Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2014-10-24 20:16Z by Steven

Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality

University of British Columbia Press
2014-10-21
288 pages
6 x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-7748-2772-0
Library E-Book: ISBN: 978-0-7748-2774-4

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

Mixed Race Amnesia is an ambitious and critical look at how multiraciality is experienced in the global north. Drawing on a series of interviews she conducted with twenty-four women of mixed race, acclaimed geographer Minelle Mahtani explores some of the assumptions and attitudes people have around multiraciality.

She discovers that, in Canada at least, people of mixed race are often romanticized as being the embodiment of a progressive, post-racial future—an ideal that is supported by government policy and often internalized by people of mixed race themselves. As Mahtani reveals, this superficial celebration of multiraciality is often done without any acknowledgment of the freight and legacy of historical racisms. Consequently, a strategic and collective amnesia is taking place—one where complex diasporic and family histories are being lost while Canada’s colonial legacy is being reinforced.

While noting that our “analytical vocabulary for describing the experience of multiraciality is not yet up to the task of telling a more complex story about whiteness, race, diasporic mobility, and grids of racial intelligibility in a white-settler society within what is understood as a multicultural liberal democracy,” Mahtani nevertheless undertakes to give us the tools we need to do this. The result is a book that takes critical race studies in new and exciting directions.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Disentangling Our Curious Affection with Mutiraciality
  • 1. Mixed Race Mythologies: Toward an Anticolonial Mixed Race Studies
  • 2. Mixed Race Narcissism? Thoughts on the Interview Experience
  • 3. The Model Multiracial: Propping Up Canadian Multiculturalism through Racial Impotency
  • 4. Beyond the Passing Narrative: Multiracial Whiteness
  • 5. Mongrels, Interpreters, Ambassadors, and Bridges? Mapping Liberal Affinities among Mixed Race Women
  • 6. Mixed Race Scanners: Performing Race
  • 7. Present Tense: The Future of Critical Mixed Race Studies
  • References
  • Index
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Discussing Race and Education in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-10-24 20:08Z by Steven

Discussing Race and Education in Brazil

HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory
2014-09-12

Christina Davidson
Department of History
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Yesterday at lunch, Maria Lúcia and I sat with a graduate of UFRRJ and an Educação a Distancia tutor for the university, who was headed to the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) in Niterói in the afternoon. The graduate student made a comment about the UFF campus, which caught my attention. “One thing, about UFF is that the students there are mostly white,” he said to me. “Look around you. Here you see that students are all mixed. There are every color, but at UFF they are mostly white.” I was somewhat surprised and to hear his thoughts on the subject of race. I had found it difficult to bring up this subject with students that I had talked with the day before, and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get Brazilians’ opinions about race and education.

“Why?” I asked. “Why is the student body more white there? I thought things in Brazil are changing.” He responded, “They are, but the UFF campus has always been that way. It is one of the largest public campuses in Rio and it is older. Even though things are changing, it is still noticeable that there are far more white students there.” I again asked why this is the case. The student explained that the area surrounding the university is one of the richest regions per capita of Rio de Janeiro. The people who live there have the money to send their students to private first and secondary educational institutions. These children are then better prepared to take the university’s entrance exam. So, it is not only that people who are richer (and whiter) have more access to the university because of their physical proximity, but they also have the best changes to be accepted to the school because of their educational background. “For these children, an outing is a trip outside of the country,” he commented. “For children of Baixada Fluminense, an outing is going to the park or to the beach. This same sort of divide is noted in the educational experiences between the people who have money and those who live here (Baixada Fluminense).”

Again, I was somewhat surprised by his comments. Yet this time, I was not taken aback by what he was saying, but because through my American eyes neither the student nor Maria Lucia look particularly “black.” In fact, as far as I could tell, they were white, yet they drew a distinction between themselves and other “white” students, especially those at UFF. Maria Lucia explained later that although by her skin color she considered herself white, but her whole culture—who she associated with, her socialization—was black. She said that her parents come from the northeast, a region with a high African-descended population and that her family was mixed. I pointed out, though, that even though people at UFRRJ are more mixed in their color and orientation than perhaps those at UFF, in Brazil people with the darkest skin color disproportionately represent the poorest people in the country. The other graduate student was quick to agree. “That is true,” he said. “That is very true.”  So, how then, do changes in the higher educational system help the darkest and poorest people?…

Read the entire article here.

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One Drop: Drexel professor’s new book explores what determines blackness

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-24 17:59Z by Steven

One Drop: Drexel professor’s new book explores what determines blackness

The Philadelphia Inquirer
2013-11-26

UNLESS YOU want an earful, don’t get Drexel University professor Yaba Blay talking about colorism. She sees examples of discrimination based on skin color everywhere – from drug stores that stock skin-bleaching creams to the online chatter that erupts when photos surface of Beyonce and Jay Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.

“[People say], why doesn’t Beyonce comb that baby’s hair?” Blay said. “You would rather put an entire pack of barrettes on that baby’s hair?”

“I hate that,” I murmured.

“I hate it more,” she shot back. “[People] expect her to look like her mama. . . . She’s 2.”

