Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. [Cannon]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2014-07-11 06:58Z by Steven

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. [Cannon]

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic LIterature of the United States
Volume 39, Issue 3 (Fall 2014)
pages 207-209
DOI: 10.1093/melus/mlu028

Sarita Cannon, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature
San Francisco State University

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial. Ralina L. Joseph. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. 248 pages. $84.95 cloth; $23.95 paper.

Ralina L. Joseph’s timely book about representations of multiracial black women in popular culture makes a significant contribution to the growing field of critical mixed-race studies. Drawing on research in various fields, Joseph closely reads four texts produced between 1998 and 2008: Showtime’s television series The L Word (2004-09), Danzy Senna’s coming-of-age novel Caucasia (1998), Alison Swan’s independent film Mixing Nia (1998), and the reality competition show America’s Next Top Model (2003-present). Joseph examines representations of black mixed-race subjectivity in these texts through two tropes: the new millennium mulatta and the exceptional multiracial. These two very different archetypes of multiracial identity are nonetheless linked by a common desire to transcend blackness, a proposition that Joseph argues is deeply troubling in twenty-first-century America, where, although many proclaim that affirmative action is no longer necessary, structural inequalities between blacks and whites remain entrenched.

One of Joseph’s central claims in Transcending Blackness is that popular representations of black mixed-race women fall into one of two categories. The new millennium mulatta is, in many ways, a revision of the tragic mulatta figure, made popular in films such as The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Imitation of Life (1959). According to Joseph, the new…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, South Africa on 2014-07-11 06:11Z by Steven

Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Media Culture & Society
Published online before print: 2014-07-08
DOI: 10.1177/0163443714536076

Tanja Estella Bosch
University of Cape Town, South Africa

In South Africa, listeners often believe that radio stations deliberately constitute their audiences in terms of race. This article further explores this notion using commercial music station Good Hope FM as a case study. Radio creates a textured soundscape that is experienced as part of the material culture of the home; it contributes to the creation of domestic environments and it can help maintain and establish identities. These assertions are explored further through interviews with listeners. Mediated experience has long influenced self-identity, and this study explores popular conceptualizations of GHFM as a ‘coloured’ or mixed-race radio station, through these listener interviews, conducted in the home. The article explores the possibility that the symbolic arrangement of broadcast music and talk elements in one ensemble, embody and expresses group self-consciousness; and that the cultural consumption of GHFM leads to the formulation of an imagined identity based on ethnicity. Consumption of radio station content becomes a dialectical identity-forming process played out through tuning in. While GHFM listeners re-articulate normative discourses of identity and old apartheid constructions in their reflections on their media consumption, the article shows the act of tuning in as a critical part of their dialectical identity-forming process.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Bill de Blasio and the Art of Political Image at… the Mermaid Parade

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-06-29 18:09Z by Steven

Bill de Blasio and the Art of Political Image at… the Mermaid Parade

The New York Times
2014-06-23

Vanessa Friedman, Chief Fashion Critic


Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York with, from left, his son, Dante; his wife, Chirlane McCray; and his daughter, Chiara, at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade on Saturday. [Tina Fineberg/Associated Press]

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family had kind of an interesting fashion moment over the weekend. In case you missed it, I offer the above photo of Mr. de Blasio in pirate kit; his wife, Chirlane McCray, in full Ariel getup and their two children both body-painted blue — all for the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. In fact, Dante and Chiara were king and queen of the parade, a kitsch classic that takes place on the first official day of summer (i.e. Saturday).

Why does this matter beyond the obvious comedic value? Strategy and image spin, my dear Watson. Strategy and image spin…

Read the entire article here.

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LeiLani Nishime explores the Asian American experience in her new book

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-16 02:48Z by Steven

LeiLani Nishime explores the Asian American experience in her new book

The Seattle Globalist
2014-03-25

Diane Han
University of Washington

We understand that race doesn’t exist biologically, but it doesn’t mean that race isn’t real.

“We think we see race because it exists in the world, but really, we learn to see race,” says LeiLani Nishime, author of the recently published “Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture.”

“I think the approach to race is not to ignore it or pretend it is not there, but to confront it, see that it’s there, and understand what it does for us in a social context.”

Nishime’s book is a critical examination of the ways multiracial Asian Americans are represented in mass media…

Read the entire article here.

