The Myth of White Purity and Narratives That Fed Racism in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-07-16 15:25Z by Steven

The Myth of White Purity and Narratives That Fed Racism in South Africa

The Wire
2016-06-18

Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


An apartheid-era sign from South Africa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The rhetoric of racial purity is full of suggestive terms like illness, weakening and dilution. These imply the medicalisation of the nation.

In this extract from her book The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa, Nicky Falkof explores how ideas about disease, risk and danger that the apartheid government applied to black people were transposed onto fears about Satanism during the 1980s.

The grand apartheid regime’s most pressing fear was gelykstelling, an Afrikaans word that means “equalisation”. It believed that this would bring on the “mishmash cohabitation” and eventual bloedvermenging – blood mixing – that threatened the purity of the white race.

During the run-up to the 1938 election, the National Party campaigned on the argument that the ruling United Party’s policy of allowing mixed marriages would cause mass miscegenation. This, in the words of Afrikaans intellectual N.J. van der Merwe, would lead to “mixing of the blood and the ruin of the white race”.

During the 1970s Afrikaans genealogist J.A. Heese uncovered records of more than 1,200 European men in South Africa who married non-white women between 1652 and 1800. Through this he determined that approximately 7.2% of Afrikaner heritage was non-white. This complicated history was not admissible within the apartheid imaginary…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Race and Popular Fantasy Literature: Habits of Whiteness

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-07-16 15:06Z by Steven

Race and Popular Fantasy Literature: Habits of Whiteness

Routledge
2016
224 pages
1 B/W Illus.

Helen Young, Honorary Associate
Department of English
University of Sydney

This book illuminates the racialized nature of twenty-first century Western popular culture by exploring how discourses of race circulate in the Fantasy genre. It examines not only major texts in the genre, but also the impact of franchises, industry, editorial and authorial practices, and fan engagements on race and representation. Approaching Fantasy as a significant element of popular culture, it visits the struggles over race, racism, and white privilege that are enacted within creative works across media and the communities which revolve around them. While scholars of Science Fiction have explored the genre’s racialized constructs of possible futures, this book is the first examination of Fantasy to take up the topic of race in depth. The book’s interdisciplinary approach, drawing on Literary, Cultural, Fan, and Whiteness Studies, offers a cultural history of the anxieties which haunt Western popular culture in a century eager to declare itself post-race. The beginnings of the Fantasy genre’s habits of whiteness in the twentieth century are examined, with an exploration of the continuing impact of older problematic works through franchising, adaptation, and imitation. Young also discusses the major twenty-first century sub-genres which both re-use and subvert Fantasy conventions. The final chapter explores debates and anti-racist praxis in authorial and fan communities. With its multi-pronged approach and innovative methodology, this book is an important and original contribution to studies of race, Fantasy, and twenty-first century popular culture.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Re-thinking Genre, Thinking About Race
  • 1. Founding Fantasy: J. R. R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard
  • 2. Forming Habits: Derivation, Imitation, and Adaptation
  • 3. The Real Middle Ages: Gritty Fantasy
  • 4. Orcs and Otherness: Monsters on Page and Screen
  • 5. Popular Culture Postcolonialism
  • 6. Relocating Roots: Urban Fantasy
  • 7. Breaking Habits and Digital Communication
  • Afterword
Tags: , ,

End of Whiteness: Satanism & Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

Posted in Africa, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2016-07-16 02:11Z by Steven

End of Whiteness: Satanism & Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

Jacana Media
March 2016
240 pages
235x155mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781431423279

Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Satanism and family murder – bizarre responses to fear of change. This book examines the effects that apartheid may have had on those who benefitted from it the most.

The End of Whiteness aims to reveal the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa, and overall to show that whiteness is a deeply problematic category that needs to be deconstructed and thoughtfully considered.

This book uses contemporary media material to investigate two symptoms of this late apartheid cultural hysteria that appeared throughout the contemporary media and in popular literature during the 1980s and 1990s, showing their relation to white anxieties about social change, the potential loss of privilege and the destabilisation of the country that were imagined to be an inevitable consequence of majority rule.

The ‘Satanic panic’ revolved around the apparent threat posed by a cult of white Satanists that was never proven to exist but was nonetheless repeatedly accused of conspiracy, murder, rape, drug-dealing, cannibalism and bestiality, and blamed for the imminent destruction of white Christian civilisation in South Africa.

During the same period an unusually high number of domestic murder-suicides occurred, with parents killing themselves and their children or other family members by gunshot, fire, poison, gas, even crossbows and drownings. This so-called epidemic of family murder was treated by police, press and social scientists as a plague that specifically affected white Afrikaans families. These double monsters, both fantastic and real, helped to disembowel the clarities of whiteness even as they were born out of threats to it. Deep within its self-regarding modernity and renegotiation of identity, contemporary white South Africa still wears those scars of cultural pathology.

Tags: , ,

Can Biracial Activists Speak To Black Issues?

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-09 17:59Z by Steven

Can Biracial Activists Speak To Black Issues?

The Establishment
2016-07-06

Shannon Luders-Manuel

While my first instinct was to celebrate Jesse Williams’ recent Humanitarian Award from BET, my second instinct, which came just seconds later, was to brace myself for the backlash.

The Grey’s Anatomy actor and former teacher has been a highly visible activist within the Black Lives Matter movement, recently executive producing the documentary Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement. Yet those born of racial admixture are often viewed as half-as, half-ass appropriators of blackness. We’re often seen as deceitful, dangerous, and damaging to black solidarity.

In his BET acceptance speech, Williams called out police brutality and the racial injustices black people have faced throughout history: “There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t levied against us.” He added that, “We want [freedom] now.”

While fallout from his speech continues to reverberate—dueling petitions are now raging, calling for him to be fired from/kept on Grey’s Anatomy, respectivelyhis words were largely well-received in both black and white spheres. But, like anyone of mixed parentage who publicly rails against racial injustice, some questioned his right to speak at all…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

La Esclava Blanca: The New Telenovela Rewriting Colombia’s History of Slavery

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2016-07-07 01:15Z by Steven

La Esclava Blanca: The New Telenovela Rewriting Colombia’s History of Slavery

AAIHS: African American Intellectual History Society
2016-07-06

Yesenia Barragan
Columbia University, New York, New York

This is a guest post by Yesenia Barragan, a historian of race, slavery, and emancipation in Colombia, Afro-Latin America, and the Atlantic/Pacific worlds. She recently received her Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History at Columbia University and will be a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College in the Fall 2016. She is currently revising her book manuscript, tentatively titled The Darkest Place: Slavery and Emancipation on the Colombian Pacific, which is the first detailed study of the gradual abolition of slavery (1821-1852) and the immediate aftermath of emancipation in the Pacific lowlands of Colombia. Yesenia is also a longtime activist and has published several pieces for the Latin American news agency Telesur on the historical memory of slavery in the Americas, Black Lives Matter, and Colombian politics.

Between Underground and Roots, the past year has witnessed a boom in the cinematic portrayal of the ugly business of and resistance to slavery in the U.S. South. Little known to American audiences, however, is the recent debut of a television series from the Latin American country of Colombia titled La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave), which depicts the slaveholding world of post-colonial Colombia, currently the country with the third largest Afro-descendent population in the Western Hemisphere (after the United States and Brazil). Produced by Caracol TV (Colombia’s largest television network) and first aired in late January 2016 in Colombia, La Esclava Blanca was transmitted to a larger Spanish-language audience in the United States via Telemundo in April. In contrast to Brazil’s longer history of telenovelas (soap operas) set during the time of slavery (see, for example, Greg Childs’s AAIHS piece on A Escrava Isaura), La Esclava Blanca is actually the first telenovela about slavery in the history of Colombia. Yet, as reflected in the title of the telenovela (The White Slave), the show engages in a violent historical revisionism by centering the fantastical travails of a white woman who ostensibly holds the key of freedom for the region’s enslaved…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Inside Facebook’s Totally Adorable, Kind of Racist Mixed Race Baby Community

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2016-06-27 20:53Z by Steven

Inside Facebook’s Totally Adorable, Kind of Racist Mixed Race Baby Community

Broadly
2016-06-21

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

Thousands of people have signed up to Instagram and Facebook communities to celebrate the beauty of multiracial children. But not everyone is convinced that they have the purest intentions at heart.

In a world plagued by racism and prejudice, some people have hit on what they believe to be a simple but obvious solution. “Biracial babies!” they coo. “And they’re so cute, too!”

This is tongue in cheek, of course, but speaking as someone whose father is white and whose mother is black Caribbean, there does seem to be a growing and pervasive fascination with multiracial people. And in particular, babies…

…Recent census figures show mixed-race people are the fastest growing ethnic minority both in the US and the UK. These numbers are only set to rise, as predictions suggest that white people will no longer make up the majority of the US population by 2043. In the UK, one University of Oxford professor has said white Britons are set to become a minority in 2066.

Like many children, the lives of multiracial babies are intimately documented on social media, but they are arguably fixated on to a larger extent than most. Their pictures are all over the internet, under hashtags such as #BiracialBabies, #KardashianKids, #MixedLove, and #Diversity. On Instagram, accounts like Beautiful Mixed Kids and Mixed Babies Feature amass thousands of followers, along with regular picture submissions from doting family members…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

These 2 Ads Might Say Everything About How Global Racism Really Is

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2016-06-26 18:13Z by Steven

These 2 Ads Might Say Everything About How Global Racism Really Is

Multiracial Asian Families: thinking about race, families, children, and the intersection of mixed ID/Asian
2016-06-26

Sharon H. Chang

sigh.

SIGH.

Siiiiiiiiigh.

Alright that’s done. I want (pause) — well I don’t want, but feel like I need to show you two TV ads recently posted to YouTube literally within days of each other. Both are out of east Asia, Japan and China respectively. The first is a Toyota commercial out of Japan. It portrays a shiny techno-future funneled through the nostalgic eyes of a white father and happy memories of his mixed race Japanese family/children:

Not super hard to read the messaging here right? Japan is changing. Got it. Changing for the better. Got it. Symbolized by this mixed race family. Got it. And importantly, symbolized by this mixed race family with a white father. Got it. Now let me pause and give nod to something super important here. It is rare to see mixed families portrayed at all in Japan, a nation with an impressive history of racial-ethnic purity rhetoric, xenophobia, violent discrimination and practice. So yes I completely get that this Toyota commercial is a step forward.

At the same time it isn’t.

Now, check out this second commercial for Qiaobi laundry detergent out of China which has been airing at least since April…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Dwayne Johnson – “Race Shifter” in a “Post-Racial” World?

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-22 19:19Z by Steven

Dwayne Johnson – “Race Shifter” in a “Post-Racial” World?

Shadow and Act: On Film, Television and Web Content of Africa and Its Diaspora
2016-06-13

Sergio Mims


Dwayne Johnson

With “Central Intelligence” hitting theaters this weekend, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, a conversation worth having…

I’m sure we’ve all privy to all the chatter about how we’re now living in a so-called “post-racial” society. Though I think most of us would respond to that with a “Yeah right!” But things are changing, albeit slowly. And it dawned on me, with Johnson becoming one of Hollywood’s most dependable actors today, starring in blockbuster after blockbuster, and carrying some of them almost alone, that he’s the one person who could be an example of this “post-racial” utopia we’re supposed to be living in.

It should be very obvious by now that Johnson has been positioning himself to become a major movie star. He easily could have gone on to be a B-movie actor, content with taking supporting roles in action/exploitation films, and starring in direct-to-video movies, like some of his former WWE cohorts. But Johnson has much higher aspirations. And it’s not just the film projects that he’s attached himself to; either by design or by happenstance, it’s also how he’s been perceived racially by the public. He has become a “race shifter” for lack of a better word.

Through his obviously ethnic, but not clearly defined looks (he’s black Canadian/Samoan), he has managed to become “identified” as it were, by different audiences, as different things, and has used that to his advantage, whether intentionally or not. I should say that, of course, we identify him as a black actor here on S&A, or else we wouldn’t be covering him at all. And Johnson has never obscured, or refused to acknowledge his bi-racial heritage, unlike let’s say Vin Diesel, who has seemingly gone out of his way to not publicly acknowledge his mixed heritage, preferring to instead let people think he’s, perhaps, Italian…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Race in Post-War German Cinema in Drama ‘Toxi’ (Video)

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-06-12 21:39Z by Steven

Race in Post-War German Cinema in Drama ‘Toxi’ (Video)

IndiWire
April 2016

Sergio

For anyone interested in foreign films, one of the most interesting periods of German filmmaking was the post war period between 1946 to the mid 1960’s.

In effect, only two types of films were being made: pure escapist film such as musicals and comedies that were designed to make the audience completely forget the ugly events of the recent past. And then there were films like “The Lost One,” “Germany Year Zero,” and “Murderers Among Us” which explicitly dealt with the aftermath of the horrors of World War II and Germany’s guilt and repercussions.

But of all the films, one of the most fascinating, and worthy of rediscovery, is the 1952 film “Toxi,” co-written and directed by Robert Stemmie, who was a major and very successful director of the period. It was one of the very few German films made then, and even now, which seriously tried to deal with race. No doubt a very touchy and controversial subject considering Germany’s Nazi “racial purity” agenda.

For years the film was very difficult to see. I first saw it a few years ago during a film series of post-war German films. However, the film was eventually remastered and released on DVD and is available from the DEFA Film Library DVD series at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The film centers around an abandoned German “occupation baby,” which was the term for children of U.S. soldiers (stationed in Germany after the war) and German women, who were abandoned by their parents. It was estimated that there were some 3000-5000 of these children, many of whom were biracial…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

The Agonies Of “Passing” – Considering the Murder Mystery ‘Sapphire’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom, Videos on 2016-06-12 01:06Z by Steven

The Agonies Of “Passing” – Considering the Murder Mystery ‘Sapphire’

IndieWire
July 2014

Sergio

The Agonies Of “Passing” – Considering the Murder Mystery ‘Sapphire

Starting in the late 1940’s, and continuing through to the end of the ‘50’s, Hollywood seemed to be obsessed with the concept of “passing” –light skinned black people passing for white. Though it wasn’t new, of course, somehow it caught Tinseltown’s attention and a slew of films were made, almost all them dealing with women in particular, who passed for white and the tragedies and sorrow that they encountered.

Elia Kazan’sPinky,” “Lost Boundaries,” “Imitation Of Life,” “Band of Angels,” “The Night of the Quarter Moon,” “I Passed for White,” and the would-be “Gone with the Wind” rip-off, “Raintree County,” with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, which, technically may not be a “passing” movie, though it deals with a pre-Civil war, antebellum Southern belle (Taylor), who goes slowly insane because she believes her real mother was a slave, who was her father’s lover (turns out that she wasn’t, but Taylor dies anyway for all her grief).

But, for my money, the real doozy of the passing-for-white films wasn’t from Hollywood, but came instead from the U.K.

I’m referring to the 1959 British mystery detective film “Sapphire,” directed by Basil Dearden, who specialized, during the late 50′s and 60′s, in films with controversial subject matter, such as his 1961 film “Victim,” which dealt with a successful and closeted gay barrister who is being blackmailed, and fights back against his tormentors. It is credited for being the first movie in which the word “homosexual” was actually used in a film.

But “Sapphire” is in another realm altogether…

Read the entire review here. Watch the entire film, Sapphire here.

Tags: , , ,