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

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-28 02:22Z 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

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 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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A Telenovela, Slavery, and the Diaspora

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2016-04-18 01:40Z by Steven

A Telenovela, Slavery, and the Diaspora

African American Intellectual History Society
2016-04-17

Greg Childs

A Escrava Isaura, the 1875 novel by Bernardo Guimarães, was one of a number of late 19th century works of fiction in Brazil that focused on abolitionism. The story revolves around a young enslaved girl named Isaura, her efforts to gain freedom and become married to Alvaro, a wealthy white man who believes fervently in abolition, as well as her trials and tribulations with the plantation overseer who aims to seduce her and make her his concubine. It was quite transparently an anti-slavery propaganda novel. But it was also quite transparently an idealized romance, an effort to portray liberal whiteness as a heroic and saving grace for enslaved peoples. The novel was a huge success in Brazil and catapulted the author to immediate national fame.

Later in 1976 the novel would be reconceptualized as a television show, or telenovela. It was wildly successful and became one of the most watched television programs in the world, broadcasted in over 80 countries. It was undoubtedly a smash success in South America but also in the Soviet Union, China, Poland, and Hungary. In fact, it was in Hungary where the most intriguing- or depending on your perspective, most comical- story about the telenovela comes to us. According to legend, it was in Hungary in the 1980s where the faithful viewers of Escrava Isaura took up collections after the final episode of the series to help purchase Isaura’s freedom…

Read the entire article here.

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Michele Elam: “The Souls of Mixed Folk” (NBAAS, 31/10/12)

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-04-14 19:15Z by Steven

Michele Elam: “The Souls of Mixed Folk” (NBAAS, 31/10/12)

YouTube
Race & Ethnicity Archive
2016-03-19

“What are you?” The question can often comes out of nowhere One can be going about her quotidian activities, or she might have just finished a meeting at work. “What are you?” The question is disorienting for most, but for others who are racially ambiguous it is commonplace. The ostensibly benign question suggests that it is about the person being asked. However, one might argue that it is more about the one who does the asking. In The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millenium (Stanford University Press, 2011), Michele Elam critically discusses the rise of the Mixed Race Studies. To demonstrate the new sub-genre of cultural studies in both art and academia Elam shows elements of what mixed-racedness looks like in the classroom, as well as in the public sphere here at the turn of the 21st century.

One of the contributions of Elam’s Souls makes to Mixed Race Studies is her careful outline of the ways people of mixed biological ancestry have historically worked for the goal of social justice for all oppressed groups; moreover, she shows how those who look at mixed-racedness critically continue to do so. This, despite the trajectory in which some of mixed-race advocates are moving: people of mixed-race backgrounds are a separate group with separate issues, and most importantly, being both black and white–and that is most often the only definition many use of being “mixed”–their experience falls outside the purview of race studies. This notion of being separate and outside is often used to justify a view of race that essentially reifies notions of identity as being defined by blood percentage–a point of view that takes us back, not forward. While those who critically study mixed- raceness see that one’s movement through a society that continues to ask What are you? can result in alternate experiences, many show that the difference can work in a way to help all understand racial oppression. Dr. Michele Elam, Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor in the English Department at Stanford University, falls within the latter group.

And, so do Lezley Saar, Danzy Senna, Philip Roth, Aaron McGruder, and Dave Chappelle, to name but a few. A mixed bag, for sure, Elam examines relevant works of the aforementioned artists as she considers the way in which they challenge what is quickly becoming conventional thought on mixed-racedness from the academic classroom to the public sphere.

Whether one is fascinated with her critical reading of K-12 textbooks focused on mixed race curriculum or with her reading of artist Lezley Saar’s “Baby Halfie Brown Head”; with her insightful readings of Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks comic strips and/or the unforgettable episode “The Racial Draft” from The Dave Chappelle Show; whether one is interested in the ways that author Colson Whitehead and playwright Carl Hancock Rux ask their audiences to think critically about mixed-racedness in the 21st century one thing is clear: Elam first highlights and subsequently knocks down the notion that “fetishizing the box” of the racial categories on census forms or outlining one’s mixed family tree represents progression towards a most just society in the US.

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“As White as Most White Women”: Racial Passing in Advertisements for Runaway Slaves and the Origins of a Multivalent Term

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-03-23 18:29Z by Steven

“As White as Most White Women”: Racial Passing in Advertisements for Runaway Slaves and the Origins of a Multivalent Term

American Studies
Volume 54, Number 4, 2016
pages 73-97

Martha J. Cutter, Professor of English and Africana Studies
University of Connecticut

In 1731 a man named Gideon Gibson, along with several of his relatives, emigrated from Virginia to South Carolina. At first it was reported with consternation that Gibson was a free black man married to a white wife. However, when the South Carolina House of Assembly took up an investigation of Gibson, then governor Robert Johnson concluded that the Gibson family were “not Negroes nor Slave but Free people.” The Gibsons were allowed to remain in the colony, and they prospered, eventually purchasing 450 acres of prime South Carolina land; Gibson owned black slaves, and his sister married a wealthy planter. Gideon Gibson’s son married a white woman and himself became the owner of at least seven slaves. It would be forty-five more years before the colonies declared independence from Britain, but it seems the Gibsons had already declared themselves free from the social, legal, or ideological codes that would construct them as black, Negro, or mulatto. Another investigation in 1768 revealed that Gideon Gibson, Jr., “escaped the penalties of the negro law by producing upon comparison more red and white in his face than could be discovered in the faces of half the descendants of … [the House of Assembly].” Gideon Gibson, Jr., was judged to have been passing for white; he was in actuality a very light-skinned black man with black ancestors. Yet he was also a slave owner and a prosperous member of South Carolinian society.

On May 15, 1845, an enslaved black woman named Fanny ran away from her Alabama owner. Since Fanny could read and write, her owner speculates in an advertisement posted in the Alabama Beacon (June 14, 1845) that she might forge a pass for herself. But Fanny’s master also comments that “she is as white as most white women, with straight light hair, and blue eyes, and can pass herself for a white woman.” Fanny can pass for white, but indeed one wonders what her owner means when he says that she is “as white as most white women.” Are many “white women” not quite “pure” white? And yet they are not subject to perpetual enslavement, as Fanny is. Fanny is also described as “very pious” and “very intelligent.” This valuable piece of “property,” it is implied, in other ways is no different from a white woman. She is religious, rational, and light-skinned. In what ways is she not, the advertisement seems to wonder, a “white woman”? The advertisement appears to grant Fanny humanity as more than property, even as it seeks to re-enslave her. Her owner seems to know that nothing but “a fiction of law and custom”—to borrow Mark Twain’s words in Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894)—keeps her enslaved.

Although some scholars argue that racial passing began in earnest in the mid- to late nineteenth century, reached its pinnacle in the early twentieth century, and then abated or became “passé” by the 1930s, these two incidents and many others discussed in this essay indicate that, as both a word and a behavior, passing has a longer and more extensive early history and genealogy. Moreover, its meaning is unstable and changes based on historical context. When Gideon Gibson passed for white in 1731, he did so to migrate into a category of identity that empowered him in a period in which such racial migration was somewhat acceptable because ideologies of black racial inferiority had not yet solidified. That he owned slaves himself indicates that he did not see his passing as a challenge to the codes of law that allowed the perpetual possession of black human property; for Gibson slaveholding might have been a sign of his wealth, status, and power, rather than a racially inflected behavior. Fanny’s owner, on the other hand, manifests a more convoluted attitude toward passing and race, because by 1845 the ideology of African American physical and mental inferiority was entrenched and often used to rationalize the fact that blacks were the only group of individuals who could legally be held in perpetual enslavement in the United States. Matthew Frye Jacobson argues that in the United States, “whiteness” denoted “not only color but degree of freedom (as against…

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Good Girls Don’t Date Dead Boys: Toying with Miscegenation in Zombie Films

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2016-03-18 23:47Z by Steven

Good Girls Don’t Date Dead Boys: Toying with Miscegenation in Zombie Films

Journal of Popular Film and Television
Volume 42, Issue 4, 2014
DOI: 10.1080/01956051.2014.881772
pages 176-185

Chera Kee, Assistant Professor of English
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Concerning in-between bodies, zombie films have a unique vantage on miscegenation. Exploring earlier films alongside contemporary romantic comedies, it becomes clear that whereas earlier films shut down symbolic interracial fantasies, contemporary films do not. This isn’t without problems, as some films still rescue zombies from zombiness (and hence, their blackness).

Read or purchase the article here.

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The ‘R’ Word

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-03-16 20:04Z by Steven

The ‘R’ Word

Biteback Publishing
2015-11-27
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781849549424
eBook ISBN: 9781785900099

Kurt Barling, Professor of Journalism
Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom

Race and racism remain an inescapable part of the lives of black people. Daily slights, often rooted in fears and misperceptions of the ‘other’, still damage lives. But does race matter as much as it used to? Many argue that the post-racial society is upon us and racism is no longer a block on opportunity – Kurt Barling doubts whether things are really that simple.

Ever since, at the age of four, he wished for ‘blue eyes and blond hair’, skin colour has featured prominently as he, like so many others, navigated through a childhood and adolescence in which ‘blackness’ de­fined and dominated so much of social discourse. But despite the progress that has been made, he argues, the ‘R’ word is stubbornly resilient.

In this powerful polemic, Barling tackles the paradoxes at the heart of anti-racism and asks whether, by adopting the language of the oppressor to liberate the oppressed, we are in fact paralysing ourselves within the false mythologies inherited from raciology, race and racism. Can society escape this socalled ‘race-thinking’ and re-imagine a Britain that is no longer ‘Black’ and ‘White’? Is it yet possible to step out of our skins and leave the colour behind?

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What Would It Mean To Have A ‘Hapa’ Bachelorette?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-14 19:59Z by Steven

What Would It Mean To Have A ‘Hapa’ Bachelorette?

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio
2016-03-13

Akemi Johnson

On a recent episode of The Bachelor, the ABC dating reality show that ends its 20th season Monday night, contestant Caila Quinn brings Ben Higgins home to meet her interracial family.

“Have you ever met Filipinos before?” Quinn’s mother asks, leading Higgins into a dining room where the table is filled with traditional Filipino food.

“I don’t know,” he replies. “No. I don’t think so.”

As they sit around the adobo and pancit, Quinn’s father talks to Higgins, white man to white man. What comes with dating Quinn, the father says, “is a very special Philippine community.” Quinn grimaces.

“I had no idea what I was getting into when I married Caila’s mother,” the father says. But being married to a Filipina, he assures Higgins, has been “the most fun” and “magical.”

This scene can be read as an attempt by The Bachelor franchise to dispel criticisms (and the memory of a 2012 lawsuit) concerning its whitewashed casts. It shows how these attempts can be clunky at best, offensive and creepy at worst.

Quinn’s run also demonstrates how, as this rose-strewn, fantasy-fueled romance machine tries to include more people of color, diversification looks like biracial Asian-American — often known as “hapa” — women…

…Mixed-race Asian-white women become the perfect vehicles for diversity on this show because they are “white enough to present to the family,” as Morning said, while still being exotic enough to fill a quota. Morning suggested they also get a boost from the model minority myth and the recent idea that being multiracial is “cool.”…

Myra Washington, assistant professor of communication at the University of New Mexico, predicted an increase in black contestants if Quinn becomes the bachelorette. “Not Wesley Snipes black, because this is still TV,” she said. She guessed there would be more mixed-race African-Americans, brown-skinned men, Latinos. But colonial legacies and systems of power die hard. “I think she’ll ultimately end up with a white dude,” she said.

Read the entire article here.

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