Skin

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-28 17:18Z by Steven

Skin

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-26

Tru Leverette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

“I wish I had white skin,” my three year-old daughter said, swinging breezily at the park.

Gulp. “Why do you say that, Sweetheart?” I asked, outwardly calm but inwardly exclaiming, Shit! What do I do with this?

“Because all of the friends at school have white skin.” Very matter-of-factly.

***

I think about race a lot, both professionally and personally, and perhaps more than the average person. I work as a professor teaching race-related literature classes and grew up as a “brown-skinned white girl,” as France Winddance Twine has called mixed race girls raised in white households and predominantly white communities. I remember as a preschooler myself in the 1970s telling my teacher that I wished I had long, blonde hair (and presumably pale skin) and, though I’m embarrassed to admit this deep-seated desire I held at the time, pastel underwear. So I wasn’t entirely surprised that my daughter, the beautifully brown-skinned child of her mixed race father and I, would develop feelings similar to those I’d had as a child, given the predominantly white school she attended.

But so soon? And how did she internalize the idea that dark skin is undesirable when she hasn’t been a TV watcher and has been celebrated with Doc McStuffins and brown baby dolls?…

Read the entire article here.

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Kevin Costner Hopes His New Movie Redefines How People Think About Race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-22 18:44Z by Steven

Kevin Costner Hopes His New Movie Redefines How People Think About Race

The Huffington Post
2015-01-22

Sasha Bronner, Los Angeles Editor

Kevin Costner, who just turned 60 earlier this week, can do a lot of things.

“I can make a love story. I can make the American baseball movie. I can make the political thriller, the Western, the romantic comedy. And sometimes you get to make a movie about the moments that you’re living,” he told The Huffington Post Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Costner’s newest film, “Black or White,” is a family drama centered around a custody battle, but the complexities of race are examined at every turn.

“We are living in this moment,” he continued, referring to heightened discussions and displays of racial tension in the country. “[The film] wasn’t timed for any of these things, it was made before some of these seminal moments that have seemed have caught our attention. But I have been very aware of race for a long time. And I never saw a movie that dealt with it the way that this did. That’s the hope. That it gets under your fingernails.”

Costner stars in the film as a grandfather who has raised his granddaughter along with his wife after their daughter died in childbirth. But the film begins with an additional loss. When Costner’s wife dies in a car accident, he is left to raise his granddaughter alone. A family custody battle soon erupts when the granddaughter’s black family, who live in South Los Angeles, petition to adopt her.

Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer plays opposite Costner as the paternal grandmother, and you would think that pairing these two on screen would open any door. But in fact, Costner ended up financing the film himself when all major studios turned it down…

…The film illuminates tensions that many mixed-race families struggle with today. Is the granddaughter black or white? Does she belong with one side of her family when the father is not in the picture? Or should she stay in the only home she has ever known, but with her grandfather who loves her but is now on his own and has shown more than a proclivity to crack into a cocktail at any hour of the day…

Read the entire article here.

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Where are all the interracial children’s books?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-21 21:15Z by Steven

Where are all the interracial children’s books?

The Washington Post
2015-01-20

Nevin Martell

Browsing the shelves of the children’s section at bookstores can be a depressing experience for the parent of an interracial youngster. I’m a mutt mixture Caucasian with roots going back to Western Europe and beyond, while my wife is from Ghana. We are constantly on the lookout for stories featuring characters with whom our interracial son can visually identify. It would just be nice for him to pick up a book and think to himself, “Hey, that little guy looks like me.” Sadly, he doesn’t get to do that very often.

Though there is a growing number of racially diverse characters popping up on picture book pages – and the passionate social media campaign #WeNeedDiverseBooks hopes to inspire even more of them – there is a depressing dearth of interracial ones. This is somewhat surprising given how many families are interracial these days. According to the United States Census Bureau, “interracial or interethnic opposite-sex married couple households grew by 28 percent over the decade from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010.” Additionally, there were 275,500 interracial marriages in 2010 out of a total of 2,096,000. Heck, there’s even a TV show about an interracial family and it’s on a major network – ABC’s “The Fosters.”

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any children’s books starring interracial characters. There are some wonderful options, including “Black, White, Just Right!” by Marguerite W. Davol and illustrated by Irene Trivas, “Black is Brown is Tan” by Arnold Adoff with illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully and Phil Mandelbaum’s “You Be Me, I’ll Be You.” A current favorite is “The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage,” which chronicles the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which a biracial couple successfully challenged the state’s law against interracial marriage…

Read the entire article here.

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Grappling With Today’s Realities From a Black-Jewish Perspective

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-01-21 02:23Z by Steven

Grappling With Today’s Realities From a Black-Jewish Perspective

Jewish Exponent: What it Means to be Jewish in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2015-01-15

David A. Love


The author with his wife, Sarah Katz, and son, Micah.

