A Racial Paradise? Race and Race Mixture in Henry Louis Gates’ Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-11-27 14:45Z by Steven

A Racial Paradise? Race and Race Mixture in Henry Louis Gates’ Brazil

Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
Volume 8,  Issue 1, 2013
pages 88-91
DOI: 10.1080/17442222.2013.768464

Chinyere Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

In this documentary, Henry Louis Gates explores the extent to which the notion of being a racial paradise applies to Brazil. He introduces Brazil’s contradictions of being the last country to abolish slavery’ in the New World in 1888, yet the first to declare that it was free of racism. He explores a variety of cities in Brazil in order to understand the history of early race mixture, contemporary valorization of Blackness, and attempts to address racial inequality. As a viewer, we watch how Gates’ fascination with the Brazil’s African heritage and race mixture at the beginning of the film turns into a questioning of the myth of racial democracy.

The film is useful in terms of providing a primer on race in Brazil for novices on race in Latin America. Geared towards the general public, this is a film that could be used in an introductory course for undergraduates about race in Brazil or Latin America more broadly. Its strengths are in illuminating the nature of slavery and race mixture in Brazil’s history while introducing the racial ideologies of whitening and racial democracy. Gates introduces scholars such as Manoel Querino and the more renowned Gilberto Freyre to discuss their scholarship on black contributions to Brazilian society. Gates’ film also has vibrant images of Carnaval, capoeira, and a Candomblé ceremony, providing opportunities for students to gain exposure to these African-influenced cultural practices.

This film is somewhat problematic in terms of illuminating racial and color categories in contemporary Brazil. Gates indirectly cites a 1976 Brazilian National Household Survey study that found people used over 100 terms to describe their color. Gates says: ‘In the U.S., a person with any African ancestry is legally defined as black. In Brazil, racial categories are on steroids.’ However, this perspective has been discredited by scholars who argue that most Brazilians only use a handful of terms to describe themselves. In fact, re-examinations of the same 1976 survey found that 95 percent of Brazilians used only six terms to describe themselves: branco, moreno, pardo, moreno-claro, preto and negro (Silva, 1987; Telles, 2004). The 10 most common terms were the aforementioned as well as amarela, mulata, clara, and morena-escura. All together, these 10 terms account for how 99 percent of all Brazilians think of their race/color. These findings have been replicated using more national survey data (Petruccelli, 2001; Telles, 2004). However, the myth of the hundreds of racial and color terms that Brazilians use to identify themselves will not die, and now Gates aids in perpetuating it…

Read or purchase the article here.

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The 10 Percenter

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2013-10-17 02:41Z by Steven

The 10 Percenter

The New York Times
2011-10-13

Robert S. Boyton

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is having lunch at New York’s Union Square Cafe, hoping Danny Meyer’s chicken soup will soothe his allergies. He has just returned from Newark, where he interviewed Mayor Cory Booker for his new PBS series, “Finding Your Roots.” After lunch he’s catching a flight to Martha’s Vineyard for Bill Clinton’s birthday party. Author of 14 books, editor in chief of the online publication The Root, documentary producer and presenter, Gates, 61, is a one-man multimedia industry.

“I have no plans to slow down,” he says cheerfully.

A clear line runs through Gates’s myriad projects. “I want to get into the educational DNA of American culture,” he says. “I want 10 percent of the common culture, more or less, to be black.” Gates’s love of technology has been a boon in this regard. He is always thinking about new ways to circulate his ideas. “The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature” (1996) included a CD of oral literature with recordings of poets like Langston Hughes reading their work. He followed up “Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African American Experience” (1999) with Microsoft’s Encarta Africana on CD-ROM. The success of The Huffington Post inspired him to start The Root, The Washington Post’s online African-American publication. “I’m a tech geek. Whenever I read about something new, I think to myself, How can I take this and make it black?”…

…Gates is a member of the Personal Genome Project at Harvard Medical School, and he and his late father (who died at age 97 on Christmas Eve, 2010) were the first African-Americans to have their entire genomes sequenced. The tests showed that Gates Jr. has 50 percent European ancestry and descends from John Redman, a free African-American who fought in the Revolutionary War. In 2006, Gates was inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution. “When I do a black person’s DNA, there are never any people who are 100 percent black, no matter how dark they are,” he says…

Read the entire article here.

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Who Was the 1st Black Duke?

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2013-05-28 20:20Z by Steven

Who Was the 1st Black Duke?

The Root
2013-05-13

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor of History
Harvard University


Porträt des Alessandro de Medici by Pontormo, 1534-1535

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: Meet the scion of a legendary Italian dynasty.

Editor’s note: For those who are wondering about the retro title of this black-history series, please take a moment to learn about historian Joel A. Rogers, author of the 1934 book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof, to whom these “amazing facts” are an homage.

I discovered the answer to the question above while visiting the Walker Art Museum’s exhibition “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe,” now at Princeton University. I was astonished when I encountered Bronzino’s “Portrait of Duke Alessandro de’ Medici,” a mulatto by the sight of him who, the exhibit claimed, also happened to be a member of one of the most powerful families in history and the first Duke of Florence almost 500 years ago! 

Fascinated, I hurried home to see if Joel A. Rogers had included him in his various compilations of famous black people, many of whom were mixed race, liked this man appeared to be. Sure enough, Rogers listed him both in his 100 Amazing Facts and in Volume II of his The World’s Great Men of Color. His conclusion startled me: “That Alessandro was a tyrant there is no doubt whatever,” a remarkably frank assessment from Rogers, who had a tendency to romanticize the achievements of just about every person of even the proverbial “one drop” whom he discovered hidden in the shadows of world history. I wanted to know more about this man. Here are the highlights of what I learned.

A Pivotal Potentate

Like the first black president of Mexico, Vicente Guerrero, and our first black president, Barack Obama, Alessandro de’ Medici (1511-1537)—the first black head of state in the history of the modern Western world—was a mulatto. He was the son of an African slave and one of two Medici males, either a duke or a future pope. With the latter’s blessing, Alessandro served as duke himself—of Florence—from the age of 19 to his assassination at age 26 at the hands of his cousin. The reason the cousin gave: Alessandro was a tyrant out of step with his times, a military ruler in a republican age…

Read the entire article here.

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Nation of Cowards: Black Activism in Barack Obama’s Post-Racial America

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-08-23 01:37Z by Steven

Nation of Cowards: Black Activism in Barack Obama’s Post-Racial America

Indiana University Press
2012-08-14
176 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-253-00628-8

David H. Ikard, Associate Professor of English
Florida State University

Martell Lee Teasley, Professor of Social Work
University of Texas, San Antonio

In a speech from which Nation of Cowards derives its title, Attorney General Eric Holder argued forcefully that Americans today need to talk more—not less—about racism. This appeal for candid talk about race exposes the paradox of Barack Obama’s historic rise to the US presidency and the ever-increasing social and economic instability of African American communities. David H. Ikard and Martell Lee Teasley maintain that such a conversation can take place only with passionate and organized pressure from black Americans, and that neither Obama nor any political figure is likely to be in the forefront of addressing issues of racial inequality and injustice. The authors caution blacks not to slip into an accommodating and self-defeating “post-racial” political posture, settling for the symbolic capital of a black president instead of demanding structural change. They urge the black community to challenge the social terms on which it copes with oppression, including acts of self-imposed victimization.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Is America a Nation of Cowards or Has Attorney General Eric Holder Lost His Mind?
  • 1. The Teaching Moment that Never Was: Henry Louis Gates, Barack Obama, and the Post-Racial Dilemma
  • 2. “I Know What’s in His Heart”: Enlightened Exceptionalism and the Problem with Using Barack Obama as the Racial Litmus Test for Black Progress and Achievement
  • 3. The Audacity of Reverend Wright: Speaking Truth to Power in the 21st Century
  • 4. Setting the Record Straight: Why Barack Obama and America Cannot Afford to Ignore a Black Agenda
  • 5. Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps: Barack Obama, the Black Poor, and the Problems of Racial Common Sense
  • Index
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The Passing of Anatole Broyard

Posted in Biography, Books, Chapter, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-08-01 04:18Z by Steven

The Passing of Anatole Broyard

Chapter in Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man
Random House
1997
256 pages
ISBN: 978-0-679-77666-6

Chapter pages: 180-214

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research
Harvard University

In 1982, an investment banker named Richard Grand-Jean took a summer’s lease on an eighteenth-century farmhouse in Fairfield, Connecticut; its owner, Anatole Broyard, spent his summers in Martha’s Vineyard. The house was handsomely furnished with period antiques, and the surrounding acreage included a swimming pool and a pond. But the property had another attraction, too. Grand-Jean, a managing director of Salomon Brothers, was an avid reader, and he took satisfaction in renting from so illustrious a figure. Anatole Broyard had by then been a daily book reviewer for the Times for more than a decade, and that meant that he was one of literary America’s foremost gatekeepers. Grand-Jean might turn to the business pages of the Times first, out of professional obligation, but he turned to the book page next, out of a sense of self. In his Walter Mittyish moments, he sometimes imagined what it might be like to be someone who read and wrote about books for a living—someone to whom millions of readers looked for guidance.

Broyard’s columns were suffused with both worldliness and high culture. Wry, mandarin, even self-amused at times, he wrote like a man about town, but one who just happened to have all of Western literature at his fingertips. Always, he radiated an air of soigné self-confidence: he could be amiable in his opinions or waspish, but he never betrayed a flicker of doubt about what he thought. This was a man who knew that his judgment would never falter and his sentences never fail him.

Grand-Jean knew little about Broyard’s earlier career, but as he rummaged through Broyard’s bookshelves he came across old copies of intellectual journals like Partisan Renew and Commentary, to which Broyard had contributed a few pieces in the late forties and early fifties. One day, Grand-Jean found himself leafing through a magazine that contained an early article by Broyard. What caught his eye, though, was the contributor’s note for the article—or, rather, its absence. It had been neatly cut out, as if with a razor.

A few years later, Grand-Jean happened on another copy of that magazine, and decided to look up the Broyard article again. This time, the note on the contributor was intact. It offered a few humdrum details—that Broyard was born in New Orleans, attended Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research, and taught at New York University’s Division of General Education. It also offered a less humdrum one: the situation of the American Negro, the note asserted, was a subject that the author “knows at first hand.” It was an elliptical formulation, to be sure, but for Anatole Broyard it may not have been elliptical enough.

Broyard was born black and became white, and his story is compounded of equal parts pragmatism and principle. He knew that the world was filled with such snippets and scraps of paper, all conspiring to reduce him to an identity that other people had invented and he had no say in. Broyard responded with X-Acto knives and evasions, with distance and denials and half-denials and cunning half-truths. Over the years, he became a virtuoso of ambiguity and equivocation. Some of his acquaintances knew the truth; many more had heard rumors about “distant” black ancestry (wasn’t here a grandfather who was black? a great-grandfather?). But most were entirely unaware, and that was as he preferred it. He kept the truth even from his own children. Society had decreed race to be a matter of natural law, but he wanted race to be an elective affinity, and it was never going to be a fair fight. A penalty was exacted. He shed a past and an identity to become a writer—a writer who wrote endlessly about the act of shedding a past and an identity…

Read the entire chapter here.

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Michelle’s Great-Great-Great-Granddaddy—and Yours

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2012-07-11 21:52Z by Steven

Michelle’s Great-Great-Great-Granddaddy—and Yours

The Root
2009-10-08

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research
Harvard University

First Lady Michelle Obama’s maternal third-great-grandfather was a white man who fathered Melvinia Shields’ (her maternal third great-grandmother) son, Dolphus T. Shields, both slaves. This discovery, like all recoveries of the identities of ancestors we thought had been obliterated in the crucible of slavery, is first and foremost a welcome gift for the first family, especially for Michelle’s mother, Marian Shields Robinson, and the Shields family line. And for anyone still naïve enough to believe in the myth of racial purity, it is one more corroboration that the social categories of “white” and “black” are and always have been more porous than can be imagined, especially in that nether world called slavery.

As I have learned since embarking upon my African American Lives series (for PBS), never before are more African Americans determined to ferret out the names of their slave ancestors, and never before have more resources, especially online, been available to facilitate these searches. But, be prepared. To paraphrase the Bible: seek; but fasten your seat belt as to what ye may find…

…African Americans, just like our first lady, are a racially mixed or mulatto people—deeply and overwhelmingly so. Fact: Fully 58 percent of African-American people, according to geneticist Mark Shriver at Morehouse College, possess at least 12.5 percent European ancestry (again, the equivalent of that one great-grandparent). As a matter of fact, if I analyzed the y-DNA (which a man inherits exactly from his father, and he from his father, etc.) of all the black players in the NBA, fully one-third (somewhere between 30 percent and 35 percent) would, incredibly, discover that they were descended from a white male who impregnated a black female, most likely a female slave, just as a white man did Michelle Obama’s third-great-grandmother. In the ‘60s, we were fond of saying that we are an “African people.” Well, our DNA proclaims loudly that we are a European people, a multicultural people, a people black as well as white. You might think of us as an Afro-Mulatto people, our genes recombined in that test tube called slavery…

Read the entire article here.

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Family Tree’s Startling Roots

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2012-03-21 19:16Z by Steven

Family Tree’s Startling Roots

The New York Times
2012-03-19

Felicia Lee

Thirty-nine lashes “well laid” on her bare back and an extension of her indentured servitude was Elizabeth Banks’s punishment for “fornication & Bastardy with a negroe slave,” according to a stark June 20, 1683, court document from York County, Va. Through the alchemy of celebrity and genealogy, that record and others led to the recent discovery that Banks, a free white woman despite her servitude, was the paternal ninth great-grandmother of Wanda Sykes, the ribald comedian and actress.

More than an intriguing boldface-name connection, it is a rare find even in a genealogy-crazed era in which Internet sites like ancestry.com, with more than 14 million users, and the popular NBC program “Who Do You Think You Are?” play on that fascination. Because slavery meant that their black ancestors were considered property and not people, most African-Americans are able to trace their roots in this country only back to the first quarter of the 19th century.

“This is an extraordinary case and the only such case that I know of in which it is possible to trace a black family rooted in freedom from the late 17th century to the present,” said the historian Ira Berlin, a professor at the University of Maryland known for his work on slavery and African-American history.

Mary Banks, the biracial child born to Elizabeth Banks around 1683, inherited her mother’s free status, although she too was indentured. Mary appeared to have four children. There are many other unanswered questions, but the family grew, often as free people of color married or paired off with other free people of color.

Ms. Sykes’s family history was professionally researched for a segment of “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” a new series that has its debut Sunday on PBS.

“The bottom line is that Wanda Sykes has the longest continuously documented family tree of any African-American we have ever researched, ” said Mr. Gates, the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard. He was referring to the dozens of genealogies his researchers have unearthed for his television roots franchise, which began in 2006 with the PBS series “African-American Lives” and includes three other genealogy-inspired shows. Mr. Gates said he also checked Ms. Sykes’s family tree with historians, including Mr. Berlin…

…Johni Cerny, who is the chief genealogist for Mr. Gates’s television programs, noted that many African-Americans with white ancestry could trace their heritage beyond the 1600s to European ancestors. She said 85 percent of African-Americans have some European ancestry.

The unique thing about Wanda is that she descends from 10 generations of free Virginia mulattos, which is more rare than descendants of mixed-race African-Americans who descend from English royalty,” Ms. Cerny wrote in an e-mail message.

More than 1,000 mixed-race children were born to white women in colonial Virginia and Maryland, but their existence has been erased from oral and written history, said Paul Heinegg, a respected lay genealogist and historian. Mr. Heinegg’s Web site, freeafricanamericans.com, features books and documents like tax lists that provide information about those families…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama’s Presidential (Mixed) Race: Framing and Ideological Analysis of Blogs and News

Posted in Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-09-26 21:26Z by Steven

Obama’s Presidential (Mixed) Race: Framing and Ideological Analysis of Blogs and News

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
July 2011
217 pages

Iliana P. Rucker

DISSERTATION Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Communication

The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States brought a heightened awareness to the role of race and produced speculation about the idealized notion of the achievement of a post-racial United States.

This dissertation examined mediated conversations on mixed race identity in response to some of the significant events in the Obama campaign and the first months of the Obama presidency. Specifically, this study examined the ways that newspapers and blogs construct discourses about race, mixed race, and racism. Further, I explored the biological, legal, and social implications as they relate to current constructions of mixed race identity. This dissertation centered the data collection around four pivotal discourses in the Obama era: (1) Obama’s announcement of his presidential candidacy; (2) Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech; (3) Obama’s election to the presidency; and (4) the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Gates. The parameters of these pivotal discourses allowed me to focus on what bloggers say about the events and how the newspapers reported them. Ideological criticism and framing analysis guided my study on racial identifications and negotiations related to Obama from three newspapers: New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times; as well as four blogs: Mixed Roots, Beige-World, Light-skinned-ed Girl, and Twisted Curlz.

Three dominant frames emerged from the news coverage on the four discursive moments: race, dialogue, and history. I define the race frame as stories about the issues concerning race and racism; the dialogue frame as stories about a conversation, specifically at the national level; and the historical frame as stories about historic events. Three frames also emerged from the framing analysis of the blog posts: awareness, personalization, and racism. The awareness frame consists of postings about news and celebrity in mixed race community; the personalization frame as personal postings; and the racism frame as postings relating to issues concerning racism.

Ideological criticism facilitated the analysis of the news articles and blogs and allowed me to uncover several ideologies about race and mixed race emerge from these discursive constructions. The newspapers perpetuated the invisibility of Whiteness, the Black and White binary, hybrid heroism, and the erasure of racism ideologies. The preference for Obama as President, the salience of mixed race matters, and promotion of anti-racist work are ideologies in the blogs. While the blogs and news articles are different in format, style and purpose, taken together they give a look at the ongoing conversation that impacts discourses on race, racism, and mixed race. The interpretation of the findings explains how the media I examined reveal the social construction of race, the rhetoric of race, and agenda setting in each of the discursive moments in order to discuss current conceptualizations of race in the United States. In addition to an in-depth interpretation of framing and ideological analyses findings, the theoretical and methodological contributions are discussed.

Table of Contents

  • CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
    • Personal Perspective
      • Researcher Perspective
      • Rationale
      • Data Collection and Analysis
        • News Media
        • Weblogs
      • Obama, Race, and Identity
        • Four Pivotal Moments in Discourses on Mixed Race
      • Assumptions
      • Research Questions
    • Key Concepts
      • Mixed Race Identity
      • Post-Racial United States
      • Media Conversations
    • Overview
  • CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
    • Racial Identity
    • Biological Assumptions
      • One-drop rule
    • Legal Assumptions
      • Social Implications
    • Socially Constructing Race
      • Media Framing
      • Rhetorical and Ideological Framing
      • Rhetoric of Race
      • Terministic screens
        • Mixed Race and Media Representations
  • CHAPTER 3: METHODS
    • Discursive Moments
    • Data Collection
    • Research Questions
    • Methods
      • Ideological analysis
      • Locating myself in the research
  • CHAPTER 4: FRAMING ANALYSIS
    • Framing Analysis
      • Defining Frames
    • Framing Analysis of Newspapers
      • Race Frame
        • Racialized Obama script
        • Race is biological
        • Progressing past racism script
      • Dialogue Frame
        • National script
        • Debate script
      • History Frame
        • From the past script
        • Witnessing history script
    • Framing Analysis of Blog Posts
      • Awareness Frame
        • Mixed Race News script
        • Celebrity script
        • Questions script
      • Personalization Frame
        • Positionality
        • 2008 election experience
      • Racism Frame
        • Racial divide
        • Racial hatred
        • Challenging stereotyping and racial profiling script
  • CHAPTER 5: IDEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
    • Defining Ideology
    • Ideological Analysis of News Discourse
      • Invisibility of Whiteness
      • Black and White Binary
      • Hybrid Heroism
      • Erasing Racism
    • Ideological Analysis of Blog Discourse
      • Obama for President
        • Defending Barack Obama
        • Acceptance
        • Obama is mixed
      • Anti-Racist Work
  • CHAPTER 6: INTERPRETATION
    • Social Construction of Race
      • Rhetoric of race
    • Agenda Setting
    • Four Pivotal Moments in Discourses on Mixed Race
    • Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION
    • Findings
      • RQ1: How do pivotal discourses during Obama’s campaign and early presidency stimulate conversations about race, mixed race identity, racism?
        • RQ1a: How do newspapers frame race and mixed race identity?
        • RQ1b: How do blogs frame race, mixed race, and racism?
      • RQ2: What ideologies about race, racism, and mixed race emerge from newspapers and blogs?
        • Newspapers
        • Blogs
      • RQ3: How do media discourses contribute to constructions of race?
      • RQ4: In what ways do the constructions suggest the possibility of a post-racial United States?
      • RQ5: How do newspapers and blogs set agendas that reinforce and oppose each other?
    • Contributions
      • Contributions to theory
      • Contributions to method
    • Future Research
    • Final Thoughts
    • References

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Q&A with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. About Black Experience in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Social Science on 2011-08-22 21:20Z by Steven

Q&A with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. About Black Experience in Latin America

Black in Latin America
Public Broadcasting Service
April 2011

Gates discusses his new project in this interview from the PBS site.

First, could you talk a little bit about this project?

I conceived of this as a trilogy of documentary series that would mimic the patterns of the triangle trade. There would be a series on Africa which was called Wonders of the African World in 1999. And then there would be a series on black America called America Behind the Color Line in 2004. And then the third part of the triangle trade was, of course, South America and the Caribbean. The triangle trade was Africa, South America, and the continental United States and Europe. That’s how I conceived of it. I’ve been thinking about it since before 1999. But the first two were easier to get funding for. Everyone knows about black people from Africa, everyone knows about the black American community. But surprisingly, and this is why the series is so important, not many people realize how “black” South America is. So of all the things I’ve done it was the most difficult to get funded and it is one of the most rewarding because it is so counter-intuitive, it’s so full of surprises. And I’m very excited about it…

The series reveals how huge a role history can play in forming a nation’s concept of race. Although each of the countries you visited has its own distinct history, did you find any commonalities between the six countries with regard to race?

Yes, each country except for Haiti went through a period of whitening, when they wanted to obliterate or bury or blend in their black roots. Each then, had a period when they celebrated their cultural heritage but as part of a multi-cultural mix and in that multi-cultural mix, somehow the blackness got diluted, blended. So, Mexico, Brazil, they wanted their national culture to be “blackish” — really brown, a beautiful brown blend. And finally, I discovered that in each of these societies the people at the bottom are the darkest skinned with the most African features. In other words, the poverty in each of these countries has been socially constructed as black. The upper class in Brazil is virtually all white, a tiny group of black people in the upper-middle class. And that’s true in Peru, that’s true in the Dominican Republic. Haiti’s obviously an exception because it’s a country of mulatto and black people but there’s been a long tension between mulatto and black people in Haiti. So even Haiti has its racial problems…

…How do you feel the race experience differs between Latin American nations and the United States?

Whereas we have black and white or perhaps black, white, and mulatto as the three categories of race traditionally in America, Brazil has 136 kinds of blackness. Mexico, 16. Haiti, 98. Color categories are on steroids in Latin America. I find that fascinating. It’s very difficult for Americans, particularly African-Americans to understand or sympathize with. But these are very real categories. In America one drop of black ancestry makes you black. In Brazil, it’s almost as if one drop of white ancestry makes you white. Color and race are defined in strikingly different ways in each of these countries, more akin to each other than in the United States. We’re the only country to have the one-drop rule. The only one. And that’s because of the percentage of rape and sexual harassment of black women by white males during slavery and the white owners wanted to guarantee that the children of these liaisons were maintained as property…

Read the entire interview here.

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Does Gates DNA Data Make Black Indians an Urban Legend? Or Does Eating Out of the Same Pot Still Matter?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2011-07-31 03:35Z by Steven

Does Gates DNA Data Make Black Indians an Urban Legend? Or Does Eating Out of the Same Pot Still Matter?

Indian Voices
July/August 2011
page 7

Phil Wilkes Fixico

I am Phil Wilkes Fixico a Seminole Maroon Descendant who was featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s book and exhibit entitled “IndiVisible” African-Native American Lives. My personal and family’s genealogy was researched by Kevin Mulroy, Ph.D. of UCLA. Dr. Mulroy is recognized as the worlds’s leading authority on Seminole Maroons. I am pleased that Bruce Twyman, Ph.D. and author of “The Black Seminole Legacy and North American Politics’ has done a survey targeting the general public’s views about African- Native Americans and Dr. Henry Louis Gates DNA studies.

The problem that I have with Dr. Gates’ attempts to end the myth that there is a goodly some of African-Americans with Native American ancestry is that he bases his findings totally on DNA results. He then “quotes a quote” by advising African Americans to Seek the White Man as their correct blood ancestor…

Read the entire article here.

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