After Tiananmen Square, New Lives On A New Continent

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-08 21:41Z by Steven

After Tiananmen Square, New Lives On A New Continent

Tell Me More
National Public Radio
2014-06-04

Michel Martin, Host

After the democracy protests were crushed in 1989, many thought China would turn inward. Instead, a million Chinese citizens moved to Africa. Howard French discusses his book China’s Second Continent.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I’m Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We’re going to start the program today by taking note of a difficult moment in history. Twenty-five years ago today, the Chinese army attacked demonstrators who had been occupying Tiananmen Square, protesting for more democracy and freedom. The crackdown brought international condemnation. Some observers believed it would lead the communist country to become increasingly inward-looking and isolated. It turned out that did not happen. Today, China stands as a major global power, and one part of the world in which it clearly rivals the U.S. as an influence on politics and the economy is Africa. Thousands of Chinese companies have established themselves in Africa over the last two decades. China-Africa trade has surged from $10 billion in 2000 to $200 billion last year, far surpassing the U.S. and any European country. China’s top leaders make multiple trips to the continent every year. But, as author Howard French tells us in his new book, just as important as those high-level visits are the people who are rarely discussed. And they are the million or so Chinese expatriates who aren’t just passing through, but are staying and moving into all walks of life. That’s who the former New York Times bureau chief spent time with as he prepared his latest book, “China’s Second Continent: How A Million Migrants Are Building A New Empire In Africa.” And Howard French is with us now. Welcome back to the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

HOWARD FRENCH: It’s great to be with you again…

…MARTIN: If you’re just joining us, I’m speaking with Howard French. We’re talking about his new book, “China’s Second Continent: How A Million Migrants Are Building A New Empire In Africa.” The former New York Times bureau chief conducted interviews in Mandarin, French and Portuguese, among other languages, to, kind of, get to the ground level of how China is influencing the continent. One of the characters that struck a chord with me was Hao Shengli, whom you met in Mozambique. Tell us a little bit about his story, if you would. I was struck by the fact that he wanted his sons to marry local women, but I didn’t get the sense that this was a love-match he was seeking, here.

FRENCH: Hao was interesting because, unlike most of the people I profile, he was not a working-class person. He had started up several businesses in China that had done reasonably well. He had some savings. He set off to the Middle East – tried to do business there. He failed. He comes back to China. And he goes to a trade fair and meets some people in Guangzhou who tell him that there’s all kinds of opportunity in Africa. And so he then begins to fixate on Africa. And he ends up in Mozambique on the theory that, as a Portuguese speaking country, they’ll be very few Chinese people there. He spoke no Portuguese, but he figured, at least, he wouldn’t have any cutthroat Chinese competitors. And so he goes to Mozambique. He doesn’t do well in the capital. He discovers, to his disgust, that there are a lot of Chinese people there, in fact. And so he sets off for the countryside. And he ends up finagling his way into buying a very nice piece of irrigated, very rich farmland. And he gets into these relationships with the local people. And their relationship becomes ever more testy, and so he’s worrying. Even though he’s got a long-term lease, he’s wondering if the villagers won’t find a way to contest it, or the local government will take it back from him. And he settles upon a scheme, which absolutely astounded me, of bringing his teenage sons from China to settle there with him – and to have children by local women, in whose names he could place the property and control it indirectly through these people, who, as Mozambican citizens, would legally have the right to own land forever. And so that’s the scene that I stumble upon in this rural place.

MARTIN: It was interesting to me how much racism you personally encountered over the course of your travels. I mean, just the kind of day-to-day, casual reminders of distance that is certainly not polite in this country anymore. I’m thinking about when you went to this hotel in Liberia. And then you went to this room to drop off your things and wash up, and there was no towel there. And then when you told your host this, he summoned a young Chinese man who worked for him and told him to fetch me one. He says, we don’t usually give them out because most Chinese bring their own. They wouldn’t want to use one that a black person might have used. I mean, put this in some context for me. I mean, do you think that this is, kind of, growing pains, and that at some point will people have moved beyond that? What’s your sense?

FRENCH: Everywhere I went, the local Chinese person referred to the people, in whose midst they had come to settle, as black people. You know, they would say, the blacks, the blacks, the blacks, the blacks. They wouldn’t say the Ghanaians, or the Tanzanians, or the Zambians, or the this or the that. It was just, the blacks. And this refusal, or reluctance, to allow any kind of finer identity – to render them totally anonymous as just simply black, as if that was the only pertinent detail about them, was very telling for me. That whether or not this is a passing phase, I can’t really say. But for the time being, the Africans are just, essentially, serving as a backdrop for Chinese processes – somebody that will be useful for them – or a place that will be useful for them for the time being along the way, as they proceed up the ladder of hierarchies, if you will, of civilizations of nations…

Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here.

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China in Africa

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-05 14:29Z by Steven

China in Africa

The Leonard Lopate Show
WNYC 93.9 FM New York
2014-06-04

Leonard Lopate, Host

China’s presence in Africa has been growing and it is shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people. Howard French, prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, talks about China’s economic, political, and human presence across the African continent. In China’s Second Continent, French crafts a layered investigation, looking at policy-shaping moguls and diplomats and the ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity in Africa.

Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here.

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Divided Loyalties

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-06-05 13:27Z by Steven

Divided Loyalties

BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Stories
BBC
2014-05-04 (Available until 2014-05-09)
Duration: 1 hour

DJ Semtex, Host

DJ Semtex has a black mother and a white father and, as a mixed race kid, had both negative and positive experiences.

The latest national census showed that the mixed race population is the fastest growing in Britain, so what does that mean in 2014? Semtex talks to young people from a range of backgrounds and across the UK, including Jordan from Rizzle Kicks, model Rob Evans, comedian Michelle De Swarte and playwright Sarah Lee.

Are loyalties divided or is society beyond categorising by skin colour?

Listen to the program (until 2014-05-09) here.

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‘Belle’: Romance, Race And Slavery With Jane Austen Style

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2014-06-03 22:46Z by Steven

‘Belle’: Romance, Race And Slavery With Jane Austen Style

National Public Radio
Tell Me More
2014-05-29

Michel Martin, Host

British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw was brought up on Jane Austen adaptations. “You know, the Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle was something I watched on a weekly basis with my mum at home in Oxfordshire,” she tells NPR’s Michel Martin.

But as the biracial actress completed her training at Britain’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, she watched her peers win roles in “the Downton Abbeys of this world” and realized those period dramas weren’t calling her. It made Mbatha-Raw ask: “Why can’t I be in something like this?”

Now she is. Mbatha-Raw plays the title character in Belle, a film based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy and an enslaved African woman. When she is a child, Dido’s father entrusts her to his uncle, one of the most powerful men in the country.

“She goes on this massive journey to become a woman who has the courage to stand up for who she is and what she believes in,” Mbatha-Raw says…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview here (00:12:53). Read the transcript here. Download the audio here.

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China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-03 13:03Z by Steven

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Fresh Air, WHYY-FM Philadelphia
National Public Radio
2014-05-27

Terry Gross, Host

Dave Davies, Senior Reporter

China’s economic engagement in Africa can be measured in dollars — for instance, the $71 million airport expansion contract in Mali, funded by American foreign aid, that went to a Chinese construction firm.

More remarkably, it can be measured in people: More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations.

Journalist Howard French, who spent years reporting on Africa and China for The New York Times and The Washington Post, has a new book that looks at these trends. In China’s Second Continent, French draws on interviews with Chinese and African businesspeople, government officials and ordinary citizens to explore China’s presence in 15 African countries.

He says there’s a debate about the long-term consequences of China’s push into the African continent: Will it create development and prosperity, or will it lead to exploitation reminiscent of 19th-century European colonialism?

French tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that African citizens, for their part, would like Chinese businesses to be more open and transparent. He also explains that when Chinese leaders look at Africa, they don’t just see arable land and natural resources — they see a potential market for Chinese products…

…DAVIES: You spent some time in Mozambique with a Chinese immigrant, Hao Shengli – is that – am I getting close to his name?

FRENCH: Hao Shengli.

