Well-meaning mixed people can also perpetuate the ideology of White supremacy.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-15 02:01Z by Steven

Well-meaning mixed people can also perpetuate the ideology of White supremacy. In 2007, I co-created a podcast exploring mixed identity. Each week, we discussed our and our guests’ responses to the ‘what are you’ question, and other common experiences of mixedness. We had a decent following and published episodes weekly. Then, a dear friend told me that a loyal fan had stopped listening. When I asked why, my friend’s response floored me: “You don’t address Whiteness.” My immediate reaction was defensive: What do you mean!? I acknowledge my mother is White and I’m half White all the time!

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, “Love, Alone, Will Not Dismantle Racism,” Girl Mob, November 13, 2017. http://thegirlmob.com/culture/dismantleracism.

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Love, Alone, Will Not Dismantle Racism

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-11-14 21:48Z by Steven

Love, Alone, Will Not Dismantle Racism

Girl Mob
2017-11-13

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Actor/Producer/Educator


Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni

For the last four years I have traveled across the globe presenting my one-woman show, One Drop of Love. The first two words of the play’s title refer to the one-drop rule. The one-drop rule was created to determine the amount of Sub-Saharan African blood necessary (‘one drop’) to justify enslaving and otherwise stripping away the rights of a person. These words in my title symbolize the historical and systemic racism inherent in the United States. I end the title and the play with the word love – for the hope I carry that we, collectively, will commit ourselves to dismantling this system. However, after the show, some audience members cling to the last word—love—while seemingly ignoring the first two.

While love may be helpful in change-making, there is necessary work to do before expecting people disenfranchised by racism to love their way to change—we must insist on truth and justice first…

Read the entire article here.

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Why We Need To Know The Story Of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2017-10-31 20:18Z by Steven

Why We Need To Know The Story Of Whiteness

Blavity
2017-10-31

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Photo: Shutterstock

Every year around our birthdays, our mom tells my brother and me the story of our births. This is the gift I look forward to most. Origin stories are important. They literally root us. Not everyone has full access to their origin story, however. Perhaps the most tragic end result of enslavement in the Americas is that many of our origin stories have been lost, manipulated and erased. Yet, we insist on learning about and from our past to direct our own futures, as seen by the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

One origin story we have access to — but that has not been fully told — is the story of Whiteness. How did White people become White?

When I say the story of Whiteness, I do not mean a story about a person, hero or villain who happens to be White. We have plenty of those. I’m talking about the period between 1619 — with the arrival of the first Africans to Virginia — and some 60 years later when laws created hierarchies based on an invented concept called ‘White.’ There are a lot of enslavement narratives, but why don’t we have films and TV shows about who counted as White at the time, and, most importantly: why?…

Read the entire article here.

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

Read the entire article here.

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Interracial Marriage Before And After The Historic Loving Decision

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 14:18Z by Steven

Interracial Marriage Before And After The Historic Loving Decision

WGBH News
WGBH 89.7 FM
Boston, Massachusetts
2017-06-13

Sally Jacobs


The family in the yard of their Scituate home from left to right: Pamela McCoy, Rayna’s mother, Harris, Rayna, London, Miles and Dominic. Credit: Courtesy of the Mackay family.

This story is part two of a special three-part series on interracial marriage. It was produced in collaboration with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Winston Cox and Trudy Kofford were married late on a February afternoon in 1966. She was 22-years-old, a green-eyed dreamer fresh from the hills of Oregon. He was 29, an ambitious doctoral candidate from Jamaica, with a wiry build.

Trudy, who is white, wore a wool dress with a rounded straw hat in honor of her mother, one of a tiny number of family members present for the couple that day. Her father had vowed to disown her if she married Cox, a black man. Minutes before the ceremony began, Trudy’s mother leaned over and whispered in Winston’s ear.

“The mother, she said, ‘Listen, if her daddy ever sees you he’ll kill you,’” Winston recalled. “She was very angry when she met me.”

Such opposition to interracial marriage was not uncommon back when Winston and Trudy took the bold step of marrying across racial lines, one year before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision — Loving v. Virginia — that struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Fifty years later, some things have decidedly changed while others have definitely not…


Winston Cox and Trudy Kofford on their wedding day, Feb. 4, 1966, in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Photo Credit: Courtesy

…Although Trudy has some Native-American blood, she had never met a black person growing up in Joseph, Oregon. In a way, Winston was just as naïve. He had grown up in Jamaica at a time of political upheaval, but had little racial awareness. There just weren’t many white people around during his childhood.

Still, though, they got married in 1966, one year before the Loving court decision would strike down laws nationwide prohibiting marriage between races. The ceremony was held in a mission in San Luis Obispo, California, where Winston had attended college. (California legalized interracial marriage in 1948.) Although they had many differences stemming from their upbringing, they shared a passion for social justice.

“We were Communists together,” said Trudy. “We were political. We studied Mao, and the Chinese Revolution.”

So much so, that when they had their second child in 1970 they called her Fanshen. It’s a Chinese word that means turning over. But it didn’t take long for race to come between them. By the time Fanshen was born, Winston had been kicked out of restaurants, barred from bathrooms and humiliated. As the politics of the decade grew more extreme, he grew an Afro and turned to the Black Panthers

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here.

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Onstage — and in life — an actress explores her racial identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-06-12 15:24Z by Steven

Onstage — and in life — an actress explores her racial identity

The Boston Globe
2017-06-12

Sally Jacobs


Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, who grew up in Cambridge and is biracial, has spent much of her life grappling with her racial identity through story and performance.

