JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-02-09 01:58Z by Steven

JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

University of Nebraska Press
July 2016
192 pages
6 tables, 1 appendix
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8565-1

Helen Kiyong Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Noah Samuel Leavitt, Associate Dean of Students
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

In 2010 approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children.

JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt’s book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kim and Leavitt’s research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the twenty-first century.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Father Healy’s Imprint: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-31 02:45Z by Steven

Father Healy’s Imprint: Past, Present and Future

The Hoya
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
2004-11-09

Moises Mendoza

Every day thousands of students pass by Healy Hall and marvel at its towering steeples and complex intricacies. Few of them realize that the man responsible for this Georgetown trademark was every bit as complex and dynamic as the building bearing his name today.

As the first black president of a predominantly white university, Fr. Patrick Healy, S.J., revolutionized Georgetown and helped build firm foundations for a young university.

Yet Healy’s trek to greatness began not in the hallowed halls of academia, but on the Georgia cotton plantation where he was born on Feb. 27, 1834. The son of an Irish Catholic and a biracial domestic slave, Healy had great obstacles to overcome. Healy’s father Michael immigrated to the United States from Ireland through Canada around 1815. Experiencing great success in a series of land lotteries, he moved to Macon, Ga., where he built his own cotton plantation with the help of 49 slaves. Michael Healy became relatively prosperous and became a prominent businessman in the Macon community…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

QUALLEN: Healy’s Inner Turmoil, Our Current Conflict

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-31 02:31Z by Steven

QUALLEN: Healy’s Inner Turmoil, Our Current Conflict

The Hoya
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
2015-11-20

Matthew Quallen, “Hoya Historian”
School of Foreign Service

Last week, President DeGioia accepted a recommendation to scrub the names Mulledy and McSherry from university buildings. The names Freedom and Remembrance took their places. Mulledy and McSherry symbolized what was most odious about Georgetown and the Maryland Jesuits’ history — the conclusion of a century of contest and deliberation about slavery, manumission and race with a mad dash towards a propitious sale.

By contrast, Healy Hall and its namesake, Fr. Patrick Healy, stand as foils in our memory. Healy, after all, was the first black president of a predominantly white institution, as the accolade goes. But for Healy, who desperately toed the opposite side of the color line the situation, was more complicated.

Fr. Patrick Healy was born in 1834 to Mary Eliza — a biracial former slave who had been purchased out of captivity by her soon-to-be husband, Michael. Michael Healy owned 49 slaves on a plantation in Macon, Ga. It was from his mother Mary Eliza that Patrick Healy inherited his vital if contrived one drop rule, which legally classified an individual as black if they possessed even “one drop” of black blood for the purposes of racially discriminating statutes. In his home state, the law considered Patrick Healy to be a slave (such status was usually maternal). So his selection as president of Georgetown in 1873 was nothing short of remarkable. It encapsulates a story of a rise to prominence unexpected for a black American in the mid-19th century. It also mistakenly post-dates Georgetown’s racial progress to 1873, although that transformation came much later…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Daughters of Interracial Couples are More Likely To Say They are Multiracial

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States, Women on 2016-01-28 22:55Z by Steven

Daughters of Interracial Couples are More Likely To Say They are Multiracial

TIME Magazine
2016-01-28

Carey Wallace

Study suggests it’s because they’re considered “intriguing.”

One of the fastest growing racial groups in the country isn’t a single racial group–it’s people from multiracial backgrounds, the children of interracial unions. A new study has found however, that young women are much more likely to call themselves multiracial than young men are.

Since 1967, when the Supreme Court declared state laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional in Loving vs.Virginia, the rate of interracial marriages in the United States has climbed from below one percent to 10% of all new marriages today.

And by 2050, as those numbers continue to rise, social scientists estimate that one out of every five Americans will be mixed-race.

How will this growing population choose to identify themselves? Will they embrace one parent’s background more than the other? Will they create a blend of the two? Or will they create something completely new?

To find out, Lauren Davenport, professor of political science at Stanford, sifted data from tens of thousands of incoming college freshmen with multi-racial backgrounds across the country…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

The Role of Gender, Class, and Religion in Biracial Americans’ Racial Labeling Decisions

Posted in Articles, Economics, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States, Women on 2016-01-28 19:10Z by Steven

The Role of Gender, Class, and Religion in Biracial Americans’ Racial Labeling Decisions

American Sociological Review
Volume 81, Number 1, February 2016
pages 57-84
DOI: 10.1177/0003122415623286

Lauren D. Davenport, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Stanford University

Racial attachments are understood to be socially constructed and endogenous to gender, socioeconomic, and religious identities. Yet we know surprisingly little about the effect of such identities on the particular racial labels that individuals self-select. In this article, I investigate how social identities shape the racial labels chosen by biracial individuals in the United States, a rapidly growing population who have multiple labeling options. Examining national surveys of more than 37,000 respondents of Latino-white, Asian-white, and black-white parentage, I disentangle how gender, socioeconomic status, and religious identity influence racial labeling decisions. Across biracial subgroups and net of all other influences, economic affluence and Jewish identity predict whiter self-identification, whereas belonging to a religion more commonly associated with racial minorities is associated with a minority identification. Gender, however, is the single best predictor of identification, with biracial women markedly more likely than biracial men to identify as multiracial. These findings help us better understand the contextual nature of racial identification and the processes via which social identities interact with racial meanings in the United States.

Read the entire article here or here.

Tags: , ,

What is the Defining Divide? False Post-Racial Dogmas and the Biblical Affirmation of “Race”

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-01-26 02:02Z by Steven

What is the Defining Divide? False Post-Racial Dogmas and the Biblical Affirmation of “Race”

Black Theology
Volume 13, Issue 2 (August, 2015)
pages 166-188
DOI: 10.1179/1476994815Z.00000000054

Kumar Rajagopalan
London Baptist Association, London, United Kingdom

This essay offers a critical reflection on the challenges of addressing the concept of “race,” and whether there is a post-racial era in which we are presently living. The essay demonstrates the interconnected nature of “race,” as forming the destructive underpinning for the oppressive frameworks that have given rise to slavery, colonialism, caste discrimination, and economic exploitation. The essay proposes an interdisciplinary, practical theological approach to uncovering the often concealed ways in which racism and White privilege function in many Western democratic societies and within the Church.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: ,

Jewish Uses and Abuses of Martin Luther King’s Memory

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2016-01-21 20:15Z by Steven

Jewish Uses and Abuses of Martin Luther King’s Memory

Forward
2016-01-18

Jared Jackson, Founder/Executive Director
Jews in ALL Hues

Four years ago, I made a promise to myself: I would not accept any more invitations to speak to the Jewish community on Martin Luther King weekend. Since then, I have dutifully kept that promise. But this year, I’m breaking it.

Here’s the thing: I used to love MLK weekend. In fact, I still have a deep love for it. The service projects, the gathering of people from different religious and humanistic traditions, and learning just a bit more about the civil rights era from people who were there — it was always a time I could look forward to. As a Jewish professional, I noticed that this was also the time when many communities reached out to Jewish leaders of color for speaking engagements. And I used to go to those events and speak to some of those communities.

Then I realized how many Ashkenazi Jewish communities take credit for a social justice heritage to which they are not currently contributing. It’s fine to have an event honoring the legacy of Jewish involvement in the civil rights era, so long as there is a clear plan to continue the work that King, Abraham Joshua Heschel and many others started…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D.

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-01-16 20:43Z by Steven

Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D.

The Huffington Post
2015-06-24

Nico Pitney

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a 32-year-old theoretical astrophysicist. Her academic home is arguably the nation’s most elite physics department, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In one sense, she is among a dying breed. Prescod-Weinstein is a pen-and-paper theorist. “Basically I do calculus all day, on paper,” she told HuffPost. “I’m a little bit of a hold-out. There are things I could be doing by computer that I just like to do by hand.”

But she is also part of a vanguard, a small but growing number of African-American women with doctorates in physics.

Just 83 Black women have received a Ph.D. in physics-related fields in American history, according to a database maintained by physicists Dr. Jami Valentine and Jessica Tucker that was updated last week…

…I think making sure that I remain engaged with my Jewish identity, and particularly the rituals of lighting the Shabbat candles and so forth. I think understanding that all things can’t be sacrificed on the altar of academic career and physics has been really important, and understanding that that balance is not just for my own sake, but is in fact really in some sense in service of doing the physics. I can’t just sit around feeling angry about the number of Black women, or worrying a lot about dark matter. I also have to allow myself to do these other things…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , ,

Kenji Kuramitsu: Critical Mixed Race Christology at the Reformation Project in Kansas City

Posted in Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos on 2016-01-12 19:02Z by Steven

Kenji Kuramitsu: Critical Mixed Race Christology at the Reformation Project in Kansas City

The Reformation Project
2015-11-30

Kenji Kuramitsu’s workshop on Critical Mixed Race Christology at the Reformation Project in Kansas City. Recorded November 7, 2015.

Tags: , , ,

Black and Jewish: Language and Multiple Strategies for Self-Presentation

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-01-12 00:50Z by Steven

Black and Jewish: Language and Multiple Strategies for Self-Presentation

American Jewish History
Volume 100, Number 1, January 2016
pages 51-71
DOI: 10.1353/ajh.2016.0001

Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, California

In January 2014, hip-hop star Drake hosted “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), opening with a skit about his black Jewish identity. In this skit, which takes place at his bar mitzvah reception, language is central to the comedy: Drake’s white Jewish mother has an exaggerated New York-sounding accent, and she uses Hebrew and Yiddish words — “tuchuses,” “oy vey,” “goy,” and “mazel tov.” His black dad uses features of African-American English, like /th/ sometimes pronounced as /d/, and he jokingly highlights his lack of knowledge of Drake’s mom’s Jewish language: “Torah, aliyah — man, I know dose girls, I met them on da road.” When Drake enters, he greets his relatives with words associated with each group: “To my mom’s side of the family I say, ‘Shabbat shalom,’ and to my dad’s side, I say ‘Wasssupppp.’” Drake proceeds to sing and rap about being black and Jewish, incorporating strains of “Hava Nagila” and hip hop, and highlighting stereotypical characteristics and linguistic features of both groups: “I play ball like LeBron [James], and I know what a W-2 is. Chillin’ in Boca Raton with my mensch Lenny Kravitz [another black Jew], the only purple drink we sip is purple Manischewitz. At my show you won’t simply put your hands in the air; we can also raise a chair or recite a Jewish prayer… I eat… knishes with my bitches … I celebrate Hanukkah, date a Rianika… You’re Jewish and black and you’re — challah!”

The juxtaposition of stereotypical linguistic, culinary, and celebratory practices associated with African Americans and Jews is funny to the audience because of the incongruence: The audience is not used to observing these practices in the same room, let alone the same individual. In addition, the presentation is intelligible as indexing black Jewishness because people outside the black and Jewish communities associate these practices with black people and Jewish people, respectively. Even if Drake does not use cultural combinations like these in his everyday life, he (along with the SNL production team) considers them appropriate for a parodic performance of his black Jewish identity.

Drake’s performance represents a growing phenomenon: individuals presenting themselves to the public as black Jews through comedy, performance art, interviews, and memoirs. In all of these “performances” (the term used broadly to refer to any speech act intended for consumption by a large audience), language plays an important role in how speakers align themselves with African Americans, with Jews, or with both. In this paper, I analyze nine such performances, focusing on the nine individuals’ use of linguistic features associated with Jews and with African Americans. This analysis points to the importance of language in self-presentation, as well as to the diversity of black Jews.

Black Jews

First, a bit of background on black Jews and on language associated with both groups. A common origin of black Jews is the union of a white Jew and a black non-Jew (sometimes involving the conversion of one spouse). This is the case for Drake and five of the nine individuals featured in the analysis below. The biracial children of these unions are sometimes raised with Judaism as their religion, sometimes with a Jewish cultural identity, and sometimes with no Jewish identity or practice. Another common origin occurs when white Jewish parents adopt children from Africa or from African-American birth parents and raise them as Jews, sometimes officially converting them. In addition to these individuals who grow up black and Jewish, many black people adopt Judaism later in life. Some of these converts are attracted to Judaism for spiritual or theological reasons, and others for social, cultural, or communal reasons, such as having Jewish friends or partners. Smaller numbers of black Jews immigrated to the United States from Jewish communities in Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, some black Jews are descendants of black people who converted to Judaism or who had children with white Jews several generations ago. In some families, Judaism goes back to the days of slavery, when black slaves sometimes adopted the religion of their white owners, a very small percentage of whom were Jewish.

Some discussions of…

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , ,