Stealth sisterhood: I look white, but I’m also black. And I don’t hate Rachel Dolezal

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-04-24 03:08Z by Steven

Stealth sisterhood: I look white, but I’m also black. And I don’t hate Rachel Dolezal

Salon
2017-04-23

Alli Joseph


A photo of the author with her mother.

I am white, I am black, I am Native American. And I know what it’s like for people not to see all of who I am

On a hot, humid New York City morning in 1980, I stood with my mother in the checkout line of an A&P supermarket near our home. As she pushed our groceries along the cashier’s belt with me trailing behind, mom realized she had forgotten her wallet at home, but she had her checkbook. Leaving me standing alone in the line for a moment while she saw the manager to have her check approved, the clerk refused to bag our groceries and hand them to me. She was black, and I was white. “These groceries belong to that woman over there,” the woman nodded towards my mother. “They ain’t yours.” Confused, I said, “But that’s my mother. I’ll take them for her.” She looked me up and down. “No,” she said, her voice cold.

The clerk refused to believe that indeed I belonged to, and came from, my black mother, until mom returned to find me choking back tears. She gave the clerk a tongue lashing, which was not her style, and we left the market. Later, mixed Native American and black children threw stones at me near my home on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation as I rode my bike. They yelled, “Get off our land, white girl!” These painful and strange experiences gave me my first taste of racial prejudice, and they have stayed with me all these years.

I am a child of many nations. I am white, I am black, I am Native American. I am West Indian, German, Irish. Brown and light together — integrated, not inter-racial, because race means nothing when you come from everywhere…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

The paradox of the multiracial identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-04-24 01:36Z by Steven

The paradox of the multiracial identity

Adolescent
2017-04-18

Sarah Racker, Graphic Designer
Portland, Oregon

I am a multiracial American; my mother is Okinawan, my father is German and Australian. My grandparents came from four different continents. I identify as both Asian and Caucasian, and although I am often identified on the outside as not quite white and not quite “ethnic,” I easily pass for white in a world obsessed with color and race.

Multiracial people face a perplexing paradox. We are not fully white, and yet not fully “not white” enough to be considered a person of color (POC). Growing up biracial, I identified strongly with Spock (yes, from Star Trek). Spock is half Human and half Vulcan, and is ostracized by both halves of himself for not quite belonging to either culture.

Teresa Williams-León, a professor of Asian-American studies at California State University, Northridge, uses Spock as an object lesson in her class, “Biracial and Multiracial Identity.” She sees the parallels between Spock’s inner conflict between his Vulcan and Human identity. “He had to subdue his emotional side to become more cerebral and logical,” she said. “So that’s problematic. But it’s an interesting way of looking at how biracial people have had to suppress aspects of themselves, or one part of themselves.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-04-23 18:00Z by Steven

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Bloomsbury
2017-09-07
224 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 for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-04-23 17:59Z by Steven

Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

University of North Carolina Press
May 2017
230 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3283-4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3282-7

Alisha Gaines, Assistant Professor of English
Florida State University

In 1948, journalist Ray Sprigle traded his whiteness to live as a black man for four weeks. A little over a decade later, John Howard Griffin famously “became” black as well, traveling the American South in search of a certain kind of racial understanding. Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people passing as black, and here Alisha Gaines constructs a unique genealogy of “empathetic racial impersonation”–white liberals walking in the fantasy of black skin under the alibi of cross-racial empathy. At the end of their experiments in “blackness,” Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness.

Complicating the histories of black-to-white passing and blackface minstrelsy, Gaines uses an interdisciplinary approach rooted in literary studies, race theory, and cultural studies to reveal these sometimes maddening, and often absurd, experiments of racial impersonation. By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, Gaines shows that there was, and still is, a faulty cultural logic that places enormous faith in the idea that empathy is all that white Americans need to make a significant difference in how to racially navigate our society.

Tags: , , ,

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-04-19 16:37Z by Steven

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black

The Stranger
2017-04-19

Ijeoma Oluo


Rajah Bose

I’m sitting across from Rachel Dolezal, and she looks… white. Not a little white, not racially ambiguous. Dolezal looks really, really white. She looks like a white woman with a mild suntan, in box braids—like perhaps she’d just gotten back from a Caribbean vacation and decided to keep the hairstyle for a few days “for fun.”

She is also smaller than I expected, tiny even—even in her wedge heels and jeans. I’m six feet tall and fat. I wonder for a moment what this conversation might look like to bystanders if things were to get heated—a giant black woman interrogating a tiny white woman. Everything about Dolezal is smaller than expected—the tiny house she rents, the limited and very used furniture. Her 1-year-old son toddles in front of cartoons playing on a small television. The only thing of real size in the house seems to be a painting of her adopted brother, and now adopted son, Izaiah, from when he was a young child. The painting looms over Dolezal on the living-room wall as she begins to talk. I try to get my bearings and listen to what she’s trying to say, but for the first few moments, my mind keeps repeating: “How in the hell did I get here?”

I did not want to think about, talk about, or write about Rachel Dolezal ever again. While many people have been highly entertained by the story of a woman who passed herself off for almost a decade as a black woman, even rising to the head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, before being “outed” during a TV interview by KXLY reporter Jeff Humphrey as white, as later confirmed by her white parents, I found little amusement in her continued spotlight. When the story first broke in June 2015, I was approached by more editors in a week than I had heard from in two months. They were all looking for “fresh takes” on the Dolezal scandal from the very people whose identity had now been put up for debate—black women. I wrote two pieces on Dolezal for two different websites, mostly focused not on her, but on the lack of understanding of black women’s identity that was causing the conversation about Dolezal to become more and more painful for so many black women.

After a few weeks of media obsession, I—and most of the other black women I knew—was completely done with Rachel Dolezal.

Or, at least I hoped to be…

Read the entire interview 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 2017-04-16 23:39Z 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: , , ,

The Strange Career of William Ellis

Posted in Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States, Videos on 2017-04-15 23:40Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis

C-SPAN
2017-04-08

Karl Jacoby talked about his book, The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire. He spoke at the 5th annual San Antonio Book Festival.

Watch the video (00:45:45) here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lacey Schwartz

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2017-04-14 01:40Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz

Stone Fox Bride
2017-02-17

Lacey Schwartz on Leaning In, Little White Lies And Imperfect Love

Who: Lacey Schwartz, Truth Teller, Filmmaker, Mama Of Two

Why She’s Foxy: After digging up a wild family secret at the age of eighteen, she discovered her roots, directed a PBS documentary and found her strength in storytelling

On Her Childhood: “I grew up an only child in the deep in the country in Accord, New York. You couldn’t see other houses from where I was, and it felt like a bubble. You would have to ask my parents, but I think I was pretty chill as a kid. I was a very rational child who could entertain myself. My favorite books were Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin and Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace.”…

On Little White Lies: “After law school, I had an offer on the table and started waiting tables in New York. I considered going into the mailroom at an agency. I ended up getting a job at a production company and then in the background started thinking about making Little White Lie, a personal documentary about dual identity and family secrets. My story is I grew up in a white Jewish family in upstate New York. I thought I was white, despite my dark features, until I found out at the age of eighteen that my biological father was black…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: ,

The contradiction at the heart of Rachel Dolezal’s ‘transracialism’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2017-04-12 02:16Z by Steven

The contradiction at the heart of Rachel Dolezal’s ‘transracialism’

The Conversation
2017-04-11

Victoria Anderson, Researcher/Teacher in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
Cardiff University


Rachel Dolezal speaking at Spokane rally, May 2015. Arkathman/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Rachel Dolezal, the former branch president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who gained global notoriety in 2015 after being “outed” as a white woman pretending to be black, is back with a new book on race. Dolezal, who is ethnically German, now claims that she is “transracial”, a condition she compares to transgenderism. By this she means that although she was born white, she identifies with being black, arguing that race is a social construct.

Dolezal complains of further victimisation because “transracialism” is not recognised in the same way as transgenderism. And Dolezal sees herself as triply stigmatised; because of her race, because of her trans status and also because of the perceived illegitimacy of this status.

For someone like me, concerned both with race and with the role of narrative in culture, the narrative spun by Dolezal is both confounding and uniquely fascinating. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, she announced – not incorrectly, in my view – that “race is a lie”. At the same time, she laid claim to the transracialism that she demands to be accepted as a truth…

…Blanket categories of “black” and “white” are an entirely modern phenomenon. In the 17th and 18th centuries, those Europeans who were actively involved in the slave trade made a point of distinguishing between different African ethnic groups; some were considered to be better house slaves, others better field slaves. The Igbo people, for instance, were considered prone to suicidal ideation, which posed problems for the incipient slaver. In the early days of “race” as we know it, there really was no sense of the generic catch-all blackness to which Dolezal lays claim.

As generations passed, ideas of “black” and “white” were further complicated by the complex striations of racial coding that were implemented both during and after slavery, across the Americas, as a consequence of voluntary and involuntary coupling between Europeans and Africans.

This led to a dizzying taxonomy of racial mixes, including (but not confined to) so-called mulattoes, quadroons, octoroons, tercerons, quintroons and beyond, depending on how many generations back a person’s African ancestry was traced. A person might be able to pass as white if their direct African ancestry was three or four generations removed – although if their relative “blackness” was discovered, it was a source not only of shame but was a precondition of legal slavery…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Passing and Performing Identity

Posted in Course Offerings, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, United States on 2017-04-12 01:51Z by Steven

Passing and Performing Identity

Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio
Fall 2017

Jennifer McFarlane Harris, Assistant Professor of English

In this course, we will read novels that investigate the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States, whereby “black” persons light-skinned enough to appear “white” cross the color line to live as white people. Along the way, we will read a smattering of cultural theory on the social construction of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, etc., and what it means to “perform” identity.

Tags: ,