New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Judaism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2017-01-17 23:53Z by Steven

New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

New York University Press
February 2017
368 pages
28 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9781479888801

Judith Weisenfeld, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion
Princeton University

When Joseph Nathaniel Beckles registered for the draft in the 1942, he rejected the racial categories presented to him and persuaded the registrar to cross out the check mark she had placed next to Negro and substitute “Ethiopian Hebrew.”  “God did not make us Negroes,” declared religious leaders in black communities of the early twentieth-century urban North. They insisted that so-called Negroes are, in reality, Ethiopian Hebrews, Asiatic Muslims, or raceless children of God. Rejecting conventional American racial classification, many black southern migrants and immigrants from the Caribbean embraced these alternative visions of black history, racial identity, and collective future, thereby reshaping the black religious and racial landscape.

Focusing on the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Judith Weisenfeld argues that the appeal of these groups lay not only in the new religious opportunities membership provided, but also in the novel ways they formulated a religio-racial identity. Arguing that members of these groups understood their religious and racial identities as divinely-ordained and inseparable, the book examines how this sense of self shaped their conceptions of their bodies, families, religious and social communities, space and place, and political sensibilities.

Weisenfeld draws on extensive archival research and incorporates a rich array of sources to highlight the experiences of average members. The book demonstrates that the efforts by members of these movements to contest conventional racial categorization contributed to broader discussions in black America about the nature of racial identity and the collective future of black people that still resonate today.

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The Checkered Past of Brazil’s New Race Court (JWJI Race & Difference Colloquium Series)

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Science on 2017-01-17 01:00Z by Steven

The Checkered Past of Brazil’s New Race Court (JWJI Race & Difference Colloquium Series)

Jones Room, Woodruff Library
The James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Monday, 2017-02-06, 12:00-13:30 EST (Local Time)

Ruth Hill, Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

A categorical crisis around racially-mixed persons has become a legal quagmire in Brazil. In August 2016, the Brazilian government announced the formation of the Racial Court (Tribunal Racial) to confront the steady stream of legal challenges that has beset the racial segment of the country’s Quotas System (Sistema de Cotas). The latter is an affirmative-action program giving preference to the disabled, the economically-disadvantaged, graduates of public schools, and specific racial groups (Amerindians and persons of African ancestry) in government offices and higher education. Litigation and media attention are centered on the program’s interstitial racial category, pardo. The category preto—the straightforward “black” in Brazil until it was jettisoned in educated quarters for negro, “negro”—and the category pardo (of European and an undefined amount of African and/or native origins) are often treated as subsets of the category negro. Still, color not descent is invoked when it is stated that persons “of pardo color” or “preto color” are eligible for the racial quotas for government posts, which are set aside “for negros and pardos.”

Whether colors or categories, where does pardo end and branco (“white”) or negro begin? In other words, when does afrodescendente (“Afro-descendant”) end and branco begin? In this Race and Difference Colloquium, Ruth Hill (Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish, Vanderbilt University) argues that the pardo problem of today streams from the first global and systematic investigation into racial admixture, in the sixteenth century, which came on the heels of legislation to “uplift” Catholic neophytes in the Iberian empires. Those centuries-old arguments over mixed-race neophytes anticipated the moral and legal dilemmas of Brazil’s present-day affirmative-action program.

The Race and Difference Colloquium Series, a weekly event on the Emory University campus, features local and national speakers presenting academic research on contemporary questions of race and intersecting dimensions of difference. The James Weldon Johnson Institute is pleased to have the Robert W. Woodruff Library and the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript and Rare Book Library as major co-sponsors of the Colloquium Series.

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Afro-Palestinians’ forge a unique identity in Israel

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion on 2017-01-13 19:13Z by Steven

Afro-Palestinians’ forge a unique identity in Israel

The Associated Press
2017-01-12

Isma’il Kushkush


In this Dec. 31, 2016 photo, Arab families of African descent attend a wedding in the West Bank city of Ramallah. In the shadow of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City lies the “African Quarter” — home to a little-known community of nearly 50 Arab families of African descent, who call themselves, “Afro-Palestinians.” Descended from Muslim pilgrims from a variety of African countries, they now consider themselves proud Palestinians, despite widespread poverty and occasional discrimination from both Palestinians and Israelis. Several have even participated in violent attacks against Israel. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi).

JERUSALEM (AP) — In the shadow of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City lies the “African Quarter” — home to a little-known community of nearly 50 Arab families of African descent.

Descended from Muslim pilgrims from a variety of African countries, they now consider themselves proud Palestinians, despite widespread poverty and occasional discrimination from both Palestinians and Israelis. Several have even participated in violent attacks against Israel.

Afro-Palestinian“We regard ourselves to be Afro-Palestinian,” said community leader Ali Jiddah…

Read the entire article here.

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Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity

Posted in Articles, Audio, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-12-30 02:32Z by Steven

Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2016-12-29

John Burnett, Southwest Correspondent, National Desk


Santo Tomas Catholic church in Abiquiu, N.M., is the site of an annual saint’s day celebration in late November that includes cultural elements of the genizaros, the descendants of Native American slaves.
John Burnett/NPR

Every year in late November, the New Mexican village of Abiquiu, about an hour northwest of Santa Fe, celebrates the town saint, Santo Tomas. Townfolk file into the beautiful old adobe Catholic church to pay homage its namesake.

But this is no ordinary saint’s day. Dancers at the front of the church are dressed in feathers, face paint and ankle bells that honor their forbears — captive Indian slaves called genizaros.

The dances and chants are Native American, but they don’t take place on a Pueblo Indian reservation. Instead, they’re performed in a genizaro community, one of several scattered across the starkly beautiful high desert of northern New Mexico.

After centuries in the shadows, this group of mixed-race New Mexicans — Hispanic and American Indian — is stepping forward to seek recognition…

Read the entire story here. Download the story (00:05:04) here.

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The Human Face of Globalization: From Multicultural to Mestizaje

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, Social Science on 2016-12-27 16:11Z by Steven

The Human Face of Globalization: From Multicultural to Mestizaje

Rowman & Littlefield
November 2004
168 pages
Size: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-7425-4227-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-7425-4228-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4617-1421-7

Jacques Audinet, Professor Emeritus in Anthropology
University of Metz and l’Institut Catholique de Paris

International immigration, massive migrations, economic globalization and a world-wide communications revolution have brought about a mixing of races, cultures and lifestyles unprecedented in human history. What are the implications of this phenomenon? What options present themselves… a battle of cultures for power; a move toward communitarian cooperation, or, something new, the evolution of racially and culturally mixed societies?

Anthropologist and sociologist Jacques Audinet proposes an alternative to culture wars and simple multiculturalism as he explores the history and evolution of mestizaje, the mixing of races and cultures resulting in a third and new force able to ease the tensions between the original two. Audinet reviews the tragic history of imperial and colonial conquests and traces the growth of mestizaje, especially stimulated by literature, music and sports.

Audinet argues that, instead of chasing or preserving the illusion of “pure” races, we need to face the shifting boundaries of peoples and cultures. He acknowledges the uncertainty of the changes, but emphasizes the essential role that mestizaje can play in the avoidance of racial and cultural clashes while pursuing equality as part of the promise of a democratic society.

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BEST OF 2016: Fractionalized — Stories of Biracial Joy, Pain, Struggle and Triumph

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-12-26 20:24Z by Steven

BEST OF 2016: Fractionalized — Stories of Biracial Joy, Pain, Struggle and Triumph

Madison 365
Madison, Wisconsin
2016-12-26

Mia Sato
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Mixed.

Multi.

One-half-this and one-quarter-that. Biracial, mixed-race, “two or more races.” In a world obsessed with labels, the pressure to claim oneself as part of a racial group is an inescapable reality for a small but growing population. We are confronted by it with questions like, “What are you?” which we can instantly recognize as a question pointing to heritage. Census forms or surveys ask us to check a box identifying our ethnicity; on rare occasions we’re offered “Multiracial” but we frequently settle for “Other.” People identifying as mixed race may feel connected to all of their backgrounds, only one or some of them, or to none; race is complex enough as it is, but once two or more categories come into play, even more questions are raised.

What is clear is that people who carry a mixed race identity do not experience their race in the same way, even if they share the same racial mix. Location, social interaction, family attitudes about race and environments all inform how they think, feel and speak about being mixed race. Even more, an individual’s own interpretation of their multicultural background may shift and change with time; it is a process of discovery, affirmation, questioning and rejection.

Below, five individuals share their own journey of a mixed-race identity. No story is the same, but all lead to one reality that is obvious: they are hardly a fraction of a race. They are full, whole, complete, and here are their stories, in all their diverse glory…

Read the entire article here.

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On the Record: Georgetown and the racial identity of President Patrick Healy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2016-12-23 02:15Z by Steven

On the Record: Georgetown and the racial identity of President Patrick Healy

The Georgetown Voice
2010-04-14


Patrick Healy

Matt Sheptuck (COL ’10) is an American Studies major writing his senior thesis, which explores how Georgetown University has perceived Jesuit Father Patrick Healy’s racial identity over the years. In his research Sheptuck found that Healy, whom many of us know as the first African-American President of Georgetown and one of the first black presidents of any major American university, was understood as white for much of the University’s history, until beginning in the 1960s, when Georgetown began to “market” Healy as black.

Sheptuck says he isn’t “overtly condemnatory” of the University’s history, knowing that how they framed Healy was a product of the times. But he proposes that going forward, Georgetown doesn’t need to relegate Healy’s racial identity to the “one-dimensional” white or black designation, and should present him as the complex man he was. He also thinks Georgetown needs to look closely at its relationship with race in America in the past. Intrigued by his research, Vox caught up with Sheptuck on Tuesday to learn more.

Vox Populi: So tell me a little about your thesis.

Matt Sheptuck: I’m looking at how the University’s changing racial conceptualization of Patrick Healy’s identity fit in relation to how the University thought about race in general. And what I’ve found in my research about Healy, who was president from 1874 – 1882, is two main periods from the 1880s, when Healy resigned as president, up to the present, in which the University talked about his racial identity differently…

Read the interview here.

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How Jews Became White Folks — and May Become Nonwhite Under Trump

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-12-08 02:43Z by Steven

How Jews Became White Folks — and May Become Nonwhite Under Trump

Forward
2016-12-06

Karen Brodkin, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
University of California, Los Angeles

Decades before I wrote the book “How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America,” I had an eye-opening conversation with my parents. I asked them if they were white. They looked flummoxed and said, “We’re Jewish.”

“But are you white?”

“Well, I guess we’re white; but we’re Jewish.” Then they wanted to know what I thought I was.

I’m white and Jewish…

Read the entire article here.

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For Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, Whiteness Was a Fragile Identity Long Before Trump

Posted in Articles, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2016-12-07 01:36Z by Steven

For Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, Whiteness Was a Fragile Identity Long Before Trump

Forward
2016-12-06

Sigal Samuel, Opinion Editor


Nikki Casey

I have lived for 26 years under the illusion that I am unconditionally white…. Recently I have started looking at my face and going, ‘Oh man, do I look too Jewish?’” Sydney Brownstone, the reporter who voiced this question in a recent Blabbermouth podcast, is not alone in wondering this. Many Ashkenazi Jews who have always assumed that they’re white are noticing that they’re not white enough for Donald Trump’s white supremacists. Suddenly, they’re asking themselves: Wait, how white am I, exactly?

To tackle this question, try a little visualization. Picture all American Jews arranged along a spectrum. On one end are the Ashkenazi Jews who identify as white and get coded as white by society. On the other end are the Jews of color who can never pass as white: black Jews, Chinese Jews and others who get read as non-white on the street. In the middle of the spectrum are Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, who sometimes pass as white and sometimes don’t.

As a Mizrahi Jew — my ancestors come from India, Iraq and Morocco — I inhabit that ambiguous middle space. For a long time, it’s been a lonely place to be, since Ashkenazi is Judaism’s default setting in America. It’s also been massively confusing, since I often reap the privileges of being white-passing, even as I get selected for “random additional screenings” by the TSA or for “Where are you really from?” queries from strangers on the street…

Read the entire article here.

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Between Two Worlds – A conversation with Rain Pryor

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-12-04 02:14Z by Steven

Between Two Worlds – A conversation with Rain Pryor

Connecticut Jewish Ledger
2016-11-22

Cindy Mindell

Rain Pryor was born and raised in Los Angeles, the daughter of comedian Richard Pryor and Shelley Bonis (later changed to Bonus), a Jewish go-go dancer. After her parents divorced, Pryor spent time with both grandmothers and in both cultures, forging a unique identity that combined elements from her Black and Jewish legacies.

In 2004, Pryor created and toured in “Fried Chicken and Latkes,” an award-winning solo show based on her life that played to sold-out crowds and standing ovations across the country and in the UK. In 2005, the show won an NAACP Theatre Award for Best Female Performer Equity, and the Invisible Theatre’s Goldie Klein Guest Artist Award. The 2012 New York Times review of the “effervescent” show described Pryor as “a robust, ebullient performer.”…

…Recently, she spoke with the Ledger about the evolution of her “Fried Chicken and Latkes” and the influences that shaped it…

Q: How do you express your dual identity today?

A: For High Holidays, my mom and I go to the Pico Union [formerly Sinai Temple], the oldest synagogue building in Los Angeles. They do a lot of outreach. I also embrace my Black African-centric heritage and practice Ifá, an ancient and mystical Yoruba tradition honoring the ancestors, which to me went beautifully with the High Holiday services. I embrace culture and tradition and I would say I’m a spiritual being more than I’ll ever be a religious being…

Read the entire interview here.

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