Brown Theology, Critical Race Theory, and the Laws of Burgos

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2015-07-04 01:25Z by Steven

Brown Theology, Critical Race Theory, and the Laws of Burgos

Jesus for Revolutionaries
2015-06-29

Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

The fervent cries of Montesino soon reached the ears of King Ferdinand.   On March 20, 1512, the king ordered Governor Diego Columbus to silence Montesinos under penalty of repatriation to Spain (Hanke, 18).   On March 23, 1512, the Dominican Superior in Spain followed suit and likewise rebuked Montesinos and the rebellious monks for their irksome teaching.  Undeterred, Montesinos held his ground.  To break the impasse, both the colonists and Dominicans sent representatives to Spain to argue their positions before the royal court.  The colonists appointed a Franciscan monk, Alonso del Espinal; the Dominicans selected Montesinos.  (Hanke, 22, 23).  Bewildered by the long list of abuses perpetrated against the natives, King Ferdinand convened a group of theologians and royal officials to examine the situation and to create laws which addressed the purported injustices.

In support of the colonist’s position, Friar Bernardo de Mesa asserted that the Indians should be subject to servitude because of their laziness.  By forcing them to labor for Spaniards, de Mesa reasoned, it would “curb their inclinations and compel them to industry” (Hanke, 23).   Drawing from Aristotle, a second court preacher, Licentiate Gregorio argued that forced labor was justified because the Indians were “natural slaves.”

According to Aristotle in Book 1 of the Politics, some human beings are born “natural slaves” (Smith, 110; 1254a21-24).  Natural slaves lack reason and have an aptitude for manual labor (Smith, 110; Politics, 1260a12; 3.1280a33-34).  Moreover, Aristotle asserts, a slave may be properly regarded as part of his master’s own body.  (Smith, 110; Politics, 1254b20-23).   In drawing from Aristotle’s natural slavery argument, Gregorio initiated a line of twisted theological reasoning which would later be used to justify conquest and colonization of all of the Americas, as well the enslavement of millions of African slaves.   Because the diverse indigenous populations of North and South America were “natural slaves” some would argue, it was morally acceptable to conquer their lands and force them to labor for enlightened Europeans.  As “natural slaves,” moreover, West Africans were less than human and therefore could be captured, shipped, and sold to Spanish, Portuguese, and English settlers.

After meeting more than 20 times, the royal junta came to several seemingly contradictory conclusions:  1. The Indians were free political subjects; 2. They were entitled to humane treatment;  3.  Nonetheless, they could be subject to compulsory labor for Spaniards; and, 4. The Indians should be forced to live in close proximity to the Europeans in order to allow for more effective religious inculcation and instruction.  (Hanke, 23).   These principles became codified in the first racially discriminatory laws in the history of the Americas called the Laws of Burgos (Hanke, 24)

Read the entire article here.

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Historian Victoria Bynum, author of “The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War”

Posted in Audio, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, United States on 2015-07-03 18:20Z by Steven

Historian Victoria Bynum, author of “The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War”

Rag Radio: Driving in the Left Lane!
Cutting-edge alternative journalism, politics, and culture in the spirit of the Sixties underground press.
KOOP 91.7 FM, Austin Texas
Friday, 2015-07-03, 19:00-20:00Z (14:00-15:00 CDT)

Thorne Dreyer, Host

Victoria Bynum, Emeritus Professor of History
Texas State University, San Marcos

Thorne Dreyer and Dr. Bynum will discuss her book, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, and its connections to the current Confederate flag controversy.

Rag Radio is a syndicated weekly radio show that features hour-long in-depth interviews and discussion about issues of progressive politics, culture, and history. Our guests include newsmakers, artists, leading thinkers, and public figures.

For more information, click here.

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Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

Posted in Articles, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery on 2015-07-03 18:18Z by Steven

Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

University of North Carolina Press
January 2016
Approx. 336 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-2341-2

David Wheat, Assistant Professor of History
Michigan State University

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the “Africanization” of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean.

