Racialization and its paradigms: From Ireland to North America

Posted in Articles, Canada, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-02-03 14:57Z by Steven

Racialization and its paradigms: From Ireland to North America

Current Sociology
Volume 64, Number 2 (March 2016)
pages 213-227
DOI: 10.1177/0011392115614782

Vilna Bashi Treitler, Professor of Black and Latino Studies; Professor of Sociology
City University of New York

This article offers a template for understanding and analyzing racialization as a paradigm. Further, this template is applied to the North American case – an important one because it has endured and spread across the globe despite the enormous weight of scientific evidence against it. The fallacy of race (and in particular the North American Anglo-origin variant) endures for two reasons. First, social agents seeking to gain or maintain power and control over paradigm-relevant resources benefit from reinvesting in pseudoscientific racial paradigms. Second, new science proving the fallacy of race is ignored because ignoring new paradigmatic science is in fact the way normal science operates. Thus, a paradigmatic analysis of race may help to explain why current social science approaches to the demise of racial thought may be ineffective.

Read or purchase the article here. Read the working paper “Racialization – Paradigmatic Frames from British Colonization to Today, and Beyond” here.

Tags: , ,

What happened to black Germans under the Nazis?

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2016-02-01 01:01Z by Steven

What happened to black Germans under the Nazis?

The Conversation (US Pilot): Academic rigor, journalistic flair

Eve Rosenhaft, Professor of German Historical Studies
University of Liverpool

The fact that we officially commemorate the Holocaust on January 27, the date of the liberation of Auschwitz, means that remembrance of Nazi crimes focuses on the systematic mass murder of Europe’s Jews.

The other victims of Nazi racism, including Europe’s Sinti and Roma are now routinely named in commemoration, but not all survivors have had equal opportunities to have their story heard. One group of victims who have yet to be publicly memorialised is black Germans.

All those voices need to be heard, not only for the sake of the survivors, but because we need to see how varied the expressions of Nazi racism were if we are to understand the lessons of the Holocaust for today.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, there were understood to have been some thousands of black people living in Germany – they were never counted and estimates vary widely. At the heart of an emerging black community was a group of men from Germany’s own African colonies (which were lost under the peace treaty that ended World War I) and their German wives…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television by Zélie Asava (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive on 2016-01-12 01:15Z by Steven

The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television by Zélie Asava (review)

Black Camera
Volume 7, Number 1, Fall 2015 (New Series)
pages 267-270

Isabelle Le Corff

Asava, Zélie, The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang, 2013)

The Black Irish Onscreen makes an original contribution to the field of Irish film studies. Author Zélie Asava has gone to great lengths to confront the political hierarchies of black and white in Ireland and question the links between visual culture and social reality. Pointing at Ireland’s long history of cultural and ethnic heterogeneity, the general introduction shows how, although Ireland has shifted from a land of emigrants to one of immigrants, it continues to consider foreigners as people who come to work rather than to settle permanently, the immigrant probably reminding the nation of its own migrant past and present.

Challenging the idea that “being Irish is still often seen as a question of being the product of two Irish people descended from a long line of Irish ancestors,” Asava describes her familial and cultural roots in Ireland and explains that her politics as a heterosexual mixed-race woman have been deeply influenced by the cultural productions of Ireland. As an Irish woman with dual citizenship, her experiences of misrecognition have framed her intellectual interrogation. She can thus assert that the personal is highly political, and stress the importance of using art to challenge socioeconomic and cultural norms.

Since the emergence of the Celtic Tiger and mass immigration as a new phenomenon, there have been enduring problems of racism and acceptance in Ireland. Asava ironically observes that Irish identity now expands to include the seventy million of the diaspora but still excludes non-Europeans living in Ireland, the majority of whom are African. Questioning the link between reality and onscreen representations, she insists that despite a marked increase in the visibility of gay, lesbian, minority-ethnic, and socially excluded characters on the Irish screen, it is still extremely difficult nowadays to find images of mixed-race or black people in Irish visual culture, and the existing representations are frequently stereotyped and prejudiced. Asava cherishes the hope that, with more focus on commonalities than differences, the black and hyphenated Irish may come to be seen as part of the nation rather than as a fractional ethnic group defined as “Other.” Being critical of the way Otherness may be referred to in cultural products is imperative. Different aspects of Irish public culture are pointed out as a means of de-legitimizing the Irishness of anyone who isn’t white or the product of Irish ancestors. Such aspects range from the constant media references to the men of 1916 to the focus on parochial origins, which inevitably position all hybrids as foreigners, albeit foreigners born and bred on Irish soil. Asava’s book is the first in Irish film studies to consider Ireland as a black mixed-race country and explore manifestations of Irishness which challenge the concept of Irish identity as a static, homogeneous ethnicity, seeking to produce a more inclusive and far reaching vision of Irish identity. It complements Debbie Ging’sGoldfish Memories? On Seeing and Hearing Marginalised Identities in Contemporary Irish Cinema,” published in 2008.

The Black Irish Onscreen is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is devoted to Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game (1992) and Breakfast on Pluto (2005), two Irish films featuring mixed-race protagonists. Jordan’s work was among the first to explore racial narratives in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and to draw parallels between the political situation in Northern Ireland and interracial and queer/trans* love. His film Mona Lisa (1986) is also cited for starring Cathy Tyson and comparing mixed-race Great Britain and white Ireland. In this chapter Asava briefly refers to Diane Negra and Richard Dyer’s pioneering works on racializing whiteness and showing how representations of gender, sexuality and race have been shaped by the film industry. Sexuality and race are thus equated as alien in an Irish screen culture characterized by major gender imbalances, male directors and male protagonists dominating an industry that favors historical and gangster genres.

The second chapter focuses on black or mixed-race women on Irish television. Different television programs such as Prosperity (RTE, 2007), Love is The Drug (RTE, 2004), and Fair City (RTE, 1989–) are considered for the way they portray black or mixed-race female protagonists. While…

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,

How Green Was My Surname; Via Ireland, a Chapter in the Story of Black America

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-29 03:58Z by Steven

How Green Was My Surname; Via Ireland, a Chapter in the Story of Black America

The New York Times

S. Lee Jamison

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Shaquille O’Neal!

So many African-Americans have Irish-sounding last names—Eddie Murphy, Isaac Hayes, Mariah Carey, Dizzy Gillespie, Toni Morrison, H. Carl McCall—that you would think that the long story of blacks and Irish coming together would be well documented. You would be wrong.

Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of ”Interracial Intimacies; Sex, Marriage, Identity and Adoption,” said that when it comes to written historical exploration of black-Irish sexual encounters, ”there are little mentions, but not much.”

And most African-Americans do not know a lot about their family names.

“Quite frankly, I always thought my name was Scotch, not Irish.” said Mr. McCall, the former New York State comptroller.

But the Irish names almost certainly do not come from Southern slaveholders with names like Scarlett O’Hara. Most Irish were too poor to own land. And some blacks, even before the Civil War, were not slaves.

…Elizabeth Shown Mills, who recently retired as the editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, said that unlike native-born whites, “Irish were more willing to accept and acknowledge interracial allegiances.”

Before the Civil War, she said, “the free mulatto population had the same number of black moms as white moms.”

Ms. Mills said that mixed-race children would have been given Irish surnames when their Irish fathers married their black mothers, or when their unmarried Irish mothers named children after themselves.

The Irish ended up in the Caribbean, too. Britain sent hundreds of Irish people to penal colonies in the West Indies in the mid-1600’s, and more went over as indentured servants.

Mr. [Charles L.] Blockson noted that “Lord Oliver Cromwell’s boatloads of men and women” sent to Barbados and Jamaica intermingled with the African slaves already there.

Montserrat ended up with the largest Irish community in the West Indies…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Going Silent: Augusta Chiwy (B. 1921)

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, Women on 2015-12-23 22:04Z by Steven

Going Silent: Augusta Chiwy (B. 1921)

The Lives They Lived (2015)
The New York Times Magazine

Ruth Padawer, Adjunct Professor of Journalism
Columbia University, New York, New York

Augusta Chiwy as a nursing student, front row center, at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Leuven, Belgium, in 1943.
Credit: Photograph from Martin King

She saw so much and could say so little about it.

In late December 1944, as German bombs rained on the Belgian town Bastogne, an American Army surgeon named Jack Prior banged on the door of a local home, desperate for help. He had heard a nurse lived there. When a middle-aged gentleman cautiously opened the door, the surgeon asked if the man’s daughter could join him at the Army’s makeshift hospital close by.

Prior knew Augusta Chiwy was black — her father was Belgian, her mother Congolese — and he knew the American Army prohibited black nurses from treating its white soldiers. But he reasoned that volunteers weren’t bound by Army rules. And anyway, he needed help.

The situation at the hospital was dire. The only medics for the 50 or so wounded soldiers were Prior, a dentist and another volunteer nurse. The team had run out of morphine and bandages, and only one can of ether remained. Electricity and running water had been cut off by the Germans, who were quickly surrounding Bastogne. This was the Battle of the Bulge, one of the deadliest of the war

Read the entire article here.

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

Vienna to London: Black to Mixed-Race

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-12-23 21:13Z by Steven

Vienna to London: Black to Mixed-Race

Afropean: Adventures in Afro Europe

Annina Chirade

I was born in Vienna, a place which has historically been a frontier between Eastern and Western Europe. I was primarily brought up in London, a city whose population reflects the reaches of the British Empire. It is also the place my parents forged new homes having left their respective homelands. My father is from Ghana and ethnically Asante (one should really say he is Asante first and foremost). My mother is a child of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and my grandmother’s post-war exile from Sudetenland – her homeland. I’m mixed-race, even though the term never seems to capture the overlapping cultural and personal narratives that exist inside of myself and my family. As a child in the ‘90s, I went back and forth between being black in Vienna and mixed-race in London…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Augusta Chiwy, ‘Forgotten’ Wartime Nurse, Dies at 94

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, Women on 2015-12-23 20:10Z by Steven

Augusta Chiwy, ‘Forgotten’ Wartime Nurse, Dies at 94

The New York Times

Sam Roberts, Urban Affairs Correspondent

Augusta Chiwy was honored in 2011 for saving Americans during World War II. Credit Eric Lalmand/European Pressphoto Agency

Augusta Chiwy, a Belgian nurse whose unsung bravery in saving countless American soldiers wounded in the Battle of the Bulge was belatedly celebrated in 2011, died on Sunday near Brussels. She was 94.

Her death was confirmed by her biographer, Martin King.

Ms. Chiwy (pronounced CHEE-wee) was mentioned in passing only as “Anna,” a black nurse from Congo, in Stephen Ambrose’s book “Band of Brothers.” She was played by Rebecca Okot in an episode of the television series based on the book.

It took Mr. King, a British military historian, to trace her to a retirement home near Brussels, overcome a condition called selective mutism, which prevented her from speaking about her wartime experience, and finally identify her in a 2010 book published abroad titled “The Forgotten Nurse.” His TV documentary “Searching for Augusta: The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne” was released last year.

As a result of Mr. King’s efforts, 67 years after her battlefield heroism, Ms. Chiwy was awarded the Army’s Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service “for selfless service and bravery” and knighted by the king of Belgium

A book in 2010 about Ms. Chiwy’s experiences.

…Augusta Marie Chiwy was born on June 6, 1921, in a village near the Rwandan border that is now part of Burundi. Her father, Henri, was a veterinarian from Belgium. Her mother was Congolese.

Her father took her to Bastogne when she was 9. She planned on becoming a teacher, but when the war began she turned to nursing.

She married a Belgian soldier, Jacques Cornet, in 1950. They had two children, Alain and Christine, who survive her.

She later worked in a hospital treating patients with spinal injuries. She rarely spoke about her wartime experience…

Read the entire obituary here.

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

Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Biography, Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-12-21 01:46Z by Steven

Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness

Northwestern University Press
May 2006
488 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Paper ISBN: ISBN 978-0-8101-1971-0

Edited by:

Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy (1951-2015), Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Russian Literature and Culture
Barnard College
Columbia University, New York, New York

Nicole Svobodny, Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Senior Lecturer, International & Area Studies
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

Ludmilla A. Trigo

Foreword by:

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor; Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Roughly in the year 1705, a young African boy, acquired from the seraglio of the Turkish sultan, was transported to Russia as a gift to Peter the Great. This child, later known as Abram Petrovich Gannibal, was to become Peter’s godson and to live to a ripe old age, having attained the rank of general and the status of Russian nobility. More important, he was to become the great-grandfather of Russia’s greatest national poet, Alexander Pushkin. It is the contention of the editors of this book, borne out by the essays in the collection, that Pushkin’s African ancestry has played the role of a “wild card” of sorts as a formative element in Russian cultural mythology; and that the ways in which Gannibal’s legacy has been included in or excluded from Pushkin’s biography over the last two hundred years can serve as a shifting marker of Russia’s self-definition.

