Little White Lie

Posted in Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Passing, Religion, United States, Videos on 2014-12-15 00:59Z by Steven

Little White Lie

Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
Monday, 2015-03-23, 22:00 EST (21:00 CST) (check schedule here)

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

At age 18, she finally confronts her mother and learns the truth: her biological father was not the man who raised her, but an African American man named Rodney with whom her mother had had an affair. Afraid of losing her relationship with her parents, Lacey doesn’t openly acknowledge her newly discovered black identity with her white family. When her biological father dies shortly before Lacey’s 30th birthday, the family secret can stay hidden no longer. Following the funeral, Lacey begins a quest to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and heal her relationship with the only father she ever knew.

Schwartz pieces together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.

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INTERVIEW: Martha S. Jones, University of Michigan Professor

Posted in Anthropology, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-12-14 23:25Z by Steven

INTERVIEW: Martha S. Jones, University of Michigan Professor

Impolite Conversations

John L. Jackson Jr., Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Anthropology, and Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

Impolite Conversations is a fascinating collection of essay that captures a set of exchanges between journalist Cora Daniels and cultural anthropologist John L. Jackson, Jr. I make an appearance in Jackson’s chapter titled “All my best friends are light skinned women.” You’ll have to read the book to see how I fare. But check out my brief exchange with John about how I think about the question of skin color today here. This episode is part of their Impolite Conversations Web Series.

View the interview here. Download the interview here.

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Female Slaves and the Law

Posted in History, Law, Slavery, United States, Videos, Women on 2014-12-08 21:16Z by Steven

Female Slaves and the Law

C-SPAN: Created by Cable
Lectures in History

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

Professor Martha Jones talked about the mid-19th century court case of Celia, a female slave who killed her master after repeated sexual assaults. Topics included what options Celia may have had, and the involvement of her fellow slaves and her master’s white neighbors in her court case.

View the lecture here (01:21:40). See also, “Celia, A Slave, Trial (1855): An Account” by Douglas O. Linder (2011).

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James Baldwin asks ‘How are white Americans so sure they are white?’

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-12-06 01:56Z by Steven

James Baldwin asks ‘How are white Americans so sure they are white?’

Dangerous Minds

Paul Gallagher

In 1963, James Baldwin wrote two essays that examined the role of race and racism in the history of America. Published in The New Yorker, Baldwin’s first essay, written in the form of a letter to his fourteen-year-old nephew on the 100th anniversary of Emancipation explained “the crux of [his] dispute with [his] country”:

You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity…

…Baldwin began by talking about a visit to the British Museum where he got in conversation with a West Indian man who asked the writer where he was from…

…Baldwin went onto explain why he doesn’t know—for his ancestral entry into America was by a “bill of sale, which stops you from going any further.”

But Baldwin wasn’t interested in just offering personal historical context of the black American experience, he also asked provocative and difficult questions about white ethnicity and the complex relationship between all Americans:

White men lynched negroes knowing them to be their sons.
White women watched men being lynched knowing them to be their lovers…
How are white Americans so sure they are white?

The point is racism damages everyone.

In light of the institutionalised racism exposed by the Michael Brown fiasco in Ferguson, the killing of Eric Garner in New York and the rise of racist and xenophobic politics across Europe and the Middle East, Horace Ové‘s film of James Baldwin and Dick Gregory is necessary viewing.

Read the entire article here.

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Bill De Blasio Responds To Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-12-03 23:56Z by Steven

Bill De Blasio Responds To Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

The Huffington Post

Sam Levine, Associate Politics Editor

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Wednesday that a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner was a decision “that many in our city did not want.”

The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put Garner in a chokehold that was captured on video during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes in July. In the video, Garner can be heard repeating, “I can’t breathe.”

In a statement, de Blasio called Garner’s death “a great tragedy” but said that any protests following the decision should be peaceful. He said that his administration was working with police to make sure that similar incidents did not happen in the future. De Blasio also noted that there would be a NYPD internal investigation as well as a separate investigation by the U.S. Attorney…

…During a press conference on Staten Island Wednesday evening, de Blasio called for peaceful demonstrations and spoke in personal terms about Garner’s death. Mentioning that he had met with Garner’s father, de Blasio said that he couldn’t help but think of his own son, Dante, who is black.

“I couldn’t help but immediately think what it would mean to me to lose Dante. Life would never be the same for me after,” de Blasio said. “Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face,” he added.

“No family should have to go through what the Garner family went through,” de Blasio said…

Read the entire article here.

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Latino Life: Are We Tolerant Of Our Own Hispanic Diversity?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-12-01 01:21Z by Steven

Latino Life: Are We Tolerant Of Our Own Hispanic Diversity?

NBC News

Raul A. Reyes

Being Latino means being part of a rich, diverse culture. Or does it? Some Latinos feel removed from their peers because of their skin color, language ability, or mixed-race heritage. Others have faced criticism for holding political views at odds with the Hispanic mainstream. In fact, many Latinos know all too well what it is like not to fit in with their own community.

“Most people believe that all Latinos look like the stereotypical Puerto Rican or Mexican,” said Mirna Martinez-Santiago, 43, a New York attorney. “I am from Honduras. I am black, racially, but I identify as Latina.”

The host of The Opinion Talk Show gave some examples of how her skin color has caused confusion – and awkward moments.

“I walk into a Dominican hair salon and the employees are talking about me,” Martinez-Santiago said. “I can hear them talk about my pelo malo (bad hair). I tell them there is nothing wrong with my hair, and they are shocked that I can understand them. I try to educate people, but the best way to educate people is just by being,” said Martinez-Santiago…

Julie A. Dowling, associate professor of Latina/o Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said Latino identity depends on many factors, including regional differences, national origin, physical features and language ability.

“There are wide, diverse experiences in competition with the stereotypical images. So people are constantly judged by these images,” Dowling explained.

“The stereotype of Latinos is that they are Mexican, Spanish-speaking immigrants, and possibly undocumented,” Dowling said. “And because it is such a strong stereotype, people often define themselves in relation to it.”

The author of a new book on Latino identity, Dowling added that “even the U.S. Census Bureau is still trying to figure out who Latinos are.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Dorothy Roberts, “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race.”

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Videos on 2014-11-28 23:08Z by Steven

Dorothy Roberts, “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race.”

McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S4L9, Canada

Public Lecture: Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology at UPenn, came to McMaster University on October 23, 2014 to give a lecture titled “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race.”

In her talk, Roberts examined the myth of the biological concept of race – revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases – continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era.

Presented by the Bourns Lectureship in Bioethics and the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest.

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Explaining Ferguson to interracial children

Posted in Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-11-28 04:07Z by Steven

Explaining Ferguson to interracial children

St. Louis, Missouri

Christina Coleman, Anchor-Reporter

Family Counselor Michael Herold strongly recommends having plenty of discussions about the different cultural traditions experiences that make up the child’s racial background on both sides of their family.

View the video here.

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Movie “Little White Lie” Creator Lacey Schwartz Talks Not Knowing She Was Black [VIDEO]

Posted in Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos on 2014-11-26 17:39Z by Steven

Movie “Little White Lie” Creator Lacey Schwartz Talks Not Knowing She Was Black [VIDEO]

HOT 97, WQHT 97.1 FM
New York, New York

Ebro Darden, Co-Host

Peter Rosenberg, Co-Host

Laura Stylez, Co-Host

Could you imagine living your entire life not knowing your true ethnic background? Movie director Lacey Schwartz can. Watch her talk about her new film “Little White Lie” and more:

[00:07:02] Ebro Darden: I existed in a world where I didn’t really… my mother’s mother had passed… when she was young. My mother’s father didn’t acknowledge me at all. Um, and even to this day, my mother likes to debate it as if he didn’t acknowledge me for some other reason other than race…

Lacey Schwartz: Hmm. Hmm.

Darden: When it was really race. When it was straight-up the fact that she had a son who was half-black.

Schwartz: Yeah.

Darden: Some of her step-siblings were cordial, but it wasn’t like a full embrace. So I got embraced mostly by my father’s side of the family…

Schwartz: Hmm. Hmm.

Darden: That’s how I was raised. That was the culture I was around. Which obviously plays itself out now… Um, in some ways because I consider myself black. I’m mixed-race, but I consider myself black. There are mixed-race individuals though, who consider themselves mixed, other, whatever, blah, blah, blah…

Schwartz: Yeah.

Darden: But I did just hear you say that you consider yourself “black.”

Schwartz: I do. I consider myself black. I consider myself biracial too. But for me—I’m not trying to define it for other people—because as you just said, other people feel differently. But, I look at being biracial as a category of being black.

Darden: And why is that?

Schwartz: You know, I think it really comes down to feeling like a person of color… like “other.” You know, and this ideal that whiteness so much is not really embraced or fully identified in this country, you know it is almost looked at as a neutral. And I don’t feel neutral. You know so, do I think that there’re elements of me that is connected to the fact that I grew up white. And I do think that I have a unique experience. That I grew up white and I do know what it is to be black, I identify as black…

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What is Dion Boucicault’s THE OCTOROON?

Posted in Arts, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Videos on 2014-11-23 20:18Z by Steven

What is Dion Boucicault’s THE OCTOROON?

The Soho Repository
New York, New York

James Leverett, Professor (Adjunct) of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism
Yale School of Drama

Professor of Dramatic Criticism James Leverett from The Yale School of Drama joins us in this video to give context and background to Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama The Octoroon. In our next mainstage play, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has radically reshaped the original to dizzying meta-theatrical effect.

Boucicault’s play courted immediate controversy when it debuted in the US. The play examines race, slavery, gender, and the 19th century’s perception of these themes; in other words, a prime play for Jacob-Jenkins (author of the blistering Neighbors and current Appropriate at Signature Theatre) to explore.

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