Why Right-Wing Bloggers Are Desperate To Prove Biracial People Aren’t Black

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-23 01:21Z by Steven

Why Right-Wing Bloggers Are Desperate To Prove Biracial People Aren’t Black

Think Progress
2015-08-21

Aviva Shen, Senior Editor


Shaun King, right, addresses the controversy over his racial identity.

Right-wing media has been abuzz over the past few weeks with rumors that Black Lives Matter activist and writer Shaun King is not actually black. Breitbart and other more mainstream outlets like the Daily Beast compared King to Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane NAACP leader whose parents revealed she was white earlier this year. The harassment escalated so much that King finally published an emotional personal account Thursday evening, explaining that his biological father is an unknown black man who had an affair with his mother.

Some of the same bloggers have apparently also “investigated” the parentage of Wesley Lowery, a biracial Washington Post reporter who covers the Black Lives Matter movement.

The harassment of King recalls a long American tradition of telling multiracial people what their identities can and cannot contain. The notorious “one drop rule” — which legally declared anyone with black ancestry, no matter how light-skinned or blue-eyed they were, as mulatto or colored — was central to maintaining a white supremacist hierarchy in the South well into the 20th century. Many people who could get away with it “passed” as white so as to enjoy the privileges of segregated services closed off to black people…

Read the entire article here.

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In Questions Over Shaun King’s Race, Activists See Challenge to Black Lives Matter Movement

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing on 2015-08-22 02:11Z by Steven

In Questions Over Shaun King’s Race, Activists See Challenge to Black Lives Matter Movement

The New York Times
2015-08-21

Katie Rogers, Senior Staff Editor

A prominent Black Lives Matter activist who has been accused of lying about his race was forced to discuss deeply personal issues after reporters pointed out that the father named on his birth certificate is white.

The controversy surrounding the activist, Shaun King, has become a proxy for a wider culture war over race and policing.

Supporters of Mr. King say that conservative bloggers who first questioned his race are using it to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement.

His critics compare him to Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist who was discredited after her parents said she was lying about being black.

Mr. King declined on Wednesday to discuss the accusations against him with The New York Times, referring a reporter to his response on social media.

But after conservative bloggers and journalists at The Daily Beast reported that a white man was listed on his birth certificate, Mr. King wrote an extraordinary blog post admitting that he doesn’t know who his father is.

“Until this past week, never has anyone asked me who my father was during these 35 years of mine,” he wrote on the website Daily Kos. “It occurs to me now that I’ve never asked anyone that question either.”

Mr. King, who has long identified as black, said that he had been told for most of his life that his father was a light-skinned black man…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Law, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-21 01:36Z by Steven

Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story

Daily Kos
2015-08-20

Shaun King


[Shaun King] 14 years old. Sophomore in high school

Over the past 72 hours I have been attacked with lies by the conservative media, lies that have been picked up by the traditional media and spread further. I have kept silent at the advice of friends and mentors, but I will do so no longer.

The reports about my race, about my past, and about the pain I’ve endured are all lies. My mother is a senior citizen. I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man. My mother and I have discussed her affair. She was a young woman in a bad relationship and I have no judgment. This has been my lived reality for nearly 30 of my 35 years on earth. I am not ashamed of it, or of who I am—never that—but I was advised by my pastor nearly 20 years ago that this was not a mess of my doing and it was not my responsibility to fix it. All of my siblings and I have different parents. I’m actually not even sure how many siblings I have. It is horrifying to me that my most personal information, for the most nefarious reasons, has been forced out into the open and that my private past and pain have been used as jokes and fodder to discredit me and the greater movement for justice in America. I resent that lies have been reported as truth and that the obviously racist intentions of these attacks have been consistently downplayed at my expense and that of my family…

Read the entire article here.

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Lacey Schwartz didn’t know she was black, but her black friends did

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-08-20 20:55Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz didn’t know she was black, but her black friends did

Fusion
2015-08-19

Collier Meyerson

With two white parents and no black family members (save for a dark Sicilian uncle a couple generations removed), Lacey Schwartz was raised thinking she was white. Growing up, Schwartz’s community was predominantly white: her friends, her classes, her summer camp.

But the few black people in Schwartz’s life struck a nerve—and poked holes in the story she told herself and in the story her family told her.

I worked on Schwartz’s documentary Little White Lie, which details her journey from white to black, of being the product of a family secret overloaded with an extramarital affair, love, and betrayal.

During that time, it wasn’t the salacious stuff I was interested in. I wanted to know about how Schwartz came into blackness and who ushered her in. When you don’t grow up with a black parent or in a black community, or even consciously knowing you are black, how do you become black?

I came to learn that the black people in her life made lasting impressions on her—from near and far—even before she had the language or knowledge of her blackness. They pushed her, listened to her, taught and accepted her.

It was black people who always knew Lacey Schwartz was black. No one had the wool over their eyes. So I asked her about it…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Shaun King controversy, explained

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-20 20:49Z by Steven

The Shaun King controversy, explained

Vox
2015-08-20

German Lopez, Staff writer


Shaun King (Source: Twitter)

Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is currently at the center of a controversy that has nothing to do with a police shooting or brutality — it’s, instead, about his personal life and racial identity.

Over the past several weeks, conservative media outlets have published multiple pieces disputing different claims King has made about his life over the years. And the latest accusations — which caused the story to trend on Twitter — have called into question whether King is biracial, as he claims.

There’s a bit of history to this conflict. But the fact that a self-identified biracial man is being chastised by conservative media outlets as part of an attempt to discredit him shows just how fluid the entire concept of race can be, and that makes it difficult to know who’s right and wrong when questions about race come up…

Read the entire article here.

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Showtime Adapting Mat Johnson’s Novel ‘Loving Day’ As Comedy About Racial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-20 14:53Z by Steven

Showtime Adapting Mat Johnson’s Novel ‘Loving Day’ As Comedy About Racial Identity

Deadline Hollywood
2015-08-17

Nellie Andreeva, TV Editor

In a competitive situation, Showtime has acquired the rights to Mat Johnson’s recently published semi-autobiographical novel Loving Day as a potential comedy series. Talks are underway with high-end writers to collaborate with the author on penning the adaptation.

Loving Day offers a satirical look at a biracial man’s experiences with race, identity and fatherhood. It tells the story of Warren Duffy, an Irish/African-American living in Wales who returns to America after his comic book store closes, his marriage falls apart and his father dies. Now in possession of his late father’s deteriorated Philadelphia mansion – which might be haunted – a new surprise emerges: Duffy learns he has a teenage daughter who thinks she’s white. Spinning from these upheavals and revelations, Duffy sets off to remake his life with a reluctant daughter in tow and a litany of absurdly funny moments together as they bond over their newfound relationship and discoveries of their individual cultural identities…

Read the entire article here.

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From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-11 20:43Z by Steven

From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much

Common Dreams
2015-06-15

Adolph Reed Jr., Professor of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania

By far the most intellectually and politically interesting thing about the recent “exposé” of Spokane, WA, NAACP activist Rachel Dolezal’s racial status is the conundrum it has posed for racial identitarians who are also committed to defense of transgender identity. The comparisons between Dolezal and Republican Jenner (I’ve decided to opt for that referent because it is an identity continuous between “Bruce” and “Caitlyn” and is moreover the one most meaningful to me) began almost instantly, particularly as a flood of mass-mediated Racial Voices who support the legitimacy of transgender identity objected strenuously to suggestions that Dolezal’s representation, and apparent perception, of herself as black is similar to Bruce Jenner’s perception of himself as actually Caitlyn. Their contention is that one kind of claim to an identity at odds with culturally constructed understandings of the identity appropriate to one’s biology is okay but that the other is not – that it’s OK to feel like a woman when you don’t have the body of a woman and to act like (and even get yourself the body of) a woman but that it’s wrong to feel like a black person when you’re actually white and that acting like you’re black and doing your best to get yourself the body of a black person is just lying.

The way Zeba Blay puts it, on the Black Voices section of the HuffPo, is by declaring how important it is to “make one thing clear: transracial identity is not a thing.” What is clear is that it’s not at all clear what that statement is supposed to mean. It seems to suggest that transracial identity is not something that has been validated by public recognition, or at least that Blay has not heard of or does not recognize it. But there’s an obvious problem with this contention. There was a moment, not that long ago actually, when transgender identity was not a “thing” in that sense either. Is Blay’s contention that we should accept transgender identity only because it is now publicly recognized? If so, the circularity is obvious, and the lack of acceptance arguably only a matter of time.  Transgender wasn’t always a thing – just ask Christine Jorgensen.

But the more serious charge is the moral one, that, as Michelle Garcia puts it, “It’s pretty clear: Dolezal has lied.” But here too, it’s not clear what’s so clear. Is the point supposed to be that Dolezal is lying when she says she identifies as black? Or is it that being black has nothing to do with how you identify? The problem with the first claim is obvious – how do they know? And on what grounds does Jenner get to be telling the truth and Dolezal not? But the problem with the second claim is even more obvious since if you think there’s some biological fact of the matter about what race people actually belong to utterly independent of what race they think they belong to, you’re committed to a view of racial difference as biologically definitive in a way that’s even deeper than sexual difference…

Read the entire article here.

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Book Review: CAUCASIA

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-08 04:46Z by Steven

Book Review: CAUCASIA

MixedRaceBooks
2016-07-26

Bethany Lam

Senna, Danzy, Caucasia: A Novel (New York: Riverhead, 1999)

Two biracial sisters—one light-skinned, one dark—are separated as children. The younger, lighter girl grows into a troubled teenager, but she never forgets her beloved older sister. Can she find her sister again … and with her sister, her self?

Plot Summary:

Seven-year-old Birdie Lee idolizes her big sister, Cole. Growing up biracial in 1970s Boston, she needs Cole’s protection and support to cope with the racial tensions of the time (see “Boston busing desegregation“).

The two girls are so close that they have developed a secret language, “Elemeno.” Together, they dream of a fantasy world, also called “Elemeno,” whose inhabitants can change appearance as needed to blend in and survive. As young children, the sisters retreat to this world to escape the things that threaten them, especially the slow crumbling of their parents’ dysfunctional marriage…

Read the entire review here.

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Book Review: “A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life” by Allyson Hobbs

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-08 00:33Z by Steven

Book Review: “A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life” by Allyson Hobbs

The Santa Fe New Mexican
2015-05-15

Adele Oliveira

A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life by Allyson Hobbs, Harvard University Press, 382 pages

In the first chapter of The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 treatise on race, he famously refers to the “veil” that separated black and white America. Du Bois writes about what becoming aware of the veil means: “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

Though Du Bois is referring to individuals who are recognizably black, the difficulty of maneuvering dual identities was particularly potent for racially ambiguous Americans — and especially those who chose to “pass” as white, either temporarily or permanently. The complicated practice of passing is the subject of Stanford history professor Allyson Hobbs’ book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life. In the book, Hobbs traces the history of passing from the 18th century until roughly the end of the civil rights movement, examining the choice to pass and its consequences…

Read the entire review here.

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Greason: Quiet reflections on the impact of race perception

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2015-08-07 00:21Z by Steven

Greason: Quiet reflections on the impact of race perception

The Times-Herald
Norristown, Pennsylvania
2015-08-05

Walter Greason, Executive Director
International Center for Metropolitan Growth

Imagine looking white, but not being white. It is an experience that exposes the limitations of racial perception, while reinforcing its power. As a child, the experience unfolds through the whispers of a community’s rejection. Hurried words and sudden glances as adults explain to each other – “he’s not really what he looks like.” It is the loss of unspoken opportunities, the isolation from an elite social circle, glimpsed but never joined. It is a daily pain and a forced passage into a marginal status where racial meaning constantly shifted regardless of ancestry.

Imagine the child of such a person, a child representing the first generation after the Loving v. Virginia decision (a landmark civil rights decision of the US Supreme Court which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriages). This “unwhite” person might seek refuge in a community color-struck with admiration for lighter complexions. A darker-skinned family of social status might perceive an opportunity to open doors for children who would not experience the depths of anti-black attitudes in the United States – if they were light enough, if their hair was good enough. Such a marriage, such a family, might come to represent both an affirmation and a denial of the racial politics at the end of the twentieth century. This child could pick from a variety of cultures and identities – but somehow, he could never become white…

Read the entire article here.

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