Colorism and interracial dating bring the “ish” in Black-ish into focus

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-12-03 02:04Z by Steven

Colorism and interracial dating bring the “ish” in Black-ish into focus

A.V. Club
2016-12-01

Ashley Ray-Harris, Contributor


Marcus Scribner (left) and Annelise Grace

“A black woman would know”

This Black-ish review is late. It’s incredibly late because this was a complex episode to approach. As soon as the cold open ended with Bow’s disdainful expression as she saw Junior’s white girlfriend, my phone started going off. My mom texted, “Wow, they’re really gonna do this?” From a distance, “Being Bow-racial” may seem like a problematic, racist, weird episode of Black-ish. Why would Bow—an educated, wealthy, tolerant doctor—care that her son is dating a white girl? But, in reality, the episode addresses some of the most guarded, internal secrets within the black community—colorism, interracial dating, the black man’s fear of white women, and everyone’s fear of black women. “Being Bow-racial” is Black-ish finally addressing the “ish” that looms heavily over its title and the results are stellar.

“Being Bow-racial” is an episode that feels incredibly personal to me, which might make it difficult to be objective, but it’s truly a story I’ve never seen given such attention on broadcast TV. The second Junior introduced Megan, I found myself making the same face as Bow for the same reasons—she’s white. This isn’t because Bow and I are racists, in fact, the episode does an amazing job of pointing out that Bow’s issue is an internal issue that stems from her own conflicting feelings and uncertainty around her blackness. Yet, If you’re not familiar with colorism in the black community or tropes like the tragic mulatto, you might not understand how deeply these factors actually affect black women…

Read the entire article here.

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White Mothers of Black Biracial Children: Mixed Race as the New Mulatto

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-11-27 23:16Z by Steven

White Mothers of Black Biracial Children: Mixed Race as the New Mulatto

Colorado State University
Summer 2016
101 pages

Erin Halcyon Bell

In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the Degree of Masters of Arts

This research explores how White women perceive their roles as parents to “mixed” race or biracial Black children. This qualitative project analyzes data from in person interviews, photographs and comments posted on Internet blogs, Facebook fan pages of mixed race children. Core elements of grounded theory are used as methodology to explore how White women understand themselves in relation to the role they play in pursuing their desire to create a mixed race or biracial child. Emerging themes from this research include: Objectification of Mixed Race Children, “We are going to get designer babies!” Displacing Black Women, and “I have mixed kids, so I can’t be racist.”

Read the entire thesis here.

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Hapa Capsulizes Painful Moments from 2016 Asian America in Less than 90 Seconds

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-11-27 22:39Z by Steven

Hapa Capsulizes Painful Moments from 2016 Asian America in Less than 90 Seconds

AsAmNews
2016-11-27

Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

A popular new video out less than a week freezes in time moments in 2016 that highlight the racism and the persistent whitewashing the Asian American community faced throughout the year.

The short A-woke is from multiracial filmmaker Teja Arboleda who grew up in Japan and now lives near Boston.

Arboleda utilizes the trendy mannequin challenge technique of employing actors who pose frozen like mennequins to depict memorable, and in this film, painful scenes from the past…

Read the entire article here.

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Passive Voice, Active Prejudice: Mary Seacole in Children’s Literature and Media

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-11-23 14:54Z by Steven

Passive Voice, Active Prejudice: Mary Seacole in Children’s Literature and Media

theracetoread: Children’s Literature and Issues of Race
2016-10-20

Karen Sands-O’Connor, Professor
English Department
Buffalo State, The State University of New York, Buffalo, New York


[David] Harewood’s ITV programme celebrates the new statue of Mary Seacole in London–but not everyone is pleased

This week, Britain’s ITV showed a programme on Mary Seacole entitled “In the Shadow of Mary Seacole.” In some ways, the programme could have been titled, “Mary Seacole in the Shadow of British Racism.” Many people who initially celebrated the fact that ITV was telling the story of the woman labeled “The Greatest Black Briton” in 2004 were dismayed to find that the programme was put on the schedule at 10:40 pm. Others complained that the programme focused on the opinions of white historians. Indeed, it seemed that most, though not all, of Seacole’s defenders in the programme were non-historians: actors, comedians, nurses. Unfortunately, none of this is new when it comes to Mary Seacole—and children’s books about the Jamaican Crimean War nurse are no exception…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing in the Age of Rachel Dolezal, or Is Everyone Catfishing?

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-11-14 01:49Z by Steven

Passing in the Age of Rachel Dolezal, or Is Everyone Catfishing?

Response: The Digital Journal of Popular Culture Scholarship
Issue One (November 2016)

Judy Phagan, Associate Professor of English
St. Joseph’s College, New York


Rachel Doležal

It was revealed in the New York Times and on national television in the summer of 2015 that Africana Studies professor and N.A.A.C.P. director of the Spokane chapter, Rachel Dolezal, had possibly falsified her ethnicity. She was subjected to national scrutiny and ridicule after it appeared she fabricated her own racial background. The Times also wondered if Rachel Dolezal would give up her “part-time teaching position in African American Studies at Eastern Washington University.” She did. It is fascinating to me that this little story garnered so much national attention. What ensued was a Swiftian tempest in a teapot in which pundits labeled Dolezal a “liar.” She was living as a black woman while her parents outed her as white. They even went on national television to show Rachel Dolezal’s baby pictures. The combination of white parents and a white little girl added up to one conclusion—that Dolezal was indeed white. It felt like everyone I knew that summer was angry at Dolezal. She seemed to be a white woman “passing” as an African American. Historically, passing was usually performed by African Americans light-skinned enough, often of mixed racial background, to “pass” as white. There are dozens of books on the topic by sociologists, psychologists, and historians. Passing is anything but new, as this paper will discuss. Passing, as a sociological phenomenon, is generally studied in terms of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and/or (dis)ability. Add the 21st century concern for our personal image (think Facebook) and the issue gets even muddier. We see reflected in television and film, Youtube, the blogosphere and the Twitterverse discussions of passing, although we may not immediately recognize it as such. This is no doubt a reflection of our American obsession with race, which has again hit the media (and our hearts) this summer of 2016. This paper will explore many facets of passing as the term is used in 2016 and demonstrate that passing is merely a part of one’s identity formation; it is not a crime…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Loving’ inspires a DIY Film Festival of miscegenation films and shows you need to see…

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-11-10 21:12Z by Steven

‘Loving’ inspires a DIY Film Festival of miscegenation films and shows you need to see…

CinemaInMind: Thinking about film… and other stuff
2016-11-03

Tim Cogshell, Critic At Large
Alt Film Guide

You don’t need to wait for the local art house to put on a themed film festival. Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC’s Filmweek and Alt Film Guide, and who blogs at CinemaInMind, is producing a series of DIY Film Festivals for Off-Ramp listeners to throw in the comfort of their own homes…

Read the entire article here.

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Whitening, Mixing, Darkening, and Developing: Everything but Indigenous

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2016-11-10 00:39Z by Steven

Whitening, Mixing, Darkening, and Developing: Everything but Indigenous

Latin American Research Review
Volume 51, Number 3, 2016
pages 142-160
DOI: 10.1353/lar.2016.0038

Juliana Luna Freire, Assistant Professor of Spanish/Portuguese
Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts

This article analyzes the image of Brazilian Indigenous minority groups as a figurehead in media discourse, which is based on racializing logics that celebrate historical performances of Indigeneity but minimize attention to the political activity and grassroots movements of the existing population. Using cultural studies as a starting point, this study draws on Diana Taylor’s understanding of identity and on postcolonial thinker Homi Bhabha’s theorizing on nation to conduct a reading of discourses and performances of Indigeneity as part of cultural memory. I propose an analysis of the limited scenarios allowed in this construction of a nation in Brazilian media outlets, which often claim there is political motivation for identity and are incapable of dealing with contemporary Indigenous groups. Overall, this analysis highlights the need to rethink the way we discuss ethnic identity so as to foster a larger dialogue about identity, heritage, and minority cultures in such a way that we avoid falling into a paradigm of modernization and acculturation when discussing ethnicity, and to promote better understanding of the different ongoing political and cultural movements in contemporary Brazil.

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October 29, 1949

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-10-30 20:48Z by Steven

October 29, 1949

Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers
2016-10-29

Matthew F. Delmont, Professor of History
Arizona State University

On October 29, 1949, the Chicago Defender published Walter White’s review of Elia Kazan’s film Pinky. The film, a drama about racial passing starring Jeanne Crain and Ethel Waters, was the top-grossing film of 1949. White, who led the NAACP from 1931 until his death 1955, wrote, “I have never in all my life wanted so much to like a moving picture as much as I did ‘Pinky.’ As I bought tickets at the Rivoli Theatre in New York I hoped fervently that the praise of most of the New York critics and friends of mine, both colored and white, would be justified…Unhappily for me, I have to say that, as far as my judgement is concerned, [producer Darryl] Zanuck has failed. Some new ground have been broken but they are mere scratches in the vast field of human relationships the picture sought to plow. Southern white police brutality and lechery are vividly and courageously exposed. But one would never know, unless he had other sources of information, that Negroes, even in the most backward areas of Mississippi are not resigned to their ‘place’ and are not only working but making progress against the kind of conditions portrayed in ‘Pinky.'” This review of this film about racial passing is particularly interesting because Walter White was very light skinned, and sometimes passed as white while working as a civil rights investigator in the South…

Read the entire article here.

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Disrupting Racialized Knowledges: Blackness in Salvador da Bahia

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive on 2016-10-27 19:00Z by Steven

Disrupting Racialized Knowledges: Blackness in Salvador da Bahia

Friktion Magasin for Køn, Krop and Kultur
2016-10-01

Morten Stinus Kristensen

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Bryce Henson who recently defended his dissertation Rediasporizing Bahia: The Lived Experiences of Blackness and the Cultural Politics of Bahian Hip-Hop at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In the following interview, which has been edited for clarity, structure, and brevity, Dr. Henson discusses one element of his wide-ranging dissertation project: how the Black population of Salvador da Bahia, the former colonial capital of Brazil where Dr. Henson did his fieldwork, push back against the idealized idea of Blackness that dominates the Brazilian national imaginary of Bahia, and how this fantasy of Bahia serves a central function for upholding the fantasy of Brazil as a post-racial nation and culture.

MSK: How do you define Blackness and how do you use it, conceptually and methodologically in your work?

BH: So I work through three interlocking definitions of Blackness. I locate the first definition of Blackness within the African diaspora in how Black bodies or bodies ascribed to Africa are inscribed with negative cultural and moral values. Then, I define it not only as a racialization process but also as an ethnoracial identity formed by those within the community. Finally, I define Blackness by how Black subjects take this as a political imperative to critique white supremacy and, at another level, not only critique white supremacy and the way that Blackness operates in their own lives, but challenge that very stigma of Blackness itself and to alter and change those prescriptive values that are attached to their bodies.

So methodologically and conceptually what I did [in this project] was I combined critical Black studies with British cultural studies. The first thing I did was to look at the dominant representations and [cultural] codes in which Blackness is understood. But also I intersect that with how these discourses are lived and the material conditions of [Black life] through ethnographic research. How do those everyday meanings, made out of the domain of Black lives, cause friction with these dominant representations or discourses? Then at a final stage, I tie this intersection between dominant representations and lived realities of race to Blacks’ own cultural production as a form of political participation. This serves not only as a site of media making, but also knowledge production that can at the very least disrupt racialized knowledges.

So in short, what I do is loop Blackness from the dominant representations to the material and lived conditions – and then also back how that circulates and how people speak back. With that, I am drawing on scholars such as Tricia Rose, James Snead, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to emphasize Afro-diasporic models of culture that utilize repetition, layering, the cut, sampling and intertextuality in how Blackness is always in conversation with not only other Afro-diasporic members but also with the dominant society as well. So you have this transnational dialogue among each other but also the social forces that are impinging on their lives…

MSK: All national and cultural contexts differ in how race in general and Blackness in particular is constructed and operate. How did this understanding of Blackness guide your work and what did you find?

BH: The interesting thing about Brazil is how Blackness is celebrated in quite a few but extremely limited ways through Afro-Brazilian culture, such as the hypersexual mulata, samba music, and male football players. Brazil uses this to portray itself as being racially exceptional, which attempts to say that racism is not a factor there. In many instances, many people would say to bring up race or even racial divisions is itself racist. The kind of national mythology of Brazil or the grand narrative is what we broadly call racial exceptionalism is such: Brazil had much more benign colonizing and slavery structures. As a result, race is not a matter of social division and that racism is not a social ill. One way they do that is to stress the interracial mixture that began in its colonial era and continues today. Keep in mind that, like in the United States, the Portuguese colonizer coerced African and Indigenous women into sex, often forcibly through rape. But this gets erased under national mythologies which is articulated through the racial democracy myth, national identities, and the fetishization of the hypersexual mulata. In short, it says to be Brazilian is to be racially mixed –to be mixed with Indigenous, African, European ancestry—and that is evidence of a raceless society.

Salvador da Bahia is crucial to these national mythologies. Bahia is crudely speaking the most African area in Brazil. Its population is approximately 80% African descendant in a city of three million. And that includes both dark-skinned and mixed Brazilians. But the discourses around Bahia are very much that of a city locked in the past with these kinds of premodern African cultural aesthetics that become widely known and celebrated and then circulate as the global imaginary…

Read the entire article here.

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How America Bought and Sold Racism, and Why It Still Matters

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-10-25 20:06Z by Steven

How America Bought and Sold Racism, and Why It Still Matters

Collectors Weekly
2015-11-10

Lisa Hix, Associated Editor

Today, very few white Americans openly celebrate the horrors of black enslavement—most refuse to recognize the brutal nature of the institution or actively seek to distance themselves from it. “The modern American sees slavery as a regrettable period when blacks worked without wages,” writes Dr. David Pilgrim, the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and a sociology professor at Ferris State University and the author of Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice, who has spent his life studying the artifacts that have perpetuated racist stereotypes.

The urge to forget this stain on our nation’s history is everywhere. In Texas, McGraw-Hill recently distributed a high-school geography textbook that refers to American slaves as immigrant workers. At Southern plantation museums that romanticize the idea of genteel antebellum culture, the bleak and violent reality of enslaved plantation life is whitewashed and glossed over. Discussions about how slavery led to modern-day racism are often met with white defensiveness. How many times have black people heard this line? “Slavery happened a long time ago. You need to get over it.”

The truth is when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, the economic subjugation of African Americans, and the terrorism used to maintain it, did not come to a grinding halt. The Jim Crow racial caste system that emerged 12 years after the Civil War ended in 1865 was just as violent and oppressive as slavery—and it lasted nearly a century. Up through Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, black people across the country, in Northern states as well as Southern ones, were routinely humiliated, menaced, tortured and beaten to death, and blocked from participating in business and public life. Thanks to smartphone and social-media technology, we’re seeing how such violence continues in 2015, 50 years after the height of the Civil Rights Movement


Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno played the “tragic mulatto” in the 1960 film “This Rebel Breed.”(From Understanding Jim Crow)

…Another caricature was inflicted upon mixed-race women: the “tragic mulatto,” which is based on the “one-drop rule” that says any African American blood in your lineage makes you a black person. In this story, the mixed-race woman grows up living as a privileged white person. When her white father dies, her black heritage is revealed, and she’s enslaved and subjected to violence by white men. Rejected by both racial groups, she’s often suicidal and alcoholic, and she in particular loathes her black side.

Reality, of course, tells a different story. In Understanding Jim Crow, Pilgrim says it’s true that in the days of slavery, mixed-race slaves (usually the illegitimate sons and daughters of their owners), sometimes sold for higher prices, and masters saw these women as particularly sexually desirable, claiming their beauty drove them to rape. Enslaved mixed-race women were also frequently sold into prostitution, and freeborn mixed-race women sometimes became the mistresses of white men under the “plaçage system.” Some people with “Negro blood” worked to “pass” as whites, which helped them get better education, pay, and homes. But throughout history, mixed-race people—who had the slur “mongrels” hurled at them by whites—have been well accepted in the black community: Take for example, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Mary Church Terrell, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Langston Hughes, and Billie Holiday

Read the entire article here.

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