Sign My Name to Freedom: A Memoir of a Pioneering Life

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2018-02-20 00:00Z by Steven

Sign My Name to Freedom: A Memoir of a Pioneering Life

Hay House Inc.
2018-02-06
248 pages
6.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781401954215

Betty Reid Soskin

In Betty Reid Soskin’s 96 years of living, she has been a witness to a grand sweep of American history. When she was born in 1921, the lynching of African-Americans was a national epidemic, blackface minstrel shows were the most popular American form of entertainment, white women had only just won the right to vote, and most African-Americans in the Deep South could not vote at all. From her great-grandmother, who had been enslaved until her mid-20s, Betty heard stories of slavery and the times of terror and struggle for black folk that followed. In her lifetime, Betty has watched the nation begin to confront its race and gender biases when forced to come together in the World War II era; seen our differences nearly break us apart again in the upheavals of the civil rights and Black Power eras; and, finally, lived long enough to witness both the election of an African-American president and the re-emergence of a militant, racist far right.

The child of proud Louisiana Creole parents who refused to bow down to Southern discrimination, Betty was raised in the Bay Area black community before the great westward migration of World War II. After working in the civilian home front effort in the war years, she and her husband, Mel Reid, helped break down racial boundaries by moving into a previously all-white community east of the Oakland hills, where they raised four children while resisting the prejudices against the family that many of her neighbors held.

With Mel, she opened up one of the first Bay Area record stores in Berkeley both owned by African-Americans and dedicated to the distribution of African-American music. Her volunteer work in rehabilitating the community where the record shop began eventually led her to a paid position as a state legislative aide, helping to plan the innovative Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, then to a “second” career as the oldest park ranger in the history of the National Park Service. In between, she used her talents as a singer and songwriter to interpret and chronicle the great American social upheavals that marked the 1960s.

In 2003, Betty displayed a new talent when she created the popular blog CBreaux Speaks, sharing the sometimes fierce, sometimes gently persuasive, but always brightly honest story of her long journey through an American and African-American life. Blending together selections from many of Betty’s hundreds of blog entries with interviews, letters, and speeches, Sign My Name to Freedom invites you along on that journey, through the words and thoughts of a national treasure who has never stopped looking at herself, the nation, or the world with fresh eyes.

Contents

  • Editor’s Note
  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1 Creole/Black Cajun New Orleans
  • Chapter 2 Growing Up in Pre-War Bay Area
  • Chapter 3 Marriage and the War Years
  • Chapter 4 Into the Lion’s Den
  • Chapter 5 Breaking Down, Breaking Up
  • Chapter 6 The Movement Years
  • Chapter 7 An Emancipated Woman
  • Chapter 8 Richmond and Rosie and Betty the Ranger
  • Chapter 9 Shining Bright at Twilight: Lessons of a Life Long Lived
  • Epilogue
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author
  • About the Editor
  • Credits
Tags: , , , , ,

“Making the Beast with two Backs” – Interracial Relationships in Early Modern England

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-02-15 19:51Z by Steven

“Making the Beast with two Backs” – Interracial Relationships in Early Modern England

Literature Compass
Volume 12, Issue 1, January 2015
Pages 22–37
DOI: 10.1111/lic3.12200

Miranda Kaufmann, Senior Research Fellow
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study
University of London

Shakespeare’s tragedy of Othello and Desdemona has long attracted critics to consider the issues of interracial relationships and miscegenation in early modern England. More recently, other black characters have been found in Renaissance literature and an African presence in 16th and 17th century England has been demonstrated from archival sources. This article gives an overview of these developments and their implications for the study of interracial relationships in early modern literature. Evidence from the archives is brought to bear on different aspects of relationships both between black men and white women and between black women and white men. This new information about interracial marriages, as well as sexual intercourse or “fornication”, prostitution and the resulting mixed race children must be incorporated into the discussion of interracial relationships in Renaissance literature.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , ,

Kaufmann’s ‘Black Tudors’ to be ‘epic’ TV drama

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-02-15 18:48Z by Steven

Kaufmann’s ‘Black Tudors’ to be ‘epic’ TV drama

The Bookseller: At the Heart of Publishing since 1858
2018-02-15

Benedicte Page

The production company behind the ITV series “Vera” and BBC1’s “Shetland” has acquired exclusive television rights to Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann (Oneworld).

Kate Bartlett’s drama label, formerly known as ITV Studios, London Drama, and now rebranded as Silverprint Pictures, bought rights from Emily Hayward Whitlock at The Artists Partnership and Charlie Viney at The Viney Shaw Agency. Silverprint plans to develop stories from the book into “an epic and ambitious returning drama series.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

White Supremacy and the Dangerous Discourse of Liberal Tolerance

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2018-02-15 02:06Z by Steven

White Supremacy and the Dangerous Discourse of Liberal Tolerance

The Paris Review
2018-02-13

Ismail Muhammad
Oakland, California


A scene at the race disturbance in Wilmington, North Carolina. Originally published in Colliers Weekly, November 26, 1898.

Watching Donald Trump speak about the violent white-supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville last summer was a surreal experience. Not the first press conference where he referred to neo-Nazi protestors as “very fine people.” I mean the second time, when he repudiated those fine people. “Racism,” he intoned, clearly reading from a teleprompter, “is evil … white supremacists and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” Nobody could mistake his droning boredom for actual investment in the words he was speaking: his attempt to embrace the decorous discourse of liberal tolerance was baldly hypocritical.

As the summer ended and the fall semester began at U.C. Berkeley, where I study literature, far-right agitators descended along with the cool weather. A succession of activists and pundits—Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, and their ilk—made their way to campus. They brought the far-right protestors and threats of violence along with them, all the while invoking the language of tolerance and free speech. Berkeley’s former chancellor Nicholas Dirks even cited the campus community’s “values of tolerance” in defending Yiannopoulos’s appearance. The myriad ways in which people were deploying the word tolerance managed to drain the already-insufficient term of its content. All that was left was am empty concept that could accommodate any agenda. It was more clear than ever that the language of tolerance had become ineffective, just a mask behind which antipluralist demagogues could hide.

Admitting that Trump and the far right are capable of surprising me makes me feel unforgivably naive. At this point, to be surprised feels like a luxury, and I find myself bored with the chorus of outraged liberal critics who sound the alarm every time Trump breaks another democratic norm. But it’s worth inquiring why white supremacy continues to surprise us when white-race hatred is such an intractable aspect of American society. And how our shock perpetuates that violence.

In Charlottesville’s aftermath, I turned to Charles Chesnutt’s 1901 novel, The Marrow of Tradition. In his novel, Chesnutt—an impossibly industrious author, activist, lawyer, and educator—looks back at the wreckage of post-Reconstruction racial politics and attempts to answer these questions via historical fiction. Marrow is, among other things, an examination of how the genteel language of tolerance obscures and enables antiblack violence. In his focus on historical calamity—the Wilmington massacre narrowly and the collapse of Reconstruction more broadly—Chesnutt uses the form of the novel to examine how our shared language reinforces white supremacy’s grip on American society…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

What You’ll Never Understand About Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-02-15 01:37Z by Steven

What You’ll Never Understand About Being Biracial

Marie Claire
2018-02-05

Brianna Moné


Courtesy from left: Samantha Ferguson, Sarah Heikkinen, Kayla Boyd

Black people don’t have freckles.”

Those were the words that reverberated through Samantha Ferguson’s middle school–aged head after telling a boy at school that she was half-black and half-white. Classmates, confused by her appearance, had been hounding her with questions like, “What are you?”

Before middle school, Ferguson didn’t think she was different from other children. But, she says, the students at her predominately-white school, “dressed a certain way, looked a certain way, their hair was straight. My skin is not dark, but it’s a different tone, which made me stand out.”

Like all middle-schoolers Ferguson had crushes and wanted to be popular. “I could never be popular, though, because I didn’t look like everyone else. Boys didn’t have crushes on me because my hair was frizzy and I had freckles.”

It was the first time she realized that people are different colors—and receive different treatment because of that. “I didn’t know if I should tell my classmates I’m white, or if I should tell them that I’m black.” She didn’t know where she fit in. She didn’t know how to identify herself.

“Identity is understanding who we are in the world,” says Kerry Ann Rockquemore, co-author of Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America. “Part of that is how others understand us, and the other part is how we understand ourselves.”

For many biracial people, that understanding can be both elusive and arbitrary. From checking boxes on forms to fulfilling quotas, race is used to define and control so many aspects of everyday life. And biracial people are constantly faced with a choice…

“It really upset me. I’m a human being,” recalls Ferguson, now 24, a third-grade teacher in Glen Burnie, Maryland. “I wanted to ask them, ‘What are you?’” …

…“We have an expectation in society of what a black person should look like, or what a white person should look like,” says Sarah Gaither, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “And if you don’t look like that, that’s disruptful.”

Gaither, who is biracial, says she’s treated like a “party game:” “‘Guess what race she is. I bet you’ll never guess,’ they say. I don’t match anyone’s expectations.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Right now, census data are distorting one of the most transformative population developments of the early 21st century. A sizable and growing number of young people come from families with one white and one minority parent, as more adults form families across racial and ethnic lines.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-02-14 23:35Z by Steven

Today’s census questions misunderstand both Hispanic and white identity

Right now, census data are distorting one of the most transformative population developments of the early 21st century. A sizable and growing number of young people come from families with one white and one minority parent, as more adults form families across racial and ethnic lines. By far the largest group among them have Hispanic and white European ancestry.

But you wouldn’t know that from the 2000 or 2010 Census results. While 2000 was the first to allow Americans to report a multiracial heritage, neither it nor the 2010 Census allowed people to check off both part Hispanic and part something else.

Why? The culprit is that the census examines race and ethnicity with two questions: first, race; and then Hispanic origins. This format was created in accordance with a 1997 Office of Management and Budget memorandum that defined the standards for collecting and classifying ethnic and racial data to which all federal agencies must adhere.

Richard Alba, “There’s a big problem with how the census measures race,” The Washington Post, February 6, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/02/06/theres-a-big-problem-with-how-the-census-measures-race.

Tags: , ,

They considered themselves white, but DNA tests told a more complex story

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-02-14 23:26Z by Steven

They considered themselves white, but DNA tests told a more complex story

The Washington Post
2018-02-06

Tara Bahrampour

As more Americans take advantage of genetic testing to pinpoint the makeup of their DNA, the technology is coming head to head with the country’s deep-rooted obsession with race and racial myths. This is perhaps no more true than for the growing number of self-identified European Americans who learn they are actually part African.

For those who are surprised by their genetic heritage, the new information can often set into motion a complicated recalibration of how they view their identity.

Nicole Persley, who grew up in Nokesville, Va., was stunned to learn that she is part African. Her youth could not have been whiter. In the 1970s and ’80s in her rural home town, she went to school with farmers’ kids who listened to country music and sometimes made racist jokes. She was, as she recalls, “basically raised a Southern white girl.”

But as a student at the University of Michigan: “My roommate was black. My friends were black. I was dating a black man.” And they saw something different in her facial features and hair.

“I was constantly being asked, ‘What are you? What’s your ethnic background?’ ”…

…The test results can present an intriguing puzzle. When a significant amount of African DNA shows up in a presumably white person, “there’s usually a story — either a parent moved away or a grandparent died young,” said Angela Trammel, an investigative genealogist in the Washington area. “Usually a story of mystery, disappearance — something.”

For Persley, 46, the link turned out to be her grandfather, who had moved away from his native Georgia and started a new life passing as white in Michigan. He married a white woman, who bore Persley’s father…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

There’s a big problem with how the census measures race

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-14 23:06Z by Steven

There’s a big problem with how the census measures race

The Washington Post
2018-02-06

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Graduate Center, City University of New York


Activists hold signs during a news conference in front of the Supreme Court in 2015. (Getty Images)

Will the 2020 Census be accurate? A number of observers have been worrying about that question for several reasons. For instance, the Justice Department has been trying to insert a citizenship question on the census form; such a question could discourage many immigrants from completing the form. As a result, cities and regions with large numbers of immigrants could see their populations seriously undercounted, with troubling results for political representation, services and funding.

But there’s another reason to be worried, one that hasn’t gotten much attention. The Census Bureau just announced that its 2020 form will not fundamentally change the questions it uses to ask about ethnic and racial origins. This may seem like a minor technical issue — but it will have major real-world implications. If it does not incorporate already-tested improvements into these questions, the census will deliver a less accurate picture of the United States.

And as a result, census statistics will continue to roil the public discussion of diversity, by exaggerating white decline and the imminence of a majority-minority United States. Political figures and pundits who oppose immigration and diversity could exploit that, peddling an alarmist narrative that doesn’t fit with the long-standing reality of mixing between immigrant and established Americans….

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2018-02-14 04:47Z by Steven

The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

University of Minnesota Press
2018
320 pages
9 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-1-5179-0156-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-5179-0155-4

Jaime Amparo Alves, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Staten Island of the City University of New York
also: Associate Researcher
Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos of Universidad Icesi/Colombia

An important new ethnographic study of São Paulo’s favelas reveals the widespread use of race-based police repression in Brazil

While Black Lives Matter still resonates in the United States, the movement has also become a potent rallying call worldwide, with harsh police tactics and repressive state policies often breaking racial lines. In The Anti-Black City, Jaime Amparo Alves delves into the dynamics of racial violence in Brazil, where poverty, unemployment, residential segregation, and a biased criminal justice system create urban conditions of racial precarity.

The Anti-Black City provocatively offers race as a vital new lens through which to view violence and marginalization in the supposedly “raceless” São Paulo. Ironically, in a context in which racial ambiguity makes it difficult to identify who is black and who is white, racialized access to opportunities and violent police tactics establish hard racial boundaries through subjugation and death. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in prisons and neighborhoods on the periphery of this mega-city, Alves documents the brutality of police tactics and the complexity of responses deployed by black residents, including self-help initiatives, public campaigns against police violence, ruthless gangs, and self-policing of communities.

The Anti-Black City reveals the violent and racist ideologies that underlie state fantasies of order and urban peace in modern Brazil. Illustrating how “governing through death” has become the dominant means for managing and controlling ethnic populations in the neoliberal state, Alves shows that these tactics only lead to more marginalization, criminality, and violence. Ultimately, Alves’s work points to a need for a new approach to an intractable problem: how to govern populations and territories historically seen as “ungovernable.”

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: On Our Own Terms
  • 1. Macabre Spatialities
  • 2. “Police, Get off My Back!”
  • 3. The Favela-Prison Pipeline
  • 4. Sticking Up!
  • 5. Bringing Back the Dead
  • Conclusion: Blackpolis
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
Tags: , ,

What Doctors Should Ignore

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-14 04:27Z by Steven

What Doctors Should Ignore

The New York Times
2017-12-08

Moises Velasquez-Manoff


Joan Wong

Science has revealed how arbitrary racial categories are. Perhaps medicine will abandon them, too.

Sickle cell anemia was first described in 1910 and was quickly labeled a “black” disease. At a time when many people were preoccupied with an imagined racial hierarchy, with whites on top, the disease was cited as evidence that people of African descent were inferior. But what of white people who presented with sickle cell anemia?

Doctors twisted themselves into knots trying to explain those cases away. White sickle cell patients must have mixed backgrounds, they contended — a black forebear they didn’t know about perhaps, or one they didn’t want to mention. Or maybe white patients’ symptoms didn’t stem from sickle cell anemia at all, but some other affliction. The bottom line was, the disease was “black,” so by definition white people couldn’t get it.

Today, scientists understand the sickle cell trait as an adaptation to malaria, not evidence of inferiority. One copy of the sickle cell trait protects against malaria. Having two can cause severe anemia and even death. Scientists also know that the trait is common outside Africa across the “malaria belt” — the Arabian Peninsula, India and parts of the Mediterranean Basin. And people historically considered white can, in fact, carry it. In the Greek town of Orchomenos, for example, the gene is more prevalent than it is among African-Americans.

We know all this, and yet the racialization of the disease, the idea that it occurs only in people of sub-Saharan African descent, persists. “When I talk to medical students, I get this all the time — ‘Sickle cell is a black trait,’ ” Michael Yudell, chairman of the department of community health and prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, told me.

That’s worrisome for many reasons, he says, chief among them that it may result in subpar medical care for some patients. Case in point: California’s universal blood disorder screening program has identified thousands of nonblack children with the sickle cell trait and scores with the disease — patients who, had doctors stuck to received “wisdom,” might have been missed.

Professor Yudell belongs to a growing chorus of scholars and researchers who argue that in science at least, we need to push past the race concept and, where possible, scrap it entirely. Professor Yudell and others contend that instead of talking about race, we should talk about ancestry (which, unlike “race,” refers to one’s genetic heritage, not innate qualities); or the specific gene variants that, like the sickle cell trait, affect disease risk; or environmental factors like poverty or diet that affect some groups more than others…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,