My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2017-08-23 15:28Z by Steven

My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Vice
2017-08-22

Mike Miksche


Images courtesy of the author

Each of my siblings’ names, skin, hair, and religious observances earned us different levels of privilege.

My family immigrated from Lebanon to Canada before I was born in order to flee a nasty civil war. Since we’re quite light-skinned, growing up people assumed we were some kind of white: Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese was mainly what I heard. My mom explained how back in those pre-9/11 days, people she met hardly knew where Lebanon was and hadn’t heard much about Islam either, so it was easy for us to live under the radar, hassle-free. This was before the hummus craze. But obviously, with everything going on today, things have changed. Now, the disclosure of who we are, along with some cultural clues, shifts how people see us regardless of our light skin tone. I suppose one could argue that it’s a privilege to be passable as white, or a variant thereof, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

As a kid, my folks cultivated a dual identity within the Lebanon-like bubble of our southwestern Ontario home. We remixed the Lebanese Arabic dialect with English idioms and ate kibbeh with chicken nuggets and homemade fries. As Muslims, we studied the Qu’ran, prayed five times a day, and were forbidden to eat pork—including pepperoni and bacon, too. You’d expect it all to be confusing, but I was a happy kid living under the radar and felt my upbringing was normal…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Race and sovereignty, a story of the body

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Religion, Social Justice on 2017-08-10 01:05Z by Steven

Race and sovereignty, a story of the body

National Catholic Reporter
2017-05-03

La Reine-Marie Mosely, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, Maryland


Brian Bantum (Jessica Wood)

THE DEATH OF RACE: BUILDING A NEW CHRISTIANITY IN A RACIAL WORLD
By Brian Bantum
Published by Fortress Press, 182 pages, $16.99

In The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World, Brian Bantum explores the practical consequences of race in our world: Those who have inherited sovereignty have long organized the world according to the belief that whiteness is the paragon of existence, while black and brown bodies are deficient and suspect. It is this misconstrued and dangerous understanding of race that Bantum believes must die if followers of Jesus Christ want to live a meaningful embodied life in the spirit of their Savior.

Bantum is a biracial person who married a Korean-American woman. His life story is woven throughout the book as he explains the manner in which he came to racial consciousness.

It began with a choice. When the author was 6 years old, his mother was filling out a government document. Under the category of race, she asked her son to select the race that best captured his identity: white or black. Bantum selected “white” because of his love of his mother and the physical characteristics he shared with her. His brother, on the other hand, chose black because of the physical characteristics he shared with his father. Early in his life, Bantum began to realize the complexity of race in the U.S...

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , ,

Afro-Palestinians talk heritage and resistance

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Reading List, Religion on 2017-08-07 20:47Z by Steven

Afro-Palestinians talk heritage and resistance

Al Jazeera
2017-08-05

Jaclynn Ashly


Their lives are characterised by checkpoints, daily interrogations, night raids and incessant fears of detention [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

Palestinians of African descent describe their daily struggles against ‘double-racism’ and Israeli occupation.

Occupied East Jerusalem – “It’s hard not to get detained here,” 16-year-old Abdallah Balalawi, an Afro-Palestinian from Chad, told Al Jazeera from his home in the Old City. “I have to be aware of the way I look and even the way I walk to avoid making the Israelis suspicious.”

Abdallah is one of at least 350 Afro-Palestinians from Nigeria, Chad, Senegal and Sudan residing in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Afro-Palestinian neighbourhood is not the easiest to find, accessible only through an Israeli police checkpoint where officers interrogate anyone who is not from the local community.

On a nearly hidden road straddled between two police blockades, third generation Afro-Palestinian teenagers tell Al Jazeera about the world they inherited, characterised by checkpoints, daily interrogations, night raids and incessant fears of detention by Israeli forces.

Most Afro-Palestinians in this tight-knit community came to the region as religious pilgrims during the British Mandate for Palestine, and many have been part of the Palestinian resistance movement since Israel’s establishment in 1948. Others arrived as volunteers with the Egyptian army to fight against Zionist militias taking control of historic Palestine during the Arab-Israeli war

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Oceania, Religion, United States on 2017-08-05 21:30Z by Steven

Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific

University of Nebraska Press
September 2017
240 pages
21 photographs, 7 illustrations, 1 map, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8589-7

Joy Schulz, Instructor of History
Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Nebraska

Twelve companies of American missionaries were sent to the Hawaiian Islands between 1819 and 1848 with the goal of spreading American Christianity and New England values. By the 1850s American missionary families in the islands had birthed more than 250 white children, considered Hawaiian subjects by the indigenous monarchy and U.S. citizens by missionary parents. In Hawaiian by Birth Joy Schulz explores the tensions among the competing parental, cultural, and educational interests affecting these children and, in turn, the impact the children had on nineteenth-century U.S. foreign policy.

These children of white missionaries would eventually alienate themselves from the Hawaiian monarchy and indigenous population by securing disproportionate economic and political power. Their childhoods—complicated by both Hawaiian and American influences—led to significant political and international ramifications once the children reached adulthood. Almost none chose to follow their parents into the missionary profession, and many rejected the Christian faith. Almost all supported the annexation of Hawai‘i despite their parents’ hope that the islands would remain independent.

Whether the missionary children moved to the U.S. mainland, stayed in the islands, or traveled the world, they took with them a sense of racial privilege and cultural superiority. Schulz adds children’s voices to the historical record with this first comprehensive study of the white children born in the Hawaiian Islands between 1820 and 1850 and their path toward political revolution.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Imperial Children and Empire Formation in the Nineteenth Century
  • 1. Birthing Empire: Economies of Childrearing and the Establishment of American Colonialism in Hawai‘i
  • 2. Playing with Fire: White Childhood and Environmental Legacies in Nineteenth-Century Hawai‘i
  • 3. Schooling Power: Teaching Anglo–Civic Duty in the Hawaiian Islands, 1841–53
  • 4. Cannibals in America: U.S. Acculturation and the Construction of National Identity in Nineteenth-Century White Immigrants from the Hawaiian Islands
  • 5. Crossing the Pali: White Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and the Racial Divide in Hawai‘i, 1820–98
  • Conclusion: White Hawaiians before the World
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , ,

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-07-30 22:48Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United Kingdom on 2017-07-16 01:50Z by Steven

Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

University of Massachusetts Press
January 2017
310 pages
16 b&w illustrations
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-62534-259-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-62534-258-4

Drew Lopenzina, Associate Professor of English
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

New insights on an important Native American writer

The life of William Apess (1798–1839), a Pequot Indian, Methodist preacher, and widely celebrated writer, provides a lens through which to comprehend the complex dynamics of indigenous survival and resistance in the era of America’s early nationhood. Apess’s life intersects with multiple aspects of indigenous identity and existence in this period, including indentured servitude, slavery, service in the armed forces, syncretic engagements with Christian spirituality, and Native struggles for political and cultural autonomy. Even more, Apess offers a powerful and provocative voice for the persistence of Native presence in a time and place that was long supposed to have settled its “Indian question” in favor of extinction.

Through meticulous archival research, close readings of Apess’s key works, and informed and imaginative speculation about his largely enigmatic life, Drew Lopenzina provides a vivid portrait of this singular Native American figure. This new biography will sit alongside Apess’s own writing as vital reading for those interested in early America and indigeneity.

Tags: ,

Disciples of Christ elect first woman of color to lead a mainline denomination

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2017-07-12 03:20Z by Steven

Disciples of Christ elect first woman of color to lead a mainline denomination

The Christian Century
2017-07-10

Celeste Kennel-Shank


Teresa Hord Owens after her election as head of the Disciples of Christ on July 9, 2017. Photo by Mary Ann Carter.

Despite all the talk of mainline decline, Teresa Hord Owens, the first woman of color to serve as top executive of a mainline denomination, is not in survival mode.

“The life that we will find is continuing to be relevant to a society that deeply needs to see hope,” she said.

The Indianapolis-based Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) elected Owens, a descendant of one of Indiana’s oldest free settlements of African Americans, as its general minister and president on Sunday evening. The denomination, which has 600,000 members in the United States and Canada, has been led for 12 years by Sharon Watkins, who at her election in 2005 was the first woman to be top executive of a mainline body…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

HERstory: Denomination to elect first Black, female leader

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-07-11 01:53Z by Steven

HERstory: Denomination to elect first Black, female leader

Indianapolis Recorder
2017-07-06

Ebony Marie Chappel


Rev. Teresa Hord Owens

Editor’s Note: On July 9, the Disciples of Christ elected Rev. Teresa Hord Owens to lead the denomination. While Rev. Owens is the first Black woman to lead a mainline Protestant organization in a solo capacity, we failed to mention Rev. Denise Anderson. Anderson, a Black woman, was elected co-moderator of the Pentecostal Church (U.S.A.) last year alongside Jan Edmiston. This marked the first time that the P.C. (USA) elected women as moderators and elected two co-moderators of either sex. The P.C.(USA) traditionally elects a moderator and vice-moderator. 

In a matter of days, Rev. Teresa Hord Owens will become the general minister and president of the Disciples of Christ. The appointment, pending an election on July 9 during the Disciples of Christ General Assembly in Indianapolis, will make Owens the first Black woman to lead a mainline Protestant denomination in North America.

“Her nomination represents an opportunity for us to continue the important transformation of the church,” said Chris Dorsey, Disciples of Christ president of higher education and leadership ministries. “We seek to be a church that is more inclusive and more holistic, and she is the right person to help us do that.”

Owens, a native Hoosier, was raised in Terre Haute and is a direct descendant of the free people of color who founded the Lost Creek settlement in Vigo County. She has been an active member of the Disciples denomination since she was a young adult, when she and her mother moved to Indianapolis and attended Second Christian, now known as Light of the World Christian Church…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-07-09 21:17Z by Steven

Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

The Religious Studies Program
2017-06-26

In this podcast, Judith Weisenfeld talks to Brad Stoddard about her new book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Depression. In this book, Weisenfeld explores several social groups in the early 1900s who combined religious and racial rhetoric to fashion new identities. These groups include the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple, and Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and various Ethiopian Hebrews. These groups are not new to scholars of American religious history; however, Weisenfeld’s original analysis combined with her use of previously overlooked sources combine to tell a new and compelling story about these familiar groups.

Listen to the podcast (00:33:25) here. Download the podcast here. Read the transcript here.

Tags: , , ,

Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2017-05-18 01:27Z by Steven

Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

University of Manitoba Press
April 2017
240 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-774-3

Timothy P. Foran, Curator of British North America
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec

Defining Métis examines categories used in the latter half of the nineteenth century by Catholic missionaries to describe Indigenous people in what is now northwestern Saskatchewan. It argues that the construction and evolution of these categories reflected missionaries’ changing interests and agendas.

Defining Métis sheds light on the earliest phases of Catholic missionary work among Indigenous peoples in western and northern Canada. It examines various interrelated aspects of this work, including the beginnings of residential schooling, transportation and communications, and relations between the Church, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the federal government.

While focusing on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and their central mission at Île-à-la-Crosse, this study illuminates broad processes that informed Catholic missionary perceptions and impelled their evolution over a fifty-three-year period. In particular, this study illuminates processes that shaped Oblate conceptions of sauvage and métis. It does this through a qualitative analysis of documents that were produced within the Oblates’ institutional apparatus—official correspondence, mission journals, registers, and published reports.

Foran challenges the orthodox notion that Oblate commentators simply discovered and described a singular, empirically existing, and readily identifiable Métis population. Rather, he contends that Oblates played an important role in the conceptual production of les métis.

Tags: , , , ,