Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-09-16 21:43Z by Steven

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Bloomsbury
2017-09-07
216 pages
10 bw illus
6″ x 9″
Hardback ISBN: 9781501312458
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781501312489
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781501312465

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Using critical race theory and film studies to explore the interconnectedness between cinema and society, Zélie Asava traces the history of mixed-race representations in American and French filmmaking from early and silent cinema to the present day. Mixed Race Cinemas covers over a hundred years of filmmaking to chart the development of (black/white) mixed representations onscreen. With the 21st century being labelled the Mulatto Millennium, mixed bodies are more prevalent than ever in the public sphere, yet all too often they continue to be positioned as exotic, strange and otherworldly, according to ‘tragic mulatto‘ tropes. This book evaluates the potential for moving beyond fixed racial binaries both onscreen and off by exploring actors and characters who embody the in-between. Through analyses of over 40 movies, and case studies of key films from the 1910s on, Mixed Race Cinemas illuminates landmark shifts in local and global cinema, exploring discourses of subjectivity, race, gender, sexuality and class. In doing so, it reveals the similarities and contrasts between American and French cinema in relation to recognising, visualising and constructing mixedness. Mixed Race Cinemas contextualizes and critiques raced and ‘post-race’ visual culture, using cinematic representations to illustrate changing definitions of mixed identity across different historical and geographical contexts.

Contents

  • Introduction
    • 1. Race and Ideology
    • 2. Mixed-Race Cinema Histories
    • 3. Interrogating Terminology
    • 4. Methodology and Frameworks
    • 5. Mixed-Race Spaces in French and American Cinema
    • 6. Franco-American Narratives and Beur Cinema
    • 7. Summary of Chapters
  • Chapter One: the Mixed Question
    • 1. Language, Representation and Casting
    • 2. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in America
    • 3. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in France
  • Chapter Two: Hollywood’s ‘Passing‘ Narratives
    • 1. ‘Passing’ Representations as Ideological Construct
    • 2. The Dichotomies of Post-War Mixed-Race Women Onscreen
    • 3. Gender, ‘Passing’ and Love
  • Chapter Three: The Limits of the Classic Hollywood ‘Tragic Mulatta’
    • 1. Imitation of Life (1934): Interrogating Mixed Identities
    • 2. Casting and Representation
    • 3. Shadows and the Interracial Family
    • 4. Imitation of Life, 1959: Gender, Difference and Voiced Rebellion
    • 5. Performative Identities: Sara Jane, Dandridge and Monroe
  • Chapter Four: Cultural Shifts: New Waves in Racial Representation
    • 1. Representing ‘Mixed-Race France’
    • 2. Reimagining the Nation: Mixed Families
    • 3. Questioning Mixed Masculinity: Les Trois frères
    • 4. Melodrama, Motherhood and Masks: Métisse
    • 5. Racial-Sexual Mythology and the Interracial Family
  • Chapter Five: Transnational Families in Drôle de Félix
    • 1. A Search for Identity on the Road
    • 2. Citizenship, Violence and Scopophilia
    • 3. Trauma and Redemption
    • 4. Destabilising the Primary Authority of the Father
    • 5. Reuniting Transnational Families
  • Conclusion
    • 1. ‘Post-Race’ Politics in America and France
    • 2. Enduring Stereotypes
    • 3. Mixed-Race Sci-Fi
    • 4. Mixed Representational Potentials
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , ,

Black Twitter Asks Rachel: Racial Identity Theft in “Post-Racial” America

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-06 04:41Z by Steven

Black Twitter Asks Rachel: Racial Identity Theft in “Post-Racial” America

Howard Journal of Communications
Published online: 2017-08-18
pages 1-17
DOI: 10.1080/10646175.2017.1354789

Leslie Stevens
Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies
University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

Nicole Maurantonio, Associate Professor
Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies
University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

On Monday, June 15, 2015, Rachel Dolezal resigned from her post as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People amid allegations that she had been lying about her race. Dolezal, her White parents claimed, had been “presenting herself as a black person when she is not.” This article explores Black Twitter’s response to Dolezal’s “outing” as a White woman with particular emphasis on the #AskRachel hashtag, to which users posted a series of questions intended to discern Dolezal’s “true” racial identity. Although the hashtag has been alternately praised for its wit and critiqued for its cruelty, this article suggests that both critiques underestimate the hashtag’s significance. This article argues that the hashtag provided a site for the articulation, contestation, and negotiation of Blackness, capturing larger cultural anxieties surrounding racial identity in a “post-racial” United States.