As a child, Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni had a cherished birthday ritual. It wasn’t cake or a favorite pancake breakfast. It was her mother’s retelling of her birth story, intended to reassure her about the details of her origins and her parents’ marriage, about which she had nagging questions.

In a way, she still does.

“I had this belief growing up that I’m not theirs,” explained DiGiovanni, 47, who grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Los Angeles. “I always tried to make Mom prove that she actually gave birth to me. So, I always started with, ‘When did you and Dad first kiss?’ I really couldn’t imagine them being together at all. Still can’t.”…

…“One Drop,” in which she plays 16 roles, examines the ever-changing racial classifications in the US Census through the lens of her own family experience. DiGiovanni is one of two children born to Winston and Trudy Cox, who were married in 1966 in California, a year before the Loving ruling but in a state where interracial marriage was legal.

As a couple, they collided head-on with racial discrimination. Winston Cox, a Jamaican, was barred from bathrooms, kicked out of restaurants, and humiliated. After he and his wife settled in Washington, D.C., their interests swiftly diverged. Winston joined the Black Panthers while his wife turned to the women’s movement. Now 80, Winston believes that race was the main reason the marriage ended.

“I couldn’t foresee the problems that would take place,” he said.

Trudy Cox, 74, who lives in an assisted-living facility in Boston, agrees race was a part of what divided them. “He just hated it that I was white,” she said. Not only did many of the Panthers’ meetings exclude white people, but Winston himself was growing increasingly uncomfortable around them…

Read the entire article here.

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The “Other” Box: A Conversation on Mixed America

Posted in Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2017-06-05 20:36Z by Steven

The “Other” Box: A Conversation on Mixed America

Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Radical Evolution
Studio G
31 West 27th Street, Floor 2
New York, New York 10001
Monday, 2017-06-05, 19:00-20:30 EDT (Local Time)

With Lawrence-Mihn Bùi Davis and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni. Jami Floyd, legal analyst, local host of WNYC’s “All Things Considered,” and a New York City native who is herself multiracial, will serve as moderator for the discussion.

For more information, click here.

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One Drop of Love: Fanshen Cox discusses mixed race in America

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-05-04 03:41Z by Steven

One Drop of Love: Fanshen Cox discusses mixed race in America

The Williams Record
Williamstown, Massachusetts
2017-05-03

Alex Medeiros, Opinions Editor


Fanshen Cox discusses her new work, ‘One Drop Love,’ while exploring history, family, class and love. Photo courtesy of Fanshen Cox

Last Thursday, the Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA) coordinated a one-woman show produced and written by Jamaican-American Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni. This performance was part of “Heritage Week” celebrating SOCA heritage. Cox’s interactive show, called “One Drop of Love,” explores history, family, class, justice and love. It challenges the audience to recognize the enduring power of the “one drop rule.”

In the 18th century, when the slave trade was in full force, many of the colonists who came to the Caribbean islands raped their slaves, resulting in mixed race children. Although some of these children were lighter skinned, like Cox, the “one drop rule” pronounced that one drop of African blood meant that the child was of African descent and therefore could not benefit from being the son or daughter of a white man. In fact, many millions of people in the United States still endure the repercussions of such an arbitrary rule, centuries after it was created.

Cox’s performance, also produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, aimed to address this issue of the “one drop rule.” As a half-Jamaican half-Caucasian woman, Fanshen has experienced her fair share of racial confusion…

Read the entire article here.

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How I Got Over: ‘One Drop of Love’ Performance and Conversation

Posted in Arts, Census/Demographics, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-04-06 02:09Z by Steven

How I Got Over: ‘One Drop of Love’ Performance and Conversation

The Greene Space
44 Charlton Street (corner of Varick Street), New York, New York
Thursday, 2017-04-06, 19:00 EDT (Local Time)


One Drop of Love (Photo by David Scarcliff)

Join us for a special presentation of “One Drop of Love,” a multimedia solo performance that explores the intersections of race, class and gender in search of truth, justice and love.

Written and performed by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, the interactive show parallels the history of changing demographics in the U.S. with DiGiovanni’s own family history, traveling from the 1700s to the present.

The ultimate goal of the performance is to encourage the discussion of race and racism openly and critically, and to commit to making the world more liberated for all.

WNYC editor Rebecca Carroll hosts a post-performance conversation with DiGiovanni as part of The Greene Space’s ongoing How I Got Over series.

For more information, click here.

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One Drop of Love is Headed to Broadway!

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2016-10-15 00:51Z by Steven

One Drop of Love is Headed to Broadway!

Theater Row
410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
New York, New York 10036
Thursday, 2016-10-13, 19:30 EDT (Local Time) Sold Out!
Sunday, 2016-10-16, 14:00 EDT (Local Time)

How does our belief in ‘race’ affect our most intimate relationships? One Drop of Love travels near and far, in the past and present to explore family, race, love and pain – and a path towards reconciliation. It is produced by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

One Drop of Love is headed to Broadway as part of the 7th Annual United Solo Theatre Festival on Thursday, October 16th. Show starts promptly at 2:00 pm. No late seating. General admission $23.25.

When purchasing tickets from the Telecharge website, be certain you’ve chosen Sunday, October 16th at 2:00PM. See you there – bring friends!

Ticketholders are invited to a celebration and discussion with Fanshen at nearby Chez Josephine following the performance.

Purchase tickets here.

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