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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Confronting whitening in an era of black consciousness: racial ideology and black-white interracial marriages in Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-10-15 19:39Z by Steven

Confronting whitening in an era of black consciousness: racial ideology and black-white interracial marriages in Rio de Janeiro

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 36, Issue 10, 2013
Special Issue: Rethinking Race, Racism, Identity, and Ideology in Latin America
pages 1490-1506
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2013.783926

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

In Latin America, whitening is understood as a goal of darker-skinned individuals who marry whites to gain access to white social circles, increase their social status, and produce lighter offspring. However, in Brazil, increasing black consciousness and race-based policies are seemingly at odds with contemporary attempts to whiten. Drawing on qualitative interviews with forty-nine individuals in black–white couples, I examine how they make sense of whitening in their lives. I find that unlike in the past, respondents do not describe themselves engaged in whitening and either find it offensive or recognize admissions of whitening as stigmatized. Nevertheless, whitening is how friends, families and other outsiders give meaning to their relationships, depending on the gender of the respondent. In addition, I find evidence of some white women understanding their relationships as a way of darkening themselves. This study reveals a transformation in the meanings associated with whitening ideology in contemporary Brazil.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Shows: One Drop of Love

Posted in Arts, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-15 16:04Z by Steven

Shows: One Drop of Love

Mesa Arts Center
Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse
One East Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85201
Box Office: (480) 644.6500

Performing Live Series
Saturday, 2014-11-01, 15:00 & 19:30 MT (Local Time)

Produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and the show’s writer/performer Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, One Drop of Love is a multimedia one woman show. 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.

For more information, click here.

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11 ways race isn’t real

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-12 18:46Z by Steven

11 ways race isn’t real

Vox
2014-10-10

Jenée Desmond-Harris

It was surprising — and, to many, annoying — to learn that Raven Symoné, the brown-skinned girl who played the adorable youngest character on TV’s seminal black sitcom, The Cosby Show, doesn’t consider herself “African-American.” (In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said she thought of herself as “a colorless person.”)

Symoné ultimately responded to those who’d called her comments misguided or tone deaf, clarifying in a statement to theGrio.com, “I never said I wasn’t black.” But the most fascinating thing about the whole story is that, even if she’d flat-out rejected that label, none of us could, with any authority, tell her she was wrong.

The discussion surrounding the actress’s identity is just the latest example of how there’s no consensus when it comes to who should be called what — black, white, Asian, or Latino — in the United States. It’s a reminder that race is a social and political construct.

Most people have heard that concept by now. But what does it actually mean?

It means that racial categories are not real. By “real,” I mean based on facts that people can even begin to agree on. Permanent. Scientific. Objective. Logical. Consistent. Able to stand up to scrutiny.

This, of course, does not mean that the concept of race isn’t hugely important in our lives. Although race isn’t real, racism certainly is. The racial categories to which we’re assigned, based on how we look to others or how we identify ourselves, can determine real-life experiences, inspire hate, drive political outcomes, and make the difference between life and death. But these important consequences are a result of a relatively new idea that was based on shaky reasoning and shady motivations. This makes the borders of the various categories impossible to pin down and renders today’s debates about how particular people should identify futile.

If you have any lingering belief that the racial categorizations we use make any real sense, read this and change your mind:…

Read the entire article here.

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America’s sex and race failure: Why Raven-Symone and an Ohio couple are struggling

Posted in Articles, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-10 18:07Z by Steven

America’s sex and race failure: Why Raven-Symone and an Ohio couple are struggling

Salon
2014-10-08

Brittney Cooper, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

How a TV star shunning labels, and a lesbian couple with a Black baby illustrate the fight to assert one’s humanity

This week, iconic Cosby (grand)kid Raven-Symoné caught up with Oprah, telling her in an interview: “I don’t want to be labeled gay… I’m a human who loves other humans. …I’m American not African American.  I don’t know what country I’m from in Africa, but I do know I have roots in Louisiana. I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person.” It would be tempting to frame these recent remarks on race and gay identity from the Cosby Show and Disney star as just more ideal and myopic millennial musings on race. But I think her comments tell us something about the operations of contemporary notions of the “human” that are worth unpacking.

Let me begin by saying that using one’s Louisiana roots is perhaps the worst place to begin in an argument about how the term “American” is a “color-less” one. Both sides of my family have lived in Louisiana since the earliest census records I could find. That census, the 1870 census was the first to record the names of all the black people that had been freed within the last decade. With great care, citizens were designated with a “C,” “M,” or “W,” for “colored,” “mulatto” and “white” respectively. Well into the late 20th century, my grandmother referred to Black people as colored.

Certainly, Raven-Symoné’s arguments bear the trace of the postracial rhetoric so prominent among certain (though not all) segments of millennials.  But her desire to not acknowledge or carry the “African” designation in “African-American” is far from new. To be clear, many Black people who are Americans, are not “African American” in the sense that we mean that term today, namely as native born Black people. Voluntary rather than forced migrations of diasporic Black people from the Caribbean and from West Africa have been a characteristic of the U.S. Black population since the early 20th century.  The side eye I’m giving to Raven-Symoné is not about a desire to demand that all Black people in the U.S. take on the moniker “African American,” but rather about the fact that her framing suggests that it is the connection of Africa to blackness that has her wanting to disavow a hyphenated identity…

…Among the many things I find troubling in her statement is the idea that America is color-less. It is a society built on a foundational color schema in which black skin is figured as the condition for unfreedom and white skin as the condition for freedom. Louisiana itself had a notoriously restrictive definition of the one drop rule as Dr. Yaba Blay discusses in her book “One-Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race,” Louisiana law classified all people with “one-thirty-second or less” of Negro blood would be “deemed, described, or designated” officially as ‘colored, ‘mulatto,’ ‘black,’ ‘negro,’ ‘griffe,’ “Afro-American,’ ‘quadroon,’ ‘mestizo,” ‘colored person,’ or ‘person of color.’ Well into the 1980s, i.e. well into Raven Symoné’s lifetime, this law was used to designate putatively white people as black…

…This kind of rhetorical move is also salient coming on the heels of recent reports of an Ohio lesbian couple opting to sue their sperm bank for erroneously giving them black donor sperm.  I get suing for negligence and shoddy service. But for this queer couple, the presence of their Black daughter disrupts their ability to exist comfortably in the space of whiteness that defines their community, a community that they admit is deeply homophobic. Having chosen to be a queer family in the midst of a heteronormative white universe in Ohio, their Black child has now disrupted their access to white power and privilege. This biracial black girl is growing up with distraught, devastated queer parents who love her despite her blackness. Having internalized antiblackness, they note their discomfort with taking her to a black neighborhood for haircuts and their fear of the racist reprisal of neighbors and family members…

Read the entire article here.

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Indie Groundbreaking Book: (1)ne Drop

Posted in Articles, Arts, Book/Video Reviews, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-10-07 18:12Z by Steven

Indie Groundbreaking Book: (1)ne Drop

Independent Publisher
October 2014

Craig Manning
Western Michigan University

Landmark Photo Essay Book Seeks to “Shift the Lens on Race”

Has the social and political mindset on race in 2014 changed from where it was 100 years ago? What is the definition of “Blackness” in the modern age? These are just a few of the many questions posed by (1)ne Drop, a landmark new book that seeks to “shift the lens on race” in more ways than one. Written and compiled by Dr. Yaba Blay, Ph. D., a teacher and scholar in the subject of African Studies at Drexel University in Sacramento, CA [Philadelphia, PA], (1)ne Drop is an ambitious project. Part textbook, part photo essay, part academic thesis, (1)ne Drop is also this month’s indie groundbreaking book, and for more reasons than I can list.

On one hand, (1)ne Drop is groundbreaking for shedding a light on the troubling biological basis for much of the racism that has existed in the United States for more than 200 years. That basis is called the “one-drop rule,” a concept that says a person should be identified as “Black” if they have so much as a trace of Black ancestry (or so much as a single drop of Black blood) in their heritage. In the 1900s, the one-drop rule was an actual law, used throughout the southern parts of the country to promote “White racial purity” and overall White supremacy. But while the law is gone, the concept and the thought behind it still persists, and that question of racial identification permeates (1)ne Drop

Read the entire review here.

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