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Talking the Talk: Linguistic Passing in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-06 02:41Z by Steven

Talking the Talk: Linguistic Passing in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S.
Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2017
pages 156-176

Melissa Dennihy, Assistant Professor of English
Queensborough Community College, City University of New York, Bayside, New York

Danzy Senna’s 1998 novel Caucasia, set in 1970s New England, follows the breakup of the mixed-race Lee family: African American father Deck, white mother Sandy, and biracial daughters Cole and Birdie. When Deck and Sandy separate following the latter’s involvement in a risky political plot, darker-skinned sister Cole moves with Deck to Brazil, while protagonist Birdie goes undercover with Sandy, passing as white to help her mother dodge the FBI. Birdie’s passing has led critics to categorize Caucasia as a contemporary passing novel, situated within a long tradition of US passing literature established by works such as James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) and Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929).1 However, white is not the only passing identity assumed by Caucasia’s protagonist, and the multiple forms of passing Birdie and other characters undertake throughout the novel suggest that racial identity—how one constructs one’s race and how one’s race is constructed by others—continuously shifts by context. Passing is not portrayed as a permanent crossing of the color line in this text but as an ongoing series of acts involving regular adjustments in one’s performance of racial identity. Characters pass not just for white but for multiple racial and ethnic identities, including different versions of Blackness and whiteness.

In this sense, Senna’s novel challenges views of passing as an act in which one gives up who one “really” is to “become” white. Instead, Caucasia portrays passing as a tool used when one has a specific goal or outcome in mind: passing for white is not a permanent adoption of whiteness but a performance of it, used to access privileges, opportunities, or advantages. This is an important point since, long after we have acknowledged that race is not biological but socially constructed, some recent scholarship continues to portray passing as a masking of one’s “true” self or race. Valerie Rohy writes, for example, that “the term passing designates a performance in which one presents oneself as what one is not” (219).2 The phrase “what one is not” suggests an originary self, whereas I use the term passing not to imply an authentic self hidden under a false identity but to suggest that racial identity is multifaceted and varied, involving continual reconstructions of the self in different contexts. To read Caucasia’s Birdie as a black girl who fakes it while passing as white overlooks the fact that Birdie must learn to pass for black as well as white; neither racial performance comes naturally to her. Learning to perform both whiteness and Blackness helps Birdie recognize the possibility of passing for both—and other—racial/ethnic identities: passing is not a singular transition from black to white but a series of multidirectional, continual crossings into and out of different racial identities as circumstances allow or require.

However, what is most notable about Senna’s passing story is not its multiple acts of passing in different directions but that they do not always depend solely or even primarily on physical appearance. Set in a post-civil rights United States no longer structured by the color line of the Jim Crow era, Senna’s novel presents racial identity as constructed through more than just the physical realm: the text’s protagonist learns to claim both Blackness and whiteness by modifying not only her appearance but also her use of language. The linguistic is a critical factor in facilitating successful passing in Caucasia, calling attention away from physical attributes in determining who can claim a certain racial identity. The novel’s portrayal of what I call linguistic passing—situationally altering one’s way of speaking, in addition to or instead of altering appearance, to pass as a member of or gain insider status within a particular racial group—broadens traditional understandings of passing by shifting emphasis from the physical and visual to the linguistic and audible. If one can talk the talk convincingly enough, Caucasia suggests, one can gain access to groups or opportunities one might otherwise be excluded from or…

Tags: , , ,

Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-09-06 02:22Z by Steven

Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College

Johns Hopkins University Press
September 2017
216 pages
7 b&w photos
Hardback ISBN: 9781421423296
E-book ISBN: 9781421423302

Katherine Reynolds Chaddock, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Education
University of South Carolina

Richard Theodore Greener (1844–1922) was a renowned black activist and scholar. In 1870, he was the first black graduate of Harvard College. During Reconstruction, he was the first black faculty member at a southern white college, the University of South Carolina. He was even the first black US diplomat to a white country, serving in Vladivostok, Russia. A notable speaker and writer for racial equality, he also served as a dean of the Howard University School of Law and as the administrative head of the Ulysses S. Grant Monument Association. Yet he died in obscurity, his name barely remembered.

His black friends and colleagues often looked askance at the light-skinned Greener’s ease among whites and sometimes wrongfully accused him of trying to “pass.” While he was overseas on a diplomatic mission, Greener’s wife and five children stayed in New York City, changed their names, and vanished into white society. Greener never saw them again. At a time when Americans viewed themselves simply as either white or not, Greener lost not only his family but also his sense of clarity about race.

Richard Greener’s story demonstrates the human realities of racial politics throughout the fight for abolition, the struggle for equal rights, and the backslide into legal segregation. Katherine Reynolds Chaddock has written a long overdue narrative biography about a man, fascinating in his own right, who also exemplified America’s discomfiting perspectives on race and skin color. Uncompromising Activist is a lively tale that will interest anyone curious about the human elements of the equal rights struggle.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: A Search for Identity
  • 1. Boyhood Interrupted
  • 2. Being Prepared
  • 3. Experiment at Harvard
  • 4. An Accidental Academic
  • 5. Professing in a Small and Angry Place
  • 6. The Brutal Retreat
  • 7. Unsettled Advocate
  • 8. A Violent Attack and Hopeless Case
  • 9. Monumental Plans
  • 10. Off White
  • 11. Our Man in Vladivostok
  • 12. Closure in Black and White
  • Epilogue: The Passing of Richard Greener
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , , , ,

A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-05 16:59Z by Steven

A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Afropunk
2017-08-30

Eye Candy

Two African American sisters grow up in racially charged 1960s Georgia, but one is born with fair skin. And when schools integrate in their small town, she decides to change her destiny—by passing for white.

Set in modern day and 1960s rural Georgia, “Across The Tracks” follows two black sisters—one dark skinned, the other light skinned—as they both navigate the desegregation of their school and make choices that will change them forever. Shot by director/cinematographer Mike Cooke in the small town of Arlington, GA. and co-written by Kimberly James, “Across the Tracks” is a story so resonate with and relevant to the black experience even now you’ll wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Danzy Senna: New People

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-26 22:50Z by Steven

Danzy Senna: New People

Bookworm
KCRW FM
Santa Monica, California
2017-08-24


Photo by Christopher Ho

Danzy Senna relishes kicking political correctness to the curb. She believes that irony and humor are more effective than earnestness when writing about race and gender. In her novel New People, Senna takes on both the comedy and seriousness of race. Her mixed-race trickster heroine plays what she thinks is a funny prank on her mixed-race boyfriend – a racist prank that mushrooms into a full-scale drama on their 90s Stanford University campus… and that is just the beginning.

Listen to the entire episode (00:28:29) here.

Tags: , ,

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Louisiana, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-08-24 02:09Z by Steven

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing

Skyhorse Publishing
2017-10-03
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1510724129

Gail Lukasik, Ph.D.

Kenyatta D. Berry (foreword)

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing is the story of Gail Lukasik’s mother’s “passing,” Gail’s struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her subsequent journey of self-discovery and redemption.

In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Gail explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. Haunted by her mother’s fear and shame, Gail embarks on a quest to uncover her mother’s racial lineage, tracing her family back to eighteenth-century colonial Louisiana. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Gail changed how she looks at race and heritage.

With a foreword written by Kenyatta Berry, host of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow, this unique and fascinating story of coming to terms with oneself breaks down barriers.

Tags: , , ,

My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2017-08-23 15:28Z by Steven

My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Vice
2017-08-22

Mike Miksche


Images courtesy of the author

Each of my siblings’ names, skin, hair, and religious observances earned us different levels of privilege.

My family immigrated from Lebanon to Canada before I was born in order to flee a nasty civil war. Since we’re quite light-skinned, growing up people assumed we were some kind of white: Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese was mainly what I heard. My mom explained how back in those pre-9/11 days, people she met hardly knew where Lebanon was and hadn’t heard much about Islam either, so it was easy for us to live under the radar, hassle-free. This was before the hummus craze. But obviously, with everything going on today, things have changed. Now, the disclosure of who we are, along with some cultural clues, shifts how people see us regardless of our light skin tone. I suppose one could argue that it’s a privilege to be passable as white, or a variant thereof, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

As a kid, my folks cultivated a dual identity within the Lebanon-like bubble of our southwestern Ontario home. We remixed the Lebanese Arabic dialect with English idioms and ate kibbeh with chicken nuggets and homemade fries. As Muslims, we studied the Qu’ran, prayed five times a day, and were forbidden to eat pork—including pepperoni and bacon, too. You’d expect it all to be confusing, but I was a happy kid living under the radar and felt my upbringing was normal…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

The Changeling — A Review of ‘In Full Colour’ by Rachel Doležal

Posted in Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-23 15:09Z by Steven

The Changeling — A Review of ‘In Full Colour’ by Rachel Doležal

Quillette
2017-03-27

Helen Dale


A review of In Full Color by Rachel Doležal. BenBella Books, Dallas, Texas (April 2017) 282 pages.