As an African-American who is a member of the Jewish community by choice — and is also raising a Jewish child of color — I have a unique experience. And yet, I view my experience as part of the future direction of the diaspora. My link to Judaism involves multiple identities, a passion for social justice and a commitment to nonviolence.

I had my first experiences with the Jewish community while growing up in the Laurelton section of Queens, N.Y., in the 1970s and ’80s. The community had several synagogues, which I occasionally visited with my friends. In addition, the house in which I was raised had a mezuzah in the front door, left from the previous family who had lived there — a foretelling of what was to come, perhaps?

At Harvard College, I studied the Holocaust and genocide with Erich Goldhagen, a Holocaust survivor. Later at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, under the late Harry Reicher, I researched the Nuremberg Laws and their connection to the Jim Crow segregation laws in the American South.

When I married my wife, Sarah Katz, we became members of Mishkan Shalom in Roxborough, marking the beginning of my introduction into the Jewish community. Mishkan is home because of its progressive social values. It has provided an open and welcoming environment for us — particularly an “outsider” such as me — and interracial and interfaith families. When we sat shiva for our first son, Ezra Malik, who was stillborn six years ago, the congregation wrapped themselves around us…

Read the entire article here.

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So what are you anyway?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-20 19:50Z by Steven

So what are you anyway?

CYF News (CYF News is the newsletter for the Children, Youth and Families Office)
American Psycological Association
August 2013

Mahogany L. Swanson

Individuals in the U.S. with one Black and one White parent use the concept of “race switching” as one mechanism for coping with pressures of racial identity.

Although biracial individuals include any persons with parents of differing race, this paper uses the term biracial to identify any individual whose parents are of African and European descent. Biracial individuals, or individuals with one black and one white parent, growing up in the United States develop a necessary coping mechanism whereby they are able to race switch. Race switching (see Wilton, Sanchez, & Garcia, 2013) allows individuals to identify and de-identify with different parts of their identity. This process of identification and de-identification is often dictated by the constraints or opportunities in the social milieu. Although viewed by some as opportunistic, an often-hostile environment may compel the need for racial fluidity in many self-identified biracial and multiracial individuals; however, the consequences of race switching can be deleterious for these individuals.

Multiracial and biracial individuals experience unique challenges with regards to their racial self-identification. Although in 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that the criminalization of miscegenation by the state was unconstitutional it was not until 2000 that the children of such marriages were permitted to self-identify as biracial on the national census (Roth, 2005). Additionally, in a study conducted by Herman (2004), biracial individuals with at least one black ancestor reported significantly more perceived discrimination than any other minority monoracial group, including Blacks (Herman, 2004). This finding is disconcerting given that Jackson, Yoo, Guevarra, & Harrington (2012) found individuals expressing greater amounts or perceived racial discrimination concomitantly reported lower levels of psychological adjustment.

This racial discrimination can result in the individual de-identifying with his or her biracial or multiracial identity, and choosing to self-identify with the more accepted minority and monoracial race. Historically, the singularly black identity was given to all biracial and multiracial individuals, regardless of whether they espoused this identity. Coined the “one-drop rule“, and often a means of hegemony, an individual with one black ancestor was considered singularly black.  Overtime, this method of racial reporting was accepted and used by Blacks and Biracials alike (Roth, 2005).

In addition to the one-drop rule, racial classification is frequently done through a process known as physiognomy, or the practice of making decisions about a person’s race based off his or her physical appearance. In a national longitudinal study conducted by Doyle and Kao (2007), 97 percent of self-identified biracial individuals who believed they appeared more black were identified by others as looking more black, where as only 17 percent of self-identified biracial individuals who believed they appeared more white were also described as being white by an outside observer. According to Doyle & Kao (2007), black/white biracial individuals are often compelled by society to self-identify as black due to physiognomy; whereas those minorities with lighter skin color, such as Native and Asian Americans are often given more latitude in terms of self-identification. The last three types of racial self-identification used by biracial individuals include: singularly white, border identity, protean and transcendent identity (see Roth 2005; Hitlin, Brown, and Elder, 2007)…

Read the entire article here.

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Living Color: Fathers Talk to Their Bi-Racial Sons

Posted in Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-17 20:11Z by Steven

Living Color: Fathers Talk to Their Bi-Racial Sons

NBC News
2015-01-14

Photographs by André Chung

Teaching lessons they never had to learn, fathers speak to their bi-racial sons about identity, perception, and dealing with law enforcement.


Mark Johnson-Lewis, 48, and his son, Tyler Lewis, 22, of Columbia, MD (André Chung/NBC News)

Mark: You’re black in this world, and it doesn’t matter what you think of who you are, you have to be conscious of how others are going to see you. And when you bump up against the law, it’s probably not going to be the best experience because of how others see you.

