Color Lines Are Blurred in ABC Comedy ‘Black-Ish’

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-19 18:29Z by Steven

Color Lines Are Blurred in ABC Comedy ‘Black-Ish’

The Associated Press
2014-09-19

Frazier Moore, Television Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Tracee Ellis Ross delivers perhaps the funniest line you’ll hear on a sitcom this fall.

The character she plays on ABC’s comedy “black-ish” is, like Ross, an appealing mix of beauty, smarts and zaniness. She is totally plausible as a savvy mother of four and the loving wife of an up-and-coming ad exec (co-star Anthony Anderson), not to mention a busy anesthesiologist.

In this upscale African-American family, Dr. Rainbow Johnson also happens to be biracial. This occasionally spurs Andre, her hubby, who’s forever fretting about the family’s black cred, to question whether she is certifiably “black.”

He does this in the series’ premiere, to which, unfazed, Rainbow fires back, “If I’m not really black, then could someone please tell my hair and my ass!”

Reminded of that line during a recent interview, Ross cracks up.

“That’s what I love about our show,” she says. “With that line, my character sums it all up: ‘Are you STILL coming from the world that believes all black people are the same and all black people should think the same? C’mon, Dre!’”

With remarkable humor and finesse, “black-ish” (which debuts Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. EDT) addresses race, culture, socio-economics and other weighty matters…

Read the entire article here.

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White mayor, black wife: Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray shatter an image in New York City

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-11-17 03:35Z by Steven

White mayor, black wife: Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray shatter an image in New York City

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
2013-11-16

Jesse Washington, National Writer/Race and Ethnicity
The Associated Press

Another milestone is passing in America’s racial journey: The next mayor of New York City is a white man with a black wife.

Even in a nation with a biracial president, where interracial marriage is more accepted and common than ever, Bill de Blasio’s marriage to Chirlane McCray is remarkable: He is apparently the first white politician in U.S. history elected to a major office with a black spouse by his side.

This simple fact is striking a deep chord in many people as de Blasio prepares to take office on Jan. 1, with McCray playing a major role in his administration…

Read the entire article here.

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Artists, Educators Laud Black Heritage In Dominican Republic

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Economics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-10-13 22:24Z by Steven

Artists, Educators Laud Black Heritage In Dominican Republic

The Associated Press
2013-10-11

Ezequiel Abiú López, Foreign Correspondent
The Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — In a school auditorium filled with laughing students, actresses Luz Bautista Matos and Clara Morel threw themselves into acting out a fairy tale complete with a princess, a hero and acts of derring-do.

Morel had wrapped a white plastic sheet around her multi-colored blouse, while Bautista donned a brown paper bag over her blue tights. The two black actresses wore their hair free and natural, decorated only with single pink flowers.

“Yes, you’re a princess,” said Bautista to Morel, who fretted that she didn’t look like a traditional princess with her dark complexion and hair. Bautista then turned to a young girl sitting in the front row, who shared the same African-descended features as both actresses. “And you too,” Morel said as the child smiled back at her.

The theater group Wonderful Tree has visited schools all over Santo Domingo and some in the countryside to spread the word among black children that their features and heritage should be a source of pride. That message, though simple, has been nothing less than startling in this Caribbean country, where 80 percent of people are classified as mulattos, meaning they have mixed black-white ancestry, but where many still consider being labeled black an offense.

Wonderful Tree represents a larger cultural movement that’s working to combat the country’s historic bias through arts and education. The Dominican choreographer Awilda Polanco runs a contemporary dance company that’s trying to rescue Afro-Caribbean traditions, while the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo has been training primary school teachers to respect and celebrate their students’ African heritage, including through skits that young children can more easily understand.

It’s a bid to transform a color-obsessed society where a majority of the country’s 10 million people choose to identify themselves as “Indio” — or “Indian” — on government documents despite their black roots, and many reject afros in favor of closely cropped hair or sleek blowouts. Public schools for decades even prohibited students from attending classes with their hair loose or in a natural frizz.

Such hair, in fact, is called “bad hair” in the local Spanish lexicon while straightened hair is “good hair.”…

…Women in the Dominican Republic spend an estimated 12 percent of their household budgets on hair salons and treatments, according to “Good Hair, Bad Hair,” which included an economic and anthropological study of Dominican beauty salons.

Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who oversaw the killing of some 17,000 Haitians in 1937 in an effort to expel them from the Dominican Republic, was himself a mulatto who used makeup to make his face lighter.

Trujillo was the first to include the term “Indio” in official documents, said historian Emilio Cordero Michel

Read the entire article here.

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Obama bares his ‘blackness’ in Trayvon speech

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-23 19:51Z by Steven

Obama bares his ‘blackness’ in Trayvon speech

The Buffalo News
2013-07-20

Sonya Ross
The Associated Press

In a move unparalleled among presidents, Barack Obama reflects on being black in America.

WASHINGTON – Something in President Obama’s voice caught Gregory C. Ellison’s ear. It was fleeting, subtle, and easy to miss — unless you’re a black man, too.

“In between his personal reflections on what it feels like to be an African-American man, and the history of pain and his strategic plan, there was what I call a very pregnant pause,” says Ellison, a theology professor in Atlanta.

“If I ever have an opportunity to talk to President Obama, I would ask him what was he searching in his soul during that pregnant pause?”

Obama was wrapped in presidential authority Friday as he talked to a nation rubbed emotionally raw in the week since the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was acquitted in a Florida courtroom.

Then, in a move hardly anyone saw coming, Obama unwrapped himself, and put his own young, black face on Trayvon’s dead, young, black body.

This first black president, the guy accused by some of running from his blackness, of trying to address black folks’ needs on the down low, suddenly lifted the veil off his black male identity and showed it to the world. It was something no American president before him could have done.

He had to do it, Obama said, because “Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.”…

Greg Carr, chairman of the Afro-American Studies department at Howard University in Washington, said the president “has an authenticity, because he does signal to the black community that he too has experienced what we experienced.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Put a hoodie on him and have him walk down an alley, and see how biracial he is then…

Posted in Barack Obama, Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-07-14 16:51Z by Steven

Exhibit A is President Barack Obama. He declined to check the box for “white” on his census form, despite his mother’s well-known whiteness.

Obama offered no explanation, but Leila McDowell has an idea.

“Put a hoodie on him and have him walk down an alley, and see how biracial he is then,” said McDowell, vice president of communications for the NAACP.

Jesse Washington, “Black or biracial? Census forces a choice for some,” The Associated Press, April 14, 2010. http://www.jessewashington.com/im-not-biracial.html.

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Trayvon Martin, my son, and the Black Male Code

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-14 16:20Z by Steven

Trayvon Martin, my son, and the Black Male Code

The Associated Press
2012-03-24

Jesse Washington, National Writer/Race and Ethnicity

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — I thought my son would be much older before I had to tell him about the Black Male Code. He’s only 12, still sleeping with stuffed animals, still afraid of the dark. But after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I needed to explain to my child that soon people might be afraid of him.

We were in the car on the way to school when a story about Martin came on the radio. “The guy who killed him should get arrested. The dead guy was unarmed!” my son said after hearing that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman had claimed self-defense in the shooting in Sanford, Fla.

We listened to the rest of the story, describing how Zimmerman had spotted Martin, who was 17, walking home from the store on a rainy night, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. When it was over, I turned off the radio and told my son about the rules he needs to follow to avoid becoming another Trayvon Martin – a black male who Zimmerman assumed was “suspicious” and “up to no good.”…

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Mississippi rebel’s descendants seek family facts

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States on 2013-07-07 01:33Z by Steven

Mississippi rebel’s descendants seek family facts

The Jackson Sun
2013-07-04

Laura Tillman, Associated Press

SOSO, MISS. — One hundred and fifty years have passed since the Civil War, but in Mississippi, the descendants of a legendary rebel are still separating the facts of his life from fiction.

Newton Knight, a white farmer from central Mississippi’s Jones County, rebelled against the Confederate Army. He spent years evading capture, living in swamps and the Piney Woods. He married a white woman named Serena and later moved in with a former slave named Rachel. She was owned by Knight’s family and carried their surname, and she had helped him during his days dodging the Confederate Army.

He shared his life with both women.

Today, Florence Knight Blaylock, 81, and her sister, Dorothy Knight Marsh, 69, are among those fascinated with the family legend. The sisters — who live in Soso — consider Newton and Rachel Knight their great-grandparents…

…According to historian Victoria Bynum, the county first acquired a reputation as the “Free State of Jones” because of the plentiful land that could be claimed by squatters. The title gained new significance after Knight’s rebellion against the Confederate Army.

Some say Rachel was of African descent, while others say she was an American Indian. Still others say she had a mixture of African, American Indian and white ancestry. Confusion is increased by the existence of several photographs purporting to show Rachel — all of different women.

The popular narrative holds that Serena, Newton’s wife, was white, but others say she also had American Indian ancestry…

…Davis Knight, a great-grandson of Newton Knight, Serena Knight and Rachel Knight, was tried in court on charges of illegal interracial marriage in 1948. Edgar and Randy Williamson, Newton Knight’s great-great-grandchildren, went to court in the 1960s after they were banned from a white school.

Blaylock recalls her family being called names such as “half-breed” and “white negro,” or worse, in the 1930s or ’40s. She remembers being stared at and whispered about as a child, and watching a band of rowdy white men pull her father and brother out of the house to beat them…

…Bynum, whose family also descends from Jones County, has written about the complicated social and legal terrain Knight’s descendants were forced to negotiate. Her work has been made more challenging by conflicting stories passed down by different branches of the Knight family…

Read the entire article here.

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Cheerios stands by TV ad showing mixed-race family

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-06-06 19:46Z by Steven

Cheerios stands by TV ad showing mixed-race family

Associated Press
2013-06-05

Leanne Italie, Entertainment and Lifestyles Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — A mom sits at her kitchen table when her grade schooler saunters up with a big box of Cheerios.

“Mom,” says the girl. “Dad told me Cheerios is good for your heart. Is that true?”

Cut to dad waking from a nap on the living room couch with a pile of Cheerios on his chest (where his heart is) crunchily cascading to the floor.

The message is in line with the company’s Heart Healthy campaign, except this 30-second ad features a black dad, white mom and biracial child and produced enough vitriol on YouTube last week that Cheerios requested the comments section be turned off.

This week, the company is standing by the fictitious family, which reflects a black-white racial mix uncommon in commercials today, especially in ads on TV, at a time when interracial and interethnic couples are on the rise in real life, according to 2010 U.S. Census data, brand strategists and marketing consultants.

“The reality is that in general most big companies don’t want to take a lot of risks,” said Laura Ries, who has written five books on marketing and brand strategy and consults for companies large, small and in between.

“The ability for nameless, faceless people to get on the Internet is out there, and companies don’t like it when people yell at them,” she said.

Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, said it’s the first time the ad campaign that focuses on family moments has featured an interracial couple, with General Mills Inc. casting the actors to reflect the changing U.S. population.

“We felt like we were reflecting an American family,” Gibson said…

Read the entire article here.

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In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Census/Demographics, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-04-30 02:56Z by Steven

In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

Associated Press
2013-04-29

Hope Yen

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

Census data and exit polling show that whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. Last year’s heavy black turnout came despite concerns about the effect of new voter-identification laws on minority voting, outweighed by the desire to re-elect the first black president.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, analyzed the 2012 elections for the AP using census data on eligible voters and turnout, along with November’s exit polling. He estimated total votes for Obama and Romney under a scenario where 2012 turnout rates for all racial groups matched those in 2004. Overall, 2012 voter turnout was roughly 58 percent, down from 62 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2004.

The analysis also used population projections to estimate the shares of eligible voters by race group through 2030. The numbers are supplemented with material from the Pew Research Center and George Mason University associate professor Michael McDonald, a leader in the field of voter turnout who separately reviewed aggregate turnout levels across states, as well as AP interviews with the Census Bureau and other experts. The bureau is scheduled to release data on voter turnout in May.

Overall, the findings represent a tipping point for blacks, who for much of America’s history were disenfranchised and then effectively barred from voting until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

But the numbers also offer a cautionary note to both Democrats and Republicans after Obama won in November with a historically low percentage of white supporters. While Latinos are now the biggest driver of U.S. population growth, they still trail whites and blacks in turnout and electoral share, because many of the Hispanics in the country are children or noncitizens…

Read the entire article here.

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Tries to Marry Quadroon

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2013-04-28 22:54Z by Steven

Tries to Marry Quadroon

Los Angeles Herald
Volume 35, Number 31 (1907-11-02)
page 2, column 6
Source: California Digital Newspaper Collection

By Associated Press

YUMA, Ariz,, Nov. 1-M. G. Graff, aged 21 years, white, of Riverside, Cal., and Addle Burkhart, aged 20, were refused the office of marriage by Probate Judge Godfrey here today and the license issued them was destroyed on the girl’s confession that she is a quadroon.

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