Mixed Race America: Identities and Culture

Posted in Arts, Communications/Media Studies, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-02-26 22:12Z by Steven

Mixed Race America: Identities and Culture

Fifteenth Annual American Studies Conference
Macalester College
1600 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105
2014-02-27 through 2014-02-28

Keynote Address
Thursday, 2014-02-27, 18:00-19:30 CST (Local Time)
Alexander G. Hill Ballroom
Kagin Commons, Macalester

Keynote Speakers:

Ralina L. Joseph, Associate Professor of Communication
University of Washington

Author of: Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial (Duke University Press, 2012).

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

Co-editor of: War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art (University of Washington Press, 2013).


Cover design by Ricardo Levins Morales

The American Studies Department at Macalester College is honored to host the 15th annual American Studies Conference, “Mixed Race America: Identities and Culture.”

Held every February during Black History Month, the conference brings renowned scholars to campus to present their work and engage with faculty, staff, students, alumni and Twin Cities residents. The conference seeks to highlight the links between scholarship, activism and civic engagement. Each year a different theme is selected based on pertinent issues.

The American Studies Department serves as the academic focal point for the study of race and ethnicity in a national and transnational framework.

For more information on the American Studies Department or this event, contact Kathie Scott at scott@macalester.edu.

For more information, click here. Read the program guide here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Transcending blackness: from the new millennium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial [Aspinal Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-10-15 02:23Z by Steven

Transcending blackness: from the new millennium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial [Aspinal Review]

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 37, Issue 5, 2014
pages 850-851
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2013.831934

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, UK

Transcending blackness: from the new millennium mulatta to the exceptional multiracial, by Ralina L. Joseph. Durham and London. Duke University Press. 2013.
xx+ 226 pp., (paperback). ISBN 978-0-8223-5292-1

This book is concerned with representations of mixed-race African American women, notably, the two categories into which fall the mainstream images of mixed-race blackness: the new millennium mulatta. exceedingly tragic, always divided, alone, and uncomfortable, and the exceptional multiracial, unifying, strikingly successful post-racial ideal. The analysed texts which form the main body of the book belong to the 1998-2008 era (following the debates about capture of the multiracial population in the 2000 US Census), a period during which representations crystallized into this two-sided stereotype. Both are rooted in a condemnation of blackness which is either implicit as where blackness is stigmatized through the presentation of tragic mulatta inevitability or explicit, where discarding the burden of blackness means arriving at a safely post-racial state. Both representations take place in the context of gendered and sexualized as well as racialized performances.

An in-depth approach is adopted in which four representative works are examined with regard to the textual nuances that construct the two stereotypes. Part 1 explores the new millennium mulatlas: the bad race girl’ in Jennifer Beals’s portrayal of Bette Porter on the cable television drama The L Word (2004-2008), in which Bette is mired in the tragic misfortune and destiny of the mulatta: and the ‘sad race girl’ in Danzy Senna’s novel ‘Caucasia‘ (1998), which investigates how Senna reinterprets the tragic mulatta heroine in her production of a new millennium mulatta representation. Race and gender arc the drivers that torture the protagonists who are unable to achieve the states of post-race and post-feminism. In part II, ‘The Exceptional Multiracial’. Joseph interrogates representations that develop the character of the racial-transforming mixed-race title character in Alison Swan’s independent film ‘Mixing Nia‘ (1998) and the racial-switching mixed-race contestant in an episode of Tyra Banks’s reality television show ‘America’s Next Top Model‘ (2005). These representations portray blackness as an irrelevant entity for the multiracial, something that can and should be transcended through racialized performances. Blackness, the cause of sadness and pain for the multiracial African American, must be erased or surpassed in order to reach a state of health or success.

These particular works were chosen by Joseph as they were ‘representations of this particular time period and particular subgenre of multiracial African American representations’ and are not isolated representations of mixed-race African Americans but representative texts. Indeed, she contends that contemporary black-white representations do not go beyond this binary, the idea that blackness is a deficit that black and multiracial people must overcome…

Read or purchase the review here.

Tags: , , , , ,

“Well, if you were to ask him. President Obama is black. He is African-American.”

Posted in Barack Obama, Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-07-14 16:55Z by Steven

Steve Scher: “What is President Obama?”

Ralina Joseph: “Well, if you were to ask him. President Obama is black. He is African-American.”

Steve Scher: “Yeah. When President Obama came out after the Trayvon Martin killing and he said, ‘My kids would have looked like Trayvon Martin if they had been boys.’… Let’s unpack all of the things that were being said there. What was he saying about his identity?”

