Multiracial Marriage on the Rise

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-20 17:13Z by Steven

Multiracial Marriage on the Rise

The Brookings Institution
The Avenue: Rethinking Metropoliitian America
2014-12-18

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow
Metropolitan Policy Program

One consequence of America’s diversity explosion is a rise in multiracial marriages. In 1960, before immigration levels to the United States started to rise, multiracial marriages constituted only 0.4 percent of all U.S. marriages. That figure increased to 8.4 percent in 2010 and for recent newlyweds, 15 percent.

Not surprisingly the prevalence of out-marriage is high for new minorities, Hispanics and Asians, in light of the large pool of potential partners who are of different origins. More than four in ten new marriages of each group marry someone of a different race—with whites the most likely partners…

Read the entire article here.

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Defining Blackness in Colombia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-12-19 15:51Z by Steven

Defining Blackness in Colombia

Journal de la Société des Américanistes
Volume 95, Number 1 (2009)
pages 165-184 (46 paragraphs)

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester, United Kingdom

This paper looks at the complex relationship between concepts employed by social scientists and those used in everyday practice and discourse, arguing that the standard ideas about how ideas travel from one domain (state, academe, social movements, everyday usage) to another, and become essentialised or destabilised in the process, are often too simple. Changing definitions of blackness in Colombia, through the process of multiculturalist reform and after, are examined with a view to exploring which categories of actors were influential in shaping these definitions and which were involved in essentialisations and de-essentialisations.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The ambiguity of blackness
  • The emergence of black identity and huellas de africanía
  • Constitutional reform and la comunidad negra
  • The hegemony of « afro »
  • Blackness and mestizaje
  • Conclusion

Read the entire article here.

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Whiteness in Latin America: measurement and meaning in national censuses (1850-1950)

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-12-19 15:31Z by Steven

Whiteness in Latin America: measurement and meaning in national censuses (1850-1950)

Journal de la Société des Américanistes
Volume 95, Number 2 (2009)
pages 207-234 (63 paragraphs)

Mara Loveman, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Drawing on an analysis of all national censuses conducted in Latin America from 1850 to 1950, this article examines how tacit assumptions about the nature of « whiteness » informed the production of statistical knowledge about Latin American populations. For insight into implicit racial beliefs that shaped census-taking in this period, the article considers how census agents accomplished three basic tasks: 1) identifying the « race » of individuals in the population; 2) preparing statistical tables to publicize census results; and, 3) projecting the racial composition of national populations in the future. The analysis identifies variation in notions of « whiteness » across the region, but also points to a set of broadly shared premises about the nature, value, and boundaries of whiteness that transcended nation-state boundaries in this period. Fundamental similarities in ideas about whiteness found in Latin American censuses appear even more starkly when the scope of analysis expands to include the censuses of the United States.

Table of Contents

  • Racial classification in Latin American censuses
  • The nature of whiteness: who is white?
  • The value of whiteness: describing and inscribing racial hierarchy
  • The boundaries of whiteness: projecting a whiter future
  • Discussion and conclusion

Read the entire article here.

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We Named Our Son Lincoln: A Testimony Against Racial Injustice

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-16 02:31Z by Steven

We Named Our Son Lincoln: A Testimony Against Racial Injustice

ChicagoNow: The Family Table
Chicago, Illinois
2014-12-08

Amy Negussie
Lincoln Park, Chicago

I have been debating writing about race & Ferguson the few weeks since the announcement was made that Darren Wilson was not indicted. Then came the further blow of the Eric Gardner case. As I read what others write, I struggle over whether there is anything that I can add. But if anyone might read this and listen really, listen to what I say I have to say write:

I married a black man. We named our son Lincoln David Negussie. Lincoln for Abraham Lincoln abolisher of slavery, David for my brother and my family meaning beloved, and Negussie for his African grandfather’s name meaning king.

Despite my own family’s multiracial aspect, I am guilty of racism, I am a part of the sinful racist system. Do I want to be? No…

…My hope and my prayer is that my multiracial son will be a part of uprooting injustice as his namesake was, and that in his day we will see an end to the epidemic of incarcerating (and even killing) black youth for petty crimes for which white youth often get slapped on the wrist…

Read the entire article here.

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“Race”: a Political Weapon

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-14 01:40Z by Steven

“Race”: a Political Weapon

Counterpunch: Tells the Facts and Names the Names
2014-12-03

Luciana Bohne, Professor
Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania

“The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically.”

US Census

According to a widely circulated statistic, the police kill a young black man every twenty-eight hours in America. Without doubt, the police have a problem with race. Moreover, the justice system appears to have a problem, too, as proven by the Grand Jury’s failed indictment of Darren Wilson in the killing this summer of young Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The failed indictment does not mean that Wilson is innocent; only that he will not be brought to trial. This is a terrible perversion of the path to justice. It suggests deliberate prevention of trial on the nearly 100% certainty that Wilson would be found guilty if tried. I am disturbed, however, by the well-intentioned flagellants among the white, non-racist community virtually calling for “America’s” white male blood, metaphorically speaking. I am disturbed because this is the wrong response to the judicial outrage in Ferguson. We should be calling for ruling-class blood, not dividing ourselves into blacks and whites. Isn’t this division a benefit that our divide-and-rule oppressors hardly deserve? Let us not play with the cards in their deck.

To begin with, is “America” racist? Real, existing Americans voted for a black candidate for president, one, moreover, who ticked off only the “African American” category on race in the US Census of 2010. In choosing the less privileged racial group than white, Obama adhered to the principle of “hypo descent,” which the US has traditionally used to determine the race of a child born of a mixed-race union. We have a black political class in the Congress; a black Supreme Court justice; two blacks have been secretary of state (one a woman). We have not one institution in which blacks don’t figure more or less prominently. Mixed marriages have been legal since 1967. In 2008, about 14% of all first marriages were mixed race; 9% of whites, 16% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics, and 31% of Asians were interracially married…

Read the entire article here.

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Rethinking 21st Century Racism on the Way Home

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-12 02:17Z by Steven

Rethinking 21st Century Racism on the Way Home

GeneWatch
Council for Responsible Genetics
Volume 27, Issue 2 (May-July 2014)

Victoria Massie, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley

Returning home from fieldwork can be difficult when you find yourself caught between an unintended call back to your project and the impending reality that home has lost its capacity to act as sanctuary. That was at least the situated liminality I encountered in the John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 16, 2013. Fresh off of a flight from Belgium after leaving Cameroon, I met America at a crossroads. It had been a little over 48 hours since the news had circulated around the country, and the world, that self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman-turned-vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty for stalking and shooting in the chest at point-blank range a young 17 year-old boy, Trayvon Martin, who was simply returning home after buying some skittles and iced tea.

Indeed, since I had left it in May, America had proven itself audacious and arrogant in ways that I could not stomach. To think it had only been a few days earlier that I met with a young Cameroonian woman at a café in downtown Douala to inform her that, despite the election of Barack Obama, America still has yet to fully confront the legacy of racism. That it still haunts those bodies whose skin does not prove bright enough to mirror the clouds. That despite her dreams of changing the world through medicine, America was not necessarily likely to welcome her, at least not with open arms. That she, like me, like my family, like many of my friends, would come to find herself engaging in the fight of her life in the pursuit of her happiness away from home.

As I sat in the waiting area, anxious to board my final flight to San Francisco, I doubted my advice had been marked by anything more than naïveté. After all, surrounded by television screens in every direction, all of which seemed to be tuned in to the same program on CNN, I listened as one of the jurors, protected by the veil of anonymity in a world marked by surveillance, echoed the President’s official statement that the verdict was justice served.

I was not thirsty enough to swallow the audacious idea that one could condone the possibility that it could ever be rational to consume black life, my life, with all of its innocent willingness to exist, with impunity…

…Much work has been done to discuss the problematic ways American racial categories are, without even a second thought, being re-inscribed into the genome through what has come to be called genetic “ancestry.” And though its applications were first limited to the field of biomedicine, the burgeoning field of direct-to-consumer DNA tests has turned ancestry testing into the latest American pastime. From spit-parties at New York fashion week to Baptist church services and family reunion backyard barbeques, it seems most Americans know someone who has taken a genetic ancestry test, or have done so themselves. While I was working at the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley this summer, the director, Marcy Darnovsky, shared with me her recent encounter with a woman in a checkout line in Trader Joe’s. With a voice that carried across the aisles, the woman standing in front of her announced to a friend – and, unintentionally, the rest of the grocery store – the various percentages of African, European, Asian and Native American ancestry seamlessly replicating within her…

Read the entire article here.

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Brute Ideology

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-11 15:55Z by Steven

Brute Ideology

Dissent
Fall 2014

Walter Johnson, Winthrop Professor of History; Professor of African and African American Studies; Director, Charles Warren Center for the Study of American History
Harvard University

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life by Barbara J. Fields and Karen E. Fields. Verso, 2012, 310 pp.

The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation by David Brion Davis. Knopf, 2014, 448 pp.