When I was a girl, my mother said wanting something too much often led to its opposite. It could mean I’d get something almost – but not completely – unrelated to what I desired, even something I hated. If this happened, she would say and that’s what the fairies sent you.

The fairies sent things and took them away all the time among my Irish kin, none more distressingly than changelings, where newborn natural children were stolen and replaced with fairy children. Fairy changelings were not like their parents, were greedy, and always unwanted. Changeling stories – present in Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Scandinavia, and among the Igbo people of Nigeria – seldom show the fairy child growing up to be loved and accepted by its human family.

Usually it is killed, but only after being beaten, dunked in the river, or left on a hot stovetop. Its parents complain about its ravenous hunger, its odd appearance, its sickliness, its colour, or its failure to speak. In Scotland, the fairies would often take blond or red headed children, leaving dark fairy children in their place.

Sometimes, an exchange could be made, but if so human children would return from fairyland bearing strange traces of their time there. Some never grew old, but still died at the appointed time. Others grew old but never died, like the Sybil of Roman myth. She shrivelled with age until she had to store herself in a glass jar. This was because, when Apollo granted her a wish, she forgot to ask him for eternal youth after asking for eternal life.

Of course, there’s more to the changeling myth than mere spookiness. It has with justice been described as Ireland’s most sinister superstition and there is evidence those called changelings were often disabled or of dubious parentage. Unable to contribute economically to the household, the ‘changeling’ label allowed parents to kill them, a crime that now goes by the name infanticide and was historically the fate of roughly 25 per cent of live births.

That’s what the fairies sent you

Rachel Doležal is a changeling in both directions. Her parents did not want what the fairies sent them. ‘I’d nearly killed Ruthanne as she’d laboured to deliver me,’ she says in her book, ‘and my hair at birth was almost black and my skin was much darker than my brother’s’…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , ,

Halsey Covers Our Music Issue—and Proves No Topic is Off-limits

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-17 03:25Z by Steven

Halsey Covers Our Music Issue—and Proves No Topic is Off-limits

Playboy
20Q
2017-08-05 (September 2017 Issue)

By Rebecca Haithcoat
Photography by Ramona Rosales

With Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, the queen of New Americana is more outspoken than ever. Here, she covers everything from donating $100,000 to Planned Parenthood to the virtues of the dad bod.

Q1
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom hit number one on the Billboard 200. You’re the first woman to top that chart in 2017. How does it feel?

A lot of this accolade shit is super arbitrary: “Halsey is the first girl with blue hair from New Jersey to.…” It’s exciting but also enraging, because I know a lot of women who put out better albums than me who deserve massive accolades, and I’m the one who had to break the seal…

Q14
How did you navigate growing up biracial?

I’m half black. My dad managed a car dealership, wore a suit to work, had a nice watch, was always clean-shaven, handsome, played golf on the weekends. And people would come up to him like, “Yo, brotha! What’s up!” And my dad would be like, “Hi.…”

Q15
How did that affect you?

I’m white-passing. I’ve accepted that about myself and have never tried to control anything about black culture that’s not mine. I’m proud to be in a biracial family, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of my hair. One of my big jokes a long time ago was “I look white, but I still have white boys in my life asking me why my nipples are brown.” Every now and then I experience these racial blips. I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman. So it’s been weird navigating that. When I was growing up I didn’t know if I was supposed to love TLC or Britney.

Q16
How do people react when they do find out you’re biracial?

White guilt is funny, but this is a really hard time for white allies. People don’t want to do too much but want to do enough, and in my bubble of Los Angeles I’m surrounded by a lot of good people with a lot of good intentions. But as I learned in this past election, my bubble is just a small fraction of how this country operates. That is ultimately my greatest frustration with the public perception of any sort of activism: the mentality of “Well, it’s not affecting me.” Open your fucking eyes…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , , , ,