It’s Not Always Black And White: Biracial Narratives In TV

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-19 02:19Z by Steven

It’s Not Always Black And White: Biracial Narratives In TV


Jasmine Ramón
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

Cover Image Credit: Vulture

It is refreshing to see more and more shows and movies are depicting biracial narratives.

We usually talk about race as if it’s merely black people and white people. Often the critique is, what about if you’re neither? A question asked much less often is: “Well, what if you’re both?” Up until recently, there was little to be said about being biracial or mixed race in TV and movies. But there is so much complexity there as well.

There is a subtle moment in “Dear White People” when biracial main character Sam White changes her music to hip hop as she strolls past a group of black girls on campus. There is an equally subtle moment when Jerrod Carmichael’s biracial girlfriend Amber asks him if the classic Biggy song he is listening to is a new song on “The Carmichael Show.” These moments might be missed entirely, or merely chuckled at, but they are slight nods to what it means to constantly be bargaining one’s identity.

Both shows are largely about blackness, and the experience of black people. But they also both seem to suggest the remnants of the ‘one-drop rule,’ where any bit of blackness largely means acceptance into the black community, and exclusion from the white community. Of course, there are layers to this. At one point, Sam’s friend Joelle makes a comment likening Sam to a “Tracie Ellis Ross” (left in image below) rather than a “Rashida Jones.” (right)…

Read the entire article here.

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Are you racially fluid?

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2018-03-03 02:33Z by Steven

Are you racially fluid?

Cable News Network (CNN)

Story by John Blake, CNN
Video by Tawanda Scott Sambou, CNN

The blurring of racial lines won’t save America. Why ‘racial fluidity’ is a con

(CNN) He was a snappy dresser with slicked back hair and a pencil mustache. A crack bandleader, musician and legendary talent scout, he was dubbed the “Godfather of R&B.”

But Johnny Otis’ greatest performance was an audacious act of defiance he orchestrated offstage.

Most people who saw Otis perform during his heyday in the 1950s thought he was a light-skinned black man. He used “we” when talking about black people, married his black high school sweetheart and stayed in substandard “for colored only” hotels with his black bandmates when they toured the South.

Johnny Otis, though, wasn’t his real name. He was born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes to Greek immigrants in Northern California. He grew up in a black neighborhood where he developed such a kinship with black culture that he walked away from his whiteness and became black by choice.

“As a kid I decided that if our society dictated that one had to be black or white, I would be black,” he wrote in his 1968 book, “Listen to the Lambs.”

“No number of objections such as ‘You were born white … you can never be black’ on the part of the whites, or ‘You sure are a fool to be colored when you could be white’ from Negroes, can alter the fact that I cannot think of myself as white.

“I do not expect everybody to understand it, but it is a fact. I am black environmentally, psychologically, culturally, emotionally, and intellectually.”…

…What if racial fluidity leads not to less racism, but to more?

That’s the warning being issued by many who study racial fluidity — including some who are racially fluid themselves. They say people are naïve if they believe expanding the menu of racial choices will lead to more tolerance; that racism is deeper and more adaptable than people realize.

A brown-skinned man with a white mother can gush all he wants about his DNA mix, but that won’t stop him from being racially profiled, says Rainier Spencer, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who has written extensively about mixed-race identity, including his own.

“If I stand on a corner holding a sign saying, ‘I’m racially fluid,'” says Spencer, “that still doesn’t mean I’m going to get a cab.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Paintings Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled At Portrait Gallery

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-02-12 19:38Z by Steven

Paintings Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled At Portrait Gallery

National Public Radio

Camila Domonoske

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand next to their newly unveiled portraits during a ceremony Monday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Brand new portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama — wearing matching calm, strong expressions — were revealed on Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama sitting in a chair, elbows in his knees, leaning forward with an intense expression. The background, typical of a Wiley painting, is a riotous pattern of intense greens.

“Pretty sharp,” Obama said with a grin.

Amy Sherald, a Baltimore-based artist, painted Michelle Obama sitting in a floor-length gown, chin on her hand, looking directly at the viewer with a calm, level gaze.

The paintings, like the presidency they honor, are a historic first. Wiley and Sherald — both already famous for their portraits of black Americans — are the first black painters to receive a presidential portrait commission from the museum…

Read the entire article here.

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Barack Obama [Recent Acquisition of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery]

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-11 17:28Z by Steven

Barack Obama [Recent Acquisition of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery]

National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C.