The field of U.S. history today is characterized by a mania for management. The “new” history of capitalism has focused its attention on the creation and daily reanimation of the grand abstraction from which it draws its title: the mid-level market makers who take capital and transform it into capitalism. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, increasing numbers of historians have turned their attention to the histories of powerful historical actors we have too long ignored or dismissed as “dead white men” unworthy of the attention of the properly progressive historian: financiers, bankers, and businessmen of all kinds. Despite the obvious importance of the task and the avowedly critical purpose of the turn towards the study of the mechanisms of market practice, however, some of the bolder claims that have been used to mark out the novelty of this “new” history seem unwarranted, perhaps even misguided. Can historians really set aside the study of racial and sexual domination now that they have discovered the economic exploitation underlying all other history? Can they really write a better history of capitalism by simply replacing the history of the marginal with the history of the powerful? Amidst the end-of-historiography enthusiasm for the “new” history of capitalism, two recent books remind us of the enduring importance of some of the questions posed by the old history of capitalism: questions of determination, ideology, and hegemony, and of collective action, resistance, and (even) revolutionary social change.

Bringing together previously published and new essays treating U.S. history from the time of the American Revolution to the eve of the Occupy movement in 2011, Racecraft reminds us that, at the very least, the “new” history of capitalism has some very distinguished antecedents. Taken together, the writing of the historian Barbara J. Fields and the sociologist Karen E. Fields (sisters; hereafter “Fields and Fields”) provides a sustained and brilliant exposition of the history and practice of race-marking in America. If race is “socially constructed,” as virtually every educated person in the United States knows it officially to be, then why do we believe we can determine the race of the person on the other end of the line as soon as we pick up the phone?

As the title’s invocation of witchcraft suggests, the book is framed by the idea that there is something occult about such everyday practices of divination. For the authors, race is a kind of magical thinking, a way of isolating a few of the surface features of near-infinite human diversity and over-generalizing them into an architecture of biological, social, and even metaphysical difference. Race thinking, they suggest, is a sort of transubstantiation that adduces essence out of circumstance, made up of turns of phrase and ways of thinking so familiar and yet so powerful as to persistently remake the material world in their own image.

Fields and Fields illustrate and expose this sort of magic through a close reading of the printed matter of our times: newspaper accounts of proudly segregated high-school proms and white supremacists carrying guns to Obama campaign rallies; peer-reviewed articles published in scholarly journals and the bureaucratic memos that established the “multiracial” category in the U.S. census. They juxtapose the “troglodyte racism” of the crypto-Klan birthers to the breathless intonations of historical transcendence (“the end of racism??!!”) common among twenty-first-century white liberals. The main argument of the book is with the latter’s sometimes unwitting, sometimes self-congratulatory engagement with the dark magic of racial difference itself.

Take the “multiracial” moment—the idea that the bad old days of “black” and “white” may finally be giving way to an embrace of “mixture” and “difference.” But wait: “mixture” of what with what? According to Racecraft, the Census Bureau defines a “multiracial” person as “someone with two monoracial parents.” Through the heart of the celebration of the new multiracialism circulates a notion of blood purity worthy of The Birth of a Nation. For Fields and Fields, any invocation of “race” as an explanatory or even descriptive category is in and of itself racist. The use of “race” to explain anything from ancestry to economic inequality unwittingly reinforces the false belief in deep-rooted biological differences between black and white people. “Ancestry,” according to the authors, should be understood as a way that individuals are linked across generations without being thickened into “race.” Heredity, whether responsible for visible traits like curly hair or hidden ones like the sickle cell, is just that and nothing more: “‘genetic’ is not equivalent to ‘racial.’”

If we had only to worry about a mediascape where relevance is measured by the ability to attach ideas to beginnings and endings (the “post-racial” election of the “first black president”) things would be bad enough. “Racecraft,” however, has infiltrated even the hallowed ground of academia. Precisely and compellingly, Fields and Fields demonstrate that scientists use “racial” causes to explain what are in fact social effects. A recent scientific study of high asthma rates among schoolchildren in the South Bronx, for example, concluded that—in addition to heavy traffic, dense population, poor housing, and lack of preventative health care—the neighborhood was characterized by “a large population of blacks and Hispanics, two groups with very high rates of asthma.”…

Read the entire review of both books here.

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Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-11 15:20Z by Steven

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Verso Books
October 2012
310 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781781683132
Ebook ISBN: 9781844679959
Hardback ISBN: 9781844679942

Karen E. Fields, Independent Scholar

Barbara J. Fields, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

Tackling the myth of a post-racial society.

