White is Right, But Light-Skin is the Next Best Thing

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-28 03:17Z by Steven

White is Right, But Light-Skin is the Next Best Thing

Media Diversified
2016-05-23

Shane Thomas

The arrival of summer means a number of things: Intermittent sunshine, music festivals where at least one white person gets their cultural appropriation on; and superhero movies. Lots of superhero movies. Box-office takings are the engine of established Western cinema, and few things fuel that engine more than a superhero tale.

Last week saw the release of the latest adventure in the rebooted X-Men series; X-Men: Apocalypse, which introduced Ororo Munroe to the franchise, better known to comicbook fans as Storm – one of the few black women characters in the mainstream superhero oeuvre.

A black woman at the hub of a major Hollywood movie should be cause for us to break out our best Sophina DeJesus impersonation, but one’s joy has to be rationed, as Alexandra Shipp was cast as (the discernibly dark-skinned) Storm. Shipp is black, but dark-skinned she is not

Read the entire article here.

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Cinematic Identity: Anatomy of a Problem Film

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-05-21 00:59Z by Steven

Cinematic Identity: Anatomy of a Problem Film

University of Minnesota Press
2007
200 pages
24 b&w photos, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN 978-0-8166-3412-5
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8166-3411-8

Cindy Patton, Canada Research Chair in Community Culture and Health
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Though largely forgotten today, the 1949 film Pinky had a significant impact on the world of cinema. Directed by Elia Kazan, the film was a box office success despite dealing with the era’s most taboo subjects—miscegenation and racial passing—and garnered an Academy Award nomination for its African American star, Ethel Waters. It was also historically important: when a Texas movie theater owner showing the film was arrested for violating local censorship laws, his case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the censorship ordinance unconstitutional.

In Cinematic Identity, Cindy Patton takes Pinky as a starting point to meditate on the critical reception of this and other “problem films” of the period and to explore the larger issues they raise about race, gender, and sexuality. Films like Pinky, Patton contends, helped lay the groundwork for a shift in popular understanding of social identity that was essential to white America’s ability to accept the legitimacy of the civil rights movement.

The production of these films, beginning with Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947, coincided with the arrival of the Method school of acting in Hollywood, which demanded that performers inhabit their characters’ lives. Patton historicizes these twin developments, demonstrating how they paralleled, reflected, and helped popularize the emerging concept of the liberal citizen in postwar America, and in doing so illustrates how the reception of projected identities offers new perspectives on contemporary identity politics, from feminism to the gay rights movement.

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The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-19 01:38Z by Steven

The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

University Press of Mississippi
April 2016
256 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches
introduction, 8 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496805553

Edited By:

Stephen Middleton, Professor of History and Director of African American
Mississippi State University

David R. Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies and History
University of Kansas

Donald M. Shaffer, Associate Professor of African American Studies and English
Mississippi State University

A critical engagement with the origins, power, and elusiveness of white privilege

Contributions by Sadhana Bery, Erica Cooper, Tim Engles, Matthew W. Hughey, Becky Thompson, Veronica T. Watson, and Robert St. Martin Westley

This volume collects interdisciplinary essays that examine the crucial intersection between whiteness as a privileged racial category and the various material practices (social, cultural, political, and economic) that undergird white ideological influence in America. In truth, the need to examine whiteness as a problem has rarely been grasped outside academic circles. The ubiquity of whiteness–its pervasive quality as an ideal that is at once omnipresent and invisible–makes it the very epitome of the mainstream in America. And yet the undeniable relationship between whiteness and inequality in this country necessitates a thorough interrogation of its formation, its representation, and its reproduction. Essays here seek to do just that work. Editors and contributors interrogate whiteness as a social construct, revealing the underpinnings of narratives that foster white skin as an ideal of beauty, intelligence, and power.

Contributors examine whiteness from several disciplinary perspectives, including history, communication, law, sociology, and literature. Its breadth and depth makes The Construction of Whiteness a refined introduction to the critical study of race for a new generation of scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach of the collection will appeal to scholars in African and African American studies, ethnic studies, cultural studies, legal studies, and more. This collection delivers an important contribution to the field of whiteness studies in its multifaceted impact on American history and culture.