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Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Posted in Africa, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2015-07-02 15:50Z by Steven

Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Ohio University Press
October 2015
364 pages
11 illus., 3 maps
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8214-2179-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8214-2180-2
Electronic ISBN: 978-0-8214-4539-6

Carina E. Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Interracial sex mattered to the British colonial state in West Africa. In Crossing the Color Line, Carina E. Ray goes beyond this fact to reveal how Gold Coasters—their social practices, interests, and anxieties—shaped and defined these powerfully charged relations across racial lines. The interplay between African and European perspectives and practices, argues Ray, transformed these relationships into key sites for consolidating colonial rule and for contesting its racial and gendered hierarchies of power.

With rigorous methodology and innovative analyses, Ray brings Ghana and Britain into a single analytic frame by examining cases in both locales. Intimate relations between black men and white women in Britain’s port cities emerge as an influential part of the history of interracial sex and empire in ways that are connected to rather than eclipsed by relations between European men and African women in the colony.

Based on rich archival evidence and original interviews, the book moves across different registers, shifting from the micropolitics of individual disciplinary cases against colonial officers who “kept” local women to transatlantic networks of family, empire, and anticolonial resistance. In this way, Ray cuts to the heart of how interracial sex became a source of colonial anxiety and nationalist agitation during the first half of the twentieth century.

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Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing on 2015-07-02 01:33Z by Steven

Dolezal Controversy Sharpens Focus on Racial Identity

University of Massachusetts Press
2015-06-26

The recent controversy concerning Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity steered many readers to a 2008 UMass Press book by Baz Dreisinger, Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture, which explores cases in which legally white individuals are imagined, by themselves or by others, as passing for black.

Many news venues—the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, The Atlantic, and others—found their way to Dreisinger to ask her thoughts. The controversy, Dreisinger told the New York Times, “taps into all of these issues around blackface and wearing blackness and that whole cultural legacy, which makes it that much more vile.”

In The Atlantic, Dreisinger said “I think it’s critical to recognize the ways in which American whites have a long legacy of fetishizing blackness, whether they’re literally passing or not, but the ways in which their notions of blackness are based upon caricatures, and not characters. They’re based on idealized or cartoonish notions of what blackness is.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Social Construction of Race

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:55Z by Steven

The Social Construction of Race

Jacobin
2015-06-25

Brian Jones

Race is a social fiction imposed by the powerful on those they wish to control.

The first friend I ever had was a little boy named Matt. We were maybe four or five years old. Matt came to me one day with a very serious look on his face and gave me a little talking-to. He explained to me: “Brian, you’re brown. And I’m peach.”

I don’t remember saying anything back, but I think in my mind I was like “Okay. . . ? Well these Legos aren’t going to build themselves.”

Matt was trying to do me a favor. He was trying to introduce me to the very bizarre and peculiar rules that we all know as grownups — very important things to understand. If you didn’t understand them, you’d find American life and society very strange. You’d do things you shouldn’t do, go places you shouldn’t go. You’d mess up if you didn’t understand the particular rules that govern the ideology of race in the United States.

Sometimes when you go outside of the American context you begin to appreciate how particular and unique these rules are. I remember reading about a (probably apocryphal) interview with the former dictator of Haiti, Papa Doc Duvalier, who referred to the “white majority population” of Haiti. The American journalist interviewing him didn’t understand, so they had to define to each other what makes somebody white or black. The American journalist explained that in the US, one metaphorical drop of black blood designates someone as black. And Duvalier replied, “Well, that’s our definition of white.”

The whole idea of this talk — if you take away nothing else — is this: the whole thing is made up. That’s it. And you can make it up different ways; and people have and do. And it changes. And it has nothing to do with biology or genetics. There’s a study of several decades of census records that found that twice as many people who call themselves white have recent African ancestry as people who call themselves black.

