Scholarly perspectives on the mixed race experience.
The whole being of a mulâtresse is given over to sensual pleasure and the flame of this goddess burns in her heart so as only to be snuffed out with life itself... Even the most inflamed imagination can conceive of nothing that she has not fathomed, concocted, experienced. Her sole vocation is to bewitch the senses, deliver them to the most delicious ecstasies, enrapture them with the most seductive temptations; nature, pleasure’s accomplice, has given her charms, endowments, inclinations, and what is indeed more dangerous, the ability to enjoy such sensations even more keenly than her partners, including some unknown to Sappho.
Moreau de Saint-Méry, Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie Française de l’isle Saint-Domingue, (1797): 104.
“It just gives me a different perspective. I feel everyone has their perspective because of where they’ve come from,” Noah told NBCBLK. “I’ve never been ashamed to say, nor do I shy away from that fact that I am black. I’ve grown up black, black is the only existence I’ve ever known. But it’s strange when you live in a world where people go ‘OK but biracial—then which piece of this, which piece of that?'”
Noah grew up under Apartheid in South Africa to a white Swiss father and a black South African mother. While his comedy is often unapologetically about race and racism, he is careful not to equate the racial tensions in the United States to the divisions and tensions in South Africa…
As children, we’re told to go after our dreams and not to let anyone deter us from whatever it may be… Well, can you imagine being 18 years old and telling your parents that you dream of hula-hooping for a living? That’s precisely what Marawa Ibrahim did.
Ibrahim, better known as Marawa the Amazing, is a record-breaking hula-hooper! She currently holds the Guinness world record for 160 hoops at once, and is known for roller-skating and hooping in high heels as part of her act. A natural born nomad, she was born to a Somalian father and an Australian mother. Inspired by the art of gymnasium, she took to Olga Korbut, Josephine Baker, and Delores Van Cartier to name a few.
Destined to live a world of her own making, Marawa enrolled in NICA- the National Institute of Circus Arts Australia– and earned her Bachelor of Circus Arts. Although she specialized in swinging trapeze, she always knew that hula-hoops was where her future lie…
Korla Pandit was a spiritual seeker, a television pioneer and the godfather of exotica music. Known for his hypnotic gaze, Korla captured the hearts of countless Los Angeles housewives in the 50s with his live television program that featured a blend of popular tunes and East Indian compositions, theatrically performed on a Hammond B3 organ. In the 90s he resurfaced as a cult figure with the tiki/lounge music aficionados, filling clubs, skating rinks and bars with retro hipsters. Often pegged as a “man of mystery,” Korla lived up to that billing when he took an amazing secret with him to his grave in 1998 – one that is revealed in Korla.
The biased film was fixed in the 1990s, so why do so many photos still distort darker skin?
For decades, the color film available to consumers was built for white people. The chemicals coating the film simply weren’t adequate to capture a diversity of darker skin tones. And the photo labs established in the 1940s and 50s even used an image of a white woman, called a Shirley card, to calibrate the colors for printing:
Concordia University professor Lorna Roth has researched the evolution of skin tone imaging. She explained in a 2009 paper how the older technology distorted the appearance of black subjects:
Problems for the African-American community, for example, have included reproduction of facial images without details, lighting challenges, and ashen-looking facial skin colours contrasted strikingly with the whites of eyes and teeth.
How this would affect non-white people seemingly didn’t occur to those who designed and operated the photo systems. In an essay for Buzzfeed, writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden described growing up with film that couldn’t record her actual appearance:
The inconsistencies were so glaring that for a while, I thought it was impossible to get a decent picture of me that captured my likeness. I began to retreat from situations involving group photos. And sure, many of us are fickle about what makes a good portrait. But it seemed the technology was stacked against me. I only knew, though I didn’t understand why, that the lighter you were, the more likely it was that the camera — the film — got your likeness right.
Many of the technological biases have since been corrected (though, not all of them, as explained in the video above). Still, we often see controversies about the misrepresentation of non-white subjects in magazines and advertisements. What are we to make of the fact that these images routinely lighten the skin of women of color?…