Most people assume that racism grows from a perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. Sociologist Karen E. Fields and historian Barbara J. Fields argue otherwise: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call “racecraft.” And this phenomenon is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics, and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed.

That the promised post-racial age has not dawned, the authors argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality. That failure should worry everyone who cares about democratic institutions.

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UNPOPULAR OPINION: 6 Reasons Why Your Utopic Vision for a Mixed-Race Future is My Nightmare

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-10 17:54Z by Steven

UNPOPULAR OPINION: 6 Reasons Why Your Utopic Vision for a Mixed-Race Future is My Nightmare

xoJane
2014-12-10

Kristina Wong

Guess what? One day, when we’re all mixed race, racism won’t magically disappear.

Before you start trolling me (not that I don’t need the attention), let me tell you the specific sentiment that this whole essay addresses. It usually starts when someone chimes in with their wide-eyed vision for 2050, the year when people of color will outnumber white people in America:

“One day when all the races have mixed together, and we can’t tell what anyone is anymore, there won’t be racism! All our cultures will blend together! And…the babies will be beautiful!”

Ah yes! This magic mixed-race future, where everyone will have fucked the hate out of everyone and in the process, thousands of years of colonialism, violence, and systemic oppression disappear into the “interesting facial features” of mixed-race people!

I’m not indicting the lives of mixed-race people nor chastising interracial relationships. But let’s get real — the hypothetical “Future World of Mixed-Race Babies” being the end of racism suffers from frighteningly naive logic about how racism actually works.

Here are SIX reasons why racial utopia won’t suddenly appear once we pull our pants down and start boning across borders…

Read the entire article here.

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White Anxiety and the Futility of Black Hope

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-09 02:07Z by Steven

White Anxiety and the Futility of Black Hope

The New York Times
2014-12-05

George Yancy, Professor of Philosophy
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Shannon Sullivan, Professor of Philosophy
University of North Carolina, Charlotte

This is the third in a series of interviews with philosophers on race that I am conducting for The Stone. This week’s conversation is with Shannon Sullivan, a professor in the department of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is the author of “Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism.” — George Yancy

George Yancy: What motivated you to engage “whiteness” in your work as a philosopher?

Shannon Sullivan: It was teaching feminist philosophy for the first time or two and trying to figure out how to reach the handful of men in the class — white men, now that I think of it. They tended to be skeptical at best and openly hostile at worst to the feminist ideas we were discussing. They felt attacked and put up a lot of defenses. I was trying to see things from their perspective, not to endorse it (it was often quite sexist!), but to be more effective as a teacher. And so I thought about my whiteness and how I might feel and respond in a class that critically addressed race in ways that implicated me personally. Not that race and gender are the same or can be captured through analogies, but it was a first step toward grappling with my whiteness and trying to use it.

What really strikes me now, as I think about your question, is how old I was — around 30 — before I ever engaged whiteness philosophically, or personally, for that matter. Three decades where that question never came up and yet the unjust advantages whiteness generally provides white people fully shaped my life, including my philosophical training and work…

G.Y.: For many whites the question of their whiteness never comes up or only comes up when they are much older, as it did in your case. And yet, as you say, there is the accrual of unjust white advantages. What are some reasons that white people fail to come to terms with the fact that they benefit from whiteness?

S.S.: That’s a tough one and there probably are lots of reasons, including beliefs in boot-strap individualism, meritocracy and the like. Another answer, I think, has to do with class differences among white people. A lot of poor white people haven’t benefited as much from whiteness as middle- and upper-class white people have. Poor white people’s “failure” to come to terms with the benefits of their whiteness isn’t as obvious, I guess I’d say. I’m not talking about a kind of utilitarian calculus where we can add up and compare quantities of white advantage, but there are differences…

G.Y.: And yet for so many poor people of color there is not only the fact that the wages pay less than pennies, as it were, but that black life continues to be valued as less. Is there a history of that racial differential wage between poor whites and poor blacks or people of color?

S.S.: Yes, definitely. Class and poverty are real factors here, but they don’t erase the effects of race and racism, at least not in the United States and not in a lot of other countries with histories (and presents) of white domination. The challenge philosophically and personally is to keep all the relevant factors in play in thinking about these issues. In that complex tangle, you hit the nail on the head when you said that black life continues to be valued as less. Poor white people’s lives aren’t valued for much either, but at least in their case it seems that something went wrong, that there was something of potential value that was lost.

Let’s put it even more bluntly: America is fundamentally shaped by white domination, and as such it does not care about the lives of black people, period. It never has, it doesn’t now, and it makes me wonder about whether it ever will…

Read the entire article here.

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