Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-27 03:07Z by Steven

Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid

The Atlantic

Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Correspondent

Violence works. Nonviolence does too.

In a recent dispatch from Ferguson, Missouri, Jelani Cobb noted that President Obama’s responses to “unpunished racial injustices” constitute “a genre unto themselves.” Monday night, when Barack Obama stood before the nation to interpret the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, he offered a particularly tame specimen. The elements of “the genre” were all on display—an unmitigated optimism, an urge for calm, a fantastic faith in American institutions, an even-handedness exercised to a fault. But if all the limbs of the construct were accounted for, the soul of the thing was not.

There was none of the spontaneous annoyance at the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, and little of the sheer pain exhibited in the line, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” The deft hand Obama employed in explaining to Americans why the acquittal of George Zimmerman so rankled had gone arthritic. This was a perfunctory execution of “the genre,” offered with all the energy of a man ticking items off a to-do list.

Barack Obama is an earnest moderate. His instincts seem to lead him to the middle ground. For instance, he genuinely believes that there is more overlap between liberals and conservatives than generally admitted. On Monday he nodded toward the “deep distrust” that divides black and brown people from the police, and then pointed out that this was tragic because these are the communities most in need of “good policing.” Whatever one makes of this pat framing, it is not a cynical centrism—he believes in the old wisdom of traditional America. This is his strength. This is his weakness. But Obama’s moderation is as sincere and real as his blackness, and the latter almost certainly has granted him more knowledge of his country than he generally chooses to share.

In the case of Michael Brown, this is more disappointing than enraging. The genre of Obama race speeches has always been bounded by the job he was hired to do. Specifically, Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America. More specifically, Barack Obama is the president of a congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labor, and land. This plunder has not been exclusive to black people. But black people, the community to which both Michael Brown and Barack Obama belong, have the distinct fortune of having survived in significant numbers…

Read the entire article here.

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Fake Diversity and Racial Capitalism

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-11-27 02:52Z by Steven

Fake Diversity and Racial Capitalism


Nancy Leong, Professor of Law
Sturm College of Law
University of Denver

For decades now, it’s been fashionable for institutions of all kinds to showcase their racially diverse constituencies. This is true even when the institution in question has been sued for discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or other protected categories:…

…But behind the smiling, diverse faces, many institutions also share a dirty little secret. A lot of the diversity is the result not of the institution’s inclusive practices when it comes to recruiting, hiring, admitting or whatever other word is appropriate. Rather, it’s the result of Photoshop

…How can we explain this impulse to overstate diversity, either through Photoshop or through aggressive presentation of diversity? I examined this phenomenon in a 2013 article in the Harvard Law Review called “Racial Capitalism.” What I call racial capitalism is the process of an individual or group deriving value from the racial identity of another person. While in theory any group might derive value from the racial identity of another, in practice, since white people are historically and presently a majority in America, racial capitalism most often involves a white person or a predominantly white institution extracting value from non-white racial identity.

Racial capitalism explains why white people are so keen to tell you about their black friends. It explains why white people are so anxious to tell you about the diverse neighborhood they live in. And, more generally, it explains why people have a powerful incentive to display their affiliation with non-white people…

Read the entire article here.

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Glenn Chavis: Inquiry helps shed light on mixed-race heritage

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2014-11-26 21:05Z by Steven

Glenn Chavis: Inquiry helps shed light on mixed-race heritage

The News & Record
Greensboro, North Carolina

Glenn Chavis, Community Columnist

I recently received a call from a professor emeritus at Jackson State University who is working on a project dealing with a Tri-Racial Isolate group called Turks, who once made Sumter County, S.C., their home.

One day these Turks just disappeared from Sumter, he said, and he is trying to find out if any were buried in a graveyard at Bethesda Baptist Church in Sumter.

Even though I had nothing to offer, he did share plenty of information with me regarding Tri-Racial Isolates, which include Chavises.

This topic has always been of interest to me because the Shepherd/Chavis family started with black blood, then mixed with white blood and, after that, Indian blood. They were located mainly in the Franklin area.

Like most Tri-Isolates, some looked white, some black and others Indian. As a youngster visiting family in Franklin, I recall my ancestors living in their own little community. Denied by the Indian side, they were recognized by the white Shepherds…

…After visiting numerous websites dealing with Tri-Isolates, I found many definitions, interpretations and histories of these people. Regardless of slight differences, Tri-Isolates and Biracials existed hundreds of years ago, as well as today.

They usually stayed among themselves and worked the land as farmers.

Suddenly, I remembered that more than 30 years ago, a friend sent me a paper done by Edward Price of Los Angeles State College titled “A Geographic Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures in Eastern United States.” It was published in the June 1953 edition of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers

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Grad student Alex Finley found her roots — and more

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2014-11-26 19:54Z by Steven

Grad student Alex Finley found her roots — and more

William & Mary News and Events
The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

Jim Ducibella, Communications Specialist

This is part one of a two-story series. Check back Nov. 26 for the second part. – Ed.

As a child, Alex Finley remembers going through three phases of intense interest: One was genealogy. Another was the Civil War. The third was American Girls dolls.

“So I guess I was always destined to be a historian,” she said with a chuckle.

Finley, a Ph.D. candidate in history at William & Mary who is studying the domestic slave trade and the finance and business practices of slave traders in the antebellum period, combined two of those three passions to uncover a little known, controversial community in West Virginia.

It’s a discovery that has drawn the attention of television producers from the PBS program Finding Your Roots and ushered in a fascinating chapter in her life.

She began by researching her mother’s family history while she was in high school in southern Ohio, and continued her research as an undergraduate at Ohio State, completing an honors thesis on that particular branch of the family.

The Male family – or Mayle, as it’s also known – came to the United States from Dover, England, and eventually settled in Hampshire County, located in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands regions.

Wilmore Male and his wife, Mary, had several children, including Wilmore, Jr., who fought in the Revolutionary War and came back to West Virginia to start a farm.

While there, he began a relationship with a slave he owned named Nancy.

“The proof we have of this is an extraordinary emancipation document from 1826,” Finley said. “(Male) emancipates Nancy and says that she is forever set free from this point – on the condition that she remain living with him as his wife.

“That’s extraordinary for the time period, for several reasons: One, he’s coming out publicly and saying this. Two, interracial marriage is illegal at this time and here he is in a courthouse saying he intends to live with this woman. They end up living together, with no evidence they were ever harassed or bothered by anyone for their relationship.”

How could that be? Finley’s research showed that the man at the courthouse who recorded the document – John White — was the son of Male’s captain in the Revolutionary War…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama failed Ferguson. The prosecutor is pathetic. Between the split-screen, the protesters get it

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-11-26 18:48Z by Steven

Obama failed Ferguson. The prosecutor is pathetic. Between the split-screen, the protesters get it

The Guardian
London, United Kingdom

Steven W. Thrasher, Columnist for Guardian US

Politicians have found themselves on the wrong side of the gap between the fantasy of what the law does and the reality that people live

There we had Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, finally admitting on one side of the television that structural racism is real. There we finally had him saying that when it comes to police terrorizing black folks, “communities of color aren’t just making these problems up”. But, in nearly the same breath on Monday night after the grand-jury decision in Ferguson, as the people were taking to the streets in cities across the nation, the president also said he doesn’t believe unequal enforcement of the law is “the norm. I don’t think that’s true for the majority of communities or the vast majority of law enforcement officials.”

It wasn’t just surreal, then, to witness Obama’s anti-Trayvon Martin moment at the very same time a split-screen on the other side of the TV showed police launching smoke bombs at protesters in Ferguson. It was heartbreaking. Because if that was reality rising up through the gap on Monday night, the reality is that legal discrimination is the norm – and our law enforcement officials refuse to acknowledge reality.

This is the gap in our collective split-screen: The Ferguson cops arrest black citizens three times more often than they do white people, but USA Today recently reported that “1,581 other police departments across the USA arrest black people at rates even more skewed than in Ferguson.” That’s right: the police department that won’t even see officer Darren Wilson stand trial – a cop, mind you, who complained that Michael Brown “looked like a demon” after he’d shot the unarmed black teenager – engages in less racial profiling than 1,581 other American police departments.

So it was nothing short of a gut punch to see our African American president on the wrong side of the gap between the fantasy of what the law does and the reality that people live. Obama, in that moment, gave credence to the fiction that if citizens just faithfully adhere to being “a nation built on the rule of law”, the result will be justice. Perhaps he will finally go to Ferguson tomorrow, but today, we are a nation looking upon a pile of ashes, death and broken dreams…

Read the entire article here.

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Undoing Race? Reconciling Multiracial Identity with Equal Protection

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-26 18:19Z by Steven

Undoing Race? Reconciling Multiracial Identity with Equal Protection

Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Assistant Professor of Law
Georgia State University College of Law

California Law Review
Volume 102, Number 5 (October 2014)
pages 1243-1302

The number of multiracial individuals in America, many of whom define their racial identity in different ways, has grown dramatically in recent years and continues to increase. From this demographic shift a movement seeking unique racial status for multiracial individuals has emerged. The multiracial movement is distinguishable from other race-based movements in that it is primarily driven by identity rather than the quest for political, social, or economic equality. It is not clear how equal protection doctrine, which is concerned primarily with state-created racial classifications, will or should accommodate multiracialism. Nor is it clear how to best reconcile the recognition of individual identity with the continuing need to address group-based racial discrimination and subordination. In this Essay, I explore the potential impact of multiracialism-and multiracial identity in particular-on the future of racial classifications under equal protection doctrine.

As a framework for its analysis, the Essay invokes two theories used to interpret the meaning of equal protection: antisubordination and anticlassification. Viewed solely through the lens of multiracial identity, the common normative understanding of these two approaches contorts. While antisubordination is often perceived as more beneficial for groups battling entrenched racial hierarchy, it may facilitate unique harms for multiracial individuals seeking to carve out a racial identity distinct from traditionally defined racial categories. And although anticlassification is often viewed by progressives as detrimental to the pursuit of true racial equality, it may lend more support to policies of racial self-identification and the recognition of a unique multiracial identity. A looming danger, therefore, is that anticlassification advocates wishing to dismantle frameworks rooted in traditional notions of race may exploit multiracialism to “undo” race and to undermine the use of racial classifications altogether.

In response to that possibility, this Essay argues that although law and identity inevitably inform and impact one another, they also serve distinct purposes that should not be improperly conflated in the context of multiracialism. The construction of identity is ultimately a very personal endeavor, and although legal recognition may be one aspect of identity, in the area of race, the law has a more powerful function to play in preventing racial subordination. Where possible, the law should accommodate multiracial individuals who wish to define their own racial identity, but as long as it remains more aspirational than realistic, the individual’s perception of race should not be used or manipulated to undermine the use of racial classifications to counter societal race discrimination.

  • Introduction
    • I. Multiracialism and Multiracial Identity
      • A. Historical Treatment of Multiracialism
      • B. The Emergence of Multiracial Identity
        • 1. The Numbers: Measuring Multiracials
        • 2. The Multiracial Movement
      • C. The Nature of Multiracial Identity
      • D. Consequences of Identity
    • II. Equal Protection and Multiracial Identity
      • A. The Meaning of Equal Protection: Anticlassification and Antisubordination
      • B. Viewing Equal Protection Through the Multiracial Identity Lens
    • III. Reconciliation: Undoing Race?
      • A. The Temptation Toward Anticlassification
      • B. Untangling Identity from Doctrine
  • Conclusion

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Monday Murder Mystery: Everything I Never Told You

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-26 17:52Z by Steven

Monday Murder Mystery: Everything I Never Told You

Daily Kos

Susan Grisby

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng; Published by Penguin Press; June 26th 2014. 297 pages

Families are probably the most mysterious strangers we will ever know. Sure, we know their names and that one is a brother or a father or sister or mother, but our image of them is one that we form very young and rarely re-evalutate.

My older brother used to drive down from Northern California to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with us every year starting about fifteen years ago. For many years before that, we really did not like each other very much. Mostly because we were still clinging to the images that we had carried from childhood.

Strange how that works. Although I had allowed myself to change and grow, my family members always seemed static in my mind. I learned to break through those images to re-discover who these people are that I call my relatives as did my older brother. We became very close friends and I miss him every year around this time.

Having lived family drama, I wasn’t much interested in a mystery that focused on it, and so allowed this one to sit on my metaphorical nightstand for way too long before I finally picked it up and started reading.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.

And so begins one of the most remarkable debut novels that I have ever read for this series. A 16 year-old girl disappeared one morning in 1977. Later, her body is found in a nearby lake in the small Ohio town where the family lives. Accident, murder, or suicide?

Celeste Ng smoothly alternates points of view and switches back and forth between the fifties, sixties and seventies to introduce us to the main characters of the Lee family.

James Lee is a first generation Chinese American who was a teaching assistant at Harvard when he met Marilyn Walker, a Virginia student, studying to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. They fall in love, she gets pregnant, they marry and move to Ohio where James takes a teaching position at Middlewood College and Marilyn, having put aside her own career ambitions, raises their three children, Nathan, Lydia and Hannah…

Read the entire review here.

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Movie “Little White Lie” Creator Lacey Schwartz Talks Not Knowing She Was Black [VIDEO]

Posted in Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos on 2014-11-26 17:39Z by Steven

Movie “Little White Lie” Creator Lacey Schwartz Talks Not Knowing She Was Black [VIDEO]

HOT 97, WQH 97.1 FM
New York, New York

Ebro Darden, Co-Host

Peter Rosenberg, Co-Host

Laura Stylez, Co-Host

Could you imagine living your entire life not knowing your true ethnic background? Movie director Lacey Schwartz can. Watch her talk about her new film “Little White Lie” and more:

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Mixed-Race Identity, Ferguson & Why it Matters to Us

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-26 01:25Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Identity, Ferguson & Why it Matters to Us

Mixed In Canada

Rema Tavares

By now you probably already know that Darren Wilson was not indicted yesterday, November 24th, 2014 for murdering unarmed Black youth Mike Brown on August 9th, 2014. Ever since that day, folks around the world have been showing their support, as well as massive hatred, towards the Brown family. Today in Canada, there will be protests in Toronto & Vancouver as well as in Hamilton on December 1st. So what does this mean to us, mixed-race identified people? While I can’t speak on behalf of all mixed-race identified people, here are some thoughts that come to mind about how it affects us.

NON BLACK-MIXED FOLKS: Show your solidarity to your Black-mixed brothers, sisters & trans* siblings. Black and Indigenous folks (mixed-identified or not) face the most heinous forms of state-sanctioned violence around the world and here in Canada. Our struggle is your struggle, just as yours is ours, all oppression is connected. #IdleNoMore #BlackLivesMatter

FOLKS MIXED WITH WHITE: Calling out white supremacy does not mean that you don’t love your white family. If anything, seeing our friends and family as real people with flaws, is true love. We have all been raised in this system, we are all complicit. Let us remember that the revolution starts at home.

BLACK MIXED FOLKS: Make sure to take care of yourself and if you can, reach out to our brothers, sisters & trans* siblings. Take time for self care and care of the community…

Read the entire article here.

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In Response to #Ferguson

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-11-26 01:12Z by Steven

In Response to #Ferguson

One Drop of Love

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni

I spent yesterday, like so many of my friends and family, wavering between deep sadness and deep anger. I understand that, because I was a witness to a family member being brutalized by a police officer, I have a different perspective than those who have not either been the victim of police brutality, or a witness to it. I would like to think that I would still have the same passionate feelings, whether or not I had this experience…

Read the entire article here.

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