The complicity cost of racial inclusion

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-30 20:50Z by Steven

The complicity cost of racial inclusion

Al Jazeera America
2014-08-24

Julia Carrie Wong
Oakland, California

When Brook Soso, a new Asian-American character in the second season of “Orange Is the New Black,” arrives at the federal prison in Litchfield, New York, a fellow inmate named Lorna Morello provides her with a toothbrush and bar of soap. Morello, who is white, is an enforcer of the strict racial divisions (black, Latina, white and other) that define the show’s social landscape — “it’s tribal, not racist,” she explained in the first season — but here she makes an exception. “I don’t normally bend the rules like this,” she says, “but you don’t look full … Asian.”

Morello turns out to be right — Soso is half Scottish — but Soso’s arms-length adoption by white prisoners such as Morello is in many ways still evocative of the shifting position Asian-Americans hold in the United States today. Being Asian and being white are becoming less and less mutually exclusive and the boundary between them (particularly in arenas such as work and education) increasingly porous. But the induction of Asian-Americans into whiteness doesn’t alter the meaning of whiteness; rather, it’s a reminder that whiteness has never been defined by a person’s country of origin or genetic makeup. It’s simply a tool, one that can continue to operate even with the inclusion of certain minority groups…

…It may be disconcerting for some people to recognize that the boundaries of whiteness can shift. The ubiquitous boxes we check on applications and census materials might lead us to believe that race is determinate. But race is a social construct, not a scientific fact: American whiteness was an ideological creation to rationalize the enslavement of Africans and the extermination of native peoples. As David Roediger argued in “The Wages of Whiteness,” racial antagonisms helped solidify 19th century American class structure. In subsequent generations, whiteness was expanded to meet the needs of our changing population and the U.S.’s imperial interests abroad. Throughout our country’s history, special privileges (such as voting and land ownership) have been reserved for those who were considered white…

Read the entire article here.

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One-Woman Multimedia Show ONE DROP OF LOVE Comes to The Fox Theatre, 9/21

Posted in Arts, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-28 14:55Z by Steven

One-Woman Multimedia Show ONE DROP OF LOVE Comes to The Fox Theatre, 9/21

BroadwayWorld.com Atlanta
2014-07-10

The Fox Theatre is presenting One Drop of Love on Sunday, September 21 at 3 PM and 7 PM in the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom. The show is a multimedia solo performance exploring family, race, love, pain and a path towards reconciliation. Monica Pearson, an active community leader and influencer, will moderate the discussion following both shows. Tickets are $25 and are available for purchase now at www.FoxTheatre.org, by calling 855-285-8499 or at The Fox Theatre Ticket Office.

One Drop of Love is a multimedia one woman show written and performed by the show’s writer/performer Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni and is produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. It incorporates film, photographs and animation to examine how “race” has been constructed in the United States and how it can influence our most intimate relationships. The show will take you on a journey from the 1700s to the present spanning locations through the world as 16 characters facilitate reconciliation between a daughter and her father. Immediately following each performance, Fanshen facilitates a Q&A segment.

“Amazing performance, staging, autobiography, artistry and an amazing meditation on race and examination of America,” stated Ben Affleck, show producer and 2013 Academy Award winning actor. “I am in awe.” For more information on One Drop of Love, visit www.onedropoflove.org.

About Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni: Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR as a spokesperson on using the arts to explore racial identity. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and has designed curricula for and taught English as a Second Language to students from all over the world. She has been honored with the Peace Corps’ Franklin H. Williams Award, and with Peace Corps Fellows and Hollywood Foreign Press Association scholarships. She holds a BA in Spanish and Education, an MA in TESOL, and an MFA in Acting and Performance in Film, TV and Theater. Fanshen is also a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theater/LA Playwrights Unit, and a co-curator of www.MixedRootsStories.org

For more information, click here.

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Race statistics: how to get from where we are to where we should be: a rejoinder

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-28 00:59Z by Steven

Race statistics: how to get from where we are to where we should be: a rejoinder

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1852-1856
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932413

Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs
Columbia University

America’s race statistics are inadequate to the policy challenges of the twenty-first century, especially for social justice and immigrant incorporation policy. But inertial forces – technical and political – complicate change. Overcome technical barriers by taking advantage of an experiment fielded in 2010. To miss that opportunity would be a huge failure. Political barriers are more difficult. Start with what is familiar – more emphasis on national origin – and add flexibility and granularity, both are politically desirable. Introduce change without disrupting the existing policy practices. Phase in improvements gradually, taking advantage of generational turnover. One generation changes the statistical basis for policy. The next generation, which has grown up with the new statistics, implements the policy changes. An example of how this works is found in the multiple-race option introduced in the 2000 census but probably not put to policy use until after the 2030 census.

Read the entire rejoinder here.

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Utopian visions of racial admixture

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-27 21:19Z by Steven

Utopian visions of racial admixture

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1847-1851
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932409

C. Matthew Snipp, Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Sociology
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

In a world unbounded by racial divisions, the choice of a lover, a spouse and the children that come from that union should transcend the schemes devised by others to oppress and exploit. Racial admixtures, to the extent that they blur and obscure entrenched ideas from the past, are things to be celebrated and embraced. Both of these books, as different as they are, embrace the essential value of racial admixture but from very different perspectives, for very different reasons, and with very different emphases.

The United States of the United Races traces the history of interracial relationships in this country. Carter begins his narrative with a close reading of the French author Hector St John de Crèvecoeur. Crèvecoeur penned a very popular work titled Letters from an American Farmer that was intended to describe everyday life in the new nation. Carter’s discussion makes it clear that Crèvecoeur was an opponent of slavery and portrayed it in the vilest possible terms. However, Carter takes Crèvecoeur’s opposition to slavery and tries to make something more of it. Carter writes:

Crèvecoeur’s most important legacy… suggested that true Americans cast off the old ways of their ancestors and consented to a new way of life based on equality. In this, mixture was a positive. The American was new and mixed, just as the society was new and mixed and the way of life was new and mixed. (26, emphasis added)

Carter’s insistence that Crèvecoeur’s abolitionist leanings represent an early endorsement of racial amalgamation is a logical leap for which he provides no justification.

Taking a benign view of this logical lapse, a reader could conjecture that important links in this argument fell victim to an editor’s delete key. However, I dwell on this point because it is the first instance of something that happens in other parts of the book. That is, Carter wishes to convince us that the proponents of racial amalgamation, the formation of intimate personal relationships across racial lines have been a thriving social movement throughout the nation’s history. In places, Carter’s ebullient embrace of this theme causes him to stretch a point that sorely tests a reader’s credulity.

In a similar though subtler fashion, Carter situates the movement for racial amalgamation within the larger movement to abolish slavery. Chapter 2 is titled ‘Wendell Phillips, Unapologetic Abolitionist, Unreformed Amalgamationist’ and focuses on the life of a single abolitionist to assert the centrality of interracial marriage within the movement, invoking the affairs of Frederick Douglass with white women as additional evidence. Carter is careful to point out that ‘racial amalgamation’ was a controversial position and one that could incite violence. This chapter vacillates between making interracial marriage a focal point of the movement to abolish slavery and acknowledging that this was an extremely unpopular position. Nonetheless, the narrative of this chapter too often seeks to make us believe that the freedom to form interracial intimate relationships was one of the core objectives of the abolitionist movement. To be sure, there were abolitionists who subscribed to this view. Carter delivers evidence that at least one existed, but the argument in chapter 2 does little to dispel the view that this was little more than the lunatic fringe of the abolition movement…

What is Your Race? takes on a problem in US public policy that seems poised to only grow more serious over time. Namely, the USA has a set of public policies anchored to a racial classification system with categories that are increasingly out of step with a twenty-first-century experience and understanding of the American racial order. Prewitt has written a policy brief that consists of three parts: (1) it begins by laying out the origins of the existing system; (2) it then turns to the growing problems connected with the status quo; and (3) it concludes with recommendations for modifying the existing system along with a strategy for deploying these recommendations. The book contains eleven chapters and it would not be unfair to say that the first nine chapters are a prologue and justification for chapters 10 and 11. However, before turning to the final and most important chapters of this book, the first nine chapters deserve notice.

The official racial classification used by the federal government does not emanate from the Census Bureau. It is instead, a product of the Office of Management and Budget and articulated in a document known as Directive No. 15 (revised October 1997). Prewitt is well aware of this fact and, indeed, discusses this document at length. However, the focus of this book is on the way that the US Census Bureau collects information about race, and the recommendations that he makes are most applicable to the Census Bureau. This is not surprising partly because Prewitt is a former Census Bureau director. He writes with an insider’s deep knowledge about the workings of this complex organization. More significantly, the Census Bureau is arguably the single largest producer of data about race in the nation. Much if not most of what Americans know about race in their nation originates at the Census Bureau.

Prewitt begins by presenting a concept that he calls ‘statistical races’. Statistical races were first created by the Constitutional mandate that a census be taken every ten years. Constitutional language embedded whites and African American slaves, and excluded American Indians in the first census taken in 1790. In every census since, race has been a prominent feature. Prewitt acknowledges that racism and prejudice are indeed social realities that frame the everyday lives of Americans. However, statistical races, he argues, are classificatory artifacts manipulated to serve public policy interests…

Read the review of both books here.

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The collection of race-based data in the USA: a call for radical change

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-27 20:27Z by Steven

The collection of race-based data in the USA: a call for radical change

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 10, 2014
Special Issue: Ethnic and Racial Studies Review
pages 1839-1846
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.932407

Peter Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, United Kingdom

Two important new books by Greg Carter and Kenneth Prewitt provide detailed historical perspectives on how understandings of race and race categories have evolved since the founding of the republic. Prewitt focuses on an analysis of racial classification in the US census – the so-called ‘statistical races’ –and its changing role in US policy, culminating in recommendations for radical change. Carter takes as his theme population mixing across the races, offering a positive, even celebratory, but little known account of the moments and movements that have praised mixing. As pressures mount on the ‘statistical races’ in the late twentieth century, Prewitt uses the political space opened up by these debates to offer fundamental changes to US methods of ethno-racial data collection, including the removal of these questions from the census. The jury is in recess for further deliberations.

Read the review of both books here.

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How Ferguson could be America’s future

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-26 02:12Z by Steven

How Ferguson could be America’s future

Cable News Network (CNN)
2014-08-23

John Blake

(CNN) — The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have been described as a mirror into contemporary America, but they are also something else: A crystal ball.

Look past the headlines — the debates over race and police militarization that have surfaced after the killing of an unarmed black youth by a white police officer — and one can glimpse America’s future, some historians and political scientists say.

No one is talking about an impending race war or a police state, but something more subtle. Unless Americans re-examine some assumptions they’ve made about themselves, they argue, Ferguson could be the future.

Assumption No. 1: Tiger Woods is going to save us

It’s called the “browning of America.” Google the phrase and you’ll get 18 million hits. By 2050, most of the nation’s citizens are expected to be people of color, according to the Pew Research Center.

Dig beneath the Google links and one can detect an emerging assumption: Racial flashpoints like Ferguson will fade in the future because no single race will be dominant. You could call it the Tiger Woods effect. The New American will claim multiple racial origins like Woods, the pro golfer. Demographic change will accomplish what a thousand national conversations on race could never do: lessen the sting of racial conflict.

A dramatic increase in interracial marriages will change the racial landscape as more people cross racial and ethnic lines to marry. But that change won’t be a cure-all, says Rory Kramer, a sociology and criminology professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

He says racial progress is not inevitable with the browning of America.

“I don’t want to deny the optimism,” Kramer says. “I deny the assumption that it will happen without effort.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies; The Multiracial Experience in the US (AAST498Y)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Course Offerings, Forthcoming Media, Social Science, United States on 2014-08-23 23:16Z by Steven

Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies; The Multiracial Experience in the US (AAST498Y)

University of Maryland
Fall 2014

Lawrence Davis

Course will focus on multiracial (“mixed race”) identity and how the experiences of multiracial people contribute to our broader understanding of racial identity and formation. Course draws on literature and research produced by and about multiracial people. In addition, students will access the topic through comment boards, live chat sessions, podcasts, and multimedia. Readings and other course materials have been selected to challenge and grow students’ understandings of race and mixed race. Also offered as AMST418W.

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Global Mixed Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-08-18 02:29Z by Steven

Global Mixed Race

New York University Press
March 2014
357 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780814770733
Paper ISBN: 9780814789155

Edited by:

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer
National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Stephen Small, Associate Professor of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent

Paul Spickard, Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of Black Studies, Asian American Studies, East Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Patterns of migration and the forces of globalization have brought the issues of mixed race to the public in far more visible, far more dramatic ways than ever before. Global Mixed Race examines the contemporary experiences of people of mixed descent in nations around the world, moving beyond US borders to explore the dynamics of racial mixing and multiple descent in Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Okinawa, Australia, and New Zealand.  In particular, the volume’s editors ask: how have new global flows of ideas, goods, and people affected the lives and social placements of people of mixed descent?  Thirteen original chapters address the ways mixed-race individuals defy, bolster, speak, and live racial categorization, paying attention to the ways that these experiences help us think through how we see and engage with social differences. The contributors also highlight how mixed-race people can sometimes be used as emblems of multiculturalism, and how these identities are commodified within global capitalism while still considered by some as not pure or inauthentic. A strikingly original study, Global Mixed Race carefully and comprehensively considers the many different meanings of racial mixedness.

Contents

  • Global Mixed Race: An Introduction / Stephen Small and Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Part I: Societies with Established Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 1. Multiraciality and Census Classification in Global Perspective / Ann Morning
    • 2. “Rider of Two Horses”: Eurafricans in Zambia / Juliette Bridgette Milner-Thornton
    • 3. “Split Me in Two”: Gender, Identity, and “Race Mixing” in the Trinidad and Tobago Nation / Rhoda Reddock
    • 4. In the Laboratory of Peoples’ Friendship: Mixed People in Kazakhstan from the Soviet Era to the Present / Saule K. Ualiyeva and Adrienne L. Edgar
    • 5. Competing Narratives: Race and Multiraciality in the Brazilian Racial Order / G. Reginald Daniel and Andrew Michael Lee
    • 6. Antipodean Mixed Race: Australia and New Zealand / Farida Fozdar and Maureen Perkins
    • 7. Negotiating Identity Narratives among Mexico’s Cosmic Race / Christina A. Sue
  • Part II: Places with Newer Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 8. Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed-Race American Okinawans, 1945–1972 / Lily Anne Yumi Welty
    • 9. The Curious Career of the One-Drop Rule: Multiraciality and Membership in Germany Today / Miriam Nandi and Paul Spickard
    • 10. Capturing “Mixed Race” in the Decennial UK Censuses: Are Current Approaches Sustainable in the Age of Globalization and Superdiversity? / Peter J. Aspinall and Miri Song
    • 11. Exporting the Mixed-Race Nation: Mixed-Race Identities in the Canadian Context / Minelle Mahtani, Dani Kwan-Lafond, and Leanne Taylor
  • Global Mixed Race: A Conclusion / Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Bibliography
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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Are There Really Just Five Racial Groups?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-08-17 22:47Z by Steven

Are There Really Just Five Racial Groups?

Slate
2012-05-17

Brian Palmer, Chief Explainer

How the government developed its racial-classification system.

For the first time in history, more than half of American children under the age of 1 are members of a minority group, according to figures released Wednesday by the Census Bureau. Everyone is familiar with the federal government’s classification of race and ethnicity—white, black or African-American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Why did we settle on these particular groupings?

Because they track discrimination. Officials from the Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for maintaining the nation’s racial-classification system, have always admitted that the categories have no scientific or anthropological basis. They were designed in the 1970s to help track compliance with civil rights laws, and are meant to identify groups that are vulnerable to discrimination. There are other considerations, as well. The geographic nature of the categories—aside from Hispanic, which has always been the most nebulous because of its linguistic basis—are supposed to make it reasonably easy for Americans to identify their own backgrounds. Individual federal agencies may choose to split up the OMB categories for more detailed data. The Census Bureau, for example, breaks “Asian” into several subgroups, such as Asian Indian, Chinese, and Filipino.

