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.

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‘The Bling Ring’ Actress Katie Chang Finds Drive In Activism and Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-24 02:45Z by Steven

‘The Bling Ring’ Actress Katie Chang Finds Drive In Activism and Identity

NBC News
2017-04-20

Tiffany Hu


Katie Chang, is currently a senior at Northwestern. Her second movie is scheduled to debut on April 14. Mia Zanzucchi / Courtesy of Katie Chang

Katie Chang isn’t taking her last year of college easy.

The 21-year-old actress is spending her last semester at Northwestern University taking classes on making her own web series and curating film festivals. She’s also writing and producing a number of plays on campus. During her breaks, she auditions and films.

But while she plays one of the eponymous “outcasts,” Chang is quick to say her character isn’t a stereotype.

“I was up for a different role originally,” she told NBC News. “The girl they had playing the role that I ended up playing was white, tall, and blonde — so it was more of which actor fit best with which role.”…

…A multiracial actress, Chang has considered changing her last name in an attempt to land more roles. But when her first film, “The Bling Ring” directed by Sofia Coppola, came out in 2013, she decided against it. While she noted that some casting directors aren’t looking to cast “Katie Chang as a lead actress” in teen-focused romantic comedies, she said her decision not to use a stage name has pushed her to work harder…

Read the entire article here.

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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.

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DNA Tests, and Sometimes Surprising Results

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-04-23 20:21Z by Steven

DNA Tests, and Sometimes Surprising Results

The New York Times
2017-04-20

Anita Foeman, Professor of Communication Studies
West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania


Students at West Chester University in Pennsylvania have volunteered to take part in ancestry DNA testing. Anita Foeman, a communications professor, says she has found that conversations around race are “complicated and jagged.”
Credit West Chester University

Race and identity in many ways define who we think we are, while modern genetics can challenge those notions. To delve into these issues, I am involved with a communications studies project at West Chester University in Pennsylvania that explores narratives at the intersection of race and identity.

For the last decade, I have invited hundreds of people to be part of ancestry DNA tests. But first I ask people how they identify themselves racially. It has been very interesting to explore their feelings about the differences between how they define themselves and what their DNA makeup shows when the test results come in.

Biologically, our ancestral differences reflect only a 0.1 percent difference in DNA. Yet we often cling to those differences — both in unity with our fellow people of origin and, at times, in divisiveness.

Over all, the experiment has provided a special opportunity to explore the lines of race. I found that as human beings, our strategies for survival are the same, and our similarities far outweigh our differences…

Bernard: Identifies as: Black; father is black and mother is white

Credit Erica C. Thompson/West Chester University

His prediction: 50% European, 50% African

His comments before the test: My mother said, “I know you are me, but no cop is going to take the time to find out your mother is white.” She was very specific about raising me as a black man.

Results: 91% European, 5% Middle Eastern, 2% Hispanic; less than 1% African and Asian

Thoughts about his ancestry results: What are you trying to do to me? You have caused a lot of problems in my family. I know my nose is sharp and my skin is light, but my politics are as black as night. Today, I don’t identify as mixed. I reject my white privilege in a racist America. There is no way that I or my kids will identify as anything other than black…

Read the entire article here.

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Review: In ‘Little Boxes,’ a Biracial Family Meets a White Town

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-23 18:14Z by Steven

Review: In ‘Little Boxes,’ a Biracial Family Meets a White Town

The New York Times
2017-04-13

Neil Genzlinger, Television Critic


From left, Nelsan Ellis, Armani Jackson and Melanie Lynskey in “Little Boxes,” about a biracial family’s move from Brooklyn to small-town America.
Credit Mark Doyle/Gunpowder & Sky Distribution

Little Boxes,” a mildly comic story about a biracial family that relocates to an exceedingly white town, feels a bit out of phase, but it’s delicately observed and does a nice job of staying within itself. It avoids the big confrontation or grand statement; doing so allows it to be an effective, if somewhat uneventful, study of the Brooklyn bubble effect.

Gina (Melanie Lynskey), who is white, and Mack (Nelsan Ellis), who is black, move from trendy and comfortably diverse Brooklyn so that she can take a new job in a small town in Washington State. Their son, Clark (Armani Jackson), is getting ready to start sixth grade…

Read the entire review here.

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But Still, Like Air, I’ll Rise

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2017-04-22 19:55Z by Steven

But Still, Like Air, I’ll Rise

The Lark
New York, New York
2017-04-18

Velina Hasu Houston

This piece is part of a blog salon, curated by Caridad Svich, called “Stages of Resistance.” The series welcomes reflections on themes related to making work for live performance in political and aesthetic resistance to forms and systems that oppress human rights and censor or severely limit freedom of expression. We are in increasingly hostile, volatile times around the world, and this salon hopes to serve as a space for considered, thoughtful, polemical articulations of practice and theory on the subject of resistance, the multiple meanings of political art, and the ways in which progressive, wholistic cultural change may be instigated through artworks. Stay tuned for more articles and reflections in this series throughout March and April 2017!

Don’t write about people of color.

Don’t blend Eastern and Western theater aesthetics.

These were things that were said to me when I began making art for the stage.

The inspirations for the art I wanted to make often included immigrants, people of color, and globally blended theater aesthetics. Did that mean I needed to learn to be an excellent secretary, like many of my white teachers in Junction City, Kansas, told me? No.

For someone who is Japanese, African American, Native American Indian, and Cuban, life is always political. Even amid this complexity, people of color come from mono-ethnic perspectives and do not understand a multiethnic perspective such as mine. To exist in almost any space creates challenges, but the making of art that resists those challenges allows me to liberate myself from the categorical cages into which many feel they must place me. Art, therefore, is an avenue to freedom…

Read the entire article here.

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Are You Mixed? A War Bride’s Granddaughter’s Narrative of Lives In-Between Contested Race, Gender, Class, and, Power

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-04-21 02:37Z by Steven

Are You Mixed? A War Bride’s Granddaughter’s Narrative of Lives In-Between Contested Race, Gender, Class, and, Power

Information Age Publishing
2016-02-05
192 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781681233871
Hardcover ISBN: 9781681233888
eBook ISBN: 9781681233895

Sonia E. Janis, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice (Social Studies Education)
University of Georgia

In Are You Mixed?, Sonia Janis explores the spaces in-between race and place from the perspective of an educator who is multi-racial. As she reflects on her own experiences as a seventh grade student up to her eventual appointment as a school administrator, she learns of the complexity of situating oneself in predetermined demographic categories. She shares how she explores the intricacies of undefined spaces that teach her to embrace differences, contradictions, and complexities in schools, neighborhoods and communities.

Exploring the in-betweenness (Anzaldua & Keating, 2002; He, 2003, 2010) of her life as a multi-race person problematizes imbedded notions of race, gender, class, and power. The power of this memoir lies in its narrative possibilities to capture the contradictions and paradoxes of lives in-between race and place, “to honor the subtleties, fluidities, and complexities of such experience, and to cultivate understanding towards individual … experience and the multicultural/multiracial contexts that shape and are shaped by such experience” (He, 2003, p. xvii). This memoir creates new ways to think about and write about in-between experience and their relevance to multicultural and multiracial education.

Janis challenges educators, teachers, administrators, and policy makers to view the educational experience of students with multiracial, multicultural, and multilingual backgrounds by shattering predetermined categories and stereotyped classifications and looking into unknown and fluid realms of the in-betweenness of their lives. This challenge helps create equitable and just opportunities and engender culturally responsive and inspiring curricular and learning environments to bring out the best potential in all diverse schools, communities, neighborhoods, tribes and societies.

CONTENTS

  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue
  • CHAPTER I: One-Half Polish, One-Quarter Russian, One-Quarter Japanese
  • CHAPTER II: My (Non-White or White?) Friends
  • CHAPTER III: Three States and Six Schools
  • CHAPTER IV: Relocating to the Segregated South
  • CHAPTER V: Culturally Clueless
  • CHAPTER VI: Multirace Stories as Curriculum
  • Epilogue
  • Reference
  • About the Author
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The Erasure of People of African Descent in Nazi Germany

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2017-04-19 21:15Z by Steven

The Erasure of People of African Descent in Nazi Germany

Black Perspectives
2017-04-19

Jaimee A. Swift
Howard University, Washington, D.C.


Afro-German during the Third Reich. Photo: Propaganda-Pravada.

Recently, Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer made some peculiar and offensive comments comparing Syrian leader President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attacks to those of Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler. In attempts to justify Trump’s random missile strikes against Assad, Spicer asserted that what Assad did was completely inhumane—so inhumane that he claimed not even Hitler used chemical weapons against his own people, when in fact he did. Spicer would later on apologize for his Hitler comparison.

His comments were met with much backlash, and many have claimed they were disrespectful to the Jewish community and therefore diminished the horrible plight of the millions of innocent Jewish lives lost at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi regime. What is critical in understanding Spicer’s offensive statement is assessing not only his erasure of the violence enacted on the Jewish community during the Holocaust, but also the effacing of the experiences of Afro-Germans, African-Americans, and persons of African descent during the Nazi era. Both national and global discourses have excluded the narratives about and perspectives on Afro-Germans in German society. While the German constitution forbids racism, prejudice, and other forms of discrimination, there lacks a substantive and stable legal reform on combatting racism, as a “generally accepted definition of racism does not exist in Germany.” The intentional void of state-sanctioned discourses on race in Germany because of the legacy of the Nazi era ignores the historical remnants and current manifestations of systemic racism against Afro-Germans, which is embedded in every facet of German society…

…In their article “Making the Black Experience Heard in Germany,” authors Jamie Schearer and Hadija Haruna detailed how during World War II, thousands of African-American GIs occupied Germany and had relationships with German women, thus producing bi-racial or multiracial children. German professor Maria Hoehn also discussed the percentage of Black children birthed to African-American GIs and white women in Germany and how animosity arose from many Euro-Germans surrounding the presence of Black children or Besatzungskinder (occupation children) or “Rhineland bastards” in the country. Hoehn explained:

“They would always identify them as ‘Black Occupation children.’ Or as mischling kinder, or mixed-race children. In the immediate postwar period, there were over 90,000 babies born of American soldiers, and about three-and-a-half thousands of them were African American. What is interesting is that almost the whole focus of the debate on occupation children was on those black children rather than the larger group of children.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Greek, black and proud: the village in Greece with African roots: The African origins of a rural community in Thrace

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2017-04-19 17:27Z by Steven

Greek, black and proud: the village in Greece with African roots: The African origins of a rural community in Thrace

EnetEnglish: Greek Independent Press
2014-02-19

Alexandra Tzavella


Ogun Sabri and Merve Sabri, two residents of the Thracian village of Avato (Photos: Ilhan Efendi; Montage: Eleftherotypia)

The village of Avato, in the northeastern prefecture of Xanthi, is home to a unique community whose ancestors are believed to have come to Greece from Sudan during Ottoman rule

“What are you looking for, young woman? the village shepherd asks. He’s got African looks but speaks in the local accent, a combination that would surprise anyone who accidentally wandered into Avato, a village 26km south of Xanthi, a city in northeastern Greece.

There, away from the eyes of the world, live the black Greeks of Thrace, whose ancestors came to the country during Ottoman rule as slaves of local beys (or governors).

Now Greek citizens, they are confused about their origins. Some believe that their ancestors came to the country as British mercenaries during the first world war. The roots of an entire village is a small detail in the sum of world history…

‘Only in Avato’

“Wherever else you go, you won’t find black people. No where else in Thrace will you find us; only in Avato. In the past, there were some in the surrounding villages. Now there are four families left. The village was was the seat of the bey, so that’s why the blacks are here. I heard from the old people, from my late father, that our village was once a marsh. So that’s why it’s called Avato [meaning “inviolate” or “untrodden”]. My dad was black. Very black!” says the owner of the cafe, Rasim Raim (55), whose countenance and blue eyes suggests he’s of a mixed background.

“My mother was from the Caucasus, my grandfather from Sudan. That’s all I know,” he says. “I asked my father – he said that during the first world war, they brought in mercenaries to fight. And some stayed. I should have recorded it on tape, so I’d have the story. Because all that will be forgotten soon.”…

Read the entire article here.

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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.

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