And don’t bring up the subject of Kanye West, who once famously referred to biracial women as “mutts.”

“Kanye’s choosing Kim [Kardashian] is not about Kim. It’s about Kanye,” said Blay, author of a new book called (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race. “He’s obsessed with her. It has to do with what her being on his arm says about him.”

Yeah, Blay went there.

And, let me tell you, the codirector of the Africana Studies program doesn’t hold back in that new book of hers, either. It deals with America’s biggest third-rail issue: race. That subject hasn’t gotten any less explosive since America elected its first black president.

The book is provocative right from its title, taken from the slavery-era notion that if you had one drop of black blood, you were considered black.

Plus, here’s a darker-hued woman writing about the racial experiences of lighter-skinned people, many of whom identify as black or mixed race. That’s an incredibly touchy topic among some black folk because of historical social stratification based on skin color that grants higher status to lighter-hued blacks.

The subject was explored in depth in a documentary called “Dark Girls” that aired recently on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

(1)ne Drop is sort of the reverse…

Read the entire article here.

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Skin tone, biracial stratification and tri-racial stratification among sperm donors

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-23 18:41Z by Steven

Skin tone, biracial stratification and tri-racial stratification among sperm donors

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37,  Issue 3, 2014 (Special Issue: Race, Migration and Identity: Shifting Boundaries in the USA)
pages 517-536
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.696666

Carol S. Walther, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Northern Illinois University

Conception through donor insemination is an attractive option for many couples and single women in the USA, being a relatively simple and inexpensive way of having a baby by a biological birth. Sperm banks provide online catalogues in which sperm donors can be selected according to their physical and social characteristics. One sperm bank’s catalogue was analysed based on the pregnancy of selected donors. Three hypotheses were tested related to colourism, biracial stratification and tri-racialism. Specifically, the selection of donors did not reflect: (1) any general preference for a lighter skin tone; (2) a black–white polarity; or (3) any trend towards tri-racialism. Donors who could be identified as Jewish or Muslim were more likely to be selected. Donors whose major was law were less likely to be selected.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Dorothy Roberts Lecture: “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race”

Posted in Canada, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-10-22 15:18Z by Steven

Dorothy Roberts Lecture: “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race”

McMaster University
CIBC Hall, McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC 319)
280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S4L9, Canada
2014-10-23, 19:00-21:00 EDT (Local Time)

The Bourns Lectureship in Bioethics and the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest present a lecture by Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights

Dorothy Roberts is the fourteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania, where she holds appointments in the Law School and Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, Roberts has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics.

She is the author of many award-winning texts including: Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Created Race in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press 2011), Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Civitas Books 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Random House 1997).

During her lecture at McMaster University, Roberts will examine how the myth of the biological concept of race – revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases – continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era.

For more information, click here. View the poster here.

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Ebola has exposed America’s fear, and Barack Obama’s vulnerability

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-19 22:12Z by Steven

Ebola has exposed America’s fear, and Barack Obama’s vulnerability

The Guardian
2014-10-19

Gary Younge

The virus is a metaphor for all that conservatives loathe, and sees the president’s policies under renewed attack

In a column ostensibly explaining why moderates struggle in the Republican party, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen last year wrote: “People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York – a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts – but not all – of America.”

If the thought of New York’s first family’s interracial marriage makes many Republicans (and apparently Cohen) gag, imagine how many sick bags they are filling over Ebola. The arrival of the virus in America has crystallised a range of Conservative anxieties: immigration, race, terrorism, science, big government, Barack Obama – you name it. For the right, Ebola is not just a disease, it is a metaphor for some of the things they don’t understand and many of the things they loathe…

…Finally, Ebola serves as a proxy for the many long-held Conservative prejudices about Obama – that he is an African-born interloper come to destroy America. A 2010 poll showed that just under a third of Republicans believed Obama was a “racist who hates white people”. Michael Savage, another rightwing radio host, calls him “Obola”. “Obama wants equality and he wants fairness, and it’s only fair that America have a nice epidemic or two … to really feel what it’s like to be in the third world. You have to look at it from the point of view of a leftist.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Whiteness Project will make you wince. Because white people can be rather awful

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-19 21:23Z by Steven

The Whiteness Project will make you wince. Because white people can be rather awful

The Guardian
2014-10-15

Steven W. Thrasher, Weekly Columnist

You’ve never seen privilege quite like this: ‘You can’t even talk about fried chicken or Kool-Aid without wondering if someone’s going to get offended’

White and black Americans see race from radically different perspectives, to the point that the white, world-saving New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has rung the alarm that “whites just don’t get it”. As someone who is half black and half white, I can certainly attest to the truth of that.

So I had misgivings about director Whitney Dow’s The Whiteness Project, the new interactive documentary launched over the weekend by POV. “I made this project for white people, not for people of color,” Dow told me on Tuesday, because “if white people are going to participate in changing the racial dynamic, we need to deal with our own shit first.

Dow, who is white, has been making smart films about race with his black filmmaking partner Marco Williams since 2002’s Two Towns of Jasper. But it was still hard to believe that white people talking about whiteness could do anything more than produce the gazing of blue eyes at pale navels.

After all, Dow’s project sounds a lot like “whiteness studies”, which is an actual field of academia I’ve recently encountered. The field is often credited with having its intellectual origins in a WEB Du Bois meditation, but more recently evolved to the point that it simply allowed white scholars to talk more about … well, white people…

Read the entire article here.

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Does Diversity Breed Intolerance?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-17 19:38Z by Steven

Does Diversity Breed Intolerance?

BU Today
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
2014-09-25

Rich Barlow, Staff Writer
Telephone: 617-358-3877

Some whites fear impending minority status, research says

“Diversity” is said to be the sun of our civic solar system, shining bright harmony everywhere from society at large to university campuses. Katherine Levine Einstein is certainly an apostle of this view. The College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of political science studies racially segregated areas and finds that separation polarizes and paralyzes those places’ politics.

But Boston’s commuter rail system shakes her faith.

Harvard colleague Ryan Enos surveyed white subjects about their views on Mexican immigration levels, asking, among other things, if they favored allowing noncriminal, employed illegal immigrants to remain in the country. Enos sought responses twice: once before exposing the whites to more Hispanic commuters on train platforms and once after. Support for immigration and allowing the undocumented to stay plunged in the “after” follow-up from what it had been in the “before” survey.

In addition to the Harvard research, two Northwestern University studies fuel Einstein’s pessimism. One found that as whites learned that they will become a minority, they grew more conservative and Republican-leaning. The other reported that whites who were aware of their future minority status became more negative towards nonwhites and preferred hanging out with their own race…

Marilyn Halter (GRS’86), a CAS history professor, sees a fundamental flaw in the Northwestern methodology. “I have found no evidence whatsoever of backsliding on racial tolerance in the marketplace, whether from the marketers or the consumer side of the equation,” says Halter, whose 2000 book Shopping for Identity: The Marketing of Ethnicity is about how American businesses have tailored their products to immigrant consumers in recent decades.

She also argues that the growth of mixed-race Americans—more than nine million checked two or more race categories on the 2010 US Census, up 32 percent from 2000, she says—means “it will be increasingly irrelevant to divide up the electorate into white, black, and brown.”

“Future projections about the impact of a minority white nation don’t take into account the changing meaning of whiteness,” she says. “I know that the research is attempting to measure how people react to the idea of a future white minority, but the very concept is so oversimplified and inaccurate, I think it invalidates the findings.…I do not think that greater diversity leads to more intolerance.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Divergence or Convergence in the U.S. and Brazil: Understanding Race Relations Through White Family Reactions to Black-White Interracial Couples

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-16 19:25Z by Steven

Divergence or Convergence in the U.S. and Brazil: Understanding Race Relations Through White Family Reactions to Black-White Interracial Couples

Qualitative Sociology
March 2014, Volume 37, Issue 1
pages 93-115
DOI: 10.1007/s11133-013-9268-2

Chinyere Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

Different approaches to race mixture in the U.S. and Brazil have led to the notion that they are polar opposites in terms of race relations. However, the end of de jure segregation in the U.S., the acknowledgement of racial inequality, and subsequent implementation of affirmative action in Brazil have called into question the extent to which these societies are vastly different. By examining race mixture as a lived reality, this study offers a novel approach to understanding racial boundaries in these two contexts. I analyze 87 interviews with individuals in black-white couples in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro to examine the cultural repertoires and discursive traditions they draw on to understand white families’ reactions to black spouses. I find that U.S. couples employ “color-blindness” to understand opposition to Blacks marrying into the family. Brazilian couples perceive overt racism and the use of humor from white family members. Nevertheless, couples with black males experienced more hostility in both sites. In addition, white male autonomy was related to the lower hostility that black female-white male couples experienced in both societies. By examining contemporary race mixture as a lived reality, this study complicates simplistic understandings of race relations as similar or different in these two societies. Furthermore, with the increase of multiracial families in both societies, it reveals the family as an important site for redrawing and policing racial boundaries.

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Racial ‘Boundary-policing’: Perceptions of Black-White Interracial Couples in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-16 18:15Z by Steven

Racial ‘Boundary-policing’: Perceptions of Black-White Interracial Couples in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
Volume 10 / Issue 01 / Spring 2013
pages 179-203
DOI: 10.1017/S1742058X13000118

Chinyere K. Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

As people who cross racial boundaries in the family formation process, the experiences of interracial couples can actually reveal the nature of racial boundaries within and across societies. I draw on in-depth qualitative interviews with eighty-seven respondents in interracial Black and White couples in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro to compare perceptions of public stigmatization by outsiders, a term I call “boundary-policing.” I find that couples in Los Angeles perceive gendered, Black individuals as perpetrators of this boundary-policing. In Rio de Janeiro, couples perceive regionalized and classed, White perpetrators. These findings suggest that in the United States and Brazil, racial boundaries are intertwined with class and gender boundaries to shape negotiation of boundary-policing in the two contexts. This analysis builds on previous studies of ethnoracial boundaries by showing how individuals reinforce and negotiate them through interpersonal relations. It demonstrates the similarities and differences in the negotiation and reinforcement of racial boundaries in the two sites.

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