Our modern racial-classification system is far from the first in U.S. history. The federal government asked about race indirectly (are you a slave or a free man?) in the inaugural census from 1790—although more for the purposes of the “Three-Fifths Compromise” than to prevent discrimination. In addition, early American law limited citizenship to whites, so the census had to distinguish between whites and everyone else. (African-Americans became eligible for citizenship in 1868, Native Americans in 1924, and Asian-Americans in 1954.) As people of different backgrounds intermarried and interbred, the government’s attempts to delineate people by race became increasingly tortured. For example, the 1890 census categories were white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian. (Census takers carried detailed instructions on how to explain the groupings.) Race categories continued to vary for most of the 20th century. The 1920 census listed the races as “White, Black, Mulatto, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hindu, Korean, and Other.” The 1960 census used different terminology, listing “White, Negro, American Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Other.”…

Read the entire article here.

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“Only the News They Want to Print”: Mainstream Media and Critical Mixed-Race Studies

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-15 06:17Z by Steven

“Only the News They Want to Print”: Mainstream Media and Critical Mixed-Race Studies

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies
Volume 1, Number 1 (2014-01-30)
pages 162-182
ISSN: 2325-4521

Rainier Spencer, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Professor of Afro-American Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This essay lauds the publication of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies, then turns immediately to argue that the journal must focus itself on actively becoming the authoritative voice on mixed-race matters, while also speaking out against naive colorblindness and premature declarations of postraciality. This is crucial because the public receives its information on mixed-race identity from the mainstream media, which has a long historical record of inaccurate and damaging reporting on mixed race. Using the recent “Race Remixed” series in the New York Times as a contemporary example of this problem, the essay argues that it is imperative that mainstream media writers seek out and use scholarly input in the publication of their articles.

With the publication of this inaugural issue of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies, the field of study demarcated by the journal’s title takes a major leap forward both materially and symbolically. The material leap has to do with the fact that there is now an academic publication devoted expressly to the field of critical mixed-race studies, a single source to go to for the latest in mixed-race research. Even though the journal certainly cannot publish everything in this field, and scholars will still find themselves combing through libraries and the Internet for newly published work, my hope is that this journal will nonetheless become the unquestioned touchstone of mixed-race scholarship. The symbolic leap, on the other hand, while related to the material one, has to do with the intangible satisfaction that attends to having “made it,” so to speak. While there is no difference between the good scholarly work done immediately prior to the launching of the journal and the good scholarly work we find in the pages of this issue, there is nevertheless a gratifying sense that “we”—those of us who work and publish in this area—now have a journal to call home. The importance of this should not be minimized…

…One crucial observation to make about mixed-race identity work over the past twenty years is that even though there has been phenomenal growth and change in the work itself, non-scholarly reporting on mixed race has not kept pace with those advancements. While scholarly studies of mixed race have proliferated, creating both the academic field and now this journal, and while mixed-race identity work has become more and more sophisticated, the quality of media coverage has remained ossified. In fact, mainstream media analysis of mixed-race identity in the United States is generally no different whether one reads an article from 1994, 2000, 2006, or 2012. Given its outsize impact on the general public, the dominant media in the United States is in fact a hegemonic entity. Its coverage of mixed-race identity has crucial effects on attitudes, opinions, and even public policy; therefore, the accuracy of its reporting is critical. For this reason, dominant media representation of multiraciality will be my main focus in this article as I consider the challenges it presents to critical mixed-race studies…

…The specific details being reported aside, the deeper structural problem with mainstream media stories on the alleged postracial power of mixed-race identity or the supposed significance of changing racial demographics is that the information presented is often one-sided, simplistic, geared to a tabloid sensibility, and does not reflect the multiform ways that edifices of power have race embedded within them, whether visible or not. It is a matter of sensationalism taking precedence over serious analysis. David Roediger identifies this tendency of providing sensationalism without substance, noting that “often multiracial identities and immigration take center stage as examples of factors making race obsolete” and that “we are often told popularly that race and racism are on predictable tracks to extinction. But we are seldom told clear or consistent stories about why white supremacy will give way and how race will become a ‘social virus’ of the past.” Roediger’s words highlight the importance of unmasking this postracial aspiration for what it is: an effort to provide comfort to a nation that is unwilling to do the hard work required to deal effectively with centuries of entrenched racism and the resultant consequences…

Read the entire article here.

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