Obama Urges Morehouse Graduates to ‘Keep Setting an Example’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-05-20 02:54Z by Steven

Obama Urges Morehouse Graduates to ‘Keep Setting an Example’

The New York Times

Mark Landler

ATLANTA — President Obama came to Morehouse College, the alma mater of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Sunday to tell graduates, 50 years after Dr. King’s landmark “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, that “laws and hearts and minds have been changed to the point where someone who looks just like you can somehow come to serve as president of these United States.” [Read the transcript here.]

The president tied Dr. King’s journey to his own, speaking in forthright and strikingly personal terms about his struggles as a young man with an absent father, a “heroic single mom,” and the psychological burdens of being black in America.

He also issued a challenge to the graduating class, imploring the young men of Morehouse, the nation’s only historically black, all-male college, to be responsible family men, to set an example, and to extend a hand to those less privileged than them.

While Mr. Obama has struck these themes before, he has rarely done so in such unsparing terms. After a week in which his presidency seemed adrift on a sea of controversies, the speech served as both a reminder of his historic role and an emphatic change of subject.

“We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices,” Mr. Obama said. “And I have to say, growing up I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down.”…

Read the entire article here.

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What Obama must say to African-American grads

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-05-19 03:16Z by Steven

What Obama must say to African-American grads

CNN Opinion
Cable News Network

Paul Butler, Professor of Law
Georgetown University

—”My brothers.”

That is how President Obama should begin one of the most significant speeches of his presidency: the commencement address at Morehouse College this Sunday. Addressing the historically black all male institution gives Obama an opportunity to rectify his strategic neglect of African-Americans. In this high-profile talk to his own demographic, the president has some explaining to do.

Obama’s identity as a black man is usually communicated subliminally, with the swag in his walk, the basketball court on the East Lawn, the sexy glances at the first lady, his overall cool. Now, however, comes the time to be explicit: to speak out loud his affiliation, his fraternal pride and concern. That’s the good work that calling us “brothers” would do…

Read the entire opinion piece here.

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The Gil Gross Program with Marcia Dawkins

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, New Media, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2013-05-14 02:09Z by Steven

The Gil Gross Program with Marcia Dawkins

The Gil Gross Program
Talk 910, KKSF AM
San Francisco, California
Monday, 2013-05-13

Gil Gross, Host

Gil speaks with Marcia Dawkins, author of “Clearly Invisible; Racial passing and the Color of Cultural Identity“, about the growth of our mulit-racial nation.

Download the audio here.

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Checking More Than One Box: A Growing Multiracial Nation

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2013-05-12 22:48Z by Steven

Checking More Than One Box: A Growing Multiracial Nation

All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Arun Rath, Host

[Note from Steven F. Riley: My wife and I live in the White Oak neighborhood of Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.]

Larry Bright holds his 3-year-old son’s hand while the boy steps through a leafy playground in Silver Spring, Md., and practices counting his numbers in English.

At the top of the slide, the boy begins counting in his other language: Vietnamese.

Bright, the boy’s father, is African-American; his mother, Thien Kim Lam, is Vietnamese. The couple has two children.

“They are a perfect mix between the two of us,” Lam tells Arun Rath, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Bright and Lam’s son and 7-year-old daughter are multiracial, just two of thousands born in what’s been called a multiracial baby boom. Today, 15 percent of marriages are interracial and inter-ethnic…

Evolving Perspectives

Multiracial people identifying as just one race is part of a long trend. University of Southern California professor Marcia Alesan Dawkins’ father was one such man: part black and part white.

“He has lived his life as an African-American man. He lived through segregation, he lived through civil rights,” Dawkins says. “And though he acknowledges these other aspects of his identity, he sees the world from the perspective of a black man. That’s how he chooses to identify.”

But just one generation makes all the difference for Dawkins herself, who claims black, white and Latino heritage. Dawkins and her sister see the world a little differently, she says.

“I don’t think it’s better or worse, but I think it’s a credit to the progress in both ways that people can choose to identify just as one, or choose to identify as two or more,” Dawkins says.

Despite the trend, Dawkins says it is important to remember that it is still less than 3 percent of the population that identifies as multiracial. The overwhelming majority of Americans identify as having one race only.

That’s not a bad thing, but we have to be really careful how we read and interpret and spin these census results,” she says.

Read the entire story here. Listen to the story here.  Download the audio here.

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Alien Citizen: Review

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, New Media, United States on 2013-05-10 18:21Z by Steven

Alien Citizen: Review

Asylum Lab

Jose Ruiz

Elizabeth Liang steps on the solo stage to tell the world what it’s like to be a TCK (Third Culture Kid).  These are people who, as children, traveled the globe intermittently because their parents were sent to diplomatic, business or military assignments and the family had to constantly adjust to new schools, new friends, new customs and new languages.  Her father worked for a multi-national company and was sent to several different countries during her formative years.

That in itself is fodder for a fascinating story of growing up with indeterminate roots.  When the story comes from Elizabeth Liang, whose ethnic heritage spans three continents, from her paternal roots in China, to her birth roots in Central America, to her mother’s varied European background, it becomes more than just a story…

Read the entire review here.

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‘Show Boat’ Steams On, Eternally American

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, New Media, United States on 2013-05-08 23:00Z by Steven

‘Show Boat’ Steams On, Eternally American

All Things Considered
National Public Radio


Nina Totenberg, Legal Affairs Correspondent

It’s been more than eight decades since Show Boat — the seminal masterpiece of the American musical theater — premiered on a stage in Washington, D.C. Now the sprawling classic is back, in a lush production put on by the Washington National Opera.

Based on Edna Ferber’s epic best-selling novel, Show Boat was nothing like the frothy musicals and scantily clad Broadway revues of its time. Sure, the story is about a traveling showboat that plays to audiences along the Mississippi River, but the plot focuses on serious subjects: racial injustice, alcoholism, abandonment.

Panoramic in scale, the show spans 40 years, from 1885 in the South — not long after the Civil War — to the Roaring ’20s in Chicago. And displayed in all their glory are some of the most beautiful love songs of the 20th century: “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” “Make Believe,” “Bill.”

Show Boat made musical-theater history, pioneering the merging of music and plot, integrating them for the first time to provide a seamless transition from scene to song. Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, just 31 years old, worked closely with composer Jerome Kern to replicate Ferber’s sweeping narrative. In a 1958 interview released on vinyl by MGM Records, he explained how he used the Mississippi itself as the thread that would hold all the plot elements together.

“I thought that we lacked something to make it cohesive,” Hammerstein told interviewer Arnold Michaelis. “I wanted to keep the spirit of Edna’s book, and the one focal influence I could find was the river, because she had quite consciously brought the river into every important turn in the story. The Mississippi. So I decided to write a theme — a river theme.”

That theme, of course, became “Ol’ Man River,” one of the most primal American melodies ever sung.

‘Misery’ Restored, And Threaded Throughout The Show

Director Francesca Zambello, who pushed and prodded to get the current revival staged at the Kennedy Center, says she was drawn to the show because of the timeless issues it dramatizes — not least that key underlying theme of race, embodied in the show by Julie, the showboat’s star performer.

“Julie is the fulcrum of the show, because she brings the dramatic issue that changes everything,” Zambello says.

Secretly biracial, but “passing” — living publicly as a white woman — Julie has married a white man. That makes their relationship a crime in Mississippi, and in much of the rest of the country besides.

No surprise, then, that even before Julie is found out and forced to leave the showboat, the company’s mother figure, who’s in on her secret, senses trouble. “Misery’s comin’ around,” sings Queenie, the showboat’s cook, in a gorgeously melancholy melody that was cut from the original production for time.

“The theme of ‘Misery’ you hear not only with Queenie and all the women working, but it also weaves its way underneath the dialogue every time Julie speaks after that,” Zambello points out. “It becomes her sadness, and her secret.”

There are no U.S. laws against interracial marriage anymore; they were struck down in 1967 by the Supreme Court’s . But as Show Boat plays at the Kennedy Center this month, the court — just a couple of miles away — is considering questions of same-sex marriage, affirmative action and voting rights, while Congress focuses on how we as a nation treat immigrants.

“To do this kind of work that has such deep social underpinnings to it, and really speaks about social change, is I think rare in music theater,” Zambello says. “If you wrote this musical today, I’m not sure that it would get on.”…

Read the entire article here.  Listen to the story here.  Download the audio here.

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Solo Show at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center Examines Notions of Racial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Social Science, United States, Women on 2013-05-06 18:06Z by Steven

Solo Show at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center Examines Notions of Racial Identity

Public Affairs & Communications
University of California, Santa Barbara
News Release

Contact: Andrea Estrada: 805-893-4620; George Foulsham: 805-893-3071

Multimedia performance is produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chay Carter

(Santa Barbara, Calif.)—When actress and playwright Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni married the love of her life in 2006, her father did not walk her down the aisle. In fact, he declined to attend the wedding altogether.

Seeking to understand why he chose not to participate, DiGiovanni began a trek through family history—and time and space—that ultimately led to her M.F.A. thesis project: the multimedia one-woman play, “One Drop of Love: A Daughter’s Search for Her Father’s Racial Approval.”

DiGiovanni will perform the hour-long show at UC Santa Barbara’s MultiCultural Center Theater on Tuesday, May 7. The performance begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with G. Reginald Daniel, professor of sociology at UCSB. Daniels is a leading expert in the field of critical mixed race studies…

…A leading activist on issues related to mixed race, DiGiovanni is an actor, comedian, producer, and educator. She developed “One Drop of Love” as the thesis project for her Master of Fine Arts degree in film, television, and theater from California State University Los Angeles. She will use footage from her performances—the most recent was at the University of Maryland—to produce a documentary film…

Read the entire news release here.

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The Strange History of the American Quadroon: Free Women of Color in the Revolutionary Atlantic World

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Monographs, New Media, United States, Women on 2013-05-05 23:21Z by Steven

The Strange History of the American Quadroon: Free Women of Color in the Revolutionary Atlantic World

University of North Carolina Press
April 2013
296 pages
6.125 x 9.25
16 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-0752-8

Emily Clark, Clement Chambers Benenson Professor of American Colonial History; Associate Professor of History
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Exotic, seductive, and doomed: the antebellum mixed-race free woman of color has long operated as a metaphor for New Orleans. Commonly known as a “quadroon,” she and the city she represents rest irretrievably condemned in the popular historical imagination by the linked sins of slavery and interracial sex. However, as Emily Clark shows, the rich archives of New Orleans tell a different story. Free women of color with ancestral roots in New Orleans were as likely to marry in the 1820s as white women. And marriage, not concubinage, was the basis of their family structure. In The Strange History of the American Quadroon, Clark investigates how the narrative of the erotic colored mistress became an elaborate literary and commercial trope, persisting as a symbol that long outlived the political and cultural purposes for which it had been created. Untangling myth and memory, she presents a dramatically new and nuanced understanding of the myths and realities of New Orleans’s free women of color.


  • PROLOGUE: Evolution of a Color Term and an American City’s Alienation
  • CHAPTER ONE: The Philadelphia Quadroon
  • CHAPTER TWO: From Ménagère to Placée
  • CHAPTER THREE: Con Otros Muchos: Marriage
  • CHAPTER FOUR: Bachelor Patriarchs: Life Partnerships across the Color Line
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Making Up the Quadroon
  • CHAPTER SIX: Selling the Quadroon
  • EPILOGUE: Reimagining the Quadroon
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgements
  • Index

PROLOGUE: Evolution of a Color Term and an American City’s Alienation

Let the first crossing be of a, pure negro, with A pure white. The unit of blood of the issue being composed of the halt of that of each parent, Will be a/2 + A/2. Call it, for abbreviation, h (half blood).

Let the second crossing be of h and B, the blood of the issue will be h/2 + B/2 or substituting for h/2 its equivalent, it will be a/4 + A/4 + B/2 call it q (quarteroon) being ¼ negro blood.

Thomas Jefferson, 1815

Travelers have long packed a bundle of expectations about what they will encounter when they visit New Orleans. Long before jazz was born, another presumably native-born phenomenon drew visitors to the Crescent City and preoccupied the American imagination. The British traveler Edward Sullivan observed succinctly in 1852,”I had heard a great deal of the splendid figures and graceful dancing of the New Orleans quadroons, and I certainly was not disappointed.” Sullivan’s fellow country-woman Harriet Martineau provided more-disapproving intelligence on New Orleans quadroons some fifteen years earlier: “The Quadroon girls of New Orleans are brought up by their mothers to be what they have been; the mistresses of white gentlemen.” Frederick Law Olmsted observed of the city’s quadroon women just five years before the outbreak of the Civil War that they were “one, among the multitudinous classifications of society in New Orleans, which is a very peculiar and characteristic result of the prejudices, vices, and customs of the various elements of color, class, and nation, which have been there brought together.”

The Civil War did not much alter advice to visitors about New Orleans quadroons. The “southern tour” in a guidebook published in 1866 includes New Orleans quadroons in its itinerary. Admitting that “the foregoing sketch of society and social life in New Orleans, I need hardly remind my reader, was penned long before the late rebellion had so changed the aspect of every thing throughout the South,” the entry reassures its readers that they may nonetheless expect to encounter survivals of the quadroon in the postbellum city. “The visitor will, however, be surprised as well as delighted at the extent to which the manners and customs of ‘the old regime’ are still perpetuated among the descendants of the early settlers in the Crescent City.” Twenty-first century travel literature upholds the practice of enticing tourists to New Orleans with tales of the quadroon. “The quadroons (technically, people whose racial makeup was one-quarter African) who met here were young, unmarried women of legendary beauty,” a popular travel website explains. “A gentleman would select a favorite beauty and, with her mother’s approval, buy her a house and support her as his mistress, ‘the entry continues, concluding with a guarantee that traces of this peculiar tradition could be found only in one place in America. “This practice, known as plaçage, was unique to New Orleans at the time.”

Passages like these give the impression that New Orleans was the sole place in America where one could encounter beautiful women produced by a specific degree of procreation across the color line, women whose sexual favors were reserved for white men. The reality was, of course, more complicated than that. Women whose racial ancestry would have earned them the color term quadroon lived everywhere in nineteenth-century America.‘ Today, the most well known of them is undoubtedly Virginia-born Sally Hemings, who bore her owner, Thomas Jefferson, seven children. Sally Hemings was the daughter of white planter John Wales and an enslaved woman he owned named Betty Hemings. Betty was the daughter of an enslaved woman named Susannah and a white slave-ship captain named John Hemings. Sally Hemings came to Monticello as the property of Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wales Skelton, who was, like Sally, the daughter of John Wales.

Sally Hemings ancestry qualified her as a quadroon under Thomas Jefferson’s own rubric, but when he sat down in 1815 to clarify to an acquaintance the legal taxonomy of race in his home state of Virginia, he did not take the living woman best known to him as his example. Instead, he eschewed the vivid register of language and enlisted the symbolic representation of algebra to illustrate the genetic origins of the physical and legal properties of the woman who bore most of his children and was his deceased wife’s half sister. In a virtuosic and bizarre display of what one scholar has called a “calculus of color,” Jefferson presented a tidy mathematical formula to define the race and place ot the quadroon. The complicated, messy identity and status of Sally Hemings were tamed by the comforting discipline of symbolic logic. Flesh and blood, love, shame, and fear were safely imprisoned within the cold confines of mathematics. Unnamed, Sally Hemings mother was reduced to a/2 + A/4 = h (half-blood). Sally herself was a/4 + A/4 + B/2. “Call it q (quateroon) being ¼ negro blood,” Jefferson instructed (see Figure 1).

This formulaic representation renders race as a kind a chemical compound comprising elements that act on one another in ways that multiply, mix, or cancel one another out to produce predictable results. Just as the combination of the elements of hydrogen and oxygen in the proportions represented by the formula 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O will always produce H2O—water—Jefferson’s calculus of race was meant to be precise, immutable, reliable, knowable. With detached precision, Jefferson produced theoretical mulattos and quadroons devoid of the untidy human elements of desire and power that destabilized the living expressions of his mathematical calculations. He may have been driven to abstraction by the disturbing situation of his own reproductive life, but larger historical currents probably played as important a role in his recourse to symbolic logic.

More than two decades before he drafted the chilling equations of 1815, Jefferson produced his well-known observations on race in Notes on the State of Virginia. The black people Jefferson references in Notes are not abstract symbols but corporeal examples, their differences from “whites” mapped on their bodies and projected onto their sensibilities. The observations in Notes are evocative, almost sensual passages, dense with palpable detail. Here, race is human, organic, expressive, a thing whose qualities can be described, but whose essence cannot be defined. Race slips the porous boundaries of words and threatens to overwhelm with its immeasurable meaning. Jefferson’s calculus of 1815, by contrast, imprisons race within the abstract forms and structures of mathematics, subjecting it to universal rules that prescribe and predict comforting certainties that can be anticipated, managed, even controlled.

The dissonance between Jefferson’s qualitative disquisition on blacks in Notes on the State of Virginia and his algebraic calculations of 1815 begs questions about more than the incongruities in the mind and life of one man. It points to a widespread and enduring tension in the American imagination over the symbolic expression and meaning of race that intensified and accelerated with the outbreak of widespread, violent slave rebellion in the French sugar colony of Saint-Domingue in 1791. Jefferson’s own disquiet over the events that convulsed Saint-Domingue for the next thirteen years is clear in his correspondence, public and private. He spared his daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph none of his fearful assessment in the early months of the violence. “Abundance of women and children come here to avoid danger,” he told her in November of 1791, having written to her earlier that the slaves of Saint-Domingue were “a terrible engine, absolutely ungovernable.” He gave lull vent to the enormity of his fears to his colleague James Monroe two years later. “I become daily more and more convinced that all the West India Island will remain in the hands of the people of colour, and a total expulsion of the whites sooner or later take place,” he wrote in the summer of 1793. “It is high time we should foresee the bloody scenes which our children certainly, and possibly ourselves (south of the Potomac), have to wade through and try to avert them.” Later that year he wrote to Governor William Moultrie of South Carolina to warn him that “two Frenchmen, from St. Domingo also, of the names of Castaing and La Chaise, are about setting out from this place [Philadelphia] for Charleston, with design to excite an insurrection among the negroes.” These men were neither former African captives nor French émigrés dedicated to the cause of racial equality, but the products of sexual relations between the two. “Castaing,” Jefferson advised Moultrie, “is described as a small dark mulatto, and La Chaise as a Quarteron, of a tall fine figure.”

Jefferson and his contemporaries did more than worry about the Haitian Revolution and the mixed-race people who seemed bent on spreading it. They acted with new urgency to insulate themselves from the threat of slave rebellion and racial reordering in the Atlantic world by means of policy and ideas. The revolution in the French colony of Saint-Domingue that culminated in the establishment of the slave-free black republic of Haiti in 1804 produced a new urgency in attempts to define and manage race throughout the Atlantic world. Race was the basis for the system of chattel slavery that fueled the Atlantic economy. If if could not be imaginatively codified and its mechanism understood, manipulated, controlled, slavery was imperiled. Jefferson’s algebra was one of a range of symbolic strategies Americans deployed in response to racial anxieties magnified by the Haitian Revolution. The American quadroon was another. Both were equally fanciful reductions of a complex reality.

The term quadroon was primarily descriptive for most of the eighteenth century, a color term applied to people whose genetic makeup was imagined to have been one-fourth African. Spanish and Spanish colonial artists began to attach qualitative meaning to the color terms in the second half of the eighteenth century in a genre known as casta painting. Casta paintings comprise multiple panels, usually in multiples of four, in each of which a man and woman of different races are shown with their child or children. Each scene is labeled with the color terms for the racial taxonomy being depicted. For example, a panel portraying a Spanishman and a black woman with their child is labeled “de Español y Negra: nace Mulata.” Such couplings between people imagined as occupying racial extremes were rendered in pejorative ways. As one scholar has noted, “The message is clear: certain mixtures—particularly those of Spaniards or Indians with Blacks—could only lead to the contraction of debased sentiments, immoral proclivities, and a decivilized state” (see Figure 2).

Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry, a jurist and naturalist from the French Antilles, betrayed his anxiety over the uncontrollable nature of interracial procreation in a spectacularly detailed 1796 racial taxonomy that provides twenty combinations that produce a quadroon (see Figure 3). Elsewhere, he portrayed mixed-race women as dangerous beauties who seduced French men away from their proper loyalties and paved the way for the overthrow of the plantation regime in Saint-Domingue. Other late eighteenth-century writers likewise gendered the term quadroon and linked it to irresistible beauty. In his 1793 account of Surinam, John Gabriel Stedman succumbs to the powerful charms of a “young and beautiful Quadroon girl” and fathers a son on her.

At the end of the eighteenth century, Americans imagined the beautiful, seductive quadroon as a foreigner in the Caribbean who did not occupy American territory. In fact, of course, the quadroon was already well established in the bosom of the young republic under circumstances such as those at Monticello. This homegrown American quadroon was unacknowledged, however, both literally and figuratively. She, like Sally Hemings, remained in the shadows for nearly two centuries while Americans developed a complex symbolic strategy that kept her at an imaginative distance from the nations heart and heartland. When the Haitian Revolution drove thousands of mixed-race women from the Caribbean to American shores, the figure of the quadroon supplied something more accessible than algebraic abstraction to neutralize the threat embedded in mixed-race people. The foreign female of color who migrated to the United States from the blood-soaked shores of Haiti could be mastered and controlled by white American men. This fantasy of sexual triumph supplied an antidote to the terror inspired by the image of Haiti’s virile black men poised to export their war on slavery to the American mainland.

The émigré quadroon offered other advantages in the symbolic management of Americas mixed-race population. She was more easily contained and controlled than her domestic counterpart could be. The endemic American quadroon was geographically pervasive, but a limited range could be imaginatively imposed on the invader, quarantining the threat she posed. Anxiety over the destabilizing potential of procreation across the color line was assuaged if America ignored its own interracial population and practices, preoccupied itself with the migrant quadroon, and found a way to cordon off the newcomer from the rest of the nation. When the Haitian Revolution first drove the quadroon from the Caribbean to the United States, she surfaced in Philadelphia and created quite a stir. By the 1810s, however, she had migrated away from the city so closely associated with America’s founding and attached herself to a site comfortingly located on the geographic margins of the young republic: New Orleans.

Sequestering the quadroon figuratively in the Crescent City shaped American identity and historical narrative in subtle but powerful ways, effectively turning New Orleans into a perpetual colonial space in the national imagination. The subjection of eroticized women of color by white men is one of the key mechanisms and metaphors of colonialism. Historians and theorists have disputed the view of colonialism as a project limited to the empires of Europe and Asia, exposing the colonial enterprises of the United States not only in overseas sites such as the Philippines but within the nation’s continental borders. Native Americans and Mexican-descended inhabitants of the American West and Southwest are now widely recognized as the objects of episodes of domestic colonialism. In such instances, “mainstream” America defined itself and its values against an “other,”—usually a feminine, colored other. Slavery and racism, too, fit easily into the concept of domestic colonialism. The nation’s symbolic use of the figure of the quadroon has produced yet another instance of domestic colonialism, rendering New Orleans an internal alien barred by this presumably exceptional feature of its past from claiming a comfortable berth in the national historical narrative.

The acceptance of New Orleans as exceptional and its exclusion from the normative common history imagined to have been shared by the rest of America paradoxically secure some of the most prominent building blocks of American exceptionalism. The presumption that the history of New Orleans and its quadroons is unique diverts the gaze of the rest of the nation away from its own unattractive Atlantic past, allowing it to remain firmly fixed on less-troubling founding scenes played out on the Mayflower and in Independence Hall. Americans have used the figure of the quadroon for more than two centuries not just to explain and explore race but to delineate an American past and polity that is as sanitized—and as unsatisfying—as Thomas Jefferson’s equation. The pages ahead tell the intertwined stories of the quadroon as symbol, the flesh-and-blood people this symbol was supposed to represent, and New Orleans, the city long imagined as Americas only home to both.

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The Atlantic Wins Two National Magazine Awards

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-05-03 14:47Z by Steven

The Atlantic Wins Two National Magazine Awards

The Atlantic
Press Releases

For media inquiries, please contact: Natalie Raabe at  (202) 266-7533.

Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. (May 2, 2013)—The Atlantic won two National Magazine Awards, it was announced tonight by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates won in the Essays and Criticism category and TheAtlantic.com was selected best Web site.

“I’m so happy for Ta-Nehisi and the entire team at The Atlantic. It’s wonderful to be recognized by our peers for excellence in one of our oldest journalistic forms, the essay, and one of our newest–the work we do every day on TheAtlantic.com,” said M. Scott Havens, president of The Atlantic.

Coates was honored in the Essays and Criticism category for “Fear of a Black President,” published in the September 2012 issue. Marshaling history, original reporting, memoir, and a fierce but understated moral passion in advance of the 2012 election, Coates outlines the predicament constraining President Obama: wary of coming across as a politically untenable Angry Black Man, he must always strive—as many professional African Americans must—to appear “twice as good.”…

Read the entire press release here.

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In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Census/Demographics, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-04-30 02:56Z by Steven

In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

Associated Press

Hope Yen

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

Census data and exit polling show that whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. Last year’s heavy black turnout came despite concerns about the effect of new voter-identification laws on minority voting, outweighed by the desire to re-elect the first black president.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, analyzed the 2012 elections for the AP using census data on eligible voters and turnout, along with November’s exit polling. He estimated total votes for Obama and Romney under a scenario where 2012 turnout rates for all racial groups matched those in 2004. Overall, 2012 voter turnout was roughly 58 percent, down from 62 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2004.

The analysis also used population projections to estimate the shares of eligible voters by race group through 2030. The numbers are supplemented with material from the Pew Research Center and George Mason University associate professor Michael McDonald, a leader in the field of voter turnout who separately reviewed aggregate turnout levels across states, as well as AP interviews with the Census Bureau and other experts. The bureau is scheduled to release data on voter turnout in May.

Overall, the findings represent a tipping point for blacks, who for much of America’s history were disenfranchised and then effectively barred from voting until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

But the numbers also offer a cautionary note to both Democrats and Republicans after Obama won in November with a historically low percentage of white supporters. While Latinos are now the biggest driver of U.S. population growth, they still trail whites and blacks in turnout and electoral share, because many of the Hispanics in the country are children or noncitizens…

Read the entire article here.

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