Brazil’s colour bind

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, Videos on 2015-08-03 01:46Z by Steven

Brazil’s colour bind

The Globe and Mail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2015-07-31

Stephanie Nolen, Latin America Correspondent

Brazil is combating many kinds of inequality. But one of the world’s most diverse nations is still just beginning to talk about race

When Daniele de Araújo found out six years ago that she was pregnant, she set out from her small house on a dirt lane in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and climbed a mountain. It is not a big mountain, the green slope that rises near her home, but the area is controlled by drug dealers, so she was anxious, hiking up. But she had something really important to ask of God, and she wanted to be somewhere she felt that the magnitude of her request would be clear.

She told God she wanted a girl, and she wanted her to be healthy, but one thing mattered above all: “The baby has to be white.”

Ms. de Araújo knows about the quixotic outcomes of genetics: She has a white mother and a black father, sisters who can pass for white, and a brother nearly as dark-skinned as she is – “I’m really black,” she says. Her husband, Jonatas dos Praseres, also has one black and one white parent, but he is light-skinned – when he reported for his compulsory military service, an officer wrote “white” as his race on the forms.

And so, when their baby arrived, the sight of her filled Ms. de Araújo with relief: Tiny Sarah Ashley was as pink as the sheets she was wrapped in. Best of all, as she grew, it became clear that she had straight hair, not cabelo ruim – “bad hair” – as tightly curled black hair is universally known in Brazil. These days, Sarah Ashley has tawny curls that tumble to the small of her back; they are her mother’s great joy in life. The little girl’s skin tone falls somewhere between those of her parents – but she was light enough for them to register her as “white,” just as they had hoped. (Many official documents in Brazil ask for “race and/or colour” alongside other basic identifying information.)

Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres keep the photos from their 2005 wedding in a red velvet album on the lone shelf in their living room. The glossy pictures show family members of a dozen different skin colours, arm in arm, faces crinkled in stiff grins for the posed portraits. There are albums with similar pictures in living rooms all over this country: A full one-third of marriages in Brazil are interracial, said to be the highest rate in the world. (In Canada, despite hugely diverse cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the rate is under five per cent.) That statistic is the most obvious evidence of how race and colour in Brazil are lived differently than they are in other parts of the world.

But a range of colours cannot disguise a fundamental truth, says Ms. de Araújo: There is a hierarchy, and white is at the top.

Many things are changing in this country. Ms. de Araújo left school as a teenager to work as a maid – about the only option open to a woman with skin as dark as hers – but now she has a professional job in health care and a house of her own, things she could not have imagined 15 years ago. Still, she says, “This is Brazil.” And there is no point being precious about it. Black is beautiful, but white – white is just easier. Even middle-class life can still be a struggle here. And Sarah Ashley’s parents want her life to be easy.

Brazil’s history of colonialism, slavery and dictatorship, followed by tumultuous social change, has produced a country that is at once culturally homogenous and chromatically wildly diverse. It is a cornerstone of national identity that Brazil is racially mixed – more than any country on Earth, Brazilians say. Much less discussed, but equally visible – in every restaurant full of white patrons and black waiters, in every high rise where the black doorman points a black visitor toward the service elevator – is the pervasive racial inequality…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

Tags: , , , ,

President Obama’s Racial Renaissance

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-03 01:09Z by Steven

President Obama’s Racial Renaissance

The New York Times
2015-08-01

Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.


Toyin Odutola

We finally have the president we thought we elected: one who talks directly and forcefully about race and human rights.

When President Obama took the podium at the annual convention of the N.A.A.C.P. in Philadelphia last month, he sounded like the leader I’ve been waiting to hear since his first inauguration in 2009. It was almost as if Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” and the former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. had hacked his computer and collaborated on his speech.

Many of Mr. Obama’s admirers and critics have hungered for straight talk on race since he his election. But since taking office, the president had been skittish on the subject and had mostly let it lapse into disturbing silence.

As we prepare to mark the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., this country continues to grapple with what feels like an onslaught of black death.

But now we are doing it with a president — our first African-American president — who has found a confident voice on race…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Pocahontas’ tribe, the Pamunkey of Virginia, finally recognized by U.S.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2015-08-03 00:47Z by Steven

Pocahontas’ tribe, the Pamunkey of Virginia, finally recognized by U.S.

The Los Angeles Times
2015-08-02

Noah Bierman


Mikayla Deacy, 4, swims with her dog Dakota in the Pamunkey River. As a member of the tribe, Mikayla will be eligible for scholarships and other benefits now that the Pamunkey have received federal recognition. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The tidal river that surrounds this spit of scrubby land has long functioned like a moat that rises and falls through the day..

A single road connects the reservation’s sycamore, poplars and modest houses with miles of cornfields that separate the tribe from large retail stores and suburban office parks of eastern Virginia.

The Pamunkey have lived on and around these 1,200 acres for centuries, since before their most famous ancestor, Pocahontas, made contact with English colonists in 1607.

“We call this downtown Pamunkey,” said Kim Cook, the 50-year-old granddaughter of Chief Tecumseh Deerfoot Cook.

She smiled. The only noise came from birds chirping among the pines by the old fishing shanties. The only action came when a cousin stopped by to relieve Cook’s 8-year-old son, River Ottigney Cook, of his boredom by taking him on a boat ride…

…Despite that, the tribe long had laws discouraging intermarriage. Marrying anyone who was not white or Indian was forbidden. Women who married whites could not live on the reservation, though men who had white wives could.

It was not until 2012 that tribal leaders fully reversed those laws and allowed women to vote and serve on the tribal council for the first time. (There had been female chiefs into the 18th century.)

The issue threatened the tribe’s federal acknowledgment, drawing opposition from members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Tribal leaders said the laws pertaining to African Americans were a reflection of Virginia’s racist past that included a ban on interracial marriages — context also noted in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ acknowledgment report — and were in part a defense against losing their status as a state tribe and being stripped of their land amid racial purity laws

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Multiracial marriages are dispersing across the country

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-03 00:25Z by Steven

Multiracial marriages are dispersing across the country

The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.
2015-06-18

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow

As I discuss in my book, “Diversity Explosion,” the geographic dispersion of minority populations from traditional melting-pot regions to the rest of the country sets the stage for the dispersion of multiracial marriages as well. To be sure the greatest prevalence of multiracial marriages are in melting-pot states such as Hawaii, where three in 10 marriages are multiracial, as well as Alaska and Oklahoma, where the share is nearly two in 10 (see map)…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

An Intellectual History of Black Women

Posted in Africa, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-08-02 20:06Z by Steven

An Intellectual History of Black Women

Katharine Cornell Theater
54 Spring Street
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Sunday, 2015-08-02, 19:00-20:30 EDT (Local Time)

Moderator:

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Discussants:

Farah J. Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies
Columbia University

Mia Bay, Professor of History and Director of Center for Race and Ethnicity
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History
University of Michigan School of Law

Barbara D. Savage, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania

The Vineyard Haven Public Library presents a panel discussion celebrating intellectuals previously neglected because of race and gender. Moderated by Evelyn Higginbotham, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African American Studies at Harvard. Featuring all 4 editors of the new book Toward and Intellectual History of Black Women.  Join us for what should be a lively and stimulating discussion.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Moogega Cooper: The JPL’s Space Engineer

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-02 15:24Z by Steven

Moogega Cooper: The JPL’s Space Engineer

LA Weekly
Los Angeles, California
2014-05-14

Sophia Kercher

Somewhere on Mars, the initials of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, J-P-L, are written in Morse code spanning hundreds of meters across the red planet. It’s this kind of detail that thrills JPL scientist Moogega Cooper – especially since JPL, considered NASA’s little brother, accomplished this on the sly.

“Initially, for the robotics missions, we had JPL [stamped] on the wheels so that as it rolls along Mars it would tag Mars: JPL, JPL, JPL. And NASA stepped in and said, ‘No, you can’t do that,’?” Cooper explains. “So JPL said, ‘OK, sure, we’ll take that off.’ And instead they put it in Morse code.”

Cooper, named rainbow or “moo-jee-gae” by her Korean mother and raised by her African-American World War II veteran father, is a human comet of beauty, intelligence and creativity. The scientist graduated from high school at 16, and at 24 earned her Ph.D., then launched her NASA career.

Now 28, she is a planetary protection engineer at JPL. A big part of her job is making sure that NASA doesn’t contaminate other planets with terrestrial microorganisms or any other Earth life, and vice versa – bacteria from, say, Mars, that could potentially harm humans…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Beyond Windrush: Rethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2015-08-02 15:13Z by Steven

Beyond Windrush: Rethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature

University Press of Mississippi
2015-07-10
234 pages
1 b&w illustration, 3 maps, introduction, epilogue, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN:9781628464757

Edited by:

Dillon Brown, Associate Professor of English and African and African American
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Leah Reade Rosenberg, Associate Professor of English
University of Florida

A challenge to the primacy of the Windrush generation as the sole founders of Caribbean literature

Contributors: Edward Baugh, Michael Bucknor, Raphael Dalleo, Alison Donnell, Nadia Ellis, Donette Francis, Glyne Griffith, Kate Houlden, Evelyn O’Callaghan, Lisa Outar, Atreyee Phukan, Kim Robinson-Walcott, Faith Smith, and Michelle Stephens

This edited collection challenges a long sacrosanct paradigm. Since the establishment of Caribbean literary studies, scholars have exalted an elite cohort of émigré novelists based in postwar London, a group often referred to as “the Windrush writers” in tribute to the SS Empire Windrush, whose 1948 voyage from Jamaica inaugurated large-scale Caribbean migration to London. In critical accounts this group is typically reduced to the canonical troika of V. S. Naipaul, George Lamming, and Sam Selvon, effectively treating these three authors as the tradition’s founding fathers. These “founders” have been properly celebrated for producing a complex, anticolonial, nationalist literature. However, their canonization has obscured the great diversity of postwar Caribbean writers, producing an enduring but narrow definition of West Indian literature.