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Why Is There No “Linsanity” Over LA Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-11 18:16Z by Steven

Why Is There No “Linsanity” Over LA Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson?

Psychology Today
2016-05-09

E. J. R. David Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
University of Alaska, Anchorage

Lack of hype on NBA star may reflect larger issues in Asian American community

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. May is also when the National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs begin to heat up. The Golden State Warriors – the defending NBA Champions and perhaps the NBA team with the largest percentage of Asian Pacific American fans – continue to be the hottest team in the league. Therefore, a significant portion of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States as well as in the diaspora are likely focused on NBA basketball right now. And when it comes to putting Asian Pacific American people and NBA basketball together, many folks will most likely think of Jeremy Lin.

Remembering “Linsanity”

Jeremy Lin – a Taiwanese American basketball player – rose to stardom in 2012 while playing for the New York Knicks. He went from being an unknown, fringe NBA player to infusing hope on a struggling NBA team. After being inserted as the starting point guard for the Knicks as a last resort – the other point guards on the roster were all injured – Lin surprisingly led his team to a decent win-loss record…

…I am just curious why the same amount of attention is not given Jordan Clarkson

Read the entire article here.

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Chris Harper Mercer’s “Mixed Race” Identity and the Umpqua Community College Shooting

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-11 17:49Z by Steven

Chris Harper Mercer’s “Mixed Race” Identity and the Umpqua Community College Shooting

Daily Kos
2015-10-02

Chauncey DeVega

It is a new/old day in America. On Thursday, there was another mass shooting. On Friday, today, and tomorrow, and in the week’s thereafter America’s politicians will do nothing to stop the plague of gun violence. This is a choice. It is cowardice. The weakness is caused by the grip exerted on America’s political elites by the ammosexuals and gun money barons in the National Rifle Association.

Chris Harper Mercer killed 10 people at Umpqua Community [College] in Oregon. Much will be written about what his murder spree reveals—none of it really new—about toxic aggrieved masculinity, gun culture, ammosexuals, the online Right-wing sewers that gave him aid and comfort, and other matters.

I would like to call attention to one detail about Mercer’s personhood, a detail that may be overlooked or not discussed by the mainstream news media out of fear of being called “racist”, or alternatively because they lack the conceptual tools (and will not feature experts who possess them) to talk about race and the color line in a nuanced way…

Read the entire article here.

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Stop Turning Mixed Race Girls Into a Fetish

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-05-09 23:40Z by Steven

Stop Turning Mixed Race Girls Into a Fetish

Consented
2016-03-04

Antonia King
History graduate turned job hunter, currently living between Devon and London, spoken word artist and lover of Nicki Minaj.

I was in Sainsbury’s and a white woman who helped me reach something on the top shelf decided to ask me my ethnic background. She was well meaning and seemed kind so no immediate alarm bells rang, but she then informed me she wants mixed race kids. She laughed and stated “I’m single right now, but definitely only looking at black guys, mixed race kids are just so beautiful”.

I smiled, left and then began to despair and worry about her future children. This is nothing I haven’t heard many times before, a quick Twitter search for “mixed race kids” will reveal many people detailing how they want mixed race children to dress up and parade around like a handbag.

The major issue being that mixed race children are not handbags. Mixed race children, especially girls, are fetishized and even sexualised before they’re born. Comments about how beautiful they’re going to be, or how they’ll be just the right amount of black start disgustingly early, the media commentary on North West is a prime example of this…

Read the entire article here.

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Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-09 01:06Z by Steven

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

University of Georgia Press
May 2016
336 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4956-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-4957-2
Author Website

Edited by:

Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African & Afro-American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Kidada E. Williams, Associate Professor of History
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michgan

Keisha N. Blain, Assistant Professor of History
University of Iowa

On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and sat with some of its parishioners during a Wednesday night Bible study session. An hour later, he began expressing his hatred for African Americans, and soon after, he shot nine church members dead, the church’s pastor and South Carolina state senator, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, among them. The ensuing manhunt for the shooter and investigation of his motives revealed his beliefs in white supremacy and reopened debates about racial conflict, southern identity, systemic racism, civil rights, and the African American church as an institution.

In the aftermath of the massacre, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain sought a way to put the murder—and the subsequent debates about it in the media—in the context of America’s tumultuous history of race relations and racial violence on a global scale. They created the Charleston Syllabus on June 19, starting it as a hashtag on Twitter linking to scholarly works on the myriad of issues related to the murder. The syllabus’s popularity exploded and is already being used as a key resource in discussions of the event.

Charleston Syllabus is a reader—a collection of new essays and columns published in the wake of the massacre, along with selected excerpts from key existing scholarly books and general-interest articles. The collection draws from a variety of disciplines—history, sociology, urban studies, law, critical race theory—and includes a selected and annotated bibliography for further reading, drawing from such texts as the Confederate constitution, South Carolina’s secession declaration, songs, poetry, slave narratives, and literacy texts. As timely as it is necessary, the book will be a valuable resource for understanding the roots of American systemic racism, white privilege, the uses and abuses of the Confederate flag and its ideals, the black church as a foundation for civil rights activity and state violence against such activity, and critical whiteness studies.

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The Calumet Roundtable: A Discussion with Samantha Joyce

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Videos on 2016-05-04 21:27Z by Steven

The Calumet Roundtable: A Discussion with Samantha Joyce

The Calumet Roundtable
2016-04-07

Lee Artz, Host and Professor of Communication
Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, Indiana

Samantha Joyce, Professor of Mass Communication
Indiana University, South Bend

In this episode of “The Calumet Roundtable,” host Dr. Lee Artz, Professor of Communication at Purdue University Calumet, and guest Dr. Samantha Joyce, Professor of Mass Communication at Indiana University South Bend, chat about the representation of race and gender in telenovelas in Brazil. Telenovelas are respected, serious television programs in Brazil and Latin America which air six days a week for approximately nine months, usually containing a mix of real life issues and melodrama. Joyce gives a brief explanation of the history of race equality in Brazil. Artz and Joyce compare the miniseries in the United States to telenovelas in Brazil, and they talk about socially progressive messages in telenovelas.

Joyce wrote “Brazilian Telenovelas and the Myth of Racial Democracy,” which is an open textual analysis of the telenovela “Duas Caras.” This program was the first of its kind to present audiences with an Afro-Brazilian hero.

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The Myth of Transracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-04-21 19:39Z by Steven

The Myth of Transracial Identity

The Humanist
2016-04-18

Sincere Kirabo

Ninety years ago, writer Carl Van Vechten published a novel intended to be a celebration of Harlem, which at the time was experiencing a budding literary, artistic, and intellectual movement that sparked a new cultural identity for Black America.

Van Vechten’s vivid and nuanced tale granted white America a voyeur pass to “the great black walled city” of Harlem. There was only one problem: Van Vechten was a white man. Worse, to further inspire exposure over this willful exploit, which he referred to as his “Negro novel,” Van Vechten decided to name his roman à clef after an expression used to describe the balcony seating of Blacks in the era of overt segregation: Nigger Heaven.

Juxtapose this unauthorized thievery of select cultural expressions of an oppressed minority group with a present-day example. Last summer, educator and NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal was exposed as a white woman portraying herself as being Black. A torrent of media coverage and interviews ensued. Seemingly for the first time, the US was obsessed with the plight of a Black woman, except that the attention centered on a white woman who donned blackface and frizzy hairpieces…

Read the entire article here.

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The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-04-20 23:43Z by Steven

The Psychosis of Whiteness: The Celluloid Hallucinations of Amazing Grace and Belle

Journal of Black Studies
Published online before print 2016-03-21
DOI: 10.1177/0021934716638802

Kehinde Andrews, Associate Professor in Sociology
Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Critical Whiteness studies has emerged as an academic discipline that has produced a lot of work and garnered attention in the last two decades. Central to this project is the idea that if the processes of Whiteness can be uncovered, then they can be reasoned with and overcome, through rationale dialogue. This article will argue, however, that Whiteness is a process rooted in the social structure, one that induces a form of psychosis framed by its irrationality, which is beyond any rational engagement. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of the two only British big budget movies about transatlantic slavery, Amazing Grace and Belle, the article argues that such films serve as the celluloid hallucinations that reinforce the psychosis of Whiteness. The features of this discourse that arose from the analysis included the lack of Black agency, distancing Britain from the horrors of slavery, and downplaying the role of racism.

Read or purchase the article here.

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