Is the Defendant White or Not?

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-26 21:26Z by Steven

Is the Defendant White or Not?

The New York Times
2015-01-23

Nour Kteily, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University

Sarah Cotterill, Doctoral Student
Department of Psychology
Harvard University

AS jury selection continues in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the defendant in the Boston Marathon bombings, so does debate about what would constitute a fair and impartial jury. Questions have been raised about the race, gender, age and religiosity of prospective jurors; about the effect of holding the trial in Boston; and about the legal requirement that the jurors be open to the possibility of sentencing the defendant to death.

But recent research of ours suggests that another, largely overlooked factor may also play an important role in the trial: whether the jurors perceive Mr. Tsarnaev as white.

No sooner did the F.B.I. release photographs of Mr. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, three days after the bombings, than questions arose about the racial identity of the suspects. (“Are the Tsarnaev Brothers White?” ran a headline in Salon.) Although neither brother matched the visual prototype of a white American, both hailed from the Caucasus, the region that gave rise to the term “Caucasian,” and both had lived in America for many years…

Read the entire article here.

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Tracee Ellis Ross: ‘That Hurt Like the Bejesus’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-25 20:23Z by Steven

Tracee Ellis Ross: ‘That Hurt Like the Bejesus’

The New York Times
2015-01-22


Tracee Ellis Ross Credit Pej Behdarvand for The New York Times

The actress talks with Jenna Wortham about defining her own sense of beauty and humor.

It’s awards-show season. Do you like going to the shows? I didn’t actually go to the Golden Globes, but I do love awards-show season. It means lots of pretty dresses — and it’s even more fun when you are nominated.

The show you’re on, “black-ish,” has gotten a fair amount of critical praise. Do you know if the show has been picked up for a second season? No. Having been in the business for a while, I never like to look forward. You kind of enjoy what’s happening while it’s happening and leave the rest up to God, the angels, the trees, the stars — whatever you want to call it.

I love how women have responded to you in particular, especially the way you wear your hair out in this gorgeous storm cloud. A storm cloud? Is that what you said?

I may have said that, yes. That’s lovely. Women are asked to put forward, to a certain extent, a mask. And for black women, that has taken on greater significance, because the standard of beauty has not necessarily had the space for different definitions of beauty. I’m trying to find my own version of what makes me feel beautiful. On “black-ish,” there’s a lot that has to be done working around my hair, in terms of scheduling…

Read the entire interview here.

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‘Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye,’ by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews on 2015-01-25 02:56Z by Steven

‘Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye,’ by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Sunday Book Review
The New York Times
2015-01-23

Richard Lloyd Parry

Mockett, Marie Mutsuki, Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015), 316 pp.

Among the many shocking things about tsunamis — along with their suddenness, violence and indiscriminate destruction of life and community — is how little there is to say about them. Man-made catastrophes, like wars or nuclear accidents, provide infinite opportunities for blame, recrimination and lessons learned. But natural disasters have no politics. One can quibble about the height of sea walls, the promptness of warnings and the quality of aid given to survivors. But such events have always occurred in countries like Japan, and always will. When the wave has receded, the dead have been counted and the slow work of recovery has begun, the pundits sheepishly quit the field and abandon it to the theologians, the spiritualists and the priests.

These are the people at the core of Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s book, which opens with the tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in 2011 and closes with a ghost. The act of God and the haunting frame an intriguing, but often awkward, travelogue through a landscape of Japanese spiritual belief, with forays into history, folklore and memoir. But the book’s central subject, deferred and evaded for much of its length, is the stubborn anguish of personal grief — the experience, as Mockett puts it, of being “kidnapped against one’s will and forced to go to some foreign country, all the while just longing to go back home.”

Mockett’s country is the United States, but she is a complicated, troubled American, and like many such journeys, hers is also a quest for identity. As the child of an American father, raised in California, she regards herself as fully of the West. From her Japanese mother she has acquired fluency in the language, although no sense of belonging in her maternal country. But she has the ability, fully available only to those on the margins, “to see through more than one set of eyes, if one learns to pay attention to one’s environment.” It is this gift of double-sightedness, of bringing to bear both the “dry” rationality of the West and the “sticky” sensibilities professed by the Japanese, that makes this the most interesting book so far to have come out of the disaster…

Read the entire review here.

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A Multiethnic Movement Emerges in Guyana to Counter Politics-as-Usual

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2015-01-20 18:51Z by Steven

A Multiethnic Movement Emerges in Guyana to Counter Politics-as-Usual

The New York Times
2015-01-17

Girish Gupta

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Swaying to the rhythms of Afro-Guyanese reggae, the protesters, descendants of African slaves and indentured laborers from India, gathered on the streets of Georgetown in a show of unity against the country’s president.

A few years ago, a gathering of members of Guyana’s two main ethnic groups, which have long been at opposite ends of the country’s political divide, would have been unusual.

But the protest in November, after President Donald Ramotar suspended Parliament in order to fend off a no-confidence motion, reflected an important change taking place in this tiny English-speaking country of just 740,000 people perched on the shoulder of South America.

Politics in Guyana have long been delineated by race. But a multiethnic movement that has emerged in recent years has given voice to a new generation of Guyanese who say that politics as usual has held the country back by favoring race over merit, undermining economic progress.

“This shows the true reality of Guyana now,” Marcia de Costa, 37, a manager of a beauty salon, said, pointing toward the diverse crowd at the rally. “This is new for us.”

The two main political parties in Guyana have traditionally hewed to racial lines: one drawing support from the descendants of Africans brought over by the Dutch in the 17th century, and the other from the descendants of the Indians brought by the British a couple of centuries later.

But the emergence of a third party in recent years has changed the dynamics…

Read the entire article here.

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A Jewish-Asian Couple’s Union Leads to a Scholarly Interest in Intermarriage

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-19 01:41Z by Steven

A Jewish-Asian Couple’s Union Leads to a Scholarly Interest in Intermarriage

The New York Times
2012-06-15

Samuel G. Freedman, Professor of Journalism
Columbia University, New York, New York

One weekend night 15 years ago, a group of graduate students at the University of Chicago decided to interrupt their research long enough for a dinner party. Helen K. Kim made a chocolate tart with ginger cream filling. Her classmate Noah S. Leavitt regarded it and scoffed, “Nice use of your time, making a fancy dessert with all the homework we have.”

Ms. Kim did not exactly swoon at that snarky version of a pickup line.

Over the next three weeks, though, Mr. Leavitt kept pursuing her in more polite fashion and they eventually went out for dinner and drinks. Very quickly, the two aspiring academics found themselves talking in candid detail about the recent and untimely deaths of their fathers.

From that encounter grew not only their own subsequent marriage but a joint scholarly interest in the very trend they embodied: intermarriage between Asian-Americans and American Jews. Their major research paper on the subject appeared in February, just three months before arguably the highest-profile example of the phenomenon, the wedding of Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, to his longtime girlfriend, Dr. Priscilla Chan…

Read the entire article here.

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California Attorney General Announces Run for Senate

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-13 18:53Z by Steven

California Attorney General Announces Run for Senate

The New York Times
2015-01-13

Adam Nagourney, Los Angeles Bureau Chief

Kamala Harris Makes Bid for Barbara Boxer’s Old Seat

LOS ANGELES — No exploratory committees here: Kamala D. Harris, the California attorney general, announced on Tuesday she was running for the Senate seat that is opening up with Barbara Boxer’s retirement at the end of the year.

Ms. Harris’ announcement, posted on a new campaign website, came a day after the California lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, who was widely viewed here as the other major contender for the seat, announced that he was not going to run. Friends say that Mr. Newsom is more interested in running for governor when Jerry Brown retires in four years.

Democrats here have long suggested that Ms. Harris and Mr. Newsom would avoid running against each other, because they are both such strong candidates, with their own fund-raising bases and they both come from Northern California.

Ms. Harris, who is 50, is the daughter of a Jamaican-American father and an Indian-American mother.

She was re-elected to a second term as attorney general last year…

Read the entire article here.

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Carl N. Degler, Scholarly Champion of the Oppressed in America, Dies at 93

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-11 17:21Z by Steven

Carl N. Degler, Scholarly Champion of the Oppressed in America, Dies at 93

The New York Times
2015-01-10

Sam Roberts, Urban Affairs Correspondent

For four decades, as a Stanford University scholar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a commentator who envisioned a future that did not repeat the mistakes of the past, Carl N. Degler endeavored to remedy American myopia.

“Virtually from the beginning,” Professor Degler once lamented, “Americans have seen themselves outside history, as a people constituting a nation of the future.”

Delving into overlooked corners of history, he illuminated the role of women, the poor and ethnic minorities in the nation’s evolution and was embraced as a feminist and defender of affirmative action. He explored the 19th century American South; compared race relations in the United States and Brazil; and traced a revival of biological Darwinism in debates over human behavior.

He died on Dec. 27 at 93 in Palo Alto, Calif., his wife, Therese, confirmed.

As an emeritus professor of American history at Stanford, Professor Degler encouraged his students to pursue less traveled intellectual paths, as he had with his book “Neither Black Nor White,” which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for history in 1972. In it he compared the origins and legacy of slavery in the United States and Brazil…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions

Posted in Articles, Economics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-04 20:29Z by Steven

Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions

The Upshot
The New York Times
2015-01-03

Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics
Harvard University

The deaths of African-Americans at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Mo., in Cleveland and on Staten Island have reignited a debate about race. Some argue that these events are isolated and that racism is a thing of the past. Others contend that they are merely the tip of the iceberg, highlighting that skin color still has a huge effect on how people are treated.

Arguments about race are often heated and anecdotal. As a social scientist, I naturally turn to empirical research for answers. As it turns out, an impressive body of research spanning decades addresses just these issues — and leads to some uncomfortable conclusions and makes us look at this debate from a different angle.

The central challenge of such research is isolating the effect of race from other factors. For example, we know African-Americans earn less income, on average, than whites. Maybe that is evidence that employers discriminate against them. But maybe not. We also know African-Americans tend to be stuck in neighborhoods with worse schools, and perhaps that — and not race directly — explains the wage gap. If so, perhaps policy should focus on place rather than race, as some argue.

But we can isolate the effect of race to some degree…

Read the entire article here.

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‘A Tale of Two Plantations,’ by Richard S. Dunn

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2015-01-04 18:21Z by Steven

‘A Tale of Two Plantations,’ by Richard S. Dunn

Sunday Rook Review
The New York Times
2015-01-02

Greg Grandin, Professor of History
New York University

Dunn, Richard S., A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).

For enslaved peoples in the New World, it was always the worst of times. Whether captured in Africa or born into bondage in the Americas, slaves suffered unimaginable torments and indignities. Yet the specific form their miseries took, as the historian Richard S. Dunn shows in his painstakingly researched “A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia,” depended on whether one was a slave in the British Caribbean or in the United States. The contrasts between the two slave societies were many, covering family life, religious beliefs and labor practices. But one difference overrode all others. In the Caribbean, white masters treated the slaves like “disposable cogs in a machine,” working them to death on sugar plantations and then replacing them with fresh stock from Africa. In the United States, white masters treated their slaves like the machine itself — a breeding machine.

Dunn began working on this comparative study in the 1970s, around the time historians like Winthrop D. Jordan, Edmund S. Morgan and Eugene D. Genovese were revolutionizing the study of American slavery. Drawing on Freud, Marx and other social theorists, these scholars painted what Dunn calls the “big picture,” capturing the psychosexual terror, economic exploitation, resistance, and emotional and social dependency inherent in the master-slave relation.

Decades of extensive research led Dunn, a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, in a different direction, away from making large historical claims or speculating about the “interiority” of slavery’s victims. Instead, he’s opted to stay close to the facts, using demographic methods to reconstruct “the individual lives and collective experiences of some 2,000 slaves on two large plantations” — Mesopotamia, which grew sugar on the western coastal plain of Jamaica, and Mount Airy, a tobacco and grain estate on the Rappahannock River in Virginia’s Northern Neck region — “during the final three generations of slavery in both places.”…

…Likewise, Dunn’s discussion of interracial sex seems tone deaf to decades of scholarship on the subject. Forty years ago, Winthrop D. Jordan wrote about the libidinal foundations of white supremacy in America. More recently, the historians Jennifer L. Morgan and Diana Paton have explored the linkages between ideology, law and sexual domination in slave societies. Dunn devotes a chapter each to two slave women, empathetically tracing their family history and considering the many hardships they endured. He mentions rape and “predatory” whites and discusses the sharp differences in the way mixed-race offspring were treated on the two plantations. Yet at times he plays down the varieties of sexual coercion that enslaved women lived under. At one point, he calls the relationship between a white overseer, his black “mistress” and his distraught wife a “ménage à trois.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Edward Brooke, Pioneering U.S. Senator in Massachusetts, Dies at 95

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-04 00:50Z by Steven

Edward Brooke, Pioneering U.S. Senator in Massachusetts, Dies at 95

The New York Times
2015-01-03

Douglas Martin

Edward W. Brooke III, who in 1966 became the first African-American elected to the United States Senate by popular vote, winning as a Republican in overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts, died on Saturday at his home in Coral Gables, Fla. He was 95.

His death was confirmed by Ralph Neas, a family spokesman, who said Mr. Brooke was surrounded by members of his family.

He won his Senate seat by nearly a half-million votes in 1966 and was re-elected in 1972. He remains the only black senator ever to have been returned to office.

A skilled coalition builder at a time when Congress was less partisan and ideologically divided than it is today, Mr. Brooke shunned labels, but he was seen as a centrist. His positions and votes were consistently more liberal than those of his increasingly conservative Republican colleagues.

He opposed the expansion of nuclear arsenals, pushed for improved relations with China and championed civil rights, the legalization of abortion and fair-housing policies. He urged Republicans to match the Democrats in coming up with programs to aid cities and the poor…

Read the entire obituary here.

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