DAVIES: Hao Shengli. Just tell us a little bit about how he got there and what kind of farming business he established.

FRENCH: So Hao Shengli had a been sort of a moderately successful businessman back in China who had a peculiar marital history. He had taken on several wives in succession, but after each divorce, had maintained an intimate and financial relationship with the past wife, even as he took on a new wife. And so this led to a need for him to continually amass more and more money. And this drove him eventually to seek opportunity outside of China.

He initially tries to open some businesses in the Middle East. They don’t succeed. And he went to a trade fair in southern China where, for the first time, he’s exposed to talk about opportunities in Africa. And he decided to try his hand there, and this leads him to go to Mozambique where he believed, because it was a Portuguese-speaking country, he wouldn’t find any Chinese people. He -Hao Shengli was driven by this very common motive that we’ve talked about before, where, you know, he wants to get to a place where there’s not going to be any competition from other Chinese people. And so he goes to Mozambique, and I meet him in the capital, Maputo. And he very generously drives me to his farm.

DAVIES: And how is he able to buy so much arable land?

FRENCH: So Hao had come with a certain amount of savings. He was a businessman. In China, he had had a reasonable success. He had saved up – I don’t know – over $100,000, which he had arrived with. And he described a process to me where he sort of makes his way from county to county ingratiating himself to local officials. And in the county where he finally settled, he had apparently helped in the construction of some local roads there. And this had won him great favor with local officials. And he ends up using these relationships to secure interest in this land.

He made a payment for the land, and then he settles on the land. He begins farming Stevia, which is a plant that produces sweeteners that are used in diet sodas. And his scheme is to become a giant Stevia producer and to export to the likes of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, etc. Hao very quickly, though, runs into trouble with residents of the surrounding villages around his land who are resentful of the fact that he secured this very rich and irrigated valley, which had been years earlier owned and run by Portuguese colonials.

And so he develops this scheme to bring his sons to Mozambique – teenage sons, one of them about 17, one of them a few years younger. And his idea that he comes up with is that if he marries off or at least has his sons procreate with local women, that the children of these couplings will become part of his clan. And as Mozambican citizens, they will be able to own the land legally in perpetuity. And his hold on this rich valley then can’t be challenged.

DAVIES: Well that’s – that’s an entrepreneurial spirit to family building, isn’t it?

FRENCH: Absolutely.

DAVIES: This immigrant, Shengli, who had bought this land and was bringing his sons over and had big plans, how exactly did he figure his son would get African wives? I mean, what would they do to get them? Is it a matter of dating? Is it a matter of visiting their parents?

FRENCH: Very good question. I mean, so the exact details are a bit hazy here. But as I began to talk through these questions with Shengli, it emerges that he himself may have had something of a relationship with the girl who ends up being the girlfriend of his first son—either that or he had a relationship with a friend of the girl who becomes the girlfriend of his son.

As we talk these things through, he tells me that through a variety of payments made to essentially the family members of the clan of eligible girls—eligible in his view—girls, he had been able to secure relationships with various local girls. And he exhibited a great deal of impatience for his younger son, who he called Little Fatty. This is a prepubescent – I don’t know – I want to say 14-year-old, who had just arrived very recently from China and really had no sort of native interest in girls yet. And Hao was deeply irritated by this, saying, you know, we’ve got to get on with this, we’ve got to get on with this. You know, he’s thinking about building his clan, and he’s paired off the older son with a girl and – who knows? – but they may have had children by now. And he’s very anxious to see this happen with the younger boy as well…

Read the article here. Listen to the interview (00:26:23)  here. Download the audio here. Read the transcript here.

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Culture File – Race and the Irish Screen

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-05-16 18:59Z by Steven

Culture File – Race and the Irish Screen

RTÉ Lyric FM
2014-05-15

Fin Keegan, Host

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

What can the Irish horror movie tell us about attitudes to race? And can a mixed race guard [police] in an Irish crime series, ever be just a guard? Dr. Asava is the author of Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Irish Identities on Film and TV (Peter Lang, 2013).


Download the interview here.

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Fathers of Conscience with Bernie D. Jones [Part 2]

Posted in Audio, Forthcoming Media, History, Interviews, Law, Live Events, Slavery, United States on 2014-05-08 00:10Z by Steven

Fathers of Conscience with Bernie D. Jones [Part 2]

Research at the National Archives & Beyond
Blogtalk Radio
2014-05-08, 21:00 EDT (2014-05-09, 02:00Z)

Bernice Bennett, Host

Bernie D. Jones, Associate Professor of Law
Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts

Join Author Bernie D. Jones for an engaging discussion about her book – Fathers of Conscience – Mixed-Race Inheritance in the Antebellum South.

Fathers of Conscience examines high-court decisions in the antebellum South that involved wills in which white male planters bequeathed property, freedom, or both to women of color and their mixed-race children. These men, whose wills were contested by their white relatives, had used trusts and estates law to give their slave partners and children official recognition and thus circumvent the law of slavery. The will contests that followed determined whether that elevated status would be approved or denied by courts of law.

For more information, click here.

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Race

Posted in Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-04-21 01:12Z by Steven

Race

Radiolab
Season 5, Episode 3, April 2014


Shea Walsh

This hour of Radiolab, a look at race.

When the human genome was first fully mapped in 2000, Bill Clinton, Craig Venter, and Francis Collins took the stage and pronounced that “The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis.” Great words spoken with great intentions. But what do they really mean, and where do they leave us? Our genes are nearly all the same, but that hasn’t made race meaningless, or wiped out our evolving conversation about it.

Guests: Ali Abbas, Dr. Jay Cohn, Richard Cooper, Troy Duster, Tony Frudakis, Malcolm Gladwell, Nell Greenfieldboyce, Wayne Joseph and David Sherrin

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Interview with Carole Brennan from Mixed Race Irish

Posted in Articles, Audio, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Work on 2014-04-04 02:08Z by Steven

Interview with Carole Brennan from Mixed Race Irish

Een Vlaming in Ierland/ A Fleming in Ireland
2014-03-28

Roos Demol

It has been quite a week in Ireland, with the new problems for Mr Shatter, the news that over 2000 phone calls were taped in Garda offices around the country, which could bring a lot of current and old court cases in jeopardy,the press had a busy time and mr. Shatter is very troubled.

But that hasn’t affected our normal every day lives.

However, since I started my (voluntay) job with the online radio, Irish Radio International, where I have my own show, The New Rebels, aimed at the immigrant society here and their families abroad and since I have touched the problem of racism, I am regularly confronted with some very difficult truths.

It is of course easy to ignore all that and keep on blogging about all the good things in Ireland (of which there are many), but I think we all have a repsonsibiloity in revealing truth, however unpleasant that truth may be.

I connected with a lady from London, Carole Brennan, who is a co-founder of the recently established Mixed Race Irish group, an association of Irish people with African dads and Irish mothers, born in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and often raised in industrial schools here in Ireland, where they were often psychologically, physically and even sexually abused…

Listen to the interview here.

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The Robbins Family at War with Marvin Jones

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-04-04 00:14Z by Steven

The Robbins Family at War with Marvin Jones

Research at the National Archives and Beyond
BlogTalk Radio
Thursday, 2014-04-03, 21:00 EDT, (Friday, 2014-04-04, 01:00Z)

Bernice Bennett, Host

Marvin T. Jones, Executive Director
Chowan Discovery Group

“The Robbins Family at War” – it is about a Native American family who lived through colonial wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, and finally emerged victorious in the Civil War as a part of the mixed-race community. Five members served in the U.S. Colored Troops. Three fought from Suffolk, Virginia to Richmond and helped enforce Juneteenth. Two served in Florida and South Carolina. After the war, they served in North Carolina legislature, invented and founded schools and churches.

Marvin T. Jones is the executive director of the Chowan Discovery Group, whose mission is to research, document, preserve and present the history of the mixed-race land-owning people of the Hertford County area in northeast North Carolina. The CDG has produced many articles, lectures, historical markers, a stage production and several video documentaries. Marvin lives in Washington, D.C. and is a native of Cofield, North Carolina.

For more information, click here.

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