The first single volume in English on this rich topic, Under the Sky of My Africa addresses the wide variety of interests implicated in the question of Pushkin’s blackness-race studies, politics, American studies, music, mythopoetic criticism, mainstream Pushkin studies. In essays that are by turns biographical, iconographical, cultural, and sociological in focus, the authors-representing a broad range of disciplines and perspectives-take us from the complex attitudes toward race in Russia during Pushkin’s era to the surge of racism in late Soviet and post-Soviet contemporary Russia. In sum, Under the Sky of My Africa provides a wealth of basic material on the subject as well as a series of provocative readings and interpretations that will influence future considerations of Pushkin and race in Russian culture.

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

Black in the USSR: 3 Generations of a Russian Family

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-12-13 02:44Z by Steven

Black in the USSR: 3 Generations of a Russian Family

The Root

Steven J. Niven

Olver Golden; Lily Golden; Yelena Khanga

Escaping the oppression of a racist America, a black scientist named Oliver Golden took Soviet citizenship in the 1930’s and began a legacy for his family that endures in Russia today.

1932, the poet Langston Hughes spent Christmas in the ‘dusty, coloured, cotton-growing South’ of Uzbekistan, then one of the Soviet Union’s Asian republics. Hughes had been in Moscow, working on a film critical of American race relations, but the project was abandoned, in part because the Soviets were then seeking official diplomatic recognition and improved economic ties with the United States. After an exhausting 2000-mile journey on frozen, ramshackle Russian trains, he arrived on Christmas Eve in Yangiyul, near Tashkent, “in the middle of a mudcake oasis frosted with snow,” and visited “a neat, white painted cottage,” where “it was jolly and warm.

His hosts were Oliver Golden, a black Mississippian, and his wife Bertha Bialek, the white New York-born daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants, who had prepared traditional American meal capped off with pumpkin pie to celebrate the season—washed down, of course, with copious amounts of local cognac and vodka. Most of his fellow guests were black men and women. As he looked out his window on Christmas morning Hughes saw some tall, brown skinned Uzbeks on horseback, padding across the snowy fields, and was reminded of images he had seen in Sunday School when he was a boy in Kansas. “In their robes these Uzbeks looked just like bible characters, and I imagined in their stable a manger and a child.”

Oliver Golden was the driving force behind the presence of a group of black scientists in Tashkent to assist in the cultivation of cotton, which had prompted Hughes visit. Born in Yazoo County in the Mississippi Delta in 1887, Golden was the son of former slaves who had prospered during Reconstruction. By the time he reached his twenties, however, his family home had been burned down twice as part of the broad, violent, and successful campaign to restore white supremacy. He was drawn to the Soviet experiment in the 1920s and 1930s by its promises of racial equality, much as his grandfather had been inspired by the promise of Reconstruction…

Yelena Khanga was raised by her mother and grandmother, Bertha, in Moscow, where she enjoyed a relatively privileged upbringing as the child of a leading Soviet academic. Like her mother, she was a talented tennis player, and attended Moscow State. She graduated in 1984 with a degree in journalism, and worked for three years with the Moscow World News. In 1987, in the wake of Glasnost, President Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberalization of the Soviet system, Khanga was selected to take part in an exchange program between American and Soviet newspapers. She moved to Boston to work for the Christian Science Monitor.

While in the US she began to research her black and Jewish ancestry, and traveled to Yazoo, Mississippi, to visit the land once owned by her great-grandfather. She also met many of her African American relatives at a family reunion in Mississippi, and in 1992 published a memoir, Soul to Soul: The Story of a Black Russian American Family. In that book Khanga admitted that racism existed in Russia during the Soviet era and had worsened since communism’s collapse, but she was also clear that her own family had experienced more discrimination for being Jewish and American than for being black. Around this time her mother also began visiting the United States, and taught at Chicago State University in the 1990s, before returning to Moscow to help raise her daughter’s children. Lily Golden died in Russia in 2010…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,