This is not just a matter of folksy beliefs, or prejudice, or wrong ideas, though those things are all in the mix. This is a matter of law…

Read the entire article here.

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Race in Rhode Island: Is race just an invention?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:34Z by Steven

Race in Rhode Island: Is race just an invention?

The Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island
2015-06-27

Paul Edward Parker

Classifications were created to divide people, say educator, historian.

When you ask “What is race?” don’t expect a simple answer.

And, when you consider Latinos — Are they a race or an ethnicity? — plus America’s ever growing multiracial identity, that complicated answer grows even more complex.

The apparently simple concept of race eludes easy definition, even though we have been counting people by race in Rhode Island as far back as 1774.

The federal government took up the practice in 1790, the year that Rhode Island became the 13th and final original state to ratify the Constitution.

Despite that long history of sorting people into racial categories, experts say it has little basis in science. It’s more about sociology and politics.

“Race is not a biological construct. It’s a social construct,” said Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, a retired Rhode Island College professor who, for nearly 40 years, taught classes on the anthropology of racism. “There’s a belief that it’s scientific,” she added. “It’s impossible to classify humans scientifically into race.”…

What about Latino?

Along with “What is race?” those who count Americans by categories have to ask: “Is Hispanic or Latino a race?”

The Census Bureau has said no, Hispanic origin is in addition to race. Someone who identifies as Hispanic or Latino also will belong to one or more of the five racial groups.

But two-thirds of American Latinos disagree, Lopez said. They have told Pew that Latino is part of their racial identity.

“I’m not white, and I’m not black,” said Anna Cano Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University in Providence. “I choose to be Latina.”

But Morales concedes racial and ethnic identity is not simple. “This is an incredibly complex set of questions,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Race Policy and Multiracial Americans

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 15:09Z by Steven

Race Policy and Multiracial Americans

Policy Press (Available in North America from University of Chicago Press)
2016-01-13
226 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781447316459
Paperback ISBN: 9781447316503

Edited by:

Kathleen Odell Korgen, Professor of Sociology
William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Race Policy and Multiracial Americans is the first book to look at the impact of multiracial people on race policies—where they lag behind the growing numbers of multiracial people in the U.S. and how they can be used to promote racial justice for multiracial Americans. Using a critical mixed race perspective, it covers such questions as: Which policies aimed at combating racial discrimination should cover multiracial Americans? Should all (or some) multiracial Americans benefit from affirmative action programmes? How can we better understand the education and health needs of multiracial Americans? This much-needed book is essential reading for sociology, political science and public policy students, policy makers, and anyone interested in race relations and social justice.

Contents

  • Introduction ~ Kathleen Odell Korgen
  • Multiracial Americans throughout the History of the U.S. ~ Tyrone Nagai
  • National and Local Structures of Inequality: Multiracial Groups’ Profiles Across the United States ~ Mary E. Campbell and Jessica M. Barron
  • Latinos and Multiracial America ~ Raúl Quiñones Rosado
  • The Connections among Racial Identity, Social Class, and Public Policy? ~ Nikki Khanna
  • Multiracial Americans and Racial Discrimination ~ Tina Fernandes Botts
  • “Should All (or Some) Multiracial Americans Benefit from Affirmative Action Programs?”~ Daniel N. Lipson
  • Multiracial Students and Educational Policy ~ Rhina Fernandes Williams and E. Namisi Chilungu
  • Multiracial Americans in College ~ Marc P. Johnston and Kristen A. Renn
  • Multiracial Americans, Health Patterns, and Health Policy: Assessment and Recommendations for Ways Forward ~ Jenifer L. Bratter and Chirsta Mason
  • Racial Identity Among Multiracial Prisoners in the Color-Blind Era ~ Gennifer Furst and Kathleen Odell Korgen
  • “Multiraciality and the Racial Order: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”~ Hephzibah V. Strmic-Pawl and David L. Brunsma
  • Multiracial Identity and Monoracial Conflict: Toward a New Social Justice framework ~ Andrew Jolivette
  • Conclusion: Policies for a Racially Just Society ~ Kathleen Odell Korgen
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How a long-dead white supremacist still threatens the future of Virginia’s Indian tribes

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States, Virginia on 2015-07-01 14:45Z by Steven

How a long-dead white supremacist still threatens the future of Virginia’s Indian tribes

The Washington Post
2015-07-01

Joe Heim, Staff Writer


Walter A. Plecker’s goal as Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics was to ban race-mixing. He declared there were no true Indians left because of marriages with blacks. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia’s Indian tribes have faced numerous obstacles in their decades-old quest for federal recognition. But one person has long stood in their way — and he’s been dead for 68 years.

Walter Plecker — a physician, eugenicist and avowed white supremacist — ran Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics with single-minded resolve over 34 years in the first half of the 20th century.

Though he died in 1947, Plecker’s shadow still lingers over the state, a vestige of a vicious era when racist practices were an integral part of government policy and Virginia officials ruthlessly enforced laws created to protect what they considered a master white race.

For Virginia’s Indians, the policies championed by Plecker threatened their very existence, nearly wiping out the tribes who greeted the country’s first English settlers and who claim Pocahontas as an ancestor. This month, the legacy of those laws could again help sabotage an effort by the Pamunkey people to become the state’s first federally recognized tribe.

Obsessed with the idea of white superiority, Plecker championed legislation that would codify the idea that people with one drop of “Negro” blood could not be classified as white. His efforts led the Virginia legislature to pass the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, a law that criminalized interracial marriage and also required that every birth in the state be recorded by race with the only options being “White” and “Colored.”

Plecker was proud of the law and his role in creating it. It was, he said, “the most perfect expression of the white ideal, and the most important eugenical effort that has been made in 4,000 years.

The act didn’t just make blacks in Virginia second-class citizens — it also erased any acknowledgment of Indians, whom Plecker claimed no longer truly existed in the commonwealth. With a stroke of a pen, Virginia was on a path to eliminating the identity of the Pamunkey, the Mattaponi, the Chickahominy, the Monacan, the Rappahannock, the Nansemond and the rest of Virginia’s tribes…

Read the entire article here.

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What Is Whiteness?

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 01:33Z by Steven

What Is Whiteness?

Sunday Review
The New York Times
2015-06-20

Nell Irvin Painter, Professor Emerita of History
Princeton University

The terrorist attack in Charleston, S.C., an atrocity like so many other shameful episodes in American history, has overshadowed the drama of Rachel A. Dolezal’s yearslong passing for black. And for good reason: Hateful mass murder is, of course, more consequential than one woman’s fiction. But the two are connected in a way that is relevant to many Americans.

An essential problem here is the inadequacy of white identity. Everyone loves to talk about blackness, a fascinating thing. But bring up whiteness and fewer people want to talk about it. Whiteness is on a toggle switch between “bland nothingness” and “racist hatred.”

On one side is Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year-old charged with murdering nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday. He’s part of a very old racist tradition, stretching from the anti-black violence following the Civil War, through the 1915 movie “The Birth of a Nation,” to today’s white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and gun-toting, apocalyptically minded Obama-haters. And now a mass murderer in a church.

On the other side is Ms. Dolezal, the former leader of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., who, it seems, mistakenly believed that she could not be both anti-racist and white. Faced with her assumed choice between a blank identity or a malevolent one, she opted out of whiteness altogether. Notwithstanding the confusion and anger she has stirred, she continues to say that she identifies as black. Fine. But why, we wonder, did she pretend to be black?

Our search for understanding in matters of race automatically inclines us toward blackness, although that is not where these answers lie. It has become a common observation that blackness, and race more generally, is a social construct. But examining whiteness as a social construct offers more answers. The essential problem is the inadequacy of white identity…

Read the entire article here.

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