DNA Tests, and Sometimes Surprising Results

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-04-23 20:21Z by Steven

DNA Tests, and Sometimes Surprising Results

The New York Times
2017-04-20

Anita Foeman, Professor of Communication Studies
West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania


Students at West Chester University in Pennsylvania have volunteered to take part in ancestry DNA testing. Anita Foeman, a communications professor, says she has found that conversations around race are “complicated and jagged.”
Credit West Chester University

Race and identity in many ways define who we think we are, while modern genetics can challenge those notions. To delve into these issues, I am involved with a communications studies project at West Chester University in Pennsylvania that explores narratives at the intersection of race and identity.

For the last decade, I have invited hundreds of people to be part of ancestry DNA tests. But first I ask people how they identify themselves racially. It has been very interesting to explore their feelings about the differences between how they define themselves and what their DNA makeup shows when the test results come in.

Biologically, our ancestral differences reflect only a 0.1 percent difference in DNA. Yet we often cling to those differences — both in unity with our fellow people of origin and, at times, in divisiveness.

Over all, the experiment has provided a special opportunity to explore the lines of race. I found that as human beings, our strategies for survival are the same, and our similarities far outweigh our differences…

Bernard: Identifies as: Black; father is black and mother is white

Credit Erica C. Thompson/West Chester University

His prediction: 50% European, 50% African

His comments before the test: My mother said, “I know you are me, but no cop is going to take the time to find out your mother is white.” She was very specific about raising me as a black man.

Results: 91% European, 5% Middle Eastern, 2% Hispanic; less than 1% African and Asian

Thoughts about his ancestry results: What are you trying to do to me? You have caused a lot of problems in my family. I know my nose is sharp and my skin is light, but my politics are as black as night. Today, I don’t identify as mixed. I reject my white privilege in a racist America. There is no way that I or my kids will identify as anything other than black…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-04-23 18:00Z by Steven

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Bloomsbury
2017-09-07
224 pages
10 bw illus
6″ x 9″
Hardback ISBN: 9781501312458
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781501312489
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781501312465

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

Using critical race theory and film studies to explore the interconnectedness between cinema and society, Zélie Asava traces the history of mixed-race representations in American and French filmmaking from early and silent cinema to the present day. Mixed Race Cinemas covers over a hundred years of filmmaking to chart the development of (black/white) mixed representations onscreen. With the 21st century being labelled the Mulatto Millennium, mixed bodies are more prevalent than ever in the public sphere, yet all too often they continue to be positioned as exotic, strange and otherworldly, according to ‘tragic mulatto‘ tropes. This book evaluates the potential for moving beyond fixed racial binaries both onscreen and off by exploring actors and characters who embody the in-between. Through analyses of over 40 movies, and case studies of key films from the 1910s on, Mixed Race Cinemas illuminates landmark shifts in local and global cinema, exploring discourses of subjectivity, race, gender, sexuality and class. In doing so, it reveals the similarities and contrasts between American and French cinema in relation to recognising, visualising and constructing mixedness. Mixed Race Cinemas contextualizes and critiques raced and ‘post-race’ visual culture, using cinematic representations to illustrate changing definitions of mixed identity across different historical and geographical contexts.

Contents

  • Introduction
    • 1. Race and Ideology
    • 2. Mixed-Race Cinema Histories
    • 3. Interrogating Terminology
    • 4. Methodology and Frameworks
    • 5. Mixed-Race Spaces in French and American Cinema
    • 6. Franco-American Narratives and Beur Cinema
    • 7. Summary of Chapters
  • Chapter One: the Mixed Question
    • 1. Language, Representation and Casting
    • 2. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in America
    • 3. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in France
  • Chapter Two: Hollywood’s ‘Passing‘ Narratives
    • 1. ‘Passing’ Representations as Ideological Construct
    • 2. The Dichotomies of Post-War Mixed-Race Women Onscreen
    • 3. Gender, ‘Passing’ and Love
  • Chapter Three: The Limits of the Classic Hollywood ‘Tragic Mulatta’
    • 1. Imitation of Life (1934): Interrogating Mixed Identities
    • 2. Casting and Representation
    • 3. Shadows and the Interracial Family
    • 4. Imitation of Life, 1959: Gender, Difference and Voiced Rebellion
    • 5. Performative Identities: Sara Jane, Dandridge and Monroe
  • Chapter Four: Cultural Shifts: New Waves in Racial Representation
    • 1. Representing ‘Mixed-Race France’
    • 2. Reimagining the Nation: Mixed Families
    • 3. Questioning Mixed Masculinity: Les Trois frères
    • 4. Melodrama, Motherhood and Masks: Métisse
    • 5. Racial-Sexual Mythology and the Interracial Family
  • Chapter Five: Transnational Families in Drôle de Félix
    • 1. A Search for Identity on the Road
    • 2. Citizenship, Violence and Scopophilia
    • 3. Trauma and Redemption
    • 4. Destabilising the Primary Authority of the Father
    • 5. Reuniting Transnational Families
  • Conclusion
    • 1. ‘Post-Race’ Politics in America and France
    • 2. Enduring Stereotypes
    • 3. Mixed-Race Sci-Fi
    • 4. Mixed Representational Potentials
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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‘We’re the geeks, the prostitutes’: Asian American actors on Hollywood’s barriers

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-13 21:29Z by Steven

‘We’re the geeks, the prostitutes’: Asian American actors on Hollywood’s barriers

The Guardian
2017-04-11

Sam Levin


Clockwise from top left: Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell; Pun Bandhu; Matt Damon in Great Wall; Atsuko Okatsuka. Composite: Alamy / Universal Pictures / Courtesy of Pun Bandhu / Courtesy of Atsuko Okatsuka

Films like Ghost in the Shell have fueled debate over whitewashing, while roles are few for Asian Americans – and when they are wanted, it’s often to play offensive stereotypes

Pun Bandhu’s training at the prestigious Yale School of Drama didn’t help much with the skill he needed for so many auditions after graduation – the “Asian accent”.

The Thai American actor – who has appeared in a wide range of TV shows and films over the last 15 years – said he was once told that an accent he used for a Thai character, modeled after his parents, was not working for an “American ear”. Instead, the director went with a Chinese accent.

While much of the recent debate around Asian representation in Hollywood has centered on whitewashing – when white actors are cast to tell Asian stories – working actors said a lack of opportunity was only one part of the problem. Asian American actors said they rarely, if ever, got auditions for leading roles, and when they did get parts, they were frequently secondary to the plot or portrayed offensive tropes…

…“We’re so desperate for opportunities,” said Kanoa Goo, a mixed-race actor who is Chinese, Hawaiian and white. “Often it’s pretty one-dimensional. It’s the tech computer analyst who doesn’t have much to say. His role is really just in service of the leads.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The contradiction at the heart of Rachel Dolezal’s ‘transracialism’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2017-04-12 02:16Z by Steven

The contradiction at the heart of Rachel Dolezal’s ‘transracialism’

The Conversation
2017-04-11

Victoria Anderson, Researcher/Teacher in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
Cardiff University


Rachel Dolezal speaking at Spokane rally, May 2015. Arkathman/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Rachel Dolezal, the former branch president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who gained global notoriety in 2015 after being “outed” as a white woman pretending to be black, is back with a new book on race. Dolezal, who is ethnically German, now claims that she is “transracial”, a condition she compares to transgenderism. By this she means that although she was born white, she identifies with being black, arguing that race is a social construct.

Dolezal complains of further victimisation because “transracialism” is not recognised in the same way as transgenderism. And Dolezal sees herself as triply stigmatised; because of her race, because of her trans status and also because of the perceived illegitimacy of this status.

For someone like me, concerned both with race and with the role of narrative in culture, the narrative spun by Dolezal is both confounding and uniquely fascinating. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, she announced – not incorrectly, in my view – that “race is a lie”. At the same time, she laid claim to the transracialism that she demands to be accepted as a truth…

…Blanket categories of “black” and “white” are an entirely modern phenomenon. In the 17th and 18th centuries, those Europeans who were actively involved in the slave trade made a point of distinguishing between different African ethnic groups; some were considered to be better house slaves, others better field slaves. The Igbo people, for instance, were considered prone to suicidal ideation, which posed problems for the incipient slaver. In the early days of “race” as we know it, there really was no sense of the generic catch-all blackness to which Dolezal lays claim.

As generations passed, ideas of “black” and “white” were further complicated by the complex striations of racial coding that were implemented both during and after slavery, across the Americas, as a consequence of voluntary and involuntary coupling between Europeans and Africans.

This led to a dizzying taxonomy of racial mixes, including (but not confined to) so-called mulattoes, quadroons, octoroons, tercerons, quintroons and beyond, depending on how many generations back a person’s African ancestry was traced. A person might be able to pass as white if their direct African ancestry was three or four generations removed – although if their relative “blackness” was discovered, it was a source not only of shame but was a precondition of legal slavery…

Read the entire article here.

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Skin Color and Politics Focus of Dan T. Blue Symposium

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-04-10 01:16Z by Steven

Skin Color and Politics Focus of Dan T. Blue Symposium

North Carolina Central University
Durham, North Carolina
2017-04-03


Yaba Blay

North Carolina Central University (NCCU)’s 2017 Dan T. Blue Symposium in Political Science will take place April 10-13 with a focus on “The Politics of Skin Color.”

The conference is hosted by Yaba Blay, Ph.D., holder of the Dan T. Blue Endowed Chair at NCCU. Blay is a nationally recognized researcher and ethnographer who uses personal and social narratives to explore issues of race, class and culture. All events during the symposium are free and open to the public.

“Light skin versus dark skin: Which is more socially advantageous? Regarded as more beautiful? Considered more Black? Treated more favorably by the law?” Blay asks. “These are not as much questions of personal opinion as they are issues of power and politics.”

The symposium keynote event brings Blay on stage with CNN contributor and activist Michaela Angela Davis and Patrice Grell Yursik, whose online persona Afrobella is considered the godmother of brown beauty blogging, for a public conversation about colorism beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, at the A.E. Student Union.

Blay defines colorism as a discriminatory system of value based on skin tone that encourages people of color to opt for separation in place of unity. Photography from her 2013 book “(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race,” will be on display April 10-13 in a pop-up exhibit at the NCCU Museum of Art, with an opening reception Tuesday, April 11, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Blay will present a lecture on her work immediately following the reception in the Hubbard-Totten Building Auditorium…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-race student researches media diversity

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-31 17:51Z by Steven

Mixed-race student researches media diversity

The Daily Texan
Austin, Texas
2017-03-31

Sydney Mahl


Photo Credit: Pedro Luna | Daily Texan Staff

The most stressful part about standardized testing for Rachel Malonson wasn’t the test itself­ — it was bubbling in her race beforehand.

“I wished I could select black and white but since I couldn’t, I just picked black because I’m not about to select ‘other,’” journalism and broadcasting senior Malonson said. “That wouldn’t identify me well at all.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Trevor Noah: What’s the “Middle” Between White Supremacy and Equality for All?

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-31 00:24Z by Steven

Trevor Noah: What’s the “Middle” Between White Supremacy and Equality for All?

Son of Baldwin 
2016-12-07

Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr)


[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Trevor Noah dressed in a suit, seen from the chest up, smiling.]

I respect Trevor Noah.

I respect the position he finds himself in and his attempts at trying to find common ground. It’s hard when your loyalties are split and so you have a particular, if peculiar, idea of where the “middle” is.

What I’ll need Noah to explain to me is this: What is the middle between white supremacy and equality for all? And does whatever that middle is benefit white supremacy or equality?

One of the things I dislike about Noah’s perspective is how it misrepresents false equivalence as balance.

I know that when it comes to racial matters, some people feel that they can “see it from both sides” and, therefore, “know the answer is in the middle.” If black people in the United States were in power equal to that of white people; if the laws and institutions and education and media dipped in favor of black people as much as it does white people, then there might be an actually middle to arrive at.

But you cannot start from a place where the scales are tipped in favor of one group and treat it as though the scale is level. Your answer will always be incorrect when your starting equation has one of the variables wrong…

Read the entire article here.

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As Get Out shows, love isn’t all you need in interracial relationships

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2017-03-30 21:53Z by Steven

As Get Out shows, love isn’t all you need in interracial relationships

The Guardian
2017-03-27

Iman Amrani


‘In Get Out, Peele successfully challenges the way the parents and their friends pride themselves on not being racist, while also objectifying the young man both physically and sexually.’ Photograph: Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures

Jordan Peele’s film has provoked discussion of issues about race and relationships that often remain too sensitive or uncomfortable to explore

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 US supreme court decision in the Loving v Virginia case which declared any state law banning interracial marriages as unconstitutional. Jeff Nichols’s recent film, Loving, tells the story of the interracial couple at the heart of the case, which set a precedent for the “freedom to marry”, paving the way also for the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Loving isn’t the only recent film featuring an interracial relationship. A United Kingdom is based on the true story of an African prince who arrived in London in 1947 to train as a lawyer, then met and fell in love with a white, British woman. The film tells the tale of love overcoming adversity, but I wonder whether these films are missing something.

I can understand how, at the moment, with the backdrop of rising intolerance in Europe and the United States, it’s tempting to curl up in front of a triumphant story of love conquering all, but I grew up in an interracial household and I know that it’s not as simple as that…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and Civil Rights Dramas in Hollywood

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-24 19:53Z by Steven

Race and Civil Rights Dramas in Hollywood

Black Perspectives
2017-03-24

Justin Gomer, Assistant Professor of American Studies
California State University, Long Beach


Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Photo: Columbia Pictures.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, starring the iconic Sidney Poitier. During the 1960s, when the film was released, Hollywood produced few movies about the political activism that comprised the civil rights movement. Instead, the movie industry turned to Sidney Poitier to offer representations of black middle-class respectability and colorblind racial discourse in hopes of changing the hearts and minds of whites across the country. Yet, Hollywood’s most celebrated civil rights drama debuted three years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and two years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, amid a very different political climate. The film’s premiere in December 1967 was fourteen months after Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and nearly eighteen months after Stokely Carmichael, director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, began making calls for “Black Power.” James Baldwin, writing in July 1968, noted the contradiction between Hollywood’s images of black respectability vis-à-vis Poitier’s roles and the desires of the burgeoning Black Power movement, “white Americans appear to be under the compulsion to dream, whereas black Americans are under the compulsion to awaken.”

The 2016 Hollywood year wrapped up a few Sundays ago with the Academy Awards. While the record six black actor nominations and the Best Picture Oscar for the black queer film Moonlight is reason to celebrate, Baldwin’s assessment of the movie industry endures. Indexing Hollywood’s “diversity problem” strictly to volume fails to fully comprehend the movie industry’s problematic relationship with black lives broadly, and with black history explicitly…

Read the entire article here.

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Game Of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel is almost unrecognisable without her curls in punk shoot as she claims a ‘lack of diversity’ on TV damaged her self-esteem as a child

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-03-23 00:19Z by Steven

Game Of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel is almost unrecognisable without her curls in punk shoot as she claims a ‘lack of diversity’ on TV damaged her self-esteem as a child

The Daily Mail
2017-03-16

Becky Freeth


Edgy: Nathalie Emmanuel showed off an edgier side in the new shoot for Hunger magazine, as she spoke about the lack of diversity she saw when she grew up

She’s landed a bigtime role on one of the most-watched cult TV shows in recent times.

But Game Of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel is most thankful for roles that promote diversity, because the lack thereof on TV during her own childhood directly affected her self-esteem.

Looking unrecognisable in a shoot for Hunger magazine, the former Hollyoaks actress explains how her mixed heritage was previously underrepresented…

Read the entire article here.

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