Tyler: I want to become a police officer and it’s kind of something that I struggle with being a black man. There needs to be a change in mindset of the way people view law enforcement. And there needs to be a change in the way law enforcement views the average American. You know, not as a black American, not as a white American, but as a person, as a human being…


Benjamin Jancewicz, 31, with his son, Arion, 6, of Baltimore, MD. (André Chung/NBC News)

Benjamin: Regardless of how light he is, he’s still going to be, you know, with a lot of other people doing a lot of other things. And he needs to be prepared. And that just really worries me because, you know, as much of a perspective as I do have coming from a– a [diverse] culture, I still know that my own skin tone allows me to get away with a lot of other stuff…

View the entire photo-essay here.

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Of Many Colors: Portraits of Multiracial Families

Posted in Arts, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-03 18:46Z by Steven

Of Many Colors: Portraits of Multiracial Families

University of Massachusetts Press
1997-11-21
160 pages
0.5 x 8 x 10.5 inches
ISBN (paper): 978-1-55849-101-4
ISBN (cloth): 978-1-55849-100-7 (out of print)

Gigi Kaeser, Co-director
Family Diversity Projects, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts

Peggy Gillespie, Co-director
Family Diversity Projects, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts

Photographs by Gigi Kaeser. Interviews by Peggy Gillespie.

Based on an award-winning photo exhibit, this book documents the feelings and experiences of Americans who live in multiracial families. Of Many Colors tells the stories of thirty-nine families who have bridged the racial divide through interracial marriage or adoption. In these pages, parents and children speak candidly about their lives, their relationships, and the ways in which they have dealt with issues of race.

Although the number of mixed-race families in America is steadily rising, this trend remains controversial. For centuries, America has depended on distinct racial categories for its social, political, and economic organization. The current debate over the inclusion of a “multiracial” category on census forms illustrates the extent to which the deeply embedded construct of race continues to divide our society.

Transracial adoption has also generated fierce controversy and debate. As in the case of racial categories, the discussion of transracial adoption reflects ever-changing social standards. As recently as 1987, thirty-five states had laws prohibiting the adoption of black children by white families. In 1996, however, President Clinton signed a bill making it illegal to prohibit adoptions based on race.

The interviews in this book provide the reader with a clear understanding of how mixed-race families contradict stereotypes, challenge racism, and demonstrate that people of different races can indeed live together in harmony. Family members also have much to say about the most intimate form of integration, familial love, and this love is made visible in the superb photographs by Gigi Kaeser.

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Intermarried Couples and “Multiculturalism” in Japan

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-12-30 01:50Z by Steven

Intermarried Couples and “Multiculturalism” in Japan

CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
ISSN 1481-4374
Volume 15, Issue 2 (2013)
DOI: 10.7771/1481-4374.2216

Kaori Mori Want
Shibaura Institute of Technology

In her article “Intermarried Couples and ‘Multiculturalism’ in Japan” Kaori Mori Want discusses why hyphenated names for the children of intermarried children are important for the achievement of multiculturalism in Japan in an era of globalization. In Japan the number of people who marry interracially or inter-ethnically is increasing, but changes to naming practices must occur for Japan to become a multicultural society. Intermarriage is not a reliable indicator of the maturity of multiculturalism. Foreign residents who have intermarried in Japan do not have the rights of Japanese, such as those of voting, social welfare, education, and so on. This fact alone makes Japan far from multicultural. One of the aspects missing in the critiques of multiculturalism in Japan has to do with naming practices. Children of intermarried couples have at least two cultural heritages but under the present Japanese family law, it is almost impossible to give children a hyphenated last name that would reflect their multicultural heritage.

Read the entire article here.

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The Talk: After Ferguson, a Shaded Conversation About Race

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-12-14 22:08Z by Steven

The Talk: After Ferguson, a Shaded Conversation About Race

The New York Times
2014-12-13

Dana Canedy, Senior Editor

LIKE so many African-American parents, I had rehearsed “the talk,” that nausea-inducing discussion I needed to have with my son about how to conduct himself in the presence of the police. I was prepared for his questions, except for one.

“Can I just pretend I’m white?”

Jordan was born to African-American parents, but recessive genes being what they are, he has very fair skin and pale blue eyes. I am caramel brown, and since his birth eight years ago people have mistaken me for his nanny.

When I asked why he would want to “pass” for white, I struggled with how to respond to his answer.

“Because it’s safer,” Jordan replied. “They won’t hurt me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Explaining Ferguson to interracial children

Posted in Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-11-28 04:07Z by Steven

Explaining Ferguson to interracial children

KSDK TV-5
St. Louis, Missouri
2014-11-27

Christina Coleman, Anchor-Reporter

Family Counselor Michael Herold strongly recommends having plenty of discussions about the different cultural traditions experiences that make up the child’s racial background on both sides of their family.

View the video here.

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