Your Blackness Isn’t Like Mine: Colorism And Oppression Olympics

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-02 01:38Z by Steven

Your Blackness Isn’t Like Mine: Colorism And Oppression Olympics

The Huffington Post
2016-06-28

Sil Lai Abrams

Monday night, actor and activist Jesse Williams gave a powerful speech at the BET Awards upon receiving the Humanitarian Award, during which he spoke eloquently, passionately, and dare I say — even lovingly to the audience of millions. I have seen hundreds of awards show acceptance speeches and Williams was the first Black man I witnessed stand up and acknowledge the sacrifices of Black women on this type of platform. In fact, through this speech he acknowledged damn near everyone, from “activists,” to “the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families the teachers, the students, that are realizing that systems built to divide and impoverish us cannot stand if we do.” He called out the names of those who have been killed by the police and railed against cultural appropriation and exploitation by White media corporations.

Williams’ speech was profound and emblematic of what it means to be “truly woke,” yet for some it wasn’t enough. While many tweeted their adoration for his message, there was a vocal group of people expressing their frustration that Williams — a light-skinned, biracial Black man, was being given center stage as “the face” for the Black Lives Matter movement. While criticizing his appearance, they conveniently ignored that there are plenty of prominent Black folks with darker complexions who haven’t said a damn thing their entire lives about social justice, stars with platforms even bigger than Williams…

Read the entire article here.

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On The Free State Of Jones

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-06-20 22:47Z by Steven

On The Free State Of Jones

The Huffington Post
2016-06-20

Steven Hahn, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania

Three quarters of a century ago, “Gone with the Wind,” a film that mythologized an Old South of wealthy planters and obedient slaves, premiered in Atlanta amidst great fanfare and public interest. This week, a very different sort of film about the South of the Civil War and Reconstruction era – “Free State of Jones” — will have its premiere, and as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the War and Reconstruction and struggle through our own time of social and racial divisiveness, the public would do very well to take the film’s measure.

That is because “Free State of Jones,” challenges our many misconceptions of the Civil War and Reconstruction and can promote a dialogue about what may have been possible more than a century ago – and what is very much possible in our own day. “Free State of Jones” is based on a true story of interracial resistance to the Confederacy in Civil War Mississippi. It is the story of how a white farmer from humble origins named Newton Knight came to see how the Confederacy favored the rich planters at the expense of men and women like himself and chose to organize a rebellion aimed at establishing a terrain of freedom, a “free state,” in the county of Jones

…But Newton Knight eventually went further still. The strongest resistance to the Confederacy came, not from poor white folk, but from those who were destined to be its main victims: the slaves. In Mississippi and elsewhere in the Confederate South, they took the opportunity of the War to flee their plantations and farms, head to Union lines, or form maroons in swamps and remote woodlands, denying slaveholders the labor and submission that had been expected. During his own battles with the Confederacy in rural Jones County, Knight forged alliances with African Americans, most specifically a slave named Rachel with whom he developed an intimate relationship and eventually raised a family…

Read the entire article here.

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9 Famous Faces On The Struggles And Beauty Of Being Afro-Latino

Posted in Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-19 00:03Z by Steven

9 Famous Faces On The Struggles And Beauty Of Being Afro-Latino

The Huffington Post
2016-02-18

Carolina Moreno, Editor

Afro-Latinos face many challenges when it comes to identity, particularly when people refuse to believe that being Black and Latino aren’t mutually exclusive experiences.

The Latino identity denotes an ethnicity, which means that Latinos exist in every color and race imaginable — and explaining the difference between race and ethnicity can be quite a cumbersome task to take on on a daily basis. And yet, many Afro-Latinos are often forced to do so after being told they’re not “Latino enough” or being asked to choose between being Black and Latino.

While many Latino actors have been brutally honest about the limitations that come with working in a predominately white industry, Afro-Latino celebrities often face even tougher challenges in Hollywood and beyond.

Take a look at what Laz Alonso (“The Mysteries of Laura”), Tatyana Ali (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) and more famous Afro-Latinos have said about being Black and Latino…

Read the entire article here.

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A Brazilian Artist’s ‘Self-Portraits’ Explore The Beauty Of Interracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2016-06-18 23:46Z by Steven

A Brazilian Artist’s ‘Self-Portraits’ Explore The Beauty Of Interracial Identity

The Huffington Post
2016-06-17

Katherine Brooks, Senior Arts & Culture Editor

In honor of mestizaje, Adriana Varejão paints herself donning the markings and ornamentation of Native Americans.

In 1976, a Brazilian census asked citizens of the country — for the very first time — to describe and identify their own skin color.

This was a significant moment for the former European colony, now considered one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world, that’s historically struggled with discriminatory policies that disproportionately affect African descendants and interracial people. Though it may have been used for more nefarious purposes at the time, the census was a small step in affirming the many identities that exist in Brazil, wedged in the massive gap between black and white.

The survey produced over 130 different skin color descriptions, ranging from “Morena-roxa” (purplish-tan) to “Café-com-leite” (milky coffee) to “Queimada-de-sol” (sun-kissed). Fast forward a few decades, and Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão became transfixed with the multitude of colors expressed in the census, interested in the ways it illustrated — in sensual detail — the beauty of mestizaje, or the mixing of ancestries, in her home.

So in 2014, Varejão, who lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, created “Polvo,” a series of self-portraits that explore the diversity of identity in Brazil using a paint palette inspired by the 1976 census. First, she mixed oil paints herself, reproducing colors like “Amarela-quemada” (burnt yellow or ochre) and “Paraíba” (like the color of marupa wood) as pigments. Then, she painted her own image, over and over, in a variety of browns, pinks, blacks and whites; a reflection of the many ways Brazilian self-definition takes form…

Read the entire article here.

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The idea of “blackness” was a European invention, designed to legitimize the oppression of Africans.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-06-01 19:48Z by Steven

“Most people think that it’s obvious that races are real biological categories. However, most of the scholars who study race think that races are invented categories. When one group of people sets out to oppress another, they “racialize” them—that is, they think of them as fundamentally different from and, importantly, inferior to themselves. Prior to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, sub-Saharan Africans did not consider themselves members of a single, homogeneous “black” race. Instead, they identified themselves as members of any one of a number of distinct groups—as Akan, Wolof, Mbundu, etc. The idea of “blackness” was a European invention, designed to legitimize the oppression of Africans.”

The idea that races are invented will probably sound crazy to a lot of people. They’ll think of it as a silly idea that only an academic who’s out of touch with the real world could come up with. Surely, there are visible features such as skin color, hair texture, facial morphology, and body build that set the races apart from one another!” —David Livingstone Smith

Robert J. Benz, “Race Delusion: Lies That Divide Us,” The Huffington Post, June 1, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-j-benz/race-illusion-its-all-in-_b_10095430.html.

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Race Delusion: Lies That Divide Us

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Philosophy, Social Science on 2016-06-01 19:15Z by Steven

Race Delusion: Lies That Divide Us

The Huffington Post
2016-06-01

Robert J. Benz, Founder & Executive VP
Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

David Livingstone Smith is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of London, Kings College, where he worked on Freud’s philosophy of mind and psychology. His current research is focused on dehumanization, race, propaganda, and related topics. David is the author of seven books and numerous academic papers. His most recent book Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) was awarded the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf award for nonfiction. He is also editor of How Biology Shapes Philosophy, which will be published by Cambridge University Press later this year, and he is working on a book entitled Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization, which will be published by Harvard University Press.

David speaks widely in both academic and nonacademic settings, and his work has been featured extensively in national and international media. In 2012 he spoke at the G20 summit on dehumanization and mass violence. David strongly believes that the practice of philosophy has an important role to play helping us meet the challenges confronting humanity in the 21st century and beyond, and that philosophers should work towards making the world a better place.

Robert: David, your great book, Less Than Human, has stayed with me since I first read it a few years ago. What, if any, connections should I make between race, racism and dehumanization?

David: Racism and dehumanization are very intimately connected. To explain the connection, I need to say a little bit about what race and dehumanization are.

Let’s start with race. Races are supposed to be real, objective divisions of the human family—analogous, perhaps, to breeds of dog. To be a member of a certain race is to be a certain kind of human being. Racial identity is supposed to be innate and unalterable (you don’t have any choice about what race you belong to) and transmitted from one generation to the next…

…Most people think that it’s obvious that races are real biological categories. However, most of the scholars who study race think that races are invented categories. When one group of people sets out to oppress another, they “racialize” them—that is, they think of them as fundamentally different from and, importantly, inferior to themselves. Prior to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, sub-Saharan Africans did not consider themselves members of a single, homogeneous “black” race. Instead, they identified themselves as members of any one of a number of distinct groups—as Akan, Wolof, Mbundu, etc. The idea of “blackness” was a European invention, designed to legitimize the oppression of Africans…

Read the entire interview here.

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What are you: Engaging Parents of Multiracial Children in Preschool

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2016-05-29 20:04Z by Steven

What are you: Engaging Parents of Multiracial Children in Preschool

The Huffington Post
2016-05-27

Makai Kellogg, Lead Teacher
School for Friends, Washington, D.C.

“If you can go shopping and be assured that you will not be followed or harassed, step forward.”

There was no more space left. I rushed to the door and opened it so that a white father could continue the Power Shuffle exercise. The parents started on the midline of the room and once a statement was read, either stepped up or back depending on their level of privilege in these circumstances. After two more statements, the parents looked around the room to see who was standing where. Then I asked “Were there any statements that your child would be able to step forward or back for that you did not? How does that make you feel?” The question resonated with the families and their responses prompted lively discussion. Race is difficult to talk about in the United States, a country built on white supremacy and systemic oppression.

I’m trying to change that dynamic one preschooler at a time…

Read the entire article here.

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The Story in My DNA

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-05-29 17:32Z by Steven

The Story in My DNA

The Huffington Post
2016-05-24

Hope Ferguson

Like many African Americans, I grew up not knowing where I came from. There was no “old country” for us. Obviously, I knew that most slaves were brought from Central and West Africa. I heard family stories about being part Native American – that the Seminole Indians had helped slaves escape from their masters by sheltering them within their tribe. That my grandfather’s mother was half Cherokee, part Scotch-Irish, as well as African. Her long black hair and high cheekbones in the one photo I saw of her bore this out.

For a while, these stories were enough. I believed that I would only really find out, if ever, in the afterlife.

When I was 29, I moved from New York City to Argyle, N.Y., a small upstate farming town that had been settled by Scots. Since Fergusons were on the original patent, I was often asked, while interviewing people by phone as a local reporter, if I was one of the Argyle Fergusons, and I would laugh, and say no, and explain that I was African American, not Scottish.

A few years ago, at a National Association for Black Journalists conference, the company African Ancestry was doing free DNA analyses for some of the attendees as a promotion. I sat transfixed as the African ancestry of various people was teased out; and listened with amazement at how the person displayed some similar traits as their ancestral land … for example, a gift with textiles.

After that, I became more curious about my ancestry…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Ethnic Minority Forms Suck for Mixed-Race People

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-04-25 14:29Z by Steven

Why Ethnic Minority Forms Suck for Mixed-Race People

The Huffington Post United Kingdom
2016-04-22

Deborah Chatterjee, Co-founder
SharedCity, London, United Kingdom

There has been a bit of an uproar in Brighton & Hove because children as young as four, are being given the option to leave the gender section on their Primary School application blank if they don’t identify with being strictly male or female.

This has reminded me of how I have often wanted to leave Ethnic Minority Forms blank because I don’t identify with any of the options laid out. Ticking ‘Other’ like I’m something indescribable is the only box that works for me.

My heritage is Indian/Italian so why not tick the ‘White/Asian’ box? Well, it doesn’t feel correct, as the term ‘White’ is so vague in terms of describing my Italian side. And Asian could be Japanese or Korean which are both completely different from being Indian.

It gets even more confusing with my daughters. In order of percentage they are: English, Indian, Italian, Swedish and Irish. Again, ‘White/Asian’ isn’t appropriate and choosing ‘Other’ just seems like an insult. However, unlike young children in Brighton & Hove, my children along with millions of other Mixed-Race kids don’t get the option of leaving the form blank…

Read the entire article here.

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6 Afro-Latinos Open Up About What It Means To Be Black And Latino

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-04-02 20:25Z by Steven

6 Afro-Latinos Open Up About What It Means To Be Black And Latino

Latino Voices
The Huffington Post
2016-03-23

Carolina Moreno, Editor

Watch them explain why they’re both and they’re proud!

Too black to be Latino and too Latino to be black is a feeling many Afro-Latinos know too well — but the reality is that these two identities are far from mutually exclusive.

Not only is it possible to be both black and Latino, it’s also fairly common within the Latino community. In the United States 24 percent of Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, according to survey results the Pew Research Center released in March.

HuffPost Latino Voices asked six Afro-Latinos to share what it really means to grow-up black and Latino. Because as writer Janel Martinez explains, it can be quite complicated at first…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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