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Elliot Rodger’s half-white male privilege

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, United States on 2014-06-16 02:28Z by Steven

Elliot Rodger’s half-white male privilege

Salon
Thusday, 2014-05-29

Joan Walsh, Editor at Large

The killer’s Asian heritage matters. So does his ugly class entitlement. Misogyny crosses lines of race and culture

The widespread recognition that Elliot Rodger’s killing spree was the tragic result of misogyny and male entitlement has been a little bit surprising, and encouraging. Why, then, has it been so hard to get his race right?

From the left, headlines (including on Salon) have labeled him “white,” though most stories at least nodded to his Asian heritage (his mother was ethnic Chinese Malaysian). Chauncey DeVega’s fascinating piece on Rodger’s crime as evidence of “aggrieved white male entitlement syndrome,” a malady that includes other white male mass killers from Columbine’s Eric Klebold to Newtown’s Adam Lanza, didn’t mention his status as half-Asian.

When commentators noted the omission, DeVega (whose work I admire) doubled down in a follow-up piece,“Yes, Elliot Rodger is white!” He argued that Rodger “constructed an identity for himself as ‘Eurasian’ and proceeded to internalize American society’s cues and lessons about power, privilege, race, and gender. He then lived out his own particular understanding of what it means to be white and male in the United States.”

Not that I have a lot of sympathy for Rodger, but it twists his already twisted story to label him simply white…

…“The media, as usual, has oversimplified his identity and experience of race in typically binary terms, which miss the complex nuances and grey areas of that identity and experience,” University of California, Santa Barbara, sociology professor G. Reginald Daniel told me via email. (Daniel is also the editor in chief of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies.) “My feeling is that some of his many issues are related in part to his struggles with or questions about how ‘white’ he was or was not allowed or perceived to be.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-06-15 23:29Z by Steven

Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

University of Illinois Press
January 2014
264 pages
6 x 9 in.
15 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03807-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-07956-6

Leilani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communications
University of Washington, Seattle

Representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans. Nishime’s perceptive readings of popular media–movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork–indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves, golfer Tiger Woods, and the television show Battlestar Galactica as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. In contrast to these representations, Nishime provides a set of alternative moments when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. Through a consideration of the Matrix trilogy, reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, these examples highlight both the perils and benefits of racial visibility, uncovering our society’s ways of constructing racial categories. Throughout this incisive study, Nishime offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.

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“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”: Troubling the Visual Optics of Race

Posted in Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2014-06-08 22:01Z by Steven

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”: Troubling the Visual Optics of Race

Flow
Volume 17, Issue 9 (2013-03-28)

Isabel Molina-Guzmán, Associate Professor of Media and Cinema Studies; Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies; Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

On February 26, 2013, the one year anniversary of the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL by George Zimmerman, I stare at the beautiful face of Trayvon Martin on my television screen and online news feed. I study his cinnamon brown skin, big teddy bear brown eyes and long black lashes, trimmed tight curly black hair, well-sculpted nose and full lips. I hear the invisible and terrified cries for help, the shot, and the silence.

I am racially black and I am of Puerto Rican and Dominican ethnic descent. And I see my father, uncles, cousins. I silently remember President Barack Obama’s somber observation more than a year ago: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

The Problems with the Visual Optics of “Race”

I remember being frustrated by the news narratives that categorize Martin as black and George Zimmerman as white simply because of the color of their skin. After all, if Martin could be the son of our first mixed race president or be my son, his identity should be more complicated than the color of his skin. Martin’s gender, class, and ethnoracial complexities remain irrelevant – he was essentially, biologically, and categorically a black man. As a racial or ethnic identity, blackness remains static despite US Census reports that the black population is more racially and ethnically diverse that ever before with more than 25% of the growth among black Americans driven by immigration. Indeed Haitians are among Florida’s largest immigrant population.

Nevertheless, who is defined as black in the United States continues to be defined by the problematic rules of biological hypodescentthe one drop rule that defines anyone with one drop of “black blood” as black. How that “one drop” is often determined is by the visual resonances of blackness; and, Martin “looks” black.

Amidst civil rights protest calling for Martin’s murder to be classified as racial profiling and a hate crime, the story becomes more complicated and more troubling…

Read the entire article here.

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Culture File – Race and the Irish Screen

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-05-16 18:59Z by Steven

Culture File – Race and the Irish Screen

RTÉ Lyric FM
2014-05-15

Fin Keegan, Host

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

What can the Irish horror movie tell us about attitudes to race? And can a mixed race guard [police] in an Irish crime series, ever be just a guard? Dr. Asava is the author of Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Irish Identities on Film and TV (Peter Lang, 2013).


Download the interview here.

