‘The abuse we suffered due to our skin colour is being airbrushed from Irish history’

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Religion, Social Work on 2014-10-23 00:24Z by Steven

‘The abuse we suffered due to our skin colour is being airbrushed from Irish history’

TheJournal.ie
Dublin, Ireland
2014-10-22

Nicky Ryan, Staff Reporter


Members of Mixed Race Irish before the committee today. Source: Oireachtas.ie

Mixed Race Irish is asking for the Government to recognise the abuse they suffered in State-run institutions.

IN A EMOTIONAL appearance before an Oireachtas committee, mixed race survivors of institutional abuse in Ireland have called on the Government to recognise the suffering they endured.

The group, Mixed Race Irish, believe the alleged racist abuse they experienced in these institutions is being “airbrushed from Irish history”. They say that few, if any, records exist of mixed race Irish in any State institutions.

“Our research suggests this racism was endemic throughout all the institutions attended by our community,” co-founder Rosemary Adaser told the Justice Committee.

“The nuns showed us films of missionaries going to tame the ‘savages’, and we were told, ‘look at that, they are savages, that’s what you are’,” she said.

Co-founder Carole Brennan said that parish priests “would single out mixed race children and abuse them.”

“We believe we were treated differently, resulting in inequality, in these systems due to one simple fact – the colour of our skin,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Mixed Race Irish group seek redress amid claims of racist abuse in industrial schools

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Work on 2014-10-22 21:44Z by Steven

Mixed Race Irish group seek redress amid claims of racist abuse in industrial schools

The Irish Examiner
Dublin, Ireland
2014-10-22

Noel Baker, Senior Reporter

Mixed Race Irish group seek redress amid claims of racist abuse in industrial schools

Mixed-race Irish who spent time in industrial schools will today claim they faced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse there because of the colour of their skin.

The Mixed-Race Irish group has 71 members, many of whom now live outside Ireland. Representatives of the group will appear before the Oireachtas Justice Committee today as part of a campaign aimed at official recognition of their experiences and access to redress.

Founder members Evon Brennan, Rosemary C Adaser, and Carole Brennan are set to address the committee and are expected to outline how there has been a failure to acknowledge the historical and ongoing suffering of mixed-race Irish children placed in State institutions throughout Ireland between the 1940s and the 1980s.

They claim mixed-race children who spent time in the industrial school system have had their lives blighted as a result, from poor adoption and educational opportunities, reduced job opportunities due to institutional racism, and memories of neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse because of their skin colour.

The group say records relating to their care are not readily available as the Irish Census did not begin to record ethnicity until 1996.

In all, the group believes as many as 150 mixed-race children were placed in State industrial schools between 1940 and 1980, including in St Patrick’s in Kilkenny, on the Navan Road in Dublin, and in Letterfrack in Galway

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Black and Belgian: Navigating Multiracial Identities in Ghent, Belguim

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-10-05 20:03Z by Steven

Black and Belgian: Navigating Multiracial Identities in Ghent, Belguim

Afropean: Adventures in Afro Europe
2014-10-01

Walter Thompson-Hernandez

Introduction

What does it mean to be Black and multiracial in Belgium? How does sub-Saharan African culture and experiences impact the lives of multiracial people or Afropeans in Belgium? How influential is the U.S. Black experience in the formation of an Afropean identity rooted in Belgian and African cultures? These were some of the questions that I pondered, seven weeks ago, at the outset of this project – eight weeks later, I am still grappling with them. This past summer, I arrived in Ghent, Belgium – a city with a population of 100,000 people, located forty-five miles northwest of Brussels – with hopes of understanding and delving into the multiracial experience of five people with parents from a sub-Saharan African country and the Flanders region in Belgium. Through interviews, observational data, photography, and other methods, I compiled valuable information regarding their stories.

Motives

I was drawn to Belgium for various reasons. As the son of an African American father and a first generation immigrant mother from Mexico, I have always been intrigued by the ways in which immigrant-origin populations impact the racial and social fabric of receiving sites. In attempting to construct my own multiethnic and multilingual identity, I have navigated, and often struggled, to understand my role in my family and community, and the subsequent reactions of my relatives – on both sides of the border, on both sides of my family tree. In Belgium, I found similar experiences with people who had at least one parent from an African country. The feelings of marginalization that I came across were all too familiar: ‘People didn’t know how to treat me’ and ‘I felt like I didn’t belong in either Belgium or Africa’ were some of the feelings that were expressed. Often, as I learned, my respondent’s relatives were faced with the challenges of conceptualizing both an African heritage and a Belgian identity. For many of these relatives, as I was told, the idea of a Belgian identity was already complicated by the French-Dutch language divide manifested in the Wallonia and Flanders regions in Belgium. ‘Identity in Belgium is already complicated,’ one person told me. ‘Are we French speaking or are we Dutch speaking? You add race and national origin to that and it really makes things interesting.’ As opposed to many societies around the world, many regions in Belgium, exercise – amidst contentious debate – a French and Dutch multilingual reality that, often, exacerbates identity formation for people of multiracial backgrounds, so that not only does an Afropean, in the spirit of W.E.B. Dubois, have to navigate a “double consciousness” of being European and African, but also split identities pertaining to language.

Secondly, in the age of European “Super Diversity” – a term coined by social scientists to describe the high rates of immigrant inflows to European nations – I was curious about the ways in which second generation children (the children of first-generation immigrants) were constructing their identities in the context of shifting racial and demographic landscapes. In the United States, interracial mixing is, often, romanticized and harmonized in the framework of multicultural ideas dating back to the 1970s. While once seen as a social and racial aberration, evidenced by anti-miscegenation laws and eugenics, multiracial children and families today have in many regions in the U.S. become a normative aspect of society. In Belgium, however, I learned of tacit and explicit “rules and regulations” for interracial mixing…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-10-05 17:56Z by Steven

Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe

Routledge
2014-04-02
264 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-89743-3

Edited by:

Michael McEachrane

Foreword by:

Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English Literature
King’s College, London

Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe challenges a view of Nordic societies as homogenously white, and as human rights champions that are so progressive that even the concept of race is deemed irrelevant to their societies. The book places African Diasporas, race and legacies of imperialism squarely in a Nordic context. How has a nation as peripheral as Iceland been shaped by an identity of being white? How do Black Norwegians challenge racially conscribed views of Norwegian nationhood? What does the history of jazz in Denmark say about the relation between its national identity and race? What is it like to be a mixed-race black Swedish woman? How have African Diasporans in Finland navigated issues of race and belonging? And what does the widespread denial of everyday racism in Nordic societies mean to Afro-Nordics?

Contents

  • Foreword Paul Gilroy
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction Michael McEachrane
  • Part I: The Nation
    • 1. Imagining Blackness at the Margins: Race and Difference in Iceland Kristín Loftsdóttir
    • 2. “Struggling to Be Recognized as Belonging to the Fauna of Norway”: On Being Black Norwegian Women madeleine kennedy-macfoy
    • 3. The Midnight Sun Never Sets: An Email Conversation About Jazz, Race and National Identity in Denmark, Norway and Sweden Cecil Brown, Anne Dvinge, Petter Frost Fadnes, Johan Fornäs, Ole Izard Høyer, Marilyn Mazur, Michael McEachrane and John Tchicai
  • Part II: Racism
    • 4. There’s a White Elephant in the Room: Equality and Race in (Northern) Europe Michael McEachrane
    • 5. Racism Is No Joke: A Swedish Minister and a Hottentot Venus Cake—An Email Conversation Beth Maina Ahlberg, Claudette Carr, Madubuko Diakité, Fatima El-Tayeb, Tobias Hübinette, Momodou Jallow, Victoria Kawesa, Michael McEachrane, Utz McKnight, Anders Neergaard, Shailja Patel, Kitimbwa Sabuni and Minna Salami
    • 6. Being and Becoming Mixed Race, Black, Swedish and a Nomadic Subject Anna Adeniji
    • 7. Bertrand Besigye’s Civilization Critique: An Aesthetics of Blackness in Norway Helena Karlsson
    • 8. Two Poems by Bertrand Besigye: (i) How A Black African Orders Black Coffee (To Barack Hussein Obama); (ii) You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Or Black Hail Over All of West Side (Translated by John Irons) Bertrand Besigye
  • Part III: Diaspora
    • 9. Talking Back: Voices from the African Diaspora in Finland Anna Rastas
    • 10. Den Sorte: Nella Larsen and Denmark Martyn Bone
    • 11. A Horn of Africa in Northern Europe—An Email Conversation Abdalla Duh, Mohamed Husein Gaas, Abdalla Gasimelseed, Amel Gorani, Nauja Kleist, Anne Kubai, Michael McEachrane, Saifalyazal Omar, Tsegaye Tegenu and Marja Tiilikainen
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Legacies: Race and the European Middle Ages

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2014-09-28 20:18Z by Steven

Black Legacies: Race and the European Middle Ages

University Press of Florida
2014-09-02
192 pages
6×9
Cloth ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-6007-1

Lynn T. Ramey, Associate Professor of French
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Black Legacies looks at color-based prejudice in the medieval and modern texts in order to reveal key similarities. Bringing far-removed time periods into startling conversation, this book argues that certain attitudes and practices present in Europe’s Middle Ages were foundational in the western concept of race.

Using historical, literary, and artistic sources, Lynn Ramey show that twelfth- and thirteenth-century discourse was preoccupied with skin color and the coding of black as “evil” and white as “good.” Ramey demonstrates that fears of miscegenation show up in all medieval European societies.  She pinpoints these same ideas in the rhetoric of later centuries. Mapmakers and travel writers of the colonial era used medieval lore of “monstrous peoples” to question the humanity of indigenous New World populations, and how medieval arguments about humanness were employed to justify the slave trade. Ramey even analyzes how race is portrayed in films set in medieval Europe, revealing an enduring fascination with the Middle Ages as a touchstone for processing and coping with racial conflict in the West today.

Tags: , ,

The Octoroon: A Tragic Mulatto Enslaved by 1 Drop

Posted in Arts, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery on 2014-09-19 21:25Z by Steven

The Octoroon: A Tragic Mulatto Enslaved by 1 Drop

The Root
2014-09-09

Image of the Week: A sculpture addresses the ramifications for those who were mixed-race.


John Bell, The Octoroon, 1868. Marble, 159.6 cm high. Town Hall, Blackburn, U.K.

This image is part of a weekly series that The Root is presenting in conjunction with the Image of the Black Archive & Library at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Though it would hardly seem likely at first glance, this pallid image of slavery directly addresses the condition of black bondage. To all appearances, the young woman seen here represents a white captive. Except for her chains, she could pass for a conventional likeness of Venus, the classical goddess of love. As indicated by the inscription on the base of the statue, she is instead an octoroon—that is, an exceptionally light-skinned person of mixed race, technically defined as one-eighth black and the rest white.

The condition was reached by gradual degrees of miscegenation, or racial mixing, until the complexion of an individual often became indistinguishable from a person of “pure” white ancestry. In race-conscious societies, the prospect of racial mixture could threaten the precarious stability of the dominant order. The position of the octoroon along the edge of this fragile divide afforded some degree of maneuverability, often termed “passing.” Before the abolition of slavery, however, such light-skinned mulattoes faced the even more likely prospect of a life in bondage…

This demure, pensive vision of miscegenation and its dire consequences was made by the popular British sculptor John Bell. Through artfully constructed layers of sentimentality and aesthetic contrivance emerges one of the primary justifications for the enslavement of a whole group of human beings: the notion of one drop of black blood, the “drop sinister,” by which a light-skinned person could be consigned to a life of bondage…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Study reveals the mysterious ancestors of modern Europeans

Posted in Articles, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-09-18 20:24Z by Steven

Study reveals the mysterious ancestors of modern Europeans

The Washington Post
2014-09-18

Gail Sullivan, Reporter

Some had dark skin and blue eyes.

Some had light skin and brown eyes.

And no one is sure what some others looked like.

But, according to a new study of ancient human genomes, three very different populations got together seven millennia ago and made modern Europeans.

“The surprising finding was that present-day Europeans trace their ancestry back to three and not just two ancestral groups as previously thought,” said study co-author Alan Cooper, the director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, in a press release.

Until now, scientists couldn’t fully explain the gene pool of modern Europe. Clues from archaeological research and previous genetic comparisons suggested most Europeans descended from Middle Eastern farmers who migrated to Europe about 7,500 years ago and interbred with local hunter-gatherers.

“Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans,” said the article, published Thursday in the journal Nature

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

A mixed-race German confronts white supremacists face-to-face, including the Klan

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-16 01:44Z by Steven

A mixed-race German confronts white supremacists face-to-face, including the Klan

Public Radio International
2014-09-15

Leo Hornak, Producer

Susie Blair, Producer

Most people would probably run for shelter if confronted with death threats. But Mo Asumang had a different impulse: “I don’t want to hide — it’s not my nature.”

Asumang — who is half-German and half-Ghanaian — came into the public eye during the 1990s as one of the first black women on German television. More recently, the actress and presenter became the target of right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis simply for being a person of color on television.

One particularly jarring threat came via song — a track titled “This Bullet Is For You, Mo Asumang” by the German white-power band White Aryan Rebels.

“Of course I get emails from neo-Nazis, and they are really awful,” she says. “I don’t want to mention what they write.”

But instead of shying away from her attackers, Asumang decided to confront them directly. “I thought, ‘Who are these people? How do they react when they meet me?’” she says.

She filmed those confrontations as part of an upcoming documentary called “The Aryans.” The title references the attacks against her, which are based on her “non-Aryan” identity. But Aryan is a problematic title — one that Asumang says was co-opted by the Nazis to describe the “master race.” Historically, she says, it’s not a white identity at all…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview here.

Tags: , , ,

Footprints of my other

Posted in Africa, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Videos on 2014-09-15 02:00Z by Steven

Footprints of my other

2012
52 minutes

Claude Haffner

Born to a mixed race couple in the DRC, then Zaire, in the 1970s, Claude Haffner is part Congolese, part French.

From her family home in France, Claude Haffner embarks on a journey in search of her African identity. She is of mixed race, born in 1976 to a French father and a Congolese mother in Zaïre (today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo). Pierre Haffner, her father, passed away in 2000, and having become a specialist on African art and cinema, he left behind a collection of African art together with photos and taped accounts about Congo and Africa. This is the starting point of Claude’s investigation. She delves into their shared material, intellectual and psychological heritage. She interviews her mother who still lives in France about her country, her family and her history. In the search of answers to her questions she returns, alone this time, to Mbuji-Mayi, the capital of Kasaï and the centre of the diamond trade. Michou, her cousin travels with her to the heart of the diamond fields. Despite unemployment, poverty and lack of activity the inhabitants of Mbuji-Mayi remain hopeful owing to the new governor’s development policies.

Tags: , ,

The biopolitics of mixing: Thai multiracialities and haunted ascendancies [England Review]

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-08-28 19:00Z by Steven

The biopolitics of mixing: Thai multiracialities and haunted ascendancies [England Review]

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1923-1926
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.925129

Sara England, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, California

The biopolitics of mixing: Thai multiracialities and haunted ascendancies, by Jinthana Haritaworn, Surrey, UK, Ashgate, 2012, vii + 187 pp., £49.50 (hardback), ISBN 978-0-7546-7680-5

The Biopolitics of Mixing falls within a large and growing literature that questions the claim that many nations in the world are now post-racial. This claim is often backed up by the observation that there are a growing number of multiracial subjects who are accepted and celebrated as beautiful, desirable and maybe even genetically superior members of society. It is further bolstered by the claim that race itself has been discredited as a category that has any biological meaning, that through mixing racial categories are blending and creatively transgressed and that multiracial subjects are the products of the ultimate sign of racial tolerance: love, marriage and family-making. Through interviews with peoples of Thai multiracial heritage and analysis of public narratives of multiraciality in England and Germany, Haritaworn argues that this new discourse that celebrates multiracial subjects may appear to be more progressive, having done away with prior narratives of the degenerate hybrid and the marginal man; however, there are also ways that this celebratory discourse ignores what she calls the ghosts of eugenics, the Thai prostitute and other less positive images of multiraciality. She also argues that the celebration of multiraciality marginalizes other subjects who do not fit the narrative of the happy multiracial subject and the love story that produced them, and that it celebrates certain kinds of mixing and multiculturalism over others. In the end, despite its seemingly progressive nature, new discourses of multiraciality still draw on conceptions of biopolitics and biological citizenship that continue to silence certain subjects and reinforce heteronormative, liberal, white subjectivity.

In chapter 2, Haritiworn enters into the debate about the ‘what are you’ question. She notes that, like researchers before her, she designed her interviews with this question in mind. However, she came to the conclusion that the question itself is problematic, both as encountered in the daily lives of multiracial people and as posed by researchers because in both cases it assumes in advance that the multiracial body is ‘naturally’ or ‘obviously’ ambiguous and in need of ‘dissection’ and explanation. Through her interviews she shows that often the ambiguity is created in the encounter itself as the subject is misrecognized as some other ‘monoracial’ category and only through the interrogation is the multiraciality revealed and its ‘signs’ searched for in the body of the interrogated. She further argues that though her interviewees did not see these questions as particularly offensive, they did come to assume an almost ritualistic character in which the interviewee knew in advance how the interrogation was going to proceed and what assumptions underlie it. Some therefore compliantly responded to what the interrogator wanted to hear, others delighted in shocking them, while others played along with their racial assumptions and misrecognitions. While none of these strategies serve to dismantle the racial assumptions behind the interrogation, they could sometimes turn the power of ‘surveillance’ back onto the interrogator whose racial assumptions were revealed.

Unlike their varied strategies of resistance to the ‘what are you’ question, Haritaworn’s interviewees were more consistent in their celebration of the ‘beautiful Eurasian’, a discourse that she argues appears to turn the tables on the bioracial logic of eugenics in which mixes were assumed to produce degenerations of the ‘pure’ racial stocks, but that upon inspection actually shares some of its logic. For example, interviewees talked of themselves as superior breeds that are more beautiful and healthy than monoracial individuals, a belief grounded in the long-standing racial logic that equates phenotype with other ‘non-racial’ characteristics. But even within this celebration of mixing as producing bodies with ‘the best of both worlds’, some mixes were seen as more beautiful or seamless, than others, particularly Asian plus white which produces a browned white body or a diluted Thai body, in contrast to those who are a ‘dually minoritized mix’ whose bodies were seen as a more problematic clashing of disparate racialized body parts (Arab nose with Thai eyes, etc.). Haritaworn further shows that this ‘ghost of eugenics’ in the celebration of the biological superiority of the multiracial body is not simply a discourse among multiracial peoples themselves but is also present in the public sphere and given the legitimization of scientific ‘truth’ through research that seeks to locate race at the genetic level and has made the argument that multiracial peoples exhibit more ‘heterozygosity’ and are therefore physically and mentally superior to those who do not mix. She demonstrates this in chapter 4 through an analysis of the British documentary Is it Better to be Mixed Race? which aired on Channel 4 in 2009. The documentary follows Araathi Prasad, a British South Asian scientist, as she interviews largely white male scientists and happy heterosexual multiracial families with their beautiful children. Haritaworn argues that ‘While superficially reversing the old racial purity doctrine on national reproduction, the new bioracial knowledge repeats its heteronormativity and preserves and diversifies its ableism’ (89). In contrast to the racial logic of eugenics, ‘Interraciality is foregrounded as the transgressive, cutting-edge practice of the future’; however, like eugenics ‘heterosexuality remains its unspoken, taken for granted backdrop’ (90). Thus, rather than dismantling the idea of race as a biological fiction, this new line of research reifies it into the body at the genetic level and reproduces ideas of superior and inferior ‘biological citizens.’…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , ,