A Mother’s Love: Stories of Struggle, Sacrifice, Love and Wisdom

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Mississippi, Passing, Religion, United States, Women on 2014-08-31 17:55Z by Steven

A Mother’s Love: Stories of Struggle, Sacrifice, Love and Wisdom

The Root
2014-05-11

Breanna Edwards

Journalist Alysia Steele’s explores the “jewels in the Mississippi Delta” who held it down for their families through decades of strife and racial struggle.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and many of us may feel the keen absence of the women who meant the most to us.

How many times have you wished you could turn back the hands of time and have one more conversation with one of the most influential women of your life? Maybe have notes of memorable anecdotes they shared?

This was one of Alysia Steele’s biggest regrets concerning her paternal grandmother, Althenia A. Burton, who died 20 years ago. Since then, the memory of her grandmother has stayed with Steele, never fading, and ultimately culminating in the conception of her current project, a book proposal, “Jewels in the Delta,” that has gained interest from publishers.

“I have a huge sense of regret that as a trained journalist I never had the foresight to get her story and I’ll never hear her voice again, and I can’t even tell you how much that hurts me,” Steele tells The Root.

Steele has interviewed about 47 women and is conducting the last of what will be a total of 50 interviews in the coming days. The project has taken her approximately 11 months to complete and countless hours of recording, transcribing, coaxing and traveling. It’s been hard work, to be sure, but to Steele the end goal has been more than worth it.

“How many of us stop and talk to our grandparents to get to their stories? To really ask them the questions that are hard?” she adds…

…In an excerpt from Steele’s book proposal, Virginia Hower, 93, shared how she “felt dirty” because of her ability to pass for white in a segregated society.

It was horror. You felt bad because you couldn’t be with your grandmother or your grandfather. You just accepted it. I couldn’t be with them because they were darker. Sometimes you felt bad because you could ride in a clean coach and just to think that your grandmother couldn’t kiss you as you stepped off the train. But they accepted it, so why not enjoy the clean train? And then when I got down on the streets, we all kiss and carry on. Those was happy moments. And then you got to thinkin’ how foolish this life is, how foolish. Then you got to thinkin’ about it and say take advantage of it and a lot of people down here in Clarksdale, they went to Chicago in ’41 and never revealed they were colored.

So many fascinating stories from unassuming women who had nothing but love for their respective husbands and children and who never really spoke about the troubles and trials they had endured…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Economics, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, Social Science, South Africa, United States, Women on 2014-08-22 20:45Z by Steven

Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach

Oxford University Press
2014-08-01
528 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780199920013

Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach engages students in critical questions related to racial dynamics in the U.S. and around the world. Written in accessible, straightforward language, the book discusses and critically analyzes cutting-edge scholarship in the field. Organized into topics and concepts rather than discrete racial groups, the text addresses:

  • How and when the idea of race was created and developed
  • How structural racism has worked historically to reproduce inequality
  • How we have a society rampant with racial inequality, even though most people do not consider themselves to be racist
  • How race, class, and gender work together to create inequality and identities
  • How immigration policy in the United States has been racialized
  • How racial justice could be imagined and realized

Centrally focused on racial dynamics, Race and Racisms also incorporates an intersectional perspective, discussing the intersections of racism, patriarchy, and capitalism.

Table of Contents

  • List of Excerpts
  • Letter from the Author
  • About the Author
  • Preface
  • Part I: The History of the Idea of Race
    • 1. The Origin of the Idea of Race
      • Defining Race and Racism
      • Race: The Evolution of an Ideology
      • Historical Precedents to the Idea of Race
      • Slavery Before the Idea of Race
      • European Encounters with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
      • Voices: The Spanish Treatment of Indigenous Peoples
      • The Enslavement of Africans
      • The Need for Labor in the Thirteen Colonies
      • The Legal Codification of Racial Differences
      • Voices: From Bullwhip Days
      • The Rise of Science and the Question of Human Difference
      • European Taxonomies
      • Scientific Racism in the Nineteenth Century
      • The Indian Removal Act: The Continuation of Manifest Destiny
      • Freedom and Slavery in the United States
      • Global View: The Idea of Race in Latin America
    • 2. Race and Citizenship from the 1840s to the 1920s
      • The Continuation of Scientific Racism
      • Measuring Race: From Taxonomy to Measurement
      • Intelligence Testing
      • Eugenics
      • Voices: Carrie Buck
      • Exclusionary Immigration Policies
      • The Chinese Exclusion Act
      • The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924
      • Birthright Citizenship for Whites Only
      • Naturalization for “Free White People”
      • How the Irish, Italians, and Jews Became White
      • The Irish: From Celts to Whites
      • The Italians: From Mediterraneans to Caucasians
      • The Jews: From Hebrews to White
      • African Americans and Native Americans: The Long, Troubled Road to Citizenship
      • African Americans and the Long Road to Freedom
      • Native Americans: Appropriating Lands, Assimilating Tribes
  • Part II: Racial Ideologies
    • 3. Racial Ideologies from the 1920s to the Present
      • Voices: Trayvon Martin
      • The 1920s to 1965: Egregious Acts in the Era of Overt Racism
      • Mass Deportation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans
      • Internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans
      • Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
      • Voices: Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu
      • The Civil Rights Movement and the Commitment to Change
      • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
      • Sit-Ins
      • Freedom Rides
      • Old Versus New Racism: The Evolution of an Ideology
      • Biological Racism
      • Cultural Racism
      • Color-Blind Universalism
      • Global View: Cultural Racism in Peru
      • The Maintenance of Racial Hierarchy: Color-Blind Racism
      • Four Frames of Color-Blind Racism
      • Rhetorical Strategies of Color-Blind Racism
      • The New Politics of Race: Racism in the Age of Obama
    • 4. The Spread of Ideology: “Controlling Images” and Racism in the Media
      • Portrayals of People of Color on Television and in Other Media
      • Portrayals of Blacks
      • Portrayals of Latino/as
      • Research Focus: The Hot Latina Stereotype in Desperate Housewives
      • Portrayals of Arabs and Arab Americans
      • Portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans
      • Portrayals of Native Americans
      • Racial Stereotypes in Films
      • Global View: Racial Stereotypes in Peruvian Television
      • New Media Representations
      • Video Games
      • Social Media
      • Voices: I Am Not Trayvon Martin
      • Media Images and Racial Inequality
      • Raced, Classed, and Gendered Media Images
    • 5. Colorism and Skin-Color Stratification
      • The History of Colorism
      • Research Focus: Latino Immigrants and the U.S. Racial Order
      • The Origins of Colorism in the Americas
      • Does Colorism Predate Colonialism? The Origins of Colorism in Asia and Africa
      • The Global Color Hierarchy
      • Asia and Asian Americans
      • Latin America and Latinos/as
      • Voices: The Fair-Skin Battle
      • Africa and the African Diaspora
      • Voices: Colorism and Creole Identity
      • Skin Color, Gender, and Beauty
    • 6. White Privilege and the Changing U.S. Racial Hierarchy
      • White Privilege
      • Research Focus: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
      • Whiteness, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
      • Whiteness and Racial Categories in Twenty-First-Century America
      • Latino/as and the Multiracial Hierarchy
      • The Other Whites: Arab Americans, North Africans, Middle Easterners, and Their Place in the U.S. Racial Hierarchy
      • Multiracial Identification and the U.S. Racial Hierarchy
      • Voices: Brandon Stanford: “My Complexion Is Not Black but I Am Black”
      • Will the United States Continue to Be a White-Majority Society?
      • Global View: Social, Cultural, and Intergenerational Whitening in Latin America
      • Changes in Racial and Ethnic Classifications
      • Revisiting the Definitions of Race and Ethnicity
  • Part III: Policy & Institutions
    • 7. Understanding Racial Inequality Today: Socio logical Theories of Racism
      • Racial Discrimination, Prejudice, and Institutional Racism
      • Individual Racism
      • Voices: Microaggressions
      • Institutional Racism
      • Global View: Microaggressions in Peru
      • Systemic and Structural Racism
      • Systemic Racism
      • Structural Racism
      • Research Focus: Systemic Racism and Hurricane Katrina
      • Racial Formation: Its Contributions and Its Critics
      • White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism
      • Research Focus: Applying Settler Colonialism Theory
      • Intersectional Theories of Race and Racism
    • 8. Educational Inequality
      • The History of Educational Inequality
      • Indian Schools
      • Segregation and Landmark Court Cases
      • The Persistence of Racial Segregation in the Educational System
      • Affirmative Action in Higher Education
      • Educational Inequality Today
      • Research Focus: American Indian/Alaska Native College Student Retention
      • The Achievement Gap: Sociological Explanations for Persistent Inequality
      • Global View: Affirmative Action in Brazil
      • Parental Socioeconomic Status
      • Cultural Explanations: “Acting White” and Other Theories
      • Tracking
      • Social and Cultural Capital and Schooling
      • Hidden Curricula
      • Voices: Moesha
      • Research Focus: Rosa Parks Elementary and the Hidden Curriculum
    • 9. Income and Labor Market Inequality
      • Income Inequality by Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
      • Dimensions of Racial Disparities in the Labor Market
      • Disparities Among Women
      • Disparities Among Latinos and Asian Americans
      • Underemployment, Unemployment, and Joblessness
      • Voices: Jarred
      • Sociological Explanations for Income and Labor Market Inequality
      • Voices: Francisco Pinto’s Experiences in 3-D Jobs
      • Individual-Level Explanations
      • Structural Explanations
      • Research Focus: Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market
      • Affirmative Action
      • Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment 260
      • Global View: Racial Discrimination in Australia
    • 10. Inequality in Housing and Wealth
      • Land Ownership After Slavery
      • Residential Segregation
      • The Creation of Residential Segregation
      • Discriminatory and Predatory Lending Practices
      • Research Focus: The Role of Real Estate in Creating Segregated Cities
      • Neighborhood Segregation Today
      • Voices: A Tale of Two Families
      • Wealth Inequality
      • Inequality in Homeownership and Home Values
      • Wealth Inequality Beyond Homeownership
      • Explaining the Wealth Gap in the Twenty-First Century
    • 11. Racism and the Criminal Justice System
      • Mass Incarceration in the United States
      • The Rise of Mass Incarceration
      • Mass Incarceration in a Global Context
      • Race and Mass Incarceration
      • Global View: Prisons in Germany and the Netherlands
      • The Inefficacy of Mass Incarceration
      • Voices: Kemba Smith
      • Mass Incarceration and the War on Drugs
      • Race, Class, Gender, and Mass Incarceration
      • Institutional Racism in the Criminal Justice System
      • Racial Profiling
      • Sentencing Disparities
      • The Ultimate Sentence: Racial Disparities in the Death Penalty
      • Voices: Troy Davis
      • The Economics of Mass Incarceration
      • Private Prisons
      • The Prison-Industrial Complex
      • Beyond Incarceration: Collateral Consequences
      • The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Families and Children
      • The Lifelong Stigma of a Felony: “The New Jim Crow”
      • Research Focus: Can Felons Get Jobs?
    • 12. Health Inequalities, Environmental Racism, and Environmental Justice
      • The History of Health Disparities in the United States
      • Involuntary Experimentation on African Americans
      • Free Blacks as Mentally and Physically Unfit
      • Explaining Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity Today
      • Socioeconomic Status and Health Disparities by Race/Ethnicity
      • Segregation and Health
      • Research Focus: Health and Social Inequity in Alameda County, California
      • The Effects of Individual Racism on the Health of African Americans
      • Life-Course Perspectives on African American Health
      • Culture and Health
      • Global View: Health and Structural Violence in Guatemala
      • Genetics, Race, and Health
      • Voices: Race, Poverty, and Postpartum Depression
      • Environmental Racism
      • Movements for Environmental Justice
      • Voices: The Holt Family of Dickson, Tennessee
    • 13. Racism, Nativism, and Immigration Policy
      • Voices: Robert Bautista-Denied Due Process
      • The Racialized History of U.S. Immigration Policy
      • Race and the Making of U.S. Immigration Policies: 1790 to 1924
      • Global View: Whitening and Immigration Policy in Brazil
      • Nativism Between 1924 and 1964: Mass Deportation of Mexicans and the McCarran Internal Security Act
      • The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and the Changing Face of Immigration
      • Illegal Immigration and Policy Response
      • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA ) and Nativism
      • Proposition 187 and the Lead-Up to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (II RIRA)
      • The 1996 Laws and the Detention and Deportation of Black and Latino Immigrants
      • Voices: Hector, a Guatemalan Deportee
      • Nativism in the Twenty-First Century
  • Part IV: Contesting & Comparing Racial Injustices
    • 14. Racial Justice in the United States Today
      • Perspectives on Racial Justice
      • Recognition, Responsibility, Reconstruction, and Reparations
      • Civil Rights
      • Human Rights
      • Moving Beyond Race
      • Intersectional Analyses: Race, Class, Gender
      • Racism and Capitalism
      • Struggles for Racial Justice
      • Racial Justice and the Foreclosure Crisis
      • DREAMers and the Fight for Justice
      • Voices: Fighting Against Foreclosures: A Racial Justice Story
      • Racial Justice and Empathy
    • 15. Thinking Globally: Race and Racisms in France, South Africa, and Brazil
      • How Do Other Countries Differ from the United States in Racial Dynamics?
      • Race and Racism in France
      • French Colonies in Africa
      • The French Antilles
      • African Immigration to France
      • Discrimination and Racial and Ethnic Inequality in France Today
      • Voices: The Fall 2005 Uprisings in the French Banlieues
      • Race and Racism in South Africa
      • Colonialism in South Africa: The British and the Dutch
      • The Apartheid Era (1948-1994)
      • The Persistence of Inequality in the Post-Apartheid Era
      • Research Focus: The Politics of White Youth Identity in South Africa
      • Race and Racism in Brazil
      • Portuguese Colonization and the Slave Trade in Brazil
      • Whitening Through Immigration and Intermarriage
      • The Racial Democracy Myth in Brazil and Affirmative Action
      • Racial Categories in Brazil Today
      • Research Focus: Racial Ideology and Black-White Interracial Marriages in Rio de Janeiro
  • Glossary
  • References
  • Credits
  • Index
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Mixed Mondays Film Series at the Brooklyn Historical Society

Posted in Canada, Communications/Media Studies, Gay & Lesbian, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States, Videos, Women on 2014-08-18 02:25Z by Steven

Mixed Mondays Film Series at the Brooklyn Historical Society

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generatons
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Mondays, 2014-08-04 through  2014-08-18, 18:30 EDT (Local Time)

Hosted by and post-screening discussion with:

Erica Chito Childs, Professor of Sociology (author of Navigating Interracial Borders and Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture)
City University of New York

This series is co-sponsored by MixedRaceStudies.org.

August 18: Toasted Marshmallows (2014)

Come watch the first public screening of the documentary Toasted Marshmallows in the U.S.! Follow filmmakers Marcelitte Failla and Anoushka Ratnarajah on a journey across Canada and the U.S. as they document the experiences of other mixed-race identified women, delve into their own cultural and ethnic histories, and tell stories about color, passing, privilege, ancestry, and belonging. An extended preview of the film will be followed by a dialogue with the filmmakers and Erica Chito-Childs.

August 11: My Beautiful Laundrette (1985):

British-born, half-Pakistani playwright and novelist Hanif Kureishi won an Oscar nomination for his 1985 screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette, a richly layered film about Pakistani immigrant life in Thatcherite London.

Come watch the protagonist, Omar, navigate mixed-income and mixed-race arrangements in his family and develop an unlikely, yet beautiful, queer relationship with Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis). Set against the backdrop of anti-immigrant racism and fascism, the story of Omar’s laundrette presents an electrifying set of possibilities around class, race, sexuality, belonging, and love.

August 4: Imitation of Life (1959):

The Mixed Monday film series launches with a 1959 Lana Turner classic—Imitation of Lifewhich explores the story of an African-American woman and her light-skinned, mixed-race daughter who passes for white. Come munch on popcorn, watch the film and discuss the history and cultural context around mixed families, race relations and popular culture.

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Checking new boxes

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2014-08-10 18:26Z by Steven

Checking new boxes

Gender News
The Clayman Institute for Gender Research
Stanford University
2014-07-23

Ashley Farmer, Postdoctoral Fellow
Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research

Political Scientist Lauren Davenport reveals the importance of gender in understanding multiracialism

Since 2000, the year the U.S. census first allowed respondents to identify as multiracial or multiethnic, the number of Americans who identify with multiple races has increased dramatically. Given that respondents are now allowed to check multiple boxes on the census, that’s not surprising. However, what is surprising is that gender appears to be the biggest predictor of mixed-race identification.

So says Professor Lauren Davenport, assistant professor of Political Science at Stanford. In her new book project, Politics Between Black and White, which examines how social and political processes shape the outlook of multiracial Americans, she finds that women identify as multiracial at higher rates than men. Professor Davenport also finds that gender-specific factors like physical appearance and feminist politics can influence mixed-race identification…

Read the entire article here.

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Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2014-06-13 21:29Z by Steven

Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America

New York University Press
February 2009
325 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780814757307
Paper ISBN: 9780814764343

Keren R. McGinity, Author-Educator
Love & Tradition: intermarriage insights for a Jewish future

Over the last century, American Jews married outside their religion at increasing rates. By closely examining the intersection of intermarriage and gender across the twentieth century, Keren R. McGinity describes the lives of Jewish women who intermarried while placing their decisions in historical context. The first comprehensive history of these intermarried women, Still Jewish is a multigenerational study combining in-depth personal interviews and an astute analysis of how interfaith relationships and intermarriage were portrayed in the mass media, advice manuals, and religious community-generated literature.

Still Jewish dismantles assumptions that once a Jew intermarries, she becomes fully assimilated into the majority Christian population, religion, and culture. Rather than becoming “lost” to the Jewish community, women who intermarried later in the century were more likely to raise their children with strong ties to Judaism than women who intermarried earlier in the century. Bringing perennially controversial questions of Jewish identity, continuity, and survival to the forefront of the discussion, Still Jewish addresses topics of great resonance in a diverse America.

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Meeting with Dagmar Schultz and Ria Cheatom

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Women on 2014-06-12 14:20Z by Steven

Meeting with Dagmar Schultz and Ria Cheatom

FemGeniuses: Where feminism meets genius!
2014-05-29

Kaimara Herron

It is only the first week of our stay in Berlin, but it feels like an eternity since my plane took-off from O’Hare. But this is certainly not a complaint. We have had the opportunity to do such amazing things in only a few short days, and we have so much more to do.

This morning, we started the day in the classroom at Frauenkreise to talk with Dagmar Schultz and Ria Cheatom about their film Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years, 1984 to 1992, which documents their lives as activists and their work in the Afro-German feminist movement. Melissa began our discussion by asking about Audre Lorde’s experiences living with cancer while continuing to work in Berlin. More specifically, Melissa was interested in Lorde’s use of holistic treatments in Berlin instead of conventional methods to treat her cancer. Dagmar’s response was that Lorde never wanted to stop working because it was, and continues to be, a necessary movement. Dagmar believes Berlin had become Lorde’s replacement for New York City, as her work in Berlin became central in her life…

…As the conversation moved along, we started talking about the first few meetings between Afro-German women and Audre Lorde. Ria offered an anecdote about how she had trouble accepting some of the women who attended these meetings as “real” Afro-Germans because of their really light skin and strong European facial features. The topic of color and skin tone was first brought to my attention while reading a section of May Ayim’s Blues in Black and White: A Collection of Essays, Poetry, and Conversations. In “White Stress/Black Nerves,” she briefly mentions how the benefits of privilege become more complicated when examining the experiences of Black and immigrant women based on skin tone…

Read the entire article here.

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The “Passing” of Elsie Roxborough

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2014-06-05 01:50Z by Steven

The “Passing” of Elsie Roxborough

Michigan Quarterly Review
Volume 23, Issue 2 (Spring 1984)
pages 155-170
ISSN 0026-2420 (Print)
ISSN 1558-7266 (Online)

Kathleen A. Hauke (1935-2004)

Driving her fashionable Ford roadster from Detroit to Ann Arbor, Elsie Roxborough arrived at the University of Michigan as a freshman fifty years ago last fall. She was the first Negro student to live in a University dormitory. Her classmate Arthur Miller, an aspiring playwright and fellow reporter on the campus newspaper, called her “a beauty, the most striking girl in Ann Arbor. She was light-skinned and very classy. To a kid like me, she seemed svelte, knowing, witty, sexy.” With her own group in Detroit, the Roxane Players, she produced Langston Hughes’s play Drums of Haiti, and charmed Hughes as she had charmed boxer Joe Louis some years earlier. Elsie Roxborough was “the girl I was in love with” in 1937, Hughes wrote in his autobiography. Upon graduation, Roxborough “passed” into the white world. The next time most of her friends heard of her was in 1949 when an eight-column headline in the black newspaper Michigan Chronicle announced her death from an overdose of sleeping pills. Hughes kept her photograph over his writing table for the rest of his life.

Who was Elsie Roxborough? What became of her, and what did she represent? A piecing together of her life suggests that her fate was to dramatize the truth of Hughes’s poem “House in the World”:

I’m looking for a house
In the world
Where the white shadows
Will not fall.

There is no house,
Dark brother,
No such house
At all.

Elsie Roxborough started out to shake the stigma of color; when that proved impossible, she joined step with the oppressor. Her life as a disguised alien in the middle reaches of the white social register did not satisfy her ambition or her pride. Perhaps no happy ending awaited her. The welcome thawings of racial prejudice after the war, and the first signs of a civil rights movement, would only have mocked and embittered her in the years of her deception. A happy child become desperate, she is a case study of the “dark sister” excluded by the American Dream…

Read the entire article here.

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Radmilla’s Voice: Music Genre, Blood Quantum, and Belonging on the Navajo Nation

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2014-05-26 05:46Z by Steven

Radmilla’s Voice: Music Genre, Blood Quantum, and Belonging on the Navajo Nation

Cultural Anthropology
Volume 29, Issu3 2 (May 2014)
pages 385-410
DOI: 10.14506/ca29.2.11

Kristina Jacobsen-Bia, Assistant Professor of Music
University of New Mexico

Window Rock, Navajo Nation, Arizona, September 1997. A young woman butchers a sheep as the crowd at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds watches. Her hair tied back in a tsiiyéél, a woman’s hair bun, she wears a velvet top, silver concho belt, long satin skirt, and leather moccasins—the markers of traditional Navajo femininity. As she expertly slits the sheep’s throat to begin the arduous process of dissecting the animal, her skirt remains spotless: Not a drop of blood touches it.

Sheep butchering, a traditional Navajo art of subsistence, constitutes the first part of the Navajo Nation’s annual Miss Navajo pageant. The second is singing, and the same young woman—Radmilla Cody—performs a traditional “skip dance” song in the Navajo language. But something makes her performance different. As Radmilla’s voice carries across the fairground, she adds melismas, or vocal flourishes, note glides, and a bluesy inflection to the more nasal sound of traditional skip dance songs, which are typically sung by men (McAllester 1954). Onlookers cock their heads to listen more closely, and they hear for the first time the singer who will become known as the “Navajo Whitney Houston.” The crowd responds ecstatically; Radmilla, a twenty-one-year-old from Grand Falls, Navajo Nation, is publicly crowned the forty-sixth Miss Navajo Nation, 1997–1998.

When I introduced myself in Navajo to Radmilla in 2011 at a CD signing (for I had long been a fan of her music), she seemed amused to hear an Anglo, a bilagáana, speaking her language. She joked that we try performing some skip dance songs together in a perhaps improbable duo—a white woman and she, a half-black, half-Navajo one, performing old Navajo standards. As she autographed a glossy poster for my friend’s nine-year-old niece, who is of mixed Navajo, Korean, and French descent, she wrote in flowing cursive: “Beautiful you are! Many blessings to you. Always remember that, and walk in beauty.”

Radmilla dramatically broke the mold in more ways than one. There was, most obviously, her distinctive, hybrid singing at the intersection of Navajo tradition and African American rhythm and blues; that style reflected Radmilla’s own mixed heritage: she was the child of a Navajo (Tł’ááshchí’í clan) mother and a Naakai Łizhinii, or African American, father. In the documentary Hearing Radmilla (2010), she recalled being singled out as a child living on the Navajo reservation for her African American appearance, being perceived as different from other Navajos. There was also the later denouement to Radmilla’s story, her arrest in 2003 for aiding an abusive, drug-selling boyfriend and her subsequent attempt to rehabilitate her public image as a good citizen of the Navajo tribe. Fully fluent in Navajo and a citizen of the Navajo Nation, she embodied a unique story, and Radmilla’s voice became a lightning rod for reflection and debate about the twenty-first-century politics of race, blood, music genre, and belonging in Navajo country.

What, then, does Radmilla’s story reveal about the relationship between sound, racial identity, and blood quantum on the Navajo Nation? And what, in particular, can be said about the role of the singing voice in the politics of indigeneity? In this article, I use two case studies to show the tensions still surrounding black-Native parentage in Native American communities such as the Navajo (or Diné)5 and analyze reactions to Radmilla’s voice as a partial reflection of larger racial stereotypes about blackness and criminality that permeate U.S. society. These ideas tie crucially into issues of tribal citizenship in Native North America in the era of casinos, where the affective and political stakes of belonging have been dramatically raised, and citizenship and enrollment have come to signify more rigid demarcations between who belongs and who does not. Second, I demonstrate how sound itself becomes an “ethnic trope,” defined as symbols constructed as “allusions toward an ideal that has no living model” (Fast 2002, 23), where voice, musical genre, phenotype, and heritage-language skills index a speaker as more or less “authentically” Diné. Here, I distinguish sound from music, defining sound as a broader framework encompassing both music and language, which allows me to talk about the singing and speaking voice within a single frame. In Radmilla’s case, the supposedly black dimensions of both her phenotype and her traditional singing were used to single her out as less than fully Navajo. And, both in her crowning and in her run-in with the law, Radmilla’s identity as a celebrity gained what Daphne Patai (qtd. in Starn 2011, 123) has called “surplus visibility” about racial matters, “always put on the spot when controversy arises.”

Using my own fieldwork singing and playing with the Navajo country-western group, Native Country Band, as a counterpoint to Radmilla’s experience, I examine how individual and collective voices become marked by racial identities. On the one hand, her voice, perceived racial identity, and idiosyncratic singing style designated Radmilla as a cultural outsider. At the same time, in other contexts and because of her ability to broker generational differences in her choice of recorded material, her voice was celebrated as being quintessentially Navajo, securing her insider status as a Diné citizen. Bringing sound into conversations about blood, belonging, and indigeneity, I show how racial identities become marked and investigate the role played by voice in this marking. Music and language both reflect and reinforce ideas of inclusion, exclusion, and communal reckoning in contemporary Navajo communities and in U.S. society at large (Harkness 2010; Feld et al. 2004). My larger contention becomes, in the case of Radmilla, the Navajo Nation, and the U.S. nation, that aesthetics—and voice and sound in particular—matter in relation to politics, albeit often in divergent ways and on differing scales…

Read the entire article here.

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Learning from the Collusions, Collisions, and Contentions with White Privilege Experienced in the United States by White Mothers of Sons and Daughters whose Race is not White

Posted in Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Work, United States, Women on 2014-05-15 16:05Z by Steven

Learning from the Collusions, Collisions, and Contentions with White Privilege Experienced in the United States by White Mothers of Sons and Daughters whose Race is not White

Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2014
405 pages
ATI Number: 3614469

Jennifer Lee Slye Chandler

The purpose of this study was to collect and examine stories from women who identify as White in the United States who are mothers whose sons and daughters they do not identify as White. The stories collected are about their interactions as White women (who are mothers of daughters and sons who are not White) with family, friends, strangers, doctors, daycare providers, teachers, and principals. Their stories are also about their thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions regarding themselves as White and as mothers. The research question was: How is White privilege manifested in the lives of White women who are mothers of daughters and sons who they do not identify as White?

Based on interviews with thirty White mothers whose sons and daughters they do not identify as White living in twenty-four locations across the United States interviewed over an eight month period, three manifestations of White privilege were identified and analyzed: collusions, collisions, and contentions. These three social processes were incorporated into Harro’s (2013) cycle of socialization. The findings from the current study were correlated with findings from prior studies of White privilege with White mothers of daughters and sons who they do not identify as White and also with the findings from studies with White teachers. The conclusions from this study support recommendations in three areas of theory: (1) updating theories on White privilege; (2) updating one of the tenets of Critical Race Theory; and (3) updating theories on motherhood. The conclusions from this study support also recommendations in three areas of research: (1) research on White privilege; (2) research on teacher preparation; and (3) research on motherhood.

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Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz (review)

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2014-05-05 17:30Z by Steven

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz (review)

African Studies Review
Volume 57, Number 1, April 2014
pages 237-238
DOI: 10.1353/arw.2014.0038

Patricia-Pia Célérier, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 is a 79-minute documentary in English and German, directed and produced by Dagmar Schultz. An academic and close friend of Lorde’s, Schultz also co-edited (with May Opitz and Katharina Oguntoye) the book Farbe Bekennen: Frauen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte (1986; translated as Showing our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out, University of Massachusetts Press, 1991), which marked the beginning of the “Afro-German movement.” Schultz contributed her own archival video and audio recordings and footage to the documentary, adding testimonies from Lorde’s colleagues, students, and friends. Released in 2012, twenty years after Lorde’s death, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 is an homage to the African American writer’s tremendous contributions as well as a useful complement to two other documentaries: A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (1995) by Ada Gray Griffin and Michelle Parkerson, and The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde (2002) by Jennifer Abod. Schultz’s film has attracted significant attention and received the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 focuses on an understudied period in the life of the prolific author and activist, the time when she traveled between the U.S. and Germany to lecture and visit friends. It features her relationship to the black diaspora and her mentoring role in the development of the antiracist struggle and the Afro-German movement before and after the German reunification. In true feminist fashion, the documentary links the personal and the political, representing Lorde’s ongoing fight against cancer, her inspiring presence at feminist consciousness-raising meetings, her carefree dancing at multiracial lesbian parties, and her partnership with the poet Gloria I. Joseph.

The film highlights Lorde’s part in building bridges among women of color, feminist, and LGBT social justice movements, in “hyphenating” black Germans. In doing so, it contextualizes the history of major cultural shifts in the late ’80s/early ’90s in Germany. It speaks to audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with Lorde’s work by articulating themes that are at the core of the writer’s production: for instance, the meaning of intimacy and sharing, and the radical role a creative understanding of difference plays in personal and intellectual growth.

Although valuable as a testimonial and politically committed film, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 unfortunately lacks a strong coherent form, its point of view neither sufficiently clear nor technically grounded. Because the filmmaker does not provide a theoretical or narrative perspective (apart from documenting Lorde’s life), the archival images and interviews overtake the film, which in turn seems dated, as if it had been produced twenty years ago. The viewer is not pulled into the story early enough, and the editing does not compensate imaginatively for the somewhat haphazard manner with which the documentary proceeds.

Should we consider, nevertheless, that the historical and political value of such a film overrides issues of filmic quality and narrative coherence, especially because it was made on a tight budget and is a labor of love? A documentary cannot be considered as merely reproducing cultural (feminist, Afro-German, LGBT) meaning, but also as creating (new) meaning. Unfortunately, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 does not sufficiently demonstrate an awareness of the different ways of understanding and theorizing women’s lives that are available today. As a recording of social life and a travelogue, it does accomplish the two goals of the documentary genre: it informs and educates. Like feminist films of the 1970s, it celebrates the clamor of women’s voices and the rising up of women of color and gay women. It sheds light on the diversity of women’s lifestyles and choices and the issues in gay politics. But how do these images of Lorde inform our current understanding of feminism and feminist practices? What spaces does Lorde’s legacy occupy today? These questions are not answered by the film. In addition, because it does not suggest an awareness of the discursive and technical changes that have advanced the…

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