Ralina Joseph: “So, this is a really interesting question. I think that he is identifying as black and in the way which we have seen President Obama identify publically it has been as black. He has also talked about his white family. He’s also famously referenced his mother from Kansas and his father from Kenya. But that has not precluded his identifying as African-American. I think that in real life that these identities are always together. They’re very much a part of each other. They’re fluidly understood. They’re simultaneous. And yet, when we understand race, we think about them in these really separate binaristic manners. So it makes sense to me that he identifies very much with Trayvon Martin’s family and also can talk about his white and Asian-American family, for example.”

Steve Scher, “Ralina Joseph discusses her book Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial,” Weekday with Steve Scher, KUOW.org Seattle, 94.9 FM. (April 15, 2013). http://cpa.ds.npr.org/kuow/audio/2013/04/WeekdayA20130415.mp3 (00:18:50-00:20:07).

Tags: , , , , ,

UW communication professor unveils new book about race

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-07-06 13:48Z by Steven

UW communication professor unveils new book about race

The Daily of the University of Washington
2013-02-07

LaVendrick Smith


Ralina Joseph discusses her book cover art at “Troubling the Family and Transcending Blackness” held at the UW bookstore.

Photo by Dario Nanbu

Race, reality, and pop culture collide in a new book written by one UW communication professor.

In “Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial,” Ralina Joseph, a UW associate professor of communication, explores how multiracial African Americans were represented in the 10 years leading up to President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Joseph held a joint book-signing and discussion about mixed-race relations with UW English professor Habiba Ibrahim at the U Book Store Feb. 7.

In “Transcending Blackness,” Joseph compares real-life depictions of multiracial African Americans to their roles in pop culture and politics.

“I’m just sort of interested in seeing how multiracial people have been and are represented,” she said.

Joseph, a multiracial African American herself, said that while researching the topic, she noticed a clear difference in the way multiracial people identify in real life and the way they are identified through the media.

“What I was seeing on TV, in movies, in novels, and memoirs, was not like the kind of complex people I knew in real life,” she said.

She said multiracial African Americans she encounters in real life have fluidity in the way they identify themselves, whereas she saw a constant need to identify mixed race in pop culture in a way that often degraded African Americans…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Guest: The fury over a Cheerios ad and an interracial family

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-06-25 04:16Z by Steven

Guest: The fury over a Cheerios ad and an interracial family

The Seattle Times
2013-06-24

Ralina Joseph, Associate Professor of Communication
University of Washington

The response to a Cheerios TV ad exposes American discomfort with interracial families, writes guest columnist Ralina Joseph

A RECENT Cheerios television ad has all of the elements that viewers usually glaze over because of their sheer ubiquity: a light-filled, eat-in kitchen with an attractive mother checking off tasks at the table, a button-down shirt and slacks-wearing father indulging in a quick after-work nap and a chubby-cheeked, curly-haired 6-year-old girl with a lisp.

But instead of disappearing into the ether, as TV spots tend to, this particular nuclear family advertisement has sparked such fury that Cheerios’ YouTube channel was forced to disable its comments section.

Why? Because the mother is white, the father is black, and the girl appears to be their biological, mixed-race child…

…Anti-miscegenation laws, on the books in some states in this country from 1661 to 1967, were justified by fear of such couplings and their result. In the 1930s, Washington state led the country in striking down attempts to ban interracial marriage…

Read the entire opinion piece here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Dr. Ralina Joseph and Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos, Women on 2013-05-15 22:13Z by Steven

Dr. Ralina Joseph and Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial

Voxunion: Media + Education
2013-01-11

Jared A. Ball, Host and Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

This is part one of our discussion with Dr. Ralina Joseph about her book, Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial.

Watch the video interview here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ralina Joseph discusses her book Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-17 20:59Z by Steven

Ralina Joseph discusses her book Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial

Weekday with Steve Scher
KUOW.org 94.9 FM
Seattle News & Information
2013-04-15

Steve Scher, Host

Also this hour: Everett Herald reporter and columnist Jerry Cornfield catches us up on what’s happening this week in Olympia. Then, University of Washington Communication professor Ralina Joseph discusses her book Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial.

The interview with Dr. Joseph begins at 00:13:30 and ends at 00:40:39.

When asked about what transcending blackness means, she replied, “I chose this phrase because I think it’s a really disturbing one; the notion that blackness is something that needs to be transcended, that needs to be gotten over. It is inevitably a lack, a slight, a mark as opposed to a positive, wonderful entity.”

Download/Listen to the interview here.

Tags: , , , ,

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial [Gaither Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-04-15 04:38Z by Steven

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial [Gaither Review]

MXDWELL
2013-02-17

Renoir Gaither

MXDWELL is a versatile online news source that celebrates and redefines the mixed experience by presenting a variety of cultural and artistic news, while promoting diversity as a vital aspect of our community.

