational Dominican women to further understand how the African diaspora can expand how we think about blackness, gender and sexuality…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

poem: Casey Rocheteau

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-19 01:53Z by Steven

poem: Casey Rocheteau

Union Station
January 2014

Casey Rocheteau

The first time I was black

I was staring out the sliding glass door
at the mourning doves in the back yard.
My white mother came up
behind me and said that if anyone
didn’t want to be my friend at school
it was their loss. I asked,
Why would anyone not want to be my friend?
well, because you’re black.
I looked at my hands

Read the entire poem here.

Tags: , ,

The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-19 01:38Z by Steven

The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

University Press of Mississippi
April 2016
256 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches
introduction, 8 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496805553

Edited By:

Stephen Middleton, Professor of History and Director of African American
Mississippi State University

David R. Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies and History
University of Kansas

Donald M. Shaffer, Associate Professor of African American Studies and English
Mississippi State University

A critical engagement with the origins, power, and elusiveness of white privilege

Contributions by Sadhana Bery, Erica Cooper, Tim Engles, Matthew W. Hughey, Becky Thompson, Veronica T. Watson, and Robert St. Martin Westley

This volume collects interdisciplinary essays that examine the crucial intersection between whiteness as a privileged racial category and the various material practices (social, cultural, political, and economic) that undergird white ideological influence in America. In truth, the need to examine whiteness as a problem has rarely been grasped outside academic circles. The ubiquity of whiteness–its pervasive quality as an ideal that is at once omnipresent and invisible–makes it the very epitome of the mainstream in America. And yet the undeniable relationship between whiteness and inequality in this country necessitates a thorough interrogation of its formation, its representation, and its reproduction. Essays here seek to do just that work. Editors and contributors interrogate whiteness as a social construct, revealing the underpinnings of narratives that foster white skin as an ideal of beauty, intelligence, and power.

Contributors examine whiteness from several disciplinary perspectives, including history, communication, law, sociology, and literature. Its breadth and depth makes The Construction of Whiteness a refined introduction to the critical study of race for a new generation of scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach of the collection will appeal to scholars in African and African American studies, ethnic studies, cultural studies, legal studies, and more. This collection delivers an important contribution to the field of whiteness studies in its multifaceted impact on American history and culture.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,