Title: Obama “HOPE” Portrait
Artist: Shepard Fairey, born 1970
Copy After: Mannie Garcia, born 1953
Sitter: Barack Hussein Obama, born 4 Aug 1961
Date: 2008
Type: Collage
Medium: Hand-finished collage, stencil, and acrylic on heavy paper
Dimensions: Sheet: 176.7 x 117.5 cm (69 9/16 x 46 1/4″)
Frame: 187.3 x 127 x 5.1 cm (73 3/4 x 50 x 2″)
Credit Line: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection in honor of Mary K. Podesta
Rights: ©Shepard Fairey/
Object number: NPG.2008.52
Culture: Barack Hussein Obama: American\African American
Exhibition Label: Forty-fourth president
Shepard Fairey’s Barack Obama Hope poster became the iconic campaign image for the first African American president of the United States. Early in 2008, the Los Angeles–based graphic designer and street artist designed his first Obama portraits, with a stenciled face, visionary upward glance, and inspiring captions. The artist’s intention that the image be widely reproduced and “go viral” on the Internet exceeded his greatest expectations. Campaign supporters and grassroots organizations disseminated tens of thousands of T-shirts, posters, and small stickers; Fairey himself produced mural-sized versions; and a free, downloadable graphic generated countless more repetitions. In this fine-art version of that unprecedented and powerful campaign icon, Fairey incorporated the familiar heroic pose and patriotic color scheme. But he translated the portrait into a collage with a rich, elegant surface of decorative papers and old newsprint.
Data Source: National Portrait Gallery

For more information, click here.

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White House photographer’s book a powerful portrait of Obama’s presidency

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-12-26 02:02Z by Steven

White House photographer’s book a powerful portrait of Obama’s presidency

The New Orleans Times-Picayune

Sheila Stroup, The Times-Picayune

When 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia wonders if his hair is like Barack Obama’s, the president offers him an opportunity to judge for himself. (Photo by Pete Souza, The White House)

I didn’t mean to read “Obama: An Intimate Portrait.” I was only going to look at a few of the pictures before I wrapped it up for Christmas. I’ve always felt it was cheating to read a book you’re giving as a gift.

I knew I wanted to give the book of photographs to our daughter Shannon and our grandchildren, Cilie and Devery, as soon as I heard Terry Gross interview Pete Souza, President Barack Obama’s Chief Official White House Photographer, on NPR’sFresh Air.” It sounded fascinating, and I wanted them to see that a person with skin the color of theirs could be president of our country.

Shannon adopted Cilie and Devery when they were babies. There was never any doubt they were hers, and nobody could love them more than she does.

Cilie is 8 now, and Devery is almost 6, and I know they must have questions about why their skin is a different color from their mom’s and their grandparents and their other relatives. I know they must get questions from other children.

I’ve never forgotten what happened one day when I took Devery to his swimming lesson a few years ago. There was a young dad there whose skin was the same beautiful tone as his, and he looked at Devery and said, “Oh, he’s going to get questions.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-12-25 20:57Z by Steven

Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs

Little, Brown and Company
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780316512572

Pete Souza

Foreword by: Barack Obama

Relive the extraordinary Presidency of Barack Obama through White House photographer Pete Souza’s behind-the-scenes images and stories in this #1 New York Times bestseller–with a foreword from the President himself.

During Barack Obama’s two terms, Pete Souza was with the President during more crucial moments than anyone else–and he photographed them all. Souza captured nearly two million photographs of President Obama, in moments highly classified and disarmingly candid.

Obama: An Intimate Portrait reproduces more than 300 of Souza’s most iconic photographs with fine-art print quality in an oversize collectible format. Together they document the most consequential hours of the Presidency–including the historic image of President Obama and his advisors in the Situation Room during the bin Laden mission–alongside unguarded moments with the President’s family, his encounters with children, interactions with world leaders and cultural figures, and more.

Souza’s photographs, with the behind-the-scenes captions and stories that accompany them, communicate the pace and power of our nation’s highest office. They also reveal the spirit of the extraordinary man who became our President. We see President Obama lead our nation through monumental challenges, comfort us in calamity and loss, share in hard-won victories, and set a singular example to “be kind and be useful,” as he would instruct his daughters.

This book puts you in the White House with President Obama, and will be a treasured record of a landmark era in American history.

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Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Presidency (Young Readers)

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-12-25 20:50Z by Steven

Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Presidency (Young Readers)

Little, Brown and Company Young Readers (an imprint of Hachette Book Group)
96 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780316514392
E-Book: ISBN-13: 9780316514118

Pete Souza

From former Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza comes a book for young readers that highlights Barack Obama’s historic presidency and the qualities and actions that make him so beloved.

Pete Souza served as Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama’s full two terms. He was with the President during more crucial moments than anyone else – and he photographed them all, capturing scenes both classified and candid. Throughout his historic presidency, Obama engaged with young people as often as he could, encouraging them to be their best and do their best and to always “dream big dreams.” In this timeless and timely keepsake volume that features over seventy-five full-color photographs, Souza shows the qualities of President Obama that make him both a great leader and an extraordinary man. With behind-the-scenes anecdotes of some iconic photos alongside photos with his family, colleagues, and other world leaders, Souza tells the story of a president who made history and still made time to engage with even the youngest citizens of the country he served. By the author of Obama: An Intimate Portrait, the definitive visual biography of Barack Obama’s presidency, Dream Big Dreams was created especially for young readers and not only provides a beautiful portrait of a president but shows the true spirit of the man.

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Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-17 02:35Z by Steven

Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States

Oxford University Press
280 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190657468
Paperback ISBN: 9780190657475

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Political Scienc
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

  • Provides readers seeking to understand the history of American race relations with both historical methods and analyses of empirical data
  • Offers a new theory of thinking about race, the “identity choice” framework which is situated in the major debates on U.S. racial formation
  • Will be of interest to scholars of critical race theory and identity theory, in addition to multiracial individuals and others interested in US racial politics

While pundits point to multiracial Americans as new evidence of a harmonious ethnic melting pot, in reality mixed race peoples have long existed in the United States. Rather than characterize multiracial Americans as a “new” population, this book argues that instead we should view them as individuals who reflect a new culture of racial identification. Today, identities such as “biracial” or “swirlies” are evoked alongside those more established racial categories of white, black Asian and Latino. What is significant about multiracial identities is that they communicate an alternative viewpoint about race: that a person’s preferred self-identification should be used to define a person’s race. Yet this definition of race is a distinct contrast to historic norms which has defined race as a category assigned to a person based on certain social rules which emphasized things like phenotype, being “one-drop” of African blood or heritage.

In Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States, Natalie Masuoka catalogues how this cultural shift from assigning race to perceiving race as a product of personal identification came about by tracing events over the course of the twentieth century. Masuoka uses a variety of sources including in-depth interviews, public opinion surveys and census data to understand how certain individuals embrace the agency of self-identification and choose to assert multiracial identities. At the same time, the book shows that the meaning and consequences of multiracial identification can only be understood when contrasted against those who identify as white, black Asian or Latino. An included case study on President Barack Obama also shows how multiracial identity narratives can be strategically used to reduce anti-black bias among voters. Therefore, rather than looking at multiracial Americans as a harbinger of dramatic change for American race relations, this Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States shows that narratives promoting multiracial identities are in direct dialogue with, rather than in replacement of, the longstanding racial order.

Table of Contents

  • CHAPTER 1: Identity Choice: Changing Practices of Race and Multiracial Identification
  • CHAPTER 2: Exclusive Categories: Historical Formation of Racial Classification in the United States
  • CHAPTER 3: Advocating for Choice: Political Views of Multiracial Activists
  • CHAPTER 4: Declaring Race: Understanding Opportunities to Self-Identify as Multiracial
  • CHAPTER 5: Implications of Racial Identity: Comparing Monoracial and Multiracial Political Attitudes
  • CHAPTER 6: In the Eye of the Beholder: American Perceptions of Obama’s Race
  • CHAPTER 7: Multiracial and Beyond: Racial Formation in the 21st Century
  • References
  • Appendices
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We should have seen Trump coming

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-08 04:18Z by Steven

We should have seen Trump coming

The Guardian

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Obama’s rise felt like a new chapter in American history. But the original sin of white supremacy was not so easily erased.

I have often wondered how I missed the coming tragedy. It is not so much that I should have predicted that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It’s just that I shouldn’t have put it past us. It was tough to keep track of the currents of politics and pageantry swirling at once. All my life I had seen myself, and my people, backed into a corner. Had I been wrong? Watching the crowds at county fairs cheer for Michelle Obama in 2008, or flipping through the enchanting photo spreads of the glamorous incoming administration, it was easy to believe that I had been.

And it was more than symbolic. Barack Obama’s victory meant not just a black president but also that Democrats, the party supported by most black people, enjoyed majorities in Congress. Prominent intellectuals were predicting that modern conservatism – a movement steeped in white resentment – was at its end and that a demographic wave of Asians, Latinos and blacks would sink the Republican party.

Back in the summer of 2008, as Obama closed out the primary and closed in on history, vendors in Harlem hawked T-shirts emblazoned with his face and posters placing him in the black Valhalla where Martin, Malcolm and Harriet were throned. It is hard to remember the excitement of that time, because I now know that the sense we had that summer, the sense that we were approaching an end-of-history moment, proved to be wrong.

It is not so much that I logically reasoned out that Obama’s election would author a post-racist age. But it now seemed possible that white supremacy, the scourge of American history, might well be banished in my lifetime. In those days I imagined racism as a tumour that could be isolated and removed from the body of America, not as a pervasive system both native and essential to that body. From that perspective, it seemed possible that the success of one man really could alter history, or even end it…

Read the entire article here.

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We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-07 21:49Z by Steven

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

One World (An imprint of PenguinRandomHouse)
400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: ISBN 9780399590566
Paperback ISBN: 9780525624516
Ebook ISBN: 9780399590580

Ta-Nehisi Coates

In these “urgently relevant essays,”* the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me “reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its jarring aftermath”*—including the election of Donald Trump.

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

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