Beyond Windrush stands out as the first book to reexamine and redefine the writing of this crucial era. Its fourteen original essays make clear that in the 1950s there was already a wide spectrum of West Indian men and women—Afro-Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, and white-creole—who were writing, publishing, and even painting. Many lived in the Caribbean and North America, rather than London. Moreover, these writers addressed subjects overlooked in the more conventionally conceived canon, including topics such as queer sexuality and the environment. This collection offers new readings of canonical authors (Lamming, Roger Mais, and Andrew Salkey); hitherto marginalized authors (Ismith Khan, Elma Napier, and John Hearne); and commonly ignored genres (memoir, short stories, and journalism).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This Instagram Project is Giving a Voice to the “Blaxican” Experience

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-02 02:15Z by Steven

This Instagram Project is Giving a Voice to the “Blaxican” Experience

Remezcla
2015-07-28

Yara Simón

The history of race in the United States is often told in terms of black and white, a binary that leaves many out of the equation. “Blaxican” researcher Walter Thompson-Hernandez is trying to expand the conversation, with a project that features people who, like him, are African-American and Mexican. As part of a research project for the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC, where he works, he began interviewing people of “Blaxican” identity. The personal stories inspired him to take his project beyond academia and onto social media. So he started Blaxicans of L.A. on Instagram to share what he was seeing firsthand.

Blaxicans are dual minorities,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “We represent two of the largest ethnic minority groups. And I think because Blaxicans represent two of the most aggrieved groups in Los Angeles, it’s important to understand that certain sets of issues and challenges that have been traditionally labeled as African American or Latino, ultimately, do not exist for people who self-identify as Blaxicans.” They are affected by both the killings of unarmed black men by police and mass deportations…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Surprising Story of Walter White and the NAACP

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-01 01:54Z by Steven

The Surprising Story of Walter White and the NAACP

Time
2015-07-01

Jennifer Latson

July 1, 1893: Walter Francis White, head of the NAACP for more than 20 years, is born

In the last few weeks, Rachel Dolezal—the Spokane, Wash., NAACP leader who recently left her post after being outed as white though saying that she identified as black—led many to examine the relationship between skin color and racial-justice activism. Writing for TIME, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar noted that, despite her ethnic background, Dolezal “has proven herself a fierce and unrelenting champion for African-Americans politically and culturally.”

Regardless of what one thinks of Dolezal, whose story only grew increasingly complicated, there’s plenty of historical evidence that looks aren’t the most important thing when it comes to championing equality. For proof, look no further than Walter Francis White, who was born on this day, July 1, in 1893. White ushered the NAACP into the Civil Rights era, serving as its leader more than 20 years, from 1931 until his death in 1955

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2015-08-01 01:42Z by Steven

Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba

University Press of Mississippi
2005-07-10
328 pages
6 x 9 inches, 14 b&w illustrations, 1 map, 3 tables, glossary, bibliography, index
Hardback ISBN: 9781628462395

Rebecca M. Bodenheimer

A study of how notions of place and race inform the identities and performances of musicians in contemporary Cuba

Derived from the nationalist writings of José Martí, the concept of Cubanidad (Cubanness) has always imagined a unified hybrid nation where racial difference is nonexistent and nationality trumps all other axes identities. Scholars have critiqued this celebration of racial mixture, highlighting a gap between the claim of racial harmony and the realities of inequality faced by Afro-Cubans since independence in 1898. In this book, Rebecca M. Bodenheimer argues that it is not only the recognition of racial difference that threatens to divide the nation, but that popular regional sentiment further contests the hegemonic national discourse. Given that the music is a prominent symbol of Cubanidad, musical practices play an important role in constructing regional, local, and national identities.

This book suggests that regional identity exerts a significant influence on the aesthetic choices made by Cuban musicians. Through the examination of several genres, Bodenheimer explores the various ways that race and place are entangled in contemporary Cuban music. She argues that racialized notions which circulate about different cities affect both the formation of local identity and musical performance. Thus, the musical practices discussed in the book—including rumba, timba, eastern Cuban folklore, and son—are examples of the intersections between regional identity formation, racialized notions of place, and music-making.

Tags: , , , ,