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Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing on 2014-05-05 20:08Z by Steven

Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010

State University of New York Press
July 2014
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN13: 978-1-4384-5227-2
Electronic ISBN13: 978-1-4384-5229-6

Edited by:

Julie Cary Nerad, Associate Professor of American Literature
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Explores how the trope of racial passing continues to serve as a touchstone for gauging public beliefs and anxieties about race in this multiracial era.

The first volume to focus on the trope of racial passing in novels, memoirs, television, and films published or produced between 1990 and 2010, Passing Interest takes the scholarly conversation on passing into the twenty-first century. With contributors working in the fields of African American studies, American studies, cultural studies, film studies, literature, and media studies, this book offers a rich, interdisciplinary survey of critical approaches to a broad range of contemporary passing texts. Contributors frame recent passing texts with a wide array of cultural discourses, including immigration law, the Post-Soul Aesthetic, contemporary political satire, affirmative action, the paradoxes of “colorblindness,” and the rhetoric of “post-racialism.” Many explore whether “one drop” of blood still governs our sense of racial identity, or to what extent contemporary American culture allows for the racially indeterminate individual. Some essays open the scholarly conversation to focus on “ethnic” passers—individuals who complicate the traditional black-white binary—while others explore the slippage between traditional racial passing and related forms of racial performance, including blackface minstrelsy and racial masquerade.

Table of Contents

  • Preface: The “Posts” of Passing / Gayle Wald
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Introduction: The (Not So) New Face of America / Julie Cary Nerad
  • 2. On the Margins of Movement: Passing in Three Contemporary Memoirs / Irina Negrea
  • 3. “A Cousin to Blackness”: Race and Identity in Bliss Broyard’s One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life / Lynn Washington and Julie Cary Nerad
  • 4. Can One Really Choose? Passing and Self-Identification at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century / Jené Schoenfeld
  • 5. Passing in Blackface: The Intimate Drama of Post-Racialism on Black. White / Eden Osucha
  • 6. Broke Right in Half: Passing of/in Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone / Julie Cary Nerad
  • 7. Passing for Chicano, Passing for White: Negotiating Filipino American Identity in Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son / Amanda Page
  • 8. Race in the Marketplace: Postmodern Passing and Ali G / Ana Cristina Mendes
  • 9. Passing for Black, White, and Jewish: Mixed-Race Identity in Rebecca Walker and Danzy Senna / Lori Harrison-Kahan
  • 10. Smiling Faces: Chameleon Street, Racial Passing/Performativity, and Film Blackness / Michael B. Gillespie
  • 11. Consuming Performances: Race, Media, and the Failure of the Cultural Mulatto in Bamboozled and Erasure / Meredith McCarroll
  • Bibliography
  • Contributor Biographies
  • Index
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For dark-skinned Mexicans, taint of discrimination lingers

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2014-04-28 05:53Z by Steven

For dark-skinned Mexicans, taint of discrimination lingers

McClatchy DC: Watching Washington and the World
2013-08-22

Tim Johnson, McClatchy Foreign Staff

MEXICO CITY — Flip through the print publications exalting the activities of Mexico’s high society and there’s one thing you rarely find: dark-skinned people.

No matter that nearly two-thirds of Mexicans consider themselves moreno, the Spanish word for dark.

Mexico has strong laws barring discrimination based on skin color or ethnicity, but the practices of public relations firms and news media lag behind, promoting the perception that light skin is desirable and dark skin unappealing.

The issue came to the fore this month when a casting call for a television spot for Mexico’s largest airline stated flatly that it wanted “no one dark,” sparking outrage on social media and, ultimately, embarrassed apologies.

“I’d never seen anything that aggressive and that clear, all in capital letters: ‘NO ONE DARK,’” said Tamara de Anda, a magazine editor. “I decided to go with it.”…

…But the distance between legalities and practice is substantial, said Mario Arriagada Cuadriello, a doctoral candidate in comparative politics at the London School of Economics. He is an editor at Nexos, a leading cultural and political magazine.

When Arriagada published an article in this month’s issue about widespread discrimination in Mexico, he received a flurry of responses.

“People wrote to say that if you are light-skinned, you get better treatment in restaurants,” he said. One person told him that in an exclusive area of the capital, residents ask that their dark-skinned domestic servants not walk in the common gardens “because it is anti-aesthetic and makes the areas ugly.”

One of Mexico’s most prominent intellectuals from the early 20th century, Jose Vasconcelos, held up the mestizo, or person of mixed Indian and European blood, as part of a superior “cosmic race” with greater spiritual values…

Read the entire article here.

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