Being Mixed Race in Racially Divided America

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-08 21:23Z by Steven

Being Mixed Race in Racially Divided America

Japan Sociology
2015-01-08

Lourdes Fritts

This blog explores life in Japan from a sociological perspective. It is produced by Robert Moorehead and his students at Ritsumeikan University‘s College of International Relations, in Kyoto, Japan.

Much like the way some people do not care about their local sports team, I do not give much thought to my racial identity. This is mostly due to the fact that if I gave my race anymore thought than the occasional ponder, I would be in a constant state of identity crisis. My mother is Japanese-Korean raised in Japan, and my Father is Irish-German-Mexican raised in America. Thus I have christened myself as an “Euro-Mexi-Asian-American”. Fortunately I have been privileged enough in life where I was never made particularly conscious of my race; I have never let my race define me and very few people I’ve met have defined me by it. However, due to recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, I have become unusually conscious of my ethnic background…

Read the entire article here.

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Professor Jared Ball on Ferguson and the Media

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-03 17:02Z by Steven

Professor Jared Ball on Ferguson and the Media

Truthout
2014-12-29

Dan Falcone

At the recent “Shrouded Narrative teach-in” at American University, Dan Falcone met Jared A. Ball, a professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, who discussed, “Propaganda and Media.” In this interview, father and husband, author of I MiX What I Like: A MiXtape Manifesto and coeditor of A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X, Ball talks about the construction of Black identity, colonialism and what is needed to stop the police killings of a Black person every 28 hours.

Dan Falcone for Truthout.org: Professor Ball, could you tell the readers about your teaching, academic interests, and how they relate to activism and democratic participation?

Jared Ball: Thank you. My academic interests and teaching are very much tied to my personal political passions – all of which revolve around Black or Africana studies, political struggles, cultural production and how that all intersects or interacts with the political and “libidinal” (thanks to the work of Frank Wilderson and Jared Sexton) economies of media, communication and journalism.

This primarily works out to be a focus on the political function of mass media within the context of ongoing power (national, racial, class) struggles. I generally look to extend or tailor deep traditions of radical political, economic and cultural analyses and media criticism to our time and hope that I can make them relevant to students today. To better connect traditions of political activism to the immediate work of my classes, I’ve increasingly infused the work of political prisoners into our own course work, which allows me to tap an almost endless reservoir of knowledge and experience – while exposing students to a more realistic political context for our own studies.

Additionally, this approach infuses into our classes, ideas of political struggle and activism while challenging the limitations of conventional approaches to such study, including notions of “American democracy.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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Outspoken about Ferguson, Jesse Williams may be this generation’s Harry Belafonte

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-12-28 03:01Z by Steven

Outspoken about Ferguson, Jesse Williams may be this generation’s Harry Belafonte

The Washington Post
2014-08-20

Soraya Nadia McDonald


Harry Belafonte, left. (NBC via AP) Jesse Williams, right. (Christian Alminana/AP)

There are many ways to get celebrity activism wrong when it comes to a situation like the one that has emerged in Ferguson, Mo.

Appearing to be uninformed is a huge no-no, as is calling for a plan when you don’t have one — sorry Nelly. But if one can offer fiery rhetoric absent sanctimony and full of razor-sharp opinions, well, people take notice.

Enter Jesse Williams, the actor who plays the hunky Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Williams appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. Clad in a hoodie, he may have looked like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, but once he opened his mouth, he sounded like Harry Belafonte.

Yes, radical, Occupy Wall Street protester-supporting, Fidel Castro-befriending, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice-shunning Harry Belafonte.

“Police have been beating the hell out of black people for a very, very, very long time, before the advent of the video camera,” said Williams, who also spoke out after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. “And despite the advent of the video camera, there’s still an incredible trend of police brutality and killing in the street.”

So far, Williams, 33, seems best suited to continue the legacy of black Hollywood activism associated with Belafonte. In his memoir, “My Song,” Belafonte wrote, “I wasn’t an artist who’d become an activist. I was an activist who’d become an artist.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama’s message of hope and change is all but lost amid the chaos of Ferguson

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-12-21 22:14Z by Steven

Obama’s message of hope and change is all but lost amid the chaos of Ferguson

The Guardian
2014-08-22

Patricia Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law
Columbia University, New York, New York

The president is being pressed to take sides in a personal, political and structural tragedy in a divided nation

In 2008, the year that Barack Obama became president of the United States, the New York-based artist Carrie Mae Weems created a video installation in which Obama’s face melts from one thing to another: model citizen, communist infiltrator, immigrant, foreigner, friend, black Jesus, brown Hitler, American dream, chicken, monkey, zebra, joker, minstrel. As Weems’s voiceover describes it: “A reason to hope, a reason to change, a reason to reason …”

Of course, Obama has always been somewhat shape-shifting in his symbolism – it’s probably what got him elected to begin with. The “hope and change” that became his trademark was more than mere slogan; the very idea of a first black president became a mirror for whatever people wanted to see in him.

Now we come to a situation all too familiar in America with the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Obama is being pressed to take one of two sides in a layered personal, political, and structural tragedy for which carelessly drawn lines in the sand could not be more unhelpful. The last two weeks of anguish in Ferguson cap a difficult season for Obama. Already besieged by the situations in Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he has had to manoeuvre his way through attacks at home from every side. From Congressional Republicans threatening to sue him for trying to implement healthcare reform to the snarkily undermining comments of Hillary Clinton – this summer has been a season of confrontation. Is Obama too aggressive in his exercise of executive power? Or too chicken to invade? Is he passive on immigration? Too intemperate with Congress? Rarely has a president been so buffeted by such a variety of inconsistently projected personality traits…

…With a nation so divided, Obama wades into the debate not so much as president or as constitutional law professor or as chief executive of the Justice Department. In many people’s minds, he is fixed as exclusively African American rather than “really” American. That symbolism puts him in something of a no-win situation: anything he says or does will be heard as siding. While the crowds of protesters in Ferguson and other cities around the country are actually quite diverse, they have become singularly monolithic in many media representations. Except for the journalists who have been assaulted and a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who was arrested, protesters have been portrayed as representing all African Americans everywhere – noisy “agitators” who make police and honest white citizens “fear for their lives” and who “reflect badly” on the greatness of our republic…

Read the entire article here.

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Mr. Obama Considers the Nationwide Protests From Three Points of View

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-14 17:43Z by Steven

Mr. Obama Considers the Nationwide Protests From Three Points of View

The New York Times
2014-12-12

Brent Staples, Editorial Writer

Barack Obama understood when he sought the presidency that a black candidate who spoke candidly about racism would never attract enough white support to win. He avoided using race as a platform for grievance, kept his distance from people who did and presented his life and career as an example of racial progress.

His optimism appealed to white voters; it asked nothing of them and implied a hopeful end to the racial hostilities that have dogged the country since its founding. But the easy-listening approach to racism was received skeptically by young African-Americans who live in communities that bear the brunt of unemployment, economic segregation and police harassment.

Anger over the police problem coalesced into a national movement after a grand jury in St. Louis County, Mo., declined to indict the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, and a grand jury in New York took the same stance on the white officer who applied the chokehold that killed Eric Garner, who was also black and also unarmed.

As the demonstrations spread, Mr. Obama must have recognized that it would be wise to make contact with the young leaders of this movement.

When he met with them last week at the White House, he had three roles to play: as the president of the United States, who must refrain from putting his thumb on the scales of justice in cases like the ones that have sparked the recent demonstrations; as an African-American man who knows the experience of being presumed a criminal by police officers who once harassed him because of his skin color; and as a former community organizer who recognizes that the demonstrations could focus the country’s attention on abusive police practices that have long been a national problem…

Read the entire article here.

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“Race”: a Political Weapon

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-14 01:40Z by Steven

“Race”: a Political Weapon

Counterpunch: Tells the Facts and Names the Names
2014-12-03

Luciana Bohne, Professor
Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania

“The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically.”

US Census

According to a widely circulated statistic, the police kill a young black man every twenty-eight hours in America. Without doubt, the police have a problem with race. Moreover, the justice system appears to have a problem, too, as proven by the Grand Jury’s failed indictment of Darren Wilson in the killing this summer of young Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The failed indictment does not mean that Wilson is innocent; only that he will not be brought to trial. This is a terrible perversion of the path to justice. It suggests deliberate prevention of trial on the nearly 100% certainty that Wilson would be found guilty if tried. I am disturbed, however, by the well-intentioned flagellants among the white, non-racist community virtually calling for “America’s” white male blood, metaphorically speaking. I am disturbed because this is the wrong response to the judicial outrage in Ferguson. We should be calling for ruling-class blood, not dividing ourselves into blacks and whites. Isn’t this division a benefit that our divide-and-rule oppressors hardly deserve? Let us not play with the cards in their deck.

To begin with, is “America” racist? Real, existing Americans voted for a black candidate for president, one, moreover, who ticked off only the “African American” category on race in the US Census of 2010. In choosing the less privileged racial group than white, Obama adhered to the principle of “hypo descent,” which the US has traditionally used to determine the race of a child born of a mixed-race union. We have a black political class in the Congress; a black Supreme Court justice; two blacks have been secretary of state (one a woman). We have not one institution in which blacks don’t figure more or less prominently. Mixed marriages have been legal since 1967. In 2008, about 14% of all first marriages were mixed race; 9% of whites, 16% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics, and 31% of Asians were interracially married…

Read the entire article here.

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Unrest Over Race Is Testing Obama’s Legacy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-12-09 15:10Z by Steven

Unrest Over Race Is Testing Obama’s Legacy

The New York Times
2014-12-08

Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House Reporter

Michael D. Shear, White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON — As crowds of people staged “die-ins” across the country last week to protest the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers, young African-American activists were in the Oval Office lodging grievances with President Obama.

He of all people — the first black president of the United States — was in a position to testify to the sense of injustice that African-Americans feel in dealing with the police every day, the activists told him. During the unrest that began with a teenager’s shooting in Ferguson, Mo., they hoped for a strong response. Why was he holding back?

Mr. Obama told the group that change is “hard and incremental,” a participant said, while reminding them that he had once been mistaken for a waiter and parking valet. When they said their voices were not being heard, Mr. Obama replied, “You are sitting in the Oval Office, talking to the president of the United States.”

For Rasheen Aldridge Jr., 20, a community organizer from St. Louis who attended the meeting, it was not enough. “It hurt that he didn’t seem to want to go out there and acknowledge that he understands our pain,” Mr. Aldridge said in an interview. “It would be a great mark on his presidential legacy if he would come out and touch an issue that everyone is scared to touch.”

But Mr. Obama has not been the kind of champion for racial justice that many African-Americans say this moment demands. In the days since grand juries in Missouri and Staten Island decided not to bring charges against white police officers who had killed unarmed black men, the president has not stood behind the protesters or linked arms with civil rights leaders. Although those closest to Mr. Obama insist that he feels a new urgency to capitalize on the attention to racial divisions, few dispute that he is personally conflicted and constrained by the position he holds…

…The son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya has struggled with questions about his own racial identity — described in his book “Dreams From My Father” — but Mr. Obama is by nature cool and cerebral and rarely shows emotion in public…

Read the entire article here.

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Female Slaves and the Law

Posted in History, Law, Slavery, United States, Videos, Women on 2014-12-08 21:16Z by Steven

Female Slaves and the Law

C-SPAN: Created by Cable
Lectures in History
2014-10-21

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

Professor Martha Jones talked about the mid-19th century court case of Celia, a female slave who killed her master after repeated sexual assaults. Topics included what options Celia may have had, and the involvement of her fellow slaves and her master’s white neighbors in her court case.

View the lecture here (01:21:40). See also, “Celia, A Slave, Trial (1855): An Account” by Douglas O. Linder (2011).

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Hot Topic: Crisis in Ferguson, Missouri

Posted in Articles, Canada, United States on 2014-12-03 16:29Z by Steven

Hot Topic: Crisis in Ferguson, Missouri

Carleton Newsroom
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
2014-11-28

Unrest is spreading in response to a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri. A Carleton expert is available to discuss many aspects of the situation.

Daniel McNeil
Associate professor in the Department of History and the Institute of African Studies
Email: daniel.mcneil@carleton.ca
Phone: 613-520-2600 Ext.2835

McNeil’s research focuses on the cultural history of areas bordering the Atlantic Ocean during the 20th and 21st centuries. His publications include Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic: Mulatto Devils and Multiracial Messiahs. He is regularly invited to share his research about media, culture and society with academic, governmental and non-governmental organizations around the world…

Read the entire press release here.

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Obama Plans Meetings on Ferguson Unrest at the White House

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-12-01 19:08Z by Steven

Obama Plans Meetings on Ferguson Unrest at the White House

The New York Times
2014-11-30

Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House Reporter

WASHINGTON — President Obama is planning a day of meetings at the White House on Monday to respond to the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and racially tinged anger across the country after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.

Mr. Obama, who has labored to strike the right balance in reacting to the crisis, has not scheduled a trip to Ferguson despite days of speculation about a presidential visit there.

But he will gather his cabinet on Monday to discuss the results of a review of federal programs that provide military-style equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. The initiatives were called into question in August, after the Ferguson police responded with riot gear and assault-style weapons to protests in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, the teenager, by Officer Darren Wilson

…The president has faced a challenge in calibrating his response to the situation in Ferguson, working to balance the task of urging calm and unity with his desire, as America’s first black president, to acknowledge racial wounds — all while being careful not to interfere in the investigation…

Read the entire article here.

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