Dreaming Black/Writing White: The Hagar Myth in American Cultural History

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-05-21 23:06Z by Steven

Dreaming Black/Writing White: The Hagar Myth in American Cultural History

University Press of Kentucky
1999-12-16
224 pages
6 x 9 photos
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8131-2143-7

Janet Gabler-Hover, Professor of English
Georgia State University

Winner of the SAMLA 2001 Book Award

Hagar, the Old Testament Egyptian heroine who bore Abraham’s son at the behest of Sarah, was traditionally regarded as an African. Yet the literature and paintings of the nineteenth century depicted Hagar as white. During this period, she became a popular subject for writers and artists, with at least thirteen novels published between 1850 and 1913 taking Hagar as their theme. Dreaming Black/Writing White examines how, for white feminists, Hagar became a liberating symbol to empower their own rebellion against patriarchal restrictions. Hagar’s understood blackness allowed her to represent a combination of sexual passion and artistic creativity that empowered women in the process of taking on male roles of economic power in American society. Because of Hagar’s ethnic complexity, she stands as an ironically positive figure at the center of several southern proslavery women’s novels such as The Deserted Wife, Hagar the Martyr, and The Modern Hagar. Through the persona of Hagar, women novelists felt free to create heroines whose suggestive blackness allowed readers to imagine themselves in rebellion against a restrictive patriarchy, but whose recoverable whiteness provided a safety hatch through which blackness could be disavowed. By exploring these complex and often contradictory depictions, Janet Gabler-Hover contends that the figure of Hagar is central to the canonized romance of nineteenth-century New England literature. The book also affirms Toni Morrison’s claim that blackness—indeed black womanness—lies at the heart of the white literary imagination in America.

Tags: , ,

How street kids in the Bronx taught me it’s OK to be biracial and gay

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Gay & Lesbian, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-05-18 21:06Z by Steven

How street kids in the Bronx taught me it’s OK to be biracial and gay

Fusion
2016-05-18

Terry Blas

As a “nerdy, Mexican, gay, Mormon child of the ’80s and ’90s,” cartoonist Terry Blas had trouble figuring out his identity… until an experience in New York taught him a valuable lesson.

Read the entire comic strip here.

Tags: , , , ,

How My Jewish and Black Grandmothers Found Bernie

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2016-05-09 22:30Z by Steven

How My Jewish and Black Grandmothers Found Bernie

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-30

Jason Salmon


Photo above: Jason Salmon (center) and members of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) at an action in New York City for police accountability. Photo courtesy JFREJ.

Both of my grandmothers, one a Black woman and the other an Ashkenazi Jewish woman, recently became ardent Bernie Sanders supporters. They don’t articulate their passion like most of the younger supporters by saying, “I feel the Bern,” but they realize that in order for their grandchildren to reap the benefits of their hard work and contributions to society, whether social or economic, systemic change must happen. They grasp that they can’t subscribe to the status quo any longer.

Like many of the older generation who came from marginalized groups, my grandmothers are weighted down by the past and the oppression they experienced first-hand, while living through the Great Depression and segregated America. We are all, to some extent, prisoners of America’s past, but they feel its impact in ways I cannot…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Jews of Color Get Personal and Political at First-Ever National Gathering

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-05-09 00:12Z by Steven

Jews of Color Get Personal and Political at First-Ever National Gathering

Forward
2016-05-04

Sigal Samuel, Opinion Editor

If you want to get black Jews, Mizrahi Jews and a Palestinian-American Muslim to burst into tears at the same time, invite Yavilah McCoy to talk about hair.

Speaking at the opening plenary of the Jews of Color National Convening, which took place May 1–3 in Manhattan, McCoy gestured at the woman beside her, a fellow black Jewish leader named April Baskin . “I was there one night when she was just a girl and she was crying with joy on the shoulder of another black woman, because that was the first time she’d worn her hair in a full afro in a Jewish space — the first time she felt like she could show up as her full self.”

Hearing this memory brought to life, Baskin teared up and diverted her gaze from the 100-plus Jews of color who had piled into the synagogue sanctuary at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, which hosted the conference.

But McCoy wasn’t done. She turned to the audience and said, “Everyone here needs to hear this: You are beautiful. You are gorgeous. Anyone who told you otherwise was lying in the name of white supremacy.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Jewish/Afro-Caribbean Artist Explores Mixed Race Identities

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-05-06 22:09Z by Steven

Jewish/Afro-Caribbean Artist Explores Mixed Race Identities

The Canadian Jewish News
2016-05-03

Kathryn Kates


Sarah Waisvisz in her one-woman show ‘Monstrous‘ CHRISTOPHER SNOW PHOTO

Jewish/Afro-Caribbean artist, performer and playwright Sarah Waisvisz, 34, will be presenting her one-woman show, Monstrous, which explores the often ignored mixed race identity based on her own personal experiences, and her work on her PhD thesis research about Francophone/Anglophone literature specifically by Afro/Caribbean women.

Monstrous made its world premiere in February in Waisvisz’s hometown of Ottawa during the Undercurrent Festival. It will make its Toronto premiere on May 5, 8 p.m. at Toronto’s Artscape Wychwood Barns as part of the 14th Annual rock.paper.sistahz – a black, indigenous and multicultural festival featuring new works based on social issues examined in new and unusual ways. The festival runs from May 3-5…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

The New Jewish Diaspora?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion on 2016-05-01 19:53Z by Steven

The New Jewish Diaspora?

Forward
2016-04-28

Sam Kestenbaum
Shavei Israel

For centuries, world travelers dreamed of finding distant Jewish tribes in the faraway corners of their known world — over the mountains, in remote villages, practicing customs preserved in isolation.
Today, a quick Google search will do.

In Facebook groups and on Skype, on Whatsapp and Instagram, communities from Africa, Asia and the Americas gather to explore Judaism — and, as many see it, to rekindle ancestral connections to their ancient faith.

Individuals and communities have emerged in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, China, India, Spain, Peru, Portugal and elsewhere. Estimates vary about the numbers of broadly defined “emerging” communities — and range at the upper end in the millions.

Is this the Jewish Diaspora of the 21st century?

That’s the question that Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs is now considering. The State of Israel, for the most part, has kept many of these groups at a distance, wary of making blanket decisions and of parsing out each community’s complicated ancestral claims or individual religious practice…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

At Yale, a Right That Doesn’t Outweigh a Wrong

Posted in Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States, Women on 2016-05-01 00:45Z by Steven

At Yale, a Right That Doesn’t Outweigh a Wrong

The New York Times
2016-04-29

Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Peter V & C Vann Woodward Professor of History, African American Studies, and American Studies
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

NEW HAVEN — Yale made a grievous mistake this week when it announced that it would keep the name of an avowed white supremacist, John C. Calhoun, on a residential college, despite decades of vigorous alumni and student protests. The decision to name residential colleges for Benjamin Franklin and Anna Pauline Murray, a black civil rights activist, does nothing to redeem this wrong.

It is not a just compromise to split the difference between Calhoun and Murray; there should be no compromise between such stark contrasts in values. The decision to retain the Calhoun name continues the pain inflicted every day on students who live in a dormitory named for a man distinguished by being one of the country’s most egregious racists.

To be sure, there’s something noteworthy about the contrast between these two figures who now sit across campus from each other. Although they lived in different centuries, Calhoun in the 19th, and Murray in the 20th, in many ways, she lived in — and fought against — the world that he built.

Calhoun, a Yale graduate, congressman and the seventh vice president of the United States, owned dozens of slaves in Fort Hill, S.C. Murray grew up in poverty in Durham, N. C., as the granddaughter of an enslaved woman. Calhoun championed slavery as a “positive good”; Murray’s great-grandmother was raped by her slave master. Calhoun profited immensely from the labor of the enslaved people on his plantation; Murray was a radical labor activist in Harlem during the Great Depression

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jews of Color National Convening

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-30 21:07Z by Steven

Jews of Color National Convening

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)
130 West 30th Street
New York, New York 10001
2016-05-01 Through 2016-05-03

Recent events have moved the struggle for racial justice and inclusion in America to the forefront of public consciousness. Jews of Color occupy a unique space within that struggle, living at the intersection of multiple communities and identities. We come together this spring as Jews and as People of Color to celebrate our diversity and build our strength as a community. We want to build a world in which our Jewishness thrives; a world where we are valued as leaders within the Jewish community; a world where our identities as People of Color are supported by Jewish communities committed to the fight against racism.

The convening will include music and art, content for families and children,, community building, and workshops, trainings and other sessions on building our power to fight for ourselves and our communities.

About the Presenting Sponsors:

This event is presented and sponsored by the Jewish Multiracial Network and Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) It is co-sponsored by Bend The Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and supported by The Ford Foundation

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , ,

Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 19:47Z by Steven

Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-28

Keren Soffer Sharon
Queens, New York

As a Mizrahi Jew organizing for justice in my city, I initially questioned whether I had a role to play in the upcoming National Jews of Color Convening. Even though I co-founded the Mizrahi Caucus at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice [JFREJ], I still doubted whether I — a half-Iraqi Jew who has been racialized as white in this country — had any right showing up at this thing. And I sure as hell questioned whether I had any right to lead.

But my discomfort showed me precisely what our movement stands to gain when we collectively identify as Jews of Color, Sephardim, and Mizrahim in our intersectional struggles for the liberation of all people.

I began organizing at JFREJ as a self-identified white person, interested in moving past my immobilizing guilt over racial privilege into accountable action to transform the systems that exploit low-income folks, people of color, and immigrants in my city. It was through finding a Jewish Left community that is committed to ending racism in all of its forms that I came into a deeper understanding of how I can do that work as a mixed-race Mizrahi Jew, who is both white and Arab at once…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

“Diversity” Won’t Challenge Jewry’s Role in White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-04-28 19:36Z by Steven

“Diversity” Won’t Challenge Jewry’s Role in White Supremacy

Jewschool: Progressive Jews & Views
2016-04-27

Mark Tseng Putterman
New York, New York

In addition to my own mother, “Linda” was the only other Asian American woman at the Reform synagogue I grew up attending. It was a friendly, liberal, and white Jewish space in our affluent New England suburb, a space where I often felt welcome while always, at some level, aware that I could count the number of people of color in our synagogue on one hand. That didn’t stop my indomitable mother from becoming more and more invested in our Jewish community. But amidst her drive and commitment to her adopted community was a twinge of cynicism: when she became our temple’s president, she joked that she only did it so that people would finally stop confusing her with Linda.

I wonder — would our temple peers have been better able to decipher my mother’s “foreign” face  if there were simply more of us? Would a more diverse congregation have prepared our white, liberal, and colorblind community to address the realities of racism for Jewish youth of color like myself? To prepare my youth leader to unpack why El Al security singled me out for questioning during my 9th grade trip to Israel? Or to provide my white Jewish peer with the language with which to challenge the Hasidic man who questioned her of my presence on our flight there?…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,