You may not know it — but if you speak Spanish, you speak some Arabic too

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Europe, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-25 23:22Z by Steven

You may not know it — but if you speak Spanish, you speak some Arabic too

PRI’s The World
Public Radio International

Joy Diaz, Reporter

Rihab Massif, originally from Lebanon, was my daughter’s preschool teacher in Austin. As a little girl, Camila, my daughter, spoke mostly in Spanish. And Massif remembers a day when Camila was frustrated because she couldn’t remember a word in English.

“She was telling me about her camis,” Massif says.

Camisa is the word in Spanish for “shirt,” and Massif understood it perfectly because camis means the same thing in Arabic.

“And I was like ‘Oh! There are some words related to Arabic,’” she says.

To see just how many, Massif and I did an exercise. I’d say a word in Spanish, and she’d say it back in Arabic.


“We say ceit,” Massif says.


“We say guitar.”

Now that I am aware, it seems like I hear Arabic words everywhere…

…Linguist Victor Solis Parejo from the University of Barcelona in Spain says part of the language Spanish speakers use comes from a legacy of the Moorish influence. “Moors” was the name used to refer to the Arabic-speaking group from North Africa that invaded what would become Spain back in the eighth century. Their influence lasted about 700 years and is still visible today.

“Especially if you travel [in the] south of Spain­. For example in Merida, in the city where I was born, we have the Alcazaba Arabe, an Arabic fortification,” Parejo says. “So, you can see that in the cities nowadays, but you can also see that Islamic presence, that Arabic presence in the language.”…

Read the story here. Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

Posted in Articles, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2015-11-24 16:26Z by Steven

Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

The New York Times

Carl Zimmer

The agricultural revolution was one of the most profound events in human history, leading to the rise of modern civilization. Now, in the first study of its kind, an international team of scientists has found that after agriculture arrived in Europe 8,500 years ago, people’s DNA underwent widespread changes, altering their height, digestion, immune system and skin color.

Researchers had found indirect clues of some of these alterations by studying the genomes of living Europeans. But the new study, they said, makes it possible to see the changes as they occurred over thousands of years.

“For decades we’ve been trying to figure out what happened in the past,” said Rasmus Nielsen, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the new study. “And now we have a time machine.”

…Dr. Reich and his colleagues also tracked changes in the color of European skin.

The original hunter-gatherers, descendants of people who had come from Africa, had dark skin as recently as 9,000 years ago. Farmers arriving from Anatolia were lighter, and this trait spread through Europe. Later, a new gene variant emerged that lightened European skin even more.

Why? Scientists have long thought that light skin helped capture more vitamin D in sunlight at high latitudes. But early hunter-gatherers managed well with dark skin. Dr. Reich suggests that they got enough vitamin D in the meat they caught.

He hypothesizes that it was the shift to agriculture, which reduced the intake of vitamin D, that may have triggered a change in skin color…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-race descendant of Nazi murderer tells of life

Posted in Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-11-20 02:33Z by Steven

Mixed-race descendant of Nazi murderer tells of life

San Diego Jewish World

David Strom, Professor Emeritus of Education
San Diego State University, San Diego, California

My Grandfather Would have Shot Me [Amon: Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossen], by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair. The Experiment, Pub. 2015, 221pp

SAN DIEGO — At the age of 38 Jennifer Teege was at the Hamburg central library. There she glanced at a book with a red cover and was drawn to it. From photographs in the book, Jennifer discovered that it was about people she vaguely remembered—her mother and grandmother. She took the book home and read it from cover to cover. The most amazing and shocking thing she learned was that her maternal grandfather, Amon Goeth, the butcher commandant of Plaszow concentration camp near Krakow, was not killed fighting in the war but was hanged for his crimes (The actor Ralph Fiennes played Amon Goeth in the movie Schindler’s List.)

Now she understood why no one told her or spoke about her background. Jennifer knew that her grandfather would have murdered her since she was a mixed-race black German-Nigerian. Learning the truth about her ancestry threw Jennifer in a deep depression. But it did lead to a rather tentative reconnection with her mother, Monika Hertwig, who she hadn’t seen in years…

Read the entire review here.

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European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Religion on 2015-11-16 04:00Z by Steven

European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe

University of Minnesota Press
304 pages
6 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN 978-0-8166-7016-1
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8166-7015-4

Fatima El-Tayeb, Professor of African-American Literature and Culture
University of California, San Diego

European Others offers an interrogation into the position of racialized communities in the European Union, arguing that the tension between a growing nonwhite, non-Christian population and insistent essentialist definitions of Europeanness produces new forms of identity and activism. Moving beyond disciplinary and national limits, Fatima El-Tayeb explores structures of resistance, tracing a Europeanization from below in which migrant and minority communities challenge the ideology of racelessness that places them firmly outside the community of citizens.

Using a notable variety of sources, from drag performances to feminist Muslim activism and Euro hip-hop, El-Tayeb draws on the largely ignored archive of vernacular culture central to resistance by minority youths to the exclusionary nationalism that casts them as threatening outcasts. At the same time, she reveals the continued effect of Europe’s suppressed colonial history on the representation of Muslim minorities as the illiberal Other of progressive Europe.

Presenting a sharp analysis of the challenges facing a united Europe seen by many as a model for twenty-first-century postnational societies, El-Tayeb combines theoretical influences from both sides of the Atlantic to lay bare how Europeans of color are integral to the continent’s past, present, and, inevitably, its future.


  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Theorizing Urban Minority Communities in Postnational Europe
  • 1. “Stranger in My Own Country”: European Identities, Migration, and Diasporic Soundscapes
  • 2. Dimensions of Diaspora: Women of Color Feminism, Black Europe, and Queer Memory Discourses
  • 3. Secular Submissions: Muslim Europeans, Female Bodies, and Performative Politics
  • 4. “Because It Is Our Stepfatherland”: Queering European Public Spaces
  • Conclusion: “An Infinite and Undefinable Movement”
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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I’m white in Barcelona but in Los Angeles I’m Hispanic?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Europe, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-16 02:42Z by Steven

I’m white in Barcelona but in Los Angeles I’m Hispanic?

Public Radio International

Jaime Gonzalez, BBC World Service Journalist
Los Angeles, California

“You’re not white, where are you from?”

This is how I was greeted a few months ago by a young Black man I interviewed in Los Angeles for a story I was working on.

Having lived in the United States for more than six years, the question did not surprise me, as it was not the first time I had to answer it.

I was born and raised in Barcelona, ​​in northeast Spain, and although I had never given much thought to this matter, I always thought I was white. With dark Mediterranean features, but white.

How else could I define myself if someone asked me about my race?

In 2009, I moved to Miami and soon I became aware of the deep racial divide that still exists in this country.

In America, the definition of what being white means is much more limited than in Spain…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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Intermarriage and Integration Revisited: International Experiences and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

Posted in Articles, Canada, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-11-12 16:40Z by Steven

Intermarriage and Integration Revisited: International Experiences and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 662, November 2015

Guest Edited by:

Dan Rodríguez-García, Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Intermarriage has been a subject of study in the social sciences for more than a century.  Conventional wisdom (and some scattered research) holds that intermarriage is important to the  social integration of immigrants and minority peoples in majority cultures and economies, but we still have a great deal to learn about dynamics of intermarriage and integration. Which groups are  more likely to intermarry? Does crossing racial, ethno-cultural, national, religious or class  boundaries at the intimate level lead to greater integration of individuals and groups that have not  been considered part of the societal mainstream?

This special issue of The ANNALS investigates the intermarriage/integration nexus. The  research within shows the extent to which intermarriage is related to pluralism, cultural diversity,  and social inclusion/exclusion in the twenty-first century; we also evaluate the impact that mixed  marriages, families, and individuals have on shaping and transforming modern societies. We  identify patterns and outcomes of intermarriage in both North America and Europe, detecting  boundaries between native majorities and ethnic minorities.

Obviously, intermarriage and mixedness are often deeply entwined with immigration, so we also  scrutinize the relationship between intermarriage and various aspects of immigrant integration,  whether legal, political, economic, social, or cultural. Does intermarriage, in fact, contribute to  immigrant incorporation? How and to what degree? Findings – whether quantitative, qualitative,  or both – are presented in this volume for a wide variety of national contexts: Canada, the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Specific findings include:

  • Race and religion remain significant barriers to societal integration, and deep social cleavages exist even in countries with higher rates of intermarriage. Race is a significant barrier in the United States, and religion – Islam in particular – is a prominent barrier in Western Europe, where even “looking Muslim” is automatically a low-status attribute, making some basic social integration, from housing to employment, automatically more difficult.
  • Diversity has never been greater in the United States, but social integration is context-bound and conditional:
    • White immigrants have an easier time with various forms of integration (e.g. educational attainment, housing, and labor), but the opposite is true for black immigrants, who are less likely to marry black natives or out-marry with other groups.
    • Asian Americans have become the most “marriageable” ethnoracial minority in America. Boundaries to integration in the U.S. for Asians have not disappeared, but the rising multiracial Asian population faces fewer social hurdles. This is particularly true for Asian women, who are seen as more desirable than Asian men, likely because of persistent ethnic stereotypes.
    • The earnings gap between immigrants who marry natives and those who marry other immigrants has increased over time in the U.S.
  • In the U.S. and France, immigrants with high levels of education are more likely to marry natural born citizens.
  • British multiracial people with part white ancestry and their children do not necessarily integrate into the white mainstream.
  • EU citizens generally have a strong identification with Europe – they tend to feel “European” and take pride in being so; this is particularly true of those with a partner from a different EU27 country.
  • The key to integration can lie in children who are products of mixed unions and the role that these families have in shaping societies where plural identities are normalized. In Quebec, for example, parents in mixed unions tend to make decisions that transmit identity, values, and culture to their children in ways that contribute to the “unique social pluralism” of the Quebecois.
  • Immigrants in Canada with Canadian-born partners have similar levels of political engagement as the third-plus generation with Canadian-born partners; however, immigrants with foreign-born partners have lower political participation.
  • The regulation of mixed marriages in the Netherlands has historically been gendered, to the detriment of Dutch women.
  • The link between intermarriage and immigrant integration in Spain is complex and varied: outcomes for some aspects of integration may show a direct connection, while other results indicate either no relationship or a bidirectional association; further, the outcomes may be moderated by factors such as country of origin, gender, or length of residence.
  • The social, cultural, and achievement outcomes for children of mixed marriages in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are always in between the outcomes for immigrant children and native children, suggesting that mechanisms of both integration and  stigmatization, among other possibilities, play a role.

Together, these studies suggest a more complex picture of the nexus between intermarriage and integration than has traditionally been theorized, composing a portrait of what some scholars are calling “mixedness” – an encompassing concept that refers to intermarriage and mixed families, and the sociocultural processes attendant to them, in the modern world. We find that mixedness can be socially transformative, but also that it illuminates the disheartening persistence of ethnic and cultural divides that hinder inclusion and social cohesion.

Read or purchase this special issue here.

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African American Interest & Experiences in Russia: A Brief History

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2015-11-01 16:57Z by Steven

African American Interest & Experiences in Russia: A Brief History

Afropean: Adventures in Afro Europe

Robert Fikes, Jr., Reference Librarian
San Diego State University

Robert Fikes, Jr., Librarian at San Diego State University, recounts the history of the African American presence in Russia from the 19th century, noting that African Americans have had a long and prominent history in the region, continuing to the present day, with a focus on the scholarly interest in the history and language by members of the African American intelligentsia.

In early February 1869, Cassius M. Clay, the liberal American ambassador to Russia, was uncertain how Czar Alexander II would react to his personal request to have “a colored American citizen, presented to his Imperial Majesty, as there was not precedent.” He need not have worried however, as Civil War veteran and pioneering black journalist Capt. Thomas Morris Chester from Pennsylvania, was then asked to accompany the czar riding alongside the monarch and his staff in the annual grand review the Imperial Guard – stalwart men splendidly attired in tall black leather boots and gleaming gold and silver helmets crowned with a doubled-headed eagle – and following the awe-inspiring pageantry was treated to a fine meal at the dining table of the royal family. The educated and proudly erect son of an ex-slave, he gladly accepted the invitation and enjoyed an experience unparalleled for an African American in the 19th century. The black editors of the New Orleans Tribune thought the event significant enough that the ambassador’s dispatch to Washington concerning Capt. Chester’s gracious treatment in St. Petersburg was reprinted in the newspaper, believing it would be “instructive to the (racist) white population of the Southern States,” an example of how they should, in the ambassador’s words, “elevate the African race in America.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Germany’s latest Nazi satire ‘Heil’ isn’t brave enough

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2015-10-26 01:10Z by Steven

Why Germany’s latest Nazi satire ‘Heil’ isn’t brave enough

Deutsche Welle

Sarah Hofmann

An unlikely spokesman
Neo-Nazi boss Sven (left, played by Beno Fürmann) celebrates a victory. He kidnapped Afro-German author Sebastian Klein (played by Jerry Hoffmann), who suffers from amnesia after behind hit on the head. Klein starts mimicking everything the neo-Nazis say.

An Afro-German starts talking like a neo-Nazi after the right-wingers beat him up in the new film satire, “Heil.” If Germany is going to laugh about Nazis, it should have a better reason to, says DW’s Sarah Hofmann.

It starts with a shock and the text “Deutschland 1945” on a black board. Cut. Historic footage of a Hitler speech. Cut. Piles of corpses in Bergen-Belsen. Cut. “Deutschland 1945” on a black board. Cut. One of the main characters in the film, a neo-Nazi, spraying “Wheit Pauer” – presumably intended to read “White Power” – and a swastika on a wall.

The first sequence in the film “Heil” lasts only five seconds. But the scenes are powerful. The audience stops laughing when the images jump from 1945 to 2015.

As a German in the audience, I find myself asking: Is that ok? Can images of Nazi crimes be used to evoke laughter without offending the victims? I decide that, yes, it can. But with one caveat: It has to hurt.

If the humor is black, then it should be bad.

How far can clichés be taken?

Nevertheless, even in 2015, Nazi jokes shouldn’t be turned into slapstick in Germany – and that’s the problem with “Heil.” The plot cannot be summed up in a few lines. It opens in Prittwitz, a fictional East German village that fulfills every cliché and is controlled by neo-Nazis. Afro-German author Sebastian Klein has a reading scheduled in this very town. Shortly after he arrives, he is beaten up and kidnapped by a bunch of neo-Nazis. The slapstick element comes when Klein suffers from amnesia after being hit on the head and mimics everything the neo-Nazis say for the rest of the film.

In talk shows, Klein rants xenophobic slogans. It’s a victory for neo-Nazi boss, Sven, who is competing with other neo-Nazi groups: the new Nazis in the West and the Nipsters. The latter dress like hipsters and know their way around social media, which gives them an advantage over the backward twits from Prittwitz. Then there are the local gangs that are just waiting for an opportunity to march into Poland again.

And Sebastian? His pregnant girlfriend – the epitome of the well-situated, hip Berlin mom – comes looking for him…

Read the entire article here.

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Brazil through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2015-10-22 00:01Z by Steven

Brazil through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics

University of New Mexico Press
October 2015
264 pages
59 halftones
6 x 9 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8263-3745-0

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

In 1858 François-Auguste Biard, a well-known sixty-year-old French artist, arrived in Brazil to explore and depict its jungles and the people who lived there. What did he see and how did he see it? In this book historian Ana Lucia Araujo examines Biard’s Brazil with special attention to what she calls his “tropical romanticism”: a vision of the country with an emphasis on the exotic.

Biard was not only one of the first European artists to encounter and depict native Brazilians, but also one of the first travelers to photograph the rain forest and its inhabitants. His 1862 travelogue Deux années en Brésil includes 180 woodcuts that reveal Brazil’s reliance on slave labor as well as describe the landscape, flora, and fauna, with lively narratives of his adventures and misadventures in the rain forest. Thoroughly researched, Araujo places Biard’s work in the context of the European travel writing of the time and examines how representations of Brazil through French travelogues contributed and reinforced cultural stereotypes and ideas about race and race relations in Brazil. She further summarizes that similar representations continue and influence perspectives today.

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Human Variation: A Genetic Perspective on Diversity, Race, and Medicine

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-21 02:26Z by Steven

Human Variation: A Genetic Perspective on Diversity, Race, and Medicine

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
131 pages
(21 4C, 5B&W), index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-621820-90-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-936113-25-5

Edited by:

Aravinda Chakravarti, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Molecular Biology & Genetics, and, Biostatistics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Institute of Genetic Medicine

Since the appearance of modern humans in Africa around 200,000 years ago, we have migrated around the globe and accumulated genetic variations that affect various traits, including our appearance, skin color, food tolerance, and susceptibility to different diseases. Large-scale DNA sequencing is now allowing us to map the patterns of human genetic variation more accurately than ever before, trace our ancestries, and develop personalized therapies for particular diseases. It is also reinforcing the idea that human populations are far from homogeneous, are highly intermixed, and do not fall into distinct races or castes that can be defined genetically.

This book provides a state-of-the-art view of human genetic variation and what we can infer from it, surveying the genetic diversity seen in Africa, Europe, the Americas, and India. The contributors discuss what this can tell us about human history and how it can be used to improve human health. They also caution against assumptions that differences between individuals always stem from our DNA, stressing the importance of nongenetic forces and pointing out the limits of our knowledge. The book is thus essential reading for all human geneticists and anyone interested in how we differ and what this means.


  • Preface
  • Perspectives on Human Variation through the Lens of Diversity and Race / Aravinda Chakravarti
  • What Type of Person Are You? Old-Fashioned Thinking Even in Modern Science / Kenneth M. Weiss and Brian W. Lambert
  • Social Diversity in Humans: Implications and Hidden Consequences for Biological Research / Troy Duster
  • Demographic Events and Evolutionary Forces Shaping European Genetic Diversity / Krishna R. Veeramah and John Novembre
  • Genetic Variation and Adaptation in Africa: Implications for Human Evolution and Disease / Felicia Gomez, Jibril Hirbo and Sarah A. Tishkoff
  • A Genomic View of Peopling and Population Structure of India / Partha P. Majumder and Analahba Basu
  • How Genes Have Illuminated the History of Early Americans and Latino Americans / Andres Ruiz-Linares
  • Can Genetics Help Us Understand Indian Social History? / Romila Thapar
  • Race in Biological and Biomedical Research / Richard S. Cooper
  • Personalized Medicine and Human Genetic Diversity / Yi-Fan Lu, David B. Goldstein, Misha Angrist, and Gianpiero Cavalleri
  • Index
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