Behind her behemoth title, “Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulattato the Exceptional Multiracial,” author Ralina L. Joseph carries on the business of dissecting multiracial representation in American popular culture with acuity and zeal.

The result is a study that cedes little to those who decry that race no longer matters in American society. Over the past few decades a groundswell of scholarly attention has sprouted on the subject of multiraciality. And hybridity and critical mixed-race theorists continue to stake claims on the theoretical landscape. Professor Joseph acquires her piece of theoretical real estate through interdisciplinary analysis of mixed-race characters in contemporary film, fiction and television, in particular, representations of mixed-race African Americans. Joseph tackles a multitude of cavernous issues surrounding such representations, ever delving into the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality and class, and the many codes in which the latter are inscribed on mixed-race representation…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , ,

Mixed race in a world not yet post-racial

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-03-21 15:03Z by Steven

Mixed race in a world not yet post-racial

The Seattle Times
2013-03-20

Jerry Large, Staff Columnist

Populations of humans have always been mixing genes, but we still have trouble with the concept.

Two recent books by University of Washington professors address what mixed means in America, particularly examining the period between the Census Bureau’s decision in the late 1990s to allow people, beginning in 2000, to choose more than one race, and the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Both books say something about how mixed race as a category is sometimes used to further marginalize African Americans.
 
Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism,” by Habiba Ibrahim, an assistant professor of English, is written largely for an academic audience.
 
Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial,” is written by Ralina Joseph, associate professor in the Department of Communications.
 
Both are important works, but today I’m going to focus on Joseph’s book, which is also scholarly, but written with the general reader in mind.

We’re not post-racial yet, Joseph told me when we talked over coffee this week, and more mixing isn’t getting us there, because we haven’t shaken old ways of categorizing people. The combination of black and white, weighted with centuries of racism, raises the most issues.

Joseph noted the census change was most notably championed by Susan Graham, a white mother who wanted her son to be able to mark down multiracial, and, Joseph said, “had her young son testify before Congress, so that he did not have to identify as black.”…

…But seeing multiracial as a separate category, a way of transcending blackness, is not a step forward, and it isn’t racially neutral, Joseph said. It is, instead, a new use of old concepts, an affirmation that blackness is something to escape.

Embracing all parts of a mixed heritage is a more positive act than migrating to a new category. Joseph calls herself a mixed-race African American. “One can’t think about one’s own identity choices without thinking about power realities.”…

The African-American community has long been multiracial, ranging from milky skin and green eyes to deep chocolate, but to be counted as white still requires “purity.” It’s a protected status…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2013-03-21 14:59Z by Steven

Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial

Duke University Press
November 2012
256 pages
20 photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5277-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5292-1

Ralina L. Joseph, Associate Professor of Communication
University of Washington

Representations of multiracial Americans, especially those with one black and one white parent, appear everywhere in contemporary culture, from reality shows to presidential politics. Some depict multiracial individuals as being mired in painful confusion; others equate them with progress, as the embodiment of a postracial utopia. In Transcending Blackness, Ralina L. Joseph critiques both depictions as being rooted in—and still defined by—the racist notion that Blackness is a deficit that must be overcome.

Analyzing emblematic representations of multiracial figures in popular culture—Jennifer Beals’s character in the The L Word; the protagonist in Danny Senza’s novel, Caucasia; the title character in the independent film, Mixing Nia; and contestants in a controversial episode of the reality show, America’s Next Top Model, who had to “switch ethnicities” for a photo shoot—Joseph identifies the persistance of two widespread stereotypes about mixed-race African Americans: “new millennium mulattas” and “exceptional multiracials.” The former inscribes the multiracial African American as a tragic figure whose Blackness predestines them for misfortune; the latter rewards mixed-race African Americans with success for erasing their Blackness. Addressing questions of authenticity, sexuality, and privilege, Transcending Blackness refutes that idea that in American society, race no longer matters.

Table of Contents

  • Preface. From Biracial to Multiracial to Mixed-Race to Critical Mixed-Race Studies
  • Introduction. Reading Mixed-Race African American Representations in the New Millennium
  • Part I: The New Millennium Mulatta
    • 1. The Bad Race Girl: Jennifer Beals on The L Word, the Race Card, and the Punishment of Mixed-Race Blackness
    • 2. The Sad Race Girl: Passing and the New Millennium Mulatta in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia
  • Part II: The Exceptional Multiracial
    • 3. Transitioning to the Exceptional Multiracial: Escaping Tragedy through Black Transcendence in Mixing Nia
    • 4. Recursive Racial Transformation: Selling the Exceptional Multiracial on America’s Next Top Model
  • Conclusion. Racist Jokes and the Exceptional Multiracial, or Why Transcending Blackness Is a Terrible Proposition
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , ,